Welcome to Canton's Corner. It's another Sunday edition. Saturday was too damn busy. To be honest I'm starting to wonder about the future of this column, but until I decide on something else to write on a regular basis I'll keep on doing these Canton's Corner columns. I've got ideas for other things to write. It's just a matter of nailing down the concept. That's for the future, though. The present is all about this week's CC column, so let's get to it.
Five Raw Thoughts on My Mind
I already covered Raw in great detail on Tuesday, so I don't need to go over everything again. Instead, I have five short takes on some of the things that happened on the show.
- I liked Brock Lesnar injuring Triple H the way he did. It's a good way to write Lesnar out of the show for a few weeks or months or however long it will be. We really don't know at this point. By injuring the boss, they can make up some story about how Lesnar is suspended for a month. When they bring him back it can be seen as a bigger deal. I also have no problem with a Lesnar/Triple H match. I think Hunter would put him over huge and that's what Lesnar needs going forward. Plus, Hunter sold the injury while at the Mayweather fight on Saturday. That's pretty awesome.
- I'm not against the Cena/Laurinaitis feud that has been thrust upon us. I think Laurinaitis can more than hold his own in the match. He's an experienced wrestler obviously, so as long as he's in decent shape they can book it in a way to make it work. The goal is to get Cena more cheers than boos. This will get the job done. Who's going to cheer Laurinaitis? Not that many people will.
- By far the best thing that came out of Raw was the news that the WWE Title match at Over The Limit will be CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan. I'm hoping that it's the last match at the PPV. I think it would be better suited as the main event because it may be hard for anything else to follow it. Yes, Cena is generally considered the top guy, but Punk has done a great job as WWE Champion. By the time we get to OTL he'll have reached 180 days as champion. Half a year. Very impressive.
- Two months ago I was at a house show where Dolph Ziggler was in the main event. Now he's losing easily to Brodus Clay on a weekly basis and he's wrestling Zack Ryder on house shows early in the card again. They both deserve more television time, especially Ziggler.
- I had somebody tweet me asking if I'd write some kind of tribute column about the Bella Twins. It turns out that this reader was serious too. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. The answer is no. I wish them the best in their future endeavors just as long as those endeavors don't involve WWE again. Mean? No. I'm just honest.
Before we move on to Smackdown, I also wrote about NXT this week exclusive to TJRWrestling, so give that a look too.
Smackdown Likes & Dislikes
My good friend Andrew Johnson has got his wonderful Smackdown column posted at TJRWrestling, so check that out if you haven't done so already. Once again I've got five likes and five dislikes for this week's edition of Smackdown.
Like - The Sheamus/Bryan main event match
While I wasn't a fan of the first match they had on the show at the beginning (more on that in a bit), this was a solid performance. It wasn't as good as last Sunday's Extreme Rules match, but it was still above average and I'll never complain about a quality match on free television. The ending saw Alberto Del Rio get involved although his interference wasn't successful, of course.
It's also obvious that the World Title feud has now shifted to focus on Alberto Del Rio as Sheamus' next challenger. I'm okay with that. I don't think anybody believes ADR is going to take the belt from Sheamus. It's just a feud for Sheamus to win. Once the Del Rio feud is over, Christian is a likely candidate for a feud as well as Mark Henry or perhaps somebody new like Cody Rhodes or a returning Wade Barrett. There are plenty of opponents in line for Sheamus. Let's just hope they continue to have him fight through injuries like the sore left arm because it makes him a more sympathetic character when they do that.
Dislike - Putting Sheamus/Bryan in the opening match
Did anybody think this match would have a clean finish or be a decisive ending to their feud? Of course not. It's like Raw two weeks ago when they announced the Lesnar/Cena contract signing for the start of the show and instead promoted it for the next three hours. If the new booking philosophy is to tease things at the start of the show and delay them for later than this is not something that I feel to be productive. It's an annoying way to try to get viewers into the show from the beginning. The problem is if you keep doing it the fans aren't going to get emotionally invested in a big match early in the show.
Like - Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeat Hunico & Camacho
Holy crap look at that! Tag team wrestling. Actual tag teams having a solid five minute television match is a nice step towards making the tag division credible again. I hadn't seen Camacho work before. He wasn't overly impressive, nor do I feel he's better than Hunico, but he more than held his own in there. That's what the tag division is for. Put some new talent in the ring, mix them up with some veterans and have their characters grow that way. Booking tag team matches isn't hard at all. It's up to the creative team to show an interest in the division in order for the characters to draw reactions from the fans.
Dislike - Teddy Long is forced to rub baby oil on Antonio Cesaro
Ugh. How many more weeks are we going to have to deal with Teddy Long being tortured as a lackey of the Laurinaitis/Otunga/Eve trio? I'm sick of it. I'm sure there will be a payoff at some point because there always is, but I don't care enough about Long's character to see what that is. These segments are a waste of time devoted to man in his 60s that could be better used on younger talent that needs screen time to get their underdeveloped characters over.
Like - Damien Sandow chooses not to fight
It was supposed to be Sandow's debut. Instead, he stood on the apron and said he wasn't going to grace us with his presence for his match with Derrick Bateman. I thought that was very unsportsmanlike on his part (I'm trying to swear less or else I'd use another word), which is of course the essence of his character. Hopefully after he rattles off a few wins, this "holier than thou" attitude continues because that's when fans will rally behind a babyface to kick this guy's ass.
Dislike - Two long replays from key Raw moments
We get it. Raw is important. Do we really need a video recap of the Lesnar/Triple H story as well as the Cena/Laurinaitis story? If you combined the two videos, it added up to 7-8 minutes. We know that Smackdown isn't as important because Raw lacks any kind of recap from key moments on Smackdown. I'm fine with one Raw replay. But two? That's too many. The Raw audience is much bigger than the Smackdown audience anyway, so how many people watching Smackdown didn't know about what happened on Raw? I'd guess it's under 10% of the audience. Television time is important. Using it for replays of things we've already seen isn't the best way to use that time.
Like - Randy Orton & Big Show defeat Kane & Cody Rhodes
This was the typical 15 minute tag match we often get on Smackdown, which is something I typically enjoy because you can tell a good story when a match gets that much time. Three of the guys are veterans who have been in hundreds of these kinds of matches in their career. Rhodes is the young guy in the group, but he's obviously come into his own in the last year and has shown he can be an excellent performer for WWE over the next decade. The good guys won. My hope is that these feuds, which have lasted over two months, are finally over. All of them need to move on.
Dislike - Another short divas match
I'm glad Layla's back. What I'm not glad about is that we have yet to hear her speak in the three shows since she's returned from reaction. Why should the fans get behind her? Because she's wrestling heels? On this show she wrestled Natalya, who is barely on the radar these days despite being one of the better divas in the company. Their match got just under two minutes, which resulted in a Layla win. As I've said throughout this column, timing of segments is important. If this match got seven minutes (or even five minutes) it would be better long term than replaying a segment from Raw or giving Teddy Long unwarranted screen time. If characters aren't given significant screen time then the fans are going to sit on their hands during the matches. That doesn't benefit anybody. Give the women a chance. They deserve it!
Like - Eve being used in a non-wrestling role
There are two positives to this with the first one being that she's not that very good in the ring. Don't get me wrong, she can have a decent match if she's carried by somebody as talented as Beth Phoenix, but for the most part her work in the ring is below average. The other positive is that she's one of the best looking women in the history of wrestling. She should be on-screen. Plus, the business suit look always does it for me. I'm absolutely fine with her getting two or three segments per show. I can even put up with the below average acting. She looks the part.
Dislike - Swagger walks away from Clay
How many times can you book the "heel walks out of the match" finish? It seems like this is an every other week thing on WWE TV. It happens far too often. In years past they rarely did this kind of finish. Now it's all the rage apparently. Clay has beat both members of the Swagger/Ziggler duo a number of times, yet they keep going to it because they have nothing else for Clay to do. I wish feuds made sense. This feels like one of those things that got thrown to the wall while the writing crew hopes something sticks.
There was nothing generally exciting about this show, but it wasn't that bad in any way either. It was your average episode of Smackdown.
I'd rate this week's Smackdown a 6 out of 10.
Random Clip of the Week
We're into May now, so I wanted to share one of my favorite May PPV matches ever from 1998's Over The Edge PPV. It's the new WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin defending against the newly heel version of Dude Love, who had sold out to Vince McMahon. The match is excellent. The ring intros by Pat Patterson may be even better. Listen to that crowd too. It's refreshing isn't it? The video is at the bottom of the column.
What's up? I'm going to get right down to it. I thought Extreme Rules was a great pay per view. I enjoyed seeing Sheamus and Daniel Bryan finally have an actual match after being screwed over at Wrestlemania twice. I also enjoyed the street fight between Jericho and CM Punk. There were some pretty cool spots in that match to say the least. Lastly, I absolutely enjoyed witnessing Brock Lesnar destroy John Cena. That's what I enjoyed. I get a lot of flak for coming off as more negative than positive sometimes, but I just gave you the positive. You want to know what pissed me right off though? Cena still won. Surprise Surprise. Super Cena recovered and pinned Lesnar in the middle of the ring on the steel steps.
Now I don't hate Cena. It may sound like I do but I don't. I actually respect the crap out of the guy because like him or not, he is a good guy and he does good deeds. But I think the majority will agree with me when I say that he needs to go away for awhile. I understand this is his job and that this is what he does and the WWE are far too dependable on him for ratings and continued merchandise sales, but he needs to take some time off. He needs a change. Badly. Look at the Undertaker for example. Do you know why after all these years he is still at the top of his game and still gets huge pops? Because he has been able to stay relevant. He is gradually changing his look. He has gone from the dead man to the gothic leader of a cult like ministry to the American Badass only to go back to his roots as the dead man. But the point is that he is constantly changing his look. I mean look at him now. He looks like the ass kicking offspring of Chuck Liddell and Zangief, but it's still a new and scary look for him. It's not stale by any means.
Cena's character is stale. It needs a change or needs to go away for awhile. That's just my opinion. I'm still trying to understand why in the world he was booked to defeat Brock. What possible good has that done to Lesnar's momentum going forward? Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that the following night on RAW, we saw the seeds planted for a potential Lesnar and Triple H feud. THAT is how you book Lesnar. As an unstoppable machine. You don't have Cena win, say he is going away for awhile and then show up the next night. That's like Rock saying he is back and never leaving us again only to leave and just show up on his terms. The difference is Rock has earned that right. And in my opinion, Cena has too. So give the guy time off, even if he does not ask for it. Why is WWE so afraid to keep him off television? You'd don't have to answer that for me. It was a rhetorical question people.
Until next week, sit back, relax and melo out, because that is what wrestling is all about.
Steve “The Melo Man” Melo
That's all for this week. Keep checking out the brand new TJRWrestling.com for daily content from our amazing crew of writers.
I'll be writing the Raw Deal live on Monday at TJRWrestling.com also, so join me for that live if you'd like or check it out after the show airs.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org