The Wrestling News Experience: 10.22.12
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.22.2012
News and thoughts on WWE scrambling to find a finish for Ryback's match with CM Punk at Hell in a Cell, a preview for tonight's Raw, a look at whether WWE's production values have driven unrealistic expectations and more!
Monday, October 22nd, 2012
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
I'm Never Going To Get To See A Merman
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Experience. I am your drug-addled host, Stephen Randle, and let me tell you, there's nothing like when a cold settles in your lungs. It's just so enjoyable and doesn't at all make you want to give up trying to breathe. On the bright side, during my exhaustion I managed to watch Cabin in the Woods, which is awesome. If you haven't seen it, you really should. And don't say "I don't like horror movies", because I don't either (and I mean I really don't), and I loved this movie. So, take that for what it's worth.
Hey, the Blue Jays traded our manager for a shortstop. On the bright side, it's not like he was so good as to be irreplaceable, so I'm shocked Boston wouldn't just wait a year and save themselves the trouble. Plus, no matter how bad the shortstop, maybe now we can wave adios to Yunel Escobar, the man who doesn't understand why everyone made such a fuss about him painting homophobic slurs on his face. People are funny like that, you know.
Last week, Vince McMahon prepared to make good on his ultimatum forcing CM Punk to choose between John Cena and Ryback as his opponent for Hell in a Cell. And then John Cena essentially admitted that he wasn't capable of beating CM Punk and removed his name from contention. So, now Punk will face the undefeated but largely untested Ryback for the WWE Title in two weeks, and I imagine he'll spend much of this week trying to figure out a way to gain even a small advantage against The Big Hungry.
Meanwhile, Kane and Daniel Bryan will finally learn who their opponents will be for Hell in a Cell, as Rhodes Scholars face Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio in the finals of the #1 Contender tournament! Plus, after losing his Intercontinental title to Kofi Kingston on WWE Main Event, an angry Miz has invoked his rematch clause, and you just know he won't be looking to go into the PPV on even ground.
And Randy Orton continues to stalk Alberto Del Rio in preparation for their match next Sunday, while Big Show and Sheamus keep one-upping each other with displays of pure power, while in the shadows, Dolph Ziggler lurks with his briefcase, almost certain that his time is coming, and that right soon.
All this, and maybe Vince won't be there so GM-on-probation AJ can make decisions again, tonight on Raw!
All right, for my several dozen podcast listeners, I must apologize, last Thursday's TWNE After Dark did not go off. I was struggling through a cold all day, and I was resigned to delivering a very (very) nasal-sounding show that night…right up until I got home from work and my cold accelerated to the point where I couldn't go three minutes without sneezing. Not exactly thrilling to listen to, I'm sure. Anyway, in fairness to my dedicated listeners, we're going to do a little extra credit work here, and answer what has been a weekly tradition on TWNE After Dark, our Listener Question of the Week. Er, Last Week, I suppose. Take it away!
Some people have commented that TNA's Bound For Glory didn't have the feeling of being a big show. Clearly, TNA could never hope to compete with the spectacle that is WrestleMania, but do they need to "Maniafy" their biggest show of the year? Starrcade was WCW's biggest show, and it never had the luster surrounding it that Wrestlemania does. Have we just become too used to WWE's production and unrealistic in our expectations?
Personally, I've gotten less and less impressed with WWE's PPV sets since the move to HD, since they've pretty much eschewed creativity in favour of interchangeable video boards at this point. And frankly, that's where TNA should be going with their PPV sets: creativity. At their big arena shows like BFG, definitely, but also their "B" PPVs at the Impact Zone. There are plenty of ways to get "pageantry" without building six-story metal constructs covered in video walls and pyro. My favourite PPV set of all time, in fact, was one of the smallest sets, due to the location: Royal Rumble 2000 at MSG, with the "garage door" entrance that played into the WWE Title Street Fight. And the most memorable Stone Cold entrance (to me), near the height of his popularity, was another small one, with a simple sheet of glass shattering in a small, man-sized entranceway, revealing Austin. By making the set unique, even in a small way, you make the event it's a part of seem more important, and that's what TNA needs to consider doing. The Impact Zone is at Universal Studios, after all, surely they have surplus scenery lying around in a storage warehouse somewhere, right?
Anyway, the short answer to the actual question is, "yes", because we have gotten way too used to WWE's production values, simply because they've been the only show in town for so long and because their production values are a big part of the reason why they became the big dog in the yard in the first place. However, to borrow a line from the smartest man who nobody in power wants to be in pro wrestling, you (and by you, I mean TNA) have to "accentuate the positive, hide the negative". Stuck doing three quarters of your PPVs in the same small arena where you do your TV show? Decorate the set! Hang some streamers and balloons if that's all you can afford, but do something to make people notice that hey, this is a bigger event than the weekly show! If you make it seem important, people will want to believe that it is.
Word is going around that WWE is having trouble coming up with a finish to CM Punk vs Ryback that everyone can agree with, since the (alleged) plan up until now (and the one that makes the most sense) was to have CM Punk retain the WWE Title until meeting The Rock at the Royal Rumble, which would be a good idea that people would want to see. Of course, on the other hand, due to the fact that they have no main-event level faces that aren't named John Cena on Raw, and since he could not have been guaranteed to be medically cleared for the PPV, they've been forced to accelerate Ryback's push. So, now you have a guy getting the Goldberg push main eventing a PPV for the WWE Title, at least a few months before it would be a good idea to do so, especially since the plans for Rumble through Mania for the WWE Title were almost completely set in stone from the minute Rock announced his title match and Punk ended Raw 1000 by planting him in the middle of the ring, leaving almost no room for a Ryback title reign. Except, as Goldberg himself showed, ending an undefeated streak is something you can only do once, and you'd better have plans for the guy afterwards or you've wasted all that time on a one-note gimmick that is meaningless once he's no longer undefeated. Plus, unless you really want to do Ryback-Rock at the Rumble for some reason, that means that the undefeated, unstoppable monster's first WWE Title reign is going to be a couple-month quickie at best. Not exactly a strong play for a guy you put seven months of streak-building into, is it? Oh, and we can toss in the complication that Hell in a Cell exists for the purposes of having a match that must have a finish, meaning the usual DQ's, count-outs, or no contests simply aren't available to protect both the champion and the undefeated guy.
Now, as an aside, I'm not on the side of people who are worried that Ryback won't be able to wrestle a long match. People are so caught up in his gimmick that they seem to have forgotten that he's not actually a newbie to the business, he's actually an eight-year veteran, and he hasn't spent that whole time wrestling two-minute squashes, either. Is he Daniel Bryan? No, of course not, but I suspect this Sunday we'll see a better match than anyone seems to be expecting. However, as to how they dig themselves out of this little hole, obviously Ryback can't win the WWE Title, so clearly there has to be some way to screw him out of the win that keeps him looking strong. I'm hardly the first person to suggest this, but the scenario seems ripe for Brock Lesnar to play the role of Kane from the very first Hell in a Cell, cementing an alliance between the two Heyman guys, and hey, even giving you an option for a Lesnar-Punk vs Ryback-Cena Survivor Series match that people would pay to see. The only problems with this idea is that it burns some Lesnar dates, which, of course, goes back to the stupidity of paying Lesnar five million dollars to work 25 dates in a year, but we can't put that genie back in the bottle, and I would suggest that you could probably get away with just burning three dates, having Lesnar show up at Hell in a Cell, on the Raw the next night, and then let Punk and Heyman carry the load until the match at Survivor Series. Now, this leads to the second problem, which I'm going to call a "problem", that being that Lesnar's appearance in a new storyline means that Triple H won't get to have his revenge right away (and possibly not at all, unless they do it at Mania instead), and you can see how that would be an issue for at least one guy who runs the booking team, if not particularly for anyone actually watching WWE. But hey, they booked themselves into this little corner, it'll be interesting to see what has to be sacrificed in order for them to get out of it.
- Looks like Linda McMahon's Senate campaign might be headed for laughable failure again, as her poll numbers are slipping and heavy hitting special interest groups have come out against her. I'll pause so you can all work up a suitably shocked expression.
- Hulk Hogan once again mentioned on Twitter that he wants to move TNA out of the Impact Zone. Maybe he can build them a new arena if he wins his $100 million lawsuit over his sex tape.
- Muscle & Fitness magazine did a feature article on the best and worst physiques in pro wrestling. But hey, nobody do steroids.
- The Undertaker may not have a match at WrestleMania 29, but might still be a Royal Rumble entrant instead, as the feeling is he might not want to do another huge match with lots of build after so many years in a row. One would argue that since it's the only thing he's done for the last few years, maybe if he can't even do that it might be time to retire.
- In case you missed it, Jeff Hardy re-debuted his custom TNA World title (slightly modified from the first time) on Impact last Thursday, immediately lending further credence to the idea that he's still high as a paper kite.
- The latest word on the not-officially-cancelled-yet WWE Network is that they will have something definitive to say at the November 1st conference call, and also that they are looking at three options: traditional TV, pay TV, or a network that "delivers content directly to viewers' TV sets or computers". See, I'm fairly certain he means to add "on demand" to that, but I feel like it's funnier to just look at that last option and say "So….TV, then?"
- JBL will not be on commentary tonight on Raw. Why did my Mute button just start glowing?
- WWE is reportedly talking with Honey Boo Boo about appearing at WrestleMania. I never thought this would be true, but WWE, you are so far above this.
- Eve Torres said she doesn't plan to go into MMA. Well, she's going to be Divas Champion forever, now.
From the dark horse of Nexus to his first PPV main event, without wrestling a match longer than five minutes (or possibly four), and all it took was a massive arm injury that kept him out over a year and made sure that he wouldn't end up like, say, Heath Slater. For now, anyway.
2. Kofi Kingston
The Kofi Kingston singles push lives again! You know, he'll probably never be a main eventer, but some guys have made long, successful careers being the top of the middle, too. Now, keep him away from Randy Orton!
3. Bully Ray
I don't like this continuing concept of "Hogan chooses from four contenders", especially when one already had to win a match to even get consideration, but I can't imagine that Bully isn't the favourite to take on Jeff Hardy on Championship Thursday. Now, if only his half-brother could experience a career renaissance as well, because that match with Sting was U.G.L.Y.
Put me leaning towards the side of people who are slowly turning against Sheamus, who hasn't managed to show any weakness in months. If he were John Cena or Triple H, we'd already be foaming at the mouth. Repeatedly putting him in matches against Barrett, which would have been a decent PPV series (instead of say, Big Show), then having him pretty easily win the blowoff, doesn't help his case.
5. Samoa Joe
Hey, it's the most the TV Title has actually been on TV in many weeks, which, you know, is ironic for all sorts of reasons. Arguably, at this point the title has more value than it has since…probably since AJ held it as part of Fourtune.
6. Hell No
Is it wrong that I can't remember anything specifically awesome that they did this past week, but just assume that whatever it was, was good enough for a spot on this list? No? Okay, then.
The costume change is a good start, but the entrance music will have to change, and someone tell Jinder to lose the turban and also learn how to actually play air guitar. Also, maybe they could beat up on someone other than comedy acts. Wait, that's the whole midcard. Never mind.
8. Austin Aries
Once again, a wrestler seeks respect and gets none from the alleged top face. Seriously, who doesn't like cookies? I knew I never liked Jeff Hardy, but now I have complete justification.
9. Antonio Cesaro
I'll be damned, it's a midcard singles champion who doesn't exist just to job to the main eventers. I'm actually very shocked that Cesaro has been allowed to stay this dominant, and also kept, almost exclusively, out of the main eventers' way. Maybe he does have a future here.
10. Matt Morgan
I'm not sure what Hulk Hogan likes about him, but either Hulkster really likes being threatened, or everything is going according to some very complicated plan…
Inactive List as of 10.15.12
- Alex Riley, out indefinitely as of September 20th (knee and elbow surgeries)
- Evan Bourne, out indefinitely as of March 19th (foot)
- Christian, out indefinitely as of September 1st (elbow)
- Curt Hawkins, out indefinitely as of October 8th (multiple surgeries)
- Mark Henry, out indefinitely as of May 1st (surgery)
- The Great Khali, out until November as of July 24th (surgery)
- Bray Wyatt, out six months as of July 4th (torn pectoral)
- Skyler Moon, out indefinitely as of September 27 (rehab)
- Chris Sabin, out 6-9 months as of June 14th (ACL)
- Jesse Sorenson, out at least one year as of February 12th (spine)
- The Pope, out 2-3 months as of August 12th (broken collarbone)
- Mickie James, TNA, out indefinitely as of October 16th (surgery)
- Ted Dibiase, SD!, returned to television on October 19th Smackdown
- The Great Khali, SD!, returned to action at Saturday Morning Slam tapings
WWE Champion: CM Punk
- 337 day reign, defeated Alberto Del Rio on November 20th (Survivor Series PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Ryback, Hell in a Cell match, Hell in a Cell PPV
World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
- 204 day reign, defeated Daniel Bryan on April 1st (WrestleMania XXVIII)
- Next title defense: vs The Big Show, Hell in a Cell PPV
**NEW** WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston
- 5 day reign, defeated Christian on July 23rd (Raw 1000)
- Next title defense: vs The Miz, Hell in a Cell PPV
WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
- 64 day reign, defeated Santino Marella on August 19th (SummerSlam PPV)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Kane and Daniel Bryan
- 36 day reign, defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE Divas' Champion: Eve Torres
- 36 day reign, defeated Layla on September 16th (Night of Champions PPV)
WWE NXT Champion: Seth Rollins
- 54 day reign, defeated Jinder Mahal to become the inaugural Champion
TNA Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy
- 8 day reign, defeated Austin Aries on October 14th (Bound For Glory PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, OR Mr. Anderson, October 25th Impact
TNA World Tag Team Champions: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez
- 8 day reign, defeated former champions Daniels & Kazarian, and AJ Styles & Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat match on October 14th (Bound For Glory PPV)
TNA X-Division Champion: RVD
- 8 day reign, defeated Zema Ion to on October 14th (Bound For Glory PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Zema Ion, October 25th Impact
TNA Television Champion: Samoa Joe
- 25 day reign, defeated Mr. Anderson on September 27th Impact to win the vacant title
TNA Knockouts Champion: Tara
- 8 day reign, defeated Miss Tessmacher on October 14th (Bound For Glory PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Miss Tessmacher, October 25th Impact
TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions: ODB and Eric Young
- 228 day reign, defeated Gail Kim and Madison Rayne on March 8th (Impact)
And this week's TWNE After Dark, as mentioned, did not happen, but you can still listen to the archive of my crazy ramblings by clicking on the banner! New episode airs this Thursday, health permitting!
411 will have live coverage of Raw tonight starting at 8 pm EDT.
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That's our show, Marsico is in tomorrow, I will be back next week. Plus, don't forget to look for Four Player Co-op in the Games Zone on Wednesday, and the TWNE After Dark podcast at 10 pm EDT this Thursday as well!
Here it is, your Moment of Buddy
First Walking Dead,
Then Cabin In The Woods.
Buddy's Just Going To Stay In Here
Until You Stop Watching Scary Things.