Just when I think WWE is making some smart decisions with its talent, it manages to act like a petty child and make even an optimist like me grumble in frustration.
A hot point of contention right now is a story reported by WrestlingInc.com—among others, I'm sure—that states that Zack has been placed in a romance angle with Eve as a result of a low rating garnered by a six-man tag bout from the night after the TLC PPV.
The match pit WWE Champion CM Punk, new World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and new US Champion Zack Ryder on one side against former WWE Champion The Miz, former two-time WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio and former Intercontinental and US Champion Dolph Ziggler.
Whether you're a loyal fan that scans websites like this one, or you're a casual fan that never touches dirt sheets or spoilers, there was really no point in watching that match.
Let's break this situation down...
Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are two former indy wrestlers that have genuine wrestling skill oozing out of them. They were born to be in this business and watching just about any of their matches can show that in spades. Zack Ryder, on the other hand, may be more of an entertainer than a genuine wrestler, but he's still proven that he's worth his salt and deserves to wear a title in a sports entertainment company.
Taking nothing away from the sparkling merits of The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, WWE's booking of them, along with the booking of that six-man match, is what's directly responsible for such a low rating.
The Miz and Alberto Del Rio scored their first WWE Championships as a result of winning Money in the Bank with on-the-spot cash-ins. Miz kept his belt for a number of months and defended it at WrestleMania, only to lose to Cena shortly thereafter. Del Rio lost his title to Cena clean weeks later, won it back at Hell in a Cell with the help of Ricardo and the key to the cell, then lost it to Punk at Survivor Series.
Dolph Ziggler's Intercontinental and United States Championship title reigns were both impressive, but only if you consider that Vickie Guerrero is solely responsible for them.
Thus, for lack of a better way to say it, you take three new and deserving champions, put them in a match against three proven losers who were effectively squashed and de-credited by John Cena, and what do you get? You get a match that no one wants to see because even those who don't focus on how scripted wrestling is could predict the end of that match.
Which makes this alleged punishment of Ryder that much more aggravating.
WWE books The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler to be archetypal "coward heels" that regularly use shady tactics to hold onto their dirty titles for months and months, and somehow we're supposed to be riveted to watch three new champions defeat their nemeses when they already have?
Now we're supposed to believe that Zack is being put with Eve because a low rating. Here's a question: Since when are Eve and Zack in a storyline anyway?
They were in a mixed tag match last week, they flirted a bit in the ring afterward, WWE.com then posted some backstage video of them that suggested some kind of dating going on and finally they were in a backstage segment this week. That's suddenly what it takes to be a storyline? One match, an online video and a TV segment? That's it?
According to the story link above, the romance angle will likely be nurtured for at least the next couple weeks. Thing is, unlike other recent romance angles, I keep getting this feeling that Zack and Eve could actually work out.
Look at other romance angles WWE has worked. Santino and Tamina, for instance (or Santino and Beth, basically the same thing). Santino, a proven joke act, falls for a badass chick who we all think is going to kick the crap out of him, though, SHOCKER, she ends up head over heels for the guy. Not only is it not realistic for that to happen once, let alone TWICE, but it's not even entertaining.
Then we have the angle where Daniel Bryan gets accosted by the Bellas, who each claim they're going to be his 'first,' when he was with Gail Kim the whole time. Then Bryan and Gail appear together on TV maybe once or twice more before the angle is completely dropped.
That's not a romance. They didn't make a big deal over it. There was no focus, no attention paid to it, no one was given a reason to care. And now Gail is gone. Pointless.
People mention when Maria was with Dolph Ziggler onscreen, and that must've been around the time a few years ago that I stopped watching for a short spell, because I seriously don't even remember it. However, from what I can surmise, it must've been terrible.
Ziggler's gimmick was still getting fleshed out, and Maria's onscreen character was a bubble head who would fall for anybody she interviewed. Naturally, they'd fit together. Dolph was desperate for any female to validate him and Maria was wooed by his "good looks." Not surprising that Vickie did more for him than Maria.
Now we come to Eve and Zack. Already, though, the two of them have a better thing going then their recent counterparts. Eve genuinely looked like she enjoyed sharing the spotlight with Zack after their match. Yes, she seemed apprehensive, but she was still welcoming to his style.
Individually, the two of them are slowly gaining supporters. Zack gets great pops in most arenas they travel to, and Eve, in my opinion, is really only held back by the simple fact that the Divas on the whole generate little respect as a group.
WWE has brilliantly booked their two most talented female wrestlers in Beth and Natalya to be the two biggest losers in the company, and they push sloppy acts like Alicia and Kelly to go over them constantly. All the while, Beth retains the Divas Championship from some undisclosed location.
Eve is in an unfortunate position because she has decent mic skills, and despite having a great look as more of a model, her skills in the ring have been getting more impressive. I saw her wrestle Beth at Vengeance and I have to say, I was entertained greatly by their back and forth in the match.
So what does this ultimately mean for Zack and Eve? That both of them are getting knocked down a few pegs? But will that really happen the way they plan?
WWE makes these decisions as if everything they do will always reliably have the result they anticipate. Thing is, it doesn't always go that way.
From what I know, WWE didn't anticipate Dwayne Johnson's popularity as the cocky Intercontinental Champion of the Nation of Domination, but they were sure quick to capitalize on it when they fully realized just how popular he was.
Will Zack and Eve be some new power couple of WWE? Will they be the next Macho and Liz? The next DDP and Kimberly?
More than likely not, but both of these talents are popular and both of them could use that extra bit of validation for what they try and accomplish.
Zack's gimmick pegs him as something of a ladies' man that attempts to get the girls with his Long Island charm. Eve is a model-esque Diva, and even though her main mission in her career isn't to get men to be interested in her, if a popular wrestler like Zack, who fans everywhere feel like they can relate with, manages to get close to her, others may feel like they can, too.
As far-fetched as this sounds, don't be surprised if WWE's attempt at "punishing" Zack with a romance angle ends up backfiring and makes both of them more popular.
After all, most romantic storyline angles in WWE may have failed pretty miserably, but that doesn't mean they're all pointless and silly. Like most other angles in WWE, they can be great if done right.
Zack and Eve, unlike other couples in recent history, makes a lot of sense to me. Hopefully they nurture the onscreen relationship and don't over-cheese it, or make Zack into some "wandering eyes" kind of guy.
As long as they keep their relationship steady, solid, cooperative, not overly dramatic and not too gushy, it may actually work out.