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  1. #1
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    Same Old Smells From The Same Old Cooking (This Is A Smackdown!)

    Hello all! What a week in professional wrestling! Historic! So much to enjoy! It is genuinely one of the best weeks to be a fan of professional wrestling. Though this time out, I'm not here to talk AEW Dynamite on TNT, or USA NXT, NXT UK, or the positives of the newly renovated Smackdown! No. This time, I'm gonna dress down someone the way they did to someone else last night…

    Anyone catch Smackdown? Fox decided to put a lot of money down in order to bring Smackdown to Fox on Friday nights at 8 PM EST. So it goes without saying that they pulled out as many stops as they could. Celebrities in attendance as far as the eye could see. Wrestling legends everywhere. Promo videos from G.O.A.Ts like Stone Cold, hell, even a major surprise visit from a former UFC Champion! With titles on the line, and so much buzz and fanfare, it was bound to be amazing, right?

    If that's what you thought, then the first in ring segment surely added to that, as it involved the guy who coined the phrase that became the name of this show- The Rock (Smackdown)! And that is right about where my excitement died a gruesome death for the evening.






    Let's take a stroll down memory lane. Anyone remember when The Rock made a surprise visit to Monday Night RAW on June 10th, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York?

    I do. I wrote a column about it. You see, I was pissed off. Rusev at the time was one of, if not the absolute top heel in the company. And WWE decided to run a segment where Rock came down to interrupt/humiliate Rusev during a promo. Why? Just cause. Who cares, right? I mean, it's The Rock! Who needs a script, sensibility, or logistics when Rocky decides to show up?

    Rock, a man who was not an active wrestler any longer, went into a promo that essentially made Rusev look like a bumbling, stumbling, cuck- right before beating Rusev down to end it. Sounds like a great start to a feud, right? Well it wasn't. Part-part-time Rock went back to Hollywood, never to interact with full-time Rusev again, and Rusev started getting jobbed out shortly afterwards like an immigrant on the back of a beat up pick up truck on the US/Mexico border.

    At the time, I was pissed. That column reflected my vitriol. A lot of people responded to the column saying to give it time, and saying that any interaction with The Rock is a good one, and it could only build Rusev's stock. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, as it did seem like WWE's stamp of approval on/acknowledgment of an upcoming star, albeit, a very strange one.

    Looking back now though, knowing now that that segment wasn't planned ahead, to the point where Rusev said he had no idea The Rock was even coming out during his segment, it doesn't hold up well, does it? Though clearly it was great, as it involved The Rock! I mean, look at what Rusev became…

    Oops. That doesn't help. I mean, look at Rusev now. He's not headlining WWE PPVs, is he? Did he ever win a World Title? He's not on WWE PPV's, anywhere on the card- hell, he isn't even really on WWE TV anymore! He still works for the company, yet they have nothing really for him to do of note or worth beside being mentioned as a cuck. And granted, his was a run that screamed top foreign heel for a year or so until he finally got beat/cooled by John Cena, but I point to June 10th, 2014 as the exact moment fans started prematurely cooling off on Rusev, because on that night, his ceiling was defined by The Rock to us fans. A ceiling that took away his credibility as a true threat, completely undermining all the booking and work put in for Rusev up to that moment. Right down to Lana playing into Rock's flirting while he proverbially shit on her man.









    Sound somewhat familiar?


    It might if you watched Smackdown last night. Did Rock bury Rusev again? No. Full-time Rusev was probably in the back fetching production's coffee as part-part-time The Rock did the same exact thing to newly crowned full-time King Of The Ring Baron Corbin. I'm actually shocked they didn't just throw Lacy Evans into the ring and do the exact same promo. I mean, they kind of did, in that The Rock says the same exact thing every.single.time they give him a microphone, but the only cuck angle this time would involve Becky Lynch- and she is a true wrestler, and a pretty damn good one, and not swooning over The Rock.


    Some of the fans swooned though. Cause hey, it's The Rock! Right?!? I mean, I kind of want to say fuck The Rock, but I remember a quote by Booker T, "Don't hate the player, hate the game"... maybe it wasn't just The Rock cooking up another ill advised "dish" that completely undermines a lot of effort put into the booking of Baron Corbin in recent months, culminating in taking a newly crowned King Of The Ring tournament winner, and making him look like a punchline, but rather WWE shooting themselves in their own foot because they needed to shoehorn in some extra star power in order to whore themselves out to Fox as much as humanly possible on a Friday night.










    But did Stone Cold crap on any full-timers in his video? Nope. Did any of the other returning legends drop trow and deliver any anti-booking dark matter? Again no. So why? What purpose does that serve if The Rock is just going to saunter his part-part-time ass back to Hollywood now, having no feud, angle, or even a match with full-time Baron Corbin? Nothing. It does nothing but damage. Need proof? Rusev's career says hi.


    After spending this much time and effort to propel Baron Corbin up to becoming one of the current top heels they have on the active main roster, WWE just shit all over their own efforts last night in the first 10 minutes of Smackdown- solely just to shamelessly shill some more. Maybe WWE is just so inept that they don't realize what kind of damage a segment like that does to a guy like Rusev, or Baron Corbin in fans eyes, but damn. All I can see now is a ceiling right above Baron, just like I saw on June 10th, 2014 above Alexander Rusev. All I see now is fans looking at Baron Corbin like an absolute fucking joke, and it really pisses me off.


    Why should I care, at all? I mean I'm not a genuine fan of Baron Corbin. I was only loosely a fan of Rusev. But I have spent over 3 decades invested into the product. Watching WWF/WWE, and this kind of "cooking" is exactly why I am so nauseus from the main roster product now that I pretty much exclusively only sample bits and pieces of their PPVs. They toss sensibility out the window with any chance they have to whore out their product, or shill for a few extra bucks. Nothing means as much as money to them, not even cohesive, logical booking that pleases their consumers. But hey, casuals like The Rock, so let him neuter another full-time guy just trying to entertain us all. Maybe production needed another coffee guy- one with a scepter?


    Regardless though, what purpose does Baron Corbin, or King Of The Ring have, if the winner gets this kind of treatment? WWE wonders why so many fans are turning away dejected, why so many are trying to make companies like AEW a surging trend, and all they need to do is take a look inward, to their scatter shot, tremendously horrible booking. Am I being too harsh? How's Kofi Kingston doing today? Is he a cuck now too? Too soon?


    I tuned in last night to continue a week of professional wrestling as a fan that has been awesome. I was optimistic that WWE is turning a corner, or a new leaf, as Autumn turns old to new around us, I was excited to see the new look WWE. The one that learned from past mistakes. I tuned out remembering why I don't watch main roster anymore. I'll read results like I was, and watch anything of interest later. New Smackdown is old Smackdown. Same old laughably ridiculous main roster WWE booking.






    Imagine if on June 10th, 2014, right after The Rock talked trash to Rusev, as he went to attack Rusev, Lana tripped him, and Rusev beat Rock down, and locked in the Accolade on him- refusing to let go as refs came frantically running down to the ring to help separate the two until finally they ripped an enraged Rusev off a battered Rock, as Lana smiled approvingly at Rusev?






    Imagine if on October 4th, 2019, after The Rock made Baron Corbin look absolutely ridiculous, Baron ducked a charge from The Rock, resulting in him laying out Becky Lynch instead, and in that moment of confusion for The Rock, he turned around and walked right into an End Of Days?






    Would those moments have hurt The Rock's legacy in fans eyes?

    Would those moments have helped truly propel Rusev and Baron Corbin in fans eyes, thus intensifying their heel heat/runs to even greater heights?

    We all know the answers to those questions. And those answers are a big reason why main roster WWE is cancerous, and easily one of the absolute worst professional wrestling sources in all of wrestling in 2019. If it weren't for NXT, and NXT UK- my subscription would have been cancelled this morning.

    Rock could have taken those two moments in stride effortlessly. He could have explained that he couldn't retaliate, as he has no compete contracts for his movie deals, and instead, picked surprise opponents for the 2 heels respectively to represent him. He could have even picked the match types. Hell, he could have even reffed the matches. He could have got in cheap shots in the matches, costing the heels the match while Rock got the last laugh. Which even would have protected the heels at the same damned time. Instead we got another steaming pile of shit, served up by the Rock, and WWE.

    I smell what you're cooking The Rock/WWE/"new" Smackdown, and I'm rejecting it as respectfully as I possibly can. No thanks, I'll spend my time more wisely on Friday nights from 8-10 PM- doing/smelling literally anything else.
    Last edited by Kleckamania; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:09 PM.


  2. #2
    HUGE Member TheLAW's Avatar
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    Really interesting take, Kleck, and I'm sure one that will be echoed by quite a few. Im surprised you didn't mention how Rusev is once again in a cuck story. That marks two full fledged feuds based on his wife being a slut on top of the altercation with Rocky.

    Flip side of your argument, though, Baron Corbin is not even on Rusev's level from a talent or character standpoint IMO. I hope that it pushes his ceiling to where it belongs and keeps him the hell away from any major championships. Just my two cents though.

    I do wish someone could've rehabbed Rusev. It looks like thst ship has sailed. Especially with the Lashley story now.

  3. #3
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    Thanks LAW! I look at it like this, WWE put in effort to build Corbin up. Even if they didn't plan on him being up top for long, they had fans hating him. I say they should have let him deliver his finisher to Rock, lay him out cold. Fans would despise Corbin so much more. They could have had extreme heat on him until at least Royal Rumble, or even Wrestlemania. Let the hate build. Have Corbin play into it. Have the payoff match be Corbin vs any face with the Rock as ref. Rock screws Corbin, face gets the win. Make Corbin look ridiculous then, while transfering all that heat into building up the new face. Then they can resume normal Corbin job duties in the mid card while the newer face hits a new level in fans eyes. Guys like Chad Gable, Andrade Almas, Riccochet could have been in that spot and benefitted a lot from it. Instead they just deflated the Corbin balloon without paying off anyone but The Rock- a guy who doesnt even wrestle anymore.

    It just seems like WWE has poorly trained chimps booking their main roster.


  4. #4
    HUGE Member TheLAW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kleckamania View Post

    It just seems like WWE has poorly trained chimps booking their main roster.
    Couldn't agree more! Like that scene from Zoolander where they're told the files are IN the computer.
    Last edited by TheLAW; 1 Week Ago at 07:25 PM.

  5. #5
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    To use a sports analogy, this show wreaked of a franchise who mortgages their future for a championship, knowing it will kill them in the long run but give them the instant success short term. The entire show was "See, FOX? We're so mainstream" It had a nice little rating and the company is likely touting its success, but eventually it will come crashing down to earth when the casual fan tunes out and FOX is left wondering where everyone went. The WWE's only go to formula for fixing a leaky pipe is to bring in people who had success in the past in hopes that fans will stop by every now and then and then can just coast with who they have during the in between times.

    10 years goes fast and pretty soon you'll be out of nostalgic draws, wondering why you didn't just build from within and move on. I hate that about the WWE and always will.

  6. #6
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Great stuff man. This column mirrors my own but talking about the start of the show instead of the end. I must say I didn't quite get the vibe you did from that segment but that is mainly because I haven't watched anything since Money In The Bank so in my mind Baron Corbin was still a joke and this did nothing to change that. You are completely right though, if he had hit Rock with an End of Days it would have immediately flipped that.

    I guess it all comes back to that old addage 'Hogan must pose'.

    The contrast couldn't have been more stark in AEW where instead of using their landmark show to be a circle jerk for the crowd's favorites they had a new stable establish itself by beating them down.

  7. #7
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    Tell The Rock the start of CM Punk's disenchantment with wrestling also says hi!

    Way too soon for Kofi!

    The way it seems is that these part-timers messing around with full-time stars and then just leaving won't be coming to an end until those part-timers are old or nobody cares about them anymore. I read that back in the day a legend would always want to put over an up and comer but that certainly isn't the case anymore. I doubt WWE will ever make The Rock look week as a they will always see him as a draw and a potential cash-cow if he were to have another match. All he does is come back, runs through his catchphrases, buries a talent and leaves. Screw that. Becky actually stole that segment for me with that testicles line.

  8. #8
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    Right up my alley Kleck, thought you made some blisteringly great points with this. There could be a lot of benefit in WWE megastars of the past interacting with the potential stars of today, but not if those past stars just make absolute clowns of those trying to make it now. Imagine if, for example, Randy Savage had come down in 1998 and made an absolute fool of the Rock. Maybe the Rock would have still come out just as big, maybe not. The follow up is also important, of course, but since WWE tends to miss on that front as well it doesn't matter much. Same Smackdown, different day indeed!

  9. #9
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    Type- Amen. Though the sad thing is, in that time they will plug in guys like Cena, Edge, e.t.c. They'll keep finding nostalgic draws at the expense of building new ones. And from the sounds of it, the week 2 numbers fell off a cliff already and WWE is scrambling already. My blinders are on from the main product now. It's cancer to my fandom. I'll stick with the 2 NXTs and AEW.

    Sam- Corbin was building up some legitimacy, mainly from the KOTR win. Fans haven't liked him much, but he was starting to get decent heel heat, and WWE just completely sabotaged it. It's baffling. And great point out about the AEW stable. The legends there seem to be building a new crop of rising talent instead of burying them.

    Don- good point out about Punk, as Rock and Kevin Nash were the beginning of Punk's loss of love for the business. As much as I loved the Rock back in the day, I roll my eyes everytime he comes out now. He just needs to stay in Hollywood if you ask me. Becky was great in that segment. I was just mad at that whole segment in general though.

    Miz- Or Hogan not putting over Rock! Though maybe Macho was a more apt example, as pre Nation Rock was floundering, Macho would have just buried him. I don't know if he would have recovered. WWE just sticks to this money blueprint now and does not give one single damn about building legitimate talent anymore, and it is too cancerous for me to watch. If they don't care, why should I?


    Thanks all! Very much appreciate the resds and discussion!


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