Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thoughts on the week in wrestling

Let's start with the stuff BEFORE Smackdown, that I was talking about the other day, that I want to address.

  1. Samoa Joe's TNA Title victory on Sunday! Finally! And yet ... so anti-climactic. I'm afraid this would have meant much, much more about 6 mos. to a year ago. But hopefully this will accomplish what TNA hopes for; with Joe's contract about to expire, hopefully this was the bone thrown to him that he needed. But hopefully it's more than that. Despite a title victory that, to me, was devoid of the pomp, circumstances and 'big moment' feel that such an ascension should have had, I sincerely wish that Joe and TNA together make up for that by giving him a strong, and at least somewhat long, title reign.
  2. Mike Adamle: just punch this guy's name into Google, or Youtube, or go to any other wrestling site and you'll hear everything I think about this guy. He's got a slick look and a shiny resume - it does not mean he's competent. He wasn't competent calling a sport he played for years (football), and then to add to that, it's woefully apparent he is NOT familiar with the WWE product, or at least not the ECW product, given he mispronounced several wrestlers' names ("The Tazz"? "Sheldon Benjamin"?), as well as leaving the "E" off of WWE. Worse, he is a PLAY-BY-PLAY guy (as opposed to colour commentary) who DOESN'T KNOW THE NAME OF A SINGLE WRESTLING MOVE, from what I can tell! While his "Uno, dos, adios ..." three count comment was kind of neat, he showed very little skill, or for that matter, potential. Do I blame him? Yes, to a degree - he's been working for the WWE for four months now. He should have some familiarity with their product. He knew he'd be calling his first matches on Tuesday - he should have done some research beforehand. Do I blame the WWE? Yes, and even moreso. They are smart people who put forward a slick product - surely they knew how bad he'd be? Surely they wouldn't throw him in the deep end like that? I've read some speculation Vince likes that this guy was so bad - anything that gets us talking, and maybe folks will tune in to ECW to see just how bad their play-by-play man is. But I don't think that's even a remotely good policy long-term, unless they're looking to turn ECW purposefully into a Mad TV-like parody of an awful indy wrestling organization, or else a similar spoof of themselves circa 1992. Which might have some place in a sport which often takes itself too seriously and forgets its roots as a carny attraction ... but I'd have to wait and see. On my opinion of Mike Adamle, however, no waiting and seeing is necessary; he's awful. It's one thing to have people with woefully little-to-no wrestling knowledge writing your product, quite another to have one onscreen exposing their lack of knowledge of the product for the world to see. It's a slap in the face to all of us who, without a broadcasting degree or experience, could do a better job than this guy simply by virtue of knowing a headlock from an ankle lock. Mike, you gots to go and soon because, I'm sorry - "Jamakin' me crazy!"
  3. King of the Ring - I am excited by this tournament coming back. A debate online this week about it, however, has been: should this 8-man tourney be comprised of the 8 top guys, as an amazing one-night spectacle featuring all of our favourite stars, or should it - as it has in the past - be comprised of mid-card and upper-midcard guys in order to give one of them the push through the glass ceiling they otherwise wouldn't get - shades of Money in the Bank (which in my opinion is the KOTR's successor in terms of the purpose it serves). I'm opting for a mix of the two - have a couple major names, like Cena or H, in the tournament, but have them fight each other early, and eliminate each other, a la Hogan and Andre at Wrestlemania IV. That way, we get the spectacle and the attraction of seeing some of the top guys, the jewels in the WWE crown, have some legit, decent matches on free TV, but they aren't damaged by losing to a Lance Cade or an Elijah Burke, while still allowing one of those guys who could really use a push to establish themselves could still take advantage of it. And before the complaints of 'Well that's giving away a PPV-level match for free' - well, first of all, it's a 3-hour Raw right? That's hardly a regular show, and USA Network will love it, seeing as they complain frequently that WWE leaves all their best stuff for PPVs anyway. And secondly, in the land of suspended disbelief that exists on WWE television, this all isn't fixed, right? So maybe it's luck of the draw who you fight first, and it's a little bit of a gift for tuning in, without looking like they're out and out "booking" a match for free that they could have charged for. Either way, tournament matches like this seldom go over the 5 minute mark, and a short match in the context of a tournament is hardly giving away a potential PPV main event.
As for SD - nothing terribly interesting, as again I think the build is all towards the 3-hour, tri-brand Raw eppy on Monday. More Edge/Vicki and Co. shenanigans on Undertaker - although this thrills me because it leads to a UT/Batista world title match next week (now you want to talk about giving away a PPV main event ... lol ... although I suppose this might have lost some marquee value as it happened so often last year), and those two always put together competent matches with one another. Otherwise, there was some interesting heat built between Batista and Chris Jericho, leading us to perhaps believe that Y2J just might call the Big Dave-Shawn match at Backlash down the middle. Here's to waiting and seeing. See you at the matches Monday! Enjoy your weekend, and here's hoping you have the lovely weather we do!


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