2/7 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). Please note that the TNA section was written prior to the February 6 show with the exception of what was written by Chris Shore, who forgot to run this piece on Thursday. He is being severely beaten as you read this.
Will Pruett (Twitter - @itswilltime): Raw seemed like the kind of show we would get with the WrestleMania card currently in question. WWE was thrown for a loop last week, then had to deal with John Cena's injury this week. It's been tough for them. Hopefully they can rebound in the next two weeks going into Elimination Chamber.
Jeff Lutz (Twitter - @JeffreyDLutz): Ironically, C.M. Punk's desire to shelter himself from much of the rest of society was the one trait that allowed outsiders to get to know him the best. In that sense, Punk's apparent departure from WWE is a personal loss for many fans and is difficult to analyze without letting some of that emotion seep in. It's actually somewhat encouraging that Punk was "dejected and defeated" following his meeting with Vince McMahon -- if he cared that much in the midst of general discouragement regarding his creative standing, chances are he'll return someday. But I'm not sure I'm holding my breath.
Jake Barnett (Twitter - @barnettjake): Raw felt like a show weighed down by uncertainty. Due to the lack of John Cena and CM Punk, and a general lack of creative direction, we got a wrestling heavy show that was ultimately forgettable. It didn't lack entertainment value, but it didn't give you anything that made you feel like Smackdown this coming Friday or Raw next week are appointment viewing. Perhaps it's just the high expectations of WrestleMania season, but this past Monday's show left me wanting.
Zack Zimmerman (Twitter - @InVasionZim): Coming out of the Royal Rumble, things felt nearly concrete towards the most commonly rumored WrestleMania card. However, following Punk's departure and two transitional Raw shows, things feel less certain than they were going into the Rumble. That's not necessarily bad, but they really need to establish what they're going to do and book all upcoming episodes toward the big show to make it feel important. Last year's buyrate may not reflect it in an easily discernible way, but WrestleMania 29 suffered from the last minute lineup shuffle and lack of meaningful build.
Darren Gutteridge (Twitter - @Dazatheg): I remember almost nothing of Raw, other than the segments revolving around the Shield and the Wyatt Family. The Rumble ruined all faith I had in Bryan ever being pushed to the very top, so the clean win did nothing for me, and all other feuds presented escape my memory, but so far the clash between the two power trios has been booked perfectly. Neither team has backed down or been made to look weak, and that is vital to a feud of this type.
Chris Shore (Twitter - @TheShoreSlant): WrestleMania season is here and that means Raw will be the must see destination for everyone on Monday night. Except for last Monday night, apparently. WWE decided to have a "play it safe" moment when it can least afford to do so. The build for WrestleMania is very weak right now and they need to start setting that show up now, even if Elimination Chamber has to suffer for it. What's unforgivable is seeing the Chamber and WrestleMania get stagnant with these holding pattern shows.
Will Pruett: I don't mind MVP being the investor. I really like Samoa Joe being the No. 1 Contender. What I can't get behind is a backstage segment that violates the basic story the show is trying to tell. I can only hope all the shows taped leading into Lockdown lack the idiotic mistakes of last week's.
Jeff Lutz: Dixie Carter and her fellow TNA decision-makers appear to have finally made the right decision in allowing Sting to walk away from the company, though the execution of that real-life occurrence was brutal in the way it played out as a television storyline. Unfortunately, it wasn't surprising -- TNA might as well be called TNR for Total Nonstop Run-ins. I'd like to say that TNA's approach toward eliminating many of the high-priced veterans from its roster will present a long-term benefit to the company, but first TNA has to solve the booking issues that plague the organization no matter who is calling the creative shots.
Jake Barnett: The more things change, the more they stay the same in TNA. It seems like TNA is committed to moving on from being a cozy retirement village for aging WWE castaways. That's good! On the other hand, TNA still lacks attention to detail. The production faux pas with Bully Ray pushing around a "casket" backstage were brutal. The Wolves looked like they borrowed clothes for their debut, and their promo for week two was cheesy and downright comically produced with psychedelic low budget camera work and effects. Those things matter when you're trying to carve out an audience from a slickly produced WWE product. By the way, can we at least get a half-assed explanation as to how MVP came up with the money to silently buy into TNA?
Zack Zimmerman: While I admit that I was optimistic about The Wolves and MVP coming in, I'm not optimistic about another power struggle angle. To boot, the results I've been reading coming out of the UK are baffling. I'll keep an eye on upcoming shows, but the eye is in a head that's been filled with apathy for TNA.
Chris Shore: Points to MVP and his promo last night for complete and total honesty. Management has been the anchor around the neck of the company. Sadly, I don't think yet another fake management person is the solution.
Other (MMA, Indies, Etc)
Will Pruett (PWG): I took some friends who aren't wrestling fans and had never been to a wrestling show to PWG's DDT4 last Friday. Not only did they enjoy themselves, they actually got into the show, cheering for The Inner City Machine Guns and Best Friends as they went through the tournament. It was pretty awesome to be able to share this great wrestling experience with friends.
Jeff Lutz (Matt Hardy): I'm officially giving up on Matt Hardy following the arrests of the former WWE star and his wife, Reby Sky, on domestic violence charges early this month. I'm not giving Hardy the benefit of the doubt and won't change my mind if it is revealed he was not the instigator of the couple's fight on New Year's Day. I understand those who may wait for all the facts to be uncovered, but as far as I'm concerned, Hardy completely ruined his apparent turnaround. When you've made as many mistakes as Hardy, it's difficult to be afforded another one, especially one of this magnitude.
Jake Barnett (WWE Yo-yo): Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Big E Langston, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Alberto Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Brodus Clay, Ryback, Titus O'Neill, Darren Young, Curtis Axel, on and on. What do all these people have in common? Nobody knows why they should care about them. The WWE Yo-yo has deployed characters and gimmicks for each of them, only to pull them right back to square one. Some of these guys have seen it happen to them multiple times. Not all of them are destined for greatness, obviously, but none of them deserve to be sent out to die each week on television with little to no motivation or character development. Am I to believe that WWE can't build a mid-card around these guys? What are the secondary titles for if not to try and create an environment where they can get over?
Zack Zimmerman (CM Punk): C.M. Punk leaving is unfortunate but relatively unsurprising. Punk has always maintained the position that if he wasn't enjoying what he's doing and isn't being featured in a way he feels is suitable, that he's okay walking away from the business. It's safe to say he's made enough money during his time in WWE that he can continue to live the lifestyle he wants to live, and time away from the grind would really do the man a lot of good. I can't say I'm happy that this is how it's played out, but it's easy to find silver linings. Who knows, maybe he'll be one of these returning stars at a WrestleMania down the line.
Darren Gutteridge (NXT): WWEs decision to tape episodes scheduled to air after the February 27th live special is bizarre. I believe they already had episodes in the can all the way up to the special, so why potentially spoil what will happen on the show? My only guess is they wanted footage ready-to-go should the worst happen on the 27th and the feed goes dead. Fingers crossed the contingency plan isn't needed.
Chris Shore (Chikara): I was very happy to see Chikara will be coming back in May. I was also very pleased to see owner/booker Mike Quackenbush be willing to discuss his role in the company. Chiakra consistently put on entertaining shows in their last incarnation and I expect no difference this time. Perhaps the new openness of the company will help new fan infd their way to the product.
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