That's right, Shades of Gray is back! Oh wait ... you have no idea what it is? Well, it's basically a space that allows me to talk about some of the main topics of the week in pro wrestling (and sometimes sports too). Here's hoping I can post these on a semi-regular basis ...
Triple H Is Back!
As I briefly mentioned on Friday, Triple H is once again the focal point of WWE programming.
As you all know, Triple H made his return to WWE TV on the July 18 edition of "Raw," right in the middle of the red-hot CM Punk-John Cena storyline. Even though my first thought was, "Oh, here's Triple H, trying to insert himself into a hot angle," I gave it a pass because the segment with him firing Vince McMahon was actually quite compelling.
McMahon, in particular, was fantastic. We witnessed a rare bit of subtle acting, from a man known more for some outlandish mannerisms (big gulps, huh?)
This past week's show, however, did nothing to alleviate my worries about where this main story is going. For one, it seemed like more focus was put on CM Punk vs. Triple H (a rumoured future match), than on Punk vs. Cena, which is, you know, the re-match for the Undisputed WWE Championship at SummerSlam next Sunday.
But the worst mistake is that Triple H's character hasn't changed at all ... except he's wearing a suit. He's still the same Triple H who has to one-up all of the other wrestlers (Punk and Cena mostly) ... even though he's a babyface! Triple H told Cena not to call him Hunter (Cena backed down), and he called CM Punk "skinny fat" and "overrated." What a way to put over your SummerSlam main event!
The result is that we now have 3 main babyfaces, all of whom are receiving a fractured response from the audience.
All of a sudden, a once hot program has gone cold.
Other thoughts ...
- The Anonymous G.M. has become now that Triple H is in charge.
My fantasy booking dream: Kevin Nash is revealed to be the Anonymous G.M., and he and Triple H form a heel (and I stress heel) authority team on "Raw." Punk meanwhile, will form a renegade group to defy them, made up of Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, and possibly some other former ROH talent.
That way, Triple H would be playing the heel role that he should be playing, and CM Punk can return to being the renegade that he was when the angle started.
Fantasy booking ... gotta love it.
- You'd be forgiven if you forgot that TNA has a pay per view this weekend. It's called HardCore Justice and quick ... without looking, try to name 3 matches on the card. I'll wait ...
Here's the final card, courtesy of www.hardcorejustice.com:
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kurt Angle vs. (c) Sting
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Mexican America vs. (c) Beer Money
X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Austin Aries vs. (c) Brian Kendrick vs. Alex Shelley
SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Fortune vs. Immortal
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
Winter w/Angelina Love vs. (c) Mickie James
BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH
Rob Van Dam vs. Crimson
BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH
"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. Devon
Bully Ray vs. Mr Anderson
KNOCKOUTS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Rosita & Sarita vs. Tara & Ms. Tessmacher
Overall, this appears to be one of the weaker cards TNA has put out in a long time. Angle and Beer Money, though, are so great that I'm sure they'll have good matches. The X-Division Championship match should be entertaining too.
- Speaking of the BFG Series, the idea is great in theory, but obviously, TNA is screwing up the execution.
The main problem, amongst others, is that not all 12 wrestlers are having the same number of matches or the same type of matches, and not everyone is facing the same people for the same number of times. Confusing? Fuck ya it is!
In other words, some wrestlers are at a disadvantage. RVD, for example, has had 6 BFG Series matches so far, whereas Gunner has had 14! How is that fair?
There isn't enough time left before No Surrender to make up for the differences either.
- Ok, I'll say one nice thing about TNA: James Storm cut a great promo two weeks ago on "iMPACT!" Both Storm and Beer Money partner Robert Roode have all the tools to be main event players, if just given the chance.
Too bad the focus continues to be on guys like Sting, Hulk Hogan, and Eric Bischoff.
- Congrats to Tyson Dux on getting #120 in this year's PWI 500 list. If it were a shoot, then he'd be ranked higher, but it's still great recognition of a top-level talent. And ya ... Mason Ryan is ranked #119. Ugh.
- I've become a huge fan of Dolph Ziggler over the past couple of months. He's a bumping and selling machine. His work with Kofi Kingston was great, but he'll certainly face a greater challenge as it appears he's heading towards a program with Alex Riley. Ziggler is slowly being given more mic time, while Vickie Guerrero handles most of the promo work.
- ROH announced this week that their next internet PPV, Death Before Dishonor IX, will take place on September 17 at the Manhattan Center in New York City. It seems like an odd time to have the show. The show will air live the week before the debut of ROH TV on Sinclair, but after the first few weeks of TV have been taped.
I've promised myself that I'm going to do all I can to avoid ROH spoilers.
- Does anyone believe Daniel Bryan will actually get the chance to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 28? I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see Vince McMahon giving him one of the top spots at WrestleMania.