Welcome back to Interinactivity – it “steps up” and “runs with that ball”.
Before we get into our main topic, I’m going to address something. I was wondering how long I’d be back before someone pulled something like this – I didn’t think it’d happen in my first two days, after having discussed such soft topics as AJ, Dolph, and Billy Gunn, of all things. But it happens every year at some point, you can set your watch to it. So may as well get it out of the way early. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as hilarious as Randy Orton breaking character and flipping off an entire crowd live on this week’s PPV with complete impunity from his PG-oriented company, but here we go anyway.
If you want to skip it and go to the wrestling stuff, I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a bit long, but it needs to be on the record.
Bob: Blair, with all due respect, (and I do always enjoy your columns), I think you’ve taken this pathological need to disagree with most to a new level. I can’t tell if it’s some sort of hipster irony, or if you are trolling to get more comments (which if so, well done!)
A few examples from the this article alone of such:
1) Billy Gunn can cut promos. (Additionally those promos are no worse than Rhodes or Sandow). I think we’re gonna have to put up a  on that one.
2) Ziggler is downright terrible.
3) AJ didn’t “step up”, she only has done exactly what was scripted for her and anyone would have done the same and done it just as well. (to which then you make a GREAT deal of speculation on both her role and what creative came up with for her character).
4) Sheamus gets no reaction. (I don’t, and have never cared for Sheamus at any point. If he was never on TV again, I wouldn’t miss him. But to say no one gives a shit about him is disingenuous.)
The only thing left for you at this point is to publicly start arguing how TNA production values puts the WWEs to shame.
Blair: Bob, no disrespect taken my friend, especially not from a regular commenter such as yourself – and none is meant in return.
First off, as I’ve stated MANY times, “no” reaction is a figure of speech, just like if I were to use “everyone” or “no one”. Other writers on this site and everywhere else do it all the time. It’s my way of saying that I think Shaemus’ reactions are pathetic given how much time and money they’ve invested in the guy, let alone when they put him against guys like Ziggler, Punk and Bryan, who do everything they can to get booed. It’s not a metric statement of fact – I’m not posting NEWS saying “Shaemus blows”. That’s a matter of opinion – and that happens to be my opinion. Which is written in this column, which is, as are the others written by Shaw, Gojira, JC, Sawyer, and others, an OPINION column. There’s a reason it shows up under the “commentary” section.
As for the AJ stuff, I never said she didn’t deserve praise, and DID in fact praise her in other areas, just not for this one specific thing that people randomly started giving her credit for out of thin air. As for me “making a GREAT deal of speculation on her role and what creative came up with for her character”… the people talking about her doing all this stepping up and running with balls and creating her own character AREN’T speculating? Yet me questioning weather that’s actually the case IS speculating? I’d say the other side of that debate involves a LOT more speculation than the side I’m on. Jesus Christ Almighty. Where’s the learning curve?
There is NOTHING in this article that I’ve said that I didn’t mean – it’s not a need to disagree with anyone when I say that I believe that Billy Gunn can absolutely cut as good or better a promo or match than most of WWE’s roster today. The mistake people make lies in the belief that in saying that, I think Billy Gunn is great. I don’t. I simply think that most of today’s WWE roster is a dialtone, in and out of the ring. Is that my failure as a writer that leads people draw the wrong conclusion? Perhaps, but I do try my best to preface such statements with qualifiers like “let it be known that I’ve never been a big fan of Billy Gunn…” which is EXACTLY what I did on the article in question for EXACTLY this reason. I also said that I thought Ziggler was one of the better WWE workers on the current roster, yet you in your comment said that I called him “downright terrible”. Just like how you said I thought AJ deserved “no praise”. That’s the problem. Right there. Where the fuck did you get that from? I’m not sure how much clearer I can be. I mean what I say when I write it, and it’s not as though I don’t back up my positions when called on them. I’ll respond either in the comment section or in the next article. I don’t put this stuff out there lightly.
Besides that, there are others in the comments who’ve agreed with some of my statements as well. Are Gepp and Cynical Bastard also crazy for thinking the AJ praise got blown way out of proportion? Of course not. And nor am I. Again – it’s my opinion, not a statement of fact.
As for my “pathological need to disagree with people”, there are instances in the very column you commented on where I’ve agreed or at least partially agreed with some statements I’ve chosen to use. This is also the case with most of the past articles, if not all of them. Beisdes that, you’re confusing a need to disagree with the nature of the column itself, which is to use statements I’ve seen on the site (or elsewhere) that I want to respond to. It seems a waste of time to pick a bunch of statements I fully AGREE with and put them in the column:
CB: I think that Chris Jericho and CM Punk had a great match at Extreme Rules.
Blair: I agree!
Pretty boring, isn’t it? You really want to read a bunch of those on a weekly basis? Now, if CB had made a statement that I actually had something to say to – partially agree, disagree, whatever - that might be a bit more entertaining or interesting for however many or few people that are actually interested in what I have to say, no?
The only time I’ll give an “I agree”-like response to someone in these articles is if they ask me a direct question about what I think. It does happen, but it’s a rarity. In addition, I agree with people on other articles all the time. But yeah, taking issue with stuff is kind of the nature of the column – and it’s why, during a slow week or a week where there’s not a lot of debate to be had as far as I’m concerned, you may not see a column (not Interinactivity, anyway.)
Over the years, I’ve observed that I generally don’t seem to see a lot of things like most wrestling fans or writers on this site do. I’ve stated many times that this may be a tough column to read for a lot of fans of the current pro wrestling product, because I shit on about 90-95% of what’s out there right now – but that’s done because I genuinely find about 90-95% of what’s out there right now pretty shitty, not because I’m pretending to hate it or just disagreeing to piss people off and get hits. What possible point or endgame could there be to that for me? I don’t give a shit about hits. Frankly, I’m surprised this column gets as much attention as it does.
It’s not like I think I represent the majority – if you haven’t ever heard me say that I know I’m in the minority of the wrestling fans that are left these days, then this is me saying it now. And not only that, it’s not like I’m claiming I’ve never been wrong. I was wrong about Del Rio – I thought he was a complete waste of time (aside from his matches with Mysterio, who is known to be very good with most anyone) until he put on a bunch of matches that really impressed me. And when that happened, I mentioned it and said that I was wrong. Del Rio is great – they’ve made him into a one-dimensional stereotype with a lame catchphrase, which is stupid, but his matches are great. But I’m not going to get off-topic on that.
Anyway, there’s some perspective for you on the nature of my writing and on the nature of the column. The truth is though, I didn’t even need to get into any of that to prove your comment wrong. Pointing out that you said I called Dolph Ziggler terrible when I didn’t is all I had to do. Or I could have debunked your claim that I said AJ deserved no praise. Or the one about how I disagree with everything. But I didn’t. I wrote all of this out because comments like this come along all the time – the other popular one is that I “hate everything”. I’m not going to keep responding to that, I’m just going to start linking people to this article. This isn’t what the column is supposed to be about. The column is supposed to be about responding to people’s opinions or thoughts on wrestling-related stuff that’s going on, not defending the validity of my opinion, which is something that’s gotten VERY tiresome over the years.
If you think that my opinion isn’t valid, or that I’m disagreeing just to disagree, or that I hate everything, or something equally silly – then great. But I can’t even begin to guess as to why you’re reading my columns if that’s the case.
That’s not a response specifically for you, Bob – as i said, I put it all up because comments like the one you posted have a habit of coming in and i thought this year that I’d nip it in the bud early. It does apply to you in this case, though. But as I said, you’re a regular reader and commenter and are entitled to your opinion as much as I’m entitled to mine. I appreciate that you find the articles entertaining – and I had no idea that disagreeing all the time was a hipster thing, so you taught me something.
This is part one of a two-part article featuring the John Cena / CM Punk / The Rock saga. Some of these comments are from when this all started up again with Punk turning heel. Next week, we will look at some more recent stuff, including the Night Of Champions results and thoughts.
Mike Gojira: Initial knee-jerk reaction: Punk’s seeming heel turn against Cena does not sit right with me. Yes, we all know he can legitimately blame it on jealousy over not being in the main event at PPVs. It just doesn’t bode well for any heel who goes up against Cena in the long run. And if this does become a full-on heel turn, then that just means Cena is the only top face on Raw…again.
Blair: When, in the last 7 years, has going up against John Cena boded well for a heel OR a face that wasn’t named The Rock?
FlamingWombat: It’s funny how we all hear and see different things, because as I was watching I remarked how both Rock and surprisingly Cena were getting louder reactions than Punk.
Blair: Science has long suspected that people see and hear a lot of different things in Cloud-Cukoo-Land.
FlamingWombat: There’s been diminishing returns on Punk’s title reign, so maybe (hopefully) a heel turn would change that.
Blair: … but, sad as it is, you’re 100% right about this. These days, a heel run for a guy like Punk can actually help increase his success as a babyface with a sizeable portion of the crowd, anyway.
I personally think that Punk’s “diminishing returns” thing has a lot to do with the fact that really, it’s still been the John Cena show the entire time he’s had the belt. I think there was maybe one month where Punk was at the top? That’s just my opinion, and I’m sure people will be debating that point for years.
But regardless of the reason, you’re certainly not wrong there. There’s no arguing that.
Penny Sautereau-Fife: Is it just me or did Punk look visibly unhappy and hesitant to pull the heel turn? He visibly looked like he was pissed off that he had to do out-of-character sudden no-explanation heel stuff. It almost looked like he was bordering on going into business for himself.
Blair: It’s just you.
Ryan Alarie: It does sort of bury the entire current roster to have Rock walk in and take the title.
Blair: Well, yeah. But really, as far as any grievances that the locker room may or may not have with Rock go, it’s fuck-all to do with the title at this point.
When they’ve already given The Rock top billing in the company along with Cena for a full year, and then ended that year with him headlining and winning the main-event at the biggest WrestleMania they’ve done in a long time, I’m not sure why the roster would particularly care about whether he gets a title or not. After what they’ve already given Rock since his return, having him win him a World Title (that was booked under the rest of Rock’s previous year anyway) shouldn’t be any MORE of an annoyance to the roster than anything else WWE’s already done for him.
If anything, getting Rock in the title picture might actually bring some more importance and attention back to it. It’s only recently that they’ve made it the main focus of the show again.
Mike Gojira: What I would like to see is a reversal of the Cena Response, wherein the women and children boo Punk and the men continue to cheer for him.
Blair: Man, I rarely attend live shows anymore. But in 2008 or 2009, I attended one. I thought for sure that it would be mostly kids cheering Cena, I wouldn’t have even guessed there would be that many women behind him. But, to my surprise, I saw men – PLENTY of men, with Cena merch on. Sure, it wasn’t like it was a majority of them, and as a whole, Cena got half or more of the crowd booing the shit out of him, as he usually does, but yeah – no shit – LOTS of grown-ass men cheering for Cena.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to be mean or anything. Good for them for supporting their guy and all.
I just honestly don’t get it. I don’t get his appeal to adults. At all. I find the guy SO embarrassing and irritating to watch it’s not even funny – even less funny than Cena is himself.
I personally blame any adult Cena fans on upbringing. But that’s only because I can’t figure another reason. Not for the life of me.
SideshowBob: What percent of the…universe…can even say they were watching when Rock worked wrestling full time? Isn’t that likely the same group/demographic that is going to pull for Punk or DBryan no matter what they do? So if that logic is correct, the remaining people, the ones who booed Punk, are the same group that cheer Cena blindly? In other words the same group that was all anti-Rock leading up to wrestlemania? You’d think they’d be happy that, to them, Rock might get his comeuppance..
Blair: The thing with the way they’ve booked Rock, is that anyone who is in the “Universe” (I hate that term too) who never saw his full-time run in WWE… doesn’t necessarily have to. Anyone watching at LEAST knows or has heard of the legend of The Rock, as he’s arguably the biggest star they ever had besides Hogan. Besides, they brought him in and made him look like the biggest deal there was. For all most of the current audience cares, he’s just a movie star who can kick everyone’s ass – hell, even for WWE, I’m sure that’d be perfectly fine with them. WWE has been giving up the anal cherry to celebrities for decades now.
CB: I say let Punk retain until the Rumble, then beat The Rock anyway.
Blair: Jesus. What?
CB, you’re a smart man. So you know that Punk will NEVER beat The Rock cleanly. If they didn’t let their biggest star beat him, they’re not going to let Punk beat him. Not in this lifetime.
The ONLY way it happens is if there’s a screwjob. And if that’s how it goes down, does it really matter all that much? Take a look at Rock / Hogan – do people remember those two matches between those two huge stars and count the one from WrestleMania with the clean finish, or the one from a year later with the “screwjob” ending that was only used to set up Hogan / Vince at WM19? And if by some screwjob Punk does win, that’s all it will be – something used to set Rock up for something else. It certainly won’t be to give Punk a win over Rock – and just like Hogan / Rock II, no one will really count in as a win for Punk anyway.
Besides, if Punk does hold the belt until Royal Rumble with Rock, it’s definitely within the wheelhouse that he drops it that night. As I said above, with all that they’ve given Rock since he came back, would it REALLY be that much of a surprise to see him win the WWE Title?
Drraines2012: Punk is neither because a true heel is always a heel and a face is a face and those days are long gone. Cena is suppose to turn after his time off later this year unless someone screws up and he doesn’t get his long vaccation he is been wanting.
Blair: No offense, but by this logic, you believe that WWE doesn’t have any good guys or bad guys anymore. And there’s not one WWE show in the past decade that you could watch and argue that case without looking ridiculous.
Cena has been “supposed to turn” for about 7 years now. They have no reason to do so. Cena gets more heat from the crowd now than if he were a true heel anyway, and the people who ARE supporting him are the kind of fans who will always buy his merch. They’re in the sweet spot with Cena, and they have been for years. They know this.
Rivas: It makes Cena look even worse when you think about the fact Punk earned that respect by beating him. Twice.
Blair: Punk has never beaten Cena straight up. In the Chicago fight, Cena was forced to break his finishing submission move to stop Ace from ringing the bell, and then Punk hit him with his finisher from behind. In the month following, Cena had his foot on the ropes when Punk pinned him.
ONE GUY that I’m aware of in the last 7 years has beaten Cena straight up.
And that’s The Rock.
That tells you a lot right there.
Due to the size of the article this week, this seems as good a place as any to call it quits for Part 1. Part 2 of this same topic will go up next week at the usual time, featuring Night Of Champions feedback, as well as a bottom line on the main-event picture in WWE currently.
As always, thanks again so much for all your contributions. Let’s get to…
Feb 13, 2011
Joseph Hargrove: … as for Drew McIntyre, the unfortunate news for you is that management is very favorable with him thanks to Triple H and Vince. He will be around for a long time so get used to seeing him in the ring, friend.
Ah, Hargrove. One of my favorites. As we all know now… this didn’t happen. I don’t want to say I called it, but I also can’t think of another way to finish that sentence.
It’s time for…
New Rule #1: If the one and only thing that got you noticed was also the one and only thing that got you fired, then during your incessant bitching, at least admit that you didn’t have a lot going for you to start with.
New Rule #2: If you’re an ex-WWE Diva and you’re going to trash-talk your former colleagues, at least have the common sense to not choose Kelly Kelly as your target. It’s a waste of time. We hear enough trash-talking about her from current employees.
New Rule #3: Anyone who’s actually eaten a footlong sandwich from Subway knows that there’s no fucking way anyone is wrestling even a 5-minute match immediately after.
New Rule #4: Rather than repackaging Wade Barrett as a bare-knuckle-brawler fight-club character over 2 full years into his WWE run, they should consider giving that gimmick to someone new or at least someone who hasn’t done much yet. Aside from it being a fairly decent-sounding gimmick that you’re giving to someone who’s had more than his share of chances, and aside from the fact that it’s basically an admission that what you were doing with the guy before didn’t work, you can also avoid the fan reaction of “Oh, it’s this guy? Christ, he blows.”
New Rule #5: Speaking of my buddy Wade, it doesn’t really matter whether a crowd was chanting “We Want Nexus” or “We Want Wrestling”. When he’s is in the ring, both chants are justified.
Well, that’s all the time we have for this week. Again, any and all comments and thoughts are always appreciated, or you can feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter if you’re into such things @BlairADouglas .
Also, earlier this week I was a guest on the great Martin Shaw’s article series, where we discussed Owen Hart. Check that out here.
This has been “Interinactivity”. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. See you next week for Part 2.
I’ll be in my trailer.