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?
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:
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).
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.