3/14 Dot Net One Shots: The Dot Net staff give their quick thoughts from the previous week in WWE, TNA, MMA and indie wrestling
Welcome to the Dot Net One Shots. Each week, we will present a quick "one shot" thought from each staff member about the previous week in each of the following areas: WWE, TNA and Other (MMA, Indies, etc).
Will Pruett (Twitter - @itswilltime): Leaving both The Rock and John Cena off of an episode of Raw going into WrestleMania is an exceptionally bold choice. While WWE didn't have an option with Rock, they certainly did with Cena. Suddenly last week's confrontation between Rock and Cena seems bigger after a week to digest it.
Jeff Lutz (Twitter - @JeffreyDLutz): If WWE's own announcers are going to bury the product on the air, the company should let fans do it, too. Play some of the Tout videos that show viewers demanding more than constant movie trailers during Raw and one-note promos from Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Coulter. Surely those videos exist, right? If not, I'll make one and I'll get my dog in it, too. There was a lot of bad on Raw this week and for WWE to single out the Highlight Reel segment the way it did suggests they aren't listening to fan reaction for several of their other tired acts.
Jake Barnett (Twitter - @barnettjake): Raw was a down show in terms of energy, but Punk managed to make himself look supremely dastardly and established why everyone should want to see The Undertaker get his hands on him. I just hope the overall shown is a blip in what has been a series of much improved shows heading into WrestleMania.
Zack Zimmerman (Twitter - @zzimm22): WWE handled the Paul Bearer memorial perhaps the best possible way. They showed a great tribute video to open, gave the Undertaker time to honor him, and got massive heat on CM Punk without actually disrespecting the man or memory of Paul Bearer. I was angry watching it, but not offended. In reality, I can't recall the last time I actually bought in and felt storyline heat. A job well done.
Darren Gutteridge (Twitter - @Dazatheg): I really can't make my mind up about the use of Paul Bearer's death in the Punk/Taker feud. If I take the morality out of it, it's a strong and logical story line. It was also "respectful", in that Punk made sure there was no "Eddie's down there in hell!" distastefulness. But I can't escape my feeling that, especially this soon, it's wrong to utilize it to build a feud.
Chris Shore (Twitter - @TheShoreSlant): I have to admit, I'm a little shocked by the people who were offended by Paul Bearer's death becoming storyline fodder on Raw. I didn't like it all that much, but it was logical, and my wife, who is very much the casual fan, thought it was well done and added good heat to the feud. I can understand either of those positions, but offended? By what? They didn't make fun of the man or soil his name. They honored him the way WWE always honors people, by making them part of the show. You can not like it, but spare me the righteous indignation.
Will Pruett: Something really unique happened on Sunday night. TNA produced an angle I thought was weak and a turn which was trite (at least in execution). Despite this, they left me optimistic about their future storylines. The Aces and Eights story can finally step out of its odd holding pattern and grow. Hopefully it grows in a compelling direction.
Jeff Lutz: The quick resolution to Bobby Roode's contract issue makes me believe that it was never too much of a catastrophe to begin with, and there is actually something to Hulk Hogan's assertion that loyalty among TNA wrestlers is more important than contract status. It was inexcusable for TNA management to allow his contract to expire without even knowing about it, but Roode brought it to their attention and re-signed almost immediately, so there was never any danger of Roode leaving. That said, TNA might not be so lucky next time.
Jake Barnett: I keep seeing people from TNA say on twitter that Bully Ray shocked the world on Sunday. I can't help but wonder if that's just promotion 101 or if they actually believe they had a majority of their audience fooled. It seemed people started calling the heel turn online months ago.
Zack Zimmerman: Tonight is the night! I'm down on the product overall, but if ever there were a single show to regenerate interest, this is the one. Bully Ray has the chance to give legitimacy to Aces & Eights, the Chicago crowd will bring the show to life, and the return of AJ Styles comes with some unpredictability. Color me surprised, I'm looking forward to Impact tonight.
Chris Shore: I'm still not convinced Brooke Hogan isn't turning heel with Bully Ray. Part of me thinks that she will ultimately side with her man, even though he's being a real jerk right now. If they don't turn her, I would love to see recent Gut Check contestant Ivelisse come in as Bully's new girl in Aces and Eights. That could lead to some fun tension between the women.
Other (MMA, Indies, Etc)
Will Pruett (ROH): The dissonance between Ring of Honor's iPPV product and their TV product continues to grow. This is a serious issue for the promotion. It may take a long time for them to edit a new TV show, but the hours are worth the payoff. This week's show was pretty embarrassing.
Jeff Lutz (UFC): While we're wondering what issue C.M. Punk and Undertaker have that makes their upcoming WrestleMania match necessary, UFC is showing us that only one element is needed to sell a big fight: mutual disdain. Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre have it, and it's dividing UFC's fans to make for a greatly anticipated UFC 158 main event. Some side with the brash, arrogant Diaz and some are in the corner of the quietly confident St. Pierre, including myself.
Jake Barnett (The Urn): It was a cool nostalgia moment for WWE to grab The Undertaker's urn from the props department and use it on Monday. I've always kind of admired the courage WWE displays when they embraced weird and counterculture stuff with The Undertaker, but I beg of them not to use it as part of the ongoing storyline. It would add an element that arrests the development of the story, and I can't imagine they wanted to go occult with this when they started.
Zack Zimmerman (More WWE): Del Rio isn't connecting, Swagger isn't clicking, but Ziggler is shining. I mean, Ric Rod actually comes out during the commercial breaks to encourage fans to cheer Del Rio, yet Ziggler gets "Let's go Ziggler" and "Ziggler's better" chants at every show. WrestleMania is the time for WWE to make him a star, and I have a hopeful feeling his journey began Monday.
Darren Gutteridge (Twitter): Time for me to admit that I am a little hypocritical. I roll my eyes when people send in Tweets to Raw in order to get on TV, but I got so excited when Daniel Bryan answered two of my questions on Twitter this week. So, to those fans, I am now more sympathetic to your reasons for Tweeting now. But I'd still rather you not.
Chris Shore (ROH): The lag between ROH iPPVs and ROH TV has been a constant source of irritation for many fans, but even the most diehard apologists are starting to join the coalition of the frustrated. Part of the problem is that the scheduling of the TV show is left to individual stations and ROH can only do so much in scheduling iPPVs around that. But if they are going to make major story advances, like the explosion of SCUM most recently, then they have to do everything in their power to make sure that the next ROH show fans see after their iPPV follows up on those storylines in some way. Even if it means a small percentage of their audience gets spoiled by seeing the TV show before the iPPV.
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