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WWE Bragging Rights is a PPV predicated upon a very simple, straight forward premise: Smackdown vs Raw. The idea of this PPV is that the superstars of Smackdown are not only competing against those from Raw, but that these superstars carry an inherent dislike for one another. On top of that, there is a certain expectation that there are Raw fans and Smackdown fans. Much like someone who watches any sport, you have the team you love, and the team you hate. So in order to build this PPV up to be some sort of extravaganza this is the state of mind and energy they are aiming for. The problem resides in the fact that this is not the case. The entire PPV is based around a contrived situation which no one actually buys into. Most people are fans of WWE, not of Raw over Smackdown. They don’t boo when Edge or Mysterio show up on Raw, and they don’t get angry when Orton or Goldust show up on Smackdown. This presents a problem which WWE just outright chooses to ignore, and in some cases, convince you doesn’t exist.
There is no “home show” rivalry. I’m certain there are people who like one show over the other but not to the extent that they’re driven to buy into a hatred which, for all senses, doesn’t exist. It is hard to sell the idea of Smackdown vs Raw when you’re also partial to doing supershows which have both brands represented. Why don’t they hate each other then? They only seem to “dislike” one another in the week prior to Bragging Rights. Also, what the hell are they bragging about anyway? Who would want to win that hideous, poor excuse for a Stanley Cup? And what value does it hold when the only time people care about it is the week before, week of and week after the PPV? Its not like we’re watching year long discussion about how Smackdown beat Raw last year so Smackdown must be better. Especially since Smackdown is in most cases treated like the unwanted step brother of Raw.
The entire PPV setup is short sighted. WWE, if they actually wanted you to care about Bragging Rights, should perform some sort of buildup that involved a hell of a lot more than a cheap ass battle royal six days before the PPV. I’ve never understood why they don’t do something more, you could make this something people give a damn about but they just don’t seem to care. WWE seems to be in this mindset that “Oh, well if you’re a fan you’ll order the PPV whether it sounds like garbage or not.” One of my favorite WWE games was Smackdown vs Raw 2006. Part of that storyline involves ‘invaders’ from Smackdown coming and beating down Raw superstars. Now if you can put that into a video game why the hell can’t you do that on your show? Imagine how easily you could build up heat between the two sides if a month or so before the PPV Orton shows up on Smackdown and beats down somebody, then that person comes to Raw with someone else, and they jump Orton and Raw comes to his aid and before you know it you have a few weeks of wrestlers from both shows popping up and brawling. Then you don’t just throw them together in a match.. you NEED to have the match because now there is a purpose. There is no purpose for Bragging Rights, there is no psychology behind besides Vince saying “Hey, you’re supposed to like this.”
The matches themselves set for this year aren’t very exciting at all. You have Randy Orton against Barret which.. there was really no build up for whatsoever. They spent more time building up Cena vs Barrett. Of course there was Jim Ross’s recent hint that there would be a big surprise. Could this be Cena turning heel finally? I don’t know, it could, but then the entire storyline between he and Barrett has made no damn sense. WWE, however, doesn’t seem to caught up in making sense these days. The elimination style Raw vs Smackdown match boasts The Miz, which is really the only person involved who I could give a damn about. The rest of them are either boring, run down or just not interesting to begin with. This match will be a borefest, in my opinion. The most exciting match on the card is Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler which could either be a spotlight stealing match or a complete disaster. Undertaker vs Kane in the Buried Alive match could be entertaining, assuming that Undertaker doesn’t win and thus undo all of Kane’s recent heat building. Rumors seem to think Undertaker will lose so he can get rested for Wrestlemania 27. A high likelihood of this.
At the end of the day, this PPV is a bomb. It is a bomb because it is being spoonfed to you instead of making you hungry for it. The setup has been lazy, the storylines going into it are just randomly slapped together with the exception of Taker / Kane and WWE doesn’t care. They just want you to buy it. I could easily see this PPV have a large drop in buyrates, and if that is the case, then perhaps this will be what finally awakens Vince McMahon and makes him realize he’s losing his viewers, he’s losing money and he needs to do something to correct this problem. Smackdown vs Raw could be an awesome concept, and yet, nothing is put in, no energy is spent and all in all, there is absolutely nothing about it that makes it feel special. Maybe if Raw and Smackdown were treated like separates brands, instead of being treated like two sides of the same coin, I’d actually care about this, but I don’t. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
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