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The Road To WrestleMania XXVI – Week 4

(I want to have this up by Tuesday usually, but because of WWE NXT, I decided to push it back one day. And then it became two days. Sorry ’bout that.)

After Smackdown, WWE Elimination Chamber, and now Raw, we have three pretty big matches for WrestleMania XXVI. I know some of you will disagree with what I’m going to say next and it’s probably going to be unpopular, but I truly believe it.

Raw on Monday was the perfect wrestling show. I know, I know. There wasn’t any good matches. It was chock full of angles. There was more talking than anything else. There was very little wrestling. I get that, you get that, everyone gets that.

But it begs the question – what should Raw, Smackdown, and Impact be? Should they be stand alone episodes which is what TNA seems to want Impact to be? Or should they be marketing vehicles in order to get us to pay for the actual wrestling? Here comes Mr. Unpopular. I say the second.

I honestly don’t care about great wrestling on weekly television. It’s nice to have, but I’m rarely paying attention close enough and there’s already too much wrestling on TV to begin with. I don’t miss the in ring work. That’s why I buy the PPV shows. If the PPV shows don’t deliver the wrestling that I want to see, then fine, that’s a good gripe to have.

But episodic wrestling shows, in my opinion, should focus on building angles that push PPVs and the wrestling characters. For example, would you have rather seen Dave Batista and John Cena have a 3 1/2 star match for free, or would you have rather seen Big Dave’s heel character become the biggest prick this side of Jermaine Jackson?

(Sorry y’all, you have to watch The Jackson Family Dynasty to even get that joke.)

I would’ve rather seen Dave’s heel character evolve because I simply want to see what he’ll do to Cena against next week. I want to see what he’ll say to further make me angry with him. I can go watch any old DVD to watch a decent Dave Batista match. Well, not any old DVD, but you get the point. I’ve seen Dave Batista wrestle more times than should be legal. There’s no need to see him in another random and meaningless match.

Which leads me to this: when done correctly, WWE TV can be just as compelling as any UFC hype special. In fact, I’m more fired up for WrestleMania XXVI right now than any UFC show upcoming, save for maybe Brock Lesnar’s next fight. And it’s all because of the recent slow, logical, and well-written build on television.

Now, John Cena vs. Batista is a hotter feud than it has any right to be considering how cooled off their characters were in 2009. Today, they look like they did in 2005 when they were the chosen ones and hottest characters in wrestling.

The Chris Jericho and Edge match has been in the making since Edge tore his achilles tendon. I’m so glad they didn’t try to swerve us with this one. The logical finish during the Smackdown Elimination was the exact one that happened. How do you logically piss off the Undertaker if you’re Shawn Michaels? You cause him to lose his belt. And that’s exactly what happened. And since Edge’s match had to be for the title and his biggest grudge was with Chris Jericho, it made every bit of sense for Chris Jericho to be the recipient of the title.

They didn’t do much to hype up Jericho vs. Edge other than to make the match, but that’s fine because they have Smackdown to do that.

I have to admit that I was slightly underwhelmed with the Shawn Michaels and Undertaker angle. Let me take that back for a second. The video package that was the precursor to their meeting in the ring was the single best piece of video that the company might’ve ever done. It was absolutely fantastic. Let’s hope that WWE allows this to stand.

Ok, now onto the actual angle. It was fine, but wasn’t as special as I figured it would be. I think it was two things for me. For one, it was just a tad bit anticlimactic because it was just going to be based on what happened Sunday. Second, I think the streak vs. career could’ve been held off for one week and built up. They could’ve had the Undertaker do a pre-tape from the graveyard (I know, but bear with me) and have him tell HBK that he’ll be there live next week to give HBK his answer, but that it has to be on his terms. And they could’ve teased it with a tombstone that had the first year of HBK’s wrestling career and 2010, signifying that his career would be over.

I have to admit that the Randy Orton vs. Ted Jr. vs. Cody Rhodes is intriguing, but mostly because it’s the only “big” match in which we’re not exactly sure where they’re going. It seems like it will be a three way dance, which is fine, and I imagine they’ll be able to keep the mystery of what will happen to the group until the end of the match. I’m not sure how they keep Orton heel though. The fans are going to cheer him like crazy in Arizona.

Lastly, I thought Vince McMahon’s promo on Bret Hart was awesome, but I think they have their hands full in explaining how Bret vs. Vince actually happens and also how Stu Hart gets into the Hall of Fame. Thankfully, they saved something for next week. And really, I can’t wait. This build to Mania has really been nearly perfect.

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2 thoughts on “The Road To WrestleMania XXVI – Week 4

  1. I thought for a second there you were going to criticize the video package. I honestly cant remember the last time they did one of that quality. My God, it was amazing.

    I think I liked the angle more than you. Monday was when this program really hit home with me. Im not sure if it was the video package, the added stipulation, or the cumulative effect of everything they have done so far, that pushed it over the edge. But coming out of this show, i felt like their match was so far above everything else in terms of importance, and i wasnt really feeling that before. As you said, there wasn’t to much to the segment, but it just worked for me.

    Do you think they will get the Main Event this year? Seen as trying to follow it last year was a complete disaster.

  2. I was just telling D that if they don’t let these guys go on last especially after last year (and H saying that he couldn’t follow it at the Slammys), they are idiots.

    Do Bret/Vince, Edge/Jericho, (filler match) Cena/Batista, (Hall of Fame remembrance) and then end with this.

    I’d let HHH/Sheamus be the mid-point match and allow HHH to do a long celebration if he wins, kind of like when Batista/Undertaker went earlier on the show a few years ago.

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