Following the recent interview with Bob Holly on www.rossowenwilliams.com, I’ve had some great feedback and a lot of thoughtful replies – none more so than the comments by my good buddy and old wrestling writing partner in crime, Mr. Iain Burnside.
In fact, his counterpoints to the piece Bob and I put together are worth sharing for sure – so, in all their glory, here they are:
*****Regarding the suggestion Roman Reigns should have beaten the Streak this year:
First, the timing doesn’t work. If Undertaker thought he could still go in a year or two then it might have been possible but I guess he’s not confident of that. In early 2014, Reigns is just not ready for such a spot. He’s got all the potential in the world but, to date, his singles matches have shown he has a ways to go before being able to pull off a major WrestleMania bout. If people didn’t care for Brock/Taker, Reigns/Taker would likely have been even less popular.
Further to that, the timing was all wrong to break up the Shield. Postponing the break-up for a babyface run will only help solidify the long-term potential of ALL three guys. Rushing it ahead of Mania would have exposed Reigns and increased the likelihood of Ambrose and Rollins getting left behind. Running a Reigns/Taker program without breaking up the Shield would have had largely the same effect.
Second, Reigns winning that match would not have helped his cause. The most important thing in making a top guy these days is in making the audience feel that THEY are the ones who have chosen the guy. When they feel that the company is forcing a certain guy on them, they get feisty. The paths of Daniel Bryan and Batista this year make that abundantly clear.
Right now, the crowd is behind Reigns. That support should grow over the coming year but only if they avoid presenting him in the wrong light. Reigns beating up a crippled, beloved veteran and ending a much-loved undefeated streak, before he can even hold his own end of a main event match or promo, would very much be “in the wrong light”.
*****Regarding the suggestion a ‘Taker/Reigns match should have been a 30 minute epic:
If this was a few years ago when Taker might have been able to go for 30 minutes, maybe. This year it seems that he went less than five before winding up with a concussion.
A couple of years ago they had to throw in Triple H and Shawn Michaels and a giant cage and Metallica and a lot of lying around time and carry him out on a stretcher to work around how hurt he was. Last year they just needed renowned Walking Dead enthusiast CM Punk.
This year the whole thing went 25 minutes, of which 80% or so was Brock just beating on him.
Whether Taker could have done more had he not been concussed we’ll never know but I think the days of him having lengthy, competitive matches were already over. And I’m not sure I agree with your point that he could have had five star matches with anybody but the very best on the roster anymore. Certainly he wouldn’t have with Roman Reigns. Or Bray Wyatt, come to think of it. Look around the roster and the only top guy who could have helped nudge Taker towards a five star match is Bryan, who was otherwise occupied.
*****On playing the “relation of the Rock” card for Reigns
They don’t need to use the cousin-of-Rock card for Reigns at the moment. Break that out later if need be, maybe when he is on the cusp of completing his ascension and they know the crowd is still with him.
For now, he really just needs to be established as his own man. That might sound goofy given his current stable gimmick but all three of their personalities are starting to come through.
*****Why Brock was the right man to end the streak
The main positive in having Brock end the streak (playing Devil’s Advocate here) is that he is not around all the time. They don’t need to define a permanent, full-time wrestler by that and serve to continually piss off their audience about it.
But when Brock comes back and all that resentment comes flooding back and he’s beating on Bryan/Reigns/Cesaro/whoever and now people really want to see him get his comeuppance… well, they may have convinced people to again give a shit about the few Brock Lesnar matches they have.
Of course, in a perfect world, Lesnar would not have lost twice since his return and we would have been spared the dire three-match series with Hunter, which would have made all this streak-ending business way more effective.
You mentioned that it looked like Brock was beating up an old man. That’s how it would have come across no matter who faced Undertaker this year. At least it was a big scary bully doing it rather than that handsome citizen Roman Reigns.
Time will tell but I think Brock is still going to get a load of heat when he returns. And if the guy who beats the guy who beat Taker is to be treated as a so-what, then what does it matter who ended the streak?
*****Emma as the modern female Bushwhacker…
To be fair, the Bushwhackers had a pretty decent shelf life. Santino’s been around for about 8 years now. Not every male wrestler can be John Cena, not every female one can be Trish Stratus. Comedy characters are fine.
*****On reasons Dolph Ziggler isn’t a top guy
Bouncing around all the time, getting concussions, never giving anything time to breathe, not cutting believable promos, having an inane character *and* posting stupid shit on the internet? Wow!
*****Why the Warriors of the world get 10 bell salutes and Viscera gets a graphic and date
Such is life. If the bassist in Nirvana had been the one who died rather than Kurt Cobain, it would have gotten a brief mention in the news and then the world would roll right on. If some back-bench MP died most people wouldn’t know or care but if the Prime Minister choked, there would be endless tributes for weeks. The character actor who played the President’s aide in Independence Day died and it barely registered in the media, yet when Heath Ledger died he won an Oscar. It’s all a work.