Another interesting week in the WWE continued with editions of RAW and SmackDown. Both shows were better than the previous week’s efforts and started to direct the company towards its next big PPV, TLC.
RAW opened with a classic encounter between many superstars which appeared intermittently. This was a bit of the throw back to some of the older shows from the late 90’s where shows seemed to be out of control and superstars came and went as they pleased. One thing that did annoy me was the way that John Cena sunk Dolph’s new ‘show off’ character. As Cena did with Del Rio, he looked straight through Dolph’s gimmick and made him sound like he wasn’t worthy to be in the same ring as him, although he obviously does.
It hurts me even more so when I have to say that I agreed with Michael Cole. John Cena made the claim that Cole drives home Dolph Ziggler’s character and force feeds it to the crowd constantly whilst Cole responded that all Cena has been doing is force feeding Zack Ryder on TV for the past few weeks. I can’t help this but as much as I wanted to see Zack Ryder on TV in the last few months I’m starting to feel a little over it all. I still wish him well but perhaps that because Cena is screaming every two minutes about him I just feel like the love is fading for Ryder. This doesn’t appear apparent with the crowd though as Ryder is still as hot as ever.
Wade Barrett also showed off a new tattoo this past week. Now I think I’m in the minority here but I am increasingly bored with the fact that everyone feels they have to get a tattoo in order to give them self status. I’m going well off the wrestling track here but anyone that seems to want to get noticed in all forms of sports and entertainment always seem to feel the need to get a tattoo. Personally I think when there are more tattoo’s on you than your natural skin colour then you have taken it a bit too far but hey, I’ll get off my soapbox.
WWE promoted the WWE Network which to this UK resident is obviously irrelevant. It will be interesting to see what direction the company takes with this new network but from what they showed it doesn’t look like most people will be missing much if they cannot view it.
Kevin Nash was in a backstage promo where he was announced as being in a ladder match with Triple H where they are fighting for the rights to use a sledgehammer. There is not one part of my brain that can comprehend out of the option of a table, ladder or chair that WWE would feel that putting Nash in a ladder match was a good idea. Maybe they will prove me wrong but I’m not expecting much out of this match at all.
The 2nd January videos continued as they interrupted the Divas promo. Lots of talk has moved on to it being Kharma because it was in the middle of the Divas match but I honestly still can’t see this being anyone other than The Undertaker. Talks suggest Jericho and this could likely be so. However, the video doesn’t suggest a Jericho style and the use of school children remind me of the videos used before Undertaker used his ‘American Bad Ass’ gimmick when he returned at Judgment Day 2000. I guess time will tell...
Then we had Ryder and Cena face off in a match where if Cena won he was in the TLC main event and if Ryder won he would receive his long awaited US title shot. The match itself was totally surprising as Cena started the main with some decent chain wrestling! Better than his usual headlock and shoulder tackle starts. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that Cena had to win the match only to give up his shot later. It was as if Cena is still being heavily protected by the WWE. The direction I would love for this to go in would be if Ryder loses his match at TLC against Ziggler and this infuriates Cena within. Another reason for Cena to boil and lead to his eventual blow up. Unfortunately, I expect Cena to be inserted into the PPV on RAW tonight and things will go back to normal.
Kevin Nash squashed Santino in an utterly pointless match but CM Punk attempted to save the main event slot with the 200th Contract signing of the year. One comment that stood out was when Laurinaitis (Yes, I have to google it every bloody time!) wished John Morrison all the best in his future endeavours. A comment which made me wonder whether they would rehire him down the road or whether it was just another sly comment like the one made to Vladimir Koslov.
SmackDown kicked off with Ezekiel Jackson. This man has been off TV for quite a few weeks whilst we wondered whether the reset button was being made on his character. They showed a couple of videos for him and he comes back with...HAIR! Yes folks! His reset button was actually time off to start growing his hair! Not exactly what I had in mind but whatever!
It was nice to see Lillian Garcia make her WWE return! I particular enjoyed it as I remember her being the first voice I heard back in Chicago for WrestleMania 22. This was the first time I ever got chance to see WWE live in person and I look forward to hearing her welcome again in Miami next year!
We had Daniel Bryan exhume confidence and emotion again when he got in to a slanging match with Michael Cole only to be shot down by Cody Rhodes attack. The shame of all this was the fact that Ted DiBiase and Jinder Mahal had their match straight after this. The match itself was quite good but it was totally ruined by Cole commentary where he felt it was more important to slag off Bryan throughout the WHOLE match! On the other hand we had Josh Mathews who desperately attempted to sell the match as best as possible. Mathews is ready for a bigger role on the desk. Make Michael Cole a manager and leave Mathews and Booker on commentary!
Even later on during the Bryan and Rhodes match, Cole still didn’t talk a bit about the in ring action, it really is becoming unbearable.
Orton and Ziggler had another cracking match where Barrett got involved and picked a table’s match!? Not sure why anyone would want to pick that match but I guess it’s a match type where Orton can lose without being in danger of losing any credibility in WWE’s eyes.
Overall the two shows were good and both of them displayed some good wrestling between the ropes. I’m interested to see where they go with the John Cena and Zack Ryder story and whether it becomes part of Cena’s humanisation. Just imagine how much heat John Cena could get if he turned his back on Ryder? It could be one of the few ways of turning Cena heel if they ever decide to do it, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.