INSIDE THE RING NEWSLETTER
by Trevor Hunnicutt and Eddie T.
Taken on a whole, I disliked the show mildly.
While they managed to keep the focus on the upcoming PPV, we shouldn’t
expect any less this close to the show. The Beat the Clock gimmick,
while giving the show an effective theme, was executed rather poorly.
We should be going into the Elimination Chamber with the idea that each
of the individual competitors are as compared as can be. But the Beat
the Clock matches convinced me more of the individual weaknesses of the
competitors. Michaels/Snitsky was OK, but didn’t show me anything else
about Michaels going into the match; Kane/Heart Throbs was one of the
most dominant performances of the night, but it still didn’t show me
that Kane is looking amazing going into the match; Cena/Benjamin just
told me that Cena couldn’t get it done and it put their champion in a
place of weakness that eclipsed his ultimate victory in the match (part
of the reason being to highlight Benjamin for his upcoming push); same
feeling from the Masters/Chavo match; Angle looked dumb against Daivari
(also eclipsed, in this case by his promo on the troops); and Carlito
looked worse (not dominant) against Victoria. Because of the gimmick,
this was as focused as WWE is these days, but it was still too
distracted to be worthy of praise. Blah for me.
I must say I enjoyed the encounter between Triple H and Big Show and
between Edge and Ric Flair (which was funny, but established Flair in
the end). Whether the larger idea of Flair being a face, autonomous
wrestler is another issue entirely.
The sad part of this show is that all of the above (which, despite my
criticisms, was somewhat effective) managed to be eclipsed and
distracted by other goings on outside of the ring. Angle’s
effectiveness going into the Elimination Chamber, in my perspective, is
weakened by his promo on the troops. Michaels’ presence in his match
against Snitsky, intended we presume to help him going into the Chamber
match, was entirely forgotten by the time it came to that ridiculous
segment at the end of the show. Time that could have been spent making
each of these competitors seem like something special (which NONE of
them seem like, except maybe Michaels because he’s been going strong
recently) was completely thrown down the toilet for the overrun segment
with Vince McMahon.
It’s not like two hours is too much to fill a week. (Maybe four is, but
that is another debate.) WWE has very few effective stars (even their
champion is floundering) and that time has to be used to make them
catch on better with fans. If you watch TNA, one of the main problems
their TV shows have is that they don’t have enough time to build all of
their characters and feature Jarrett all in that little one hour
timeslot. Two hours have to be used for business before the funny,
titilating, but ultimately not-money-making stuff. This is my main
problem with McMahon’s ego trip: not that I care what McMahon does, but
that it directly relates to how well this company and this business do
when it comes time to get people to buy PPVs. A false quorum on Bret
Hart followed by McMahon’s posturing doesn’t do anything to help sell a
PPV. We know he has psychological issues, but at the end of the day…
this is still business.
And in business, time equals money. Two hours a week on the USA Network
is PRIME real estate. Too prime, too valuable to be squandered so
needlessly when WWE talent already has problems getting over.
This week’s episode of RAW was a thumbs down effort for me. I have a
difficulty talking about the show, as it was literally one of those “all over the
place” shows for me. Although a lot of time and push was given to the upcoming
New Year’s Revolution PPV (Ric Flair will NEVER get that name right), on the
whole the show fell flat.
The Beat the Clock idea, which was used very well last time, when it was
introduced, simply failed. In fact, it did the opposite of what it should have –
instead of strengthen each of Cena’s opponents, and the champ himself, the
idea ended up making all of them weaker. Perhaps Kane was the only exception
here, to a certain extent, but with his recent booking, nobody buys the
possibility of him winning the belt.
The Cutting Edge segment was very good. The comedy Matt Stryker provided,
playing Flair’s voice, as well as the on-screen end result were greatly done. It
was also nice that they had Flair confront Edge finally. Not that their feud
is the biggest thing out there, but it worked. WWE failed miserably to
capitalize on the “Money in the Bank” gimmick and they’re going to have a very
hard time explaining to the audience why Edge will not be using the shot at
WrestleMania. Unless he uses his title shot at Royal Rumble, then they’ve dug
themselves into a hole. And can you believe it’s been almost a year since Edge
has had that!? My God!
The Triple H and Big Show signing was also nicely done. Triple H did a great
job in the segment. Big Show came off a bit weak because he wasn’t able to
respond to the verbal attacks of The Game for obvious reasons. Still, though,
the segment was nicely done.
Then came the ending… I really don’t have much to say on that. Here are
the possibilities that came out of that:
1) Michaels vs. McMahon in 2006 (WrestleMaina?) – horrible.
2) Bret vs. Vince in 2006 – impossible
3) Vince screwing Michaels at Elimination Chamber – horrible idea as well
4) McMahon simply having a power trip – waste of time that could have been
used to promote the PPV and no purpose whatsoever; burial of Michaels.
It was bad…