Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bell to Bell: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and “Casual Viewers”

Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns team together twice on the same night. Anybody remember that Raw where Chris Jericho had to wrestle three times in one night? The Rock wasn’t on the show for whatever reason, so they did an angle where Vince punished him by having him run the gauntlet. That was a big deal at the time, because you weren’t used to seeing these guys out there so much, and it drew a decent amount of babyface sympathy for Jericho.

But in the three-hour Raw era, wrestlers competing more than once a night is nothing special. It’s become commonplace.

Last week on The Steve Austin Show (or as WWE calls it, “Stone Cold Podcast”), Triple H briefly talked about how writing a three-hour TV show is exponentially tougher than writing a two-hour show. Hey man, you don’t have to tell us. It’s pretty obvious when you watch the damn thing.  Thank God for DVR.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love Raw, WWE, and the performers. But it’s so obvious that things are stretched out. So much of the content is geared toward filling that three-hour time frame. That’s why every show starts with a 15-20 minute in-ring promo, and why wrestlers sometimes have to perform twice a night.

WWE obviously makes more money with a three-hour show. But in the long run, is it worth it? WWE spends all it time trying to appeal to casual fans. But would a strictly casual viewer be willing to stick with a TV show for three hours every week?

Just a thought…

Rikishi announced for WWE Hall of Fame. It’s a little bit sad that when I saw “Rikishi” trending on Twitter Monday afternoon, I went: “Oh no, did he die?” It turns out the big man is alive and well, and going into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations are definitely in order, as the real life Solofa Fatu has had a great career. I’m guessing this is also being done in part to play up the Samoan lineage of Roman Reigns, the Usos, and even The Rock. 

When Rikishi is mentioned, I often think of that big splash he gave to Val Venis off the top of a steel cage. In July 2000 it’s hard to believe that was a decade and a half ago. YouTube “Rikishi, steel cage” and you’ll see it. It’s an awesome moment.

Rikishi is also living proof that you never know what the hell is going to get over in wrestling, or perhaps show business in general. Fatu was repackaged so many times in his career. But what got him over was dancing in a thong. Good lord…

Sting answers Triple H’s challenge for Fast Lane. This segment had a pretty obvious resolution. But it gave WWE an opportunity to play with Sting’s mystique a little bit. I liked the crow sounds, and the fake Stings being in the crowd. We probably weren’t meant to see that fake Sting actually enter the ring, as it put a damper on the vibe of the segment. But all in all, it was fine. I liked Triple H bringing up the fact that it took Sting 14 years to come to WWE, and that he helped put WCW under. With any luck, their segment at Fast Lane will be a good one, and we’ll finally get to hear Sting talk in a WWE ring.

WWE plays the “father time” card with John Cena and Rusev. As we’ve seen a few times before, WWE is playing up Cena’s long career, his extensive list of injuries, and the question of how long he can keep going. In the immediate future, I imagine this will amount to nothing, as it always has. But when the time does finally come for Cena to hang up the wristbands and baseball cap, that would be a cool way for Cena to have his retirement match. Have the man who never gives up hit the ring for one more fight even though his body is failing him? Hey, I’d watch.

Bray Wyatt ponders “What happens when we die?” Another promo obviously directed at The Undertaker. The great thing about these promos being pre-taped is that we don’t hear fans chanting for ‘Taker and spoiling the ride. I’m anxious to see how The Undertaker responds. And perhaps more interestingly, how they differentiate The Undertaker’s presentation from Sting’s. The two have never had to co-exist in the same promotion at the same time. So I’m curious to see how that plays out.

Paul Heyman brings up Brian Williams in promo with Brock Lesnar. The WWE Network aired a brief segment last week, in which Paul Heyman brought up, of all things, the Brian Williams controversy (if you don’t know, Google it). It didn’t even coincide with any programming. At face value, it didn’t really make any sense. Now it seems to. Heyman takes the thread of Brian Williams lying, and then spins it into a promo about Reigns and Bryan lying to themselves about beating Brock Lesnar. DAMN that guy’s good…

Big E. & Kofi Kingston def. Goldust & Stardust. First of all, The New Day act is becoming painful. These guys are so not over it’s painful.

Secondly, I love the notion that Stardust hates being called Cody. It’s an identity crisis that very much lends itself to a character like Stardust, and Cody wanting to essentially lose his former identity is a great access point for family drama. Somebody call Dusty.

Cesaro & Tyson Kidd def. The Usos. I’m a Cesaro fan, but by God, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of those forearm uppercuts. He really lays those suckers in.

Written by: The Fanboy Wonder, Rob Siebert

No comments:

Post a Comment