Happy Halloween, everyone.
If you clicked on this article expecting something holiday-related or "Nightmare on Elm Street"-esque, I'm sorry to disappoint. It's absolutely nothing of the kind. I just wanted to see what type of traffic it drew. Most would call that "misleading" and/or some form of false advertising; I call it research.
Please don't be mad.
The general concensus across the IWC post-Raw seems to be overwhelmingly negative from what I gather. Most seem disappointed with the Team Punk vs Team Foley match that was established Monday, and fear it won't be enough to sell the upcoming Survivor Series pay per view that's less than three weeks away. Maybe they're right, and if so, that speaks volumes on the current state of the WWE.
I'm starting to see a pattern of expectations by wrestling fans — not a good pattern, either. We're becoming too reliant on part-time stars. And it's not just us — Vince is even relying on them too much.
The Rock sold Survivor Series last year, WrestleMania this year (and last), and will be coming back to sell Rumble AND 'Mania next year. Brock Lesnar sold SummerSlam and Extreme Rules, and most expect Vince to use him for at least one more event before also putting him on WrestleMania 29's marquee. Chris Jericho's heavily-touted return sold Rumble this year. Undertaker and his streak help sell 'Mania annually.
John Cena seems to be the only full-time guy Vince feels comfortable building an entire pay per view around. CM Punk might be there now, but that's not entirely clear. Then, just below the mark, you have guys like Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Big Show. That's it.
Vince got one pay per view out of Ryback, but that was because of the streak — I don't care what anyone says, that match didn't sell, that early, without Ryback being undefeated — and now that's shot. Ryback can still be a draw, but cheap wins like the one he'll likely receive at Survivor Series aren't going to shoot him to the moon right away. He simply needs time to develop, and once January rolls around, he takes a backseat to Rock, Brock, Punk, Cena, and Taker until after WrestleMania.
It's been six years (2006) since we've had a traditional, elimination match of main event players at Survivor Series. That's probably due, in large part, to Vince McMahon's fear that a pay per view like Survivor Series would no longer sell without your top titles being defended by your top stars. I guess those fears were justifiable after all.
Team Punk vs Team Foley (aka Team Ryback), in addition to John Cena/Dolph Ziggler and Big Show/Sheamus, SHOULD be enough to sell Survivor Series, yet people are crying for Lesnar, or Rock, or anything else.
"How dare they go a pay per view without the WWE Championship being defended!?"
And, "They should rectify this immediately! I know!!! How about a stipulation where all the titles within the tag match are on the line, and the person that pins a champion wins that belt!?"
Where did all the Ryback supporters go? And in such a short time, too! Don't you want to see him get a win back over Punk? Survivor Series provides a great way for him to do just that. If you had some title stipulation like the one above — and I wouldn't be surprised if WWE did this, by the way — it forces them to make him lose again. I bet THAT would cause you people that claim wins and losses don't matter to change your tune.
Putting Ryback in the HIAC match with Punk in the first place was a mistake, plain and simple. Giving him a loss was a mistake, plain and simple, in MY opinion. However, the way they're following up for Survivor Series is not a mistake.
Ryback needs this win back over Punk IF he's to continue being looked at as a future superstar. Dolph Ziggler needs to beat John Cena if he is still being thought of as a soon-to-be impact player. And yes, I'm aware of what I just wrote and no, I don't think it's a stretch.
WWE needs to be confident selling Survivor Series with just these stars. It's the only way they're going to be able to start convincing fans that these same stars should also headline future WrestleManias and SummerSlams. The future of the WWE is a pretty scary thought, otherwise.
Wait…"scary"? Well, look at that…
Be safe out there tonight!
Follow Chris Cash on Twitter @ChrisCashSays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check out the latest edition of VOW Reaction where Chris an Adam Gorzelsky break down WWE Raw from Monday night.