Smart Marks 8.24.03: Against the Grain
Posted by Dino Zucconi on 08.24.2013
Discussion on SummerSlam, and creating new stars. Or, you know... not creating new stars.
Before I say anything else, I just want to thank everyone who takes the time each week to give me a read, be they friend or stranger. I'm sure you could name fifty cooler things to do with your Saturday morning, so I appreciate those that come back, and maybe post a little comment as well (or maybe not). It's all good, so thank you guys.
With that out of the way... what a week it's been! Bully Ray won the TNA Title back, Tito Ortiz turned on Rampage Jackson, and SummerSlam... sweet, sweet SummerSlam. I ordered it for John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, and I feel like I got my money's worth on that end. Add to that the amazing match Brock Lesnar and CM Punk put together, a good (but not quite the showstealer I tried to proclaim it to be) outing for Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, and the arrival of Bray Wyatt as a force not to be reckoned with and-
Oh, that's right. SummerSlam did get off to that rather horrific start, didn't it?
I will be as honest as possible with this: I was super angry at the conclusion of the Bray Wyatt and Kane segment. I say "segment" because I'm counting everything that included them, match or no match. Like, I was at Miz-Chick levels of butthurt.
Why so angry? you may wonder. After all, Bray won his debut against Kane, and then they beat him down afterwards. All's good, right?
No, I'm sorry, it's not. Maybe I didn't pay the closest of attention or something, but that match sure looked like Kane squashing someone who had no business being in the ring with him. It looked like an incompetent boob getting destroyed by a monster while his other two incompetent boobs looked worse on the outside. Remember the kendo stick "catching fire" and thus having to be dropped in panic? Holy smokes. Bray Wyatt eats two straight chokeslams- and make no mistake, that's pretty much the definition of "it's over" in a usual match- only for Rowan and Harper to finally get in there, put in a prolonged beatdown, and eventually give Bray his big win.
Before I go any further into this, one clarification: this is not about me liking Bray Wyatt the man or the character. This has nothing to do with any dislike I may have towards Kane. This is about just how absolutely stupid WWE (and TNA, but I'll get to that) are at going about creating new stars. It's almost like they're afraid to have an entire roster of people who could be considered a star. They seem to really think it's better to have two, three... maybe four or five stars, and everyone else on the roster should get no attention at all. There's no need to make anyone else look special in any fashion, because that might cost one of their created stars some popularity, and we couldn't have that!
This long-frustrating trend was completely put under the spotlight at SummerSlam. First match of the card, and it's the big debut of a guy that's generated a decent amount of buzz. Now, maybe I'm just an idiot smark, but I would think that since one guy has been with the company for over a decade and a half, has held multiple championships, and has sustained a level of secure popularity nearly the entire time, that perhaps it'd be okay if we try to get this NEW guy to look GOOD against him. Maybe have the veteran take a beating. Maybe show a little surprise at how impressive this little punk actually is. Maybe... anything besides him being treated like absolute garbage en route to basically being defeated and then needing his cronies to finally bail him out.
Sure, the devil's advocates out there will respond with ideas like "Just being there is good enough" or "A win is still a win" or my favorite, "Let's wait and see where it goes." See where it goes? He was made to look like an absolute idiot. His boys were made to look stupid and ineffective. Again, the kendo stick looked like a match with a tiny flame burning off it. They acted like it was lit in gasoline and totally enveloped. Plus, the whole constantly failing at getting in the ring in the first place was just silly. And then, when it was all over, they made sure to drop the one piece of the stairs that wouldn't make any contact at all onto Kane. This is where I may be too marky and smarky at the same time, but those guys weren't *really* concerned about the fire. And those guys didn't *really* decide to attack Kane with the portion of the stairs that would never make contact. They were written to do so. That was their script. The script was for this hot new act to come out and look like incompetent, idiot hicks. It bothers me that the people who write the shows would write THAT as our real introduction to the Wyatt Family. Did they already forget how well The Shield did? Do they remember it's because they weren't immediately shown to be jokes when they arrived? Do they really want to not have everyone be someone worth paying money to see? Well, mission accomplished, I guess. It's always super important to protect those up and comers like Kane.
So like, LOTS of stars?
But it's not just WWE. They're absolutely horrible with it, of this there is no doubt. However, TNA has the same problem going. In the Bound For Glory Series, Jay Bradley currently sits in dead last with zero points. For those who don't watch TNA, Jay Bradley is a recent Gut Check winner who stands 6'4" and weighs 262 pounds. I'd say he's a pretty good candidate for the "TNA Big Man" mold. He used to wrestle for OVW and WWE years back, sometimes known as Ryan Braddock during that time. So, he comes in and wins Gut Check. Again, maybe it's just me, but if I landed a big dude with some WWE experience who was pretty young and who had been wrestling for quite a bit, the absolute last thing I would do is portray him as some rookie kid who can't beat anyone.
Dead last in the BFG Series. Zero points. Jay Bradley can't even beat Joseph Park. I'd think giving Bradley the Magnus treatment- having him win big matches early on to have a huge lead, only to lose it all down the stretch- may be a bit of a better way of going about things than having this "kid" come out and lose to everyone, every time. And again, this isn't about loving Jay Bradley and thinking he should be the champ. It's about having a new wrestler, and doing nothing to help him, and many things to hurt him. Why would anyone get invested with him? He's clearly a joke. TNA shows us this every week.
I also don't intend to make this a "new guys vs. established guys" thing, either. I don't want Bray Wyatt on top so we can get rid of John Cena or Randy Orton. I want Bray Wyatt to be treated seriously so that he has the same chances of becoming a star that people give a crap about. So that his matches are considered big matches, along with everyone else on the card. I want everyone on the roster to be treated seriously, so that it'd be impossible for Triple H to hijack every single hot act and try to leech off them (though it'd be fun to see him try it).
It's just an overall frustrating thing to watch the companies basically spite themselves in order to keep a status quo. Having MORE people be over is not a bad thing. Even if it's Jay Bradley. Even if that wasn't in your plans. Kinda like how Daniel Bryan got over and stayed over, and they eventually said "Fuck, fine! He'll be a damn main eventer!" But not everyone has the grassroots movement that Daniel Bryan has, and sometimes it'd be nice to see the company remember "Oh, right. They all work for us!" and maybe try to go about making them ALL stars.
It's Evolution, Baby
So, I was 100% on the Main Event of SummerSlam. That doesn't make me super intelligent or anything, but there were plenty of people who felt Orton cashing in was too obvious, and wouldn't happen. Sometimes wrestling is the easiest thing in the world to call, because they LOVE to be too obvious. Swerving the swerve is the new swerve, didn't you know? Anyways, while it sucked that Daniel Bryan didn't get the big title reign we hoped for, there was so much to like about the new WWE World once SummerSlam faded to black:
1- Daniel Bryan beat John Cena clean in the middle of the ring with zero shenanigans following a finishing move. Mark it, dude.
2- Randy Orton is no longer the most unqualified face in wrestling. Thank goodness.
3- Daniel Bryan is now going to be the main event face in the main event program for Monday Night Raw. Not splitting a crowd with Cena; he's the actual guy everyone wants to cheer.
4- We've wrapped up the Squabblin' McMahons portion of our yearly programming, as they all appear to be on the same page again.
With everyone in the roles they should have been in a long time ago, I have no qualms saying that I'm looking forward to Orton and Bryan locking it up in big time matches. Sure, Triple H tends to ruin things by talking to Bryan like he's a 14 year old kid (and thus continuing the theme of going out of their way to NOT create stars), but that's what he does- he reminds us at all times that he has sex with the woman who writes this and can say whatever he wants to whomever he wants however he wants. It's the same reason Stephanie McMahon has the biggest penis in the WWE and can intimidate anyone with her mean looks and vicious quips when she's on TV. It used to drive me crazy, but now I just like to laugh at how insecure those two must be to write themselves into the herculean world smashers of their dreams.
It's also nice that John Cena is not involved in this. Note: I am not happy John Cena is injured, because I'm neither cruel, nor a Cena hater. I hope he's back way faster than was announced, but at the same time, I really appreciate the breaks in Cena Main Event runs. Whether it's movie or injury, things always feel a lot fresher when he's out. Plus, it allows them some time to build somebody up for when Cena returns and needs to win immediately. I kid, I kid.
I'm basically just rooting Daniel Bryan on to continue this improbably run of popularity and push, and that he continues to watch his star grow- the reward for years of hard, hard work.
Before I wrap it up, I want to say "thank you" to CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. They read this, you know. That match was amazing. While it's fun to pretend that Brock Lesnar cannot and has never been able to work a match, he's basically proven that he absolutely CAN during his entire comeback run. Hate the man all you want, but there's a reason he was pegged as "the next big thing," and his actual ability had a lot do with that. And, of course, him beating Punk was the correct finish, and made my night.
Well that'll do it for the week. What do you guys think about the creation of new stars, be it in WWE, TNA, or anywhere else? Do you agree that a roster full of stars is better than only a few? Do you disagree? Hit up the comments or drop me a line.
Enjoy your WWE, TNA, Lucha, Puro, and Indies.
It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.