We can all safely assume that we won’t get any real compelling WWE or TNA television this coming week what with the holidays and all.
That’s why last week, they closed things out with a bang that’ll make you tune in once 2013 gets rung in.
WWE, as with years past, made a mockery of the Slammy Awards, but it did a couple of things: it brought Ric Flair to our television sets again and he had great interactions with CM Punk, Paul Heyman, Team Hell No and The Shield and it also brought about a new stable with Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee and Big E Langston. The prominence of youth in the current WWE product has been a big refreshment and will truly pay off in the future.
On the other hand, TNA is still in somewhat of a creative rut, but they’ve greatly hyped the date 1/3/13 as the return of Sting as he looks to get revenge on Aces and Eights. While it’s predictable, you know you’ll still tune in and see what happens.
Let’s look at the two moments from this past week; one that made it a great one (the “highlight”) and another that made it not-so-great (the “lowlight”)
Ric Flair takes on CM Punk, Paul Heyman and The Shield (Raw, 12/17/12)
Not only was Ric Flair’s return to WWE television a complete surprise, it was very well-done.
He just looks better on WWE television. In TNA, he appeared to be out of place. It didn’t seem right. They had the right idea at first when he was the heel manager for A.J. Styles, who was the TNA World Heavyweight Champion at the time, but it all quickly went downhill.
Flair came back to WWE to present the Superstar of the Year Award, which went to John Cena. Cena came out and gave Flair the Award, which prompted a logical CM Punk/Paul Heyman appearance.
Punk, who has had some golden exchanges with past legends like Bret Hart and Mick Foley in the past, added Ric Flair to the list as he bad-mouthed Cena for his lackluster 2012 and threatened to attack Flair.
In Flair’s usual ways, he went to the ring and challenged Punk to a fight to head to commercial.
Punk, on crutches, went into the ring and hit Flair with them. Flair, dubbed the “dirtiest player in the game,” resorted to his old tricks again when he hit Punk with a thumb to the eye and put Heyman in the Figure Four Leglock, which prompted an appearance from The Shield for another brilliant commercial hook.
Their attack on Flair brought out Team Hell No and Ryback to his rescue.
This was a hot segment that was placed in the portion of the show that usually gets the highest rating. Ryback and The Shield both got rubs from Flair here too. How can you top that?
Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan Kiss (Impact, 12/20/12)
You can’t deny Bully Ray’s popularity in TNA.
When Team 3D split and Ray was given a singles run as a heel, it was either going to be a hit-or-miss. Luckily, Ray exceeded expectations as he oozed charisma and made himself a big player.
Earlier this year, he had excellent feuds with Joseph Park and Austin Aries as he played the big bad bully. He teased an alliance with Sting, as he teamed with him against the Aces and Eights, which was originally set up as a chance to turn on TNA and join the Aces and Eights. However, it was Devon that was later revealed.
Evidently, Ray turned babyface and while it’s kept him as one of TNA’s main talents, he has now been saddled in a romance storyline with Hulk Hogan’s daughter, Brooke. Given Hulk and Ray’s conflicts with each other, this had potential, but when Brooke and Ray kissed to end last week’s Impact, the storyline jumped the shark.
Just imagine if Ray had been kept heel. He would’ve joined Aces and Eights and likely would’ve spruced that storyline up. Devon just hasn’t lived up to the big, bad heel role. Things might be better than where they are now.
TNA was in such a great place a few months ago when Ray was the big heel and Austin Aries was the babyface underdog World Champion. Now that the roles have switched, storylines have gotten worse. It can’t be coincidental.