by Amish Patel - October 20, 2010
In 2004, Triple H was drafted to Smackdown and was amusingly quite annoyed at the news. However, luckily for HHH, he had one Eric Bischoff by his side. Bischoff was quick to respond and before the star could even make his Smackdown debut, he was quickly reacquired, albeit losing top three stars in the process – those being Booker T and The Dudley Boys. Booker was (in kayfabe) quite disappointed by this as he perceived Smackdown to be the lesser brand and on several occasions brought this issue to light. He also went further by suggesting that since Smackdown lacked the star caliber that he possessed, he was hence the biggest star on the show.
In more recent times, stars automatically forget their allegiance to their respected brand and seemingly join their new home happily. John Morrison quickly joined his new Raw cohorts earlier this year to do battle with Smackdown mere moments after being drafted and in the last week or so, Edge and CM Punk were quick to fight against their former brand. Imagine this happening when Booker joined Smackdown – the response would be, my loyalty is with Raw and it has been for years so I’m not fighting for this brand. This of course would be something to contest in storylines for a while until the star is happy in their new home but from person to person, each response would be different and their initiation into the brand would vary. I realize that I’m possibly over thinking this a little too much but my point is, how is a PPV aimed at acquiring Bragging Rights over the opposing brand effective when the stars themselves apparently have no loyalty for the brand as it is – take CM Punk, he would have fought with Smackdown two weeks ago and now his fighting against them and has absolutely no issue about it – not even a promo stating how he grew to hate Smackdown and is happy to now be on Raw. With that said, I find it difficult to back such a PPV as Bragging Rights because it really does just mean nothing.
Granted, the odd brand switch can be an exciting moment – Kurt Angle coming to Smackdown and winning the battle royal to be named the new World Heavyweight Champion or Big Show defecting to ECW or even some of the Royal Rumble or Money in The Bank Winners but because of the yearly draft and the increasingly common trades, the switch is slowly losing its impact. Edge, for example was just traded back to Smackdown a mere six months after to drafted to Raw and like Punk, hasn’t had much to say regarding the matter – I mean, is it really that hard to say that it feels great to be back home on Smackdown? Although, the feeling is suggested somewhat so I’ll allow that one to slide.
With all of this in mind, how the fuck are we supposed to care about a trophy that only surfaces once a year?
I remember reading something a few years ago regarding the layout of WWE PPV’s and I’ll reiterate it because I truly believe it is great idea. The person suggested that after Wrestlemania and its Backlash (now lazily named, Extreme Rules), the company move out of their Wrestlemania period and start working towards Summerslam with shows such as Judgment Day and The Bash (although he suggested eliminating The Bash in favour of King of The Ring) helping develop the major storylines for the summer event. Proceeding Summerslam, he suggested championships be rarely contested in favour of successive PPV’s which acted as a winter games of sorts, with many storylines pitting Smackdown against Raw which would take us through to the rumble before heading to Wrestlemania to start over again.
Now, of course a lot has changed since I read this but the premise can still easily be implemented. Once Wrestlemania and Backlash (I always thought this was an incredible PPV name to follow the grandest stage) finish, the company holds its draft. Stars adjust to their new setting as the breakout star from Mania begins his ascent to challenge the champion. At Judgment Day (which would be an appropriate name in this circumstance), the new challenger challenges and then at the following PPV, the feuds involving the newly drafted stars and the champion and new challenger could start to wrap up just in time for the King of The Ring tournament which then dictates how Summerslam plays out. Summerslam could have its Backlash (new name required because Vengeance never worked as well) and then the games begin for the trophy with Night of Champions, Bragging Rights and Survivor Series acting as a platform for the two brands to go head to head in a best of three series, albeit the formulas of some of those shows being changed. I’d go into more detail but I’m sure you understand my drift by now.
I believe WWE could still benefit from a simple structure like this and in regards to Bragging Rights and the meaningless trophy which currently exists, I believe this structure could immensely help in regards to building brand unity at events such as this weeks PPV.
Anyway, talking of Bragging Rights – the PPV is this coming Sunday and the card thus far is looking quite good – don’t worry, I’ll try and not let any Smackdown Spoilers slip in what follows.
Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler were announced this past Monday quite suddenly so I can’t really say much in regards to this feud or lack thereof. However, I am a big fan of both these men. Bryan has proven on a few occasions that he can produce high quality matches and Ziggler too, is showing incredible improvement in the ring, with his Night of Champions match against Kingston being a particular highlight of his career thus far. I hope Ziggler does take advantage of being in the ring with the experienced Bryan, because this match could easily top his Kingston encounter. My money is on Ziggler in this bout and I expect the relationship with Kaitlyn to evolve. I also expect the Raw Diva’s to get involved in some manner. However, regardless of the conclusion, I predict this may be the match of the evening.
Talking of Bryan quickly, I really do hope they don’t pursue this ladies man idea. It seems like a cheap ploy to garner fans much like they used to do with Mark Henry or Viscera. Bryan just needs time – similar to Beniot. If used correctly and placed in the right feuds, over time the fans will adhere to him and love him immensely – pushing him down our throats isn’t needed, patience is.
Moving on – one member of LayCool will also do battle with Natalya this coming Sunday for the butterfly belt. I’ve been a tad unsure of this feud. I think it’s because Natalya hasn’t been vocal enough and in turn, it hasn’t given this feud the fire it so needs. However, her dominance over the fabulous duo has been enough to suggest she has a chance, but I doubt it. I expect LayCool to win and carry on waiting until Beth Phoenix returns.
Arguably the most talked about story as of late is that of John Cena and his recent enlisting in Nexus. Really, there isn’t much to be said which hasn’t been said already. I predict (and I hope) Wade Barrett wins, he has been thoroughly enjoyable as of late and I think the belt around his waist will only make him even more interesting to watch. It’s hard to tell where they are going with this feud or how long it will continue and whilst it may be painful from time to time, I think it could produce some interesting moments – for instance, I actually liked how the battle royal played out and I think it was the strongest battle royal that has graced our televisions over the last few weeks. I also loved how Cena was treated like a bitch this past week. I think most memorable moments in this feud will come courtesy of Barrett rather then Cena himself but I’m happy to sit back and watch my fellow countryman get some much deserved air time.
Furthermore, the question still looms as to whether this night will be the night that Miz cashes in. I originally thought that seeing Barrett win, only to be blindsided by The Miz would be a nice moment, especially if Barrett doesn’t have the opportunity to order Cena to help him win against Miz beforehand, hence building more friction between the Barrett and Cena. However, I do not believe that Bragging Rights will see this happening. Miz has been on the up and up for a considerable amount of time now and I believe WWE are still going to hold off pushing him to the top, opting to find smaller ways to make the character more egotistical then he already is, starting of course with the claim that he is the only sole survivor of the Raw Team. Personally, I’d love to see it taken further and have Miz win the Royal Rumble, I just think the notion of the number one contender also holding a Money in The Bank briefcase is alluring. However, in this little fantasy of mine, I’d have Miz win the rumble and challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania and then later in the evening, cash in his briefcase to become WWE Champion, hence becoming the first Undisputed Champion since 2002. Would I keep them unified? Possibly not, but the idea of Miz boosting about holding both titles at once would be fun.
Over to Smackdown and their main event. I have to say, it seems odd that WWE would place a Buried Alive Match at Bragging Rights when Survivor Series is literally around the corner, especially considering that the event marks the 20 year anniversary of The Undertaker’s debut. Originally I thought The Undertaker would win this encounter and put an end to this feud, if only because a Buried Alive Match would be the perfect stipulation to finally see out their feud – however, due to the upcoming Survivor Series PPV, I foresee Kane retaining here and Undertaker returning, bigger and badder then ever at Survivor Series and prolonging their feud for a while longer. Hopefully, it’ll be a badass return.
Finally, the main event of Bragging Rights. As I’ve outlined above, I don’t care too much for this match and as previously stated, I predict that Miz will be the sole survivor and pick up the win for Raw. It’ll be an enjoyable match but one that I feel won’t live up to the excitement of its Summerslam counterpart.
Until NXT Time…
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