WHO’S NXT?

Mark Madden

WHO’S NXT?

This week’s RAW was WWE’s usual crap show, one made weaker, not stronger, by the guest hosts – this despite the fact that one of them may be PPV’s hottest draw and largely patterns his MMA character after Junkyard Dog. Goes to show how much context means, because I found Rampage Jackson not the least bit interesting on RAW.

It doesn’t say much good about your troupe of regulars when Roddy Piper stumbles down off a mountainside in Oregon and delivers the night’s best promo. Think they scripted him? If so, I bet Hot Rod changed the questions.

So, the show sucked.

But the ending was AWESOME.

I don’t watch NXT. I have no idea who any of these guys are, not really, not even the contest winner. But that somehow made what happened more threatening. When you don’t know somebody, you don’t know what they’re capable of. The beating of Cena went on FOREVER. The announcers, the ref – everybody went down and stayed down. Nobody got a comeback. The worth of selling was on display for a change.

It seemed real, much more real than the typical spot-fest that passes for a match these days. The raw sound – no announcers, that arena buzz – added a great deal to the scenario. The lack of blood somehow made it seem MORE real, beyond a typical pro wrestling beatdown where somebody blades for effect. It was well-scripted and produced. The NXT kids, for being green, executed.

There were gaps in logic, to be sure. Why didn’t anyone come out to help Cena? He’s perceived to be the franchise. Shouldn’t somebody have saved him? Shouldn’t EVERYBODY have saved him?

That’s not necessarily bad. Some gaps in logic can be forgiven if they’re for the greater good. If the locker room makes the save, you go off the air with a too-typical gang fight. You don’t want the NXT crew to sell, not then, anyway. You don’t want them to powder, either. In the salad days of the nWo, Hall and Nash used to hold the entirety of WCW at bay with baseball bats before very stealthily and craftily getting out of Dodge. I’m not sure the NXT gang has the acumen or timing to pull that off. The atmosphere, the apparent chill going through the arena, made the marks forget that no one made the save. Disbelief was suspended. How often does THAT happen anymore?

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To quote Jim Ross, RAW’s ending “poses many more questions than answers, which is the life’s blood of producing episodic TV.”

Amen. That’s too often forgotten (ignored?) by today’s “scriptwriters,” who too often gratify themselves, too often boring the HELL out of the rest of us. I want to know who booked last night’s ending. Whoever did should be in charge. My concern is that someone not named McMahon came up with it. If that’s the case, it worked TOO well and the idea could be aborted, killed in the womb.

I know in my heart they’re going to screw it up. You do, too. It’s what they do.

I really don’t know what you do next. The first season of NXT was probably supposed to give us some insight into these guys as individuals, but I wasn’t watching, and I’m in the majority. Maybe it’s better to let these guys move and operate as a single organism for a while. They shouldn’t say much. Their silence was ominous last night. So was their relative lack of histrionics. Their eyes were dead, their actions deadly. They were like a ‘roided-up Manson family.

Perhaps some light was shed during the season premiere of NXT. Did I watch? Hell, no. Monday night wasn’t THAT good.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh. Check out the Mark Madden page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark via wzmarkmadden@hotmail.com.

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