Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reid Flair, Backlash and Raw

Well as we've discussed, there hasn't been much going on in the wrestling world of late; even the onscreen product, while exciting as it was Wrestlemania time and the draft, was in quite a holding pattern from No Way Out on, as all champs retained their belts at Mania, no real major heel or face turns have occurred, and the draft wasn't truly in effect until last night.

Not to say that a holding pattern is bad - some excellent matches have come out of the last few months, and a few stories have been pretty well told (Shawn Michaels and Undertaker covers both of those requirements, Randy Orton and Triple H's story was well-told at least at the start). However, once we've been done saying 'another excellent job by Wrestler X', there hasn't been much to say.

But all that changed this weekend/Monday night; Backlash was arguably a more newsworthy and exciting PPV than Wrestlemania from an overall perspective, and Monday night basically followed up on that really well. In the offscreen world, the youngest son of a legend was also busted for drug use. While we're already back at the eve of a new ITVR broadcast, I don't want to get into any of these in mad detail, I want to touch on all three stories of the last few days briefly.

Starting with Reid Flair:
Reid Flair, son of wrestling legend Ric Flair, was arrested this weekend for drug possession (felony, as the drug was heroin), DUI, and driving on a suspended license (due to a previous DUI). As a young man who recently made his professional wrestling debut, and already carries around a lot of pressure as the 'son of the Nature Boy', this kind of publicity and setback is the last thing Reid Flair needs. Hopefully he gets the help he needs getting his life back on track or else he risks his shot at the big time in a big way in terms of his reputation as a liability. I wish the Flair family luck in dealing with this situation.

I'll cover these together, as really they were two parts to the same story. Ari and I will cover this in a more blow-by-blow fashion shortly: but for now the highlights by storyline:

  • Triple H/Batista/Shane McMahon vs. Legacy: a decent match, although I hope they keep Triple H offscreen awhile to sell the kick to the head here, but moreso to refresh his character. As small as the segment of the audience might have been cheering his being taken out on a stretcher and jeering him, they were vocal, and definitely representative of a certain segment of WWE's audience. I wish they'd done the same thing with John Cena, but more on that later. Congratulations to Randy Orton on his reign. His match with Batista should be good at Judgement Day, and I'm interested in their furthering of the dynamic between Batista and Triple H as well, as Batista could be argued to have cost Triple H his title when Triple H admonished him for wielding a chair. They kept Shane McMahon in the spotlight Monday night as well, without ramming him as a non-wrestler down anyone's throats. Good work.
  • MVP had a good match with Randy Orton; that didn't hurt anyone and in fact was a great start on Raw for MVP. The other Raw debut from the draft, Miz, could have had an equally good start by challenging John Cena, if Cena hadn't come out later on to distract Big Show and cost him his match with Batista for the #1 contendership to Randy Orton's title. Miz calling out an injured John Cena he knew wouldn't show week after week would have been entertaining, and could have gotten Cena some fan appreciation back when he finally did show; instead it looks like he won't even be taking time off to sell the major injury Big Show inflicted on him by throwing him through the spotlight and costing him his title defense to Edge (an amazing spot by the way). Instead as I said we have Cena still on TV, and Big Show continuing to look stupid by allowing Cena to dstract him on Monday night into a countout. They've now both cost each other titles/title shots. On the plus side, by GM Vicki telling Show she wanted a strictly professional relationship going forward, I think they effectively pulled the plug on this storyline, which makes sense with Edge and his wife on different brands now.
  • We can save much of the rest for tomorrow - the lacklustre response to the Primo Brothers' debut on Raw, the funny-ness that was Santina declaring his love for JR at Backlash and Hornswoggle macking it up with the Bella twins under the ring before revealing Santina's 'bits', etc. but as I say tune in to In This Very Ring tomorrow for all that. The only thing I want to add in the meantime is a congratulations to Jack Swagger and Christian on a very good match at Backlash, and Christian on his ECW title win. After a Mania at which no titles changed hands, for all 3 of them to change hands made Backlash at least a newsworthy show. Kudos to all involved. Efforts were more or less succesful as we'll discuss tomorrow, but they were still all worthy efforts. Yay.
  • Also ... where on Earth is Shawn Michaels still?


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