IS SMACKDOWN GETTING BETTER OR IS RAW JUST GETTING WORSE?
The WWE is going to great lengths to make us care about a tag team match at Survivor Series featuring John Cena and The Rock teaming up against Awesome Truth. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I don’t really care about The Rock’s in-ring return.
The biggest aspect of his return that makes me indifferent is the fact that that he’ll likely be appearing on TV quite infrequently. It doesn’t matter how great he is if he won’t appear on Raw or Smackdown every week, as his appearances will feel disjointed. To build up any feud well, there needs to be a consistent set of matches, promos, and interviews featuring the wrestlers, and the Rock-Cena feud hasn’t had this and is not expected to feature such consistency at any point.
The worst part about this feud is that it was made purely for business reasons and they should’ve known it would be impossible to carry on such a feud for an entire year after announcing the match the night after WrestleMania. But this lack of foresight has led to an annoyingly stretched storyline that feels pointless from any “wrestling” standpoint.
CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio are carrying a decent program, but between the excessive number of pay-per-views as of late, the unnecessary title changes, and the poorly handled balancing of Cena, Punk and Del Rio, nothing really feels great at the moment. I’m not worried about their actual match, as both performers (more so Punk) have proven themselves, but I’m a little iffy on the story aspect.
Maybe it’s because Punk has been billed as a face and he really should be a tweener. He was more appealing as a tweener and it gave his feud with Cena early on a fresh appeal with a different dynamic than the superhero face against the cowardly heel. Or perhaps it’s what Punk touched upon on Raw this week, that Del Rio feels repetitive (destiny this, destiny that). Whatever the case maybe be, this feud just isn’t clicking right now.
The WWE did announce a traditional five-on-five elimination match at Survivor Series, featuring Team Orton (Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, and Mason Ryan) against Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and Hunico).
Basically, it’s just a random face team against a random heel team in an attempt to keep these guys relevant. This PPV would feel more exciting if it was team Triple H (Triple H, The Rock, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus) against Team Laurinaitis (Kevin Nash, The Miz, R-Truth, Wade Barrett, and Christian). Putting the main eventers in the Survivor Series match would make it far more appealing and would leave room for the mid-carders omitted to wrestle in different matches on the undercard, which would better serve to elevate them down the line.
The match I’m actually most excited for so far is a bit of a surprise, as it’s neither a world title match nor the actual Survivor Series match, and hell, it hasn’t even been officially announced yet. Of course, I’m referring to Dolph Ziggler defending the United States Championship against Zack Ryder. The two real-life friends work well together in the ring and it could propel Ryder's career, especially since the Long Island native would face Ziggler on a big stage that is also close to home, Madison Square Garden.
As I’ve noted excessively, Raw has sucked lately. But on a positive note, Smackdown seems to be getting better. The match between Christian and CM Punk two weeks ago was a great main event. I know Punk generally competes on Raw, so we won’t see that every week, but if the top Smackdown superstars continue getting proper time to wrestle on Smackdown, the show can be definitely be better than Raw.
Come on down next week as I rant about Rock’s return and how his dialogue doesn’t mesh well with the current PG rating. Till then, let’s hope the Michael Cole challenge doesn’t take up too much time or degrade Jim Ross (both are likely wishful thinking).