This week, the final segment of Raw earned itself a special little place of hatred in my heart. Every single creative decision that went into the “main event” this week was one that seemed not only, a bad idea or ill timed, but in fact represents the epitome of everything that is currently wrong with how WWE can possibly book a segment. Lets break it down shall we?
This all must have started last week when Raw went down a bit in the ratings. Several factors could be contributing to that, but I’m willing to be that the only thing WWE seemed to look at was the fact that Cena not being on the show = Low Ratings. Now I won’t be so bold as to say that Cena’s absence didn’t affect ratings whatsoever, but what is a much more likely solution is the fact that having a bad episode of Raw might mean people don’t want to watch. We already know that Big Show vs. Cena is a thing and I can’t blame people for not leaping to their TVs in order to witness ever second of this storyline. Plus the fact that those who did tune in quickly discovered that the episode was going to be very Big Show heavy might mean that they don’t feel invested enough for two whole hours. But none of this matters to the WWE. Their quick fix? Lots and lots of Cena. Open the show with Cena, have a main event with Cena. And lets give Cena someone easy to knock around. And for some reason the person chosen for this role is Michel Cole.
Now for the past several months Michael Cole has slowly been repairing the damage that was done to the entire commentary staff about a year ago. It has taken some time, but we are just starting to get to the point where Cole is able to actually comment on the matches in front of him. He still tends to prefer heel wrestlers but doesn’t hold them up as flawless gods of wrestling as he once did. In fact Cole’s improvement has really highlighted how terrible Lawler is at every second of commentary (a whole additional column will be written about that someday) And most importantly of all Cole had a nice moment with JR at WrestleMania where it really felt that any real feud was behind them and from now on even if there were disagreements between commentators (as their should be) the focus would be the match the audience was watching and not the characters of the commentators.
And in one night we completely reverted back to Cole’s full blown smarmy heel, nothing but whining from Cole the whole night long, both to Johnny and to Lawler, and even to us the viewing audience. While matches were happening on my screen, all these two guys would talk about was how wonderful/terrible it was going to be that Cena would fight Cole at the end of the night.
And then the actual match happened. First thing that went wrong was that we were reminded that Tensai existed. (Again, this is a topic for another column.) But once we got Cole in the ring things just continued to break down. Putting aside the general problems of having your main good guy that we’re supposed to always cheer for Forcibly strip a guy down, stomp on his crotch, and cover him in sauce while your main good guy commentator literally points and laughs (Remember kids, Be A Star!) But the Cena has fun tormenting a weaker opponent only works very, very sparingly if at all. And we just saw the exact same thing happen at Over the Limit, all the way down to Cena taking to long and a big guy interfering. Cena only gets to win this one because of ratings I suppose.
Extended Unrelated Thought:
Those who roam the Internet may have stumbled upon a recent story that WWE is considering/planning on releasing a feature length DVD on The Rock and John Cena, titled The Rock vs. John Cena – Once in a Lifetime. I really have to question though, do we really think that these two guys are completely 100% over? Never again will they meet in the ring? I just can’t buy the whole “Once in a Lifetime” aspect of this idea. Somewhere down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, and in fact almost expect, to see these two face each other again. Then not only will my DVD seem half complete, (like wrestler themed DVDs that come out too early in a guy’s career.) but does anybody really feel that this feud with only one match and a handful of face to face promos merit an entire DVD of their own. The best I can see is we get an extended version of the documentary from USA, the actual match, maybe the Survivor Series material, and then what else do we get? Some more Rocky tours Philly? Maybe an extended version of John Cena’s spoken word poetry to an empty stadium? And to top it all off, it is thought that this might end up replacing the Greatest Rivalries series that Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels was supposed to kick off, a series that has years of material and could be rather exciting instead of these few promos from one little year long rivalry.