PARKS'S TAKE PARKS'S TAKE: Did the end of Raw send the right message about Survivor Series?, plus Thoughts on TNA's TV future, Khali, strong wrestling matches, breaking "The News," more
Nov 19, 2014 - 11:56:26 AM
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By Greg Parks, PWTorch columnist
Monday night on Raw, WWE had one last, real opportunity to hard-sell the Survivor Series PPV and by extension, direct people to the WWE Network for their free month. The final segment of the show seemed designed to do just that, but did the execution match up with the intention?
I think, to a certain extent, you could argue that John Cena’s Survivor Series team is disappointing given the hype in that segment. During his mic work, Cena seemed resigned to the fact that his original team members wouldn’t be available and that he’d have to find others to fill those spots.
Speculation on Twitter immediately began to run rampant. Brock Lesnar? Sting? C.M. Punk? Four top NXT names? No name seemed too big, no idea off the table simply because of how important Survivor Series is this year being tied in with the free month of November on the WWE Network.
So, when it was revealed that Dolph Ziggler and Big Show would be sticking on the team, and would be joined by Erick Rowan and Ryback, there was almost a sense of being let-down. The team standing tall at the end certainly gave Team Cena that final push of credibility they needed after being wiped out by The Authority for the last two weeks, but is that enough to get people on the fence to try the Network and the show?
Then, there was also the strange soliloquy from Triple H about what the business means to him. He’s a heel, right? How were we as viewers supposed to be feeling when he was pouring his heart out on the screen? Many people probably sympathized with him, but I don’t know that it’s what WWE should be going for.
Cena’s confidence at the end seemed to indicate he had a master plan to replace those who already vowed to help him in the match. When no replacements were made, and only Erick Rowan (intriguing only because his former partner, Luke Harper, was on the other side) and Ryback (which was not a surprise) were added to the team, fans may have felt Survivor Series would be just another PPV. And that’s not what WWE’s aim should’ve been.
Other Thoughts: I never revel in a talent being released, but I’m almost relieved to read of The Great Khali being let go by WWE. It’s been sad to watch how he’s deteriorated in the last year, and I got no joy out of watching him struggle to walk down the aisle. Hopefully he can get into acting or maybe lead a normal life that doesn’t require so much travel or wear-and-tear on his body… Rumor has it that TNA may have found a landing spot after Spike TV - cable channel Destination America. It’s a major step down from Spike TV and probably not as financially rewarding of a deal. Others have brought up this question, but what’s the end game here for TNA? How does moving to a less prestigious network for less money do anything but allow you to simply exist as a company? The business model TNA uses in 2015 should give us an interesting read on where the company is, and where it wants to go...
If you like the in-ring aspect of pro wrestling, last week was a good week for you. We had a stellar Triple Threat Elimination Intercontinental Title match on Smackdown, a thrilling Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville NXT Title match, a high-flying three-way lucha match on Lucha Underground, and an above-average Austin Aries vs. Lashley TNA Title match. I cover these matches and more happenings from the week that was on TV in my upcoming column in the Torch newsletter…Mike Roe and I talked about this on “Moonlighting with Greg Parks” this past week, but I almost wish WWE hadn’t given us background on the Dean Ambrose character. It’s the exception, not the rule, but rebel characters work best when there’s an air of mystery about them, and normal human characteristics don’t apply to them. Delving into Ambrose’s background and daddy issues humanizes him, and I’m not sure that’s what the fans want…
A sixth-grade student in the school I teach at recently found out that wrestling is scripted by reading it in a book. Suffice to say, I had a lot of questions to answer after that. “But…they really try to win, right?” and “But what about (insert name of move), that really hurts, doesn’t it?” were some of the questions I had to answer for him. It was very interesting to see him process all this and what kinds of questions he asked.
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