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5.04.2008

Shades Of Gray #7

In this week’s column, I discuss the controversial endings to all three WWE shows: King William Regal ended the Triple H-Randy Orton match prematurely, Mike Adamle and Tazz left the announce position before the main event, and Undertaker is no longer the World Heavyweight Champion. Will the finishes increase the fed’s gradually declining ratings or will even more fans be turned away?

I’ll also weigh in on the growing Matt Hardy debate at Tha O Show, by looking at both the positive and negative aspects of Hardy as U.S. Champion on “SmackDown!” Plus, there’s a new section to the column: a batch of links that will show the major happenings from the past week, as well as some classic or humorous (or both) clips from the past.

William Regal putting an end to “Raw”

Out of all the controversial endings from this past week’s shows, the finish to “Raw” was the most effective. It was reminiscent of the unpredictable shows during Attitude era, where the unexpected was a regular occurrence. By moving the show into the production truck, it reinforced to fans that the show is live and anything can happen.

Prior to winning the King of the Ring, Regal was lackluster (at best) as General Manager of “Raw.” He seemed restrained, and even Coach had more personality. But Regal’s performance on Monday was excellent, particularly when he quietly and politely asked the director to cut the feed twice - when he didn’t do it, Regal snapped saying, “Take it off the bloody air! Take it off the air now!” Clearly, Regal is hell-bent on gaining respect, and he’s gotten it from me. Memo to Mr. Kennedy: you’re tapping clean to the Regal Stretch at Judgment Day.

As good as Regal’s performance was, there’s no doubt that the ending could potentially turn some viewers away. Randy Orton vs. Triple H was one of the best television main events in quite some time, and fans wanted a clean finish. The match being so good, though, is what made the ending effective. Now fans are more likely to order the steel cage rematch at the PPV, after getting a taste of how good these two guys are when they square off in the ring.

Mike Adamle walking out of “ECW”

What I like best about Adamle walking off the show (followed by “The Tazz”) right before the main event is that it makes sense. Adamle has been criticized by fans (at arenas and on the web) and by workers (on-camera and backstage), and any human would be bothered by that. The storyline adds intrigue to a show that is in need of some, and no one saw it coming. Plus, the handicap match had the best commentary on “ECW” so far this year.

On the bad side, the biggest storyline on the show now revolves around the announce team. CM Punk has been pushed to the background, having worked Chuck Palumbo on Tuesday and Palumbo and Mike Knox on the house shows in Canada this weekend. And there’s hardly any interest left in the Kane-Chavo feud. Adding a bodyguard to the mix in April extended the feud one month, but it’s time for Kane to find a new challenger. No one (marks or smarks) thinks Chavo stands a chance against the Big Red Machine.

Overall, there’s interest in this week’s show to see Adamle explain why he left the announce position. In fact, there’s been interest in Adamle in general, as ratings for “ECW” in Canada have increased since the former American Gladiators host took the booth. In the end, even though the most intriguing storyline on Tuesday nights involves the worst announcer in wrestling history, let’s remember that it is “ECW” after all. Any interest in the product is a bonus at this point.

Vickie Guerrero stripping Undertaker of the World Heavyweight Championship

This storyline was put in place to keep the Edge-Undertaker feud going, and I still think the feud has legs. As long as Vickie is GM of “SmackDown!” she’s going to do all she can to make sure Edge is champion, so the decision makes sense. The Death Sentence has been put over for months as a dangerous and mysterious move, so for a change, this storyline appears as if it has been planned out for awhile.

I can understand the arguments against the decision. In particular, Big Show (fresh off a victory over Great Khali at Backlash) and MVP both create interesting match-ups against Undertaker. Either of those two are credible challengers to the World Heavyweight Championship. But I don’t think anyone should complain about a Edge-Taker rematch. They’ve had top notch matches at back-to-back PPVs. Plus, Taker being stripped won’t taint his reign - he’ll win the vacant title at Judgment Day, and it’ll seem as if the Deadman never lost the title at all.

Matt Hardy as US Champion

Hardy deserves a run with the U.S. Championship. As has been written and said many times, Hardy is one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster, and if you’ve been to a WWE live event, you know that from personal experience. Girls dig him, kids think he’s cool, and guys respect him for his talent and toughness. I actually grimace a lot when I watch Hardy wrestle - he walks/waddles like Shawn Michaels, and if you can believe it, he’s 34 years old.

There’s no denying that money is made with the heel champion being chased by the babyface challenger. That’s why Taker was stripped of his title. That’s also why the crowd was dead during the Hardy-MVP rematch on “SmackDown!” on Friday (although the fact that the match sucked might have had something to do with it too). So perhaps MVP should have kept the title; after all, he did bring prestige to a mid-card title (“Raw” writers should take notice). But 11 months as champion was enough. Bigger and better things are planned for Montel Vontavious Porter.

You could also argue that there’s no one for Hardy to defend his title against. And that’s true - there’s not much mid-card heel talent on “SmackDown!” Chuck Palumbo? Mark Henry? Vladimir Kozlov? Ugh. Maybe Kenny Dykstra will finally get some TV time. Or Shelton Benjamin could come over from “ECW” to challenge for the strap. Overall, even if Hardy was only given the title as a “present” for paying his dues in the WWE (much like Kane was given the ECW title), he’s a credible and popular champion.

Links of the past week

1. The end of the excellent Orton-Triple H match, including Regal going berserk on the director
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKIRjLVw2I4

2. Adamle and Tazz leaving the announce position and the following main event in silence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svkhIGH_Z38
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6b2y13SQvY

3. Vickie Guerrero stripping Undertaker of the title and the resulting “match” with Great Khali
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81uQy1Xa0To&feature=related

4. Jim Cornette’s rambling bullshit from “iMPACT!” as referenced by Dan-e-o on Rated O Radio
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADqoeMCgi-g
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJMqwDziz-4
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfYMzk0rCnY

Extras
5. Dan-e-o’s promo for LLW Presents: Exodus on May 31st
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-yTVhmFQ30

6. I think the video title sums it up nicely: “The Yeti Dry Humps Hulk Hogan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MewmqIedokE

7. The classic (or perfect) Mr. Perfect football spot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLILgmyKcaM

8. Macho Man’s rap directed toward Hogan - I think 50 Cent putting over Macho says a lot about 50 Cent
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i2v1b0BsbA


5 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #7"

Matt said...

Great idea on the links. all positive feedback here.

Daneo's promo wasnt that bad. I mean, hes no Santino, but hes also no Snitsky.

Where the hell has the matcho man been lately? Last i heard from him was his guest voice spot on king of the hill.

Next week, there should be at least 5 links at the end of your column. If you don't find 5, you have to write the last link in blue. If you find exactly five links, the first should be in all caps, with 5 spaces between the 3rd and 4th links instead of 1. If the article contains 8 or more paragraphs, and two of the paragraphs contain the words smark or mark, then the third paragraph should be written twice as big as the others, and the last paragraph should end with the words "smell ya later." Sorry I'm channeling cornette. My bad

Good work on the columns, I've been reading every week, keep it up

Andrew Gray said...

LOL

Thanks for the feedback.

Shammy_D said...

I totally agree Mr. Gray. The only comment I have is about Matt Hardy.

Your right he does deserve to hold the belt, but just because he deserves it doesn't mean it's good for the title. Where do they go from here?

Matt may be over with the marks but who is he capable of giving a rub too? and who is there to take that rub?

I really hope the Draft shakes things up alot because MVP did bring alot to the mid-card but he is going up and thats gonna leave a big void which Matt can't fill.

Andrew Gray said...

Shammy D,
I get what you're saying. But - here's a couple reasons for why Matt Hardy should have beaten MVP at Backlash (although he doesn't need a long run with it):

1. For a feud that lasted half a year, the fans deserved to be "rewarded" with a Hardy victory ("the good guys always win")

2. As far as "who is there to take that rub?" . . . like I said in the column, there's not much mid-card heel talent for Hardy to work with. But that's indicative of the talent overall on "SmackDown!" - there's no more babyfaces for MVP to work with either (Rey, Finlay, etc) Just check out the "SmackDown!" roster page: http://www.wwe.com/superstars/smackdown/
Also, Hardy is the kind of worker who can have competitive matches with almost anybody. That's why, if he had a feud with a guy like Kenny Dykstra, for example, even if Dykstra loses, he is still more over than he was before if the match is "competitive"

Like you said, the Draft is approaching soon (another 3 hr Raw is planned shortly), so that could shake-up the mid-card ranks. Personally, I'd like to see Umaga come over and beat Hardy for the belt and start a long US title reign for himself.

Anyways, I would have been fine if MVP kept the title (I even suspected he would in my Backlash preview), but at some point Hardy had to beat MVP. And it's not like it hurt MVP to lose the belt, he's clearly going to be a main evnt guy sooner rather than later.

Shammy_D said...

Your right he really doesn't need a long run with it and I do understand that he needed to win the belt from MVP after the looooong run the had last year but...

I just worry about what happens to the title now. as we've both said there really doesn't seem to be anwhere for it to go so roll on the Draft and bring on Umanga!!