COLUMN: What’s Hot… What’s not in professional wrestling!

by on 31st July 2008

Welcome to my first ever column here at TotalWrestling.net. In this column I am going to talk about what I believe is great in WWE and TNA today and what isn’t so great. I would like feedback and maybe even your own opinions on what’s hot and what’s not. You can give this feedback by e-mailing me at: Danny_Maher@msn.com or you can leave the feedback on the wrestling-radio forums in a thread I will open up. So let’s get this show on the road.

WWE RAW!

Let’s start right at the top then with the World Heavyweight Champion, CM Punk. In the wrestling business you hear it all the time. The guy that has the top strap has to be the best in the business today. Is Punk the best in the business today, not by far. This point is over used I think because in respect, you can establish stars with a title and you can make them become the best by giving them a run. This has been done many times and it has worked. I’ll name a few. Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Batista, JBL, Rey Mysterio. These guys weren’t exactly the best but the title reign they had brought the best out of them and it enabled them to work with some of the best around today. I’ll be honest, when CM Punk came into WWE I just like everyone else thought he was great and I thought this guy will be ECW Champion in no time. However, WWE dragged it out and kept on dragging it some more and by the time he actually did win the belt, I think people were bored of him. It made his reign become boring too in my opinion. WWE failed to make him champion when he was at his highest infact it made him look like WWE never wanted him as champion because the night he beat John Morrison for the belt was the night Morrison was starting his suspension. I remember going to a live event in the M.E.N Arena last November, the Survivor Series tour and Punk faced Big Daddy V for the title. I was sat up in the lower tier and I booed Punk and shouted at him. Nobody bothered to chant for Punk when Big Daddy V was crushing him. Infact he even heard me shout at him and I was in the lower tier 10 rows back. That night I thought, Punk won’t last much longer as the top guy in ECW. So lets review, WWE fail to push him at his highest then give him a second rated title reign, surely that’s all they will do and not do it again? Wrong, at Mania they do the exact same thing again. Jeff Hardy was the guy, who was going to win Money in the Bank and then go on for a reign as the champion, but he got suspended so they needed a back up plan and due to Triple H not being high on Chris Jericho, they picked Punk to win. So due to another suspension he wins a title opportunity and obviously he has to go on a win the belt because WWE are on this high with the winner of MITB always becoming champion. CM Punk beats Edge. Now I’ll give him credit, it shocked the hell out of me when he did it and I think he did everyone else but shocking people doesn’t make up for the fact your boring. Punk’s popularity may seem good on TV but I honestly believe people on cheer him because they want him back to how he used to be in popularity wise. Punk is a good wrestler, but when he debuted, we all called him great, a good, technically sound athlete but the reason we now call him good is because he hasn’t really changed his style of wrestling for the past 2 plus years he’s been with WWE. The only thing different is his finisher. You never see anything new from him, it’s always the same spots, same moves over and over again and it’s literally predictable and you know what he is going to do before he actually does it. You look closely at any guy in WWE and I could probably say this safely, not one guy uses the same stuff over and over. They mostly use different things but a lot use different ways of using different spots or moves. For example, most save new stuff for a PPV but Punk doesn’t. A prime example, Morrison did stuff we’ve never seen before at Mania and that match was full of moves that popped that crowd from start to finish but when Punk did the moves, nothing happened. They were the same moves he always does but with the use of a ladder once or twice. WWE has put Punk as the world champion on the top show they have and it’s not working out. Punk is being out done by people who actually should be world champion and it’s a shame for him. I know he had heat within WWE and no one has ever pointed this out but it would look to everyone that WWE has forgiven him and pushing him, but it seems to me they are punishing him by sinking him faster than the titanic.

This past Monday saw the return of William Regal. Before Regal got suspended he was on a major push. He was GM of RAW, he won the King of the Ring and who knows where else he was going to go, I would have said a big feud in the WWE Title division. So now he’s back everyone wants to know, will it continue? Well it’s hard to say but I hope it does. You see Regal is an amazing talent and can actually wrestle which is rare these days. Most of your top stars aren’t great technicians, infact they’re all just power house like Cena, Batista and Mark Henry. Regal’s style isn’t liked by most fans and Vince isn’t fond of it. But the fact is, his wrestling style is perfection and this is what is missing from the business these days. I have heard all sorts of mixed reactions when I say Regal should be a top guy and should have a run with the world title in WWE. When Regal came to RAW is was due to Triple H. These two have been great friends since WCW and Triple H wanted Regal to have a push. Now the problem is, Triple H is on Smackdown and probably won’t have as much a say in what goes down on RAW. Only time will tell if his push continues but I seriously hope it does. I guarantee this, there is not one person in WWE that has had an ovation like Regal got in Manchester when WWE taped the first RAW. When I met Regal a couple of years back he said the M.E.N Arena is his favourite arena and he loved that moment so much. Regal is huge over here even when he’s heel, England love him and that’s another rare thing because Paul Burchall is also from England and people aren’t bothered with him. I know he doesn’t look to be in the best of shape and wearing that tight top of RAW didn’t help matters and only drew attention to the fact more but his ability and ring knowledge make up for it.

D-Lo Brown also returned to RAW 2 weeks ago and I must say it’s great see him back again. I personally have always loved D-Lo and I think he’s got a great European style about him in the ring. At the moment I don’t think the crowd are too over him but I think once he gets involved in an angle that people care about he’ll get popular. I personally think WWE should make him heel but have him heel with his comedy sense. When D-Lo was European champion I thought that gimmick was excellent and was so funny to watch. Even though he was heel, people still loved him for what he did in the ring which again is rare because not many people are heel and get cheered because they have such a natural charisma in the ring. If WWE can revive this angle in someway, I think it would be great for D-Lo and for RAW.

Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho are well into a feud and it’s interesting how it’s panning out. I think WWE has to be very careful now because all the way through this angle they’ve had HBK beat Jericho and usually an angle ends when the losing person finally wins and in some way Jericho has done that. Yes the match was stopped but people have seen him beat HBK. Now obviously they have to have another match because Jericho tried to end HBK’s career but now that we’ve seen both sides, it’s got to be done right and ended right for it not to be boring. I think the fact that two of the best talents in the business. I also like the fact that WWE are doing something you don’t always see and that’s making a mid card star into a main eventer or putting him on the verge of that by putting him square in the middle of this feud. Lance Cade has the talent to be big and he will learn so much being put in this feud which again I think is good and no doubt HBK may end up having a little feud or match with Cade when the feud with Jericho ends. I’d probably say it’ll happen at Unforgiven between the two.

WWE Smackdown!

Again let’s start right at the top with WWE Champion, Triple H and his recent up coming match with The Great Khali. Everyone is now on the rampage of why is this happening? In many ways I am not surprised what so ever. Triple H loves to get himself over as the guy that can beat anyone. Remember when he ramdomly went into a feud with Show. Show dominated him then out of nowhere he beat him. Well this is the same thing here. I will say this match is all Triple H’s idea. He wants to beat Khali and make himself this big person who no one can stop. Personally if Triple H had intentions of making new stars you would be seeing Kennedy or someone like him having a match against him. Summerslam is one of WWE’s top PPV’s of the year and for Kennedy or maybe MVP or someone like that to face Triple H, it’s a new match to see and it’s fresh. It’s a great WWE Title match and the fact is this, Triple H doesn’t have to loose the title to get his opponent over. I guarantee Kennedy would get over or MVP if they lost to Triple H, maybe more so than if they beat him. The reason is, anyone of these guys could have a great match because of they’re different styles so it makes it compelling. I think WWE have wasted a good slot on the Summerslam card with Triple H vs. Khali. I also think WWE are possibly scared to try Kennedy or MVP out with Triple H on the stage of Summerslam. WWE has a safe bet and that’s Edge, but he is facing Undertaker. So WWE has to go back to someone who has experience and that’s Khali and it also further puts over Triple H (Like he needs to be put over any more).

WWE have turned Brian Kendrick heel without any notice or lead up what so ever which is many ways doesn’t surprise me. I mean remember Viscera as the love machine? Well he was in that gimmick then a couple of weeks later suddenly appeared as a huge bruiser who didn’t talk and had Matt Striker in his corner. Now I don’t know whether it’s going to work out or not but the fact is, Kendrick can’t face heels, he can only face the good guys and most of them are a lot bigger and stronger than him and it would not come across as realistic if he beat them straight up. With outside interference yes it would probably come across as real but otherwise it wouldn’t work. I don’t see him getting a title run anytime soon because the U.S title is only in his league at the moment and that’s held by a heel so it’s off limits until a face wins it but then again who knows. This gimmick might work in Japan but then again they actually love the art of wrestling and things here are based on stories. So it’s like chalk and cheese when comparing these two countries. Only time will tell but WWE has a hill to climb and it’s very steep on making this work out without ruining his career.

Many storylines can bore me but this feud with Taker and Edge is just getting started for me. I absolutely love it and I think these two are making history. Edge is becoming even more popular with this story, I mean he was popular before it but we are seeing new things each time we these two in the ring. A new environment surrounding the story. Sadly I think the story is ending as it has come full circle because this story between the two started last November in a Hell in a cell and now I think it’ll end 9 months on in the cell. Big props though, it’s been a great story and I think it’s also getting good because this time it’s not about the title, it’s just these two stealing the show from the actual main event of Smackdown which in reality isn’t hard to do but it would of done it anyway no matter who Triple H was facing.

TNA!

I’ll start with my favourite feud which is Angle vs. AJ. I have always wanted to see this feud happen, ever since Kurt signed with TNA it was a dream match for me personally. Any time these two get into the ring it’s a possible match of the year candidate. I hope TNA keeps this feud going, they don’t even have to have them face of at the next two PPV’s but I would like to see it end at Bound For Glory with some kind of gimmick like an ultimate submission match or an iron man match, just something that would cement their hard work in this feud and give them both a great, historic match they deserve. Kurt is the best in business today in my opinion, there is not one wrestler better than him today. AJ has always been Mr.TNA, he made TNA in my view and he is one of the best up and coming stars in the wrestling business today. I think TNA has done so much good stuff with this feud. It’ll be sad see it end for me personally.

England’s own Doug Williams has signed with TNA and they haven’t used him yet on TV but I hope when they do, they give him something good. Doug has a unique style and he’ll bring some good stuff to TNA. Being from England he will always be good when they come back over here. It’ll b interesting to see what they have for him. They have gone with the obvious with Daivari, but what’s obvious for Doug? That’s hard to say but only time will tell. I think America got a taste of what to expect when they saw his unique finishing move a few weeks back on Impact.

Abyss is also back and it’s surprising because he has still got his mask back. He was originally supposed to come back without the mask and be known as Chris Parks but obviously they’re has been a change to those plans. It’s hard to see where they’re going to put Abyss now that Judas and Mitchell are gone. They were going to do Abyss vs. Steiner but he’s injured. When TNA came over here and I went to the second night in Liverpool, they did Abyss vs. Joe for the title and that match was awesome. Everything in that match went in flow, the crowd got behind it, they did some great spots and I would say that match was PPV quality and many people might disagree with not seeing it but if you did see it, I’m sure you’d agree. Many people say Abyss is only good at hardcore stuff but that match proved those people wrong.

The Jay Lethal, Sonjay and Val story, now that’s nothing impressive overall but it’s not bad as in I won’t watch it. It’s one of those for me, where your like ok it’s nothing that’s amazing but you want to see where it’s going to go. I think that’s where TNA are trying to go with it as well because everyone knows it’s just Jay Lethal being Macho Man and they’re following the story of the Mega Powers exploding or at least it’s very similar. So I want to see where it goes but I’m not too impressed with what is happening. I know both athletes are a good in the ring and I’d like see Sonjay get a X Division run.

Now onto Kaz, he’s currently on the storyline of he’s going to leave because he’s been letting people down and losing too much. Personally I think this past year or so, everyone has seen Kaz in a new way and we all want him as the top guy in TNA. I don’t think it will be too long before it happens but it won’t be soon if you get me. Kaz has the ability to hold the TNA title, there is no doubt about it, and it’s just timing it right. Kaz has stepped in the ring with Angle and we saw great results and if you can do that, you can make it as the best. I think Angle vs. Kaz feud for the belt would be sensational to see and it’d be good for Kaz because Angle can make you into the best star going over night.

Beer Money Inc is a tag team I’m high on at the moment. I think James Storm and especially Robert Roode are both stars that can be on the top in TNA and eventually I think TNA will do it again especially with Roode, but they have to work them until it’s time and putting them together is a unique thing to do because they are both experienced in the tag division and putting the tag straps on them which lets face it, they’re going to do sooner or later is a good thing to do to reinvent them. They haven’t had a belt on them to be put over properly in many people’s eyes. I disagree when people say that. They’ve both had singles matches that have done wonders for them but I simply think as a team they’re going to excel and then when they go back to being singles wrestler they’ll have new people to feud with. They’re working with Cage and Rhino on Impact again they could of done this in singles matches, Storm has with Rhino but now they’ve been teamed up they can only do it in a tag match. So it’s going to work out for Beer Money and even Cage and Rhino but when they are back in the singles division, it’ll be fresh to see again and they’ll be able feud with some top stars.

That’s going to do it for my first ever column, I really do hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. I will be back soon with another column and if there is something you want to me talk about then you can let me know by e-mailing me at: Danny_Maher@msn.com or let me know on the forums.

Keep it real.

Danny.

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