michael dworkis brings the heat …
WWE was pretty weak this week. During the week Ziggler looked weak, Barrett looked weak, and by the end of the week either Booker T or Teddy Long will be a weakling running the weekly SmackDown! each week.
Raw was a pale empty show compared to the night after WrestleMania. Sure, the night after, no matter where ‘Mania and Raw are held is always a huge show and the fans are 110% into it. We went from Ziggler winning a world title and Fandango becoming a hit, to Ziggler jobbing to Jack Swagger, Barrett losing to R-Truth, and Fandango cuts a promo so terrible, you wish you never got hyped up into “Fandangoing” at all. More on that later.
Ryback cut the longest promo of his career. Good for him, I am glad he could finally pull it off.
Problem. Big problem. He cut it backstage, and to the sharp eye, he was reading off a prompter. While this is not an uncommon thing, widely done back in the late-80’s and mid-90’s during the more colorful years of the World Wrestling Federation, it was part of the show and expected. Nowadays, promos are cut in the ring in front of the live crowd. In the past Ryback cut very short and concise promos, which work very well for his big beefy, hungry monster of a character. There have been a few times he tried cutting longer promos, and easily failed to speak cohesively or even get his lines right. Putting him backstage to cut a long promo was a great, and very smart move. He was able to put over a detailed, albeit very long history of his disdain for John Cena while still coming across as a behemoth. While this is good for Ryback, it is bad for Ryback because we should never expect him to produce the same quality in the ring.
What Ryback needs, better put, who Ryback needs, is Paul Heyman, or someone else good on the mic, like a manager. Bring back Harvey Whippleman.
Kofi Kingston wins the United States Championship. Well, that happened quickly. Cesaro did not get a match at WrestleMania, although according to WWE.com they posted videos of his Mania workout. Guess he was working out how to drop the US Title in convincing fashion. The match was great, but I would have liked to see Cesaro retain and build the feud with Kingston. Those two could have some great matches.
Wade Barrett, the Intercontinental Champion jobbed to R-Truth. Barrett has been jobbing for a while. The guy wrestles as IC champion practically every week, and if my scorecard is correct, he has racked up more losses since winning the United States Championship in the first place. Loses the strap at Mania, wins it back from The Miz the next night, then jobs to Truth. Not seeing any progress. I caught Barrett successfully defending the title against Justin Gabriel on Main Event. Good match, which should have been on Raw instead. I am a big Barrett fan, but I am having difficulty believing WWE has any positive plans for him. SPOILER ALERT! He loses again on SmackDown!.
I read the spoilers for Friday night SmackDown!. I really have no idea where this whole Booker T /Teddy Long feud came from, or where it is going. Seems like a waste. I do not even know who the heel is, and if this is part of the plan WWE has for the angle, then I applaud for they have done their job. Booker T acts like the hard-ass boss, while Long acts like the behind-the-back-schemer. I would like to see Teddy break away and form a team or stable. He was a manager once, he could do it again. The sad thing though, this backstage angle has me appreciating Brad Maddox. That cannot be a good thing.
Ziggles. Ziggy. Ziggster. Zigglemania. While I do not see Dolph ripping t-shirts in the near future, I wonder what his future as a champion will be. Since winning the title, he jobbed to Swagger on Raw and his first title defense will be at Extreme Rules, defending it against both Alberto del Rio and Jack Swagger in a Triple Threat. This makes me very happy. I love three-way dances, mostly because WCW made that match famous during their heyday, and I was a huge WCW guy. This could be a fantastic PPV match. All three have the potential to be steady top stars for the next year. Not kidding. Swagger is the new Kurt Angle. Or JBL. Not sure yet. Alberto del Rio is the modern-day mix of Eddie Guerrero and Rick “The Model” Martel. Just watch out for lethal toothbrushes. Dolph Ziggler is a perfect mix of… Ready? Rob Van Dam, Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, and Shawn Michaels. I know someone will want to hit me with the VanDaminator after that remark, but give credit to Ziggler where it is due. I have never seen a better ring performer, a better spot-hitter, and bump-taker since HBK left the ring. He is the best WWE has right now. I will stand by those remarks.
I hope Ziggler maintains his championship run, at least until SummerSlam, but this guy should go all the way to WrestleMania 30. He should. He went from the Golf Caddy for Chavo Guerrero to a male-cheerleader, to “Hi, I’m Dolph Ziggler” and got his ass handed to him. He has been around longer than most think, and this World Heavyweight Championship reign is very much deserved. I just do not want to see him become a second-tier titleholder. He possesses the potential to be much more.
WWE Main Event has become a solid second-tier show. They have one or two good matches. The problem I have is seeing a guy like Wade Barrett lose on Raw, then win on Main Event. It should be the other way around. Main Event needs instances to make it worth watching. The show is mostly promos and recaps, which is fine, many second-tier programs back a decade or more ago, such as WWF Mania, Sunday Night Heat, and even Velocity (my favorite of the three), would have a couple of matches, but mostly recaps as those bouts were taped before Raw or SmackDown!. Regardless, to get viewers, you need to give them something to see. Having Barrett lose a match to Gabriel is one thing, but if Barrett has lost the title to Gabriel on Main Event? Now that would be one to watch.
That is all for now, next time I will have an exclusive column dedicated to something which is considered a blemish on the careers of many wrestlers, being called a Transitional Champion. The most recent who I can think of…?
I am ready for the hate-mail.