Lots of people got excited about the C.M. Punk-Rock showdown on Raw.
There’s nothing exciting about 25 minutes of talking on a show that’s supposed to be built around action. That’s no matter how good the talking is.
Uh, about that…
Punk’s delivery is excellent. His facials are excellent. He’s WWE’s top guy on the mic. But when was the last time Punk SAID SOMETHING? His promos have devolved into empty heel platitudes. One major issue: You suck, I don’t. And, of course, the constant reciting of his days as champion.
That’s not necessarily awful. Content-wise, Ric Flair did the same kind of promos on TBS for years. “My shoes cost more than your house. That’s why I’m the world champion. [Insert face’s name], I’ll see you at [insert event or city’s name].”
But we’ve grown to expect more from Punk. If he’s going to do formulaic promos, keep ‘em short. If Punk adhered to brevity, the good stuff would jump out. When Punk baited the crowd into being lemmings – “You’re doing it again!” – that was BRILLIANT. But it got lost among the filler.
The Rock’s promo felt EXTREMELY DATED. Same as 10 years ago. Good thing his acting is more versatile in Hollywood, or he’d be C-list. The Rock, as a character, has not moved forward at all. That was easy to see last night.
The Rock is used to spitting out catchphrases and having them IGNITE. Bad news: “Cookiepuss” did not ignite. It came out forced, silly and bland.
When Punk talked about Rock gracing WWE with his occasional presence, you could almost feel the crowd flinch. Because they agree. They know it’s true.
WWE creative doesn’t help. WWE has Rock for very limited dates, but still doesn’t know exactly what is going to be done with him. That limits promos. Royal Rumble this and Royal Rumble that, but if creative has a notion beyond that in terms of who else might be involved, it provides more promo material and facilitates subtleties instead of beating you over the head with the same thing.
Hulk Hogan was excellent at that. Flair, too. They were 10 percent of the way toward selling the next feud, or PPV, before the current one concluded. Remember when Randy Savage won the WWE title at WrestleMania IV? Hulk Hogan put Elizabeth on his shoulders, and Savage glared at Hogan for just an instant. When is the last time a seed like that got planted months before the payoff?
The Rock came off as a nostalgia act. The last time he returned, the energy was high because Rock hadn’t been back for a long time.
This time, not so long. The drop in electricity reflected that.
I just don’t see this product headed in the right direction. I see the same mistakes being made over and over, which means WWE doesn’t think they’re mistakes.
WWE has two bona fide full-time stars: John Cena and Punk. All the part-timers are going to rush back for WrestleMania and the big payday: The Rock, Undertaker, Triple H and Brock Lesnar. After ‘Mania, they’ll all be gone. After ‘Mania, guys like Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Big Show and Alberto Del Rio – the usual suspects – will have to jump up the card after being pushed down the card.
That’s why those guys aren’t over. They too often seem second-rate.
Maybe The Shield and Ryback can rise above, although Ryback’s quickly getting a reputation as the dummy who always gets screwed and The Shield are three bullies who never fight fair and never get forced to fight fair. Eventually, the Four Horsemen would have to deal with the odds being even.
Sorry, but I just think the product is bad. Boring. I have no idea how WWE will deal with things once the part-timers aren’t over.
Last night showed that day may be closer than WWE thinks.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA(105.9) . Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail. com. FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX