Unfortunately I’m running very late this week, I blame the PhD, studying wrestling is fun, but it can be time consuming. But all essays and presentations are out of the way now so everything should be back on schedule next week. Unfortunately it means that we are over a week removed from Lockdown so some of these scores are going to look rather strange right now, you’ve got to remember that this week’s chart runs from Lockdown to last week’s Smackdown, so anything that happened on this week’s Raw doesn’t count yet and will be on next week’s chart. So without further logistical discussion, let’s get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: Daniel Bryan (10/10)
The former World Heavyweight Champion storms the chart this week and dominates everyone else around him, beating Kofi Kingston on Raw and then having a nasty break up on Smackdown. Bryan doesn’t really have that microphone connection with the crowd and yet he can get them excited with his in-ring presence, and what he says on the microphone can get a great reaction as a heel so that is enough to get him by. Honestly these days I’m not sure how many guys are charismatic enough to win over the entire crowd anymore, we are all so cynical when it comes to babyfaces now that it really is going to take someone special to get truly over as a face. Whatever the case Bryan is doing great as a heel and I hope the WWE don’t decide to turn him face just because of the crowd chanting ‘Yes!’ as it would ruin everything that he has begun to develop.
2nd Place: Robert Roode (9/10)
The retaining champion is perhaps lucky that James Storm went into Lockdown so injured as that may just have been the reason that TNA once again hesitated in pulling the trigger after building a face up so highly. While I am happy that Roode retained I am a little annoyed that he keeps on being booked so poorly in the final outcome of his PPV matches, the last two not even winning by his own cunning but the stupidity of the faces that he faced. What will RVD do? Frog-splash himself through a table? It seems pretty likely at this point. Still at least Roode carries on as champion, which will hopefully in the end add more prestige to the title by him evolving into an established champion over time, but it will take longer and longer as TNA continues to hesitate to put him over clean against anyone.
3rd Place: Gail Kim (8/10)
The retaining Knockouts champion comes in third after taking out Velvet Sky like she was nothing. And yet this week on Impact she was pinned by Brooke Tessmacher, TNA’s answer to the face Eve Torres; i.e. a barely attractive, well-developed, poorly presented boring face who shouldn’t be anywhere near a woman’s title. I seriously hope TNA aren’t thinking what I think they are.
4th Place: Crimson (7/10)
The Undefeated One takes the easy route and defied a lot of people who thought that his heel turn would spell the end of his undefeated streak. I have no idea where TNA are going with Crimson as they seem to be more focused on keeping the streak intact than making the guy look like a dominant force. He has only beaten a couple of rated guys before he went into tag team action with Morgan, and now that he is out of that I really wonder who he can go up against and still look good. TNA seem to have this idea that if they extend people’s title reigns and this win streak they are gaining something, which would be true if they were letting them win and look strong, instead they always compromise and their champions, while long running, aren’t exactly making big waves. They really need to pick someone and get right behind them, not think that it is all about length, it’s about power as well.
5th Place: Lord Tensi (6/10)
Something rather remarkable has happened; John Cena has been beaten in what was almost a completely clean fashion. Clearly the WWE is actually taking Matt Bloom seriously despite the joke of a gimmick they have given him upon his return. Without anyone to truly go against though Tensi is going to struggle to make any real impact, after all he doesn’t even have a match at Extreme Rules yet, but with a pretty open card I wouldn’t be surprised if one perhaps cropped up unannounced.
6th Place: Cody Rhodes (5/10)
Rhodes lost in style this week, costing the Big Show in a match with Del Rio and then taking out the Great Khali before their tag match on Smackdown. Of course Karma is a bitch and Show came down to cost Cody at the end of the night, and as we all know Del Rio didn’t exactly pay Cody back for the assist. I’d love to think that this could be the start of a Rhodes face turn since there are far too many heels waiting in line for title shots these days, but I won’t hold my breath.
7th Place: Bully Ray (4/10)
The Bully was part of the losing team at Lethal Lockdown but before that happened he managed to wail on a good few bodies. Then on Impact he was able to roll up the X-Division champion for a quick win. I was expecting Bully to start a feud with Storm over the title in the next couple of months, now it looks like that won’t happen and Bully will have to be satisfied with an X-Division title shot, which I’m still not completely convinced he could win since Aries is super over right now and probably won’t lose the title until TNA has gone through all of their former WWE talent and given them world title shots. To be honest that isn’t too bad as long as Roode retains and it is eventually Aries that knocks him off, it could be third times the charm for TNA and their focused face builds.
8th Place: Chris Jericho (3/10)
Jericho slightly phoned it in on last week’s Raw, merely sending in a pre-recorded promo, I guess they are trying to keep the two separated to a point on TV since Jericho worked a dark match afterwards, so it’s not like he weren’t there. This feud between Punk and Jericho is building nicely, but I do wonder if Jericho can actually get the title away from Punk right now, who only seems to be getting better, perhaps more mainstream, but in a way for the general crowd that is better.
9th Place: Kane (2/10)
The Big Red Machine is in the chart for his decimation of Zack Ryder on last week’s Raw and is promo against Randy Orton that was meant to openly provoke the Viper. I quite like the dynamics of this feud as a non-Wrestlemania match, it hadn’t really advanced enough to be worthy of a spot on the Grandest Stage of them all, but having been given time to mature things seem to be heating up as you have a man who is notorious for being cold and calculating against a man who is known for being a heartless monster and it becomes a game of one-ups-man-ship that could escalate for quite a while, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the WWE pulled the plug and ended things at Extreme Rules.
10th Place: Eric Bischoff (1/10)
The first and hopefully last time this man will appear on the charts after his match at Lockdown. Older Bischoff was beaten by the younger one and banished from TNA forever, but in the process he looked like a real bastard and that is what gets him the final place on the chart. Never again.
2012-2013 Season Top Ten: Overall Top Ten:
1st Place: Daniel Bryan (25/30) – 1st Place: The Miz (783/1550)
2nd Place: Robert Roode (19/30) – 2nd Place: Chris Jericho (668/1550)
3rd Place: Chris Jericho (18/30) – 3rd Place: C.M. Punk (666/1550)
4th Place: Mark Henry (16/30) – 4th Place: Cody Rhodes (529/1550)
5th Place: Alberto Del Rio (12/30) – 5th Place: Dolph Ziggler (440/1550)
6th Place: Kane (10/30) – 6th Place: Jack Swagger (421/1550)
7th Place: Lord Tensi (10/30) – 7th Place: Alberto Del Rio (407/1550)
8th Place: Brock Lesnar (9/30) – 8th Place: Wade Barrett (395/1550)
9th Place: Bully Ray (8/30) – 9th Place: Sheamus (294/1550)
10th Place: Gail Kim (8/30) – 10th Place: Mark Henry (254/1550)
(Heel Hall of Fame)
**Heel Report 2010-2011 Winner: The Miz**
**Heel Report 2011-2012 Winner: Cody Rhodes**
The Face-Off: Match Lengths
This is a really simple complaint and it has been going on for a while, but I really just can’t get my head around it. Why is it that in the WWE when they have a two hour show they fill it with three minutes matches and pad it out with needlessly long segments and skits of things that could be said in about a minute. Then on their hour long shows every match, even between two guys who are probably going to be leaving the company soon, is at least ten minutes long? It’s weird; surely your fans want to see their top superstars in action? Why then would you limit that action and extend the action of people they didn’t pay money to see? Now maybe this is just an argument tailored for the live crowds but there is still a flaw in the logic through how these different shows are aired as well. NXT and Superstars, arguably the more wrestling-orientated shows, are aired over the internet, to what could technically be a worldwide audience but is usually tiny in number compared to the numbers Smackdown and Raw are pulling in, and yet these shows barely contain any actual wrestling in them. So do people tune in expecting to see wrestling and go away disappointed, or do they tune in and are pleased with the skit-to-wrestling ratio? To me the low numbers of NXT and Superstars are more to do with who are on them than any actual terms of how popular wrestling is, and the steadily falling ratings of Raw and Smackdown are what are the clear message that many fans have just given up on wrestling, or the lack thereof. In my opinion the real problem is that the WWE seems to think that since it is part Soap Opera that is what their main draw is, shying away from the athletics of competition in case people decry it as fake, whereas the truth is that we want to see this competition, partially because it is fake. Wrestling would be far more boring if it didn’t have the storytelling element to it, but I am begging the main brands of the WWE to start telling more stories in the ring, and by that I don’t mean five minute matches that only serve to advance a story outside of the ring, I mean tell the story through the craft, after all that makes everyone happy.
Face the Facts: Austin Aries
I’ve touched on this before but I think it needs a little more attention that Austin Aries is pretty much the man in TNA right now. After a successful but perhaps premature face turn, Aries has started to dominate the show on the face side of things, in fact this week Aries was in or associated with the majority of segments of the show, and in each he shined. Now I know Aries isn’t exactly a new guy in the wrestling business, but it is nice to see him finally getting the spot he deserves. It seems like it is the era of the ROH guys of the past what with Punk and Bryan in the WWE and Aries in TNA, of course Low Ki was hit and miss and Samoa Joe is arguably doing well, but certainly could be doing a hell of a lot better at this point, but in general ROH is showing that it is the home of future talent. The only danger to this is that if guys stay in ROH too long they will be too old to actually make an impact in either of the two bigger companies. It’s hard to decide whether staying somewhere like ROH and being the main guy is better than being a mid card guy in WWE, and even harder if we are going to talk about TNA. All I know is that Austin Aries looks to have made it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was going for the TNA title in a few short months, and that’s no bad thing.
On the Rise: TNA Sticking to a Stipulation
Just a quick one here but I have to give props to TNA for actually sticking to their whole stipulation that if Eric Bischoff lost at Lockdown his name wouldn’t even be allowed to be used again. Although I think many of us took this to mean that he wouldn’t be mentioned again I guess that was a little naïve. But still when Ric Flair started on his pointless rant about Mr. Bischoff, TNA promptly bleeped out his name every time he said it, as if the word B***off is now a swear word, which I enjoy immensely. Of course this is only one week and TNA could easily forget, hell B***off might be back in a few weeks given TNA’s and wrestling in generals tendency not to make anything stick for any real length of time, but hey, we take our victories when we can.
Flat-Footed: RIc Flair Pissed Off
Going back to the one bad thing that came out of B***off’s departure was the stirring of Ric Flair. Now I know that wrestling is all about mythos and people love Ric Flair just for being Ric Flair, but honestly it is just like Smackdown’s Blast From the Past, these legends just seem to be a relatively cheap way to fill up air time. I can’t be bothered to listen to why Ric Flair is annoyed and sure he might be able to step into the ring again, but if it’s not on a permanent basis, and it shouldn’t be, then what real impact can it have on the business. The market for professional wrestling is shrinking every day as people get their faux reality fix somewhere else, we have show after show of far more attractive people talking to each other with fights breaking out and more skin on display, and more to laugh at for that matter, why would people come to watch wrestling when there is all that trash out their? The answer is the younger guys who actually can put on an athletic show, hopefully with some personality thrown into the mix. I know the nostalgia pop is tempting, but pretty soon these guys won’t be around anymore and professional wrestling will have a massive gap to fill, and they need to start filling it with something decent and something that will last.
That’s all for this week, Extreme Rules is on Sunday but won’t appear in the report until the week after as per the usual system. But pretty soon things will be back to normal and the report won’t seem like such a throwback, made even worse by the fact that it was a three hour Raw this week. Anyway come back next time for more heel talk and inconsequential ranting for now this is James Wright signing off.