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TOPIC 3: Teddy Rules Raw, Johnny Gets Aced
Josh: "[The angle] took a back seat and I was expecting a lot more from Teddy Long to kind of insert himself, maybe in one or two backstage segments" ... "but look at the time constraints." ... "We all expect Team Long vs Team Laurinaitis at WrestleMania - when is that gonna come to fruition?"
My Reaction: I actually like that this match hasn't been announced yet. With four "main events" already advertised and an Intercontinental Championship bout on the card, this entertaining feud is going to keep us guessing, likely until next week. The chaos surrounding this angle is a lot of fun - Raw's GM had the Smackdown World Champion in his pocket, while Smackdown's GM was in support of Raw's World Champion! We've got both personal assistants involved and a slew of mid-card talents with a lot of ring experience to offer any potential WrestleMania match.
As Josh said, this has taken a back seat to the big-picture feuds that will actually draw a house. That's really what they want to aim for. Both World titles are on the line, eras are colliding in Hell in a Cell, and the biggest names in pro wrestling will face off for the first time - this feud doesn't need to be front-and-center in the Raw picture, or in the minds of the WWE Universe. It's enough that they put on an entertaining mid-card angle on a packed WrestleMania card.
TOPIC 4: Son-A-Mah-Gun! New US Champ!
Josh: "Does it bring prestige - credibility - back to the title? Absolutely not, but it brings entertainment. I think that's what people want to see with their mid-card matches..."
My Reaction: Nail on the head. Any entertaining champion is a good champion in my opinion. After all, we're talking about "sports entertainment", not straight-up professional wrestling (is there such a thing?). Santino has the ability to make just about anybody with a heart believe in him - if you don't see it, go back and watch both the Elimination Chamber and the qualifier's Battle Royal on Smackdown! When he finally rolled up Swagger and the ref counted three, the emotion in the TD Garden was palpable.
I don't care if you think his comedy act is boring, or even a disgrace to the "legacy" of the United States Championship (let me remind you, General Hugh G. Rection held the belt twice in WCW), Santino is more over than half the roster, and that's about as much "prestige" as the belt is going to get these days.
TOPIC 5: If a Tree Falls in the Woods and Lands on Eve...
Josh: "Why not have something like Ryder coming out, maybe flirting with Kelly Kelly, trying to one-up Eve - getting that better blond?"
My Reaction: Because Ryder can't do a "450 Splash".
TOPIC 6: "Best in the World"? Not Even Best in the Building...
Chris: "I think Jericho and Punk are just being overshadowed by Rock/Cena. They need something good written their way, and it needs to happen pretty quick..."
Josh: "They need time!"
They've had time. They've had MONTHS to pull this together and make it looks like a diamond on an already stellar 'Mania card. You can blame the writers, blame the bookers, and blame Jericho and Punk - for all we know those two are writing their own material - the bottom line is this: if we get to WrestleMania in three weeks and this feud flops, the responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the competitors in the match.
I understand the idea that you can only do so much with a fifteen minute spot every week, but I really only buy that when it comes to guys like the Miz or Jack Swagger. We're talking about the WWE Champion CM Punk and Chris Jericho - two guys fighting over the title of "best in the world". If that title were actually true, they could have pulled off a hell of a lot more in the time they've been given. John Cena only had a ten minute slot on Raw two weeks ago, but he single-handedly sold his angle for me within that time. Punk and Jericho are no strangers to rising above creative limitations and producing gold; whatever is wrong this time around is on them, not creative.
Should they have more time? Absolutely. Are they going to get it? Not with guys like the Rock, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels booked each and every week. As much as I love them, neither Punk nor Jericho is seen by management to be at that level. If an extra five or ten minutes is going to be handed out, it's going to the guys who, so far, have sold this WrestleMania.
Their match this week was good, but the quality of their feud is just barely above Sheamus/Bryan standards. At this point, no matter who walks away WWE Champion in three weeks, I hardly think many in the WWE Universe will recognize either competitor as the true "Best in the World".