Bell To Bell: Stuck in Cena’s Shadow
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
- My brother, who these days is strictly a casual wrestling fan, made an interesting remark to me the other day. Regarding WWE TV, he said: “It’s BS that the world title isn’t in the main event.” My assumption is that he only watches Raw, and that he’s talking about CM Punk, the WWE Heavyweight Champion, being relegated to semi-main events and show openers in favor of John Cena always hogging the main event spotlight. I can’t help but agree with that assessment.
Last night WWE played up the fact that Punk is now one of the longest-reigning WWE Champions in recent history, and in a recent blog Jim Ross said that Punk is “making the coveted WWE Title more meaningful.” But for Punk’s entire championship reign he’s been second banana to John Cena. I don’t think anybody can deny that. Look at the way the shows have been lined up. Look at every pay per view that’s been held since Punk won the title. The only one he headlined was TLC, and John Cena wasn’t even on that show. Last month, Punk and Daniel Bryan put on a damn clinic at Over The Limit. But who went on last? Cena and John Laurinaitis. Are you kidding me? Despite consistently having the best matches at these shows, Punk remains stuck in Cena’s shadow. I take no joy in saying that, believe me. I think Punk is an amazing wrestler and a great champion. In all fairness, anybody in his position would have a hard time getting out from under Cena’s shadow. For better or worse, Cena is the franchise right now. The guy who has to take his spot someday is not going to have an easy job…
- I’m confused about the Cyndi Lauper segment. I thought these past stars were being brought back to commemorate the 1000th episode of Raw. But Cyndi Lauper was never on an episode of Raw. The song they plugged, “Echo,” is on an album released in 2008. So what was the point of doing this celeb photo op thing on this particular show? That being said, the segment allowed Heath Slater to come off like an annoying heel, and it’s always great to see Rowdy Roddy Piper. So I suppose the segment was worthwhile.
- I’m really surprised that John Laurinaitis has been written off television. Despite his tendency to bumble his sentences, and his horrendous acting skills, the guy was a heat magnet. I thought the latter would be reason enough for WWE to keep him on screen for awhile longer. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just surprised. Here’s hoping the next authority figure they find has a bit more charisma.
- Nice segment between Triple H and Paul Heyman. Some interesting little jabs they took at one another, i.e. the bingo hall comment, and Heyman playing off the “Creative has nothing for you” cliche. I’m digging the long-term booking here, with Hunter, Heyman and Lesnar building to Summerslam. I’m guessing Brock will show up again at Money in the Bank, and then maybe one more time before Summerslam.
- I would have liked to see a bit more Mick Foley in that “interim GM” role. Granted, we’ll see him again on Smackdown. But I heard a rumor this week that Triple H doesn’t like having Foley on TV because he doesn’t look tough, and can’t be taken seriously. If this is true, then it’s a giant load of crap. Foley is one of the best wild men the sport has ever seen, and he’s as good a talker as any we’ve ever come across. Foley is also the guy who helped make Triple H a main event caliber talent. He always had the ability, but his pay per view matches with Cactus Jack in January and February of 2000 solidified him as a headliner. If this rumor is true (and I emphasize the if), then Triple H should be ashamed of himself.
- Michael Cole really needs to stop snorting during segments. Even when the segments are already bad , his laughter makes the situation worse. It’s unprofessional, and unbecoming of an announcer. Even a pseudo heel announcer like Cole is supposed to be.
- Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” jacket seems a bit much.
- That kinda looked like a makeshift Harley Quinn outfit AJ was wearing. Maybe that’s just the wishful fanboy in me. Either way, it looks like we’re building to a CM Punk/Kane match for the title at Money in the Bank.
- Jack Swagger should NOT have had a line that had him say Sleepless in Seattle. Or as he would say it, Thleepleth in Theattle.
- It looks to me like Dolph Ziggler is a babyface whether WWE wants him to be or not. The Long Island crowd was chanting “We want Ziggler! and “Let’s go Ziggler!” And why did they want him? Because what he said on the top rope just before they went to commercial was true. He delivers. Every. Single. Time.
Thoughts From Around The Wrestling World:
- This week word surfaced that Ric Flair was apparently fired by TNA last month. I can’t say that breaks my heart. The more time Flair spent in TNA, the worse I felt for him. From a fan’s perspective, the Flair/TNA relationship didn’t seem to be mutually beneficial for very long. TNA’s obligation to use an icon like Flair on Impact drew time away from the active wrestlers, thus hurting the company. On Flair’s end, some questionable creative decisions combined with his continuing to wrestle while in his 60s led to the perception that he was tarnishing his amazing career. At the end of his run he simply came off like an insane, balding old man ranting about how he was the “God” of wrestling. If/when Flair comes back to WWE, my hope is that he’ll be able to regain some of his dignity. Lord knows he deserves it. You know, Raw does need a new authority figure…
Front page image and image 2 from wwe.com. Image 1 from cagesideseats.com. Image 3 from therealwrestlefiles.wordpress.com. Image 4 from wrestleheat.com.