Before I explain the title of my editorial, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who logged on to the forums last week to discuss what turned out to be a fairly controversial topic – whether UFC needs to learn from prior sports organization’s mistakes and remove the alcohol from the house of their "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show. I was amazed by just how many people disagreed with me, but I stand firm that the booze has to go. If you’d like to view this discussion, visit the forums here: http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=2537179#post2537179
That aside, I was reading the column by my WZ colleague Martyn Nolan earlier and read on as he took Bragging Rights to task. He’s absolutely right – ripping off the Stanley Cup premise – from the shape of the trophy to the right to ‘take it home’ for a few days is just so apparent it’s almost insulting. But while Marty took on the issue of the predictability of the main event and the overall specter of the PPV, I want to focus in on a few specific flaws.
Flaw #1 – Who the hell is going to brag anyway?
Well, let’s see. Edge will brag, and he was on Raw up until less than a month ago. Rey Mysterio won’t brag, because he’s too humble and also has his hands full with Alberto Del Rio, who also won’t brag because he was pinned in the match. Tyler "don’t call me Rob Zombie" Reks – well, I don’t think he speaks. Big Show might brag a little, but he lost too, and in classic ‘dumb big man’ fashion. That leaves Teddy Long.
And Teddy is going to rub it in the face of…a laptop?
I’m sorry, but there’s flaw #1. Teddy Long will sound ridiculous bragging to a house of fans who may as well hold up signs that say "when’s Raw gonna be in town?" ESPECIALLY with the Undertaker going back under the knife. Teddy doesn’t have a counterpart to brag to. That’s the flaw – when both shows have General Managers, there’s no more sense of competition. And having a laptop scream at Teddy to leave ‘his’ ring lacks the anger and emotion that Eric Bichoff and Stephanie McMahon were capable of when the brand split started. Unless each show has a GM, and the GM’s either don’t like each other or compete at a high level with each other, then the entire concept of ‘Bragging Rights’ has no teeth.
Flaw #2 - Lieutenants don’t command entire armies…
Nobody in the United States armed forces is ever a ‘midcarder’ in my book – they’re all Hogans, Austins, and Cenas if you ask me. But if you were to organize the WWE into the rank-and-file system the armed forces employ, The Miz and Big Show are, for lack of a better term, 1st Lieutenants. They could command a small battalion, but in the big picture, full scale armies are led by Generals and Colonels.
Raw’s Generals – Randy Orton and John Cena – were busy with another battle also involving 2nd Lieutenant Wade Barrett. Smackdown’s Generals – Kane and The Undertaker – were trying to bury one another. The Lieutenant Colonels of each respective show, Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and US Champion Daniel Bryan, were pulling the curtain on the night. At least they were still fighting an intra-brand battle as opposed to the respective ‘top-guys.’ My point here – if you want the 7-on-7 match to be a true battle for annual brand supremacy, then put the title picture on each show on hold for a month and have the champions lead the troops. It would lead to the inevitable – and crowd popping – stare down between the respective champions. (and as much as we all love Pfc. Santino Marella…oooohhhh…)
Flaw #3 – Where’s the prize here?
"Bragging Rights" are all well in good when there’s competition. It’s the job of both the ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ team to sell the bragging peice of the puzzle. But beyond that, what is there? Maybe the leader or sole survivor gets a title match. But what else?
Here’s the next flaw – no appreciable value of ‘bragging." Why not schedule the WWE Draft in November rather than April, and give the winning brand the first overal pick with the only stipulation being that they cannot pluck a champion from the other brand. Make the rest of the picks random, but allow the winning GM to make a pick. Instant storyline.
Flaw #4 - 7 on 7 to 5 on 5
I feel a great deal more enthralled by the potential of a 7-on-7 intra-brand match with actual value than I am right now with the on-again, off-again Survivor Series. I’m not saying that Survivor Series has to go, but WWE will need to manage potential redundancies if Survivor Series maintains a position on the WWE PPV schedule.
Unlike Hell in a Cell and Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, the Bragging Rights PPV has a solid premise and none of the inherent flaws result in my advice being ‘just pull the plug.’ These are mild issues – growing pains almost. I love the premise – but for forty bucks, I need more bang.
Discuss this topic in Wrestlezone’s Forums HERE: http://forums.wrestlezone.com/showthread.php?p=2552951#post2552951
All the best,
Chris "IrishCanadian25" Fitzpatrick