The Dusty Finish: Getting Out of the Slump
by, 08-17-2011 at 11:28 PM (3621 Views)
(This was my first blog i ever wrote. It was written shortly after CM Punks return to TV after Money in the Bank.)
How many people at going to read this? To be honest, I'm not quite sure of the answer to that one. For starters, I'm just an average fan who wants to share my opinions on a sport (yes, I will call it a sport) that I have been enthralled with since I can remember. A lot of people use that term, since I can remember, but I honestly mean it. Some of my earliest memories involve being huddled around a tiny TV in the late 80's with my brother and cousins watching legends such as Hogan, Savage, Piper, and Slaughter and an array of other stars as they marched around the ring, entertaining a world of people. A second reason I wonder how many people will read this is because wrestling isn't overly popular right now. It's not the mid to late 80's and it's definitely not the attitude era. We're back in that early to mid 90's slump again. Which as a fan is unfortunate.
So how does the business go about getting out of that slump? How does it go about recapturing a mass crowd as Hogan did in the 80's and Austin, The NWO, and DX did in the attitude era? Well let’s first talk about some of the reasons the business boomed in these eras in the first place. Wrestling exploded in the 80's basically because of TV. Vince McMahon took a product that was used to being regional and expanded it. Each company had its territories and that's where they could be seen. McMahon didn't want to be limited, so he went national, using television and PPV to broadcast his company to anyone who would watch. And watch they did, and the business boomed. Now let's talk attitude era and what its main reason for success was. One word I think sums it up, competition. Obviously there are plenty of factors that led to the increase of popularity, but how much of that would have happened if Ted Turner didn't give Eric Bischoff a three hour time slot opposite the WWE and Monday Night Raw. Competition and the Monday night wars are the reasons why we got the attitude era. It's the reason why we got the controversy of the NWO, DX, and Austin's screw anything and everyone attitude. To this day I still remember the initial confusion and "What the heck is he doing on Nitro?" when Scott Hall interrupted a match and jumped on the stick declaring war on WCW. And even more so, I won't forget the feeling of "I don't know what just happened, but man that was awesome.” That night, and the ensuing NWO angle is what brought on the attitude era and the business boom associated with that timeframe. So how does wrestling get out of this slump? The product is already on TV, Vince crushed WCW long ago, and let’s faces it, TNA isn't going to offer any competition any time soon with the direction of their product. The only answer I can give is I don't know. Although I do think that they had a golden opportunity to boost rating somewhat with the recent CM Punk angle.
This angle started off hot and should have stayed hot. Although most who may read this probably know the angle, we'll do a quick recap. On June 27 Raw goes off the air with a disgruntled CM Punk "shoot" interview. In the "shoot" he expresses his frustrations with WWE management and threatens to leave the company with the WWE Championship after beating John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. Punk's microphone was cut off and he was immediately "suspended". Now here is the first unfortunate part of this angle. The following weeks Raw fell on the 4th of July; therefore WWE taped that episode immediately following Raw. In doing so spoilers were immediately available, so anyone who visits any type of news site immediately knew that CM Punk was just going to be back the following week. That for me took a little bit of the awe out of what we had just seen and heard. Fast forward to the Monday before Money in the Bank, which ended with a contract negotiation between McMahon and Punk. The meeting would eventually be interrupted by Cena, which I didn't think was needed. To me the main event at Money in the Bank was more about Punk vs. WWE than Punk vs. Cena. This is why I don’t think Cena was needed in the contract negotiation segment. Cena's interaction led to Punk storming off ripping his contract up, pretty much guaranteeing his contract would expire at midnight following the Money in the Bank PPV. Now the web was already buzzing after the worked shoot, and I think people were really curious and interested to see where they were going with this. I’ll be honest; due to the stipulation that if Punk left with the WWE Championship that John Cena would be fired I thought the WWE would have Punk beat Cena, only to drop the title to one of the Money in the Bank winners. Which is why when Alberto Del Rio ran to the ring immediately following Punk's win I let out a huge sigh of frustration, thinking to myself "Why can't the WWE do something other than the norm just once?” So you can imagine my surprise when Punk laid out Del Rio, blew a kiss to Vince McMahon, and left through the crowd. I would be confident thinking that the majority of fans around the world thought "I can't believe that just happened.” So the WWE Champion leaves the PPV, and an hour later he isn’t under contract. The Comic Con confrontation I thought was good on the WWE's part. Where I think they messed up was rushing Punk back onto TV too quickly. Why not keep him off TV longer? Instead of coming out to music post John Cena winning the title back, I think it could have been much more interesting to see Punk, in street clothes jump the barricade, and enter the ring showing his title. After a stare down I think Triple H could have showed up with security and had Punk removed. I think he should have been presented as a non-employee for much longer than what the WWE did. They could have worked out deals with ROH, OVW, and a number of other promotions to let Punk go there with the title and wrestle in those companies like he said he would. There are endless possibilities that could have furthered this angle and made its ending more satisfying than rushing Punk back on TV for two weeks worth of hype to SummerSlam. In my opinion, the WWE dropped the ball. And you can't get out of a slump and improve your overall business when you drop the ball.
That's all for now guys, hope you all enjoyed the read. Be sure to follow me on twitter @_TheDustyFinish and check out my blog “The Dusty Finish” at http://thedustyfinish.blogspot.com/