Last year I was in a rich vein of form offering monthly insight into the goings-on in the TNA and WWE. As the year went on, those updates dried up to nothing. There is a reason for that. Chiefly that there has been little worth blogging about.
The Summer of 2011 provided a useful diversion in the rise of CM Punk to the title, but really since then he’s been ambling and bumbling along from one thing to another and the latest revolving around an effort to reignite a wrestler vs. authority storyline with John Laurinaitis who in case I wasn’t sure is the Vice-President of Talent Relations and the Interim General Manager of Raw. It very much comes across as Austin vs. McMahon lite. Very lite.
Now this is a pity because Punk is truly a great wrestler in terms of in-ring action and personality. It’s just not getting pushed to the fore as it should. What makes it worse is that he had a good feud with another superbly talented wrestler in Dolph Ziggler. Yet even with the title on the line it doesn’t get the attention it is due because obviously the braintrust have other things to be carrying on with.
That is certainly not SmackDown. If there was ever a confirmation that SmackDown is the poorer cousin to Raw it has been seen in the way it treats its world champion. First Mark Henry’s run with the title was looking to be a dominant one before stagnating in the ongoing feud with Big Show. The introduction of Daniel Bryan and his eventual holding of the top belt has been interesting and Bryan has proven that actually he is more than capable of carrying the strap, being a cocky heel and working the crowd well. His antics are priceless. Yet there is no impression that the WWE braintrust are completely behind his title run and I for one would be amazed if he walked into Wrestlemania still holding the World Heavyweight Championship.
Usually this would mean that the go-to-guy Randy Orton would pick up the slack. Seriously though, he can just go through the motions and have the fans cheering after him as thier hero. As a result that is virtually what he has been doing, He’s not great on the mic, he’s not awesome in the ring, it is just his look and the superstar, invincible aura that the powers that be have placed upon him. That spells rather bland and predictable scenes of Orton conquering over all and it just seems a matter of time before he holds the title again.
Sheamus the 2012 Royal Rumble winner has to be one of the most inconsequential winners for a while. He will face a champion at Wrestlemania in the knowledge that no one will be watching the main event to see if he wins. Indeed he will not be the main event. He will not be anywhere near the main event. This year’s Wrestlemania will be remembered for other things and he will be doing well to get mentioned.
The reason to watch WrestleMania this year will be because of two matches featuring three wrestlers who are not a regular part of the roster and the fourth being the perpetual super-pushed main man of the entire organisation.
Dealing with Undertaker vs. HHH part two. Due to the size of both wrestlers prestige wise and possibly ego-wise they have to push this match to the hilt. With neither wrestler being fully active since their last match, they are completely relying on the magnetism of the main men to attract people to watch it again. This won’t be a match for the undercard. This will not be a small-fry affair. This has got to mean something at the biggest event of the year and that’s why they will push it to the hilt. Of course what that says for their faith in the actual active roster available is volumes. Trips is meant ot be part of the corporate types and Undertaker has got to have the cushiest job in wrestling – one match a year is a sweet deal.
Of course the big deal for the biggest pay-per-view of the year is one that was set up last year namely The Rock taking on John Cena. When The Rock took on Hulk Hogan way back in 2002 it was a big deal. The Rock was legitimately one of the most dynamic and entertaining wrestlers the industry had produced. Hulk Hogan was the wrestler mainly responsible for making sports entertainment a brand so huge that for more people wrestling mattered. They didn’t need a year to build the match, it was already important because of the two figures involved. Ten years later and the conditions have changed. The Rock is still an entertaining and charismatic superstar indeed so much so that he no longer needs to exude that in a ring when he can get away with doing that in movies. John Cena, however, is no Rock. He is no Hogan. When he is inducted in the Hall of Fame it will be because no man got a push for so long on the top of the industry like Cena. Hogan was superstar incarnate. Austin had the tools in the ring and out. Cena just had the blessing of McMahon and appealed to the kids. His promo work can be good, without being great. His in-ring work can be good, without being great. His overall style is good … without being great. I mean it would just be ridiculous to base someone’s success on that wouldn’t it? (Oh, yes, I see, HHH set the standard.) It has been somewhat tedious hearing of the tweets between the two and the digs they have at each other, as if it makes the match that much more attractive. There will be a sense of relief on my part when the match comes and goes. I would not be surprised in the slightest should Cena emerge victorious and continues on his path to that HoF place with the unremarkable consistency of a well-meaning man who is just good without being great.
And that is the problem with the product at the moment. At its best, it can be a rather good use of two hours of my life. Yet it never maintains that standard and its ongoing meander in the mediocre makes me keep up to see if the good appears but not get too surprised that they continue to squander talents like Punk, Ziggler, Bryan, Miz and the like.