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Flatlining: Randy Orton vs Sheamus (and other RAW shenanigans)

April 10, 2013

So everyone loved that episode of RAW, right?

What?

Starcade?

Scott Keith didn’t like it either? Damn.

Keith is in his own little world (one where stars appear to be in incredibly short supply) so I guess I’ll have to respond to Starcade…

STARCADE: WWE has to fire at least half this roster. AT LEAST.

Why? Cutting talent isn’t going to solve booking problems. Do you honestly think getting rid of (glorious) Otunga is going to make Smackdown an entertaining show?

STARCADE: VKM did say he wanted results or resignations. He hasn’t had the results week to week. The part-timers have saved his ass for three Wrestlemanias now.

The part-timers may have been responsible for high buy-rates (well, the jury is still out on Lesnar), but that’s because they’ve spent an incredible amount of time focusing on these pensioners and coming up with things for them to do…

JERICHO

Dolph and Punk had a short, awkwardly put together feud back in 2012 and fought each other on only one PPV (Royal Rumble). Jericho returned shortly after and started s feud with Punk that would peak at Wrestlemania. Had Ziggler v Punk continued (with Dolph doing everything Jericho did during the feud), they would’ve elevated Ziggler to a level where people would have been willing to take him seriously. Jericho feuded with Ziggler later on in the year, but nobody came out looking good because Jericho had won roughly 2 matches during that comeback.

To sum it up, Jericho’s 2012 return achieved nothing. His 2013 return might be more fruitful, but it’s way too early to tell what’s going happen with Fandango.

BROCK and HHH

Brock Lesnar returned and faced Cena at Extreme Rules. Cena won, so that was a waste of a month, right?

I can see the viewpoint that Cena had been beaten by The Rock and having him lose to Brock would have made him look bad, but this is Cena we’re talking about. Cena, much like Orton, doesn’t need to win every match in order to maintain his fanbase. Having Cena lose twice in a row would’ve actually turned him into the underdog and let to some actual character development, so his fans would’ve been behind him even more.

Lesnar went on to feud with HHH, culminating in a No DQ match at Summerslam. HHH isn’t even a full-time wrestler, so this feud benefited no-one.

Starting the end of January, WWE spent a lot of time on what would become HHH vs Lesnar 2, a match that elevated nothing but Vince’s ego.

Del Rio’s heel run would’ve benefited incredibly from that arm-breaker gimmick. Shit, Angle’s serious beast-run back in the day was all about breaking limbs and it transformed the character so much that he’s still trying to be that guy in TNA.

That’s two part-timers (three, if we count HHH) so far who’ve taken up a lot of time over the past year to the detriment of the entire roster. They might have helped the full-timers get a nice Mania bonus, but they’ve done nothing to make us give a shit about any of the people who actually work house-shows.

THE UNDERTAKER

Punk’s shenanigans with the urn is one of the few memorable things about his run as a  heel. He lost the match and really has nothing left to do now, but it was character development.

Taker might be teaming with Daniel Bryan and Kane at Extreme Rules this year, and either muh boy D-Bry is going to come out of it looking good or The Shield are going to come out of it looking fantastic.

Bonus points for The Undertaker then, even with his ever-decreasing levels of in-ring ability.

ROCKY M.I.A. VIA SATELLITE

The Rock beat Cena, appointed himself #1 contender and fucked off. He returned at Rumble 2013 and ended CM Punk’s 400+ day title run (completely wasting what would’ve been considered a great feat, had anyone else done it). Rock then fucked off for another two months and the people, who he claims to represent, attended house shows that featured no WWE champion.

Twice in a Lifetime (soon to be promoted as Third Time’s a Charm) happened and Cena, who we’ve already established doesn’t need constant wins or a shiny metal prop in order to maintain his fanbase, became an eleven-time WWE Champion.

By my count, that makes 4 part-timers who’ve done nothing but chew scenery over the last 12 months.

I’m not saying these guys didn’t have enjoyable matches, nor that they didn’t bring in an audience that might not have watched without them, but every moment the creative team wasted on those four would’ve been better spent trying to develop the characters of people they already had on the books.

Did you know that WWE was trying to put together a 10-Woman match for Mania that would’ve predominantly featured “Divas” from yesteryear? Contract negotiations fell apart and only The Bellas ended up re-signing, but Vince and friends actually thought it was a better idea than AJ vs Kaitlyn, a feud which had been building for 12 months (and was thrown away on RAW).

STARCADE: This crowd shit all over the product, and probably felt they had the right to do so!

If you prick them, do they not bleed?

STARCADE: The WWE has to start knowing that crowds like this are abjectly shitting all over not only the product, but the entire hierarchy of the WWE.

Exactly, they’re tired of eating the same bland, tasteless sandwich that they’ve eaten every day for the last few years.

STARCADE: For just ONE example, of what use is pushing the Wrestlemania match you bumped off the card to RAW when the match is over in ONE STINKING MINUTE. At this point, I’d almost be for cutting everybody in the match (since they are of no real use), except for possibly Cody, sending him to NXT as Dusty’s son to see if he can get over in Florida.

It has been widely publicized that RAW was re-written and re-shaped at zero hour due to Rock’s departure (and I’ve heard from various places that HHH didn’t want to work in front of that crowd), so I’m guessing Tensai, Funk, The Funkettes, Cody, Lanny Poffo and The Bellas were victims of the re-write. Cody quit Twitter after the Mania match was dropped (even though they were still promoting it that day), so that might have something to do with it as well.

You’re saying that these people should be fired because a part-timer fucked them out of their spot on the Mania (and possibly RAW as well) card. Think about it.

STARCADE: Scott and the like can crap all over RAW – this is the best you’re getting with this crew. Rock and Punk were both out with injuries, probably leaving Brock with nothing to do.

This episode of RAW featured Big E winning his first singles match, Ziggler cashing in and winning the WHC, Miz losing the IC title, Ryback flattening Cena and The Undertaker teaming up with Daniel Bryan. If that’s the best WWE can do, I look forward to seeing their best every week.

STARCADE: You better at least explain how this roster, with these people, is going to put on a palatable product.

Ball’s in your court on that one. This roster has had three years to try.

In 1999, WWE had Roaddog, Billy Gunn, D’Lo Brown, a British Bulldog that couldn’t walk, The Road Warriors, Mark Henry, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Val Venis, Goldust, Blue Meanie, Al Snow, The Headbangers, Steve Blackman, Droz, Bradshaw, Big Boss Man, Test, Mideon, Viscera, Gangrel, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Jeff Jarrett, Brian “Too Sexy” Christopher and Scott “Too Hot” Taylor on the books.

How many of them could have went an hour with Ric Flair?

How many of them wrestled anything above a 3-star match?

They were still memorable characters though. The majority of them had their own look and catchphrases, their own allegiances and whatnot.

If I (and just about everyone else reading this) can tell you more about Jeff Jarrett’s character during 98-99 than I can about Antonio Cesaro from 2012-2013, the talent can’t be the problem.

If they stop hiring people we cared about 10 years ago and actually do something to make us care about the people they have today, the problem will be resolved.

STARCADE: What you saw last night was the culmination of three years of the Universe having had enough with the Raw-to-Raw product.

Tired of the same matches, the same stories, the same conclusions, the same fifteen minute promos…

I’d like to point out something about the Orton vs Fella match that nobody seems to have noticed. I’ve seen a lot of people say “the crowd went into business for themselves” and act like it was a bad thing, but you have to re-watch and take a look at Randy.

Orton has been yearning for a heel turn for well over six months now. He’s been making rude gestures towards the crowd, shouting Steiner-esque dirge at them and, as I noticed during RAW, changing the way he wrestles.

If you’re a face and get boos during a match for performing a sleeper, you try to avoid that move from then onward. Orton worked a slow-paced match with a lot of rest-holds despite the crowd cheering for everything but what was going on in the ring. I’m sure some of it can be attributed to “the main-event style”, but let’s not forget that half of Fella’s repertoire consists of running attacks and power moves. The match had almost grinded to a halt by the time Big Show’s music hit, and the crowd rightfully thanked him for injecting some action into the snooze-fest.

I might have to re-watch some pre-mania Orton stuff now and find out how long he’s been actively trying to get heat, but I thought it was worth pointing out (and it was actually the main reason I wrote this column).

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