WWE Bragging Rights 2010: In-Depth Thoughts, Comments and Opinion
First and foremost, readers of my previous articles on The Bleacher Report will be fully aware of my mentality towards WWE of 2010 being open-minded and having no expectation.
I take the current product for what it is and challenge myself to get as much entertainment out of the show as possible. I encourage you all to take a look at my three previous articles, as there are themes that are continued throughout this analysis.
Dolph Ziggler Vs Daniel Bryan
It is evidently clear that the current PPV structure does not give enough allowance for the fans to buy into most of the under-card matches that are being portrayed. WWE has an exciting blend of up and coming superstars who need exposure on PPV level to prove they have what it takes.
We all know that you require more than basic wrestling ability to succeed as a big time player, but WWE have to give the superstars the opportunity to express story telling in the lead up to a PPV match.
This was an excellent wrestling match, but with literally no build up. It is one thing to produce a wonderful wrestling match for the purists, but it is uncomfortable to watch if the live crowd do not commit any emotion into it.
Personally, I thought the encounter was refreshing to behold with a number of eye-catching spots, e.g. Bryan's running flying kick, Dolph's inverted power-slam and the near pin-fall routine.
They could have a very interesting feud, but I do not expect this to develop any further due to the fact that they are on two separate brands and this match was just thrown together last minute to bulk up the PPV card.
It was pleasing to see Daniel Bryan defeat Dolph Ziggler in this one, especially as most of the talk prior was about how Ziggler must win. Tremendous momentum now for Bryan and he must have a really solid feud in line.
I'd like to see him lock horns again with Sheamus, and go on to defeat him eventually. If they are having the traditional Survivor Series matches, then they can be on opposite teams and lead to a really good PPV one-on-one match later down the line.
Another plus point was the fact that the love triangle from Smackdown/NXT was mentioned, but there was no further development at the PPV. This was the right decision as it would have been unnecessary to have upset the wrestling of Ziggler and Bryan.
Nexus Vs Rhodes/McIntrye
Can't say I was best pleased to hear the annoying Apple beep to announce that the GM of Raw was getting involved in proceedings. It isn't a novel idea to have a computer communicating decisions with an anonymous GM.
Yes, the idea of having an anonymous GM is different and could work, but there is no need to use modern technology on TV for the sake of it. Does WWE have some sort of agreement with Apple?!
Whenever someone receives a text message on their iPhone around me, I can't help but cringe. At least Michael Cole doesn't quote anything in real life...
A minor problem I had with the GM stating that there was one team that deserved a shot at the tag-team titles on Raw is that Nexus really don't. Bringing Nexus into the tag division is a good thing. I have been expecting them to branch off into the tag-team world for a while.
The division is almost non-existent and really requires overhauling. The Nexus members need ring time and protection from their flaws being over exposed. Tag-team wrestling is the perfect way to develop them as wrestlers and keep the Nexus group interesting.
However, they haven't been competing in the tag ranks and suddenly they are worthy of a shot at a PPV? Tut tut, Mr./Mrs. GM.
Okay. I'll put that aside, as I really don't want to pick at bones. I was actually relieved that Rhodes & McIntyre were defeated. They are not a tag-team, no effort has been made to make them credible as a team, and they needed out of the predicament as soon as possible.
Yes, it probably can be deemed as a pointless reign and one that the Hart Dynasty could have continued. If Nexus were to win the titles, then what better way of continuing the animosity between Smith & Kidd? There is more good to come out of this decision than bad.
Rhodes & McIntyre can go back to their respective singles careers and embark on more meaningful feuds. The Nexus can use the tag-team championships to add a new dimension to the group.
This being said, if this was a real world situation, then Rhodes & McIntyre would have destroyed Otunga without Cena even becoming active in the fight.
I would love to see Nexus use a rotation system when defending the titles, like Demolition did back in the day. I am sure Wade Barrett will announce to the world that Nexus won overall at Bragging Rights by all of them becoming tag-team champions.
Otunga is a horrible wrestler currently and I'd much rather see Gabriel & Slater competing. However, I do see why Otunga was used with Cena for storyline purposes, which I have alluded to in previous articles.
This outcome also opens up the opportunity for Nexus (including John Cena) to begin appearing on Smackdown every week, which is important for WWE and Syfy. I'll talk about this later in the article.
Goldust vs. Ted DiBiase
Really nice to see WWE giving someone like Goldust the opportunity to engage in a proper low-card feud. I've always been a fan of angles involving messages or mysterious assailants.
We all love to play investigator and speculate on whom we feel is responsible! Yet, I also take my hat off to WWE for not stretching it out and giving us the reveal early.
I didn't think the commentary team had a particularly good night at Bragging Rights. Especially as they kept referring to the Million Dollar Belt as a championship. I love the Million Dollar Belt and the history behind it, but I do not want it to become something that is competed for officially.
Goldust and DiBiase fighting over possession of the belt is one thing, but if it does become competitive and we see the likes of R-Truth gunning for the belt, then I wouldn't be particularly interested.
The match itself was entertaining enough and I am really impressed with the conditioning of Goldust. He is no spring chicken and he has to be commended for the mere fact that he is still able to pull off a match of that quality. It is phenomenal that someone with such an old school type gimmick is still around.
I liked the offence of both parties in this match, although I was slightly perplexed that Goldust was defeated by a mere DDT.
However, this was short lived as the psychology Goldust brings to the table means he doesn't need the victory to win the battle. I'll be happy with these two continuing a rivalry that will hopefully see them on opposite sides at Survivor Series.
Sidenote: I am sick to death of the WWE pushing multi-man matches down our throats recently, but I am still a firm believer that the Survivor Series should stick to the traditional set-up. Otherwise there is no point in the PPV remaining on the schedule.
Layla Vs. Natalya
My hands are firmly held up here, I do not normally bother watching the women wrestle. It's not that I am against them having a spot on the show, more that I do not feel they should be on there unless they can produce the goods.
Back when Lita and Trish Stratus were involved with the WWE, I really enjoyed the performances of the women. But I really do not want to see the same poor performance every month, with the championship changing hands for fun.
Which is why I am happy to report that this match was far from awful. I liked what I saw from these two, obviously Nattie is a breath of fresh air. I haven't seen much of her, but I really admired her showing last night at Bragging Rights.
Funny how the commentators kept referring to her as Nattie, makes you wonder why the WWE bothers to make such small changes to a name if it is going to confuse their commentary team.
A lingering thought throughout this match and the rest of the PPV was, why doesn't anyone use the Bragging Rights trophy as a weapon?! Christ, it was just sitting there begging to be used, yet none of these innovative wrestlers thought to just pick it up for a moment and have a lucky swing?!
My only real criticism towards the women's match was the soft-porn moment with Layla straddling Nattie. Really? Unnecessary, thank you. These women are portrayed in an extremely sexual nature as it is, they don't need to further this anymore.
Loved the kick from McCool to end the match. Not disappointed that LayCool retained, the championship does need to gain some weight and an ongoing battle between Neidhart & LayCool for the title will do wonders.
Undertaker Vs. Kane - Buried Alive
The Survivor Series advert before this match was very nice, I'm a big fan of Wade Barrett's and liked the continued emphasis on Nexus in the lead up to next months PPV. I just wonder if there is a bigger picture to all of this and whether it may include the revelation of the Raw GM. Triple H maybe...
Josh Matthews in the grave was fantastic. He has come such a long way since his whiney days of Tough Enough and it is a pleasure to watch someone mature the way he has.
It takes a lot of willpower and discipline to realise that you will not make it as a wrestler and then iron out a niche as the number one interviewer on WWE TV.
I was quite surprised that this match was occurring so early on in the PPV with two matches left on the card, surely it will be a little morbid for the wrestlers following this knowing that someone is buried alive in there (For the record, I'm fully aware of the fact that there will be a trapdoor in the grave).
As always, the recap video was immense from WWE. They have handled this rivalry superbly well in my opinion, with special praise for the fact that they have acknowledged the past history of the two.
More often than not we see feuds being recycled by WWE with no mention whatsoever of the past. However, I am keen to point out that I see this trend slowly changing.
Paul Bearer goes to show that the wrestling industry really doesn't discriminate against the old and will always pay due respect to characters who helped paved the way.
It's been nostalgic having Bearer back involved with these two, but I hope that this was his final appearance tonight.
The Undertaker must be amazing to see live and something that you would never forget. His treatment by WWE over the years has been immense and is an example of how the rest of the talent should be treated.
His unpredictable appearances and lightened workload is one of the reasons he is still hailed as one of the very best in WWE today by the fans. We don't want superstars rammed down our throats week in week out and all potential feuds squashed by the fact that they all happened last week.
Kane reigning supreme in this encounter is a relief. I love The Undertaker and always will, but it was clear that he was hurt in this match. It wasn't the prettiest of fights, but it served the purpose. I really hope that there is a good explanation for The Nexus becoming embroiled in this one.
I do see the connection with them winning the tag titles and then helping Kane retain the Heavyweight Championship, as they will now be entitled to appear on Smackdown every week.
I do not see Kane and Nexus becoming allies on a permanent basis. It appeared that this was to set up a future clash between Nexus and The Undertaker, as well as ensuring they will continue the Kane/Undertaker saga somewhere down the road.
I would also like to point out that I had a little chuckle during this match up when there was a woman still working frantically on her Macbook whilst the Brothers of Destruction went at it right in front of her!
I wonder if she was responsible for the lightning strike at the end or the projector. Kudos to the fan who managed to get a "Lesnar" sign onto camera during the battle.
I like the little shows they put on when dealing with The Undertaker and the actual magic/illusions they use with the escaping tricks, etc.
Raw Vs Smackdown
Good time of the year to be having a Raw Vs Smackdown match with the computer game being released, good bit of marketing that.
Again, this suffered from the rushed build due to the insufficient time between PPV's. Unfortunately it had the feeling of a normal Raw or Smackdown TV match.
CM Punk coming out and acknowledging Undertaker's grave was immense. He really is a cut above and should be restored straight back into the main event where he belongs.
All the other superstars came out and didn't even glance over at the Dead Man, I know their minds are on other things, but it can't be every day they walk past someone buried alive!
I liked the fact that Tyler Reks started this match off and was given an opportunity to express himself in the squared circle. The WWE have to use multi-man matches to get new talent over and not just allow them to become passengers to the established stars.
I have no idea why The Miz allowed Santino Marella to remain a member of Team Raw. Santino is a comedy character on Raw and I can understand the need to have differing styles and approaches in this type of match.
However, it was poor captaincy on Miz's part to leave Santino on the team knowing he would be eliminated with ease. Perhaps the WWE could have taken Santino seriously for one night here and given him the chance to actually wrestle...
Ezekiel Jackson is a unit and a half! I find it simple to take the big bear as a major threat in the WWE just from his appearance. His physique and style is ideal for a WWE big man and I'd much rather see him than a Great Khali or Mark Henry.
They are obviously looking to invest in him over the upcoming months as he made it to the last two members of Team Raw.
Kofi Kingston exiting so early was a great disappointment and shows no signs of him getting the main event push the IWC craves. I would have had him being a survivor in this match rather than Rey Mysterio.
Having said that, it was better for storyline purposes to continue the feud between Alberto Del Rio and Mysterio. I loved how Del Rio was portrayed during this match, he truly is a mega-star.
I originally couldn't see why he would want to be a part of the team, with his character and demeanour since debuting on Smackdown, but it proved to be a very good appearance.
Although it was blatantly obvious that he hadn't taken Mysterio out of the match, it still reinforced Alberto Del Rio's character.
I was about to complain about the manner of his elimination, but his reaction afterwards was well worth it. Just like Goldust's defeat earlier in the night, the aftermath made it all worthwhile.
Most of the competitors in this match are favourites of mine, and the match was quite enjoyable from a personal perspective. I thought the way Sheamus kicked Hornswoggle's head off was amazing, there is a lot to be said for a competition between the wrestlers to see who can destroy him in the most innovative way.
Edge Vs Truth was a lot better than I'd have expected, though Truth has had a mini break recently due to the Canada trip. It included one of the best executions of Starship Pain that I've seen and another impressive overall performance from John Morrison.
Are the WWE obsessed with count-outs or what?! I can never recall so many in such a short space of time, we seem to get more count-outs than disqualifications and submissions combined!
Alex Riley being out there at all was a major positive, he is relatively green and has a lot to learn, but undoubtedly has real potential. The way he protected Miz from the 619 was awesome.
Speaking of The Miz, his showing tonight was rather poor for the captain of Raw. He should have been more of an eliminating machine, instead I thought he was made to look quite weak.
This being said, it does open up the possibility of him unleashing on his Raw team tonight. Expect someone like Ezekiel or JoMo to face off against him. Loved the "Cash it in tonight Miz" sign.
Overall it made perfect sense for Smackdown to win and I am happy that WWE went down that line. It is unusual in WWE to get all the success prior to a PPV and then come out on top, so hats off to WWE for doing so on this occasion.
The Raw superstars were at sixes and sevens with each other prior to the match, although there were no direct altercations during the match, with the same not being said about the Smackdown side.
When the two sides were finalised, it was clear that on paper Smackdown were the favourites and in reality should be victorious. It also makes sense from a WWE perspective as they are trying to establish Raw and Smackdown as equal, especially with the new switch to SyFy.
Although it was slightly disappointing that the usual superstars were revelling in the win, it does honour the work Edge & Mysterio have done for the Smackdown brand. Thought the celebrations were well done too.
Michael Cole celebrating about Smackdown winning was encouraging, almost as if the GM could make his most popular decision tonight on Raw and fire him, sending him permanently to Smackdown in the process.
I don't know if JR will ever return to announcing, but it would be a nice treat for us all if he did! There must be better commentators around the world for WWE to use, really don't think any of the current crop do a good enough job in selling the product.
Will the Smackdown members even mention Bragging Rights in a couple of weeks time?! The commentators suggested it is a year-long celebration of being the best, surely the very least Smackdown should do is to parade the trophy at ringside for the next year...
Randy Orton Vs Wade Barrett
Please continue having Josh Matthews interview Randy Orton. They are short and to the point. We do not need Randy cutting long boring promos, so keep it up!
One thing that kept bugging me throughout Bragging Rights was Wade Barrett. Now, my first ever article on this website was concerning Wade Barrett one day becoming a WWE Champion.
Yet it just appeared that at Bragging Rights he conspired against himself! It is a massive occasion being pitted against the champion at a PPV, so why is he busy getting himself sidetracked with the Tag-Team and Heavyweight Championship matches?!
He told Cena on Raw a couple of weeks ago that he couldn't be on Team Raw because he wanted him 100 percent focused on the WWE Title match, er hello, Mr. Barrett please follow your own advice!
I won't go into great detail concerning this match as I was beginning to go into WWE overload. There is a lot of TV viewing to commit yourself to with WWE, it is almost like maintaining a relationship with it!
Towards the end of a PPV, I very rarely find myself energised and instead spend the time hoping it ends soon.
My negativity aside, I actually enjoyed the finish. Although it is obvious at the start that Wade had essentially told us he would lose, it was still pretty well done by WWE, even if you do have the commentators doing a poor job of explaining why Wade Barrett won't be firing Cena.
I always thought it was the GM who had threatened to fire Cena. I liked how Nexus got involved and Cena cleared the ring due to the threat of disqualification, very nicely done.
At first I thought it was one big cop out with the finish, really didn't like it. Thought the way Cena got into the ring and just hit Barrett with the AA was pretty poor. But upon reflection I liked it.
It allows further Cena-Wade development, which will continue with the tag championships and appearances on Smackdown.
Barrett doesn't need the title at this moment in time as there is enough to be getting on with. Nexus can continue to feud with Orton and hopefully face off against each other in a traditional Survivor Series match next month.
Thankfully the WWE Championship has been retained! Maybe the WWE will realise there doesn't need to be a defence at Survivor Series, we can but hope!
Overall, I enjoyed the PPV. There was quite a bit of storyline development to build upon for the future. Nexus dominated the night, but not in a bad way. I actually believe the WWE are handling the Nexus situation superbly at the moment.
I really don't mind that they are taking their time with the whole Cena and Nexus storyline, and just pray that they eventually do turn John Cena heel.
Introducing them into the Kane-Taker match was interesting and definitely sets Nexus as a feature of Smackdown now with the tag team championship win.
Speaking of Smackdown, it will be interesting to see who now challenges Kane for the title. I just hope they give someone new a chance, Kofi Kingston anyone?
Obviously the Bragging Rights gimmick has been handled poorly and there is little point in winning the contest, but I believe I have already covered that argument in another article.
It will be interesting to see how the WWE builds from now to Survivor Series, which in essence means the job has been done as I want to see what happens!
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