Blowin’ Smoke with Kemper Jones
3rd Times the Charm?
Hello, again readers. Some of you may remember me and some may not. This is now the third time that I’ve written a column. I began in the fall of 2009 and wrote for a few months, and once again in the winter of 2010. Both times, I’ve given up after a few months. Life can get hectic and things get pushed to the side. There is only so much time.
When I was writing before, I was doing too much. Raw, Smackdown, and PPV show afterthoughts, PPV Predictions, and original columns. It was an overload. This time, all I can promise is that I’ll post once a week. I’d love to get out at least two, but I can’t make any guarantees. I hope you all enjoy reading again, or for the first time. I’m gonna do my damnedest to keep this thing going.
For my first column back, I’d take a look at Daniel Bryan as World Heavyweight Champion.
(This originally started out as a look at WWE current overall picture, and I kinda went on too long. I have a tendency to do that.)
When Daniel Bryan first won the Money in the Bank briefcase, I was certain that he’d be the first Superstar to cash in unsuccessfully. Up until that point, he was jobbing on an almost weekly basis to the likes of Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes. There was never a point where WWE storyline would have you believe that he was a main-event competitor.
Then, he made an announcement I had been waiting to hear. For the first time ever, a MitB winner would try his luck at Wrestlemania. They attempted this Mr. Kennedy after WM 23. Only 7 days later, he was on the injured list and lost the briefcase to Edge.
There would also be no quick cash-in after the champion had already competed. RVD was the first and only to do this, and even his title victory was marred by Edge’s interference. I’m not trying to take anything away from RVD. That One Night Stand PPV was one of the greatest WWE PPVs of the last decade.
Someone using his opportunity to “live out his dream” on the “grandest stage of them all” seemed like the ultimate way to make a new star. Show the audience the story of a guy who worked his way up. It’s rare for a wrestler his size to make it up to WWE, even with his indy credentials (a practice that seems to be fading, thankfully). I was hoping for a few months of him defending the briefcase. The way he was booked before his MitB win, fans would’ve been just waiting for him to drop it. A few months of wins (with varying, brutal submissions) and successful defenses later, you’d start to wonder, “Can he do it?”
On April 1st, let DB have a 30 minute match with someone that can really put him over. A great match where someone the likes of Randy Orton, Christian, or Sheamus tap out to the Lebell Lock, and make the new champion look like a million bucks. An outcome like that would’ve given WWE (in my eyes) their new Bret Hart or Chris Benoit (when he wasn’t shunned). A fresh franchise player that could’ve legitimately competed in the main-event and upper-mid card, for years to come.
As we all know, this didn’t happen. What we got was another cheap cash-in. How WWE doesn’t see this as a serious misstep is beyond me. Yes, it was great to see Punk, DB, and Ryder walk out of TLC as champions. If you ask me, this would’ve been a better scene for the end of Mania 28. I can’t say that I’m not enjoying his title reign. I just think it could’ve been so much more.
DB’s heel turn has progressed nicely. If he would have remained a babyface champion, the belt likely would’ve been off his waist by now. He was getting little reaction. I’m not a big fan of the cowardly, heel champion. DB is pulling it off nicely, and it makes more sense when he’s in there with the likes of Big Show/Mark Henry.
I don’t watch Smackdown. I’ve been seeing the story unfold through Raw and what I read. I watch highlights that interest me, but that’s about it. I did take the time to watch the title match from this Friday’s show, and was thoroughly entertained. The crowd seemed to love it, and you can tell that Big Show is working hard to put Bryan over as a competitor. The ending was sudden and unexpected. DB’s bickering at Show was well acted. Show crying was a bit much, but as a face, he’s always played the gentle giant.
All I can do now is sit back and watch where his reign goes. Many think it will end at the Royal Rumble, but I believe he’ll find a way to get through his monstrous opponents. After that, I can only hope DB will move onto challengers who work a style closer to his. If he walks into Mania as champion, I’ll be surprised. With that in mind, WWE should really try to maintain some his credibility. He may win a world championship at Mania one day. While it won’t be his first, it could be something grand if they do it right.
Hope you enjoyed the read. I’m open to any feedback, so take minute to send me your thoughts…
Twitter: @KemperJones #BlowinSmoke