Hello PWMania.com! This is my first column for this site — happy to be part of the team, and hope you like what you read! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @davecunning , or pop by my personal blog, at http://davecunning.wordpress.com Alright, enough cheap pops, on with it!
As far back as I can remember, Vince McMahon has done almost nothing storyline-wise the way I thought he should have. Over the last number of years, I’ve been realizing more and more, that’s pretty much exactly why the company has outlasted its competition, and continues to thrive. And why I’m not on the WWE writing team.
I never got why Vince would want to piss the live crowd off so much, and so often. As I came to understand the concept of “heat” and its value to the show and getting characters over, it eventually made more and more sense. Before Bret Hart’s recent WWE return, fans may remember that Vince green-lighted things like Shawn Michaels beating up a Bret Hart look-alike little-person on Raw the night after the screwjob; plentiful goading and a fake apology from Shawn; and even at a house show in Canada, they had Sgt. Slaughter tease a Bret appearance, and then brought out Hacksaw Jim Duggan waving the American flag in mockery, which was, predictably, met by raucous booing from the teased partisan audience. When you only see the first half of the story, all you can think is that Vince is a selfish and petty asshole to give ideas like those the go-ahead. And maybe a few of those particular angles were brewed out of those attributes, but when things come full circle later, and Bret comes back and beats the holy hell out of Vince for 20 minutes on screen with a steel chair at Wrestlemania, has a DVD made, is inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame, gets his family over, and even wins the US Title (also maybe a subtle jab in itself) later, things start to come out in the wash.
I seem to never guess right as to which tag team partner will make it farther than the other after every team’s inevitable split and feud. In 1991 after Shawn Michaels threw Rocker partner Marty Jannetty through Brutus Beefcake’s Barber Shop window, I always thought Marty would get his revenge with his high-flying ability and crowd pleasing antics, and leave Shawn in the dust. Boy did I bungle that theory. Cut me some slack, I was 8. I think some might have even taken Jim Neidhart to rise past Bret (I didn’t) out of the Hart Foundation fallout, based on charisma and sheer size. I thought the Hardy’s split would see Jeff rise to the top, again based on his in-ring abilities and general likeability. I guess technically I was right because Jeff did win the World title, but for a long time, Matt was well ahead of his brother and did technically win a World Title first when he took the new ECW one. In the “Where Are They Now?” files, Jeff has been convicted on drug charges, both were let go, and are now fledging away in the new WCW TNA. But I digress. In the end, it seems like the right guy was elevated, and the right call was made.
In a recent particularity, I want to point out the rise of The Miz. You know, the current WWE Champion. When he and John Morrison split as a tag team, I wouldn’t have batted an eye before picking Johnny Nitro Morrison to ascend quicker… that is, if history hadn’t taught me a thing or two. Morrison is an incredible talent, and from an in-ring capability standpoint, is far beyond anything Miz is capable of. But as we’ve learned from recent developments, Vince would rather see Morrison try to stop Sheamus from being such a bully to everyone in WWE (thanks, PG rating), and then lose to Miz in a televised match on Raw, which I don’t think was event the main event. I wasn’t all that surprised to see which horse Vince had ultimately picked himself.
And this isn’t a knock to Miz, because quite frankly I think he’s doing well. I don’t know if “Awesome” is a term I’d use quite yet, but he’s definitely running with the ball that’s been given to him. The guy can run verbal circles around guys like Sheamus and Jack Swagger, who have also been given their time on top in recent history. After shaking the reality star blanket, all the hazing from veterans like JBL, and even making the best of a Michael Cole alliance, Miz is on top, and I can’t say he doesn’t deserve to be. And instead of kicking myself for being wrong again, I’m quite content knowing that Vince saw this coming far sooner than anyone, and I’m not surprised in the least by it. As much as the mark in me hates to admit it, Vince wins again.