Following last night’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view, I was eager to get to bed.
It was the first time in a while I WANTED to see Monday Night Raw.
And then it struck me—the business of wrestling may be on the right track after all.
For months, we have been bantering back and forth about the issues of RAW, Smackdown and TNA Impact, and while each brand brings its own baggage to the table, they all seem to have a niche that keeps us coming back for more.
I have also come to realize that the more dysfunctional it seems to be, the more we complain and then tune in.
Last night may have been pure genius with a few flaws.
Nothing was perfect, but we saw the true establishment of the anti-hero again in CM Punk and the reflection of angles relived in John Laurinaitis when it looked like a screw job in Chicago like Brett Hart in Canada.
Some things are better left alone, but the drama leading up to last night had to be climactic.
Anything less would have been a hard sell for tonight’s follow-up show.
We learned many things about what “may” happen in the coming weeks and now have questions to be answered by the creative teams of both WWE brands.
How will Daniel Bryan’s character be used now that he is the MITB winner on Smackdown? What happens to Mark Henry, who is pushing for main event status? Is Sheamus the best big man in the business that does not have a title?
Where does R-Truth fit into a title run? Did we see John Cena for the last time? What happens to Alberto Del Rio after winning MITB and having to cash it in last night? Is he still a contender?
Is Big Show done in WWE, or is he losing steam, much like Samoa Joe in TNA? And can Smackdown keep the momentum of creating great matches like they have been doing over the last month?
Lost in all this great commotion is the fact that Christian won the world title last night, which seems to be a cautionary thought this morning.
Funny, since the world title has been held by so many great wrestlers over the decades; now it takes a back seat to politics, confusion and maybe the best promo job ever seen on RAW tonight.
For weeks, Smackdown had been the leader in the clubhouse.
Now we will see if RAW takes its rightful place back atop the company brand.
Christian is champion, Daniel Bryan is MITB winner, Henry is steaming forward, Sheamus is still one bad-ass and Wade Barrett needs a new gimmick.
On RAW, everything is pending with Cena and Punk, which makes for great theater.
And if Punk is still with the company (watch to see if the contract he tore up last week was the right one) and he gets his wishes (Colt Cabana, marketing, etc.), who jumps forward to challenge him?
Does Cena stay on or take a hiatus? Does someone from the past, Jericho or Batista, make an effort to “save” RAW? Maybe they repackage Mason Ryan as a behemoth that turns on Punk or have The Miz turn face.
And while this is going on, Impact is still running straight forward with a creative team that is making people forget they are Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo.
The PPV from weeks ago was another success, although it had some odd matches and moments.
The last three matches were stellar, and it was followed up by a great Thursday night program that had us wanting more. Questions are being answered about the direction the show is going, who is going to lead the pack, and what PPV events and series matches are making us think of wrestling in the 1990s.
The clown gimmick was the craziest thing I had heard of since Matt Borne dancing with bears, but the members of Fortune playing those roles were brilliant, and to have Sting supported by them as well as Kurt Angle was near genius.
It has to continue. It has to keep running. The momentum cannot be broken now.
The summer is long and hot and usually the time when people are charged like this.
The two companies are playing human chess (yes, a Gordon Solie term), seeing which brand will stumble first. This is not WCW/WWE kind of stuff.
It's not as staggered as in the past, and while the players may have been better then, the story lines are better now.
The only questions that remain are “what happens after last night?” and “how can all three shows move forward and keep us wanting more?”
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