Many have looked at the concept of WWE's latest Pay-per-view, Bragging Rights and called it stupid. The idea of a pay-per-view almost solely dedicated to the rivalry between Smackdown and Raw does seem overplayed and rather dull.
However, the match on this card that seems to have gotten the most criticism is the 7-on-7 match between Team Smackdown and Team Raw.
I will admit when I first heard the idea I was amongst the many criticized it believing the idea to be rather stale. We already had Survivor Series, why have another pay-per-view even remotely similar?
Then the qualifying matches for Team Smackdown and Team Raw came. These matches ranged from being passable to good, but when the final teams were together...I thought what I saw was just terrible booking. I mean just look at them:
Team Raw: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Mark Henry, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston.
Team Smackdown: Jericho, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Cryme Tyme, Drew McIntyre and Eric Escobar
Team Raw is made up of two established Main Eventers, two established mid-carders, and three of the youngest and brightest talents in WWE right now.
Team Smackdown is made up of one former main eventer that is currently sitting in the upper mid-card, one underused mid-carder, a just starting mid-carder that has been impressive the last few months, a tag team that has lost every tag team title match they've ever been in and has just now found a team they can consistently beat, and two wrestlers that just debuted in the last month, one of which has only had one televised match and the other had a PPV match that was so boring I've actually put a psychological block on it!
Put that on paper and the match looks like classic poor WWE booking. We are expected to believe that Team Raw, whose members have been involved in feuds with each other in some capacity in the last few months, is supposed to work together to beat Team Smackdown, a team of mostly newer or less established guys, for no purpose other than "bragging rights"? Not a chance!
The Genius of this booking shows however when one thinks past the paper and looks at the opportunities this match carries.
Speaking story wise, it immediately plants the seeds for the break-up of Jerishow, who have been dominant since they formed. The outcome a possible storyline between the two.
But on a grander scale, this match can create stars, but of course it would need to be handled correctly.
Considering Team Raw is made up of mostly fairly established stars, the wild cards of team Smackdown (Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, and Eric Escobar) need a decent amount of time to perform and show off what they can do, Escobar locking up with Triple H, McIntyre locking up with Shawn Michaels, etc. Good performances will easily give them credibility in seeking titles and will show what both can do.
On the opposite side, it may be wise to have Cody Rhodes lock up with Jericho. Jericho can bring the best out of just about everyone and that will help Cody, who is often overshadowed by Ted DiBiase Jr. Seeing Swagger mix it up with Kane would be interesting as well.
The match to get the full effect should ultimately end with Team Smackdown getting the win. A clean win would be preferably, but it may end with a cheap one considering that five of the seven members of team Smackdown are heels.
A victory for Team Smackdown is even beyond the scope of believability considering the possible discord between members of Team Raw.
Altogether the match has interesting prospects, but it will not matter if WWE doesn’t handle this one right. There will be other chances to create stars but considering the young talent involved in this match, this may be the best one.
I will be tuning in to see Bragging Rights next week. It will be then we can decide if this match was simply bad booking or genius in disguise.