With the 1,000th episode of Raw now less than two weeks to go, it is understandable that WWE fans—and probably the WWE itself—have almost all their attention focused squarely on a night that should be tremendously memorable.
But what happens for the 1,001st episode and beyond? How does the WWE maintain what will surely be a big boost in popularity and viewership after July 23rd?
After WrestleMania XXVIII and Brock Lesnar's return to the WWE the following night, WWE had as much momentum as they have had in a very long time. But it did not last too long. Things went downhill pretty quickly after Extreme Rules as the WWE reverted to some of the weak story lines we have seen for years.
Big Show siding with the man who humiliated him in front of the WWE Universe and, in doing so, turning heel yet again?
Ryback being the second coming of Goldberg and mauling the modern-day versions of The Brooklyn Brawler and Johnny Rodz on a weekly basis?
Brock Lesnar, the former WWE Champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world, suddenly hiding behind lawyers and Paul Heyman instead of being at the center of the action?
Compelling stuff? Well...not really.
Combine these weak story lines with the lack of a feud people can really sink their teeth into and it is not that surprising that the post WrestleMania momentum did not last that long.
True, it has not all been bad. The whole AJ, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan storyline is somewhat compelling and the feud between these two wrestlers has been fun to watch—although it probably needs to end very soon.
And, without question, watching Heath Slater get pummelled by legends every week has been a lot of fun.
But if the WWE is going to maintain the momentum they will certainly get from the 1,000th episode going through to SummerSlam, they need to find some good feuds to wrap story lines around that will also feature good wrestling, involving wrestlers the fans will be interested in watching.
Enter Brodus Clay vs. Tensai.
Why would this feud work? There are several reasons.
First off, I am aware that Tensai is, technically, a Raw superstar while Clay is a Smackdown superstar. But with the Raw Supershow now being a weekly event where the brands do not exist, combined with the show moving to three hours long, the separation of the brands is now not much more than a fiction: serving no really useful purpose any longer.
The fact that the two wrestlers are on different brands would have little impact on this feud taking place.
More important, though, is how you have two big guys who can really move in the ring and who know how to wrestle. Tensai probably has the edge here as his time in Japan certainly enhanced his repertoire and his move set. Clay is no slouch either, and as he has taken on better competition, his in-ring ability has improved.
I think these two could put on a really good series of matches that would be equal parts technical and entertaining.
Then you have the huge contrast in style between the two that would make for a good storyline. Brodus Clay, the fun loving Funkasaurus, going up against the stoic, and increasingly unstable, Tensai.
I can already see the scowl on Tensai's face as Clay would come down to the ring, dancing with Naomi and Cameron, and singing about calling his momma. The way Tensai is, I suspect the dancing would not last long and, from there, all hell could break loose.
There are lots of angles WWE can take with this feud. They can use it to make Tensai even more of a heel than he has been so far. They can use it to really springboard either guy into a potential title push, particularly for the US Championship or the Intercontinental Championship.
But perhaps the main reason this feud could work is that with the exception of Ryback, I can't think of two more promising superstars who need a legitimate feud against a quality opponent more than these two.
After squashing people for months, Clay started wrestling better opposition. Then came his run in with The Big Show, which really did not have a positive or negative impact on Clay as it was necessary to keep The Big Show's big push going.
But Clay would get the next laugh by destroying David Otunga at No Way Out and then interfering in The Big Show's match against John Cena, denying Show the win and guaranteeing the dismissal of John Laurinatis. Big Show got the last laugh, so far, by beating Clay on a very recent episode of Raw.
Where exactly does Brodus Clay go from here?
Blasting Otunga time and again is no challenge and Big Show has his sights set on the Money In The Bank ladder match for the WWE Championship contract. In every way, Brodus Clay is a good wrestler lacking a good opponent to help him get to the next level.
Tensai would certainly seem to qualify.
After also running roughshod over everyone in his way shortly after his debut, including John Cena, Tensai's push came to a halt. After getting bested by Cena recently and then suffering a massive upset at the hands of Tyson Kidd, Tensai lost it and mauled his handler Sakamoto.
He then went backstage and beat down Tyson Kidd. Tensai will compete in the Money In The Bank ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship contract.
But after that, with whom will Tensai brawl? Regardless of whether he wins the MITB match or not I cannot see an extended feud with Tyson Kidd, no matter how much of a push the WWE might want to give Kidd.
Ryback would obviously be a good choice as a means of validating Ryback as something more than a Goldberg clone. Of course, if WWE really wants to put Ryback over, they might aim higher and have him feud with Big Show, or Chris Jericho or maybe Kane.
But a feud with Brodus Clay makes much more sense as it would put two middle card guys up against each other with the winner of the feud likely moving up the ranks.Their wrestling ability complements each other while the differences in their respective characters and styles create some really intriguing storyline possibilities.
Its the kind of feud that could be developed into something solid for the undercard at SummerSlam.
No, it likely won't be the feud of the summer and it obviously won't make people lose interest in Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar. But it is the type of feud that would be good enough to enable the WWE to maintain momentum heading into the second biggest WWE pay-per-view of the year.
For the WWE, keeping fans solidly interested after the 1,000th Raw episode needs to be a priority. Entertaining stories, quality wrestling and feuds that make sense will be one of the best ways to do that.
A Brodus Clay vs. Tensai feud is an example of a feud that just makes sense.
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