Putting the smack down on Slammy Awards

The Slammy Awards have gone on for a while now, but quiet honestly, enough is enough.

It’s obvious that the only purpose is to advance storylines rather than give credit to those who actually deserve it. Normally, I would be okay with that. If it’s a promo-esque segment, that’s what it should do.

But there are other ways storylines can move forward besides tacking an extra hour on to RAW and bringing back stars from the past. For some of the segments, like Kelly Kelly winning the Divalicious award and the Divas of Doom coming out to try and ruin her moment, that could have easily been done in a regular edition of RAW. It happens quite a bit anyway.

The fact that the conflict happens at the Slammy Awards does nothing to enhance the significance of what happened. It’d be better to have another hour of solid matches than wasting time on awards and promos that could have been done better, and possibly more effectively, in a traditional backstage or in ring setting.

I know it’s a lot to ask for, but why not just get back to wrestling?

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Punk saves an otherwise dull show

Usually when I write these blogs, I try to pick out one thing from last night’s RAW to focus on. But, honestly, this week there was so much randomness that I can’t even do that.

Everybody knows that Punk saved the show. His presence, personality and promos are golden, as I’ve said more than once while tweeting during the show. So what I’m going to focus on is, well, everything else.

What happened last night?

Matched didn’t have build up. The Divas of Doom promo ran longer than the divas tag team match, which, by the way, didn’t even have a TAG. And don’t even get me started on the font vomit in that WWE Network commercial.

Going from such a great show last week to what appeared to be a thrown together, mismanaged cluster, how are fans supposed to stay excited? And I don’t think it would have been as bad if the Tampa crowd had reacted to the big announcements of the night.

There was barely even a clap when John Laurinitis said the match between Punk, Alberto Del Rio and the Miz would be a triple threat TLC match. And the chants of “Fight! Fight! Fight!” when Punk wanted to throw down were as quiet as cheers for dark matches that so few wrestling fans actually care about.

So…let’s recap.

The bad?

Short matches. Long promos. Unnecessary run-ins. Randomness galore.

The good?

CM Punk. Pier 6 Brawl. Brou ha ha.

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Lost in the moment

Things have been crazy with the semester coming to a close, finals to study for and big projects to finish up. But somehow I made time for Raw. That wasn’t my intention though.

I was planning on having it play in the background while I was studying, but this week’s show just sucked me in. Maybe it was the fact that HHH wasn’t on the show this week. Who knows? But this is how wrestling should be.

It should draw you in and make you forget about your problems and frustrations. It should make you care about who wins and loses. It should be an escape. And it finally was.

From the Piper’s Pit Segment (unfortunately, I missed the beginning of that but caught the replay) to Daniel Bryan’s great mic work with Michael Cole to the main event pitting Alberto Del Rio against CM Punk for Punk’s newly won championship, it all worked. There was a nice flow. The backstage segments had meaning. Everything worked to progress the show and make you forget about everything else.

Though I kept trying to study, I was unintentionally pushing my notes aside because I had to see how Bryan/Cole promo would end. I had to see who would win the Del Rio/Punk match. And not a single thought about media law crossed my mind while doing so. I was hooked.

I just wish every week could be like this.

 

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WWE, ROH fill a need for niche wrestling markets

First off, I apologize for my lack of blogging the last few weeks. I blame it on my lack of prioritizing and the sudden rush of school work at this point of the semester. But anyway, I had a rare Saturday night available to watch Ring of Honor.

In the one hour episode of ROH, I swear on the squared circled heavens there was more wrestling in those 60 minutes than in nearly a month’s worth of Monday Night Raw. I’m not saying that the ability of the Raw roster is not on the level of ROH’s guys though. (Though that wouldn’t necessarily be a hard argument to make some nights.)

It’s more about how the show is put together. This is probably a “no-duh” blog post this week, but it’s something I’ve noticed. I get that WWE bases its show on the spectacle and the pageantry of it all. But if you take away the pyro, the fancy camera work and the spiffy lighting, what are you left with?

ROH has built its reputation on hard work–not that WWE hasn’t shown they believe in hard work. Because everything they do shows that. But ROH’s focus, which can be clearly seen, is on wrestling, whereas WWE focuses on the spectacle. And that’s where the line is drawn, the fans divide and ratings come in to play.

The general (typically closet) fan is going to go for the quick flashes of light, the power moves and the diva pillow fights. The diehard fan is going to go for the skill, the storytelling and the mic work.

Both business philosophies work and both have their own niche audience. But for this critically analyzing wrestling fan, it’s easy to see where the mass audience is going to go. But for ROH’s sake, I hope that at least some of those mass audience fans just happen to come across ROH on a Saturday night and realize what they’ve been missing.

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An unlikely heel

I’m still not all that excited about the Triple H/John Laurinaitis feud that’s been brewing for the last few weeks, but I can’t deny Laurinaitis’s effectiveness as a heel.

When he walks to the ring (with NO entrance music!), people automatically boo. The anger he incites has been building up for the last couple months due to his somewhat shady relationship with the former COO. The subtleness allowed irritation to slowly creep in to the unconscious mind of fans. And now they finally have a reason to hate him.

I think the reason I’m so resistant to this feud is because it’s something so different from what I’m used to seeing in WWE. Usually it’s Wrestler A gets mad at Wrestler B because Wrestler A cost Wrestler B a title shot. And that’s it. There’s no build up. No tension. Very little back story.

But this has a story, regardless of whether or not it’s of great interest to the smart marks and obsessive internet fans who complain about every little thing. There’s a reason for the anger and frustration building between Triple H and Laurinaitis. It’s works. But whether or not the fans buy into it is another blog post all together.

 

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For Occupy RAW, less is more

After last week’s votes of “No Confidence” for the COO Triple H, RAW started off great.

No Nickelback blaring through the sound system. No announcers at ringside. Dead air. It was perfect. It really looked like everyone (except for the few camera men who had to film everything) had walked out on RAW.

Triple H looked serious and angry as he emerged from his office and walked to the ring. Then his music hit and the crowd went crazy. HHH gave his spiel about not giving up on the fans, then John Cena, Sheamus and CM Punk came out to essentially do the same. And their music carried them down to the ring.

It was a good start to RAW. Even though it was a brief, fleeting moment, Punk on commentary was golden. But it could have been so much more real.

The tone of the show could have come off much more somber and carried much more weight of none of the aforementioned talent walked to the ring to their music. What better way to show that just about everyone voted “No Confidence” than to have the show start off at the bare minimum? Pyro, flashing lights and Motorhead don’t exactly say, “RAW could be on hard times.”

But, at least the story itself has taken an interesting turn. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy seeing Punk sitting cross-legged at the announcer’s table, decked out in his ring gear, wearing Hunter’s blazer?

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Opportunities to see great wrestling in the Midwest

With school taking over my life lately, I wasn’t able to watch Raw this week. But fear not, there is still plenty to talk about. This weekend is filled with independent wrestling shows not far from campus.

Friday night, Dynamo Pro will be at the Sports Academy in Glen Carbon. Literally a 10 minute drive from campus. If you’re anti-Homecoming activities like I have been since high school, this is the best opportunity for you to see some of the best wrestlers in the Midwest. [Insert references to Jeremy Wyatt and MsChif.]

The show will feature a six-way scramble and two championships will be on the line.

For a rare Sunday night show, you can head over to the Knights of Columbus Hall in O’ Fallon for St. Louis Anarchy. Anarchy will feature TNA’s Alex Shelley, along with an intergender match between Darin Corbin and Rachel Summerlynn. This is probably the best way to avoid school work on a Sunday night. And, they have dollar beers. It’s a win-win.

Highflying and hard hitting action are guaranteed at both shows. These two companies arguably put on some of the best shows in the area. If you’re tired of seeing the same thing every Monday and want a breath of fresh air from young, talented, up and coming wrestlers, Dynamo and Anarchy are the place to be.

More information can be found here for Dynamo and here for Anarchy. I hope to see you there!

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