Friday, July 22, 2011

The Unpredictability Is Finally Back

It has been a long time since I said this, but this is a fun time to be a wrestling fan. This last month of WWE TV has been the best string of TV shows put together in a very long time. There are a lot of contributing factors to this. The majority of the greatness has come from C.M. Punk. Punk proved how valuable of an asset he can be to a wrestling company in the last month. He was under-utilized as a performer for the strong majority of his run, and now the possibilities are endless with Punk when he returns.

Then there is the "end" of the Vince McMahon character on television. Sure this has happened before. Remember when he was fired in 1999 after Undertaker lost the First Blood End of An Era Match to Stone Cold Steve Austin at Fully Loaded? Yeah, me neither. Triple H now transitions into the role of on-screen WWE Figure Head. It is again something new and not expected to happen. I don't think anyone ever expected to see Triple H on TV as an On-Screen Authority Figure.

Oh, and how about Daniel Bryan winning the Smackdown MITB Match? Did anyone really see that happening? Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, hell even Sin Cara were all put in much better positions to win that match compared to Bryan. Bryan is the classic underdog story. The hard-working guy who busts his butt in the ring every night no matter if he is wrestling in front of 70,000 or 700 people. He's a guy the fans can adopt to and respect because of his hard-working attitude.

So what am I getting at with all of this? I feel that, for the first time in years, I have my unpredictability in wrestling back. It's a great feeling to have, tuning in every week not knowing what to expect on TV. For the 3 RAWs leading into MITB, it was the feeling that you didn't know what the hell C.M. Punk was going to say with a live microphone. His worked shoot promo generated so much buzz. It had everyone talking.

Unpredictability is something that we love as wrestling fans. We get tired of night in and night out seeing John Cena go "Super Cena" on us and overcome the odds every week. The WWE can argue that it is appealing to their target demographic, but so what? You can appeal to your target demographic and still make Cena look vulnerable every once in a while. If your branding yourself as an entertainment show, you need to switch it up every once in a while, just like other TV shows do. The key with the unpredictability is to leave a hook for your viewers to tune in either the next night or the next PPV. WWE has done an effective job in doing that this week. After MITB, you wanted to tune in the next night to see what the hell was going to happen with C.M. Punk, John Cena, Vince McMahon, and the entire WWE Title situation. Now, after RAW this week, you want to tune in next week to see what Triple H has in store as the new man in charge. Any good TV entertainment show leaves you wanting more, and the WWE has done that this week.

The best part about this unpredictability is that I can't pin point one thing about where all of this is going next. This is essentially broken down into 2 major storylines: The rebel C.M. Punk & the WWE Championship, and the new on-screen leader of the WWE Triple H & departure of Vince McMahon. I don't even have a best guess scenario. One would have to assume that C.M. Punk will eventually come back, whether it is in a couple of weeks or somewhere down the line, to challenge the new WWE Champion. With Daniel Bryan already saying he will fight the World Champ with his MITB Briefcase at Wrestlemania, it might be tough to pull off the WWE Champ vs WWE Champ match at Wrestlemania. It would make the Royal Rumble useless. Maybe have Punk try to come back, and be forced to compete in the Rumble to earn his job back? But that would make Punk look weak. You want the WWE begging Punk to come back, not have Punk come crawling back. More unpredictability.

All of the same can be said for the Triple H/Vince McMahon stuff. It was a bombshell dropped on us this past Monday. Nobody saw it coming. I'm sure there wasn't a person out there that expected Triple H to come out, and in a suit nonetheless. Will Triple H just run the show permanently? Will he make a few changes and fade into the background? Will he be a fan favorite or slowly turn evil? Will Vince attempt to regain control of his company? There are so many questions left unanswered by all of this.

As I said in the very beginning, it's finally fun to be a wrestling fan again. At least for now, unpredictability is back. It almost feels like the Attitude Era again, not knowing what to expect every week. But just like every great story, follow-up is key. The WWE can't drop the ball on this. They did it last year with the Nexus angle. Vince and Co. can't allow that to happen again. People are expecting a big payoff in the end. Maybe HHH vs Punk at some point. Or Punk vs Taker at Wrestlemania. There are way too many possibilities to speak of.

Hey WWE, you finally have a good amount of people interested in wrestling again. Don't screw it up.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow me on Twitter: @JCWonka

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