WWE Supershow June 18, 2011: How the Mighty Force Is Falling Fast
On April 30, 2011, I posted an article previewing my impending trip to the Meadowlands a month and a half from then, to see WWE Supershow. The stars of Raw and SmackDown would be under one roof and the action was looking to be killer.
Before joining my voice to the thousands online that form the internet wrestling community, I've been to Supershows before and tons of live televised and non-televised events—even one PPV, No Mercy 2004, which featured a number of crucial moments for stars of today such as John Cena winning the U.S. Title from Booker T in the last of their Best Of 5 series, and Kurt Angle putting Big Show even further over than he already was.
In my previous article, I asked the question whether many of the fans in attendance would be casual fans or IWC fans. Whether the fans in attendance would be the types who don't look at internet dirt sheets or read behind-the-scenes accounts of backstage politics and just enjoy the product for what it is, or whether they were the types who take all those things seriously, sometimes to cynical and overly critical levels.
Turns out that not only did most of them act like casual fans, but my fiancee and I were actually lucky enough to be at the front of a lower level section with barely any people. So we could sit comfortably, our view was largely unobstructed and we had a great time.
Enduring such a lack of bothersome annoyances at this show, along with getting there exorbitantly early, I was able to focus my new-found IWC wisdom and learn quite a bit more about the current situation WWE finds itself in than I originally planned. As the good pseudo-reporter I am, I took furious notes on my android-powered smartphone.
Some things I will be sharing merely corroborate what you may already know, while other things may come as far more of a shock.
Souvenir Stands Are a Sorry State for People Who Don't Like John Cena
Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to get some souvenir swag to commemorate our trip. It was the first time in a couple years that we'd been able to see WWE action live, and when I heard that Supershow was taking place on a Saturday, the night before Capitol Punishment, I knew I needed to get us tickets.
Upon being let in, Nichole and I took a lap or two around the arena's outer echelon to see what was available, and what I found was a real shock to my system. Keep in mind, I've only been to one other WWE event outside the IZOD Center (formerly the Continental Airlines Arena, formerly the Brendan Byrne Arena), so I can't speak for how other venues have handled merchandise sales in the past two decades.
Many years ago, I remember souvenir stands at the Meadowlands to be vast, numerous and extremely varied in range. Not only were there booths built into six or so corners of the arena, but tables were set up both upstairs as well as downstairs in the two box office areas.
There also wasn't much leaning between faces and heels. Obviously, mega-faces like Stone Cold and Rock had numerous different shirt styles to choose from at different locations, but heel entities like Kane, Evolution, etc. also had offerings.
Approximately 24 superstars appeared at this event, and eight superstars had merchandise for sale. Orton didn't appear due to his apparent concussion (whether they were selling a kayfabe condition or he actually needed time to recuperate), but he had one shirt available and you know he would've been there if he could, so technically only five appearing stars had merch for sale (they had the new "I Bring It" shirt for Rock but NONE of the new Stone Cold shirts), which I feel is another major problem.
Years ago, before the brand extension, they had at least half the stars employed than they do now and they still managed to have some who didn't appear at every single live event. Thus, they'd often sell items for stars who didn't appear. Clearly, they've done that here, each of the souvenir stands having pretty much the same offerings, and here's the saddest part.
Only one of the six booths had only one Miz shirt (the new softball style) and only one CM Punk shirt (his Nexus shirt with the N on the sleeve, the yellow Uprising logo on the front with the lightning bolt, and his cartoony logo on the back). At all the booths, they had hung up at least TWO of John Cena's new red "Persevere" t-shirts, a few of the booths having it hung up THREE times!
You read that right, no lie. Same exact Cena shirt, hung up in three different places in a single booth. They also had one or two alternate Cena shirts so, in essence, many of the booths had four Cena shirts all in a row, and that's not to mention the generalized t-shirts displaying multiple stars, on which Cena is usually located front and center.
To say that WWE leans on Cena is really an understatement. WWE is John Cena. Blood, profanity and overly sexual Divas aside, WWE has made a very distinct choice—push one man and one man alone. This isn't just hyperbole from a disgruntled fan, it's literally true. They see him as their biggest meal ticket and no matter how many people they have alienated in the past and how many get bored with him, they are continuing to push him as if he just got here.
Which leads me to the next major issue...
Place Was Practically Empty...
What you see here is a photo I took when we got to our seats, maybe 13 minutes before the scheduled 7:30 start time (as you can see from the timestamp). I don't think the show actually started until around 7:40, though. I really felt like I was in a cafeteria for an assembly, or school auditorium. Not seeing WWE live...
Many of you may already know (and can perhaps see in the pic) that WWE events occasionally, if not often, cover over large portions of upper deck seating with black curtains to produce the appearance that the venue is either more full, or that it sold more tickets than it did.
Aside from the main event of the night, a Fatal 4-Way which turned into a Triple Threat (more on that later), the place had likely hundreds, if not thousands, of empty seats. Sure, it's summer and people's plans change. Sure, it's a non-televised event the day before a $50-60 PPV and sure, there are probably enough fans out there who realize that what they see at a house show won't affect what goes down at the PPV (it really didn't, none of the outcomes affected Capitol Punishment at all).
Still, I remember years ago when house shows only had small clumps of empty seats at most.
What I saw on June 18? Shocking. Hardly anyone in the upper decks whatsoever, huge sections of the lower levels empty, but floor sections fairly full. Ticket-price ranges were crazy, as upper deck seating could hover around $20-30 while up close ringside was around $150 a pop.
Our front row lower section seats were about $50 each—had to shop around for them on Ticketmaster, though.
I feel like the upside to this is that the fans who did come to the show really put their loudest, most passionate voices forward. Fans in attendance may have been few, but their love for WWE's brand of entertainment is still strong and can get stronger if things go right.
Mostly Faces Won, Started with Sheamus (SD) vs. Evan Bourne (Raw)
As you can imagine, with WWE pretty much terrified of disappointing its fans with bad outcomes, the majority of the matches were won by the faces present.
Obviously, a house show before a PPV is absolutely, positively NOT going to feature any title changes—not that it shouldn't, honestly. Having a title change hands at a non-televised house show, especially before a PPV, would really boost ticket sales for house shows and that added revenue would do wonders for the company. I'm just saying it's not typically done but, if it does happen, it's an extraordinarily rare occurrence.
Title changes are big. They're usually reserved for televised shows and PPVs, as boosting those ratings is what's focused on as most important. However, as WWE could really use the opportunity to strengthen areas where it's severely weakened, it couldn't hurt to move the title on a random house show to instantly start new and unexpected storylines for subsequent broadcasts.
For instance, instead of throwing Teddy Long under the bus and making him "poll" the WWE Universe to see who they wanted Christian to defend his title against after Extreme Rules, it would've been a much more organic idea to have SmackDown feature a triple threat No. 1 contender match between Henry, Khali and Orton, book Orton to win and he can take the title at a house show.
But no. Christian's good nature, which could have made him the underdog hero we all wanted him to be, has been thrown out the window to make Orton look even more invincible than he already is.
The fact that two of the title holders in attendance were faces, and the other two were known heel cheaters, didn't help either, but I'll get to those results in a little bit.
The night's competition started with Evan Bourne hitting the ring hard and taking on Sheamus. Bit of an odd combo, now that they're on different shows. Sheamus was the first competitor to grab a mic and he made good use of the opportunity.
He called out Randy Orton not being present at the event, due to a concussion, and that Orton's punt had given Sheamus a concussion of his own, but Sheamus claimed he was a true competitor to be there that night and compete.
Chalk it up to his head getting rattled, but Sheamus lost the match to little Evan cleanly in a hard fought battle. Evan's Shooting Star Press really got some great reaction, as you might expect. Sheamus was booed harshly without much of a great reason besides children being mean to a guy who looks different (which is completely counter to their anti-bullying campaign, as Cena started the whole "human jar of mayo" thing), but for them to start the night with two great talents like Evan and Sheamus was a terrific interpromotional choice.
Or else, someone just forgot they're on different programs and booked them in a match. Oops. Did I just say that?
Host Kelly Gets Interrupted by the Bellas, Raw GM Makes Beth vs. Brie (Both Raw)
Kelly Kelly was announced by Tony Chimel as the "host" of the event, though I'm not exactly sure why as this was only one of her two total appearances. Tony was far more an Emcee than Kelly was.
Midway through her first appearance, she was interrupted by the Bella Twins, who bullied her before Beth Phoenix hit the ring. Before she could chase away the bad girls, we heard the familiar iPhone message noise that signaled an email from the Raw GM.
For a second, Nichole and I thought that perhaps Michael Cole would make a cameo to read the email from his iPad, however Tony did the honors and announced a quick match between then-Divas Champion, Brie Bella, and the Glamazon. After a good five-six minute bout that actually featured some decent competition for Divas, Beth picked up the victory.
Barrett vs. Zeke for the Intercontinental Championship (Both SD)
Our first "title match" of the night was for the IC belt, as Wade Barrett defended his then-title against arch-nemesis and former cohort in the Corre, Ezekiel Jackson.
With the title not likely to change hands, it was still somewhat crucial to see what kind of match they would give us, and I feel it really showed how well Barrett had scouted Zeke. It showed two men who knew each other well in the ring but, of course, Wade is still playing a cowardly heel and can't be expected to win fair.
Thus, Barrett picked up the dirty win, grabbing the ropes on a pin to steal a victory.
Had it been televised, Barrett would've at least scored a few points to boost his rep in WWE's rankings, as any pin scored counts, however, as we saw at Capitol Punishment, Big Zeke won the match and took home the Intercontinental Championship, thus knocking Wade further down the totem pole.
Wade's become known as being a guy who takes the offensive when he has a clear advantage, and only defends himself when he's forced to. When the entity he's angered acquires the advantage and claims victory, Wade immediately turns his attention elsewhere.
So, with Nexus, Corre, Zeke and the Intercontinental title all out of his grasp, it seems as if Wade's character's shortcomings could come to a head. Let's see if his collective losses will inspire him to take new and more drastic measures.
Christian Was Next to Speak, Takes on Bryan in a Fairly Long Match (Both SD)
Remember how Scott Hall would always start each visit to Nitro with a survey? I feel like Christian's doing something similar.
Call it a silver lining to Christian's weak heel turn, but every time we see him these days, he "polls" the WWE Universe in some really rhetorical, loaded way, just like Scott Hall did many years ago. Obviously, it's not meant to be an egotistical, entertainment device in Christian's case, it's meant to display his bitterness regarding the extremely irresponsible (kayfabe) decision by Teddy Long to poll the WWE Universe to make a crucial decision in the lives of two superstars.
I'm sorry to everyone who feels Christian works better as a heel, but I stand firm on my opinion that turning Christian into a bitter ex-champion to be fed to an already well-established Randy Orton has been a major mistake. The last thing Randy needs is more people to squash and step on, as he's already beaten some of the best in the business. Besides which, he has way more years left in him than Christian does.
Christian could use some time at the top as a strong, honorable hero. Randy's powerful, egotistical, confident and, above all, he's been an unpredictable loose cannon. It makes eons more sense for Randy to be the bad guy and for the people to root for Christian to beat him. Don't get me wrong, Christian's making the best of this situation and entertaining like only he can, but I feel this could've gone way better with Randy being the guy we needed to hate.
After reiterating that Randy wasn't in the building that night, his opponent was announced as Daniel Bryan. The two of them had a fairly lengthy match with some great back and forth and, as expected, Christian picked up the clean victory to make him look strong going into his title match at the PPV.
With Bryan being left out of many heated dramas, Bryan can afford to take some losses here and there, and I'm glad that Christian is able to continue his time winning clean as a heel. One of Alberto Del Rio's big selling points is that he's one of the bigger heels in the company and he can still win a portion of his matches clean. I don't feel Christian is nearly as big a heel as Randy could potentially have been, but at least they're okay with keeping Christian strong as a competitor and that's a very healthy decision.
At Capitol Punishment, Christian's foot was under the rope after getting pinned which means this week will be pivotal in advancing this rivalry between Christian and Randy further.
Alberto Del Rio Gets Massively Squashed by Big Show (Both Raw...for Now)
Not much to say here, but Alberto Del Rio was next up and I was really looking forward to a nice time of hearing him berate the New Jersey fans for being dirty, low-class, etc. I love my state, but if the bad guys are going to be the primary mic workers, then I want to hear them lay it down verbally like they do so well. More on that in a second...
He barely got his name introduction halfway out before Big Show hit the ring with his hoodie still on and put down Del Rio in a glorified squash match that couldn't have lasted more than a minute or two.
I'm not one of the many people who believe Del Rio's "lost momentum," as he's one of the few natural entertainers who has so much charisma oozing out of him, he doesn't need to be in the title hunt to be relevant. Secondly, since he has yet to win a title, but he was on such a major roll last year, he can afford to balance his record with a few more losses before actually winning a belt to make his finally acquiring a title show that much more struggle and dedication.
Since it was only a house show, it was likely just a way to make fans in attendance happy, though I feel better that more took place at Capitol Punishment, Mark Henry getting involved and Del Rio picking up the victory due to the ref stopping the match, than having to see Big Show squash Del Rio in a crucial moment on PPV.
Like I said, I don't feel like he's losing momentum, as he doesn't need a belt to be fun to watch, but losing enough matches will eventually make him look really foolish. On the Power to the People Raw special, CM Punk won the triple threat No. 1 contender match against Del Rio and Mysterio, to earn his title opportunity at Money in the Bank, in his attempt to leave the company with the WWE title.
As amazing as that would be, if for no other reason than Punk would effectively vacate the title (there's no way Vince would let him walk away with it), the likelihood of it is practically slim to none. Thus, unless Mysterio picks up yet another "underdog" victory over Del Rio, Alberto may be next in line for a shot at the title, whether against Cena or someone else.
He hasn't lost momentum at all. Please stop saying that, guys.
Cody on the Mic, Only Bad Guys Speaking? Really? (SD)
Cody Rhodes came to the ring with a bag man or two, handed a few bags out to the crowd and got on the microphone to share a few choice insults with the tri-state area crowd. Another classic promo by Cody, his theatrics and abilities on the microphone are just getting better with each week, and I always look forward to seeing what his character will do next.
I do want to point out that at this point in the show, the only people to speak were heels and I find that to be of particular interest.
Many years ago, WWE didn't just let its heels develop their characters with microphones. They also had a lot of entertaining face personalities who were terrific at using catchphrases, clever jokes and remarks that weren't too corny or too over anybody's heads. Hell, two perfect examples: Stone Cold and the Rock. Two of the biggest faces in WWE history and they were two of the most talented performers to get crowds worked up into frenzies and standing ovations.
When they were good guys, they were beloved, appreciated and people traveled across country to see them do what they do.
WWE's current crop of heel characters is getting stronger and stronger in personality, this is true, but I almost feel as if WWE's abundance of heel loudmouths is proving to be stifling for fans in attendance. Kids love watching a heel talk our ears off and then "get his in the end," but with children's primary mouthpiece being John Cena, and his on-screen personality being that of a significantly childish, hypocritical bully who steps on anyone's freedom of expression whenever HE doesn't agree with it, the majority of fans don't have any catchphrases to hope for, no popular expressions they know are coming, no words that have fans on the edges of their seat, nothing.
To hear so many heels insulting them on so regular a basis, and no good guys to get on the mic to balance things out, is seriously getting discouraging and WWE needs to find some good face mic workers (or else, turn some of their heels into faces) to whip up crowds with good zingers and sharp wit.
Sin Cara Hits the Ring to HUGE Pops! (SD)
While Cody was waxing poetic, Sin Cara hit the ring and I felt like giving him his own slide here to address a few issues on the popular luchadore.
I've read a lot of articles in Bleacher Report's wrestling section to suggest that Sin Cara isn't "over" with fans as much as management expected. As I pointed out earlier, there was barely anybody at this WWE event, and the pops for Sin Cara were absolutely huge! Not only that, but I saw Sin Cara masks and t-shirts everywhere in the crowd. To say this guy isn't "over" is really underestimating his quick rise to popularity.
On the other hand, Sin Cara is in a similar position as Daniel Bryan. He hasn't been involved in too many heavy dramas, no real stable affiliations (was he in APPLE? I can't remember), and has yet to be in a title match, so Sin Cara is currently just another neutral competitor. He hasn't shown many goals in any direction yet. If creative hasn't booked him into any title opportunities or drama to raise our interest of him, it's their own fault.
However, Sin Cara having not spoken one single word yet, and still managing to communicate beyond words, is truly a testament to how much this guy is capable of.
We listen to guys like Miz, Punk, Truth, etc. go on and on and, most of the time, we're pretty entertained by it. But Sin Cara, up to this point, has mainly communicated with hand and body gestures. He was visibly upset when Chavo "helped" him beat Bryan on SmackDown, his trademark long-arm point may not strike fear into anyone's heart yet but it's certainly a way of saying, "I got you," and the encounter between Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes before their match at Supershow was also fairly classic.
In a strange turn, Cody grabbed one of the paper bags and told Sin Cara to put it on. Sin Cara already wearing a mask, the luchadore was clearly confused and turned to the crowd for guidance. Also a great move that not many mic workers these days really take advantage of—getting the crowd involved in their choices.
Sin Cara took the bag, fluffed it open and was about to put it on, only to hear people in the crowd yell for him not to. He must've done this six times, really weighing the decision whether to make his opponent happy or piss him off. At times, it actually looked like Sin Cara would put the bag on and perhaps mockingly dance around with it, however finally, Sin Cara had had enough.
He ripped up the paper bag, hopped on his toes, stretched and off we go with the match.
I didn't see much in the way of botches or screwed up moves, but I will admit that that's been something I agree with when people criticize Sin Cara. His style does leave a lot of room open for moves to go wrong and his nerves being under so much pressure seems to be getting to him to a slight degree, however his match with Cody at Supershow was fairly clean and spotless (no pun intended), as far as I could see.
As expected, Sin Cara scored another victory and I'm sure Cody supporters in the IWC are angry over it, terrified that Cody's stock is seriously plummeting, especially with his new/old association with DiBiase but, like Del Rio, these guys are great without title belts. Competitors like Triple H and Cena have been very entertaining in the past, but obsessing over titles did a lot to severely weigh them down.
Those two had character when they started, but after they got so embroiled in their hunts for championship belts, their characters (and subsequently, the goals and ideals that gave them character) got considerably watered down. Cody and Del Rio can go a little longer without titles, but with all their talk about winning them, eventually, it would help them to capture one, preferably cleanly.
Kelly Appearance 2 of 2, Intermission, Tag Team Titles (Both Raw)
Tony Chimel brought Kelly out for her second of two appearances of the night, where she announced that she'd need the help of four fans in the audience for a dance contest. The winner would get to meet a WWE Superstar of their choosing.
She chose a thick Puerto Rican fella (which I know because when Kelly asked where he's from, instead of saying N.J. like everyone else did after him, he replied "Puerto Riiiiiicooooooo" like an ass heel), a short stocky lady and two little kids. They played some generic beats and, sure enough, the two little kids won, choosing to meet John Cena (big surprise) and Big Show (not as much of a surprise).
After this filler, came a short intermission where I decided to go purchase my souvenirs, which were the new Miz softball shirt and a light blue Sin Cara shirt. I would have also purchased a Nexus armband, however with the only action figures and toys being John Cena, I didn't get my hopes up that Nexus merch was in any kind of abundance.
Unfortunately, I was held up on line so long that I missed the bulk of the tag team title match between McGillicutty/Otunga of the New Nexus and Vladirella (not like I expected it to change hands, I just would've liked to see Nexus come to the ring, because whether it's "This Fire Burns" for CM Punk or "We Are One" by 12 Stones, I like both songs greatly).
The match was just ending by the time we got back to our seats, so I'm not sure if Nexus won fairly or not, and as I won't cry and whine like many about the sad state of the tag team division (even though I think it's great that the Usos won their recent tag match against a still slightly heelish combo of Gabriel and Slater), I don't think the match was a good choice to bring people back from a break.
Dolph Ziggler Without Vickie, Great Job Working Crowd Without Mics (Both Raw)
Conspicuous by her absence at Supershow was Vickie Guerrero, who played a significant part in Dolph capturing the U.S. title from Kofi Kingston at Capitol Punishment.
I won't say this title match was boring, as many in the IWC contradict themselves by saying rivalries end too quickly yet when they see a rivalry continue through their ninth match, they complain by saying they've seen the match way too many times and they want something new. I will just say that nothing really came of it.
It was a very entertaining match to watch, though. Both guys are fast, strong, and they compliment each other's styles extremely well. Kofi's a high-flyer who fights with honor, and Dolph's slightly less speedy but uses his wits to pull some sneaky counters and reversals that really seem to earn him a lot of respect with fans.
In the end, Kofi picked up the win, and fans may not have cheered for Dolph outright, but it was clear the crowd was into the match to a great extent. Honestly, with every match these two have, it becomes clearer to me that these guys have serious unfinished business to settle. Hopefully, one day, we'll see Dolph dump Vickie, request a fair, one-on-one match with Kofi and Dolph can end up being the victor, Kofi ask for a rematch and the ante can be raised even further.
Incidentally, I do like Vickie as a heel, but she's weighing Dolph down considerably. By helping him win the U.S. title at Capitol Punishment, she's digging Dolph further into a hole by continuing to make him look incapable when it comes to scoring victories on his own.
Something has to hit the fan eventually.
Miz Works a Microphone Better Than Anyone
Next up was the scheduled main event of the night, a Fatal 4-Way between Miz, CM Punk, R-Truth and John Cena for the WWE Championship. Obviously, with four of the biggest talkers in the company in one ring, and so much controversy following each of these men around, you can guess big things happened.
The first thing to occur was probably the most impressive. Miz hit the ring to his theme song, grabbed a mic and spoke between five and 10 minutes, really doing well to whip the N.J. crowd into absolute chaos.
Even my fiancee, who is well-versed in her hatred of The Miz, was probably entertained more hearing Miz speak than any other instance of the night. He insulted the crowd, played games with people's reactions and proceeded to literally call everyone puppets as he had people eating out his hand, going from boos to cheers with sheer ease and getting the fans to do exactly what he wanted.
I think the turn of events seeing Riley rebel from Miz, and turning Riley into a babyface, thus plunging Miz into even deeper heel waters, was a really compelling and amazing twist that threatens to put A-Ry into a great spot. He offers some fresh, genuine charisma, mixed with a fair amount of attitude, and the fans really need that in faces right now.
However, this means that all of Miz's catchphrases, that fans are already loudly repeating during his promos, will have to wait even longer to be accepted. It may not always work to turn someone face simply by circumstance, but in Miz's case, it's going to take some major circumstances to get people to cheer for him at this point.
Rock was in a very similar position when he "was turned face by fans," however WWE accepted the fans appreciation of him and changed circumstances around him to suit that.
I humbly admit that I realize my error in simply crowing for Miz to turn face early, as Riley's rebelling against him is developing Miz into a bigger solo heel than he was before, and that's been valuable to grow Miz's character as a solo superstar. At Capitol Punishment, Riley beat his former mentor, boosting Riley and humbling Miz, but I just hope that WWE is able to find a way to change Miz face somewhere down the road, as I feel like such a position is perfect for him.
Are there more clever speakers in WWE? One or two, yes, I won't deny that.
But they need him as a face in the long run way more than they need him as a heel. As I said, heel talkers are fine, but we could really use some fun and entertaining face talkers as well to balance things out. We have John Cena, whose childish sense of humor is extremely pedestrian and simple, and that's pretty much it. Meanwhile, just about every heel in the company gets mic time AND Michael Cole is still commentating in favor of the heels.
Not every single heel needs to be a big talker who can't back up what they say. It's getting to the point where it's hard to tell which heels can back up their claims and which can't. On the other side of the coin, faces should be able to entertain as well and either take shots at heels who shoot their mouths off or zing people.
I realize WWE is in the middle of pushing its "beaStar" campaign against bullying, but if they can get away with showing the Bellas making fun of Kharma for being pregnant, then at the very top of the commercial break, show a beaSTAR ad that STARTS with the Bellas claiming bullying is wrong, then I think they can get away with some face characters zinging bad guys that actually deserve to be zinged.
Vickie Guerrero may be a glorified cheater who deserves to get hers, but ripping on her for at least five minutes for being a little husky? I'm sorry, but that's severe hypocrisy and I won't stand for it...
R-Truth Spouting More Conspiracy/Jimmy Theories, Punk Babbles
Before Miz could finish his speech, Riley jumped him in the ring, beat him back up the ramp and Tony Chimel announced that the Fatal 4-Way was now going to be a Triple Threat. Didn't look like Miz was injured or anything, but okay, whatever you say.
Truth hits the ring next, continuing to entertain with his Lil' Jimmy schtick, his conspiracy theories, etc., all reliable and good for his character. His loss to Cena at Capitol Punishment, as a result of a fan pouring water on Truth, Cena throwing Truth into the ring and taking an Attitude Adjustment, was pretty disappointing as Truth seemed to be poised for even a brief run as WWE Champion.
With CM Punk seemingly next in line for a title shot, hopefully R-Truth's obsession with this Cena conspiracy story doesn't just vanish. The potential storyline twists that Truth could pull out of his bag of tricks are nearly endless and to validate Truth's words to an extent would make him more than just "delusional," like the promo vignettes have been saying, and make him more respectable as a bad guy.
After Truth was finished his mic time, CM Punk hit the ring and, in a strangely entertaining move, Punk grabbed the microphone and mocked the fact that the two guys before him had so much to say by simply babbling, "blaaaa blah blaaaah...blah blah blaaaaaaaah...blaaaah blaaaaaah..." and giving the microphone back to Tony Chimel to continue his ring announcing.
As crazy as it sounds, given the example I'm citing, CM Punk pulling such behavior on the mic really shows me that he may be, in fact, TOO good a speaker for WWE.
Outside of his tremendous wrestling ability, his sense of humor and ability to cut amazing promos that think far outside the box, are what lures many of us to like him. However, I'm sometimes afraid that Punk may be thinking a bit too far outside the box at times.
I love watching him and listening to him, and even my fiancee is lured to him in the same way. So his thinking outside the box with his sense of humor isn't a bad thing, in and of itself. What's bad is just how much better he looks in comparison to the rest of either roster.
He so much better, he's practically in a category of his own.
Like Miz, he's a great speaker, his words being one of his major assets as a WWE Superstar, and any time he has a mic in his hand, I'm shutting the hell up so I can listen and laugh with him. As much as my fiancee hates heels, Punk is one of the few she loves listening to, despite his often cheating to win matches. And it's not as if Punk doesn't take crowd reaction to heart, same as Miz does, he's great at that, too.
I just feel as if CM Punk might be trying too hard to be a heel, when in reality, it might be time for his character to change. I can't recall the factor or moment that caused Punk to turn heel initially, but after leading the Straight Edge Society, watching that fail, joining commentary, taking over Nexus, talking about Faith, yadda yadda, I feel like CM Punk's heeldom is getting a bit confusing and kind of forced.
Like I said, he's an amazing speaker, but his character's direction and idealism and goals are sometimes a tad hard to follow, and I think it's a result of his being so clever on the microphone. He takes current characters extraordinarily seriously, then gets booked horrifically to lose over and over, causing him to change course shortly after.
In fact, if creative and management really had faith in Punk's abilities, they would've had Mysterio lose to Punk at WrestleMania 26, causing him to join the Straight Edge Society, Mysterio would've aided them in defeating Big Show, and we might be looking at an even bigger SES than we saw previously instead of turning Nexus into an updated version of a disbanded stable.
Punk's initiation of the rivalry with Randy Orton was extremely well done, down to Punk allegedly being the one to suggest the idea to include footage of the Unforgiven PPV when Orton punted Punk in the head forcing him to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship. But after that ended and faded following WrestleMania 27, Punk's rivalries and goals have been so scattered, it's no wonder he wants to leave, even for just a while.
After all, it doesn't seem to me like Punk is necessarily a primadonna, who takes his ball and ditches town when storylines don't go their way (a la Stone Cold, Batista, Ultimate Warrior, and likely others), but when he's booked to lose this often, it completely ruins any real work he puts into his characters and he clearly puts his entire being into them.
As great as Punk is as an entertainer, I really don't blame him for wanting some time away. Sometimes a performer in WWE needs to do that. Step away for a while and come back with/to something new.
Big Show did it, now he's one of the biggest stars in the company. Jericho's been gone since last year, and he claims that IF he comes back, it will be with a new gimmick, and I admire him for that. It's not like it's going to be much different than what he's offered us before, it'll just be more "Jericho" than ever.
Punk wants to go and I admire his "honesty." I won't be pining over his return with each day that passes, but I will be hoping that after his last day with the company, that he considers coming back at some point and works it out with creative to make his return a bit more consistent than his heel run.
Like Triple H before him, that was put on the shelf many times as a heel only to come back as a face, perhaps CM Punk's time as a psychotic cult leader are over. And if he comes back, he can use his talents with the spoken word to beef up the mic work of the faces.
Punk should take the time off. I highly doubt WWE will close its mind to an idea of a new contract if he wants back in, if for no other reason than to keep him out of the hands of its competition.
Sound Guys Screwed Up!
As Cena was about to hit the ramp, CM Punk's music played for a half second with him actually in the ring, before Cena's music played correctly. You can bet somebody got a tongue lashing for that.
I've said it before, that I realize this is a house show and doesn't matter much, but come on. Still might want to be on point with your performances. Even Raws have resulted in flubs.
Anyone else catch when Alex Riley was coming out and John Cena's graphics were all over the screens? Good work giving a talented new star to the fold some proper respect, jackasses...
No Cena Promo, but Kids Cutting Promos Behind Me Were Classic!
Once Cena hit the ring, he chose not to dally with words, and instead, got right down to business. Truth was playing up his cowardly heel role (because cowardly heel roles are so utterly unique these days), jumping out of the ring and jogging up the ramp when Cena came at him.
Interestingly, Punk grabbed a mic and yelled at Truth, "If you're just going to play around, then go to the back and let me and Cena wrestle!" Added emphasis on the word "wrestle," by the way. Cena and Punk created a very brief truce to give Truth some motivation to fight, and once he had it, the Triple Threat went forward in full force.
During the match, from a row or two behind me, I swear to you, I heard this.
"I didn't think John Cena was real! Is he really real?"
Yes, little Jimmy, Cena is real. Well, wait, let me correct myself.
Cena's real like Santa Claus is real, although Santa Claus' character is at least more consistent than Cena's is. There's no wiggle room with Santa, he's the big guy in red who brings presents on Xmas. And yes, I know Cena wears red now and his name is all over the stuff you got for your birthday, and yes, I know Cena always wins just like GI Joe always beats Cobra and the Autobots always beat the Decepticons.
So no, little Jimmy, Cena is NOT real.
John Felix Anthony Cena is real, though. He's a guy who fills a comfortable spot on a corporate television program and, despite all the clout he has in the company, he refuses to use his leverage to convince "the powers that be" to elevate any other Superstars. The guy's proven he can do the same as the Rock, and hold a successful acting career, so if WWE ever gets pissy with him and tells him where he can find the door, he can still provide for his family effectively.
Instead, he goes into work everyday, they tell him how they're going to book him to win yet another title, they have a morning status meeting to explain HOW he's going to squash yet another heel's momentum, and he just sits back and says "yes sir, boss man! Anything you need!" (Don't quote me on any of that, it probably only goes similar to that, not exactly).
I can't pull that nonsense at my office job, but Cena has enough clout to negotiate in favor of mid-to-low carders everywhere and nothing changes.
"John Cena is the best wrestler ever!" Spoken with sheer awe!
I will admit that he's getting better and showing more actual wrestling talent these days, so to everyone who still says Cena can't wrestle, I say shut your mouth. His natural ability is showing through a lot more and, while I will say he's probably not the very best wrestler in the world, his moveset is getting more varied. I can't agree with little Jimmy here, but I can't necessarily disagree either.
What I will disagree with, is this child's tone. These kids literally worship Cena, there are no two ways about that. They worship him. Thing is, when it comes to wrestling, kids are bloodthirsty.
I mentioned Santa a moment ago? Despite knowing what Santa looks like because of pictures and cartoons, they've never actually seen Santa on live broadcast TV. So even though some are apparently unsure if Cena is real, when they watch wrestling and see a guy go down the wrong path, they want vengeance!
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Kids would not stop watching WWE if Cena turned bad. They'd just want his head on a stick for letting them down.
Oh, and here's one of my favorite lines from behind me, check this out, word for word:
"Punk is a straight edge loser!"
Not spoken by an adult, not shouted by an angry, drunk, drug-addict grown-up, no—shouted by a little kid. By the way, this kid's parent didn't say a word to them about how being straight edge is a choice and it doesn't make Punk a bad person. Nothing about how Punk is bad because he cheats or gangs up on people, nope, this parent let their kid yell at Punk and hate on him because he's straight edge.
I criticize the children, but in reality, they're just following what their brain says is alluring. They see Cena wear pretty colors, displaying his perfectly aligned pearly whites and hear crowds around them cheer for that particular guy, and they gravitate toward him. Makes perfect sense.
No, more likely, I blame the parents for this. They let their kids dictate what's right and wrong. They continue to pander to their kids whining and crying for every new line of Cena merchandise that gets released, instead of saying, "No, little Jimmy, you already have six whole lines of Cena shirts, that's enough, now stop crying."
Anyway, Cena won the match after Punk tried using a chair. Not like that really matters...
This was the first WWE event I'd been to in at least two years. Nichole and I went to a live Raw a couple years ago, but that's Raw! It's exciting, thrilling, action-packed, dramatic and they're live on the USA Network most Mondays (sometimes they're not live, but televised events are still inherently exciting). House shows are much less so, obviously, but even the house shows I'd been to before this one were considerably more impressive than this was.
Honestly, WWE is really and truly hanging on John Cena to save their company. Counter-critics, who take an opposite slant on all the "Cena should turn heel" propaganda, slap a label on what those people do by calling it "Cena-hating." "You're just another Cena-hater," actually heard that one launched at me a time or two, which made me really mad.
We're discussing a company that pretty much revolves around one man. I'll be honest, I've occasionally felt guilty putting so much focus on him in my articles, but the truth is, what we're given as fans and viewers puts most of that focus on him. There are no other "stars" but him.
In fact, as the ultimate comparison, allow me to quote myself: The kids worship John Cena. They're not just fans, they worship him. Like adults, if the entity they worship lets them down, they'll find something else to worship, which gels with my idea that if Cena were to turn bad, kids would turn their attention to whoever could come along and put Cena down.
Thus, in my next article...I'm going to take a look at Christianity's 10 Commandments.
If John Cena is practically God to the children, and he's put up on such a high, untouchable pedestal by WWE, perhaps we can see how truly close he is to at least one religion's set of rules.