Posts Tagged ‘NXT’

The devil’s no longer in the details: Vince McMahon’s fading genius evident Monday night

June 24th, 2010 3 comments

Another angle bombs: If a car explosion can't stop Mr. McMahon, who can? Not these greenhorns.

By most accounts, what distinguished Vince McMahon as a booking genius in the ’80s and ’90s was his amazing attention to detail and ability to carefully book an angle as far as a year in advance, carefully planning with the likes of Pat Patterson and J.J. Dillon to execute his vision to perfection. Unlike the bookers for his hapless competition, McMahon’s booking didn’t suffer because of nepotism or centering angles around himself because he had no relatives who were wrestlers and his performing was limited to announcing. (I think we all know how that nepotism deal eventually made a sharp turn for the worse.)

When he became an in-ring performer in the late ’90s, Mr. McMahon quickly evolved into one of the most intriguing characters in recent memory; he went on to become one of the best heels ever. But what used to be fascinating-seeing the former lead announcer, the voice of the WWF in the ’80s and early ’90s, reveal his true self as the ruthless owner-has turned into a nuisance. Mr. McMahon is just another sad old-timer who doesn’t realize his time in the spotlight is done.

After an intriguing start, his long-awaited showdown with Bret Hart earlier this year fizzled after the shoot-like feel of the program turned into just another wrestling angle when the Hitman supposedly crushed his ankle in the parking lot during RAW. Their WrestleMania “match” itself was an ill-timed, illogical, horribly booked abomination that McMahon should have had the instincts to call an audible on at the mid-point. After the bout, he vowed that the Mr. McMahon character had come full circle (since it really spawned from the Montreal Screwjob) and would no longer appear on WWE TV. But he just couldn’t help himself.

After a few sporadic appearances on RAW last month, he injected himself (much like a lethal dose of NWO poison), into the NXT angle Monday night. That part doesn’t bother me. What’s annoying is that Mr. McMahon is back as the same old character, no lessons learned, no change of heart…just the same snide, twisted, arrogant bastard…just the kind of image you want to portray as the owner of the company and as the husband of a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Besides, that character is stale and has run its course. For Gotch’s sake, let Mr. McMahon die.

The only way McMahon’s appearance would have worked Monday is if he had been outraged over the former NXTers from the start, perhaps coming to Bret’s defense and ending that on-air relationship on a positive note. (I’ve already detailed how the NXT’s Hart attack was ridiculous and similar to the angle that ruined the buildup to Hitman/McMahon match at WrestleMania.) The chairman of the board should have been furious that these rookies had the gall to bring his flagship show to a halt and assault his employees, including the face of his company (and major revenue generator), John Cena. He should maintained Hart’s order that they were all fired.

Such a verbal assault would have helped the angle regain its edge and danger. Instead, they did another Vince Russo-type swerve, where it appeared McMahon was aligned with the NXT guys before they slowly (and I mean slowly) turned on him and left him for dead. On that note, on Monday’s RAW, they had Sheamus seemingly give up the WWE title in babyface fashion before quickly regaining his heel form and mocking the crowd; Chris Jericho seemingly helped Evan Bourne (who’s really shining of late) to his feet in a sign of good sportsmanship before tossing him back to the mat; and finally, the NXT gang (they really need a name for this group…perhaps they’ll go with “Nexus” so they can keep the N armbands) delivers their apologies before crashing the main event again. Back in the day, wrestlers would often watch each other’s matches so they wouldn’t go out and do the same thing. RAW has become way too predictable and repetitive-the result of too many “creative” hands in the mix. It would have been so much more effective and logical if McMahon had come back in babyface mode, calling for the rookies’ heads, who then suddenly appear and beat him half to death. (Wouldn’t outrage be the logical McMahon reaction if outsiders had attacked two of his sports entertainers and ruined a RAW broadcast?) The only way the crippled chairman could then get revenge is for his WWE Superstars to teach these punks a lesson in the ring…i.e., he’s forced to offer them contracts and does so begrudingly.

Instead, some mystery general manager (Michael Cole?) gives the greenies contracts at the beginning of Monday’s broadcast. OK…then why are they attacking McMahon at the end of the show? Given the heinous nature of their initial attack, why is Vince acting chummy and laughing in the moments before their attack? They have clearly stated their problem was with WWE management…but the new GM has awarded them contracts and reinstated Wade Barrett’s PPV title shot…so what’s the point of attacking Vince? Too many plot holes for my liking.

As Dutch Mantell told me about his booking days, “See, that’s what I always tried to do when I was booking. I’d do something, and then I’d go back and take the holes out. I would do that because a man sittin’ there who works a 9-to-5 job or whatever, is gonna see this angle and he’s gonna go back and think about it…dissect it. And the same with a movie. Ever watch a movie and you go back and think, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make sense ‘cause this happened.’? That’s because the writer or director didn’t take the holes out. So, if you take the holes out, now you’ve gotta a viable scenario that should make you money. And that’s the key word: should.”

Little details like that rarely slipped through the cracks when Vince McMahon the booker was at the top of his game. Too bad Mr. McMahon the performer has clouded his vision.

For real? WWE drops ball with NXT follow-up

June 14th, 2010 11 comments

Gang leader

Any hint of realism from the NXT angle was lost the second tonight’s RAW started with one of those professionally produced video packages neatly recapping last week’s attack on WWE champion John Cena and CM Punk. In other words, the company treated it like just another wrestling angle, killing its effectiveness. Worse, the NXT guys simply walked out as if they were scheduled, when another crude interruption of the scheduled broadcast would have been far more effective. Announcers Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole did leave the ringside area, but the fact that security nor any WWE authority figure attempted to stop the rookies from crowing about their accomplishment for several minutes was glaring. If John Cena’s so angry, where the hell was he during this segment? Cole’s disappearance in the chaos last week was not addressed, so the reveal of his possible involvement in the revolution was delayed.

The rookies’ overall lack of charisma was noticeable, especially in light of the apparent firing of Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), who was not only the best in-ring worker but also one of the better promo guys in the group. Danielson was reportedly fired for choking announcer Justin Roberts with a necktie during the initial ambush, which some compared to the slaying of Nancy Benoit at the hands of her husband. The notion seemed so ridiculous that speculation was rampant this week that this was one of those examples of the boys and most of the office being worked, but the way it was handled tonight seems to indicate that Bryan is indeed gone. Barrett buried him, saying Bryan felt remorseful for the attack, which is ridiculous when he was one of the most aggressive guys in the group and helped lead the onslaught. (Of course, if Cole is revealed to be the gang-green leader, then it’s possible he’ll be blamed for getting rid of Bryan, who will return for revenge; if I had to guess, I’d say that scenario seems unlikely.) Other than Barrett, most of the guys sounded like they were reading from a script, which hurts the angle. Bret Hart finally came out and fired them all, including Barrett, but not before stumbling over his lines and once again muttering “WWF,” a company no-no. I like the idea of Bret in the role, but he seems like he’s struggling to remember his lines instead just relaxing and being himself.

John Cena delivered a interview that I felt was all wrong for the angle-it was the same promo we’ve seen from him 100 times, when the situation called for something unique and more from the heart. Repeating the line “Quite frankly” (which Cena did at least three times in his promo) comes off as anything but frank, and I didn’t understand the line about the Champ “sort of admiring them.” The lone bright spot was the stand-off when the NXT rookies interrupted and the RAW locker room emptied, first with mid-carders (Santino, Miz, Mark Henry), before the heavy hitters (Randy Orton, Edge, Sheamus) came in as well to fend off the attack and defend their turf. The NXT guys ran for the hills, which was too early for that, in my opinion, especially when the last shot before fading to commercial was the outnumbered Santino standing tall in the parking lot as the rookies took off with their heads tucked between their legs. Huh? These guys were made to look foolish repeatedly in their introduction to the “WWE Universe,” so we needed at least a few weeks of them looking pretty bad ass. (Incidentally, quite possibly the only thing more irritating than the incessant buzzing of the vuvuzelas in the World Cup in South Africa is the term “WWE Universe” repeated several times in a WWE broadcast.)

They needed something big to close the show with to salvage the angle, but failed with one of those staged parking lot attacks on Hart, which was mind-boggling considering that Bret only months before revealed how easy it was to fake a situation like that. I just don’t get it. Last week, WWE executed a cutting-edge angle that almost made you feel uncomfortable watching it unfold with its realism; tonight, it was business as usual without a hint of the danger of a week ago. What a wasted opportunity.

GangGreen: NXT attacks WWE stars in Florida

June 11th, 2010 2 comments

World Wrestling Entertainment provided a glimpse where the NXT invasion angle is headed as the greenhorn gang attacked Christian and Miz at a Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW…WWE’s developmental promotion) house show in Melbourne, Fla., on June 9. Much like CM Punk-possibly the most vile heel in the promotion right now-went against character and attempted to save John Cena from the NXT beat-down on June 7, Miz and Christian were forced to work together before being overpowered by the rookies. This seems to confirm that WWE heels and babyfaces will temporarily put aside their differences and rivalries, forced to fight the common enemy together, which should make for intriguing television. Much like Monday night, the live crowd was pretty hot for this.

I think it would be great if the NXT continued to do run-ins at WWE house shows for the next month, coming back with rematches with the veterans teaming to seek revenge against the rookies.

Writes Paul Philbin for a report appearing on the Wrestling Observer site:

“The NXT invasion storyline continued at last night’s WWE developmental show in Melbourne, Florida. The main event was scheduled to be The Miz and Daniel Bryan vs. Christian and Heath Slater but that didn’t happen. The Miz’s music played before the match but nobody came out. Christian came out next and talked about what happened on RAW, then called out Heath Slater. Slater talked about how everything was good to start off on NXT but then Christian wouldn’t give him the answers so they lost the competition. Daniel Bryan then ran out and attacked Christian from behind. The Miz came down next and fought off the Rookies with Christian. Miz proposes that they do a Pros vs. Rookies match. Miz cut a babyface promo with Christian and worked the match as a face. The ending came when Miz and Christian were about to hit their finishers on the Rookies. All of the Season 1 Rookies rushed the ring and beat down Miz and Christian. The Rookies tore down the FCW ring before Bryan kicked Miz in the head and Slater hit the Killswitch on Christian. The Rookies left with the Pros laid out.”

Here’s footage a ringside fan recorded and posted on YouTube: