Looking At The WWE Champion & Raw Returns
It has certainly been an interesting few days for the WWE, as we saw a new WWE champion crowned, a few surprise returns, and an indication of the direction of the company, which could provide some intriguing TV in the next week months. John Cena won the title at MITB, which caused some of the usual criticism of Cena and the WWE booking style, but those that criticize doesn’t seem to look at the grand scheme of things. Daniel Bryan, who was the most over performer going into the WWE’s biggest show of the year, is injured indefinitely and the WWE stock price has tumbled the past few months so it makes sense that John Cena is the champion, Why? John Cena draws money and that’s the bottom line for a publicly traded company, especially after the lack luster numbers reported for network subscriptions. Cena is far and away the top merchandise seller for the WWE and on top of that, he’s a work horse for the promotion. Opinions on the Cena character can vary, but nobody can doubt his work ethic. Did Cena really need the title? I don’t think so and the WWE might be better served if they put some fresh talent in the main event scene, but it’s understandable that the WWE put the title on their most marketable star.
The Miz returned to the company after he filmed another movie and it seems as though it will influence his character, as he was somewhat repackaged with a Hollywood gimmick. The Miz, depending on perspective, could be considered a success story, as he was in the main event of Wrestlemania 27, but it’s considered one of the lesser Wrestlemania events of the past few years. The Miz is a average at best in ring performer, but he generates a lot of heat from the crowd. However, there’s a difference between heel heat and “change the channel heat” so to speak. Despite the criticism of Triple H, he gets the heel heat to help get an angle over with the crowd and it can help draw money for the storyline. The Miz, even as Wrestlemania main event heel, didn’t really get the feud with Cena over and he was more of just an addition to help start the Cena/Rock feud. Considering that nobody thought The Miz would be a main event level performer, he did well for being an average talent, but he went from the main event of Wrestlemania 27 to less a prominent spot at the event the following year. Will the new gimmick rejuvenate his career? I doubt it because the initial presentation seems somewhat lame, but depending on what The Miz does storyline wise, it can be a decent gimmick.
Speaking of which, it appeared as though The Miz was set to start a Chris Jericho feud when Jericho made his surprise return to the company, but Bray Wyatt attacked Jericho during the segment. It was great TV because it was an unpredictable swerve, which is something the WWE needs more of, as it gives the show more of an “anything can happen” atmosphere. There’s a lot of buzz around a potential Jericho/Wyatt feud and hopefully Jericho is back for a significant amount of time, as there could be some great mic work as well as matches, which could elevate Wyatt. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Jericho is such a solid performer because when he returns, he can adapt to the current WWE product and he always makes his opponents look good in the ring. Don’t get me wrong, I think Bray Wyatt has elevated his career during the past few months so it’s not as though he needs Jericho to cover for him in the ring, but it certainly helps to work with such a great performer, especially if the WWE plans to showcase Wyatt further up the card in the future. Will Jericho put Wyatt over? Probably, but it doesn’t do anything to damage his status, as Jericho doesn’t have anything left to prove and he can still go in the ring so Wyatt will probably be a bigger star after the feud.
AJ Lee also made a surprise return and defeated Paige to win the Divas title again. In retrospect, Paige’s sudden victory the night after Wrestlemania might have been just to let AJ drop the title before she took time off, but the scenario on Raw might actually benefit Paige. The British diva initially received a reaction with the surprising title win, but her character is somewhat bland and the crowd reaction has dwindled recently so a heel turn could freshen up her character. It will be interesting to see a possible AJ/Paige feud because AJ has good mic work and it could help Paige evolve as a competitor, instead of being a flash in the pan so to speak and being sent to NXT. That’s the major risk when a competitor wins a title on their debut, if they start at a major spot, there’s not really anywhere else for them to go so Paige’s character development will be important during the next few weeks if she’s going to remain on Raw. It should also be mentioned that the time off actually freshens things up for AJ as well and judging from the crowd reaction, she might not be a heel after the return to the company.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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