Monday, October 18, 2010

Another POV

Over the last year WWE has changed the name of several of their B level pay per
views and branded them with a marketable concept. Unfortunately even though the
writers know these shows are coming up they fail to write logical storylines for the
specificness of the show. (But that's a rant for another time.) Elimination Chamber
features matches in the Elimination Chamber to crown the #1 contender for a
Wrestlemania title match. Night of Champions is a show of nothing but title
matches.  Well that was the original concept until this year. Hell in the Cell
features top matches taking place in a Hell in the Cell cage. And the PPV taking
place this Sunday is called Bragging Rights and features a Raw vs Smackdown 6 on 6
elimination style tag team match where wrestlers fight to see which show is better.

The match is esientially a typical match which was the concept for the Survivor
Series Pay Per View dating back to its inception in 1987.  The Survivor Series show
is still around, in fact it's the next PPV on the calendar. Though in recent years
there has usually only been one or two Survivor Series matches.  One of my biggest
questions is why have back to back Pay Per Views that have a similar concept?

In addition to the similarities, my other big question is what are the wrestlers
really fighting for? Back in 2002 WWE split its roster in half. One half being
assigned to Monday Night Raw, the other half going to Friday Night Smackdown.  This
was done in storyline when Vince McMahon and Ric Flair owned equal shares of the
company.  The idea behind the split was to create two separate brands leading to
each brand doing their own PPVs on alternating months while keeping the Big 4 (Royal
Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series) shows as co-branded
presentations. The Brand specific shows lasted from 2003 until right after
Wrestlemania 23 in 2007. 

Now each PPV has matches from both Brands though rarely do the matches feature
someone from Raw vs someone from Smackdown. The only exceptions are Tag Team title
and Diva title matches. Those champions can appear on both shows. In theory the
Bragging Rights concept makes sense. In WWE reality it doesn't. 

Now days with the yearly draft, titles changing hands on a monthly basis and general
lack of focus by the writing team, wrestlers cross brands with such frequency you
need a scoreboard to know who's on what brand. Case in point, CM Punk had been on
Smackdown for the last year until two weeks ago when we was involved in a trade that
sent him to Raw and Edge to Smackdown.  Punk's first match on Raw was against Evan
Bourne to see who would be a member of Team Raw at Bragging Rights. First night on
the new show and Punk is put in a position where he's trying to defend a show he
just joined.  Sure you could say Punk's pride has him wanting to show Smackdown's GM
he was wrong to trade Punk, but I look at it as if Larry Bird had been traded from
the Celtics to the Lakers in 1987 and then when the playoffs came Larry talked up
the Lakers as being the best team. Something just doesn't feel right.

Why would a wrestler vow loyalty to a brand when the following week he could be
traded to the other brand? If WWE were serious about it, they would put a freeze on
any trades and even suspend the yearly draft for at least one year to stabilize the
brands. Of course part of the problem with today's WWE booking is they drag feuds
out for months (Undertaker and Kane are fighting on their third straight PPV) and
keep guys in a certain pecking order so the shows get stale and repetitive very
quickly.

In addition to wrestlers moving back and forth, at the beginning of the month when
Smackdown moved to the Syfy network, Michael Cole "the voice of Raw" was added to
the Smackdown announce team. This was done allegedly because Vince McMahon doesn't
think Smackdown announcer Todd Grisham is good enough at getting over the very
simplistic storylines currently going on in the WWE Universe. Now you have one
announcer who's on both shows but has a loyalty to Raw. Why?

Last year Smackdown won Bragging Rights. Though their victory was referenced maybe
two or three times until this month. So really what's the point of the show other
then trying to get $45 from fans three weeks after asking for $45 for Hell in the
Cell and 4 weeks before asking for $45 for Survivor Series.

By Chad Smart

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