Wednesday, March 17, 2004

.:Post-Wrestlemania Shake-Up:.

First, some wrestling news…

Wrestlemania has already come and gone, and a lot of mixed reviews about the event have poured in. One of the most vocal complaints about the whole spectacle was the fact that it did not feature any big names that haven’t been seen in the WWE ring in quite a while. Names like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart have all been thrown around, yet the closest thing they had to “legends” were their inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame, a good deal of which were awarded posthumously to people like Junkyard Dog and Big John Stud.

Considering that this is Wrestlemania XX, it should’ve been bigger than your average Wrestlemania. Instead, I would have to say that this was a huge letdown of an event, if only for the fact that a good deal of the matches seen were just up to the par of their television counterparts, which I believe is a sign of bad booking. PPV’s are PPV’s for a reason: you’re supposed to want to buy them. You’re supposed to want it so bad that you don’t care if you see RAW and Smackdown for free on TV, you’d want to see Angle vs. Guererro in a title match because you know their PPV match will rock. So while their match at Wrestlemania was indeed good, a lot of people are saying it’s nothing you haven’t seen from them in TV, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it means that they’re good on TV, so comparing it to their PPV match means they were likewise great. It’s a bad thing because that means there was no stepping up of quality involved, which should justify charging $50 for the Pay-Per-View. If I were Vince, I would’ve charged cheaper for the PPV, at $20, if only for the nostalgia. Why? I know I won’t make as much money, but the sheer amount of buys I get can make those who actually purchase my Pay-Per-View want to watch more. It’s a long term investment here.

What about the content of the other matches? There were two eight-man tag team matches for both brands that were clustereffs. Worse, both champions retained, so there was little to no point of carrying out either match.

And then, the much-vaunted “return“ of the Phenom Undertaker was a letdown. He only went halfway, but ruined Kane’s credibility as a monster wrestler in the process in what was said to be a horrible match, even by the standards of brawling fans. I have to say, marking out for Old School Undertaker is still something I’m guilty of doing, though.

Goldberg and Lesnar were so demoralized during their match that I think their flipping off the people in the audience (Especially considering Mr. Charity himself, Goldberg.) was not part of the script. The audience was on their case all night long, not cheering for either of them, and chanting “Goldberg sucks” at Goldberg, and “Sell out” at Lesnar. For the faults of both guys, give them some room to breathe! I blame the lack of quality on that match less for the inability of the workers to work a match, and more for the fact that the jeering from the NY fans was just too much for them to take. I know they have to be professional, but you have to admit, things like that will eat at you if you were in their shoes. Now, both men are gone from the company. That’s two main eventers out of the running.

The women’s match (Not the Playboy evening gown competition. We all know that was just fan service.) was mediocre. I’m sure Molly and Victoria are capable of working a better match than that. I guess it’s sad that Women’s Wrestling isn’t cared about anymore. These women do put their bodies on the line like male wrestlers too, you know…

John Cena vs. Big Show wasn’t too bad, although they can’t expect Cena to go over as a viable contender if he keeps on cheating like that. He has to have some significant clean wins, for crying out loud!

The Cruiserweight Open boiled down into little more than a Rey vs. Chavo match, and Ultimo Dragon slipped on his way into the ring not once, but twice. It was also an insanely quick match, considering how many participants are involved.

Christian vs. Jericho was a great match, if only for the fact that while people considered a heel turn for Trish (Look how many females in RAW are heel, then check how many are face. Huge disparity.) a likely possibility, I’m sure the audience didn’t really see it coming. Of course, so much for the love story, but you just have to love the set-up for the heel turn, as well as the fact that Jericho and the CLB can work a great match, anyway.

The Rock and Sock Connection vs. Evolution may have been good because of Rock, Foley, and Flair, but I hate Orton personally, so I didn’t want him to pick up that win. Neither does the win elevate Orton, as it was a handicap match in his favor. I hate Orton. Storyline or not, he has no right to spit in Foley’s face.

I already talked about Angle vs. Eddie. Nice ending, though, as Eddie’s gimmick is really about cheating.

I am in favor of the final match between HHH, Shawn, and Benoit. Props to HHH for actually tapping out, and Shawn for that point where he was about to tap, but HHH held up his hand to prevent it (Innovative!). This was a great match, and I’m especially pleased that the deserving man went over tonight. What I really like about this whole setup, though, is that both men put Benoit over by tapping out (Or nearly tapping out, in HBK’s case.) to the Crossface.

Overall, as a huge event, Wrestlemania XX was a disappointment. They hyped up the event too much for their own good, and a huge finger of shame at the WWE for not making it the least bit memorable. While some of the matches were good, the sheer lack of star power for Wrestlemania XX, considering its milestone number, was a glaring oversight.

Despite that, the kicker comes in the RAW following Wrestlemania. What could very well be a huge shake-up for the whole roster is the surprise new roster draft lined up next week. They’ll re-draft all the RAW and Smackdown superstars, which will revitalize the respective rosters, and hopefully let some new people step up into the main event as Goldberg and Lesnar are gone, Rock is making a movie, Austin still won’t wrestle, Flair and Angle might be gone for good due to injuries, and Foley won’t wrestle full-time. With these considerations in mind, it’s time to really improve on pushing guys like Show, Cena, Orton (Much as I hate it.), and so forth. Maybe one last run for Booker before he retires. Will they restart ECW? Maybe.

One huge thing to consider about the roster re-draft is how it will affect RAW Deal, though. This card game is hinged on WWE programming, which explains why guys like Hogan and Jeff Hardy no longer get any more cards in the game. Currently, most superstars have branded superstar-specific cards, such as Cena, whose “F-U” finisher has the Smackdown logo on it. What happens if Cena is drafted to RAW? How will this affect the next cards Cena gets? Will it still have the Smackdown logo? No more logo? The RAW logo? Both logos? Remember: you can only play RAW or Smackdown, but not both. How will this affect the people affected in the draft?

This is going to be interesting…

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