After the shenanigans in the comments about Smackdown’s title picture, I thought I’d take a closer look at the various WWE products at the moment and assess their varying degrees of entertainment or staleness. Of course, if you don’t agree, feel free to battle it out in the comments again…
The WWE’s flagship show, no matter how much they talk about ‘brand extension’ and Smackdown being just as important – we all know the truth. If you’re good and the powers-that-be like you, you’re likely to be on the Monday night live show; if you botch or there are no immediate plans for you, off to the recorded show with you (see: Sin Cara). It’s important to note that the best weeks of Raw now are the weeks when neither Triple H nor Kevin Nash are there – when the talent are allowed to work, we still get some terrific matches. Unfortunately, the wrestling too frequently takes a back seat to inexplicably elongated promos, in and out of the ring.
A Raw girl through loyalty to my beloved Punk, it has surprised me to note that Smackdown has been by far the superior show in the second half of 2011. Though the storylining may be equally pathetic, the focus is much more on the in-ring work (mostly because, of course, they can edit out the embarrassing pauses and cock-ups during the talking). Smackdown can be proud this year of the way Cody Rhodes has developed into a twitching, barking mad heel with genuine heat, rather than the prancing pretty boy of latter years; and of course Mark Henry’s establishment as a proper, intimidating monster.
Whisper it, but more often than not at the moment Superstars is a better show minute for minute than either of the big leagues. Where else can you get to see Drew McIntyre and Tyson Kidd in action, for starters? Plus the fact that this was the show that aired one of the epic Daniel Bryan v William Regal encounters from the UK tour – any of which would have been a perfectly good choice as a Smackdown match, if not a main event. And of course it’s always nice to see Trent Barreta in his natural habitat.
Yes, this shit’s still going on. Now 7,394 weeks into the current series, we’re still no closer to knowing which rookie will be redeemed, and if Derrick Bateman’s Twitter is anything to go by, the talent have no idea how the show is supposed to operate either. Put it out of its misery, please.
OK, you have to use nefarious tactics to locate it from the UK, but it’s worth it. First of all, Regal is on commentary and occasionally used in the ring. Second of all, it is hilarious to laugh at The Ascension, whose vampire gimmick they keep claiming as “never before seen in WWE” (yeah, whatever). But third of all, the talent. THE TALENT. Antonio Cesaro. Dean Ambrose (whom I genuinely fear). Seth Rollins. These guys should be in the big time, but if they were they’d be used in rubbishy storylines and would never get to wrestle properly and they’d just end up jobbing to Randy bloody Orton, so maybe FCW is the best place for them.
Major problems with WWE products:
1) Michael Cole
It’s not so much that he’s irritating, although he is. It’s his ubiquity. Heel commentators are all very well, but the same heel commentator? On every single show? Saying the same thing? Too much.
2) The Divas division
I’ve been through this in detail before.
Now – over to you…