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Shades Of Gray #5

Mike Adamle As ECW Announcer

Mike Adamle is terrible as a play-by-play announcer. Absolutely terrible. In fact, you could say his lack of knowledge concerning the talent, storylines, and move sets is "Jamaican me crazy." Here’s a clip from his "performance" on ECW in case you missed it.

I actually liked him as a backstage interviewer, even though he still made mistakes ("Jeff Harvey"). After all, having to ask one question to a wrestler is a lot easier than having to call a one hour show.

You’re probably wondering to yourself, "what could possibly be good about Adamle on ECW?" For the first time in a VERY long time, I went out of my way to watch ECW, by catching a live stream on the computer.

In Canada, we have to wait until Fridays at midnight to watch ECW, but I wanted witness this train wreck live. And to say that Adamle didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. There were "Mike-ups" (as D.J.B. puts it) left and right on Tuesday night, and I look forward to D.J.B. keeping me "Mike up-dated" every Wednesday morning on Tha O Show (sorry, Adamle’s lame jokes are rubbing off on me).

Paul Heyman wrote an article for the UK Sun this week in which he argued that Vince knowingly put Adamle in a position to screw up, because people like watching disasters. Well, it worked on me. Unfortunately for Adamle, the talent probably doesn’t find him screwing up their names and moves as entertaining as I do. Let’s just say if Adamle gets knocked out by "Jimmy . . . " or "The Tazz," I won’t be surprised.

WWE’s Tag Team Division

WWE seems to be re-emphasizing the tag team division, and in the words of Diamond Dallas Page, this is definitely "a good thing." In just a few short weeks, through competitive matches on "Raw," a number of teams have been elevated: Santino and Carlito, London and Kendrick, and Cryme Tyme. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that Triple H was singlehandedly burying the division. The "SmackDown!" brand has a pretty decent division too (Miz and Morrison, Jesse and Festus, Yang and Moore, Deuce and Domino, Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman), and the champs have looked strong lately. The loss to Taker and Kane on ECW was no big deal.

However, there are reasons to not get overly optimistic about these developments. For one, WWE hasn't made the tag team division an integral part of their programming for over 6 years, and this could easily be a 3-week tease. For two, it looks like Cade and Murdoch will be breaking into the singles ranks shortly. Don’t get me wrong, I think both guys have the potential to be solid single stars (especially Murdoch), but I’d like to see them as part of a re-emphasized division first.

For three, the champs on "Raw" are terrible. What’s likeable about these two? Supposedly Rhodes is a really nice guy, but being liked by some of the boys doesn’t mean you’re liked by the audience. Send him down to Florida - maybe his dad can teach him a thing or two. The last time Holly was over with the crowd was when he was the Hardcore Champion . . . almost 10 years ago! And can the dude get some new tights, please? That neon crap isn’t cutting it. Here’s hoping Santino and Carlito make good on their title shot.

Mickie James As Women's Champion

I think most of us can agree that James is one of the best female workers on "Raw," although I have heard that she's purposely had some bad matches with Beth to make her look bad. I guess that changes when she’s going over, because they had a great match on Monday night. Still, a question remains: shouldn’t there have been more build for the title switch?

Admittedly, they tried to make it seem like a big deal after Mickie’s victory, but I’d bet that when Awesome Kong loses her title, it will be on a PPV after at least a month of build-up. And Beth should be the Kong of WWE, including no-selling the Ashleys and Marias of the world. Here’s the best-case scenario: Beth gets pissed off and wins back the title quickly, re-establishing Beth as the monster heel and leading to a feud that has Mickie chasing the title.

Return of King Of The Ring

I’m psyched for the return of the King of the Ring tournament, particularly the one-night format. However, the fact that WWE hasn’t announced the names of the competitors screams of lack of planning. Even worse, they fooled fans into believing Umaga, Jericho, Big Show, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, MVP, CM Punk and Batista were going to be part of the tourney before the names were official. The tournament has both failed and succeeded at elevating talent in the past - here’s a list of past winners (starting from 1993):

1993: Bret Hart
1994: Owen Hart
1995: Mabel
1996: Steve Austin
1997: Triple H
1998: Ken Shamrock
1999: Billy Gunn
2000: Kurt Angle
2001: Edge
2002: Brock Lesnar
2006: Booker T

In three instances (Owen Hart, Mabel, Billy Gunn), the tournament failed to elevate talent beyond their mid-card status. Owen Hart and Mabel both received WWF title shots at the following SummerSlam, against Bret Hart and Diesel respectively, and Billy Gunn had a high-profile match with The Rock, but all three eventually retreated back to the mid-card.

Ken Shamrock, in spite of his victory, was never really part of the main event scene, although he did face Shawn Michaels for the WWF title at the Degeneration-X PPV, but that was before his KOTR win. Edge, on the other hand, although he remained in the mid-card for almost 5 years, is now one of the biggest stars on "SmackDown!"

For Triple H, Angle, Lesnar and particularly Austin, their victories elevated them from mid-carders to long-term main event players. At the 1996 KOTR, Stone Cold’s "Austin 3:16" catchphrase was created, as well as his bad-ass image - he beat Jake Roberts after busting his lip wide open in his sem-final match with Marc Mero. Bret Hart and Booker T had already been World Champions when they won KOTR, but their wins set them up to be World Champions again.

Most of the wrestlers on the list above, with the exceptions of Mabel and Gunn, are names that wrestling fans will remember for a long time. At the very least, the winner of this year’s tournament should expect a good spot in the company for a long time and a shot at the WWE title. So let’s all cross our fingers and hope that the likes of Cody Rhodes and Kofi Kingston aren’t added to the list.

6 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #5"

Shammy_D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shammy_D said...

I totally agree about Adamle, he's awful. But it does make you think... Why was he put in this spot? Regardless of what Heyman writes Vince had to have had a good reason.

He wouldn’t just shove him out there without a good reason. I understand that Adamle is 'supposed' to have 25yrs of broadcasting experience but does he show it when he’s commentating? Does Gladiators really count? I’ve read the dirt sheets like most of you will have and I’ve heard a few other rumours.

Firstly was Vince ever really happy with Joey’s Style (That’s almost a bad pun, but I’m gonna try and avoid those.) We all understand that Vinnie Mac wants more of a story line style of commentating with less emphasis on the in-ring action, moves and more on the surrounding angles and gimmicks.

Is this a good style…hmmm, I don’t know but Joey was never really great at it. His style was more based around the in ring action, which I personally prefer. So was Adamle brought in because Vince thinks with a bit of polish he can deliver the style that he wants.

The other rumour I read was Adamle’s wage, somewhere around $300,000. That’s a lot of cash for a man doing one or two interviews or bridge sections every second show. However as a full blown commentator that sounds a bit more justifiable so maybe Vinnie Mac was looking to put his money to better use.

A major ‘O’ for me, however, has to be the current revamp of the Tag Division. I love it! For so many years’ teams like Demolition, The Legion of Doom, The Natural Disaster, The British Bulldogs and so many more were a huge staple of WWF and they drew big crowds and sold plenty of merch. Personally I had a set of LoD shoulder pads.

The current elevation of the tag division has me interested in the ‘E’s programming in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. In the past I’ve felt that Tag’s have the potential for great gimmicks and if given a decent enough run there split can launch a career or two. With that in mind I do feel it’s a little early in the revamp to be splitting Cade and Murdoch. I reckon they need another run, or at least a chase, with the tag titles. There subsequent loss of or failure to win said titles would be an excellent point to separate them and hopefully catapult at least Murdoch to and high mid-card status.

The Current Champions and I’m talking about both champs, MnM 2.0 and Rhodes n Holly are not the strongest teams to be re-launching the division on the back off. Rhodes and Holly are bland and need to go! MnM 2.0 have held those belts for almost 6mnths and that’s WAY too long in my opinion.

Morrison is improving week on week and needs to be back in the ECW title picture. His back stage promo on last weeks show was probably the best I have seen from him since the creation of the Morrison gimmick, props to DJB for me not skipping that! I would have if I hadn’t had a heads up. I think a lot of his improvement comes from the Dirt Sheet, which is giving him plenty of opportunity to polish his skills. And as Morrison improves his mike skill so Miz improves in ring.

I know he’s no where near the likes of CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke but he could be a solid mid card guy and with the experience he’s garnered over the last 6mnths he now need to go put that into practise. Splitting that team could really elevate both guys!

With the Women’s title I really couldn’t care less. The only reason I watch TNA nowadays is for the effort they put into the Knockout’s stuff and the ‘E’ just pales in comparison… I fast forward Diva action at full speed >>> (unless it’s Cherry!)

Finally there is KotR.

I think it’s a great idea. I know that having not announced the competitors’ smacks of a lack of preparation but maybe they writers have actually thought of this and are trying to build suspense, it’s a bit of a stretch but hey, you never know!

I know Ken Kennedy is back this week so he’s probably gonna be in but who knows who else is gonna be there and I am a huge Mr. Kennedy…………… Kennedy mark and I think he has missed so many chances of the last 18mnths that he really deserves the spot and could be a great main even player.

Andrew Gray said...

The main event for Raw has been announced: Cena, Triple H, Kane and Undertaker vs. Edge, JBL, Orton and Chavo . . . so it looks like the KOTR will be used for mid-card talent afterall.

Shammy, I expect Kennedy to be in the mix - in fact, he has to be considered one of the favourites if he's in. Umaga's probably in the mix, maybe Jericho and Punk too.

I could see how not releasing the names has to do with building suspence and interest - except, they released false pictures last week, which in my opinion showed that they didn't even know at that point who they wanted in it. Which is obviously not a good thing.

D.J.B. said...

This KotR is apparently STACKED. If MVP/Jericho and Matt Hardy/Punk are first round matches...holy fuck.

KotR has had 17 tournaments(not including tonight) and contrary to what Edge and Angle proclaimed in 2001 one man won it twice and it was fuckin Bret Hart.
1985:Don Muraco
1986:Harley Race
1987:Randy Savage-great year
1988:Ted DiBiase
1989:Tito Santana
1991:Bret Hart
And as Andrew started his list in 1993 with Hart's second, and apparently second consecutive win of KotR.

Hard to believe that Billy Gunn and X-Pac went on after Taker vs. Rock for the belt in '99. But Austin vs. Shane & Vince in the CEO ladder match closed that sumbitch out.

Mike Ups will become a very, very intrugal part of Tuesday Night Turmoil right alongside the what to watch. I may start including Mike Ups in the What to Watch...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kennedy......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Kennedy

Anonymous said...