At the 9:15 PM mark of last night's latest iteration of Monday Night RAW on the USA Network, I turned to my buddy and asked him a simple question:
"Wait, it's just 9:15?" I asked.
"Yep," he replied dryly.
"We still got another hour to go!" I remarked.
"Yep," he replied dryly again.
Last night's three hour Thanksgiving special episode of RAW seemed to drag on forever, and at times the crowd gave numerous apathetic responses to the action in the ring or backstage.
In fact, Jesse Ventura, arguably one of the most colorful and controversial wrestlers and commentators to ever grace the WWE, garnered some less than enthusiastic cheers from the live crowd in Hershey, PA.
Sure the fans chanted his name, but I got a feeling that most of the folks in attendance probably had no clue of who Ventura was...even with the whole Governor thing going for him.
As the show ambled into the final hour, and the advertised Breakthrough Battle Royal took place, fans worldwide were witness to an incredible event that I had been secretly hoping would happen sometime soon.
WWE Superstar, "The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus, became the new No. 1 Contender to the WWE Heavyweight Title. At the Dec. 13 PPV TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs , Sheamus will face Champion John Cena in a Tables' Match.
It was only a matter of time before these two behemoths crossed paths, and I find it refreshing that the WWE is attempting to pull some new blood into the main event scene.
However, their decision to give the nod to Sheamus has the huge potential to alienate tons of die-hard fans that would rather watch a Mae Young striptease than be forced to see Cena put over a superstar that has yet to "earn his stripes."
Sheamus' push is not necessarily a bad thing, and by using last night's episode of RAW, I can explain how one can come to such a seemingly irrational and whiskey induced conclusion.
1. Orton Can't Face Cena AGAIN
At the Oct. 25 Bragging Rights PPV, John Cena faced Randy Orton in an Anything Goes 60 minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Heavyweight Title. Heading into this PPV, John Cena literally struck a deal with the devil: if Randy Orton retained his championship, Cena would have to leave RAW (this sort of makes that whole Draft thing pointless, doesn't it?).
HOWEVER, there was another stipulation that now seems to have been swept under the rug...if Cena defeated Randy Orton, not only would he gain the WWE Heavyweight Championship, but Randy would also have to forfeit ALL of his future title shots against John Cena.
I KNOW I'm not retarded, because all of this happened when Orton laid the deal out with Cena in the first place.
So imagined the look on my face when Orton jumped Primo Colon and tossed him off the ramp (in the same exact way he did Kofi Kingston, by the way) and inserted himself in the Breakthrough Battle Royal Qualifying match that was then sanctioned by Guest GM Jesse Ventura.
In fact, imagine how much more pissed off I was when Orton laid out Evan Bourne for the win.
I'm all for kayfabe, but I'm an even bigger fan of continuity; by having Orton win the battle royal to face Cena would have been one huge big "screw you" to the WWE fans, something very similar to a Commander-in-Chief telling his people that a war was over, only to turn around and run for re-election with a "you can't get rid of me in the middle of a war" campaign...but that's an article for another web site.
Having Cena face Orton for the ninetieth time, especially after building a match on the premise that it would be the end of such an epic rivalry, would be downright atrocious to any fan that had at least enough sense to know the difference between the novel concept of "up" and "down."
2. Let's Look At Our Other Options
We know who Cena will face at next month's PPV, but can we take a second to look at all the people he could have possibly faced?
Here's a list of the individuals that did not make it into the battle royal: Dolph Ziggler, Finlay, Chavo Guerrero, Jack Swagger, Chris Masters, Primo Colon, Evan Bourne, and Cryme Time.
Please be honest with yourself; can you imagine any of these superstars facing John Cena or The Undertaker for their respective championship titles in three weeks? I'd be hard pressed to believe that anyone outside of Ziggler would get such an opportunity.
My cynicism is cruel and unwarranted for such a talented array of superstars, but I highly doubt Primo Colon or JTG could draw bath water let alone buy rates as main event stars in a title match given their current pushes.
3. The Beginning of an Intense Battle
I own the video game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe , and out of all the possible matchups of fighters on the game, the one that had me giddy was a fight between Superman and Captain Marvel. Here you have to equally matched heroes coming to blows right in front of you.
To watch two fighters with similar builds, somewhat similar abilities, and fiercely similar passions go against one another was like music for my eyes.
I think the same thing when I imagine the matchup of Cena and Sheamus.
On one hand, you have John Cena—the WWE PG Era equivalent to Hulk Hogan. He never surrenders, he never quits, and he never backs down from a challenge.
Cena is a brawler, and by design was not meant to have an expansive move list or a wide array of submission holds and aerial abilities. When he engages an opponent in a battle, it is not going to be pretty at all.
However, the kids of today admire his determination and his will to overcome all odds in order to remain "the best" by WWE Heavyweight Title standards. His cheerful disposition and his resilience are like gold to tons of kids all over the globe that face obstacles that continuously prove to be insurmountable.
Cena is a role model that subconsciously tells kids today, "No matter how ugly the situation may be, you can never back down from it and you can never quit!"
Then on the other hand, you have Sheamus. At 6'6", 280 lbs., this Celtic Warrior is a beast that cannot be taken lightly. His assaults are unrelenting, and much like John Cena, Sheamus is not afraid to back down from an opponent. His offense is what Jim Ross would refer to as "bowling shoe ugly," and is designed to hurt and brutalize his opponents.
Sheamus is five inches shorter than Cena, weighs forty more pounds, and is eight months younger than the man. His physical build resembles Cena's, and both men have a penchant for brawling until they cannot do so any longer.
Sheamus is not about games, motivational speeches, or even the championship belt to some extent. Sheamus wants to beat Cena and will relish in seeing the man lay in an intensive care unit.
How could you not want to see these two bulls clash against one another? It's two supercharged trains heading for a collision course, and as much as you want people to think that you're not watching it, you and I know we're both waiting with binoculars and bags of popcorn.
So what are your thoughts? Are you anxiously waiting for the moment these two will meet each other in the ring, or are you composing a letter to WWE Creative to let them know that they've dropped the ball?