The Stomping Ground: My Fave Five and A Slight Rant
by Mike Gojira on July 28, 2011

There’s just something about covering a live show that stokes the fires of passion in a wrestling fan.

For the second time this week, hello! I’m your extravagantly witty host, Mike Gojira, back for another edition of The Stomping Ground.

What’s that, you say? Second time?

Yup.

Yours truly covered the live report of Raw this week and I must say it was an interesting experience. It’s one thing to write about a topic you feel passionate about after having time to mull it over; it’s another thing entirely to write up a column as the events are actually taking place. As such, I may have gotten a little, shall we say, “overzealous” in my condemnation of the direction of Summer of Punk 2.

Wait a minute.

Three days later……nope. Still feel the same way.

Most of the comments I received went along the lines of, “See? We knew you silly Internet marks would have an orgasm over Punk’s win and proclaim a rebirth of wrestling, but bitch and moan at the first sign things would turn sour.” Everyone is free to have their own opinion (unless they’re disagreeing with me) so I’m not going to take issue with that.

I will, however, further explain my stance on the situation.

“But Mike, Punk only showed up on Raw. We don’t really know where this is going so I think you jumped the gun.”

If you don’t believe by now that there will be a title unification at Summerslam, then you’re daft. The only true issue I have with this angle can be summed up in one word:

TIME.

That’s right, folks: the issue (for me at least) is that the WWE is taking their hottest angle since the Nexus Invasion and fast-forwarding it to its obvious conclusion a mere month after it started.

Yes, I get that it’s called the SUMMER of Punk.

Yes, I understand that Summerslam is a marquee PPV.

Yes, I get that the ‘E thinks we have short attention spans.

Honestly, I don’t mind Cena/Punk at Summerslam in the least. I’m more upset that this story line hasn’t had the chance to properly simmer than anything else. If the company had gone down this path two months ago, Summerslam would logically be the place to have Punk return.

But they didn’t.

The angle popped up out of thin air and they struck while the iron was hot. The WWE took an otherwise gimmick PPV and made it socially relevant. So why can’t they do that in September or October? Isn’t the goal of PPV to generate MONEY? If you’re going to treat 8 out of 12 PPVs a year as mundane shows, you’re asking for low buy rates and minimal fan interest. Clearly Money in the Bank is an exception, so why not use this angle to push through the boring Autumn PPVs and spike their buy rates?

I suppose my only other concern is the clusterfuck nature in which they set up Cena/Punk. A tournament was held last week to crown a new WWE Champion. This was highly logical. I was okay with this. Then the final match was moved to this week’s Raw. Again, I’m okay with this. Rey Mysterio won the belt. Again, not a bad move, as I was hoping for Rey/Cena at Summerslam.

Then Triple H nonsensically grants Cena a rematch for the title a mere two hours after Rey wins it. What happened to Mr. “Fair and Balanced” Cena, who demanded Punk’s reinstatement? Wouldn’t he have said, “I want Rey to be fresh, so give me the rematch on August 14″? Rey’s not a heel, and neither is Triple H, so I don’t get the logic behind that decision. At least they could have put it off for next week’s Raw to get people to tune in, and THEN pull Punk from backstage.

In other words, many things have left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the way the company is setting up the Cena/Punk rematch. THAT was my major gripe, and based on reactions I’ve read all over the ‘net, the general consensus seems to be that the company is wrongfully rushing the angle to its fruition.

Of course, I have no way of knowing exactly how this will turn out, but past actions from the WWE dictate that we should expect some form of disappointment. Maybe that’s me being pessimistic; I consider it being prepared for a let-down.

Oh, and I still maintain that Zack Ryder had very little reaction on Raw when he showed up. I have nothing against the guy, but it felt like what happens when you sit on a Whoopee Cushion and the air just peters out in an undesirable way. You expect a big moment but you get a drawn-out awkwardness.

Mike Gojira’s Fave Five

One of the things I enjoy about Smackdown is the banter between Michael Cole and Booker T, especially Booker’s struggle to overcome the English language. More often than not, Booker talks about his “Fave Five” wrestlers on Smackdown and where they place on the list every week. It doesn’t matter if they’re heels or faces; he logically explains why they’re on his list of Superstars to watch. Therefore, I’ve decided to list my own Fave Five and I invite you to do the same in the comments below. Note that these are not in any numerical order.

Christian
: The current World Heavyweight Champion is much better off as a heel than a face. He had a great run as ECW Champion (though I don’t understand why he lost the belt to Ezekiel Jackson on ECW’s final night in existence) and was an awesome tag team innovator with Edge. He’s hilarious on the mic and can deliver the goods in the ring. He doesn’t resort to cheating unless it’s absolutely necessary and I’m happy he finally won back the gold. Hopefully he keeps it past Summerslam because he’s chased after the title for so damn long that a loss now in his first defense would render the entire angle a pointless waste of time.

Cody Rhodes: I had once pegged Cody as the weaker half of Legacy, but DiBiase has clearly defined himself as inferior. This darker, edgier Rhodes can deliver great promos and his in-ring work (while not solid) is getting there. I see him as the next heel champion on the brand, unless the company decides to use Mark Henry in that fashion and give Cody the Intercontinental Championship as a sort of test-run with singles gold.

Alberto del Rio: Yet another heel, I know. Hey, I can’t help it that the company refuses to push any faces besides Orton and Cena. I love everything about del Rio, from his smarmy habits to his overly ridiculous entrances courtesy of Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s a Latin JBL who can actually wrestle in the ring instead of lumber around like the hoss that JBL was. I’m a little upset that his mega push keeps getting stalled, and I really want to see him as WWE Champion (if only to get someone NEW over) ASAP.

Daniel Bryan: I was pleasantly surprised that the ‘E gave their seal of approval to DB when he won Money in the Bank for Smackdown and a tinge worried. With the announcement that he intends to cash in at Wrestlemania, we can only assume that the company WANTS him to be the number two face on the brand behind Randy Orton and just have to build him up as such. They can go two ways with this: 1) Logically build him up to be a threat by April or 2) Screw with the fans’ emotions and make him lose the briefcase a la Kennedy. I am optimistically pulling for the first option.

Sheamus : The Celtic Warrior is growing on me. I disliked his ridiculously unqualified meteoric rise two years ago but he has since been humbled and can now head back to the main event scene with my blessing. I don’t think he’s ready to turn face, but there’s nothing wrong with him being a tweener like Austin was for a while.

Where’s CM Punk? Normally he’d be on this list but until we know for sure if he’s taking time off, I’ll take a wait-and-see approach.

You know what? Maybe I’ll have my Fave Five as an actual ranking and change it up according to the actions of each Superstar every week (that would pad this column out nicely).

Cheap Plugs

Those lovable, egotistical bastards Rhett Davis and Jonah Kue have teamed up in the latest O’Really Report and the Korner returns as well.

We’ve also got a look at the McMahon-Helmsley Regime in the past and present in CB’s World and Patrick Spohr looks at what he perceives to be a talent drought in the WWE.

Pulse Glazer shares his thoughts on the Summer of Punk in Tuesday Morning Backlash.

You’ve also got the usual excursions from Joel Leonard, Chris Sanders, Andrew Wheeler, and Kelly Floyd, as well as the usual contributors to the Pulse.

As always….so long, and thanks for all the fish.



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Mike Gojira

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  • CB

    Great read Mike. I think they were too soon by one week. Let Rey celebrate with the title, and have Rey and Cena cut a promo on each other at the end of Raw, setting up their title match for the beginning of Raw next week.

    Instead of Punk coming out, they should have teased it with Cult of Personality to end the show, and then Punk’s logo.

    Next week, you can then do the same thing with Cena beating Rey, and then Punk comes back for real.

  • A.J.

    I think after listening to the BS Report, which Punk was the guest this week, I have to agree with him. It’s time we all shut up and just watch. I wondered why I had stopped liking wrestling as much as I once did…and quite simply it’s because I know too damn much. As does most of the IWC. I am enjoying sitting back and just watching this one.

  • Joshy

    Gotta agree with A.J. there. Also on the latest B.S. Report, Punk mentioned that he is back for sure. I would highly recommend listening to it when you get the chance Mike.

  • Steven Gepp

    Good column, Mike. And I agree. We should just wait and see where this goes… but I am also ready for the big let down.

  • Zork

    Look, it’s stupid to not capitalize on Punk’s popularity right now, most people seem to agree. The Nexus thing simmered, and simmered and eventually it was run into the ground and no one cared. Besides all of this who actually said this was “Summer of Punk 2″? Punk didn’t say that, WWE didn’t either. I understand this angle and storyline has similarities to something Punk did on the Indies but no one said this was Summer of Punk 2 except people on the internet.

    I don’t think people should be getting all bent out of shape about how this isn’t exactly like the “Summer of Punk” storyline only with more money behind it.

    Good column.

  • sideshowbob

    yep I’d say that’s the proper thing is to enjoy it..

    I will put this out there about Raw. Punk returned on the same episode that a pretender to the crown was to be crowned. If he would have waited a week, more people could in fairness say ‘you were gone so someone was crowned, tough you should have been here’.. Now he has even more of a claim since he was there on that same day… Hell they could even say he was resigned before the end of the Rey Miz match, giving him even more ammo to use…

    Not directed at anyone, but some comments of the last week are warranting my own comment… Not trying to ruffle feathers, in fact quite the opposite:
    Look, one of our favs is getting a great story, high profile, and holds the title… Sure, nitpick some (we all will), or say ‘I’d rather they did this’, but at the end of the day if anyone is just waiting to say “I knew they’d mess this up”… You’re taking this way too seriously for the fun and enjoyment it is supposed to bring… Wrestling, WWE, and any other company, lives for the moment. Christian is one champ. Punk holds a title and role in the hottest angle in years.. Daniel Bryan holds a briefcase.. We just came off one of the best ppv’s in recent memory. Enjoy the moment. And if not, as SGT Hulka said, “Lighten up Francis”

  • John Kincaid

    I agree with everyone about enjoying the moment while we have it (I know I have), but I have to agree with Mike here that it feels just a bit rushed.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the September PPV supposed to be Night of Champions? Wouldn’t Punk’s return here be brilliant? Wouldn’t it also gaurantee a bigger buyrate for a notoriously second rate PPV?

  • Lionshare

    Im sorry, but summerslam is the second biggest PPV of the year, it would be illogical to cm punk to miss that, specially with his big push coming now. I really think he will retain the belt in the ppv, and become a bigger superstar.
    Great read mike, keep up the good work.

  • CB

    I agree that Punk shouldn’t miss SummerSlam, I just thought one extra week with the Cult of Personality tease would have been fun and appropriate.

  • Joseph Hargrove

    @CB: Apparently, Punk will start on RAW next week so we could get answers as to why’s he back so early.

  • FDSwayze

    I feel sad for people who say things like “We just need to shut up and enjoy the show.” That’s battered spouse syndrome.

    Instead of blaming yourselves, you should not blame yourself, considering you have no control over the situation. You do have the right to voice your opinion and since it’s entertainment you have the right to be objective about it.

    Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

  • incognito

    Come on guys…the longer they draw out the angle, the longer Punk’s push continues. They got what they wanted, he signed the contract and can’t go make anyone else money, now they can job him back to Cena, get a little buyrate bump for Summerslam, and go back to playing it safe.

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