Eric’s Blog: #WWEWorldHeavyweightTitle match did not require 1-on-1 traditional stipulations

Last night’s match at the WWE TLC pay-per-view to unify the WWE Title and the World Heavyweight Title has a number of detractors for a number of reasons:

  • It didn’t have big-match build.
  • It didn’t have a big-match feel.
  • It wasn’t a traditional, one-on-one match.
  • It wasn’t very creative; they even rehashed the handcuff gimmick from a TLC match held only two years ago.
  • The finish was botched, which wouldn’t have been an issue had it been a traditional, one-on-one match, freed of its abstract Tables, Ladders and Chairs stipulations.
  • The match probably didn’t have a big-match feel because it wasn’t a traditional, one-on-one match, grappled in the past by the likes of Jim Londos, George Hackenschmidt and King Mabel.

Some of the criticism holds water: If John Cena weren’t expected to crash through a table, there wouldn’t have been a table to miss. Had the catalyst of the match not been the non-wrestling figurehead Triple H, it may have had a stronger build. Hell, had it not been held at a glorified In Your House, maybe the wrestling audience would have cared, period.

But the one argument I refuse to agree with is that, to paraphrase, “a title match of this magnitude should have just been a traditional, one-on-one match.” This sentiment popped up on Twitter a handful of times before, during, and especially after the match. A mouth-breather from Yahoo (and what a perfect last name, Durr) had this to say:

And shame on the WWE for having such an important match contested in a TLC match in the first place. If it wanted to truly build an appreciation for the unification of the two championships, the match should have been contested in a tradition [sic] one-on-one match. The WWE relied heavily on the history of both championships in its buildup of the match but elected to contest the all-important unification in a gimmick match.

Gimmick matches rank among some of the greatest matches of all time, that much we can all agree with. But to poo-poo on adding a gimmick to a title match, a title unification match, or any other one-of-a-kind main-event match is poo-pooing the very wrestling history you’re attempting to salvage. Rose-colored glasses may only allow in epic world title matches like Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat or Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, but they improperly filter out classics like the Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels ironman match, or Ric Flair vs. Harley Race in a steel cage, or…

If you really want your argument stomped out like Smokey the Bear attacking a cigarette in the woods, look no further than the 1992 Royal Rumble. Regarded as one of the greatest matches in pro wrestling history, the Rumble match crowned Ric Flair as the new WWF Champion after a month of vacancy, in a contest pitting not one, not one-on-one, but 30 wrestlers against each other. And not even all at the same time! Gasp! The horror! Wrestling history iz DEAD!

Granted, the examples I can offer are limited. Have there been fewer gimmick matches than traditional to either decide or unify versions of the World Heavyweight Title? Yes. Does the fact that those few matches were gimmick matches preclude an incredible quality of athleticism or level of excitement? Absolutely not. If you wish to complain, don’t hate the chair, hate the chairman.

Stunt Granny Audio #240

mullet 001Jeremy & Kevin are your hosts this week. Though they are using better recording technology than a telephone, it is not working all that well to start. Bad connections get them to talk about bad referees. Jeremy veers the conversation into high school photographs. Are the pictures really air brushed now? What hairdo did Jeremy sport?  Kevin would have looked perfect in an Iroc -Z with his hair style. They finally get around to talking about wrestling and start with the imminent departure of AJ Styles from TNA. Why did TNA let him carry the title around the world if they weren’t going to re-sign him? Does the company owe him anything? Does he owe the company anything? Which one of the guys thinks that the WWE machine could turn Styles into something better? Jeremy & Kevin move along to talking about the build to TLC. The final segment sold the Randy Orton vs John Cena match, but did it throw off the story lines for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? How much speculation came from Punk attacking HHH and Bryan kneeing Shawn Michaels? As for Punk’s opponents, who does Seth Rollins get compared to since he is the least hyped member of the trio? Who can Jeremy see imitating Nick Bockwinkel and Ric Flair in the character department? Can Jeremy remember anyone’s correct name from the Wyatt Family? Him and Kevin end the show giving their prediction for the main event of TLC. Find out who they picked when you click the link below.

Eric’s Blog: What’s right and what’s wrong with Randy Orton

“I’m gonna sock you in the nose!”

Randy Orton successfully defended his WWE Championship this past Sunday at the 27th Survivor Series, against the much larger Big Show, and after months of cheating, yet defeating, his previous arch-nemesis Daniel Bryan.

And somehow, “the face of WWE” continues to play second fiddle to the usually overbearing, always long-winded, semi-retired sports entertainer and the latest ina revolving door of heel authority figures, Triple H.

WWE has done quite a few things right with Orton’s current championship reign, but the negatives throughout the storyline are tipping the scales out of Orton’s favor. Let’s take a quick look at the good and the bad.

Good: For someone like Orton, dragging the Money in the Bank around seemed like a demotion. However, it was a guaranteed title shot, and he cashed it in at Summerslam, atthe opportune time for an evil heel – when his on-again, off-again bearded buddy and brand new WWE Champ Daniel Bryan least expected it and could least combat it. A couple of swift moves and, boom, new WWE Champion.

Bad: It happened at the whim of Triple H.

Good: Orton loses the WWE Title back to the still red-hot Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, only to devilishly demand it back the following night on Monday Night Raw, through a web of lies, deceit and nefariousness.

Bad: All of those lies, that deceit and that nefariousness were actually at the hands of Triple H.

Good: Big Show is introduced into the storyline, as Bryan’s bestie but befuddled by bad breaks in finance, bringing him to the beck and call of the bad guy’s side. Orton saves a little face thanks to a no-contest after Big Show’s hesitant interference, injecting an ancillary player into a headlining spot.

Bad: Big Show was actually intimidated into this whole thing by the mean boss who bought his mortgage, Triple H. Hunter then holds the title in “abeyance,” a 10-cent word that should never be uttered in pro wrestling again.

Good: Orton wins the WWE Title in brutal fashion against his summertime nemesis, Bryan, in the demonic Hell in a Cell, becoming once again the face of WWE.

Bad: That only happened because Bryan was superkicked by special referee Shawn Michaels, best friend of Triple H.

Good: Orton gets a win over Big Show at the (former) fourth-biggest pay-per-view on the WWE calendar, Survivor Series, using the punt kick that has shelved numerous opponents in the past.

Bad: Orton had to capitalize on non-physical interference by Triple H.

Yet to be determined: Survivor Series closes with a staring contest between World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and WWE Champion Randy Orton, teasing a future contest between the two.

Bad: John Cena was standing next to Triple H.

Subtract the common thread of You-Know-Who, and WWE has done an excellent job booking a heel champion, and even more important, making lemonade out of lemons. The underachieving Orton has spent 11 years in the WWE, kinda sorta over with the crowd as both a heel and a babyface, but never really carrying the WWE torch.

Now, if he can’t carry it, it’s because he can’t wrestle it out of the grasp of a guy who doesn’t even wrestle anymore.

When it comes time to book the big blow-off match for this months-long storyline, who will you pay to see get beaten up? I’m not sure, either.

Stunt Granny Poll: Should CM Punk’s WWE Title reign last one year?

Much is being made — on air and on the Internet — about CM Punk’s long WWE Title reign, which currently stands at 244 days; combined with his previous WWE Title reign in July 2011, this puts Punk in the top 20 of all WWE Title stints. But the more Michael Cole mentions this championship stand, the more we wonder, “Does this mean he’s losing it soon? Does this mean he’s holding it for a while?” Fair question, especially since Punk is defending his belt at Raw 1000 against John “That Don’t Work For Me, Brother” Cena. So, should Punk’s reign last at least one year? Vote, then leave a comment!

Bill Simmons of Grantland.com interviews CM Punk

"Well, hi."

I’ve been waiting for this one for about a week: Bill Simmons, famous from ESPN.com’s Page Two and creator of Grantland.com, interviewed CM Punk and posted the audio from it today. (Click here to listen.) Punk discusses his new theme song, Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” how much of his infamous Monday Night Raw promo from last month was planned, how close he really was to leaving WWE to go home and sit on his couch, who influenced his career both as a wrestler and as a child, and what went into his invasion of the San Diego Comic-Con. He also puts over various members of the roster, so listen up for those. Simmons has a very laid-back interview style, and Punk seems to be totally on the level here; it’s an interesting listen and worth checking out.

CM Punk gives WWE Title a new home

cm punk wwe title

Soda, OJ, Purple Stuff, WWE

After an incredible WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view and an even more incredibler main event seeing CM Punk defeat John Cena for the WWE Title, the most incrediblist thing is that Punk has found a new home for his championship belt. Personally, I’d slap John Cena across the face just for a can of Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi (I love that shit), but I guess pinning him in your hometown for the most coveted prize in sports entertainment works, too. However, I don’t know if the refrigerator is the best place to hide anything; remember that episode of “Punky Brewster” where Cherie shut herself in the fridge during a fateful game of Hide & Seek? I hope someone knows CPR… (Big props to SteveMHW for uncovering this gem.) -Eric

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