Greetings amigos, and welcome once again to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Some of you may think this column is a bit late, but I disagree. Due to issues revolving around internet servers and other stuff I don’t particularly understand or care about, I knew my column wouldn’t be put on W101.com last week, so I postponed it. Plus it saved me some work. Although this isn’t a double-week edition, this column does have some bonus features, including Armageddon predictions, and a brand new feature called the mailbag.
What do you need for a feature called “The Mailbag”? Why, mail of course! And I’VE GOT SOME!
My first piece of mail is from Martin Wookey, he writes:
“So, far I have read all 3 of your columns. I must say, I am interested in them. I wouldn't usually find articles interesting, but in this case I do. I agree with 90% of all of your comments, and I have put it all into consideration whilst writing this email.
Thanks so much for the great columns that you type up on the Wrestling 101 website.
Its because of people like you, that the Wrestling scene, is once again, slowly going up the ladder, and up the ranks to once again achieving its number 1 spot, in the World today.”
Well firstly, thank you very much for the kind comments, obviously I’m glad you enjoy reading what is (probably) the #1 column in wrestling today. I’m not entirely sure I have much to do with taking wrestling up the ladder in society though, mainly because I don’t think it’s possible. Wrestling in the mainstream is becoming more and more unpopular, and I’d definitely say the times of 1999/2000 when wrestling was the “in thing” will be near-impossible to regain, with or without my influence. But thank you again!
My second, and final piece of mail is from Kevin Lyster, who writes:
“Just like to say what a great column The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is, and I enjoy reading it.
Keep it up!”
Short and to the point, but positive feedback nevertheless. I probably don’t mention this enough, but I’m going through painstaking pressure every week just to write a column good enough to meet the high standards I have achieved in the past, so any feedback is good feedback. And yes, I am modest, thank you for noticing.
But we can’t keep talking about the distant past any more! We have to look to the not-so-distant past! Let’s get on with the show!
I’m just going to keep matches here as a regular part of the column, seeing as it’s always here anyway. To be honest, there weren’t that many “good” matches this week on WWE TV, they were all mainly of an average standard, with nothing really standing out. Then why have it in The Good? Well it’s not so much the quality of the matches as the actual booking of the matches on RAW. Of the six matches that counted, with Daivari and Cena’s “match” being more of an angle, all of them had a purpose. Five of them were qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber, and the other was to determine the #1 Contender for the Women’s Title.
Is it too hard for matches to have a purpose and backstory behind them? Too often two wrestlers are just sent out for no other reason than to fill some time, so it’s a nice change to see some care taken to ensure that when the fans are watching the in-ring action, they know the winner will actually get something afterwards.
I would also feel rather daft if I didn’t use this opportunity to make note of the AWESOME match at TNA Turning Point between Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. If you haven’t seen it, try as hard as you can to see it. I rated it at ****3/4, the match is as stiff as hell, and is the perfect advert for TNA. There will be a mention of TNA later on to, so keep reading…
No matter whether you agree that the courtroom skit and the fall out on this week’s show deserved 4.1 ratings, it’s difficult as a WWE fan not to be pleased that the ratings have not only gone up, but have remained consistent. Unfortunately, this may mean a permanent diversion into more soap-opera based hilarity, and most of it is unlikely to be as good as the courtroom stuff from two weeks ago, and probably more like the Dr. Heiny sketch that amused so many people within Vince’s brain.
Title Match? What’s a title match?
I’ve already mentioned the whole “purpose for matches” being a positive thing, but another positive is the purpose itself. People fighting over titles is the oldest, yet still the most realistic storyline there is in professional wrestling. Wrestler A has title, Wrestler B wants title, Wrestler A fights Wrestler B for the title, it’s so simple. With the ten guys on RAW battling for a shot at John Cena in the Elimination Chamber, Mickie and Victoria fighting over a match against Trish, the Best of Seven series for the US Title, two weeks ago’s battle royal to determine the Tag Team Title challengers (which is now futile, but we’ll ignore that, this is the positive part of the column), and in some cases, a guy like Kid Kash coming in and assaulting Juventud. Why? He wants a title match. It’s so simple, and doesn’t involve things that have annoyed wrestling fans so much, drawn out storylines that focus on anything except the title that they will eventually fight over. Necrophilia anyone?
Back to Reality
After the downright odd happenings on SmackDown! last week with Randy Orton, appearances in mirrors, blood gushing from Cowboy Bob, video wall disruption, limos driving themselves, and the infamous “Josh Matthews gets possessed” interview, it was a nice change for the Hell In A Cell match to be built up with one guy attacking the other guy with a weapon. The WWE certainly must have experienced some kind of backlash from the way they’ve built up the angle thus far, what with burning caskets and exploding low riders, so a thumbs up to whoever reminded the writers that this is a wrestling show, not a Hammer Horror movie.
It’s WWE in the sense that it’s a WWE developmental territory, so it’s in the column. OVW is overlooked by SO many people purely because only about 5% of the wrestling fans worldwide have any access to watch it, but allow me to say it is one of the most consistent federations in North America over the last few years. Their reputation has certainly increased in bucketloads since Paul Heyman became the head booker of the company in July, with angles that shook up the company and developed it into a cutting edge federation, with all the tricks and turns you would expect from a Heyman-based show. This week they had a 30 minute time limit draw between CM Punk and Brent Albright, and who would the top face in the roster be? None other than my good friend, The Boogeyman. If you can, check it out, although you may find it difficult to get hold of a copy of their shows.
And the rest…
It’s nice they’re building suspense to a new General Manager on RAW, I just hope they don’t draw it out too long.
Four weeks and no juniors? I think it’s safe to say the experiment is over.
Christopher Nowinski on RAW! I always thought he’d make a good GM, but obviously he’s not in line to be the new one.
Well that covers my positive feelings of the week, time to move to…
Tag Title Switch
I, along with many of the other reporters I’ve read over the last few days, don’t really understand the need to switch the titles from MNM to Batista and Rey Mysterio, purely so the match at Armageddon will be between the two sets of champions. Why couldn’t Kane and Show interfered to cost them the match and the titles?
What frustrates me the most however is that there are two sets of Tag Team Titles, both of which are now held by non-established teams who are pretty much “unbeatable” due to certain factors. How does that help the already destroyed tag team division? If probably the “best” Tag Team around at the moment, MNM, can’t beat either of the teams (they lost to Show/Kane at the RAW is Eddie show), how can any of the other teams stand a chance?
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light…
America, home of the brave, the home of the WWE, the estranged home of many thousands of troops currently in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s lovely that the WWE are going out there and dedicating shows to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend their country. Their country, but not my country. I live in the UK, and if I were to believe anything the WWE said, I could be forgiven for thinking that the USA are the only country represented. But I know better, and I know that there are also thousands of troops from the UK, and countries all over Europe who are serving for THEIR countries. So my point is, why do the WWE only pay tribute to American troops? Why do they only offer free PPV tickets to American soldiers who have returned? The WWE is a global company, and I believe they really should acknowledge that men and women from other countries are doing the exact same thing, but without the fanfare that they should get.
Ah, Tajiri, your days of jobbing on HeAT are over, and finally you have been set free from the shackles of WWE, and can do whatever you want back in your home country. Why is this a negative thing? Well I’m a wrestling fan, therefore I am selfish, and dammit, I don’t want Tajiri to go! I want to see the Tarantula, I want to see his kicks, I want to see the green mist, and if he’s not in the WWE or TNA, I can’t! So for a purely selfish reason, Tajiri leaving the WWE is a bad thing. But obviously, good luck to him and what he chooses to do in the future, he deserves it.
These boots were made for sitting on a chair with a bat and a jacket
I was never going to let this go. TNA, as great as your matches in the X Division are, your main event card is on the verge of ridiculous. If you’re going to debut a big new star, if you’re going to hype it up mercilessly beforehand, and during the PPV itself, you HAVE to deliver the goods! You can’t stick a chair in the middle of the ring with a baseball bat, a jacket and a pair of boots and expect the people who paid money for both tickets to the show AND for the PPV itself to be satisfied! It was bad enough that Jarrett vs. Rhyno was a dull match, especially when compared to the awesome Joe vs. AJ match that preceded it.
I can understand that TNA need to get big name signings in order to start attracting more fans, but ripping off your existing fan base is not a good way to do it.
And the rest…
Poor Ken Kennedy, such a shame his injury will take him away from the ring for six months. Hopefully he’ll be given some other role on SmackDown!.
What happened to the Cutting Edge? Jeez, the scheduling for that show is as random as Family Guy’s.
Boogeyman, eating worms is disgusting. And you have too much fog in your entrance.
And so finally, we hit the hot topic of my disappointment this week…
This Week’s Ugliness:
Why do all SmackDown! PPVs suck?
“SmackDown! Pay-Per-Views always seem to come with the stigma of being considered a minor issue, and this reputation is based on a string of poor events that the SmackDown! crew have dished out since the beginning of the one brand PPV era in 2003. And when the WWE debuted the Great American Bash name that became synonymous with WCW, they put on a show so bad that it was voted a clear winner of the Wrestling101 “Worst PPV” award for 2004, getting 54% of the votes. Would the 2005 version of Great American Bash prove to be any better?”
That is stolen from my review of the 2005 Great American Bash, and it helps set up my main point. SmackDown! PPVs, like Armageddon this Sunday, will always be considered as a waste of money. But how did this get to be the case? If we go back to the very first SmackDown! only PPV, Vengeance 2003, we see a different story, a great PPV headlined by Brock vs. Big Show vs. Angle, where Angle won the WWE Title on his return from a makeshift neck surgery. Since then, the majority of the SD! PPVs have been bland, and in some cases, terrible. To further bury them, their buyrates have consistently been lower than the RAW PPVs by significant margins.
Is it down to a lack of quality booking? Possibly, baring in mind what SmackDown! has been through over the last two years it would be very easy to think that. Is it down to the roster split being unequally divided? When you look at the draft this year, it seemed pretty even, but losing Kurt Angle was a big blow.
I believe that the reason SmackDown! PPVs fail so badly is a combination of two things. One is the lack of talent SmackDown! has had to work with over the last year. In 2004, aside from Rey, Eddie, Angle and Taker, nobody had either the in-ring ability, or the drawing power to make people excited about the show. JBL’s title reign, despite being a good character, was ultimately a disaster, accented by the dreadful way in which he lost the title to Cena. Now they don’t have much difference, except without Eddie and Angle, and with Batista playing the JBL role of carrying the brand’s shoulders on his (injured) back.
My other ingredient is the way this “Ugly” section kicked off: the stigma that is attached to them. Before one match for Armageddon had been booked, people were already dismissing the PPV as a waste of time, purely because… it’s a SmackDown! PPV. Now we’re as good as at Armageddon, it seems as though those who doubted were correct.
Can Armageddon surprise people and be a decent PPV? Well the WWE have a tendancy to defy expectations, and usually put out a half decent show. The question is, when will they put on a sole-brand PPV that people can actually look forward to?
All that being said, time to see whether I’m as clever as I say I am…
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Matt Hardy
After a bizarrely quick build-up, and complete idiocy in not having anything for these two to do otherwise, I really don’t know what to choose. I’ll go with Matt, based on the old policy of “whoever gets beaten down on the go home show, wins the PPV match”.
Prediction: Matt Hardy
Juventud vs. Kid Kash
Can’t see Kash winning the title, I still think he’s only being pushed as a way of saying “Up yours” to TNA. Juventud to retain, possibly whilst wearing one of his phantom masks.
Lashley vs. Regal and Burchill
Rumours suggest this match will be happening, and it makes sense for it to do so. The result isn’t in the slightest bit of doubt.
MNM vs. Mexicools
Dear, dear, dear. Why on earth did they take the titles away from this match? I can only presume the match will become a #1 Contender’s match, and whoever wins will win the belts next week on SmackDown!. I’d say MNM personally.
Batista and Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show and Kane
Whether or not this ends the inter-feud nonsense for a while remains unknown, but seeing as it’s a SmackDown! PPV, and Kane and Show have done ALL the attacks on their opponents, I can’t see any other result than a SmackDown! win.
Prediction: Batista and Rey
Best of Seven Series – Match #4
Booker T vs. Chris Benoit
After not appearing on SmackDown! at all this week, the rumours that Benoit is leaving the company seem to be getting more and more rampant. As a mega-Benoit fan I have no choice to but to hope he remains in the WWE, for the same reasons as Tajiri, I want to watch him wrestle. If he loses this match, he’s as good as out the door. So for that reason, I’m picking Benoit, more out of hope than expectation.
Prediction: Benoit. Please?
Hell in a Cell
Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker
Orton has cost Taker the WWE Title, beaten him with help from his father, put him in a casket, then lit the casket on fire, sent him crashing into an explosive box of electrics causing a car to blow up with him on it, and this week, beaten him with a chair. If ANYONE thinks The Undertaker is losing this Hell in a Cell match, they need their head swiftly examining, possibly by that psychiatrist from SmackDown!
Prediction: The Undertaker
That concludes GB&U #5, hope you enjoyed it. As ever, I would LOVE to hear anything from my readers, be it praise or criticism of my views. Any e-mails will be published unless you request for me not to. You saw the e-mails earlier, you could be a part of the column! Don’t forget my address:
Until next time, keeeeep dancing!