The O’Really Report – Combo Column – WWE Title Scene, Lightweights/Cruiserweights, TNA, WWE, Cena/Punk
by Rhett Davis on August 10, 2011

Welcome to your Weekly Wrestling Wednesday Stop for all things WWE, The O’Really Report! I am your host Rhett Davis and this week I am joined by none other than the bossman himself, Matthew Michaels!

Wait, WRESTLING? I only talk about sports entertainment. Sorry, RD.

Well back to the drawing boards… maybe I can get Mike Gojira to help me.. nevermind I think I’d rather just stick to Sports Entertainment. So MM thank you for joining me! Our first topic of affairs is what is on everyone’s mind… what are your opinions on the current CM Punk vs John Cena storyline heading into SummerSlam?

I admit to going along with IWC “group think” and at first thinking they “rushed” the whole Punk return, but at the end of the day, it’s SummerSlam, and you can’t have such a big PPV without the hottest star in the company present and promoted ahead of time (a surprise wouldn’t fly).

As for the title vs. title stipulation, I’m having trouble getting past why WWE needed to have Cena, Punk, Rey, Cena and Punk all have the championship in the matter of a couple of weeks… and whether or not it’s the right booking move, I’m a big Punk mark, and don’t like that my internal wrestling logic has either Del Rio or HHH getting the best of one of my favorite wrestlers before the cameras cut out on Sunday.

All that being said, I loved the promo that closed out Raw on so many levels.

When we had the vote on Pulse asking whether or not we believed that the return of Punk was rushed, I voted ‘too soon to tell.’ I do agree that the return was rushedm but as you said… it’s SummerSlam. SummerSlam is supposed to be the ‘Mania of the Summer. I always thought that SummerSlam was weak in comparison, but, after this year’s WrestleMania, it may win that contest. As for the title stipulation, will both Punk and Cena be counted as champion come Sunday? In the record books will Rey have even won the WWE Title? In my opinion, it shouldn’t count them. It should count Punk and then whomever wins Sunday as the next champion.

The end of Raw this past week was phenomenal as finally John had something to say that didn’t sound idiotic. I loved the way he said he was solely focused on his fans, not what the ‘millions’ and Punk’s fans wanted from him.

The next question is how do you see Triple H fitting in as the special guest referee come Sunday? Will he screw over Cena or Punk?

As for who the legit champion is, the best case scenario for folks looking for continuity is for Punk to win. WWE seems to be recognizing Rey and Cena’s wins on their website, and if Punk wins the only question is if they count it as a new title reign or a continuation of the current one: http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/wwechampionship

The end of Raw was fabulous. First of all, Punk continued his role as the “voice of the voiceless” and said things that two months ago we would have never thought Vince would allow on live TV. He didn’t push it and didn’t make things as uncomfortable as he did last week, but he managed to toss in a few surprises (I really didn’t expect Harry Smith to be brought up for example). PLUS Cena was gold, not only because he didn’t use a ton of gay and poopy jokes, but because he catered to both casual (and kids, female) fans PLUS hardcore (and male) fans. He said he’ll beat Punk and show him to be all talk. And he referenced things like the “5 moves of doom” (TM, Scott Keith?) and “workrate” and how the hardcore fans want him to be more of a heel. I like that he basically gave a nod to those of us who do like to debate such things. That said, John: it’s not all about being more of a heel; it’s about being less of a cornball. The promos he’s been cutting the past few weeks are great, and hopefully after Punk’s in his rearview mirror he keeps it up.

One more reason the end of Raw was so successful: HHH kept quiet pretty much the entire time. This is why I don’t think he’ll play a role in the match, or get involved in the feud’s
outcome… yet.

I see your point about HHH being quiet, but one has to think that there is something afoot. Surely HHH wasn’t just inserted to be a referee! Legitimacy in a special guest referee? Holy Toledos Mattman!

That’s the rub, right? If he refs and aside from a tease here and there actually DOES call it right down the middle, the fans might actually buy him as a legit, fair, executive leader.

I guess it also depends on what WWE wants to do with Undertaker at WrestleMania next year. Is he facing Hunter for the third time to go 20-0? Will he face someone else so they can try to build actual feeling that someone can upset the deadman?

That would indeed give him that legitimacy that he needs in order to be the boss, but it’s hard to see this one as just a fair one-on-one match with no outside interference. Perhaps a time for the Kings of Wrestling and Colt Cobana.

If it’s NOT HHH, then who will the current COO face? Not going to be Vince, I don’t think. Cena’s busy with the Rock. So that leaves Punk or Del Rio as guys on the current roster I’d be interested in seeing him go up against… So let’s plant some seeds but not pull the trigger just yet.

As for Colt/KOW, maybe. Colt had a dark match the other day, and I saw a Kings of Wrestling sign in the crowd on Monday that WWE didn’t take away…

As for the Deadman, I’ve been pondering that myself. Perhaps The Undertaker will coax Triple H into fighting him at Mania with his career on the line? Sort of like he did HBK.

Maybe Harry Smith and Vladamir Kozlov come in as well; part of a “fired unfairly” faction? (Although I doubt it, since Punk interestingly went from name-dropping Luke Gallows to instead talking about Foley, Jericho, Batista, etc.)

Taker/HHH streak vs. career = no buys to me, but then again I’m not 12, so who knows? I’d much rather see Taker either pick his opponent, assuming it’s his last match, or give rub to a younger guy who can take him to the distance and still lose – like a Barrett, Sheamus, whoever.

But that’s a point I think is worth exploring. Usually Mania doesn’t get talked about until around SurSer. But this year, it’s not even SummerSlam and we already know Cena/Rock, Daniel Bryan (or so we think) and Taker going for 20 will be on the card. Why not start planting seeds for Hunter’s next big match, or Punk/Jericho, or whatever else they may want to tease eight months out?

Punk/Austin?

I think Sheamus is the biggest money match left for Taker at Mania (since Cena is busy with Rock). I heard a rumor this year about Nash doing it, but we’ve been down that road before and Nash is really slow in the ring. He wouldn’t do much for the match quality. Sheamus is a rough brawler and that’s exactly what Taker is.

You like how I totally ruined your flow here? As Perry Saturn would say: you’re welcome.

(google it)

Punk/Austin would be a dream match as their personalities clash so perfectly. Austin drinks beer, Punk is against alcohol. Would be the ultimate feud.
Yeah thanks for that.

Any time! And that’s not my idea; Punk’s said a few times that he’d love to do that match, and even J.R. hasn’t ruled it out on his blog in his “never say never” way… But I digress.

I know the dirtsheets are all reporting that WWE is booking things on the fly, changing things every week/day/whatever, but Punk seems like the type of guy, like Jericho, who has longer-term ideas for what his character will do. Now, that doesn’t mean WWE will let him tell the story his way, but I personally like thinking ahead and working backwards.

I’d pay to see it, even if it was on a different PPV than Mania.

For all of the talk that WWE has no new stars, there are plenty of workers from Miz, Punk, Del Rio and Sheamus to Bryan, Dolph, Kofi and Morrison, who are a gentle push away from being at least the next Orton or Jericho. And we know Del Rio and Bryan will be main eventing a PPV at SOME point soon…

Many things seem to be working in the heavyweight title scene right now and that’s what is really interesting to me. Miz is mad because Cena/Punk stole his spotlight. Rey has a claim to a rematch. ADR has his briefcase. It’s pandemonium as Gorilla would say.

Oh and then Punk and Cena are still both champions.

You know what I’d love to see (and I haven’t read SD spoilers yet)?

What’s that?

Christian pitch a FIT because – HELLO – he’s champion TOO.

Well he does have a big meeting this Friday (re: Tuesday) and I’m not sure what that is going to be about.

As for crying for attention for being champion, I think Dolph Ziggler (the United States Champion for those who don’t know who is) has been doing that schtick.

If I was booking, my goal actually would be to have someone – really anyone but Cena or HHH – unite ALL of the World Titles by the end of the year… and then build the IC and US championships up by Mania. Then you can have your WWE World Champ as the face of the company, and the other two can headline or be second from the top on Raw and SD shows/live events, depending on where the big champ’s latest feud takes him.

It’s all well and good that Dolph, Swagger, Sheamus and Khali are all former world champs, but is that really necessary? They showed that clip of Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart fighting for the IC Title at SummerSlam and all I could think about is how that could be the case again if they made a couple of moves and weren’t so focused on main eventers trading wins and losses rather than just putting someone new over and letting them stay over for more than a month.

Of course if they merged all the world titles, John Cena or HHH would just be champ for seven straight years, Bruno style! I kid, I kid.

I like the idea, but I think the WWE title would change hands WAY too much if we went back to only one champion. The title changes hands way too frequently as it is. Although with one world title… there wouldn’t be any 11 time WWE Champions like Edge and John Cena. Which is a good thing.

</fantasy booking>

Back to reality, Rhett?

You took too long; one more thing — I get needing to have heavyweight champs on both shows/brands to split the workload if you will. But then get rid of the US/IC belts, and add a new weight class. OK now I’m done.

If you insist. I thought the same thing when I saw how much the crowd was into the Perfect/Hart match from year’s past.

By the way I change my mind on this weekly.

As do I. But anyways on to our next topic… we spoke earlier about the recent firings of Gail Kim, Vladimir Kozlov, Melina, Chris Masters, and DH ‘Harry’ Smith. Which do you think were a huge bust in the WWE and which will you miss the most? (if any?)

Tough question. Obviously I don’t know any of the backstories, aside from what Gail Kim said on her Twitter account about asking for her release. And while I hate seeing these guys and gals lose their jobs, as Jim Ross blogged about recently, many a wrestler has left WWE to go on to become better performers (Giant Bernard/A-Train comes to mind), so…

MVP seems to be another. I think I will miss Chris Masters as he really seemed to fit the exact bill of what Vince would’ve wanted as a top guy. Good build, good character, etc.

On a personal level, I would have liked to have seen more of Harry Smith, and I felt Gail Kim and Melina were two of the better workers in the division. I can still see all three of these coming back at some point – particularly Gail when Kharma returns, as they just work so well together and WWE must know that. I don’t know what the story is with Harry; he always seemed so bland despite all the hype around him before he was in WWE. And as long as Melina’s dating Morrison, and he’s employed – not to mention rumors that her buddy Mick Foley might be coming back – there’s a chance she’ll return.

I’d much rather had seen one of the more dainty Divas go before Kim or Melina.

Sure, but without a gimmick overhaul, what was Masters going to become? Not sure if he was good enough to be another Val Venus/Bob Holly kind of ‘jobber to the stars’ (TM, Eric S.!)/mid card workhorse. He wasn’t funny enough with the pectoral gyrations. And being completely fair to him, I don’t watch Superstars and didn’t see enough of him to make a judgment. Not sure whose fault that is, and we’re actually hoping to interview him soon, so I hope whoever conducts the interview gets into some of this with him…

Harry Smith never got a chance after losing the battle to Tyson Kidd and it was saddening to see him not even receive a chance at revitalization as a new character before his release.

Again, with Harry, after his genetics, I don’t know what he had to offer. His fault for not showing more character or WWE Creative’s? No clue. Say what you will about someone like R-Truth, but the former multi-time NWA Heavyweight Champ is EMBRACING his role.

Speaking of R-Truth what do you think of my idea of him having split personas similar to Mick Foley?

It might work. But I fear him becoming the next Heidenreich. Speaking of Foley: the anonymous Raw GM’s been kinda quiet. Think HHH just turned off the laptop’s speakers?

I was wondering when they were going to cross that bridge. I think HHH was the GM. Would make sense in most cases. And WWE could temporarily forget about the other ones. Like they always do.

I’d rather they just sign Foley and make it him. Really the only two requirements need to be (a) it’s someone Vince hired and (b) it’s someone nuts.

Actually I think HHH will announce himself as the Raw GM when/if he goes heel. What better heel move than to act like he was going to shut the GM up once and for all and then actually announce that he was the GM all along?

I’d be game for Foley. I love seeing Mick on the stick. Or the computer.

My brain hurts trying to go back and figure out if any of the GM’s “decisions” were pro- or anti-Hunter.

Well he hates Edge/cheating/Jericho/BretHart and he loves Miz/Cole’s Handsome Self/that’s all I got. So based off of that… HHH would either have to have a man crush on Cole or it couldn’t be him.

Legitimately speaking, of course. They could ignore any small detail they wanted to.

Nash is the only other person I can see them bringing in to make GM, as he has a history of liking to screw with people. Plus, then you’re one step closer to the Kliq completely taking over 15 years after the infamous MSG Hug incident, as I mentioned in a recent 10 Thoughts.

YES, they could indeed forget anything they want. I’ve already forgotten what the point of this conversation is.

Well just make HBK the new GM of SmackDown and the Kliq’d have it in the bag!

OR maybe Hunter just gets rid of the GMs. They were Vince’s idea, and with Cole, Truth, Morrison and Ryder crossing back and forth between shows like there aren’t separate rosters anyway, maybe that’s a tease of things to come…

I JUST BLEW YOUR MIND.

Oh goodness… I fear a roster separation talk incoming.

Should the rosters be separated or shouldn’t they be? That’s the real question.

They should. They are. They’re not putting them back together as long as Raw and SD have their own TV deals and touring groups. So… TNA?

TNA… so MM did you hear about how awesome the latest TNA PPV was? Hardcore Justice I do believe it was?

Um. I’ll answer that if you can tell me who the top 10 heels and faces are.

Oh that’s easy… top heels are… The Pope, Gunner, Scott Steiner, Mr. Anderson, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Abyss, Mexican America, and Winter.

Top faces… Angle, Sting, Styles, Daniels, Kaz, Beer Money, Mickie James, RVD, Crimson.

For the record, it’s been a half hour since I asked Rhett this question.

Was not half an hour.. more like… 20 minutes… let’s not exaggerate here Matt…

Right and the reason I have trouble following TNA is going to make me out to be a total mark fanboy.

Samoa Joe isn’t even on that list. And he’s still one of the only reasons I tune in to that promotion.

Well duh I mean I watch every week with my Angle mouthpiece, my face painted like Sting, my Jeff Hardy wristbands, and my Crimson t-shirt!

Samoa who? I mean who cares about Samoa Joe? He hasn’t done anything worth mentioning in months!
*takes off The FUJ glasses*

I didn’t include Samoa Joe because I can’t seriously call him a top contender when the only real thing he has done recently is get DQ’d or just not be on the show at all.

TNA’s an interesting animal. I actually don’t hate watching it; I just can’t FOLLOW it and don’t ever feel compelled to PAY for it. But for a couple hours on a Thursday, it can be fun enough.

Right. I can’t just be inclined to shell out 40 bucks to see Angle/Sting prove that they don’t match up well. I can’t be inclined to shell it out to see Devon vs The Pope. I just can’t get involved with that. The only match I really wanted to see curtain jerked and was the MOTN according to those who watched it.

I still hope they figure it out. More places for talent to work is always a good thing.

That is true. At least guys like the X Division stars can shine over here unlike they could in WWE really.

“X Division” stars can indeed shine in WWE, it’s just not forced into a “division” that really has no structure to it whatsoever. I’m not saying the X guys should have a weight limit, etc., but wouldn’t it be easier to follow if there was SOME difference – a couple of rules, or even a couple less rules? – that could be stated, pushed, and sold to the crowd? You know what? WWE could use the “ROH/TNA X style” of wrestler without even bringing in a light heavyweight or similar division. They can do it within their current structure – simply rejuvenate the Tag Division by incorporating smaller wrestlers with a different style into it, allowing them some more leeway in moveset, give them an occasional main event slot on a show or – gasp – a b-level PPV, and go from there. You can satisfy a certain portion of the fanbase, while not having to put singles belts on guys you don’t think have the right “look” for World Champion status.

That’s one thing I’d like to see the recent pushes of guys like Punk and Bryan lead to, and I think it is leading to; a small change in what’s acceptable “WWE main event style.” You still need to have charisma, you still need to be able to use the microphone as a proverbial pipe bomb. But there’s no reason the idea of a professional wrestler or sports entertainer needs to be constricted. And I’m allowing myself to be optimistic that once the curtain goes down on SummerSlam we’ll continue to have reason to believe that WWE will continue this trend of catering to more than one “type” of fan.

 (Or it will somehow end with HHH and John Cena both as WWE Champion.)

Honestly I’d be ok with a certain division in which these stars could shine. It’d be like the lightweight or cruiserweight division without the way in which they were demeaned. Those divisions never received any legitimacy, but with some they could be highly entertaining and cater to those fans who want to see all of the high-flying action that they bring.
And you know who the latest Light Heavyweight Champion is? Four letter word that rhymes with 2Pac. (And the Kliq takeover continues!)

And that’ll wrap it up.

Thank you for coming MM, and do you have any parting words?

Thanks for having me, Mr. D.

And quite frankly my dear… that’s a wrap.

 



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Rhett Davis

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  • randydenesh

    randydenesh the rko

  • steelerdaddy

    Here’s an interesting thought, since you brought up UT and who he could face…

    …what about Mick Foley? Who does UT have more history with than Mick, really? Yeah, Foley’s beaten up from a regular participant point of view, but if he had six months to train, rest, and get ready, I do think he and UT could have one more really good match together. Bill it as both men’s final WWE match (and in Mick’s case I think it would stick this time…) and it could work.

  • incognito

    ““X Division” stars can indeed shine in WWE, it’s just not forced into a “division” that really has no structure to it whatsoever.”

    That shine you see is the arena lights reflecting in their eyes as they job out to everyone.

  • Bainy

    Just so you all know, John cena and hhh will screw punk on Sunday and start off cenas full heel turn, why else do they keep trying to gauge the face reaction for punk by saying his name every opportunity they get, punk is so over now that John cena can proceed to backstab him at summerslam.

    Hhh has been all nicey nice since coming back as ‘C O O’ I think it will lead to a punk/rock v cena/hhh build up, and cena will become hhh right hand man, like when McMahon was in charge of the corporation……

    Its a theory but it’s all there in the build up…. How else could they possibly top mitb?

  • Bainy

    Also why else would they have rey ( a top face ) fighting another face the following raw, after just having face v face at summerslam, I’m telling you, cena heel turn Sunday, sit back and enjoy

  • sideshowbob

    HOW? What show do you watch? I’ll tell you how. Hhh is about to count punk out. Then out comes Steph who distracts hhh. Punk clocks cena, then Steph gets in the ring arguing with hhh because cena lost. She then kicks hunter in the nuts, and it is revealed that cm punk was nailing Stephanie and she’s the one who told hunter to rehire him. How indeed. :-)
    Prove me wrong Sunday wwe!

  • sideshowbob

    So just how much stem IS lost of this goes double countout, or double dq?

    My real hope is punk retains, runs through all challengers til super cena has a survivor series rematch that the rock costs cena the title…

  • sideshowbob

    …how much steam is lost….

  • Cynical Bastard

    “I know the dirtsheets are all reporting that WWE is booking things on the fly, changing things every week/day/whatever, but Punk seems like the type of guy, like Jericho, who has longer-term ideas for what his character will do.”

    There was a link on this site to a podcast interview with Punk where he pretty much stated that they are trying to let the story develop organically and not plan things too far ahead or try to force a certain reaction. For whatever that’s worth anyway, he also said in his GQ interview before MITB that he was definitely leaving and we wouldn’t seem him wrestling less than a month afterwards.

  • deathmetal_dan

    First of all, I don’t want to be an asshole and this is really meant to be constructive. You really need to write your columns in a way that is more readable.
    They are way to long and just look like a mess. I don’t even know how to approach them. Put in some bold titles between sections and more of a structured format overall. You seem to have some good topics and I would like to read your stuff so please consider what I have to say.

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