Enigmatic Debate: HBK as Referee, US Championship, Mr. Anderson & More!
Welcome to another edition of the Enigmatic Debate. If you are unfamiliar with the ED, here’s my explanation as to what this is and why we do it.
“The Enigmatic Debate revolves around any and every topic related to pro wrestling.
Ultimately, the goal of the series is to spark debates.
As writers, we’re here to challenge the thinking of readers by presenting topics too difficult to warrant simple answers. We’ll also include weekly thoughts on programming and pay-per-views.”
This week's panel features RiZE, E-Rage, John Cavangh and myself.
May the debate begin.
Do You Like HBK as Ref? Will He Call the Match Down the Middle?
RiZE: Yes, I love the idea of Shawn Michaels being inserted into the match as the special guest referee.
Even though I’ve been vocal about my distaste with Taker/Triple H III, I have to admit that the WWE has been able to spike my interest level with the numerous twists. As far as HBK calling the match down the middle goes, I do expect Michaels to be an unbiased official.
I find it far-fetched that the WWE would book the streak to end right before one of the biggest matches ever in Rock vs. Cena. It would destroy the mood of the entire show and overshadow a year’s worth of build for Rock/Cena.
Charlie: I know a lot of other people are excited about the announcement, but I don’t see why it’s needed. What does having Shawn Michaels as special referee accomplish?
On a past Enigmatic Debate, a question asked, “What do you feel needs to be added to Undertaker/HHH?” and, to my knowledge, nobody mentioned HBK.
Blood was the most popular answer.
Shawn’s involvement doesn’t really interested me and I’m afraid what was rumored months ago may actually happen on April the first.
As WrestlingInc said, it’s very likely HBK and HHH would screw Undertaker out of his streak. Talk about a cheap ending to something great, right?
I, for one, do NOT think Shawn Michaels will be the “perfect” referee.
“The Streak” is over courtesy of a screw-job.
E-Rage: The introduction of Shawn Michaels as guest referee sounds like a pretty good idea to me. It may seem like overkill since the match itself already has huge hype behind it. Adding Michaels just helped elevate it a bit more.
It helps increase the tension between all participants, since each man has their own rivalry with each other. He may be biased at times, but I foresee Michaels calling the match down the middle for one simple reason: respect.
Michaels respects the Undertaker and Triple H as well.
It is akin to John Cena calling the Barrett/Orton match down the middle at the 2010 Survivor Series. Cena didn’t want to be fired, but he didn’t want to screw over Orton as well. Michaels may want Undertaker to lose for revenge, but the respect for Undertaker’s status will overcome those feelings.
John: Do I like the idea of HBK being the guest referee?
No, I love it.
If it was a straight one-on-one match-up, the odds of Undertaker defeating him inside Hell are a Cell is great. Now, drama is added, as we all wonder if HBK will call it down the middle.
Or does he screw Triple H?
Or does he screw Undertaker?
It adds questions, as the confrontation this week showed HBK was likely to screw Triple H.
That’s not going to be the way it works out, trust me.
Thoughts About How the U.S. Title Has Been Treated? Who Should Be Champ?
RiZE: The questionable booking of the United States Championship doesn’t surprise nor faze me at all. I’ve come to expect this type of negligence by WWE’s Creative team when it comes to the mid card.
As far as the treatment of the championship goes, I think it's utter nonsense.
Why the WWE feels the need to hot-shot the title every month or so after Dolph’s reign is profoundly ambiguous.
Who should be United States Champion?
Quite frankly, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the current champion, Santino Marella.
Despite his lengthy jobber status, Santino has managed to retain the admiration of the WWE Universe. Yes, even more so than a number of the WWE’s “main-eventers."
However, if I were deciding the titles fate, Zack Ryder would’ve never dropped it to Jack Swagger. I understand storyline circumstances, but the WWE built the Dolph/Ryder program for months. It was foolish to have Zack drop it in the manner he did.
Charlie: In 2011, the United States Championship was being treated fairly.
The belt was snug against Dolph Ziggler’s waist for a while. Then Zack Ryder came along for a much-deserved title reign. Along came Swagger to ruin the fun.
Swagger as champion was just awful. I’m not even going to go into details about his reign because, well, there are no details.
The title going around Swagger’s waist was a mistake and now Santino Marella is champion. Okay, I’m a fan of where it’s going.
Santino has had a pretty good push recently and having it end as U.S. Champion seems like a sweet deal.
E-Rage: The United States Championship was treated fine until Ryder lost it to Swagger. Swagger has only defended his title once against Justin Gabriel to the best of my knowledge. He did nothing for the title and it did nothing for him.
When Dolph Ziggler held the title, it at least had some meaning. He held it for 182 days, which is a respectable accomplishment.
When Ryder took the title, it seemed to be elevate the belt even more. Fans now cared for the status of the title since it was in the hands of a beloved wrestler.
Now with the title in Santino’s hands, I have more faith in it. Santino is loved by fans everywhere and can be a great champion if given some feuds.
I would like to have seen Ryder become champion again, which may not happen for quite some time. Like I said before, Ryder was beloved and made the title seem prestigious. The crowd reaction to when he won the title was something that we rarely see nowadays.
John: The United States Championship gained much prestige after the feud between Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder, which showcased two young talents in a great series of matches. It ended perfectly with Ryder capturing the title, but then losing it a few weeks later to Jack Swagger.
Right there is when it went back to the boring mid-card title it has been for awhile now.
When Ziggler and Ryder possessed it, both carried it extremely well. It was the next step in Ryder’s career, which was great. Then, we gave it to a washed-up World Champion who has no charisma and can’t get past the mid-card anymore.
This week, I will admit, WWE made the right decision in giving Santino the title. He has a great crowd reaction and the fans love him.
I’ve actually been waiting for the chance to have him be in a serious feud. He is funny and could draw a bigger pop than half of the locker room.
Now is when the title can restore the prestige is once gained. That is why the United States Champion should stay in the hands of Santino Marella.
Thoughts on a Rumored Feud Between Eve and Zack Ryder
(The Question couldn't fit the title of the slide)
Who do you see Eve aligning herself with in a rumored feud against Zack Ryder and, most likely, Layla?
RiZE: Before I answer the question, I’d like to point out that Kelly Kelly seems more likely to partner with Ryder for this angle than Layla. There’s still no new information of Layla’s return and the WWE has already planted seeds for Kelly’s involvement. I find it rather coincidental that “Zack and Kelly” will be a duo. It’s easily reminiscent to one of Ryder’s favorite television programs, Saved by the Bell.
Anyway, I can’t give you a solid answer as the WWE hasn’t given us any idea of who Eve’s future cohort could be.
I would’ve mentioned Kane, but his recent altercations with Randy Orton would suggest otherwise. The Miz is a likely candidate, but that’s highly unlikely. I honestly don’t know and I like it that way. That unfamiliar sense of unpredictability should be enjoyed for now.
Charlie: If this feud (Eve/Mystery Partner vs. Ryder/Possibly Layla) were to produce a match at WrestleMania, I want to see The Miz as Eve’s new partner.
Kane is too busy with Randy Orton this WrestleMania season.
Ryder’s old tag partner, Curt Hawkins, hasn’t been relevant on TV lately and would be an odd-ball pick. Not to mention his current team with Tyler Reks. So, he’d pick between Eve or Reks.
The Miz, however, doesn’t have anything big going for him. He hasn’t won once in 2012 and maybe this feud with Zack Ryder will help him get back on track.
Miz could dig back to his old, “Chick Magnet” days and align himself with Eve. This way, Miz lands his spot at WrestleMania 28.
E-Rage: My first choice would have been Swagger, but since he’s in a feud with Santino that probably won’t happen.
Who I would like to see, though, is Curt Hawkins.
Hawkins has proved himself on NXT and Superstars to be an athletic and able competitor. The most important aspect is that he has past experience with Ryder.
The two men were tag team partners and even champions at one point. It could go with Eve needing some help and recruits Hawkins solely for his history with Ryder. Who better to defeat Ryder than his former friend and partner?
John: Give Miz a match! Give Miz a match!
That is exactly what I’m going to do here!
When Zack Ryder finds Layla and tells Eve to find a partner for a WrestleMania match, I see Miz being all over this one.
It makes sense, as the Miz has been completely buried over the past few months. He hasn’t won a match since December!
This will make it Eve and the Miz vs. Zack Ryder and Layla.
It will end this dreadful storyline and get Ryder and Miz in a match at WrestleMania. I’ve been calling for this to happen, as I would hate for Miz to be left off the card.
How'd You Like Mr. Anderson's Return? What Effect Will He Have in This Angle?
RiZE: As a big fan of Anderson during his WWE stint, I must say it was rather pleasant to witness his return Thursday night. It was easily the highlight of the night.
I believe Anderson and AJ Styles will take on Christopher Daniels and Kaz in a tag team match in the not-so-distant future. If TNA really wants to capitalize on this, they’d have Anderson/AJ feud with Joe and Magnus down the line. Honestly, anything would be better than the continuation of these Styles/Daniels programs TNA just can’t seem to get enough of.
Charlie: I’m not Anderson’s biggest fan. I actually wanted to see him get released not too long ago.
However, this Thursday had to be one of the happiest times I’ve seen Anderson. What can I say? I kind of missed the guy.
I’m not sure about inserting him into the angle between AJ, Kaz and Daniels. The angle has been fun, but I don’t see much of a reason for Anderson in it.
If it were up to me, Anderson would’ve returned at Against All Odds during Robbie E’s open challenge for the TV title.
I’m not so sure about Anderson’s involvement, but it should be interesting to watch.
E-Rage: I am a fan of Anderson, so it was pretty cool to see him back. His return was pretty well done to me. Seeing AJ try to search for the right word only for Anderson to use it to his advantage for shock was great.
The crowd certainly seemed delighted to see him, since he got a pretty good reaction when his music hit.
I can say that I am interested to see his actions in this feud. It works well with AJ declaring that he needs to associate himself with assholes now.
Anderson, though, has no real place, but seeing him as a face will be pretty good to me. We all know that Anderson is good on the mic which will work well in the promo aspect, but hopefully he stepped up his in-ring work a bit for no more botching.
How'd You Feel About the Next Step in the Angle Between EY & ODB?
New Champions were crowned in the form of ODB and Eric Young. Yes, ODB and Eric Young won the Knockouts Tag Team Championships on IMPACT. How’d you feel about that entire match, segment and story?
RiZE: The purpose of the entire segment was to entertain viewers with some awkward comedy. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this segment but I didn’t particularly mind it either.
The match itself was okay as it continued the Gail Kim/Madison Rayne program while furthering along ODB and EY’s relationship. In the end, it was just some harmless comedy that was meant to humor us.
Charlie: Here’s a piece of information some of you guys apparently forgot: Eric Young is used for comedy. The Knockouts Tag Team titles haven’t been relevant since they first started. They were a terrible idea to begin with.
Last Thursday’s latest addition to this angle was fun to watch. The match wasn’t half=bad and EY proves he can entertain no matter who (or what sex) his opponent is.
A wedding between EY and ODB should be funny to watch.
E-Rage: I’ll admit that I think the whole angle is stupid yet partially interesting at the same time. It’s akin to something being so stupid that you want to look, but you can’t.
The match itself wasn’t terrible, but it still wasn’t the best overall. A man should not be challenging for a women’s title to me, but TNA is using it for comedy so I can let it slide.
Eric Young proposing to ODB made it heartfelt in a sense and the fans really seemed to love it.
The reaction to ODB saying “yes” was one that surprised me, since I wasn’t expecting such a reaction. I would like to see this story take a swerve and actually have the two of them stay together for quite a bit.
They can be Savage/Elizabeth 2.0, the comedic, tone-downed version.
Would You Like to See Crimson Turn Heel? or Should Morgan Turn?
RiZE: Crimson should be the turncoat and it’s apparent that’s the direction TNA is going with this. Matt Morgan is easily a better face than heel and should be given a run in the main event sometime in 2012.
On the other hand, we have yet to see Crimson as a heel but I must say, I’m already enjoying his newfound arrogance. He comes off as more believable and I find that rather pleasant. If TNA really wants to take advantage of this, they’d have Morgan inadvertently cost Crimson his undefeated streak.
For example, Morgan would accidently assault Crimson with the Carbon Footprint. Joe and Magnus would take advantage and pin Crimson to retain their championships. Crimson would go over the edge and completely destroy Morgan after the match. This would eventually lead to a blowoff match at Lockdown next month.
Seems simple, right?
Charlie: Crimson turning heel would be awesome.
He’s good in the ring and knows how to cut a promo. Add that undefeated streak to his heel character and it could be even more awesome.
Crimson has been getting booed by fans since October’s Bound For Glory. Time for a change and he’s using Matt Morgan for that turn.
A feud between heel Crimson and face Morgan would be great. It should be obvious that their feud would reignite at Victory Road or the following IMPACT.
I hope to see these guys on opposite teams at Lethal Lockdown. Eventually, Morgan should end that undefeated streak Crimson has.
E-Rage: I would like to see Crimson as a heel since he seems to be pretty decent as one. He is more of an opportunistic and ego-driven heel.
He blatantly blamed Morgan for losing their titles by taking the pin at Against All Odds. He even tagged himself in just so he could get the pin in their No. 1 Contender’s Match.
Morgan has been heel in the past, but I prefer him. Crimson is extremely young in his career, so a heel turn could show the fans his potential. Morgan as a face allows him to potentially face Bobby Roode for the TNA World Title in the future.
Do Robbie E & Rob Terry Have a Legitimate Chance of Being Tag Champs One Day?
RiZE: Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the tag match they had with Crimson and Morgan on IMPACT. Because of this, I would be against the idea of having them become the tag team champions.
I also have a strong distaste for all things Robbie E and am still wondering why he’s the Television Champion when guys like Pope aren’t being properly utilized.
Charlie: Of course they do!
Robbie E and Robbie T are just one solid tag team name away from those belts, my dude!
Robbie and Rob worked well as a team this past Thursday and provided one of the best parts of IMPACT. After Robbie sets a new record as longest reigning Television Champion in IMPACT Wrestling history, he can safely move into tag team wrestling.
I would love to see Robbie E and Rob Terry vs. Samoa Joe and Magnus or the Motor City Machine Guns.
TNA is in dire need of a new tag team. Robbie E and Rob Terry can offer just that.
E-Rage: Anything is possible in the world of professional wrestling so I could see Robbie E and Robbie T becoming tag team champs one day. Add in the fact that both men are still young in their careers so there is always a possibility.
I just don’t see them winning the titles from Joe and Magnus, though. If the Robbies enter a feud with MagJoe then they would have to be seen as competitors. If a fan looks at the two teams separately, MagJoe seems a bit out of their league compared to the Robbies.
Either change their gimmicks or just make them seem stronger each week on TV so we can perceive them as threats.
Garett Bischoff Main Evented IMPACT. How Do You Feel About His Push as of Late?
Garett Bischoff was, once again, heavily featured on IMPACT. He doesn’t even have a match at next Sunday’s pay-per-view, Victory Road. Yet, he was placed in the IMPACT main event. How do you feel about Garett Bischoff and his push as of late?
RiZE: There was once a guy named David Flair who fans could easily draw comparisons to Garrett. Before Flair, there was a wrestler named Erik Watts. You want to know what Garrett, David, and Erik all have in common?
Their father’s were in prominent enough positions to have their sons pushed as the next “superstar”. Quite frankly, all three of them were/are mediocre in every sense of the word.
I didn’t mind Garrett’s push at first, but TNA has featured Bischoff a little too heavily for me. Besides this, they’ve built this guy up as an underdog but he doesn’t come off as one in his matches. They allow him to display too much offense even though he should be on the defensive the entire match.
That’s the proper way to build crowd support for someone like a Garrett Bischoff. In the end, I’m very annoyed by Garrett’s presence and they could be building up much more talented guys in his place.
Charlie: Way to kill all my excitement, Garett. I was getting thrilled over the Robbie E and Robbie T question and now this? Great.
I really want to give Garett a chance, but it’s hard to do so when the writers are shoving him in everyone’s face.
I’ll say Garett can cut a decent promo, but his in-ring work is sure as hell not main event worthy. Just mentioning him in the same sentence as Kurt Angle is unbelievable.
What I took away from IMPACT was this:
Garett Bischoff needs to tune up his in-ring work. His clotheslines looked weak and he definitely suck all the energy out of the match.
Send Garett to OVW. That’s why you, TNA, agreed to a deal with OVW. It’s supposed to be your developmental territory! Rob Terry and Anarquia were sent there, why not Garett?!
I think Rob Terry is a better in-ring performer than Garett Bischoff. Yeah, re-read that last sentence. I said that.
I think Garett could be pretty good in OVW. Stop sending Garett to main event IMPACT and appear on pay-per-views because of his last name and send him to OVW because his in-ring work is nothing special.
Have Gunner DDT him on the concrete to take him off TV and send him. TNA only continues to hurt Garett and themselves by not doing so.
E-Rage: I really don’t want to see anymore of Garrett Bischoff.
The fact that he has no match announced at Victory Road, yet was in the main event was stupid to me. That main event spot could have gone towards furthering the Sting/Bobby Roode feud since it seems weak as of late.
He is not a capable wrestler and was pointless to be in the tag team main event. The match itself consisted of Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy really.