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Shades Of Gray

So it’s been a couple weeks since I last posted a column, but there are a couple good reasons for it. For one, school’s been a bitch. For two, I came up with a new idea for a weekly column that needs to be held off until the end of the week so that I can potentially comment on all of the week’s wrestling programming as well as any approaching pay per views. Plus, I don’t want to write about the same things Donnie and Dan-e-o talk about in Tha O’s and No’s on Rated O Radio.

In other words, I don’t want to steal anyone’s shit (Gregory Helms would be proud). Following the lead of others at Tha O Show who try to put a positive spin on the oftentimes frustrating wrestling business, “Shades of Gray” will address both the positive and negative aspects of selected topics. So make sure to check back every week for a new column. Without further adieu, here’s the first ever edition of “Shades of Gray” . . .

The Use of Squash Matches

Squash matches were popular among WWE creative this past week. At times, they were effective, but at other times they were confusing. In the unsuccessful category were Umaga vs. Paul London and Brian Kendrick and Batista vs. Deuce and Domino. I’ve never been a fan of handicap squash matches - I don’t care how big and powerful Umaga and Batista are, in a shoot fight, they couldn’t beat up two guys at the same time, especially two teams that are former tag team champions.

Essentially, the fed decided to bury two tag teams at the expense of a WrestleMania match that no one cares about. I know that I may be naive in wishing for a competitive tag team division, but the fact remains that during the WWE’s most successful periods (mid-80s and late-90s), they had meaningful and entertaining tag teams (The British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian).

In the successful category of squash matches: Big Show vs. 3 jobbers (Luke Hawx and the Naturals) and JBL vs. Colin Delaney. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “I thought you just said you didn’t like handicap squash matches?” But this case is different. Show was facing 3 no-namers, so no damage was done to a worker already on the roster. It’s unnecessary to job out contracted workers in such a speedy fashion when there are local indy workers who can serve the same purpose. And even if the fed wanted to sign the Naturals later on (which I wouldn’t recommend, by the way), no one’s going to remember the match anyways.

As for the shoot-fighting comment I made above, I actually do think Big Show could take these three jabronis. And the JBL-Colin Delaney match served a couple of purposes. It reinforced to everyone that JBL is a bully and ready for a fight in the Belfast Brawl at WrestleMania. It also plays into Delaney’s gimmick - it creates even more sympathy for his character. Keep in mind, I’m ignoring that Delaney is actually on ECW and had no reason to be on Raw. Videos

Have you seen Santino’s Casa and The Dirt Sheet? They’re 3-5 minute comedy segments that are genuinely entertaining (obviously, Santino’s is even moreso). Sometimes The Dirt Sheet comes off as a bit cheesy, but I’m pretty sure the 13 year-old version of me would have found these funny, and that’s part of the demographic the fed is trying to reach.

Where the negative part comes in is that I think the WWE is wasting the videos by having them on its website. By putting the segments on Raw and "SmackDown!" (not necessarily every week) the former Intercontinental champion and current tag team champions could be put over to a larger audience. I should also add that I can’t believe I’m endorsing anything that involves The Miz.

Booker T in TNA

Like many others, I was apprehensive of Booker’s arrival in TNA. Another WWE guy added to the main event picture was not what TNA needed. I was hoping that Booker would be used to put over some of the company’s younger talent, and he’s done just that in his feud with Robert Roode. Roode has more heat than any other heel in TNA. Arguably, this would have happened without Booker T but there’s no doubt that their feud has been one of the lone bright spots on "iMPACT!".

Now for the bad news - news: TNA seems to be building the climax of the feud around Sharmell’s return. Just as Christopher Casúr wrote in "Tha iMPACT Dispatch", the payoff of this feud doesn’t need to be a mixed tag match. Booker and Roode need to have a one-on-one contest. It’s that simple, TNA - you don’t need another gimmick match.

Flair and HBK at WrestleMania

As I wrote in my No Way Out Predictions column, Michaels can have a better match with Flair than anyone else on the roster. This is the match I’m most looking forward to on the card, and it’ll be a great way for Flair to end his career (win or lose, I think this is Flair’s last match).

However, where’s the heat for this match? It was only a week or two ago that Shawn didn’t even want to end the Nature Boy’s career. And now we’re supposed to believe that Shawn wants to end Flair’s career by himself so much that he’ll interfere in Flair’s match with McMahon. Is it too much to ask for a Sweet Chin Music or a Ric Flair low blow? We’ll see if I get my wish granted on "Raw" (Ugh, I sounded like Coach with that line).

Money In The Bank

Let’s get to the bad news first: Jeff Hardy will no longer get the run with the big strap that he (had) deserved. Based on crowd reactions alone, he deserved to be at the top of the card. But in addition to that, he also routinely had the best matches on "Raw". The good news is that the match is much less predictable with Hardy out of the picture. With that said, you can rule out C.M. Punk, Shelton Benjamin and John Morrison because of their affiliations with ECW.

Of course, they could win the match and then switch brands. news: Mr. Kennedy doesn’t seem to fit the bill considering he said he’d cash in the briefcase after the main event at WrestleMania, and I don’t see that happening. Then again, the fed, like they always do, could just pretend like he didn’t say that. It would be a stretch for Carlito to win and have a shot at the WWE Championship - he’s only in the match to justify his new contract and take some bumps. Chris Jericho is the I-C Champion, and it wouldn’t make sense for him to have that belt and the briefcase at the same time; but then again, Hardy was both the I-C Champ and No. 1 Contender at the Royal Rumble.

And that leaves MVP, who is also the U.S. Champion. I’d like to see MVP win and then feud with Undertaker later in the year. However, I envision Matt Hardy getting involved in the match at Mania and costing MVP the match. If I had to guess, I’d say Kennedy takes it and cashes it in at a later date. But like I said, the match is now unpredictable and that’s definitely a good thing considering everyone knew Hardy was the likely winner prior to his suspension.

1 comments: on "Shades Of Gray"

D.J.B. said...

Since he isn't going to rehab...who says he cant make a surprise return at Mania? This could all be a work around that. Rules state they DO NOT have to be suspended from TV unless rehab is needed.

He'll even be rockin NEW, NEW entrance music. They told him to go to rehab and he said no, no, no!

Nice article AG.