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Friday, 27 April 2012

Angry Wrestler

Poor The Miz

With this Sunday seeing The Miz relegated to the pre show for Extreme Rules, where does this leave the former 'Most Must See WWE Champion in History'? Everything seemed to be in place for Miz and he was heading to the magical face of the WWE position. Then CM Punk dropped his pipebomb and stole his spot. For a few months The Miz fought really hard to keep it, but in the end he just isn't as far developed as Punk. I actually feel that a CM Punk/Miz feud would be brilliant, but since we've probably had that feud in that Chris Jericho is basically the original Miz and the fact that The Miz has had the biggest de-push in history due to a couple of un-fortunate mistakes, this probably wont happen soon, if ever. 
It's a shame because he was involved in some pretty entertaining moments, (usually ending up with him being humiliated) including the genius idea of inverting the WWE logo to represent his name and in turn his own logo, (which in turn again is intrinsically tied into the WWE's  corporate logo and so on), which purely speaking is a first, and a threatening repertoire that echoed Marvel Comics character Arcade, who creates fun-house/arcade game assault courses for his opponents, during his Cena feud. I think that the 'Face Turn' that was expected by some at Wrestlemania XXVIII was a golden opportunity to keep The Miz relevant in the imminent shift in focus toward new(old) faces (but then I suppose they'd only just made a point of him being conniving and nasty in wanting to team with Daniel Bryan). I also think his victory for Team Johnny in the same moment should have been the ideal way of keeping The Miz a Heel but remain relevant in a 'Team Johnny Faction/Corporation' kind of way (but then I suppose they'd only just made a point of him being untrustworthy in a team scenario).

I really hope that The Miz runs in on the WHC match or something, because it would instantly remind people he's a good prospect. And seeing as they missed his face turn perhaps he should go even further down the ridiculously self confident, arrogant and bullyish yet ultimately unskilled and cowardly while actually being a mastermind route.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The New Landscape

With the shock of Brock Lesner’s return to WWE wearing off and mass anticipation as to what his next move will be. I thought I’d take this opportunity to have a look at the scope the WWE currently has and where this all fits into ‘People Power’.

I think the best way to sum up the significance of Brock Lesner’s return to WWE is simple – listen to the enormous crowd reaction upon his entrance last Monday. The last few years have seen the WWE attempting to ‘relaunch’, so to speak. We have seen various young stars emerge and then disappear again – either on to MMA (following in Lesner’s shoes) or on to another company (see Ken Kennedy), the other option has been somewhat more depressing with the ever on going number of deaths that have occurred in the last 15 years. It is certainly true that Lesner has broken the mould, in that he made such a lasting impact on WWE in such a short time (roughly 2 years) and went on to become a bigger star in UFC, the rise of which has in fact been the biggest rival to WWE in recent times. His return to WWE opens up a massive potential fan base, many of who before now might have dismissed wrestling as an immature package and further possibly, is the notion that there may be a draw for other MMA stars to convert working the aspiration ladder in reverse. As a manifesto for a new era in WWE it has to be said that Lesner was the exclamation point and where I would have said previously that the roster would be built around CM Punk it would appear that, in fact, it will be built around Lesner, at least in the short term. 
 Of course this roster in itself is altering, I would still invest a lot in CM Punk. He is at the centre of everything in the WWE (literally actually always ‘headlining’ the first hour of Raw), and still champion. It’s also clear that he will be sticking around for a while – I think WWE will be giving him a lot of exposure in the months to come and with rumours circulating that he could face Steve Austin at next years Wrestlemania I don’t think any fans should panic just yet, he is a star that will continue to rise. However, in my mind he could do with a strong Wrestlemania feud for the title with someone of his own generation.

This week has seen the introduction of a number of ‘new’ superstars who will surely be major players, one of whom possibly more so (or at least more quickly), than others. Lord Tensai (Prince Albert/A-Train/Giant Bernard) had less build than Jericho, Sin Cara and Kharma, however he somehow feels more important for it. I imagine that his push will be into the WWE title picture and the clue that he may go into a feud with Punk came when Big Johnny said Punk would be facing a natural disaster soon. I saw someone write somewhere that Tensai is Japanese for natural disaster, it isn’t, it means Genius or Prodigy. But I still think a Punk/Tensai feud would be a classic. For what Lord Tensai actually brings, he is important. After he left WWE he would go on to become a major star in Japan under his Giant Bernard gimmick, a name that is so over the top and cartoonish it seems that WWE decided to go that way with his attire, which comes over as a Shinobi boss or something, but either way he’s great in ring and will draw some attention from the East. It is also interesting that  the E are referencing his past and the fact he has been away returning as the monster, think Apocalypse Now or The Deer Hunter or Homeland as a wrestling character and I think you'll agree  it a promising concept, there's a great article on Tensai here which expands on this a little.  I just hope he changes his face paint a bit – I’m not a fan of his run-over-with-a-tyre look. 
With all this said it does beg the question what of the likes of The Miz? The mainevent card seems like it may be splitting off – I believe that the WWE championship will now represent the ‘upper mainevent’, while the WHC will represent the ‘lower mainevent’ and as a result may have quite a crowd targeting it. I think while CM Punk and Randy Orton may float between the two sections, with John Cena, Lesner, Tensai and later, The Rock, making up the ‘top card’, it will be Sheamus, Del Rio, Miz, Barrett, Rhodes, Henry, Christian and D.Bryan all gunning for the WHC, which is a much richer scene than we’re used to.

There are two honourable mentions before I close this down and that is to just once more speak of Daniel Bryan’s breakout, he could be big news at this rate. And finally the debut (at least gimmick wise) or Ryback who was Goldberging all over the place on Smackdown! Major face push to the midcard anyone? With the introduction of a couple of big time names the WWE has enriched its roster and officially entered a new era, the only question left now is with a roster this stacked where are all these new FCW faces going to fit?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

After Miami

The phenomenal fan support for Daniel Bryan is, to me, the biggest thing to come out of Miami. When you think about the amount of hype in WWE post Mania that's saying something; Brock Lesner's return, Lord Tensai's Debut, The Rock's homecoming and victory (clean over Cena), An amazing Hell in a Cell to see off an Era and the dawning of a new one under the rule of Big Johnny. However, there has been one thread that has bound the events of Wrestlemania and Raw and it began with a squash match. 

To the shock and awe of the WWE fanbase Daniel Bryan was beaten in a mere 18 seconds in the opening bout of Wrestlemania 28. During the entrance segment for the World Heavyweight Championship it was clear that Bryan has mustered a great deal of support with chants and crowd signs in abundance. Once Bryan had lost the match the increasingly popular 'YES!' chant began to escalate and would punctuate the evening. I first noticed that this was catching on at Ring of Honor's 10th Anniversary show and I'm really happy that its caught on in the WWE. The entire arena would chant this consistently throughout an epic Raw on Monday and the genuine excitement for Bryan is inspiring. Even John Cena would have to acknowledge the chant - even if in a skewed fashion that only Cena could manage and somehow lay claim to the chant?! In a strange way, the Wrestlemania squash may have been a blessing in disguise, as at this point, he is getting a better reaction than Punk - and he's a heel who continuously bullies his girlfriend - which hopefully will continue to translate across arenas. Great breakout moment for D. Bryan.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Angry Wrestler

Here comes more of the same! Monday saw the return of Brock Lesner. It garnered a massive reaction from the crowd and though he didn't look quite as agile as he did in his original debut, he did look as mean and dominating as ever. I especially liked the little touch when he kicked away Cena's hat after the F5. The commentary team were right - the landscape has changed...