Powell's Blog: WWE needs to put some serious heat on the heels heading into Extreme Rules, TNA deserves credit for a recent business decision, thoughts on the TNA X Division structure
By Jason Powell
-WWE needs a strong go-home edition of Raw to get people talking about the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday. Raw and Smackdown should be all about putting heat on the heels. Thus far, the monster heel antics of Brock Lesnar, Ryback, and Mark Henry have been blown off, mocked, and even become fodder for humiliation by their babyface opponents.
John Cena has damaged his program with Ryback by mocking the newly turned heel monster. So far, Cena has told us that Ryback isn't in the same league as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Orton, mocked Ryback's voice and delivery, and turned his back on him in a way that suggests he has no fear of him.
The Ryback turn came at least six months too early, but WWE could have set this up as a potential money match. Instead, Cena has joked his way through the build and delivered the message loud and clear that Ryback is just another opponent. Sure, he sold for the announcement of the Last Man Standing stipulation, but just think of where things would be right now if he had treated Ryback as a major threat to him and his WWE Championship reign from the start.
WWE could have had a good mid-card showdown match with Sheamus and Mark Henry had we gotten the good ass kicking Sheamus. Instead, we were subjected to lighthearted and quirky Sheamus as he made a fool of the heel monster in strength competitions between the two. I really enjoy the serious, focussed Sheamus character, but the John Cena Lite schtick is a turnoff.
I couldn't even blame Triple H for not selling the office destruction skit last week. I am always entertained by watching Brock Lesnar destroy things, but it was hard to believe that the office or the cheap equipment belonged to one of the top executives in WWE, meaning Hunter would have looked like a dope had he acted like Lesnar's actions affected him deeply. Still, this feud has no real heat or momentum.
It continues to feel like these Lesnar and Hunter are fighting a battle that really has no ramifications on the rest of WWE. It's not like either man has expressed interest in a championship match or even anything else in WWE, so fans see it for the battle between two part-time wrestlers that it is. I suspect that tonight will be Hunter's night to look strong since I assume he will be putting over Lesnar on Sunday. That may please the live crowd and the Raw television viewers tonight, but I don't believe it's going to sell any pay-per-views.
-TNA deserves credit for addressing the issue of wrestler compensation under the new television taping format. The company looked cheap when wrestlers learned that they were being paid for one date only even if they were working twice in one night. Still, the company appeared to be legally within their rights to stick with that formula, but they stepped up and did what I feel is the right thing by paying talent per taping rather than per date. Morale is clearly up for the wrestlers who were affected by this decision.
-Here's hoping the Kenny King and Chris Sabin feud will lead to TNA breaking away from the switch that makes every X Division match a three-way. The company has a solid crop of X Division wrestlers and they will simply burn through too many of them by taking this approach. I don't want every X Division match to be a three-way train wreck. I'd rather see a mix of styles showcased in the division. Granted, we will surely see more acrobatic types in the division, but I'd also like the door to be left open for a Dean Malenko or Douglas Williams type who just wouldn't shine as bright in the three-way format.
If nothing else, The King vs. Sabin program and the return of Petey Williams has me more optimistic about the division than I have been in a long time. And that's coming from someone who was initially opposed to Sabin even being in the division, simply because I feel his comeback story would be stronger if he were in the division the company the company cares more about. However, if this program is going to help breathe some life into the X Division again then I'm all for it.
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