Interinactivity: August 10, 2011 – Shaemus, Swagger, Del Rio, Barrett, The Miz, & More
by BD on August 10, 2011

Welcome to “Interinactivity” for this week. It was a bit of a slow week for comment numbers, but my column got buried pretty quickly. The good news is, what we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality! Some good stuff to work with here.


Cristo: Lanny Poffo was awesome & you know it Foxxxy!

Blair: Ha! VINTAGE. I’m actually surprised TNA hasn’t made a play for the Beverly Brothers yet.


Foxxxy: I am admittedly ignorant to much of the indy scene. That being said I know a lot of ppl on here talk a lot about Daniel Bryan being a main event guy/ should have lead Nexus/ etc. Comments. My question is how good is he on the mic though? From what I’ve seen he is a great in ring preformer and I’ve heard he was even better on the indy scene. However, he hasn’t been given a lot of mic time and what he has done hasn’t really stood out to me. As we all know to have mass appeal a wrestler has to be great on the mic. From a draw standpoint it’s probably even more important than in ring work. So my question is how good is he actually on the mic? Is WWE holding him back? Or are they protecting a weakness he has?

Blair: Good question. Bryan is… a DIFFERENT talker on the mic. Like Punk – he’s a different talker. Different doesn’t mean bad though, and it also doesn’t mean he’s not good, it just means he’s not like the boring WWE standard tough-guy talk that has been prevalent over the past decade. I assume from WWE’s point of view, they’re protecting a weakness he has, and depending on how you look at it, they’re kind of right. Bryan will go out there and crack a joke or just flat out say that he’s better than someone and be able to have that statement alone make an impact without needing to take up 8 minutes of mic time. Bryan cut that kind of promo on The Miz once, and I thought it worked well.


Foxxxy: My other question is anyone else concerned the punk/cena storyline maybe headed into wcw/ecw Vs. McMahons territory? It seemed going into Raw a lot of attention was Punk Vs. Cena. At the end of Raw HHH kind of pushed his way into that attention. Plus add Lauranitis to the mix and it seems to be diluting the product. I just don’t want the main focus to turn into HHH vs Laranitis for control of the company and punk to become an afterthought.

Blair: I don’t really see how it could veer into Alliance .vs. WWE territory, unless Punk started bringing in his own guys from ROH or something. Triple H being part of the Cena / Punk equation is fine if they keep H’s role to a minimum, but so far that isn’t what’s happened. As for Johnny Ace, they’re bringing the guy on camera because he has MASSIVE heat with a lot of the audience after all these years of unpopular decisions. That’s a move I can understand, but I also would shudder to think that it could possibly turn into HHH .vs. Laurenitis for control of the company, whether Punk is a part of that storyline or not. As for Raw being mostly devoted to Punk .vs. Cena, this makes sense for a couple reasons. First of all, Punk / Cena is going to be a huge buyrate whether it works or not, and good for them for capitalizing on it. It’s been years since the wrestling public had this much interest in a rivalry. Second of all, it’s not like Raw has ANYTHING else going on right now that anyone in their right mind is the least bit interested in.


Foxxxy: Also does anyone see Punk taking over the role of Austin and HHH/Lauranitis to be the role of McMahon?

Blair: Given the success of the original McMahon / Austin story, and the fact that they got years out of it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try it again. They have to try to not make it the exact same though, and so far, the storyline premise that Punk is more or less questioning the entire direction of the company seems to be playing well. I’d stick with that, rather than just having the premise be “Triple H hates Punk”.


Jader: Do you deny that the Hardy’s had some great matches early in their WWE careers?

Blair: Of course not. Jeff Hardy has nearly killed himself multiple times for his fans. He’s provided some unforgettable moments. No one should ever take that away from him. It’s his present value that I was describing over the last couple weeks, not his past value.


Cynical Bastard: I agree that there’s a lot of ballast in the WWE right now, but I disagree with some of the names you chose. I’m curious for more detail on why you dislike:

Blair: I just want to say up front here that I really enjoy Cynical Bastard, and his questions. I really do. That said, my friend, you just picked like the easiest, softest, and most-alike targets on the WWE roster for me to offer my opinion on. I do appreciate you lobbing me such a slow pitch, so I hope you don’t take it personally when I take issue with just about everything you’re about to say.

2. Swagger- The man usually puts on decent matches. He’s a lousy promo, but give him a manager (pair him with Vickie after she’s done with Dolph?) and he’d be fine.

Blair: Swagger’s promo ability is as good as anyone else on your list, and I can’t name a single decent match that I’ve seen or heard of featuring Jack Swagger. At all. Ever. Vickie has done such great things for Dolph? What is Dolph doing these days? The exact same thing he was doing BEFORE Vickie got there? Great, I bet Swagger can’t wait to reap those kinds of benefits. I realize this joke gets old, but it’s also extremely accurate – Jack Swagger is WWE’s terrible attempt at replacing Kurt Angle. That’s it. Now let’s take a look at Swagger’s career progression. He did nothing, won MITB and no one cared, cashed in and won the belt and no one cared, did nothing some more, lost the belt, and this year he actually made it onto the WrestleMania card… as a valet. If he were released, would any amount of WWE fans go online and petition for his return? No. I’m supposed to buy into this guy? No thanks.

1. Sheamus- The man is a good promo (if you can’t tolerate his accent, that’s another story) and solid in the ring. I’ve seen some footage of his pre-WWE days, and he’s actually capable of a lot more in the ring than he currently displays. I assume he was told to scale back and stick to being a big bruiser, which he does well. I do think they shouldn’t have hot-shotted him to the title, but that’s hardly up to him.

Blair: I will say one thing for Shaemus – the guy has a unique look, which is something you can’t say about most main guys in WWE these days, and also something you can’t say about anyone else on your list. So Shaemus has that. And I can’t comment on what he CAN do that I can’t see – but the in-ring skills that he’s displayed in WWE are fucking poor, man. I place as much blame on Shaemus as I do on WWE for that, same as with anyone else, and same with the decision to give him the belt out of nowhere for no reason at all. Do you think casual wrestling fans even remember or KNOW that Shaemus ever had the WWE Title? I don’t think so. So let’s look at Shaemus’ career progression – worked in ECW, did nothing, moved to RAW, did nothing for a month until he won the belt out of nowhere, then he did nothing, lost the belt, lost to Triple H at WrestleMania that same year, then did nothing for an entire year to the point where he couldn’t even get ON the WrestleMania card. If he were released, would any amount of WWE fans go online and petition for his return? No. And I’m supposed to buy into this guy? Ha.

5. Wade Barret- You seem to have a serious hate-on for this guy, please explain. He’s still green, but I think he does well and seems to continue to improve as time goes on.

Blair: Oh, hey, I believe that the WWE is stronger than any one individual, wrestler or otherwise, that you could throw at it, so I don’t hate any of these people. But I see Wade Barrett the exact same way I see all those other guys in Nexus. Do you think he’s better than Heath Slater or that Otunga jerkoff? If so, what are you basing that on? Wade Barrett was the guy they picked to win NXT instead of Daniel Bryan. No one cared about any of those guys on NXT except for Bryan. They knew who the fans wanted to win, and said “you like Daniel Bryan? Too bad. Here’s some asshole you don’t care about.” People would have actually taken Bryan seriously against Cena, if they had carried on with the momentum that first attack had when Bryan was screaming at Cena. But Wade? He was never taken seriously as someone who could beat Cena. His finisher is the most laughable thing I’ve seen in a ring in a long time. I think I’d rather be pinned via The Worm than have to lay down for 3 seconds to that move. And, in case you’re not sick of this yet, or have failed to see a pattern, let’s take a look at Wade Barrett’s career progression. He won NXT (but not really), led Nexus while cutting some of the worst promos of the year, feuded with Cena and couldn’t beat him despite having 7 guys at his disposal, then lost Nexus to Punk, started another Nexus on SmackDown, has done nothing, but wait! He made it onto the WrestleMania card! As a wrestler and everything! His first one ever after being hot-shottted to the main-event scene! Aaaaand his faction lost to Snooki. If he were released, would any amount of WWE fans go online and petition for his return? No. I’m supposed to consider this guy as something besides a comedy act? Please.

3. Del Rio- I’m at a loss as to what it is you don’t like here. Charisma, great promos, and good matches.

Blair: I put the list in this order for a specific reason. Do you see a pattern yet? Del Rio is a Mexican version of evil foreigners, and he’s the same as Shaemus, and the same as Wade Barrett. He’s also the exact same as Drew McIntyre and Vladamir Kozlov. Why weren’t they on your list, by the way? Because they’re both the exact same as Del Rio, Shaemus and Barrett, too. And the career progression is the same too. Remember when Kozlov started? Vince saw him and said “HOLY SHIT HE’S HUGE!!! SIGN THAT MAN!!!”, and a month later he was main-eventing a PPV against Triple H. Then he was shotgunned down the card, same as what’s happened to Shaemus, Barrett, Swagger, same as what happened to McIntyre (only that happened quicker) and the same as what will happen to this Del Rio asshole. I really don’t understand how WWE fans haven’t developed a better sense of pattern recognition yet. That’s the big mystery to me, and that’s why this CM Punk thing has come out of the blue, because it’s SUCH a shift in the pattern that they’re used to going in. But it doesn’t help any of the guys on the list you’ve named.

I’m getting off topic here. Regarding Del Rio specifically, I think he’s also like Shaemus in the way you described about him being able to do more than what he’s shown in a WWE ring, but again, I’m not going to give the guy credit for something I can’t see. What good does that do me when I’m watching him in WWE? His outings in WWE have been nothing, although, he had some good matches against Mysterio, who is known for carrying guys to really good matches, and he had a good ladder match against Christian, who is known for having really good ladder matches. Career-progression time! He worked Mysterio and had some okay heat, but then he won the Royal Rumble and no one cared, then had a World Title match at WrestleMania against Edge that nobody liked. He won MITB and nobody cared again, because WWE haven’t figured out that no one cares. Like how they had Shaemus win King Of The Ring after he blew his chance at the top. Del Rio almost cashing in his MITB briefcase consisted of him getting knocked the fuck out in one kick by Punk, who had just been in a 40 minute match.  His catchphrase consists of him saying his own name. If he were released, would anyone get up in arms? I don’t think so. And I’m supposed to buy in to this guy? If he were in Mexican America, he would be inferior to Hernandez. So no.

If it’s any consolation though, Swayze will defend Del Rio. I don’t agree with him, and that’s the ONLY one of the guys on your list that he’ll defend, but, it’s better than nothing.

4. Miz- I feel he’s earned everything he’s gotten from WWE. I hated him when he started, but he’s gone from being garbage in the ring to good, if unremarkable. He excels when given the mic. He also earns bonus points for not being Cena, but that’s just me.

Blair: This is the one guy on this list that makes more sense than the others, and you are correct in one thing – Miz did earn everything he’s got. He stuck around for a while. He had to eat a lot of shit. And he’s a company man. What WWE likes about Miz is exactly what they like about John Cena. He’ll do anything they ask. Good on him for that. I get why they wanted him in a main-event position, because it’s the same reason they wanted Cena, Orton and Batista in that position. They saw Miz as a star. What I don’t get is why the fans all blew their load on the guy last year. Miz was a decent mid-card heel against Bryan, which I’ll get into later. I’m not going to give him shit for being a terrible wrestler, because it’s WWE, and his promos are okay, but to hear the internet talk you’d think he was the next Rock. And some people will even tell you he’s an awesome wrestler because of one match at the beginning of the year where Morrison flipped around killing himself trying to make Miz look good. Did anyone really go nuts when he won the belt? Did anyone really go nuts when he main-evented WrestleMania? I’m not telling anyone the answer, with these other guys I know the answer to questions like that, but with Miz, I’m not sure I do. So you guys give me your opinion. Did his title run really legitimize him? Do you really think he’s going to do all that well in the future? I dunno, I just never bought into him on that level, really at all.


sdmcc: to rephrase that question.. which WWE mid-carders would do well in TNA with a possible makeover.

Blair: OH! Okay, now I get it. Sorry about that. Being that WWE doesn’t have much if any of a mid-card right now though, that’s still a difficult question. I think Kofi would be able to do well, if TNA were able to somehow manage to not fuck up his entire career, which is unlikely, but the problem is that he can’t keep his name and his gimmick, which are both really working for him. That said, it’s not the smartest move for him, and I doubt Kofi would even want to go. Even if he’s undervalued, he’s still on the show all the time, has a massive fan base, and I assume is making a pretty penny in merchandise. You think he wants to abandon that to go main event at a bingo hall in an amusement park with Ken Anderson? Un-fucking-likely.


D.L. Butcher: My question this week is what if they actually did routine tournaments more to determine number one contenders on a regular basis would anyone out there care a little more about the product?

Blair: That depends on whether you’re talking about WWE or TNA. In the WWE, I think they’d balk at the concept, because they seem to think that people don’t want to watch wrestling. They seem to think that all people want to do is watch guys dance to their entrance music. Has that changed now? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. Either way, they’ve done King Of The Ring in years recent, and that tournament itself has gotten over well I think, even though they quite often forget that it happened a couple months later. It’d probably come off better in TNA, at least until Gunner won it.


CB: Speaking of commenting, here are five (kind of) rapid-fire questions this week:

1. What the f*** happened to Randy Orton? I know he still gets huge pops, but I just am extremely bored with his character, which is something like URGH, ROAR, RKO these days.

Blair: The same thing that has happened to John Cena is slowly happening to Randy Orton. Orton’s character isn’t as embarrassing for aging fans as Cena’s character is, and Orton has been massively-over for a lot less time than Cena has. So it will happen more slowly with Orton, mark my words, but you can see it already starting to happen during his feud with Christian. John Cena is Superman, Randy Orton is Batman. They’re the superheroes of WWE, those are the two guys that matter, and that’s it – except for CM Punk, and that only just happened.

2. So I see you like Kofi Kingston enough to praise him a little bit. Think he’ll ever get to the top?

Blair: Kofi was in a very high-level feud with Orton a couple years back, and was getting over quite well. Then he didn’t sell an RKO properly, Randy got pissed, and then Kofi was losing to Shaemus and Swagger (and guys like them) for no reason, to no reaction, for what seemed like a long time. He seems to maybe be working his way back up now. I’m reading that he’s feuding with Del Rio – there’s no way that Kofi shouldn’t win that feud. No one cares about Del Rio.

3. Colt Cabana: Had a recent dark match at SmackDown! tapings. Can Colt be successful in WWE this time around and/or is this foreshadowing of a larger angle in the works for Punk?

Blair: I don’t have the same love affair that the IWC has with Colt Cabana. But compared to the majority of WWE workers, he’s a fucking rocket scientist. I personally would like to see Punk get Colt, Gallows, and the Kings Of Wrestling into a stable. If not, I imagine Colt is getting another try simply because Punk wants him to. Not that Colt doesn’t deserve it on his own – again, I think the guy is a bit over-rated, but also, you’re comparing him to your average WWE star.

4. Velvet Skye: I think she’s the one person in TNA working really hard every week to improve and I have bought into her storyline as the baby face character on a quest for her first title. M.C. and incognito actually disagree with me, which is funny cause I’m actually praising someone from impact. Your thoughts?

Blair: If Velvet has shown any improvement in the ring, I didn’t see it by the time I stopped watching Impact. But that doesn’t mean she’s not working hard to improve. I remember equating Velvet to Trish Stratus when she started – Trish had NO experience whatsoever, and just over time she managed to get much by sheer repetition and training from whoever it was that trained her. Trish is the exception though, not the rule. Velvet could work her ass off for years and still suck, that’s just the way it works sometimes. But, its’ the TNA Knockouts title, so your average Knockout’s ring ability is about as important as your average Knockout’s carpentry skills. Yeah, Velvet is over with the audience, I will give you that because 95% of people in TNA are not, for better or worse. So yeah, I guess she deserves the TNA Knockouts Title on that merit alone. It’s women’s wrestling though – who gives a tug?

5. Rey Mysterio: Still useful or is he now a “compiler” living off past credentials?

Blair: Rey Mysterio is absolutely still useful. He sells a ton of merch, kids love him, he can carry the shittiest of workers to a good outing, most of the matches he is in turn out to be one of the best matches on any show (again, it’s WWE) and the guy has a good attitude and is willing to put over people who are way worse than he is. His career has aged exactly as a wrestling career should – he had his moment at the top, which was surprising given his size. He doesn’t even need to get anywhere near either World Title again, and in fact I think giving it to him again would actually devalue the novelty of the first reign because it was portrayed as such a “who would have thought!” kind of thing. Is Rey’s CHARACTER getting stale? Of course it is – the guy has been in WWE for 10 years, and in WCW for 5 years before that, with the exact same gimmick – he’s a guy with a mask. Not a lot you can do with that after 15 years, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have value. (See also: Kane)


flamingwombat: Half black, half Samoans are white!? Who’s got racial issues here?

Blair: Uh… you? I don’t know. I don’t get your question. The Rock is not a black guy, a spanish guy, or an asian guy. That’s my point. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.


flamingwombat: “No one ever blames Jarrett, or Laurenitis, or Triple H, or whatever.” This is a joke?

Blair: Weird questions this week. No, this is not a joke, although I will admit my wording does leave a bit to be desired. I was all set to type “I didn’t mean no one EVER blames Jarrett, or Laurenitis, or Triple H”, and then I realized that’s EXACTLY what I wrote. So accept my apology on that – no one blames these guys anywhere NEAR as much as Vince, Bischoff, or Russo gets blamed. That’s what I meant. Thanks for pointing that out – everyone needs to be called on their bullshit, me included.


limodriver: I think you’re vastly underrating The Miz. With Punk becoming a de facto face, and until Jericho comes back, he is now the most valuable heel in the entire company. He made people temporarily give a shit about Alex Riley, for crying out loud. Put him in a feud with anyone, and WWE fans will buy in. And based on the reaction he got when he limped back to the ring at MITB, when they decide to pull the switch on his face turn, he’s going to be huge. All he has to do is slap Michael Cole in the face one time, and he’ll instantly be more over than Randy Orton is right now. Sure he’s pretty limited in the ring, but as a face that’s not as big of a problem and he has shown from time to time a willingness to improve.

Blair: As I said above, I readily accept that The Miz is a BIT more valuable than Shaemus, Swagger, Del Rio, or Wade Barrett. But that doesn’t mean the guy is the most valuable anything, anywhere. People giving a shit about Alex Riley is no more strange or out of place than people giving a shit about The Miz. And I don’t think that WWE fans will buy in to him feuding with anyone, because they put him in a feud with CENA at Wrestle-fucking-Mania and Miz’s OWN COMPANY didn’t even think that WWE fans would buy in. Which is why they included The Rock. And don’t point out that most people cheered for Miz over Cena – people would chant for Stalin over Cena at this point. It means nothing.

You know who people gave a shit about last year? Daniel Bryan. The one time that The Miz was a decent heel was his feud with Daniel Bryan, and do you know what the reason for that was? The basis of that feud was that Miz said Bryan sucked, and that was ironic because The Miz himself really sucks a lot more than Bryan does, and everyone could see it. Not because Bryan was such an awesome baby face or because Miz was such an awesome heel, it was because The Miz sucked. That’s why the feud worked. Yeah, it worked – at least until the ending, because Bryan was forgotten about and Miz was the one who got shot to the top, because… well, no one knows why. Miz’s WWE TItle reign didn’t do anything for WWE.


Owangotang: Blair I respect your opinions but it seems that we could not possibly be more different in the ways we consume and critique wrestling. This is not meant as an attack but it seems that you are much more clinical and removed from the emotion of a wrestling show than I am, that perhaps your willing suspension of disbelief is not as willing. Again that is not an attack, at my age I sometimes have troubles resolving just how and why wrestling continues to “move” me. I don’t know.

Blair: Hey, just for the record, I’m not critiquing ANYONE who can enjoy WWE or TNA. Good for you if you do. I don’t, and what I’m divulging in my columns is just my own personal opinion. I’ve been witness to a lot of people having very aggressive reactions to some of my writing. I’ll say Jeff Jarrett sucks, and their retort will be basically “JARRETT DOESN’T SUCK!!! YOU SUCK!!! HE WRESTLES AND YOU JUST WRITE!!! WHO SUCKS NOW?!?!” So I’m glad you’re not taking this personally or anything.


Owangotang: The WWE has such an overwhelming edge concerning guys fans want to see that I almost don’t know how to comprehend your argument against this. Cena, Orton, and Punk, as you mentioned…but also Rock (hey he is headlining Wrestlemania, not even Hogan from TNA could do that today), Stone Cold, Undertaker, and even HHH and HBK. Yes, those last 5 I mentioned are not full timers but they pull more interest than ANY full timer on TNA’s roster and it’s not even close.

Blair: I don’t think you can compare Hogan against Rock just because Rock is still in good enough shape to work and Hogan isn’t – Hogan is also a lot older than The Rock. That’s like saying that Cena is better than Andre The Giant because Andre The Giant can’t main event ‘Mania anymore. Anyway, anyone who is on the show once or twice a year, I don’t consider as part of the roster because they’re not on regular shows. That’s all there is to it for me – so that means I don’t consider Stone Cold, Rock, Undertaker, or HBK as part of the roster. Triple H is back now, yes. But hey, just because I don’t consider them part of the WWE roster doesn’t mean I think that ANYONE on TNA is anywhere near the interest as the names you mentioned. That’s not what I’m saying. I just don’t think the names you mentioned can pull in any eyeballs on shows they’re not on. In my opinion, WWE has 3 guys that people want to see – and those guys are Cena, Orton, and Punk. Everyone else on the show is an afterthought right now.


Owangotang: You made the comment that “only wrestling fans would watch 88 minutes of pure shit for 3 minutes or entertainment”, however I think you’re missing the forest for the trees. Just watching WWE TV, specifically RAW (I have never cared much for Smackdown, probably because it’s canned), allows many of us the chance to just enjoy being in that world. I don’t want to call it the WWE Universe because that just sounds so lame and contrived but WWE really has done a great job at building it’s own little reality. When I went to MITB I did not feel like it was an ordinary event, I felt like I was going to another place…this place where employees can assault their bosses, where conflict resolution does not involve HR. Yes, there are times when that place loses it’s pull on me when it starts making up garbage like Katie Vick or Mae Young giving birth to a hand, however WWE always seems to not let the entirety of their created place get ruined.

Blair: You’re kind of all over the place here, but, it sounds like you enjoy the feel of a WWE show. You used MITB as an example because it felt like a place where employees can assault their bosses – which is fine, except that was only the one match on the card. But I acknowledged that MITB was a better show than any WWE have done in the past few years. And it sounds like you prefer RAW because it’s live, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because SmackDown is basically the exact same with Orton in place of Cena. RAW has one exciting thing going on right now. There’s literally NOTHING else going on during the show that I’m the least bit interested in watching, so no matter how nice the “world” feels, the problem for me is, I find way too much of the show unwatchable and actively avoid that world and look up whatever CM Punk did on YouTube as a result.


Owangotang: I cannot say that every week I watch every single second. An example of this is how I quickly jumped ahead on the DVR when Keith Stone appeared on my TV (I work second shift so I’m forced to DVR RAW). I would have similarly jumped ahead if Katie Vick reappeared, another guest host came out to blab on and on, or something similarly stupid came on.

I never count the minutes that I miss though. I don’t sit around lamenting the fact that 5 or 10 minutes out of the show sucked.

Blair: I haven’t watched a WWE or TNA show in years that had only 5 or 10 terrible minutes. I can’t imagine you mean this. Are you actually saying that 70 out of the 80 minutes of RAW are good or even passable?


Owangotang: I’ve tried giving TNA’s little crafted reality a chance and it even confused the shit out of me, a diehard wrestling fan who has come to terms with plot inconsistencies. I’m not saying WWE is perfect and I’m also not dismissing TNA as god-awful however there is such a disparity between their “universes” that the two are not truly comparable.

Blair: Oh, hey, in terms of plot consistency, common sense, production values and, well, consistency in general, WWE absolutely MURDERS TNA. Believe me, I get that. TNA can’t even book a single episode of Impact consistently, let alone it’s product in general. TNA can’t even figure out which backstage segments their wrestlers are aware of and which ones they aren’t. TNA can’t even figure out when the wrestlers can see the camera and when they can’t. You won’t see shit like that on WWE. But just because the production values are better and the show makes more sense, doesn’t make the WWE product ANY less boring. That’s all I’m saying.

This new CM Punk stuff has a good chance to work, and there’s even a chance they could do a bit of an overhaul of the show as a result. It won’t happen overnight or anything. I’m certainly pulling for it to work. But a month of good stuff and one good storyline does not a show make. Not for me. Fingers crossed for the future.


This has been “Interinactivity”. This is just a heads up to everyone, I’m taking a couple of months off, starting… now. I’m going to be doing some travelling as well as some pretty intense studying over the next little bit, so I need a break, and it will keep the articles from getting stale. I think when I come back I might recap one RAW and one Impact, just to see what’s going on first, then start back in with Interactivity.

Thanks again for reading, and have a good weekend, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

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  • Steven Gepp

    Have a good break, mate.

  • James Alsop

    Blair: firstly, it’s Sheamus. Secondly, Kane is (technically) Spanish. Does that count? Thirdly, have a great few months off, old chap. Thanks for keeping the Pulse interesting – hope to see you back here soon!

  • CB

    Enjoy your time off Blair, here’s something to get you thinking over your break. Two months from now will be October 10th. What will WWE and TNA look like at that time?

    After all, Hogan said by October he just might be wearing the red and yellow again <– HA!

  • CB

    Oh, and just think, come Bound for Glory your new TNA World Heavyweight Champion just might be …… CRIMSON!

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Thank you for the kind words, gentlemen.

    WWE may look better by October. TNA will not. If Hogan is anywhere near the ring and Crimson is anywhere near the World Title. Hogan also said he was going to leg drop protesters in the UK, and that Abyss was TNA’s John Cena.


  • Blair A. Douglas

    PS: A parting present –

    CM Punk’s Best Of Commentary from earlier this year. He’s got some good opinions on women’s wrestling and Alex Riley in there.

  • flamingwombat

    You have this really annoying tendency to write “No one cares/cared” when what you really mean is that you don’t care. Also, you spend a lot of time criticizing wrestlers that you don’t actually watch wrestle…

  • foxxxy

    Just wanted to say I look forward to this column all week. Hope you enjoy the vaca though and hope to have you back on here soon

  • Delo

    Wow. As an informed person on WWE as you obviously are, I’ve never disagreed with almost every opinion in a piece like this. But you seem to be generalizing your opinion as the overall opinion and in most cases in this piece I honestly think you’ll find the overall opinion is vastly different to yours. Regardless, appreciate the effort that goes into writing something like this. Enjoy the time off.

  • Mike Gojira

    Have fun in your travels. I’ll be here to steal the spotlight from you while you’re gone.

  • sideshowbob

    Just as a warning, I fully expect that by the time you come back, cm punk is screwing Stephanie to get back at hhh… I hope I’m wrong, but that’s my gut reaction on how they’re gonna screw it up. Sure punk will bring some indie guys, but Steph will be the higher power mastermind.. Time will tell…

  • jader

    Flaming wombat, do you mean to say you honestly think anyone would care or petition for a return of Barrett, Shaemus, Swagger or Del Rio if they were released? I don’t know what else you could be referring to. Maybe I’m wrong.

    A hiatus for this column depresses me to no end. Thanks for all the recaps and Interinactivities, Blair, and look forward to seeing you back.

  • Cynical Bastard

    Hey, we can disagree and I won’t get butthurt or start talking about Jarrett’s big house. I like discussion, plain and simple.

    I see that you don’t like the people I mentioned because of their career track records, but I question how much of that is really in their control? If Cena is booked to take out 8 men all by himself, is that really any fault of theirs or of Creative? A wrestler is responsible for his performance in a match and for playing the part he’s given, but when outcomes are scripted it’s hardly fair to critique a guy on his W/L record. That basically tells me if they’d been booked stronger you’d love them. Hell, if they had a choice I’m sure they’d all be SuperCena.

    I definitely count Barrett ahead of Slater and Otunga because I disagree with you on his promo skills, and unlike the two of them he can wrestle a match without looking horrible. I also disagree that his finisher is lousy. I find it an improvement over the FU/AA/Fireman’s Carry Slam.

    As to whether fans would clamor for the return of any of these guys, most of them are booked as heels, and most of them have also been with the company only a short time. WWE has recently lost most of their main eventers for various reasons and desperately needs to elevate new stars, which they are trying to do. Unfortunately this leads to pushes being rushed and people being hotshotted to a title before they have the experience to carry it. Or maybe I just think overly well of them because “OMG its a new face in the main event!”

    I didn’t include McIntyre or Kozlov because both of them had good writing and failed to capitalize on it due to a lack of charisma and ring skill. Although, like most of the others on your list, they were green at the time as well.

    At any rate, enjoy your vacation, and I’m looking forward to the return of your column. Oh, and you’re welcome for the softball.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    I hear you, Cynical Bastard. Except about Barrett being able to wrestle a match without looking horrible. Don’t know what that’s all about. But the thing is, I think McIntyre and Kozlov had the SAME writing as Barrett, Shaemus, Swagger, and now Del Rio. They’re green (except for Del Rio) and are pushed to the main-event. How quickly they’ve fallen down is illustrative of how well they did at the top. And you’re right, it’s not totally their fault, but the bottom line is still what their future looks like. Given how well they did at the top, do you think WWE is all that apt to give Shaemus or Barrett another run at the top?

    It also bears mentioning, part of that I think was intentional on the part of WWE – to build guys up just to be cannon fodder for Cena, then for Orton, or in reverse. You’re also right that their writing didn’t help, because really, they were just all SO generic. That’s another reason why Punk is doing so well – he has a unique personality that is more just him than anything else.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    … well that was odd, it posted my comment before I was done writing. Maybe it was telling me to shut up. Anyway, what I was going to say is that I believe Punk is doing so well mostly because he is looked at as way more interesting and less of a chump than all the guys on that list. What makes him even more impressive is how lose all those guys set the bar, and how low WWE set the bar in writing for them.

    It’s like watching AJ Styles on TNA. We all know AJ is great, but if he loses to Gunner X amount of times, how are we supposed to buy into him? BAM.

    Also, I would watch Punk banging Stephanie, because that’s how Steph ended up married to Triple H, while it was happening on screen. That would be hilarious.

  • Owangotang

    I’ve never taken your opinions personally and I’m glad that you seem not to have taken mine to heart as well. It’s great to be able to talk wrestling with some degree of depth without it descending to “YOUR GUY/PROMOTION BLOWS!”

    I don’t think I explained my feelings on WWE very well but after reading your responses I believe I have a better handle on it. It’s the production/plot/continuity that gets me; a sense of order to the chaos. WWE can direct its’ power, the superstars, in virtually any way that the fans’ tastes necessitate. It’s been said that wrestling fans like unpredictability but it is also satisfying to know the winner of the Royal Rumble main events WM, UT will defend the streak at WM, MITB will give the winner a title match contract. It’s the connective tissue. If we represent both promotions as anthropomorphs then WWE is this giant Adonis with limbs possessing full range of motion and athleticism; TNA is a bloated bodybuilder, magnificent in it’s appearance yet anything but agile.

    I hope that makes more sense but I’m afraid my weirdo comparison at the end may have botched it. It’s been a long couple of weeks at work. I know what it is like to need a break. I truly hope you enjoy yours Blair and I look forward to reading your stuff in the future.

  • flamingwombat

    Yes, people would absolutely care if Sheamus, Del Rio, or Barrett were released. All 3 have gotten over, shown at least passable in ring work, and good mic skills. All 3 have bright futures in the WWE if used properly. Del Rio is one of the best all around talents they’ve had in a while, and was over from the moment he debuted. I understand that Blair doesn’t actually watch the shows so his comments must be taken with a grain of salt, but anyone who doesn’t see the value in these guys is cuh-razy.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Owangotang: TNA is not magnificent in it’s appearance, but I do get what you’re saying.

    Flaming Wombat: So you think people would care if they got released. Do you at least think that NO ONE would petition for their return? Would you really expect to see “RE-SIGN SWAGGER” or “BRING BACK BARRETT” signs or chants on RAW or SmackDown?

    You left out Swagger. Not sure if that was on purpose or not. The thing is dude, I have watched the shows from time to time. Whether it be YouTubeing, or one of the PPV’s I randomly watch like MITB or Royal Rumble, or whatever. Del Rio has gotten small reactions here and there. And I watched WrestleMania, although you can’t really trust crowd reactions in an outdoor arena because they’re harder to hear. Regardless, Shaemus and Barrett got a bit of heat when they were in the main event scene, since they’ve fallen from grace they get nothing unless they do something like put Sin Cara through a ladder, and even that is more about the bump itself and for Sin Cara than it is for Shaemus or Barrett. But since then? They get barely a shred of any reaction.

    That’s why I find the Kozlov analogy so apt. It happened a bit faster with him, but when he started, he got the same reactions that Shaemus and Barrett and Swagger got. Then he got moved down the card. And if Shaemus, Barrett and Swagger are all that important, then why have they not recovered from their move back to the mid-card? Do you see them main-eventing anything again? I’m just curious.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    PS: Where I want to call attention to your wording is where you put “used properly”. Depending on your viewpoint, you could make the argument that they aren’t being “used properly” right now. But the thing is, WERE they being “used properly” when they were in the main event? If so, why didn’t that work?

    I just wanted to call attention to that because a repackaging could work if done correctly, but it’s awfully hard to re-package a guy with an “angry foreigner” gimmick, which is what Shaemus, Barrett and Del Rio all have. That’s an angry gimmick by the way, and a lazy one, and the fact that they have SO MANY “lazy foreigners” is part of what makes them so dull.

  • James Alsop

    Blair, I must agree with flamingwombat and owantagang… if you’re not watching routinely, you can hardly generalise. A few youtube videos here and there don’t constitute an accurate cross-section. If the only episode of Raw I’d seen since the ‘Summer of Punk’ began was last week’s (not this monday’s – this week’s Raw was awesome) then based on that single episode and the stupid pose-off at the end, I’d have to conclude that Punk was an average, not great, promo, and that the crowd preferred Cena.

    What exactly do you mean “why have [Sheamus, Barrett, Swagger] not recovered from their back to the mid-card?” When I said the same thing about chaps such as Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe a few weeks back, others including yourself countered by saying that Joe and Jay were victims of their company rather than themselves. Why is this situation any different?

    I would argue that, yes, Sheamus and Barrett both did a little dithering after their main event runs (although Sheamus IS a two-time WWE Champion now, and as such hasn’t spent any longer in the mid-card between title reigns than, for example, Kane, Undertaker, Mankind, Big Show, CM Punk…) but now they’re both doing just fine. Swagger, not so much, but I wouldn’t say that it’s any reflection on him as a performer so much as an indictment of the WWE machine.

    Like it or not, I would say that Sheamus gets proportionately more fan response on the average Smackdown than AJ Styles does on the average Impact. You can pin that on whatever reasons you like – exposure, booking, win/loss records – but that doesn’t alter the fact that Sheamus IS extremely over right now. Listen to the reaction he got when he chased Mark Henry out of the ring last week. The MITB pop he received was no fluke! Do you think that the reaction was because of Mark Henry?

    And you know what? Sheamus in the main event worked just fine! The guy is a bona fide star now. He carries himself like a main eventer and will be flitting between the main event and the upper-mid-card for the rest of his career.

    As for Wade, perhaps I’m biased in favour of Barrett because he’s a fellow Brit, but the man has solid, if unspectacular matches (and that may be a booking thing, you know… his work in FCW and on NXT was really quite exciting) and cuts a VERY solid promo. Wade hasn’t flubbed a single line that I’ve noticed – not even on Raw, where mistakes are harder to cover up. He has great charisma, and the crowd certainly respond to him. Daniel Bryan needs a good solid build to legitimise him as a future world champion, and it says a lot, I believe, that Barrett is the man WWE chose to help lay the foundations and give Bryan his first post-MITB feud.

    You can’t compare either of those guys to Kozlov. Wade and Sheamus are over. Perhaps not as over as guys like Randy and Cena, but then few people are. You shouldn’t compare either man to Kozlov. He was, objectively speaking, not a very good professional wrestler. It’s no surprise that he’s gone. People WOULD be surprised if Sheamus and Wade were future-endeavored tomorrow. Would the internet be up in arms about it? Maybe not. But then the internet weren’t boycotting WWE when Kaval left either, and that’s no indictment on Kaval’s popularity is it? Not everyone can be Daniel Bryan, Blair.

  • James Alsop

    Also, your dislike of the “angry foreigner” gimmick, while understandable, is rather skewed in this case, by the way. Wade and Sheamus both began as heels, yes. And heels tend to be either cocky or angry, but are usually both. Fine. And yes, they’re both foreign.

    Their nationalities, however, do not define either of their gimmicks. Yes, Sheamus calls himself the Celtic Warrior, and he does the whole ‘Irish brawler’ schtick, but none of that matters so much as the fact that he’s simply a Big Scary Dude. He doesn’t hate babyface characters because they’re American, and he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone else because he’s Irish – he thinks he’s better than everyone else because he’s a legitimately Big Scary Dude. Nationality has nothing to do with it. And although the Big Scary Dude gimmick is as old as pro wrestling, there’s not a single guy in WWE or TNA who does it as well as Sheamus right now. As a matter of fact, offhand I can’t think of anyone else at all doing that gimmick in the WWE apart from Mark Henry (who has only just started to do it successfully).

    Barrett, on the other hand, isn’t defined by his Britishness at all. He doesn’t wear English colours, he doesn’t come out to classical music, he doesn’t play the snooty “Lord Regal”-type character… His gimmick is that he likes money – not that he’s an angry foreigner. He came to WWE, he says (with refreshing honesty) for the money. He wants to be in the main event of ‘Mania for the money. He’s also egotistical, and does on occasion insult American fans and opponents, but he hardly fits the “angry foreigner” stereotype that you rail against.

  • sideshowbob

    Here’s my 2 cents on Barrett… He’s a bare knuckles champion allegedly correct? So when was the last time he resorted to boxing and punched someone out? I mean to not capitalize on that is like having worlds strongest man lose a power match to Christian. It just doesn’t make sense character wise…

  • flamingwombat

    Firstly, yes I did leave Swagger out on purpose. I think he’s been damaged to the point of no return.

    Secondly, you keep saying so-and-so “gets no reaction” or things like “Del Rio won the Rumble and no one cared”. The thing is though, Sheamus gets a great reaction. Del Rio gets an even better reaction than just about anyone on the roster. When he won the Rumble, people DID care. And they cared when he didn’t win at Wrestlemania, and when he won again at MitB. I have no problem with your opinions, even when they are opposite of mine, but what irks me is your distortions (as in saying Wrestler A doesn’t get any reaction even though he clearly does) and especially your tendency to pass your opinion off as the consensus when it’s far from the actual consensus (as in you saying no one cared about Del Rio winning the Rumble when such a statement is far, far from the truth).

  • flamingwombat

    bob, I think it’s been mentioned that when Barrett was starting his big run, Big Show was still doing his knockout punch gimmick, so it wouldn’t have helped Barrett to just start doing the same gimmick. I agree that they should start doing more with it though, no that Show’s moved on from that.

  • Mike Gojira

    I think we’re all forgetting that Vladamir Koslov was NEVER over, with the exception of his use in the comedy duo with Santino. When he got his start in the WWE, he was an uninteresting version of Drago from Rocky IV. I don’t recall him getting any reaction other than boos, which were not typical “he’s a heel; let’s boo him!” boos. They were “get him out of the ring; he’s terrible and boring” boos.

  • jader

    So then you guys are all looking forward to the Shaemus \ Henry classic coming up then? Jesus.

  • ASgurl

    But aren’t those dudes the ones that were put in the spotlight back when everyone is complaining that WWE was boring before Punk changed everything? Didn’t Miz and Del Rio have World Title shots at what most everyone considers the worst ‘Mania ever? Shaemus and Swagger didn’t even get matches. These dudes may as well just call themselves The Unamericans and job until they get released and no, no one will campaign for their return. I don’t get it – I thought you guys had figured this out. These dudes are Ken Anderson. All of them.

    Blair, keep being different and honest and come back soon. And make sure you bring Swayze. FIST PUMP!

  • flamingwombat

    Why wouldn’t we look forward to Sheamus-Henry? It’s been perfectly booked, both guys have been working their asses off, Henry is playing a monster heel VERY effectively, and it’s resulted in a surprisingly promising face turn for Sheamus. Give the guys a chance before you rag on the match, and also realize that the occassional 2 1/2 star slobberknocker is as an integral part of the card as a 5 star workrate wet dream, instead of just spouting off like a typical internet smark who likes trash talking anything beyond their two favorite pet wrestlers.

  • that guy who types things

    Blair wrote: If Velvet has shown any improvement in the ring…

    Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. No, she still sucks. That didn’t stop T.N.A. from making her the face of the Knockouts Division despite the fact that Mickie James was the f**king champion at the time though.

    Jader wrote: So then you guys are all looking forward to the Shaemus \ Henry classic coming up then? Jesus.

    No, no I’m not looking forward to Henry/Sheamus but it’s mostly…entirely due to Mark Henry’s involvement.

    I guess I should ask Blair a question. Uh…huh…what are some of your favorite matches?

  • Cynical Bastard

    @ ASgurl: I’d like to point out two things about the Wrestlemania title matches that you may have overlooked or may simply choose to ignore. They sucked due to injuries.

    ADR vs. Edge was the match I personally was most looking forward to, and it was an overbooked piece of crap. 3 people at ringside interfering and a weak match. Later, it would come to light that Edge was working with a bad neck and had to retire, explaining the poor match quality, the overbooking, and the card placement as a curtain-jerker. I put the blame for that match totally on the fact that they were compensating for an injured Edge.

    The Miz vs. Cena match was totally overshadowed by the Rock/Cena antics which placed Miz as a third wheel through no fault of his own. He was basically written as an afterthought in his own title defense. Add to that the fact that he suffered a legitimate concussion when Cena knocked him to the concrete outside the barricade, and it’s a credit to his fortitude that he was able to finish the match at all.

    You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but I think comparing these men to Anderson is woefully underrating them. Just my two cents.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    You guys are missing my point entirely.

    Really, you can make up all the reasons you want for why guys succeed or don’t succeed. Ability, charisma, talent management, company support, injuries, etc, etc, that all plays a part. People will debate that over every wrestler they like and don’t like, and in reality, every single time, it’s a combination of all the factors, and even the piece of talent will disagree with management and fans as to what those factors that played a part in success or failure are. I’m not debating any of that – what I’m saying is that I don’t believe that anyone will take Shaemus seriously against Cena or Orton again, or as a World Title contender ever again. Ditto with Barrett. What I’m saying is that in a couple years time, I believe that Barrett will be a comedy act or in Chris Masters territory, if he’s even still employed. Shaemus may fare better because he’s a buddy of Triple H, but if he isn’t making money, he’s not going to be at the top of the card. He’ll be running around with Hornswaggle. What I’m saying is that I believe that WWE built these guys up this way on purpose, to be short-term foils for Cena and Orton. Whether that Cena / Orton superhero era continues or not, I can’t see any main-event runs happening to any of the guys we’re debating, anytime soon, or more realistically, ever. Many of you seem to disagree, and that’s fine. And what I’m saying is, that there’s no real way to know that except wait a couple years and see where they’re at. Again I point out, Shaemus wasn’t even on the card at WrestleMania this year. Do you think he’ll get on next year?

    HOWEVER – I think Flaming Wombat just made it a lot simpler. He is into a Shaemus / Henry match and thinks that it will actually draw interest. And I just disagree with that. So, he’s a different kind of fan than I am. I see it as lazy booking and having no idea what to do with either guy. I can’t imagine a booking team going “we’re going to culminate another terrible Mark Henry freight train push with an awesome Shaemus showdown, that’s our master plan.” I can’t imagine a person going “I can’t wait to see this Shaemus match on Sunday!” but that’s just me. I can’t imagine a logical reason to go “Give Mark Henry a chance” when he’s got more tenure than anyone in WWE besides Undertaker, and pushing him has NEVER worked. Henry was at his height when he was boning Mae Young. But that’s fine – as I said, I’m not ragging on anyone who can enjoy a Shamus / Henry match. I just don’t understand it, that’s all. If that makes me a mark in anyone’s eyes… a term that really was obsolete in 2002 or so… then so be it, I suppose. Again I point out, I don’t see any great crowd reactions for Shaemus or Barrett, whether that be heel heat or whatever else. That’s me, and I HAVE watched a few shows with them on it, last year and this year.

    Regardless, it’s an interesting debate, and I’d like to thank you all for trying to explain your viewpoints to me. Regardless of what anyone thinks, I don’t think that I represent all wrestling fans, in fact if you’ve read any number of my columns, I have stated numerous times that I believe I’m in the minority on many things. But I will admit to not thinking that this was one of those things, at least until now. But nor do I let what is popular amongst wrestling fans dictate what I enjoy personally. If Shaemus is one of the main-events of anything anytime soon, I’ll be happy to eat my words.

  • CB

    Blair: On another note, please watch Kurt Angle’s promo from
    last night’s Impact. Just. Plain. Brutal.

  • flamingwombat

    Blair wrote: “HOWEVER – I think Flaming Wombat just made it a lot simpler. He is into a Shaemus / Henry match and thinks that it will actually draw interest.”

    No, what I’m into is giving the match a chance before I condemn it. And, I am into admitting that it has actually drawn interest in its build-up. Henry has been over as a heel and has shown he deserves the mid-card push he’s been getting, while Sheamus’s face turn also seems to be headed for success. Yet, despite everyone telling you that these guys ARE getting a reaction, you keep saying they aren’t. Strange.

    Tangentially, yet related – why do some members of the IWC consider any wrestler not being pushed to the main event as being misused? Wrestling always has, and always will, needed lower, mid, and upper card wrestlers, and the best use of some talent is outside the main event.

  • Joe Violet

    Wombat: Everyone has their favorites who they think should be pushed to the main event. I believe the reason why some members of the IWC consider wrestlers “misused” if they’re not pushed is because it’s a matter of opinion. I also agree that Sheamus/Henry could be a good match. Will it be a 5-star classic? Not likely, but who knows? Some matches can be surprisingly good, and sometimes what’s supposed to be a really good match winds up being really bad. Example of bad match that people thought would be good: -cringe- Brock Lesnar v. Goldberg.

  • CB

    I agree with flamingwombat that the mid-card and under-card are necessities in wrestling. You know who the most valuable guys are though? The ones who can fill in main event slots when needed in a pinch, but also make the Mid-Card look good. Kane, for example. Jericho, for another example. Guys like that are the keys. And I think Miz, Sheamus, etc., are the new generation of those kinds of roles.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    The mid-card is fantastic, and WWE hasn’t had much of a mid-card for a long time. Miz dabbled in it last year, and that was his best work. I don’t consider anyone mis-used just because they’re in the mid-card, the ONE guy I can think of in the big 2 right now who I think is, is Kofi. Hell, I consider the mid-card with Shaemus, Barrett, Swagger, etc, to be the HEIGHT of their potential, and I never said anyone was mis-used in WWE right now besides Kofi, and maybe even that will be over after he hopefully beats Del Rio or at least loses to shenanigans. If I did, I’d argue that the guys we’re debating are mis-used BECAUSE they were pushed to the main event.

    flamingwombat: “No, what I’m into is giving the match a chance before I condemn it. And, I am into admitting that it has actually drawn interest in its build-up. Henry has been over as a heel and has shown he deserves the mid-card push he’s been getting, while Sheamus’s face turn also seems to be headed for success. Yet, despite everyone telling you that these guys ARE getting a reaction, you keep saying they aren’t. Strange.”

    See again, I just plain disagree with that. So I guess you’re just seeing something that I’m unable to see. I’ve even downloaded some recent SmackDowns and stuff just to look at Shaemus / Henry segments, and I see nothing. And I have a hard time getting excited about a match that WWE will put on that MIGHT be good, when you’re basing that on a guy who has been pushed multiple times in 10 years with no success and who has never had one good match that I’m aware of, and another guy who I have yet to see in any kind of good match or feud. Again, that’s personal preference, but back to lack of fun in WWE – they have ONE match on Sunday that I want to see. To their credit, that’s the main event, and that’s what SHOULD the biggest draw, but there should also be some interest in other matches. And I have none, so like, is there something wrong with me?

    I have a question for Flamingwombat. Go back to before this Punk stuff started, and look at the last 2 years of WWE. Do you consider their product entertaining and exciting for that period of time? If you could. Thanks!

  • flamingwombat

    Do I consider it more entertaining that the Attitude period or the heights of Hulkamania? No. Do I consider it less entertaining than the dreadful mid-90s or any TNA? No. There’s been a lot of great moments and a lot of crap, just like any other era. In the last 2 years we’ve had Shawn-Taker, great Rumbles, the awesome beginning of the Nexus angle (the first night of that angle trumps Punks’ “shoot” interview to start the current feud), and a lot more. Heck, just this year, we had a great Rumble, a great Elimination Chamber, a terrific Wrestlmania build that had everyone worked up (only to be let down by the bad booking and time management issues), the return of the Rock, and a very good MitB PPV (and yes, not just the main event). Also, in the past couple years, the debut of an instant star in Del Rio, HHH bending over backwards to make Sheamus a star, Jericho-Shawn, Danielson getting pushed, Batista’s awesome heel turn, and more. The WWE could be a lot better than they are, of course, but no promotion has ever been perfect from top to bottom (Golden Age ECW came the closest). I’ve got lots of problems with the current product, but that doesn’t keep me from seeing the bright spots, nor does it lead me to criticizing any non-IWC darling just to maintain some fragile smart mark cred (note: not accusing you of doing this. however, some other guest commenters here seem prone to this).

    In your previous post, in regards to Sheamus-Henry, you said that “I see nothing.” Now, that I have no problem with, as it is your personal reaction to the angle. What I did take issue with was your previous comments that the angle was getting no reaction and that no one cared, when it obviously was getting a reaction (a rather good one too) and that many people did seem to care, regardless of how good a match they expect at the PPV.

  • flamingwombat

    Addendum: CM Punk has been one of my favorite wrestlers for years, but I have to admit that as much as I am enjoying his work in this current feud with Cena, it’s actually made me start to turn against Punk a bit because it makes it easier to see the dickhead that we always pretty much assumed he was in real life. It’s also made me a lot more sympathetic for Cena. It’s interesting, because if wrestling were “real” wouldn’t we all, in all honestly, sorta hate Punk and respect Cena? I find it interesting and wonder how long the Attitude-era trend (amongst smarks)of it being cool to boo faces and cheer heels will continue, and how much it actually hurts the product.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    The thing is, I didn’t see much of a reaction to Shaemus or Henry on the SmackDowns I downloaded. It didn’t seem like the crowd much cared. That’s what I saw. Maybe what I see when I believe someone cares is different than you, but we’re already splitting some pretty fine hairs.

    Thanks for indulging me at least. I appreciate it. Maybe I’ll recap just the Henry / Shaemus match from the PPV for posterity.

  • flamingwombat

    Oh I’m sure there’s no chance of Sheamus-Henry being good now that a few people on this thread admitted they’re interested it in. We’ve jinxed it :)

  • M.C. Brown

    I would love to see King of the Ring return, but I feel it loses some of it’s luster when it doesn’t take place in one night. I get that they can have the qualifying matches on their TV shows, but at least 3 matches to win should be scheduled, even if the winning wrestler only has to wrestle two, it should still be an 8 man tournament. I’m disappointed WWE eliminated that as well as the best concept they had for Survivor Series which was in 1990.

    Very interesting column this week, Blair. Enjoy your well earned vacation!

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