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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wrestlemania 24 & Monday's Raw

So I haven't written anything since WM and Raw because I've had a hard time putting into words the power of these shows. I HAVE been working on expressing myself, though, as you'll see in a moment. But it's been a struggle - on the one hand, it doesn't feel right to critique these last two shows, as they've just been such a strange and special and unusual time in this business - at the same time, so pivotal, with Ric Flair's retirement, that I don't feel it can go uncommented on. So before doing my 'hits and misses' of the WM long weekend, let me share with you the Ric Flair slideshow I've spent the last two days putting together.


video

As I'm sure I don't need to explain to anyone reading this blog, this is the equivalent of the Rolling Stones calling it a day - and while I believe the leadup to Flair's retirement weekend could have been done ten times better, this weekend itself couldn't have been handled any more beautifully. His Hall of Fame induction was handled with class and aplomb, his match with Shawn Michaels was better than any match between a 59 year old and 43 year old had any right to be, and the retirement ceremony on Monday moved me to tears - for the record, I haven't cried over wrestling since the Benoit murders last year. So way to handle that - amazing job WWE, as only you can do when you set your mind to it.

As for the rest of the card (oh yeah - there WAS a 'rest of the card'):

WM

  • AWESOME opening video package with an "A lot can change in a year" theme. After the Year of the Benoit Murders, a year where the top of the card on both Raw and Smackdown brands were plagued with injuries (Triple H ... John Cena ... Ken Kennedy ... Undertaker ... Edge ... Rey Mysterio Jr. ... MVP ... Matt Hardy ...), there was a lot more movement around the card than I thought; way to address that, without dwelling on it. Tastefully done, and an acknowledgement of a VERY roller coaster 12 months.
  • Very solid matches from everybody, a few 4- and 5-stars; those who didn't put on a stellar match, at least put their hearts and souls into it in ways I haven't seen in a long while (see the Divas match). Even Floyd Mayweather-Big Show pleasantly surprised me in that it didn't suck, and both men worked hard. Almost everyone did ... after all, if you can't get it up for WM, you have no right to be there. I mean, when else are you going to bring your A-game? In particular I'm talking to ...
  • Kane? Beating Chavo Guerrero in 9 seconds? This is worthy of WM? Oh well ... at least it was decisive ...
RAW
  • Not really a lot to say - I liked the opening teases of John Cena and Triple H's music. Since apparently only 8% of WWE fans, according to their own poll, thought Randy Orton was walking out of WM with the WWE Title, this was a great way to play up the suspense for anyone who didn't get to see the show (though how that many people couldn't have seen that coming is beyond me ... yes, Triple H was my #1 pick, but Orton was an incredibly close second).
  • Otherwise, the only thing I can quasi-complain about is that I didn't feel a whole lot of acknowledgement of WM, or moving on from it, was done (the most glaring example: neither Triple H or Cena sold their disappointment at their title losses; I could also mention they didn't segway Shawn into his next storyline, but a. they kind of did (anyone notice Batista's glares at him?) and b. that's understandable ... as is the reasoning behind the lack of moving forward; to do so would have been to take away from the real purpose of this night, which was acknowledging Ric Flair's contributions to the industry. So in that sense ... well done. I'll be sad, but interested, to see what the new post-RF wrestling landscape looks like when we address it next week.
  • The programs they DID move along with - Big Show v. Khali should be interesting, though perhaps not a wrestling clinic - and I hope they didn't just abandon the London/Kendrick breakup tease; that could be an interesting storyline to play out. I also liked the Chris Jericho-CM Punk match; here's hoping this leads to a program down the line (or perhaps, now ... perhaps a fight for the MITB briefcase vs. IC title at Backlash?).
So that's it, except - did anyone see Tuesday's ECW? I heard it was pretty decent but didn't catch it. Email me at inthisveryring@gmail.com if you want to write me up a report about it. Thanks! :D

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