Thursday 21 July 2011
Duckman Returns To Talk MITB And More
Hello folks, Duckman here, back again for another week of comment and opinion here at Wrestling’s Last Hope! I’ve got to give thanks to all the people who left feedback on my first post here. It’s really appreciated guys and hopefully I don’t prove to be a one hit wonder! I’d like to also give thanks to the guys who are now following me on Twitter (@EFKDuckman) and to those of you who have been making suggestions for future articles. These have been stored in the Duckman Ideas Trunk and will be opened and brought to the public in the coming weeks and months!
So, much been happening in the world of professional wrestling since last week? Anyone? TNA doing much? No? Well then…what to talk about today?? Ah sarcasm, the lowest form of wit and yet I can’t stop relying on you!
Let’s be honest, even the most hardened of cynical smarks would have to admit that it has been one of the most headline grabbing and exciting months in WWE for YEARS. Now that the dust has settled and the hysteria of Money in the Bank and CM Punk is over for the time being, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what we saw at the Pay Per View and on Raw the following night. Yes, I know this is similar to another article on here but lets be fair – what else is there to talk about? Joker Sting? Give me a fucking break.
First off the Money in the Bank PPV. It was tremendous. I mean one of the top five best PPVs I’ve seen from WWE in the last 10 years. Now I appreciate that may sound like an over excited exaggeration but from the quality and downright excitement of the matches, to the nuclear level of crowd heat, to the overall feeling of ‘man that lived up to the hype’ of Cena vs. Punk, I think it’s a fair assessment.
The biggest shock of the night had to be Daniel Bryan winning the Smackdown MITB match. As a long time fan of his work and a long time complainer than WWE need to do more with the guy, I was extremely happy and utterly stunned to see him win the match. The super hardcore crowd really reacted to his old ‘MMA elbows of doom’ spot that used to be one of his ROH trademarks. When he got the case the place exploded in a way that I sure as hell hope opened a few more eyes backstage in WWE to how good the man is at what he does.
The indy fan in me is preying that people in positions of influence in WWE are starting to realise that Bryan is a guy who they can rely on both from a professional and personal point of view. He is a clean living, professional guy who has an in-ring style that stands out from the norm, can work a ton of different styles and when given the chance, he can cut a hell of a promo as both a babyface and a heel. Plus despite their best efforts with Michael Cole running him down every fucking week, Bryan is over with the live crowd.
As far as feel good moments go to get people into the show, WWE hit this out the park. Plus the follow up to his win on Smackdown sounds like it’s going to be a long angle that could really showcase Bryan and make him the focus of things moving forward – trying to avoid Smackdown spoilers here folks! Watch it this week.
The match itself came off well, it didn’t appear to rushed and they managed to keep it straight forward even with a stupidly high number of people involved in the match. My highlights being Sin Cara getting his ‘wellness policy violation’ powerbomb from Sheamus (shit, that looked horrific), Gabriel with his dangerous as hell looking 450 off the ladder, Cody Rhodes continuing to show a lot of poise and getting a lot of heat throughout and Wade Barrett showing a ton of charisma through the whole match. Barrett vs. Sheamus has a lot of interest to me as a future feud on Smackdown. Everyone in the match worked their ass off and I personally enjoyed this match more than the Raw MITB later on. Though I may be biased because one of my favourite wrestlers of all time won it!
The Diva’s match was Botch-a-mania without the funny music and clips of Booker T retarded and unintelligible commentary. Horrible. Kelly Kelly is lovely to look at but the girl is just not cut out to be a wrestler. She tries hard but it’s just embarrassing to watch now. What’s worse is they have talents like Beth Phoenix, Nattie Neidhart and Gail Kim just sitting around doing nothing who could light up the Diva’s division for all the right reasons. Instead we have to watch the likes of Kelly and the Bellaends screw up sunset flips every damn week. Lame.
Show vs. Henry was what it was. Two huge dudes hitting each other in a WWE style. The video package made this look like the one of the most intense feuds of all time. The match, while good for Henry and Show, was still slow and plodding, although actually a welcome change of pace from the rest of the show. Apart from Henry throwing a drop kick. Where did that come from? Also, how the hell did he do it without blowing out his knees, back and rupturing at least three major organs?
The post match was suitably intense and obviously gives Show some time to sell the injury. Although I saw him getting run over by a car on Raw last month and three weeks later he was sprinting (well sprinting for Show) down the ramp…and WWE wonder why injury angles never get over like they should do (and this show had three of them!)
Henry is doing well in his current role and the finish helped continue to build him up which is vital as Smackdown is light on top line heels. Although I worry he’s being built up simply to be fed to Randy Orton at some point in the future.
The Raw MITB had the winner I think most people saw coming. Evan Bourne is insane. That shooting star press off the ladder on the outside will be played on highlight reels for the next five years! DANGEROUS!! The match had some good spots, although guys like Riley, Kingston and Swagger did feel like they got a bit lost in the shuffle. The crowd booing Rey and cheering Miz when he came back out showed just how hardcore the Chicago crowd were. Lot of 10 percenters (quote Eric Bischoff) in the crowd – guess we do buy tickets after all! Usually when something is logically booked and interesting...
The finish with unmasking Rey was creative and really popped the crowd. It was a shame the ladders tipped when they did but it was in keeping with the chaotic and messy style the match had throughout. I thought Del Rio’s reaction at the end was priceless. The guy is so into his character he came across as legitimately being ecstatic at winning the match. An entertaining mess of a match – but in a good way.
I might be in the minority here but I thought the finish to the Orton/Christian match was well done. For a start, we now know Christian spits (he always looked like a swallows kind of guy to me) and we also know that Christian will hold the Title until Summerslam when he’ll no doubt drop it back to Orton. The finish was in keeping with the storyline running up to the match and for once a dumb stipulation in a World title match in WWE meant something. I’m not a fan of changing the Title by DQ but that’s the story they were telling. I thought both guys looked great in the match, Christian especially looked much more confident in his heel persona in this one.
They couldn’t do the epic style match because of the main event but it was another in a long series of solid matches between these two. Plus Orton was super over with the crowd after the two RKO on the table spots and his selling of his frustration and fury was excellent. Christian also got a lot of good heat after the match which was surprising given how much the people were cheering him during the match and at the Title change. So mission accomplished all around.
And so to the main event. Without a doubt the hottest crowd reaction I’ve ever seen for one guy in WWE. Not just the pre-match chanting, but the noise when Punk came out? Holy shit!! Apparently you could hear the crowd perfectly outside the building! Just a stunning reaction. One of those crowd reactions where I find myself giggling at how amazing it is. It had all the intensity of the original One Night Stand crowd, but multiplied by about 10,000 people and then overdubbed by a Road Warriors pop from the mid 80s. How Punk didn’t shit his pants when he walked out there is beyond me. In fact he probably did. I would have.
The anti Cena reaction was also absolutely vicious and I LOVED the fact that Cena sold it to perfection. No gay salute. No stupid running about looking like a 12 year old twat. Just a serious expression and a walk to the ring with his head down. EXACTLY how he should have sold it. Little touches like that are usually missing from the Cena character so it was good to see this attention to detail.
As for the match itself? It’s top three MOTY for me. Up there with HHH/Taker and Richards/Edwards from ROH Best in the World. The crowd heat obviously pushed it along to another level but I think Punk and Cena both carried there sides of the match to perfection. One botched cross body because Cena wasn’t standing in the right place doesn’t take anything away from the match for me. The emotion, the way they built the match, the selling by Cena of Punk’s resilience. It all just clicked perfectly. Also, how cool was it to see Ace Steele and Colt Cabana at ringside in the front row, along with I believe Punk’s Mum? They were marking out just like everyone else watching.
I was relieved to see they didn’t go with the 1 millionth repeat of the Montreal Snorejob. Plus Cena really smacked John Laurinaitis – which you know most of the wrestlers in the back would have loved! Cena then getting pinned clean just put Punk onto the true superstar level. Even the run-in by Del Rio at the end was well worked and Punk’s facial expression after landing the high kick on Del Rio was utterly priceless and swerved a lot of the predictions about how the night would end – including my own.
Punk’s escape through the crowd as well was in keeping with the whole tone of the angle and the most important thing for me was this – when the show ended, I was smiling, I had popped a couple of times during the finish when Punk had kicked out and I REALLY wanted to watch Raw to see where they were going next. NOTHING in WWE, especially at the end of a PPV, in recent years has brought that kind of reaction from me. So well done Punk, Cena and Vince. Job frigging done!
As for Raw the following night? I’m in two minds about it. Personally I got why they downplayed Punk because in a shoot situation, they wouldn’t be promoting him or going on about what happened. They’d do the usual WWE thing and brush it under the carpet.
The tournament sucked balls. Simply because apart from Miz, ADR and Rey, no one else has been presented in a manner that would make me give a shit about them or see them as a potential WWE Champion. So many stop start pushes for them that they aren’t legitimate contenders in the eyes of fans. This was one of the most telling examples of WWE’s constant failure to create new stars in recent years or even have a solid upper mid card that people can at least believe they might have a chance in winning the WWE Title. Also, a lot of the guys were obviously hurting from the PPV and as a result the matches were pretty basic and quite sloppy at some points.
On the plus side I thought the angle with Vince and HHH at the end was excellent. Of course it’s the same thing we’ve seen for the last 5 summers – Vince is gone from WWE TV. What was different this time was the way WWE once again played into this worked shoot ethos they’ve started with Punk.
I’d also like to point out that Vince McMahon is without a doubt one of the best guys in wrestling history at selling by using facial expressions alone. He turned that crowd from laughing at him, to sympathising and respecting him all without saying a word. That takes talent folks.
Back to the worked/shoot situation. It’s no coincidence that Punk mentioned ‘Vince’s doofus son in law’ running the company one day when Vince was gone in his big promo a few weeks back. I think it’s safe to say that was the set up for what we saw on Monday and for what I hope will be Punk’s eventual return – a modern day Austin vs. McMahon with Punk and HHH playing those roles. It’s worked before and it also really helped WWE when their product was seen as stale and not edgy enough.
Now some people might not think that’s the way to go but in my humble opinion I think it would rock and here’s a few reasons why:
1. Punk and HHH going against each other on the mic would be must see TV.
2. HHH trying to keep his corporate face on while Punk is running amuck as ‘the TRUE WWE Champion’ would be entertaining as hell.
3. They can have a match at some point – which I’m sure would be fantastic.
4. Punk, if it’s booked correctly, would get such a rub off being involved in a central feud on Raw with HHH.
5. With HHH in charge - NO MORE FUCKING LAPTOP GM!!!
To be honest, number 5 is the main reason I’m excited by HHH being in charge! God I hate that laptop angle.
So while we’re no doubt only a few chapters into this story I’m still excited by it. As a member of the demographic that WWE are trying to entice back with this angle it’s working for me. Plus it feels long term. Punk will be gone for at least a couple of months – I’d expect him back at or just before Survivor Series but then again they could hold off till the Royal Rumble, it has been seen in recent years as THE event for big time surprise returns. HHH being in charge isn’t something they’re going to blow through in a few weeks.
I hope they hold off any kind of Vince vs. HHH angle though because everything at the moment feels unpredictable and fresh and going down that route right now would take a lot of the shine and interest off the angle.
Looking even further ahead you have factor in Cena and The Rock in all this plus The Undertaker who I’m sure has a match with HHH at Wrestlemania next year and it’s safe to say this whole deal will have a lot more twists and turns before we get to Miami next year.
And to think, it all started with one breakout promo from CM Punk and the whole WWE universe has been knocked off its axis! That’s the power of Punk and hopefully this is just the start of what, if they book it correctly, could be a money drawing and interest grabbing time for WWE in the months to come.
Well, that’s my take on it. What’s yours? You hate what you’ve seen? Love it? Agree, disagree? Then leave a comment and have your say on the most talked about month in WWE in years. As always thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys back here at Wrestling’s Last Hope next week.