As we look towards last week, it’s been more of the same in terms of what we can expect from WWE and TNA television.
Raw was pretty segment-heavy but this was okay when they were great segments, one like Miz TV with Paul Heyman that saw Brock Lesnar once again “uncontrollably” maul somebody. Some others included the return of Mark Henry, more Alberto Del Rio/Big Show silliness and The Shield delivered a beatdown on Brad Maddox before they backed off once John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback came down. There were also exceptional matches, CM Punk/Chris Jericho stole the show and Rey Mysterio/Daniel Bryan held their own.
Main Event abandoned their old-school roots and was filler television despite three matches and the latest Tensai dance spectacle and Team Hell No dissention.
Impact feaured more goodness from the Manchester crowd, but despite the big league presentation style, Aces and Eights continue to flounder as a faction, as they lost another big match. One-sided feuds happen, but they can’t lead storylines.
Smackdown did a great job of hype towards the Elimination Chamber match and was all about Mark Henry’s utter dominance. Also thrown in there were more Del Rio/Show dysfunction.
Below are two sepcific moments from the week, one was an excellent television match that built new ground upon an old rivalry while the other was confusuion galore.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (Raw, 2/4/13)
The Raw Active Poll is usually a hit-or-miss (and lately just a plug for the WWE app, if you do know how to use it, in case the 18,000 tutorials don’t help) and luckily, it was on the “hit” column.
Early on, it was hyped that CM Punk would face either Chris Jericho, Randy Orton or Rey Mysterio, three men who Punk has had history with at WrestleMania in particular.
Instead of the usual “vote over commercial break” method, they actually built the match up and gave each of the three men a promo on the possible match. We wrestling fans don’t ask for much and this is how to properly build a match up.
Eventually, the audience spoke when they voted Jericho and we had a rematch of last year’s WrestleMania feud. Ironically, the face and heel roles were switched. This changed the dynamic of the match but both men still put on a great show in the ring and that’s what it’s all about in the end.
Best part of it all: Punk went over clean. Yep, you read that right. A top heel went over cleanly. It goes a long way. WWE did it later this week when Henry soundly defeated Orton on Smackdown.
It’s easy to dismiss heels when they simply don’t win (see: Aces and Eights) and when they do, it is usually in a cheap fashion. It’s nice to see WWE stray away from this idea every once in a while and Punk needed this win big. Him and Jericho just happened to steal the show.
Cody Rhodes Hosts a Sit-Down Strike (Main Event, 2/6/13)
When do sit-down strikes ever work in wrestling?
Here’s a hint: they don’t. That’s okay though. When done right, they can be really entertaining. (See: CM Punk’s “strike” to face Samoa Joe in ROH)
However, when they don’t make sense, what’s the point?
Cody Rhodes argued he wanted a spot in the Elimination Chamber match, a match with former World Heavyweight Champions. Where does Rhodes fit in this equation? Hasn’t he lost most of his matches on television lately too?
It literally made no sense and this was the wrong way to do a sit-down strike.