Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Tuesday Morning Wrasslin' Thoughts

Tuesday Morning Wrasslin' Thoughts

Yep. A wrasslin' post.

A couple of you have taken time out of your schedules to say that you don't like these.

Skip 'em then. Jeez. Is it that hard? I write here to amuse myself, more than anything.....

I haven't posted a wrasslin' thought in a while. I've had too much caffiene this morning. I wrote for a while on other projects, but I still have nervous energy for my hands.

Just a couple of thoughts on the WWE as we mosey toward Wrestlemania.

I want to talk about Randy Orton for a second. We're forcing Randy Orton into a match with the Undertaker, right? Part of the Undertaker's legacy is that he's never lost a match at Wrestlemania. What is he? 10-0, 11-0...something like that.

Okay. My advice to the WWE is this: Listen to the crowd. The crowd hasn't been buying Randy Orton as a face all that much. They cheered for him not so much because he's a great face, but because Triple H is so successful as a heel. Say what you will about Triple H, he knows how to play up his heelishness so that the good guy will look as good as he possibly can. He's probably the best at that little part of the psychological performance since Ric Flair was in his prime. He has that much charisma.

Unfortunately, for Young Master Orton, Triple H's charisma doesn't work unless he's fighting Triple H.

I thought maybe the WWE had started to realize that last night. Randy Orton comes out to challenge the Wrestlemania-undefeated Undertaker....and he was finally acting like a heel again. He was cutting one of those legend-killer promos that he is adequate at. (Note, adequate...not good...)

And the crowd was lapping it up. The Undertaker, by virtue of his longevity in the WWE, and his track record at The Biggest Show of the Year, and by virtue that he's probably the biggest fan favorite (in a tie with Cena) over on Smackdown....he's gotta be the de facto face in the match.

The WWE has made the mistake again, I think, that there are fans of one show over the other (Raw fans and Smackdown fans). I don't think that's the case. I think most fans watch both shows...or at least are aware of the happenings on both shows. Most fans are still aware that the WWE is one company, and that the product on the shows is so similar that each is indistinguishable from the other. What I'm saying is that there are far fewer fans loyal to one brand or the other than the WWE would like (and would like us) to believe.

As such, we have this match with a legend and this pretty boy who can't even tie a necktie. Orton is up there saying he's going to end the Undertaker's legacy? Bullshit! The Undertaker will tie this simpleton in a knot.

The fans know this. They're booing Orton pretty much roundly.

And I'm thinking to myself...they've figured out that the WWE isn't buying him as a face...they're setting him up as the heel in this match they're shoehorning him and the Undertaker into....

But I gave them too much credit.

Eric Bischoff comes wandering out, wanting to praise his young superstar for representing his brand so strongly in the Biggest Show of the Year.

I've kinda liked how Bischoff's character has come around in recent months. He's not a face or a heel, based on his performance and actions. He's a prick. He's an asshole. But he doesn't favor any individual, group or stable. He works to prove that He's the boss. (Personally, I think the best thing they could do with Bischoff is amp up a feud with Vince McMahon).

But I appreciate his tweener status as a character. But I will admit that it leaves him on somewhat ambiguous terms with the audience. They haven't really given Bischoff a strong part to play in any particular storyline. So, the audience is unsure. Do we boo him? Do we cheer him? He's an asshole to Triple H early in the show so we cheer him. Then he's an asshole to Benoit the next hour, so we boo him.

I'm fine with that. I don't think we need The Boss as a constant character in a wrestling show (I actually think it'd be refreshing to have a show with a silent boss that we never see). But if we're going to have a tweener boss, I think that means we need to leave him out of areas where we're trying to establish face or heel character for somebody.

Somebody who has trouble establishing it on his own, like Randy Orton.

Back to the point....

Bischoff comes out, praising his superstar. And Orton decides he's going to play Stone Cold to Bischoff's McMahon? Granted, it's the only way it could have gone once Bischoff wandered out to the ring, Orton giving Bischoff an RKO. As I said before, Bischoff's not a heel, per se. He's just the prick boss that the fans don't have a lot of strong feelings for one way or the other (despite what the WWE thinks and would like us to think.)

But Orton RKOing Bischoff is a face-type move, or at least we are led to believe by Orton's post-attack posturing.

My biggest gripe about the WWE since it defeated WCW and acquired them, is that the WWE is slow to adjust. They seem completely unable to adjust midstream. We've seen Orton getting a lukewarm reaction since the end of his feud with Triple H. The fans want to boo him. Instead of adjusting to that, the WWE wants to continue to ram their agenda down the viewers' throats.

They want a face/face match for the the Orton/Undertaker match at Wrestlemania. Maybe because the want to amp up that Smackdown/Raw competition (especially with the other cross-brand match being a defined face vs. heel match, with Michaels playing the face and Kurt Angle playing the heel).

There are a couple of ways this match at Wrestlemania could go.

One, Orton could beat Undertaker. We're supposed to be happy with the fact. If this happens, and the Undertaker is forced to give Orton "The Respect Handshake" after the match (you know, where the legend killer is given his due respect...Foley, Benoit and Flair all gave Orton Respect Handshakes...fans were somewhat dubious at the Benoit and Flair editions.)...

Under this scenario, The Undertaker has to give The Respect Handshake, and Orton is forced furthermore down our throats as a World Champ Contender for the duration of his career, Lex Luger style.

Under another scenario....Undertaker beats Orton at Wrestlemania. But Orton goes crazy and makes it his goal to destroy the Undertaker. Undertaker's getting up there in years. He's been in the WWE since 1990. Maybe it's time to retire. Maybe they could do a slow burn on a Taker/Orton feud and let Orton retire the Undertaker a year from now..

One more thought? We've got Ace Cowboy Bob Orton going in the Hall of Fame this Wrestlemania. His schtick? The cast. Maybe Cowboy Bob could show up wearing the cast at Wrestlemania, and cost Undertaker the match. Orton could win, go to Smackdown (or Taker could come to Raw via a post mania draft), and Taker could exact his vengeance upon Cowboy Bob and Young Master Orton.

I've been writing for a long time, and I'm probably repeating myself, so I'll wrap this longish post up....

A couple more thoughts:

No Chris Masters fighting a jobber on Raw on the Road to Wrestlemania? That's a good thing. Randy Orton is one Lex Luger too many for my money. If I never see another Chris Masters match, it'll be too soon.

Do Trish Stratus and Chris Jericho share the same brain? Those are two funny Canadians.

Lastly...I was dialing through the radio the other day, and I happened across John Bradshaw Leyfield's radio show. The little bit I heard would put him somewhere in that rightwing/libertarian strata, though he didn't come across nearly as nasty as most right wing talk shows. I listened mostly for the novelty of a wrassler hosting an intelligent sounding talk show (he tried valiantly to deflect any talk of wrassling....)


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