No Chance – Let’s Disagree on Some Things (Teddy Long, The Undertaker, CM Punk, Michael Cole)
by Joel Leonard on February 13, 2012

We all have an opinion or two that goes outside the norm. Maybe you aren’t as impressed with Ziggler’s selling as the rest of us. Maybe you think that Otunga really has a shot if they would just give him a fair chance. Maybe you think that whole “giving birth to a hand” storyline actually had some good parts about it. (Please don’t think that.) Whatever it is, most of us have an opinion or two that would not make us the most popular if we were ever to voice it, on the internet or otherwise.

Well this week, I must have decided I wasn’t getting enough negative comments on these columns because I’m putting down every crazy, off the wall, backwards idea that I’ve got just to stir the pot a bit, so let the yelling and name calling begin.

Undertaker Needs To Lose at WrestleMania: Well that’s not all that controversial is it? I mean sure some people would like for a 20-0 Undertaker to ride off, undefeated into the sunset this year, but it’s not that uncommon for people to think he needs to lose. So what’s so off the wall about my idea? The Miz should beat him. Ending the streak will be a calling card that will propel whoever does it into the Main Event forever. And that needs to go to somebody who can get the most mileage out of it. What can Jericho claim with an achievement like that that he can’t already do with the undisputed champion thing? Or Triple H, or Cena, or any of the guys already at the top of the card. It needs to be somebody young, worthy of that push, and who likely won’t leave the company the way that Brock Lesnar did. The Miz fits all this. So do other guys though such as Wade Barrett or Cody Rhodes. These guys would work as well. The only reason I picked Miz is because he’s already 2-0 at WrestleMania, so he can claim in promos that he will break the streak in his career even if we know that most likely won’t be happening.

Michael Cole Isn’t the Worst Announcer:  We like to blame everything that’s wrong about commentary on Michael Cole, and for the better part of a year now, that’s been true. But recently Cole seems to have returned to focusing on the action in the ring, calling matches and keeping the unnecessary, annoying heel themed comments to a minimum. But then Lawler has to come in and make some unprovoked comment that drags the whole thing back to where it was back when we had the Cole Mine. We’ve got a long way to go before we have truly good commentary again, and short of a complete team overhaul we might not ever get there. But Cole seems to at least be trying while Lawler doesn’t seem to realize that nobody else in the world is in any way invested in feuding commentators anymore.

CM Punk is Not Golden on Mic:  This takes nothing away from what Punk did last summer with his promos. I stand by saying that both his initial one and those leading up to Money in the Bank were the best mic work of the year, and that includes the Rock’s return promo. But you can’t expect a man to deliver company-shattering promos on a weekly basis. And so, Punk had dropped from a level of near perfection to really, really, really good. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still the best mic worker in the company right now (though an argument could be made for Jericho now that he’s talking again) but I’m starting to see cracks in his perfection. There are only so many PG level insults that Punk can throw around to seem edgy without dragging the whole company back to TV-14. And the grand thoughts that were thrown around about fixing the company never seemed to get turned into actual ideas. I’m hoping that with Jericho as a new rival both in ring and on mic, this new feud will bring back out the best in Punk and we can see the same level of performance that was so captivating last June.

I Don’t Like Teddy Long: I actually don’t know how outside of the norm this is because I haven’t heard that many opinions voiced about Teddy Long, but I can’t stand the guy. I’m willing to cut a lot of slack on wrestlers acting abilities. After all what they can do in the ring is most important and reciting lined well is just an added bonus. That’s why we had managers for so long. Well, whatever actual backstage pull Long may have in the real world, anybody can be hired to play the GM of Smackdown, but we still have Teddy Long who can’t seem to put on a convincing performance to save his life. Every week both in front of the crowd and backstage, Long seems to stumble over his lines as he struggles to book this week’s tag team match or partake in another one of those terrible, terrible skits backstage. Is there nobody else available that looks slightly less awkward delivering lines that could fill that part?

Today Wrestling is the Best it Has Ever Been:  Ok this one isn’t actually true. It’s just using a catchy headline to grab your attention. Wrestling is a lot like SNL in that the best incarnation of it is always going to be around the time you first started watching it. This is because over time, you tend to forget all the mediocre and bad things that you had to watch and instead just focus on the highlights. So yes sitting through week after week of less than stellar Raw episodes today can’t compare to the best parts of the attitude era but I’m not sure the average episode today is really any worse than the average episode ten or fifteen years ago. And I don’t actually think that we are watching the best wrestling the world has ever offered right now, but twenty years from now someone who just recently started watching will think that because he remember the summer of 2011 as the time when Punk ran away with the belt and not the time that WWE dedicated a large portion of a PPV to an Obama impersonator.

I Like John Cena: So this one could quite possible get the most people mad at me, but I’ve honestly never gotten the blind hatred of Cena. People complain that kids like him (So what? Kids like Toy Story and that was awesome) or that he always resorts to the five moves of doom (like every other guy on the roster brings a brand new move set each week) but there’s nothing there to get me all riled up. I get that WWE had been shoving him down our throat for the past few years, but there are worse guys on the roster that could be forced upon us. Neither his mic skills or his in ring work is the top of the line but I’ve always found it good enough, at to be honest when he has an opponent that can bring out the best in him, Cena can have match of the year contenders. If nothing else, I hope that people can at least agree that Cena is good for the company. It’s a company that he works hard for and is a good guy to make the face of your business when you may have been associated with some

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Joel Leonard

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  • Anonymous

    Fun read Joel, I especially love your commentary on Teddy Long. He’s been GM FOREVER and for some reason he just can’t be replaced I guess.

  • Ryan Alarie

    Undertaker Needs To Lose at WrestleMania: I agree. Ultimately, giving someone a ‘nice’ send off seems nice, but ultimately, from a business perspective, making someone look good on the way out isn’t smart. Taker is going to be remembered no matter what, and will go into the Hall within a year of his retirement. The streak only needs to be preserved if there is another match to be had. Keeping him winning, and keeping him to one match a year creates suspense. When he loses, it will be the ‘end’, but as long as when he retires is up in the air, there is a chance that the match could be his last, and that he might put someone over on the way out.

    Michael Cole Isn’t the Worst Announcer: It definitely takes two to tango. Cole on NXT wasn’t so bad, even in full blown heel mode, because Josh basically no sold Cole and just let him peter himself out instead of antagonizing him. So Lawler often makes things worse, or gets Cole going. Booker has similar problems, but he’s often just hilarious in his badness, and more often has Cole making fun of him instead of arguing.

    CM Punk is Not Golden on Mic: Well, the arguments against him being Golden is that he’s “not as good as when he was at his best”, and an unrelated thing about not changing the company. While he may have stopped ‘crusading’ (although, he has been pretty solidly against annoyingly cliched GM’s, even if that means engaging in cliched feuds with them) he has changed the company in that people like him (himself and Bryan) are being given a shot to carry things. It will be interesting to see how things shake out going into Mania, but we don’t have Cena and Orton in the title pictures. It may not be revolutionary, but the mere fact that they seem to trust Punk and are giving Bryan a chance seems like a change in the companies attitude.

    I Like John Cena: “I get that WWE had been shoving him down our throat for the past few years, but there are worse guys on the roster that could be forced upon us.” True. But they HAVEN’T been forced upon us. It doesn’t matter that, for example, Khali sucks on toast, if we don’t have to see about 4 hours or so of Khali every month. No matter who you are, being at the top of the card for as long as Cena has been is going to breed resentment. Familiarity breeds content, and that is what Cena is. Familiar. Not only is he overexposed, but he’s unchanging. So, the aspects of his character that are annoying are not only prominently displayed and constantly in focus, but unchanging. In fact, his character has become proud of his unwillingness to change. His in ring abilities aren’t as much the problem as a combination of booking of the matches (i.e. Super-Cena) and his persona. He doesn’t take ANYTHING seriously, at least for long. It’s one thing to not be able to sell a bad leg during a match, and taking away from the story. But when no selling your opponents during the actual build up to the feud, why should we care? Hogan got stale too.

    Look a Jericho. His persona, coming out of WCW, was great. He was a good wrestler, hilarious on the mike, and was an annoying and conniving heel. He was able to take a version of that and play it as a face as well. He could have just kept doing that. However he has repeatedly updated his persona. He has evolved, not just adding moves to his repertoire, but changing his character, and doing things differently. If you went back in time and grabbed Cena from say … the week after the Marine came out in theaters, you would have a hard time telling him apart form the Cena of today.

    With Austin, his injuries meant that Rock and Foley had their main event feud in between Austin reigns. So it wasn’t just Austin on top of many years, he had people to share it with. On the other hand, HHH’s main event dominance, once the guys like Rock and Austin left, was near constant, and people got sick of him too … and arguably, HHH was a better wrestler and character than Cena. Being told CONSTANTLY “this person is the best in the company, this is the person that you WANT to see, so we are giving you this person in a 30 minute main event of every PPV” people who are even indifferent or even a little in favor of that person are eventually going to get tired of them.

  • Zork

    Hell I’d replace Teddy Long. Put COMMISSIONER MICK FOLEY BACK ON THE CASE!!

    MICK FOLEY 2012!!

    As for this era being the best wrestling ever, I totally disagree with that.

    You can tell just looking back on Youtube that even the throw away matches back in the mid 90s to the early 2000s were just wrestled better period. Hell I watched Farooq and Bradshaw fight Viscera and Mideon on WWF Metal in 99 yesterday and thought that was a good hard hitting brawl.

  • Anonymous

    Farooq and Bradshaw vs. Mideon and Viscera, LOL

  • Zork

    I just figured that would really help to further illustrate my point CB.

  • Anonymous

    Dude, I remember that APA-Ministry match too.

    But I like Teddy Long being something consistent/static on WWE programming. And no one can shout “The Undataka” or book a random tag match like T-Lo.

  • Mark

    Teddy Long is so good on the mic it’s weird to see someone saying the opposite. I also find it hilarious that despite Taker putting on one of, if not the best, match at every recent Wrestlemania, that people think he should retire. Do agree with the downturn in Punk’s work lately – the bullying and namecalling and just general teenage dickishness is a big step back.

  • Ryan Alarie

    He did put on a great Wrestlemania match. And took the rest of the year off to be able to make it out for another Wrestlemania payday. Being able to have one match a year, with an opponent that can help you make it awesome isn’t the same as being able to wrestle a regular schedule. And, eventually, the wrestlers who work all year long are going to be a little pissed off that Taker only was to work one night a year and get a massive payday every time.

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  • The Rt. Hon Lady Moo

    couldnt agree more re Teddy Long – it’s the same old crap every week on Smackdown. Four wrestlers in the ring, brawl ensues, Teddy Long makes a ‘shock’ tag match. The number of times this has happened must be well into double figures. Not strictly his fault but still..

  • Anonymous

    I know, but you still watched it :)

  • Mark

    He can certainly work more than one match a year, even if it is a reduced schedule. And nobody can have an awesome match on that stage without having an opponent that can help. If anyone thinks Taker was carried to a great match in any of those matches, they are dead wrong. Wrestlers should kiss Takers feet because he is one of the reasons they all get a shot at a WM payday.

  • Ryan Alarie

    He might be able to work more than one match a year … but he isn’t.

    And while it takes two to tango, how many BAD Taker/Wrestlemania matches have their been? I’d argue at least half of them have been bad, and it was only really in the last few years that it has been pushed towards being great matches. And that can’t go on forever.

    While it can be argued that Taker going to 20, or a rematch of last years ‘close’ match will sell more PPVs … each year it’s going to have diminishing returns. If Taker is going to keep on this EXTREMELY reduced schedule, and still take up about a half hour of PPV time and get a payday each year, that’s going to build some resentment on the roster.

  • Phantomack

    True! Remember ‘Taker vs. Giant Gonzalez (WrestleMania IX) or Undertaker vs. Big Show & A-Train (WrestleMania XIX). Both HORRIBLE Matches!

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