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Shades Of Gray #3

Here's the third installment of the column that acknowledges that there are two sides to everything . . .

Monday Night “Raw”
This week's show had a fresh and unpredictable feel. J.R. and King did a good job of selling Triple H and Cena's false entrances to start the show. Plus, having Cena start the show has become so routine that anything else is welcome. Two more surprises: JBL coming out to confront Orton and Matt Hardy attacking the champ from behind. And I don't think anyone expected Cryme Tyme's return, or two solid tag team matches for that matter.

Best of all, of course, was Flair's farewell. Flair's short speech seemed unscripted, and even though the parade of wrestlers coming to the ring seemed rather rehearsed, it was a nice surprise to see some old faces. “Raw” wasn't without its flaws though. CM Punk losing clean to Jericho after winning MITB (and technically becoming No. 1 Contender) doesn't make sense, especially since it doesn't appear Punk will get a chance to return the favour.

I also didn't like that Matt Hardy's in-ring return was wasted on Orton. It was a competitive match so it didn't hurt Hardy (one could even argue it elevated him), but it didn't make sense for him to return to action against Orton when it's clear that Hardy's major feud will be with MVP. It was cool to have Hardy make two surprise appearances in as many nights, but losing to Orton took some steam out of his return.

The Big Show-Great Khali feud
What could possibly be good about this feud, you ask? For one, the crowd was really eating up their staredown on “Raw,” much to my surprise. And the fed is doing a really good job of limiting the physicality between the two, having Khali back away on both “Raw” and “SmackDown!” (although in India, they probably inserted some old footage of a chop). For two, Show will ultimately go over (hopefully decisively), which at least in the minds of the younger fans, will make up for his loss to Mayweather at WrestleMania XXIV.

The bad side of this feud is obvious: the match will be bad, almost as bad as when you're trying to have intercourse with a lady friend and some other guy comes up and tickles your balls from behind. Sure, people thought the Mayweather-Show match was going to be bad too and it ended up much better than expected, but this match has no chance of being good. Khali isn't the athlete Mayweather is, and he can't sell as well either (note: it would have been nice for Mayweather to sell post-match after doing such a good job during the contest). But as long as the match ends with a victorious Big Show, he'll be set up for his most successful run in the business thus far.

Kane as ECW Champion
In my “What Should be Done with ECW?” column, I wrote that ECW should be put out of its misery. ECW has no distinguishing qualities, and Kane's win at WrestleMania XXIV only reinforces the WWE-ness of ECW. On the other hand, Kane does add legitimacy to the belt and the brand. He's a veteran who deserves a run with a “world” title, considering the only world title he's had was the WWF title (which he only held for only 24 hours!) after beating “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a First Blood Match at 1998's King of the Ring. But he's been an afterthought for at least a few years.

Moreover, he's lost the monstrous mystique he once had. He went from being a masked giant and sometimes main eventer to a bald, bland, slightly out-of-shape guy who wasn't even part of the “SmackDown!” Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out. Instead of being used to re-emphasize wrestlers who are probably a year or two away from retirement, ECW should used to put over the younger talent like Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke (Kofi Kingston does not apply). But then again, Kane could end up being used to give these guys a rub, even if his character isn't as strong as it once was.

Here's an idea that could put over a young talent (in this case, Shelton Benjamin) AND re-store Kane as a monster at the same time. Start a short program with Benjamin and Kane, culminating with a casket match for the ECW title. Have Shelton go over – but when the match is over, have Shelton set fire to the casket, returning Kane to his previously-burnt form. Sure, the flaming casket idea has been done before, but when has the fed ever shown any hesitation in re-doing old spots? Then, Kane can return after a much needed month or two vacation with full-body gimmicks, mask included. This would not only put over Shelton, but also set Kane up nicely for a strong final run with the company.

Vickie Guerrero as “SmackDown!” GM
Most here at Tha O Show have been against Vickie's use as GM -- in “Tha SmackDown! Throwdown” Christopher wrote, “Having her as the GM of 'SmackDown!' is brutal.” I can see where he's coming from: she's far from the best actor on the roster, and seeing her make-out with Edge every week with Eddie's death still fresh in everyone's minds is more than a little unsettling. But the fact that she's not a good actor (and is new to the business) works in her favour. Fans know she went from being someone who was out of her element to being an authority figure, greedy for power. It's too much too soon, and she gets heat for it.

And there's no doubt she has heat. Admittedly, Vickie and Edge are controversial, but they don't generate X-Pac heat for me. I want to see what they're going to do next. Plus, the pushing of the envelope reminds me of the Attitude days (ie, better days). There is a downside to her being this heel GM, however. When Edge “breaks-up” with Vickie, likely after he fails to re-gain the World Heavyweight Championship from Undertaker, the fans won't accept Vickie as a babyface, even if Edge is more hated after using her to become champion.

9 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #3"

D.J.B. said...

Three quick points.

Flair's retirement ceremony was fucking gold, but I swear to God there was absolutely no point to John Cena coming out other than he's John fuckin Cena. What influence has he proclaimed to the world that Flair had on him? What matches did they work to tear down the house? Answer: NONE!

Matt Hardy losing to Randy Orton didn't let any steam off of him. He actually joined some pretty damn elite company in losing to Orton...channels Orton "You're sick of hearing the laundry list...Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, John Cena, Triple H..." You get the point. If H and Cena both put the guy over at Mania I don't think your stock drops by beating his ass and getting beat with an out of nowhere RKO on Raw. Just my point of view.

I've been saying for quite some time that somebody needs to reburn Kane and put the mask back on him. Not only could you make him a monster, there was just that extra something when he had that gimmick. Full body - one sleeve =GOLD. Hell bring back the voice box thingy.

I understand and agree with your point on the Edge/Vicky thing, but I can see this lasting a long, long time. For every person that hates the hell out of it, somewhere somebody in that locker room loves it. It's making Edge one of the most hated men in the business, and she's doing her job of keeping her familia relevant. By that I mean Chavito not Eddie.

Anonymous said...

I must confess of having a bit of a soft spot for Kane, if he had been used right in the past he would have been one of the premier big men of wrestling, instead they made him lose to jabronis like Albert and the obviously knackered HHH! Giving him the ECW belt is a good idea, he should have been a champion again long before this, making him a monster again could work, he looked invincible all masked up, put fear into the hearts of his opponents, if they do that and do it right then Kane can be big again and as ECW champion, the sky's the limit once again.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they'll push Matt now since Jeff made his blunder to the main event picture or is this just another false dawn for Hardy, I have a feeling it will be again the latter.

Bill the Mark said...

'almost as bad as when you're trying to have intercourse with a lady friend and some other guy comes up and tickles your balls from behind'

Almost as bad? Could anything really be that bad? I've seen plenty of bad mathces on WWETV, but nothing THAT bad!

Andrew Gray said...

D.J.B - I agree, Cena seemed out of place, but the fed is clearly trying to do all they can to make him as popular as possible, including getting a rub from Flair(not working obviously). Malenko and Jericho seemed out of place too.

Like I said, Hardy was probably elevated as a result of the match, but I think blowing his return on a very short-term angle was just another example of the fed favouring Raw's interests over SmackDown's, and it also lessened the significance of his match with MVP on Smackdown. Agree to disagree, I guess.

Anonymous - You're right, he's been underutilized for awhile, and the beginning of the end was when he lost his mask. Maybe he can regain some mystique with a re-burning gimmick. What's the harm in trying?

Anonymous#2 - It appears as if his feud with MVP is back on, so mid-card status for Matt in the interim. Will he make the eventual jump? I doubt it, but based on crowd response, he at least deserves a shot at main eventing on Smackdown.

Bill the Mark - I have to give credit to Eric Cartman from the "Sexual Harassment Panda" episode of South Park for that quote. And no, I doubt anything could be that bad (wouldn't know from experience), but the Big Show-Khali match could come close.

mach23 said...

I Agree 100% with kane putting his mask back on and giving him a true run as The Big Red Machine

Anonymous said...

I loved the Flair tribute, but where was "Mongo" McMichael and Paul Roma? They were former Horsemen and have more of a link to Flair than John Cena. :)

Downtown said...

Flair has much respect for Cena, if only for his passion for the business which is matched by no one in WWE.

While all the other guys complain or at least wish they were home more, Cena asks what else he can do for the company.

Ask any coach, talent is great, but heart and dedication is irreplaceable.

Chris said...

I thought Cena and Jericho were out of place also. At least Malenko was a horseman.

I like Kane without the mask, sure the voice thingy was cool and the mask and everything, but honestly I think he looks demented when he gets that smirk and chuckle thing going. I think with proper backing it won't matter if he's wearing a mask.

I don't think that anything Edge does will cement his role as a heel as much as the Lita and Matt episode did. Maybe if he molested one of Foley's kids or something.