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2.06.2007

Titles And Commentary Diminishing on "Raw"

First of all, huge thank you to Frank Fronte - Tha O Show's current MVP - for covering last night's "Raw". I've been busy all week moving and have had little to no time to watch - let alone write about - wrestling.

So much so that I haven't had time to change my WWE Fantasy roster for the second week in a row! (The proof is in the standings after week 2 that have been posted by Big Daddy Donnie as a comment in Frank's "Raw Is Awesome" column). Either way, I just had to post something today.

Now while I agree with Frank's assessment of last night's "Raw" overall, I do take issue with the way SOME titles in the E are being misrepresented and disrespected.

So here's what WWE is teaching us: The World Heavyweight Championship is the most important title in the company. After winning the Royal Rumble, Chris Benoit went after it, so did Batista, so did Rey Mysterio...and now The Undertaker.

In this case, it's a logical choice as far as I'm concerned. Taker is a "SmackDown!" superstar and should be challenging Batista after all. I've always been down with the brand split - even as many wrestling fans continue to moan about it years after its inception - but Royal Rumble has exposed a weakness in the E's storytelling ablities by allowing winners to "choose" the title they wish to compete for.

As far as I'm concerned, the Rumble winner should automatically challenge for the title that is represented on his brand. That way, no other title will appear diminished.

At least the E is still portraying the WWE Championship as a coveted title. Three main eventers were forced to compete in a Triple Threat Match last night on "Raw" for the chance to challenge for the WWE title at WrestleMania 23.

But what do you need to do to get a crack at the ECW strap? Just walk in on Vince and ask him for a shot. Good job Kenny, looks like you really had to beat a rush of superstars who were chomping at the bit to get a chance to compete for that belt last night. Man, are they making that belt look bad.

There is not a single person on the planet who actually thought for a second that the ECW Championship was a legitimate choice for The Undertaker. Why diminish the title by even pretending it is as important as the other two Taker selected from?

No selection process was even needed. It makes sense for Taker to challenge Batista as there is a decent angle on "Raw" between HBK, Edge and Orton that allows for enough legit challengers for the title on that show.

The ECW Originals should be fighting for the ECW strap anyways - NOT being buried week in and week out. First of all, Bobby Lashley VS. Kenny Dykstra for the ECW Championship - on "Raw"!! - is just plain wrong. Secondly, was a Balls squash really necessary? (Man, that sounds bad in so many ways). I literally haven't watched ECW in weeks and this is a reason why. It just isn't ECW.

Why Vince is seemingly trying to destroy something that he owns is beyond me.

Either way, back to the 'diminishing' of other WWE titles...I had actually forgotten that Shawn Michaels and John Cena were tag champs. (I wish that fact could have stayed forgotten). I completely agree with Frank Fronte. Benjamin and Haas need - no DESERVE - the straps.

I have always felt that if the best in the business (how you define 'best' is up to you) should be WWE champ. By that token, the best tag team in the business should be tag team champs. Cena and Michaels aren't even a real tag team. I hate it when teams like that wear the gold. And quite honestly, the World's Greatest Tag Team deserves a run with the tag straps similar to that of Brian Kendrick and Paul London.

Both the wrestlers AND the belts themselves need that kind of push. In fact, a Benjamin/Haas VS. Kendrick/London match at Mania would O-tastic!!

Speaking of O's, I thought Carlito finally stepped his game back up in his match last night. But WOW what a promo by Ric Flair! Frank hit the nail on the head by claiming his backstage tongue-lashing of Carlito was the best promo cut this year so far. Criticizing Carlito's lack of passion for the business was about as close to a shoot segment as you can get.

No matter what comes of this - that promo should serve as a lesson to ALL wrestlers and wrestling fans alike. I'm sure Flair was speaking from the heart as he delivered his speech last night. Amazing work.

Plus, an extra O goes out to Flair for bringing back his patented face plant in his match last night. I missed that. It's forever funny stuff.

On the topic of funny stuff, Frank mentioned the travesty that was Jerry Lawler's hairpiece. It matched his commentary last night. There has been a lot of talk of Jim Ross slipping up a lot, but last night was Lawler's turn to shit the bed. Here are some of his 'greatest misses' from last night:

During Jeff Hardy's match with Ric Flair, Jeff sells a leg injury after a flip, Jim Ross notices the injury and asks, "Ankle or knee?". Lawler's response: "I think it's his knee or his ankle".

He then goes on to refer to Hardy's encounter with Flair as "memorable" thinking that it was a good segueway to speak about the Triple Threat Match later that night. "Speaking of memorable", Lawler says referring to the main event that hasn't even happened yet.

When the main event comes, Lawler speaks about Randy Orton and Edge and their want of a title shot: "One of the two of them want to be at WrestleMania". Huh? I'm pretty sure that they both WANT to be at WrestleMania Jerry. That hairpiece really affected your brain last night, bro.

Let's just hope that WrestleMania 23 is a visit back to the old school. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels should each become champions again before they're finished with wrestling. Among the most important of all of the things that WWE SHOULD be diminishing - the title runs of John Cena and Batista.


22 comments: on "Titles And Commentary Diminishing on "Raw""

BigDaddy said...

I agree with most of what you said bro...

The big thing to me is, a Raw midcarder can compete with and PUSH the ECW champion to the limit...

Frank Fronte said...

I dont mind Kenny being involved in such a match.

We've seen Nitro have good matches with Cena, why can't Lashley sell for a mid-carder?

Did you notice how he got NO reaction when he came out in the opening segment?

The Hitman said...

Flair's promo may have been the best one anyone's cut in years. When he does things like that, it shows why he's still around. Well, that and the fact that he can still wrestle like few people on the roster. Like Mick Foley said about a year ago, Ric Flair is one of the few people in the business who has never phoned it in on any night.

The Hitman said...

Yeah, I think I saw one eight-year-old with a crudely made sign that said "Undertaker vs. Lashley".

This was amongst the thousands of signs saying "challenge Cena" or "beat Batista".

How sick was that chokeslam? Batista actually did a pretty good job of selling it and making it believable. As much as everybody here hates the big man, that's the one up he has over Cena; he still sells injuries better than Vanilla John.

BigDaddy said...

LOL how hard is it to sell an impact move like a chokeslam?? Taker is gonna make you feel it ... Sell what you feel...

did Batista sell the chokeslam on his way to the back?

That's a pro...

Anonymous said...

Either Lawler ran out of Brylcream, or his hair was a tribute to Donald Trump who is supposed to be on next week's RAW. Wonder where that will go. As for Ric Flair, it doesn't matter if the Nature Boy is doing his thing in the ring or on the mic, he is still the man!!!! He is gold and McMahon knows it!!!WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Anonymous said...

Either Lawler ran out of Brylcream, or his hair was a tribute to Donald Trump who is supposed to be on next week's RAW. Wonder where that will go. As for Ric Flair, it doesn't matter if the Nature Boy is doing his thing in the ring or on the mic, he is still the man!!!! He is gold and McMahon knows it!!!WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Anonymous said...

Ooooops, sorry about the deja vu people. LOL.

Tim Haught said...

Taking away the option to select what title you compete for takes away a lot of the intrigue on the road to Wrestlemania. It's very interesting when a superstar can switch brands, and it helps the promoters make the best possible matches they can at the time. It also makes the Royal Rumble more unpredictable. For many years, the winner was freakin' obvious at the end of Survivor Series.

The incorporation of the ECW title was smart. ECW needs a boost so that it can get a bigger audience. Perhaps having Lashley appear on Raw will make a few fans say, "I want to see more of that guy." Currently, the ECW audience is like 1/4 of the RAW audience, so why would people at Raw, who likely weren't even expecting Lashley to be there, and may not know who he is be holding signs for him?

To eliminate the title all together from the Undertaker's choices really would diminish the title. Nothing has been done for that belt since the Big Show/Booker/Cena champion of champions angle. Regardless of whether anyone thought the Undertaker would choose it, it really looks bad if he never even remotely considered it. It should be treated with the same importance as the other two titles, whether it currently has the prestige of them or not. It's a WORLD title for God's sake.

"No selection process was even needed." What exactly is needed in wrestling? Are in-ring contract signings needed? Are number one contender matches needed? They were telling a story. Just because it makes sense to book Taker/Batista doesn't mean they should just do the damn thing and announce it. The show is supposed to be entertaining.

Also, all the smarks who are clamoring for the old ECW are wasting breath. Obviously it's never going to be the old ECW. If you don't like it, don't watch it. If it was the old ECW, it would put under all the other brands. "Wow, freaking fat ass Balls Mahoney can take 20 chair shots and get up, but John Cena got hit with the belt in the head and got knocked out. What a puss." ECW was fun at the time, but it made wrestlers in all companies compete at levels that was not good for business long term. Watch some old tapes or DVD's if you want that ECW. Vince isn't destroying something he owns, he is protecting his other two brands. You know, the ones that actually get ratings... Fans clamor for ECW. Likely, Vince is just killing the brand off in his own fashion, so fans stop asking for something that if Vince were to provide will result in a workrate that ends up with superstars burning out and quitting or getting hurt when they are involved in major storylines. I can't believe that this is even still a discussion at this point.

I also don't understand the push for an interpromotional tag match. Obviously it would be good based on the teams, but other than that, there is no point. Talk about diminishing titles, what happens to the team that loses? I agree that the belts should be in the actual tag division with WGTT, Cryme Tyme, the Highlanders, and Cade and Murdoch feuding over them. I disagree about Kendrick and London facing any of those teams at Mania. They are in a program with Deuce and Domino that can easily go to Mania, and if Raw adds a tag match, that is four more guys that get a Wrestlemania payday.

Flair's promo was the best thing on Raw for months, and it pointed out exactly what I have been saying about Carlito on Tha O Show without pulling any punches. Everyone here is begging the question, why isn't Carlito being pushed to be the next big superstar. Well, you heard it right from the mouth of Ric Flair. Funny how when it comes from him, the whole O Show staff quickly changes their tune. This should apply to RVD and some other O Show smark favorites as well.

I disagree with you about the commentary as well. Watching Raw I noticed that Lawler was actually calling the match, and actually giving some insight as a former professional wrestler, something you had to turn to Smackdown for for the last few years.

Yeah, he may not have chosen the best wording for segways, but at least he was giving perspective on the wrestling matches. I prefer his commentary last night greatly to his joke-cutting, puppy loving b.s.

Also, while I agree that Michaels and Taker deserve another run before they go, do you honestly think that they should both be put over at Mania? Mania gets the largest audience of any WWE show. A lot of casual fans come back to watch it. WWE needs to stop living in the past and really look towards their future. How many more years are Michaels and Taker going to be around? This is a great chance to put some guys over really established names, something they were hard up on when Foley, Rock, and Austin all left at the same time (although Foley did come back to do a few jobs for Triple H and Orton).

Whether you agree with Batista and Cena as champs or not, WWE needs to make stars for the next 5 years, so that if Taker and Michaels leave, there is someone to carry the ball. Michaels is of the calibre that he can pull a classic match out of Cena. He likely won't settle for less. Whether you wanted Edge and King Booker to be in the driver's seat at this point is moot.

I think at best, only one of those guys can win the World Title at Mania, and my guess is that the Undertaker stands the better chance.

The Hitman said...

I strongly disagree with the last point. Yes, the WWE needs to get new stars over. It would be logical to do that. Keyword-LOGICAL. Big Daddy, how often does the WWE do logical things?

I firmly believe that the WWE is going to give Michaels and Undertaker token title runs this year to reward them for busting their ass and pulling out great main event matches for years. It's been 5 years now since either man has held the title. If one of them is going over at 'Mania, they both are. After they get their title runs and boost ratings, then they could build new stars based on who takes the titles off of them.

Ken Kennedy is going to be a star for years to come. Ditto Bobby Lashley (he should have been given more grooming time before getting pushed to a World Title), MVP, Randy Orton, Edge, Carlito if he pulls his head out of his ass, and Johnny Nitro. These guys will slowly get integrated into the title picture; why not have an established name hold the title in the meantime?

Tim Haught said...

Touche, Hitman. Perhaps having Michaels and Taker win back the casual fan from the past while these new stars develop is exactly what the WWE needs to do. Great point!

BigDaddy said...

Umm...

Haught:

I wrote on here MANY times the reasons for Carlito's decreaed push... I have spoken to people within the company about it..

So how are you saying that suddenly O Show staff are changing their tune but ignored you.

There's something on your shoulder.
It's a chip.

Tim Haught said...

"I was really hoping an angle with Carlito would take greater shape this week. I guess that was just wishful thinking. No Carlito push via a McMahon match at Mania." - Dan-e-o

"Carlito should be turned heel. He's never seemed comfortable in the face role and he just has a natural heel look." - FallenOne

"If I were Carlito I'd be pissed off and slacking too. They get him in line for a huge push, and then they turn him face and throw him into 2-not 1-but 2 puppy love storylines. Props to him for even showing up." - D.J.B

"Yeah there are about 1,000,000 wrestlers out there who would love to be in Carlito's spot but arent. I'm NOT condoning a poor work ethic, but there is only so much you can do." - D.J.B.

"Also Im going to defend Carly here. Perhaps he is unhappy with his position, (I cant say I blame him). But to be honest, I didn't even notice a dip in productivity from him. Maybe he lacked some heart in his face matches, but we can say the same of current champions." - The Baron

"Wrestling fans and O-sters everywhere writhed in symbolic agony after witnessing Carlito's lame loss to Chris Masters at New Year's Revolution. Masters now seems to have done no better than to re-begin what may be considered a feud with Super Crazy. Carlito, we all thought, was taking a free fall from what was considered a push. Has the E put back on their thinking caps in place of the dunce caps worn last week?" - Dan-e-o

"If this is setting up a Carlito VS. Mr. McMahon match for Royal Rumble...or better yet, WrestleMania 23 after a well-worked two and a half month program...then Carlito will be back on top of the professional wrestling world by the spring." - Dan-e-o

"i personally think carlito needs and deserves more of a push than jeff hardy. while i was excited to see jh back, he's been nothing but a sluggish version of his old self." - yawn michaels

"While there certainly are many other factors that separate Carlito from John Cena, I would suggest to you that both of their main problem is the same: WWE creative." - Ben Boudreau

"ok carlito colon can wrestle cena cant" - KC Starr

"I think that you will find the same for Carlito. People so badly want to see the next breakout star, and with mic and in ring skills, Carlito seems to be the heir to the throne. However, Carlito has done nothing to really stand out, and he is quickly losing ground to the returning Jeff Hardy and emerging Johnny Nitro. All the Cena hate and lack of Carlito push can not be based on creative, unless creative is telling them how to wrestle (which is possible). Cena never improves, and Carlito seems to phone it home, when he should be having really memorable match of the year candidate matches." - Tim Haught

"Funny how when it comes from him, the whole O Show staff quickly changes their tune. This should apply to RVD and some other O Show smark favorites as well." - Tim Haught

Admittedly , this last comment of mine is off base. Donnie, Ben, and I have all been hard on Carlito since January. It was mainly Dan-e-o and the readers championing him. I will do better to research, clarify, and correctly attribute in the future. The chip has been eaten...

BigDaddy said...

Dan-e-o (like ANY FAN) has the right to champion whoever the hell they want.

That's called being a fan.

It doesn't in any way indicate he is ignorant of the facts.

Dan-e-o has been well aware for sometime that Carlito was in the doghouse.

Dan-e-o is my partner on Tha O Show and a good friend. Do you think for one hot second that I'd come into knowledge and not share it with him?

Did you really think that you were exposing something that was simply being ignored by Dan-e-o and other readers because it came from you?

If you look at those quotes all of those people are just indicating that Carlito has the ability and talent to be so much more and should be in that spot. Then it comes down to a whole big chicken and egg scenario.

Next time you wanna slam on my crew, I expect you to bring your A game.

Tim Haught said...

I never called Dan-e-o ignorant and never suggested he wasn't aware of the fact that Carlito was in the doghouse.

Facts are, a lot of IWC fans are crapping all over John Cena and blindly following guys like Carlito and Rob Van Dam.

With one promo by Flair, many changed their tune. This isn't just on Tha O Show. Carlito backlash is taking the IWC by storm and a lot of the most outspoken fans of it are people who were pushing for Carlito to get a main event push as early as a few weeks ago.

The initial comment was just to suggest that their are a lot more IWC guys on the bandwagon now.

This isn't a personal issue with you, Dan-e-o or anyone else. It's a discussion about professional wrestling talent. Grow up.

BigDaddy said...

Grow up?

You weren't referencing the IWC. You were making comments about how Tha O Show staff didn't agree with your statements on Carlito until Flair said it.

Stop trying to put yourself over.

The Hitman said...

I would like to throw my two cents in an attempt to stop what could end up being an ugly ordeal.

I think everyone can agree that Carlito is beyond guilty of phoning it in as of late. Many people around the IWC, including here at Tha O Show, seem to share the sentiment that Carlito has the "it" factor to be a champion, if he could just get his act together. Which brings up a sort of "opposite sides of the fence" scenario; do you continue to support him because he still has that "it" factor and hope that he will straighten up, or do you believe that he's not going to change his lackadaisical ways anytime soon(at least, not of his own will)? Seemingly, the promo that Ric Flair cut seemed to draw a clear line that WWE is going to come down hard on him for being complacent. I believe the reason most people loved and supported Flair's promo, aside from the fact that it was brilliant in and of itself, was because maybe it's a sign that he's going to have to change, like it or not. It's not so much that their tune changed, they just finally got the answer they were hoping for.

Personally, I also strongly believe that Carlito is very athletic and has a knack for in-ring performance. However, I don't condone Carlito's backstage attitude, and I think that if he's going to have that outlook on the sport, he's in the wrong business.

Hopefully that last statment summarizes the sentiment of the majority of O-sters here.

Ben Boudreau said...

What's the argument here? A lot of us said Carlito was dragging ass lately. Flair agreed in a shoot style promo. Most of us were psyched to see that. Where does the controversy lie in that? Am I missing something?

fallen0ne said...

I've been riding his ass for a while now. If you read other comments by me about him Haught, you'll notice that Carlito's never impressed me. He's always seemed sluggish and complacent to me. I was merely suggesting he should be turned heel because he has a heel look if you will.
I think Haught has a point though. Many people here willingly ignored the fact that he was phoning it in until Monday's promo. I'm not trying to fan the flames, but I'll agree with the point.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone consider that Flair's promo was a 100% work created by McMahon to play off of smark attitude towards Carlito?

Tim Haught said...

You can't make decent points on a board moderated by the guy you are arguing with. Last night, I attempted to point out my actual point, and show that I was not "trying to put myself over." The post is not here this morning. C'est La Vie.

I maintain, I don't think Dan-e-o is ignorant and I have a lot of respect for most of the guys I quoted as being Carlito supporters. I agree that he has a great deal of potential.

As I said last night, which got deleted, and may be deleted today, I just find it interesting how some people flip flop when prompted. It's not a sin or anything. Just an observation I made, backed up in black and white here at Tha O Show.

Anonymous said...

you're a fuckin idiot