Yo. You’re reading the weekend edition of News and Analysis. It feels odd typying this after a somewhat late mid-week edition, but I still have plenty of things to say on here so let’s get to it.
WWE presented their Smackdown! program on Thursday night and it was argueably a good show. Some say it was better than RAW, others say SmackDown! didn’t do much for them. I definitely thought that SmackDown! was the better show for some reason, though on second thought it did look a bit boring and worthless compared to RAW. Highlights saw John Cena and Chris Benoit fight for the #1 Contendership for Brock Lesnar’s title in what was the final match of the little tournament the roster had going. Elsewhere, Sean O’Haire and Rikishi furthered their feud with the help of Hot Rod and Jimmy Snucka. Torrie Wilson and Sable continued their storyline, and Team Angle tried their best to build up on their Backlash opponents — Los Guerreros. My and your favorite Nathan Jones was “injured” in the hands of the F.B.I., but we’ll get into that later. The SmackDown! rating is in and the bad trend from Monday night continued in a way, as the show scored a rather low 3.3 score. While this is not a high score, it was 0.1 higher than last week. I think I’ll be talking about ratings a lot more in an upcoming edition as things seem to be going downhill big time there.
Word Life! John Cena is headed to Backlash to face the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Two guys who nobody had heard of before WrestleMania X-8 last year are now headed to main-event a show. Are they ready? Yes and No. I saw a lot of speculations and conclusions on-line about that match so I thought I’d spend some time on this one. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who will disagree when I say that Brock is a true main-eventer WWE can capitalize on. They’ve done so for a year now as they have successfully fed us with him as much as they can. Brock is over with the crowd, and he’s doing great. He doesn’t seem to be the “problem” here, as those who question that match question John Cena’s presence in it.
I definitely believe that John Cena is ready for the big time. His in-ring ability is above average, and believe me, in today’s industry that’s more than enough. He has the look, he has the in-ring presence, and he has the gimmick right now to get over to the point where he’s ready to main-event a PPV. I don’t think, however, that now is the time for Cena to step up to the big plate and carry the #1 heel persona. With Kurt Angle out, WWE is having hard time figuring things out on SmackDown! as they can’t find a pairing for Lesnar, so they threw Cena in there. The plan is for him to be just a temporary solution, so don’t expect him to win the belt, or even possibly continue his feud with Lesnar for over a month, maximum two, which I doubt. I think that’s the best solution WWE has. Yes, John Cena is ready to main-event, but not with this gimmick. Let’s face it, the guy has way too many ability and skill to be wasted like that. He does have a solid gimmick if you think about it, because Cena and Matt Hardy are the only people on SmackDown! who actually have their own thing going on. It’s just that at this time, it’s not serious or big enough for WWE to consider to bring him up to be the #1 guy. This guy just needs time and he’ll get there! But for now, I’d say they did a good pairing and I’m looking forward to the Cena/Lesnar match. It’ll be a good one, I’m sure.
Rey Mysterio and Tajiri were originally scheduled to meet Team Angle at Backlash for the WWE Tag Team Championships. WWE decided to change their minds and gave Los Guerreros the match instead, which was fine with me. What I couldn’t understand is how the great tag team combination of Mysterio and Tajiri, probably WWE’s two best cruiserweights right now, were able to pin the tag team champions a week ago on SmackDown!, but lost to A-Train and Big Show this last Thursday. It’s booking like this that has totally turned SmackDown! around. As a result we have Mysterio taking on Big Show at Backlash, which will be an entertaining match, but believe me, I would have rather seen a Triple Threat for the tag belts.
Another thing that just leaves me scratching my forehead is what happens to the cruiserweight division? WWE, after God knows how many attempts at it, just had things settled down and ready to go with WrestleMania’s match between Rey and Matt Hardy. The two had a solid and entertaining program going on and I personally felt with the introduction of Brian Kendrick and the return of Tajiri the division was set to take off, but now they’ve completely scrapped the Rey/Matt feud, kinda seem to be forgetting about Matt after his lost to Lesnar, and they have Rey in a match with The Big Show. If you find any logic to this, let me know.
The Piper Pit saw its second edition air on Thursday night since the return of the show to WWE. Roddy Piper has done a great job so far and I feel like maybe bringing the Pit back wasn’t a bad idea. I’m not up for Vince bringing back all these old people, no, don’t get me wrong, but at least guys like Sean O’Haire and Rikishi get some valueable air time. It’s also a very interesting combination WWE has in O’Haire and Piper. They kind of need to jump-start things or skyrocket their gimmick of sorts and I guess we’ll be able to see more of their evil side. That’s how old legends should be used — to elevate young talent. I hope Piper won’t be wrestling, and that he’ll be simply O’Haire’s manager for the time being, because believe me, Hot Rod will be an awesome guy for the role. Things are falling out well in that area of SmackDown!. The only thing they need to take care of is how to use the air time as Piper should start talking more about O’Haire and try to touch on another issue in the same edition of his show. We’ll see how things work out. So far so good.
Nathan Jones was “injured” on Thursday in the hands of the FBI. I guess WWE did that so they can take him off TV for a bit. It’s just dead obvious to everyone that Nathan Jones is really green and at the moment is not ready to compete in a WWE ring. With The Undertaker out due to his elbow injury, I really can’t see Nathan on his own. It’s simply too early for him. WWE will probably still try their best to get what they can out of him, especially with ‘Taker by his side, so I’m sure we haven’t see the last of Nathan Jones. Then again, if more people talk to Vince, we might as well have. I wouldn’t write the guy out though.
Before I go, a quick update on Sting. Tons of talk and rumors made their way on-line recently about him. Yes, WWE is indeed in the midst of talks with Sting and the deal is all but sealed. Some say that Sting will be in WWE by summer’s end, others say he’ll enter the company even earlier. Those rumors seem to be true as several sources have confirmed them. Sting was against returning to wrestling due to the tough on-road schedule and he wanted to spend more time with his family, since he’s not a youngster anymore. However, obviously he’s changed his mind, or maybe WWE is being soft in the talks and allowing him more freedom. Who knows? Bottom line is, it looks like Sting will be coming to WWE soon, but this has not at all been confirmed for now. Take it for what it’s worth. For those not familiar, Sting was a pure WCW guy who probably was one of the guy who truly made WCW successful at one point. He’s a fan-favorite, and his in-ring work is pretty good. He’s also a GREAT guy backstage and from what I know, others have nothing but positive things to say about Sting’s behavior, work habit, and influences. I’m looking forward to him returning for a short, or maybe more serious run.
Thanks for reading. See ya.