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WWE Making the Right Moves

October 29, 2012

Wrestling

At last night’s pay-per-view event Hell in a Cell, the WWE and head honcho Vince McMahon showed me something that I haven’t seen as a fan in quite some time: patience.

I’ve been watching the WWF/E (and WCW, ECW, ROH) since 1989 or 1990-ish and in that time, especially since the debut of their flagship show Monday Night Raw, there has been a noticeable deminishing in the amount of patience the brain trust shows.

There had been a trend in recent years where Vince would put a young guy on top of the mountain (World Heavyweight/WWE Championship), realized he wasn’t ready, and quickly got the belt off of him.

In some cases, it diminished the accomplishment and the wrestler at the same time.  Just ask Jack Swagger.

In some cases, the young star in question would be relatively unaffected. Daniel Bryan saw a surge in popularity AFTER he lost the title. Dolph Ziggler continues to be “the future.”  We all know how CM Punk ended up turning out after a series of short World Heavyweight Championship reigns.

So when last night’s pay-per-view aired, I figured that the WWE would have World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and WWE Champion CM Punk retain their respective titles.

Sheamus, going against the veteran and quite massive Big Show, had been in a proverbial pissing match with his challenger over who had the more devastating finishing maneuver: Sheamus and his Brogue Kick or Show and his Knockout Punch.

After a month of build-up and one ridiculous segment that looked like a scene out of Rocky 4, the two stepped into the ring last night.

And it was honestly a solid match. I won’t say good because I don’t think that highly of Sheamus and Show is limited due to his size but it was a solid build-up with an action-packed finish.  In a genuinely impressive moment (even to someone who’s been into wrestling his whole life), Sheamus picked up Show for his Celtic Cross move.  Show would then hit his choke-slam and KO punch only to see Sheamus kick out.

He would then kick out after taking a Brogue Kick before hitting Sheamus with another KO punch as the the Irishman attempted his finisher once more before scoring the win.

I was watching the show with my girlfriend, who is a big Sheamus fan.  Though she and the rest of the Celtic Warrior’s fan-base may be upset, this may actually help Sheamus.

The wrestling business is cyclical. Fads come and go and come again. But one trend that has continued through the industry’s history is that fans love seeing the good guy chase the bad guy and finally defeat him.

Perhaps no one did it better than Eric Bischoff and WCW in 1996/97 when they held a Sting/Hogan match in their back pocket even though they could have used it at any time for a huge payday.

Instead, they made viewers wait until Starrcade 1997 in December and collected their biggest pay-per-view bounty ever. Granted, they totally screwed up that card and the biggest match they ever had but that’s another story.

So this loss could be good for Sheamus. If the WWE were smart, they would have Sheamus lose a rematch and start to believe that he can’t beat the Big Show. Build him up again over the next few months by having him gather win after win before finally taking the Big Show, who would be dominating all comers, down for the victory. But these days, it’s not about “smart”, it’s about patience.

In the main event of the night, WWE Champion CM Punk, holder of the title for an unprecedented-in-these-times 340+ days, faced off against fresh-faced phenom Ryback. Punk has been really been a masterful heel these past few months utilizing classic heel tactics while blending in a few new wrinkles.

Ryback, meanwhile, is almost virtually identical to WCW’s Goldberg. A bald powerhouse with few words, Ryback (like Goldberg) has been destroying everyone in his path in squash matches.  He’s had his fair share of trouble getting guys up for his Shell Shocked finisher, most notably when Tensai (formerly Albert) dead-weighted him to prevent the move from occurring.

Going into this match, I didn’t think that there was a way in hell Ryback should win the title. He’s only just starting to get over and putting the title on him now could potentially lower his ceiling. Him losing cleanly obviously makes him look weak and kills his momentum, so I figured there would be some kind of interference or dusty finish.  And I was right.

Now, the WWE can use this to build Ryback further.  He looks strong because he not only got a title match but dominated the champion before being screwed over but they can have him continue to destroy competition before actually putting the title on him.

Punk can carry on looking like a coward of a heel possibly building up to a Royal Rumble or maybe even a Wrestlemania match with The Rock.  But for once, it’s nice to see the WWE make a smart, patient decision.

Now if they could only make the Divas interesting.

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