Federation Update (9.1.08)

Due to a wild vacation weekend, I’m doing my Federation Update a hair late. I know, quite the crisis. But as I learned from Lisa Simpson, the Chinese use the same character to express both ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’. As such, I’m turning this crisitunity into a new schedule. Until further notice, I’ll be writing a WWE update every Monday after I watch RAW. I’ll still comment on the previous airings of SmackDown and ECW where appropriate. I hope this new schedule does not throw a monkey wrench into anyone’s bonnet.

Without further ado, let’s recap the biggest stories from two RAWs, a SmackDown, and an ECW.

HBK-JERICHO FEUD SHAPING UP TO BE BEST EVER

That’s really all there is to say about it. My only beef: the description of their upcoming match as “unsanctioned”. It’s unsanctioned by the WWE… but they have saved a slot for it at the next pay-per-view.

This week, the hype-up reached fever pitch with… a contract signing. Oh boy. “Well,” I thought, “if anyone can make a contract signing interesting, it’d be these two.” Thankfully, I was right. Jericho and Michaels have already made wrestling history by giving us the very first compelling and entertaining contract signing. Jericho played it perfectly, avoiding Michaels’s gaze for most of his speech. Michaels also played it perfectly — normally in this kind of feud, the wronged wrestler gets too hot. This segment felt like Jericho and Michaels had a contest to see how understated they could be with their anger. Once again, well done.

CENA INJURY MAKES RAW SCRAMBLE EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS

Not only do we get the insult of finding out about Cena’s injury from Mike Adamle, but we find out that his replacement is Rey Mysterio. Joy. I guess it makes sense — the ten-year-olds in the crowd need somebody to root for.

So Mysterio’s back and he has a fully fleshed-out, already tiresome feud waiting for him. I have to applaud Kane for fostering a feud all on his own. I’m not a Kane fan, but he did the best he could with what he was given. Imagine being Kane and having this assignment handed to you: “Okay, Kane, your next story arc will be with Mysterio. Except Mysterio won’t be around for a few months, so you’ll be on your own. Go around and act crazy for a month and talk vaguely about how much you hate him. Good luck.”

ORTON REAPPEARS, REMINDS US THAT HE STILL EXISTS

You know, I had almost forgotten about that rock-head. Initially, Orton’s apparent return made me cry on the inside. But then, he shocked the hell out of me by actually making sense: he said that CM Punk as champion is an embarrassment to the WWE. Truer words were never spoken by Randy Orton.

I suppose it’s nice to remind the fans of the injured roster every so often (I hope they give the same courtesy to Kennedy). This particular reminder didn’t please me, though, because it became clear that Vince wants to foster a feud between Punk and Orton. That sounds suspiciously like Punk will retain on Sunday. This is a great opportunity to get rid of CM Punk in a not-horribly-embarrassing way, and I’m afraid that the WWE isn’t going to seize it.

One more thing: it’s kind of amazing to me that Batista saved the segment after Orton left. Punk came out to act righteous, JBL came out to jaw, Kane came out to look crazy, and Batista said nothing and speared them all. I’ve long said that Batista is his most entertaining when he’s the stoic man of action.

ECW CREATES WORST POSSIBLE SCRAMBLE

I’m not saying that lightly. When ECW started and Teddy Long announced that they’d have a Championship Denver Omelette of their own, I immediately picked the four believable guys I’d like to see: Matt Hardy, John Morrison, Tommy Dreamer, and Evan Bourne as a wildcard. Instead, I only got Hardy right, who defeated Morrison. The others lost qualifiers, so I got to see my hopes dashed in every match. Now we can all look forward to a free-for-all with Henry, Hardy, Miz, Chavo, and Finlay. I can’t decide if I’m madder about Chavo’s inclusion (I thought he was exclusively Vickie’s babysitter by now) or Miz’s. Wait… that’s no contest. The Miz is awful in every way, while at least Chavo has fun theme music.

CHARLIE HAAS MAKES JOBBERS FUN AGAIN

Most wrestling fans are familiar with Vince’s alleged line that he’d rather watch paint dry than watch Charlie Haas wrestle. This is why he’s been relegated to jobber duty for the last umpteen years. Thankfully, Haas is showing a silly side by appearing in Carlito and John Cena garb over the last two RAWs. He pulled them both off quite well, while simultaneously getting the crowd to hate him immediately. That’s exactly what a jobber should do: be funny, get the crowd against you, and lose.

My buddy Adam had an idea that would extend Haas’s status as a prominent jobber. He should keep imitating a different wrestler every week and pull off that wrestler’s finisher. The kicker is that because he’s not actually Cena or whoever, the finisher would never result in a three-count. Then Haas would act really frustrated and confused that the finisher works so well for the actual wrestler, but never for him. Not only would that be hilarious, but it would help the mystique of the idea of personalized finishers as a whole.

SANTINO ONLY 62 WEEKS AWAY FROM BEING GREATEST INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION EVER

I’m an unabashed Santino fan, so it should come as no surprise that I liked the Honk-a-Meter. I hope Santino gets at least halfway to the 64 weeks that the Honky Tonk Man piled up. I just wonder if the writers can come up with thirty different ways for Santino to unexpectedly and/or sneakily retain.

RAW TAG-TEAM ACTION GETS MILDLY INTERESTING

…thanks to Cryme Tyme. I rather enjoyed Shad and JTG’s post-robbery segment from the rafters of the stadium. Priceless Twink’s Orton-inspired reclamation I didn’t like as much.

I have just one question about the Priceless Twink Connection: why are they having Cody Rhodes do so much of the talking? Dibiase is actually good with the mic and he doesn’t have a lisp. If you’re gonna keep jamming Twink down my throat (ahem), the least you can do is keep the mic out of his hands. It’s a reasonable compromise, no?

(A word for new readers: “Twink” is my name for Cody Rhodes. My reasons for this appellation should be obvious. And no, I’m not gay-bashing or making assertions about Rhodes’s sexuality — just look at the guy and tell me he doesn’t belong in gay porn.)

RAW GIVES US TWO POINTLESS BATTLE ROYALS

Adamle announced two five-man Battle Royals involving the participants of RAW’s and ECW’s Scrambles. Okay… why? Adamle said he’d like to make it a Labor Day tradition, “like Jerry Lewis’s telethon, but without the sick kids.” (That line, by the way, might have been pulled off by the likes of William Regal, but not by Adamle.) Anyway, I agree: what better holiday tradition can there be than a pointless, transparent PPV hype-up that contributes nothing to the development of any character’s story?

STRAY OBSERVATIONS

Jericho gets THREE Canadian Pronunciation Alerts. The first from last week (“forget aboat your career”) and the next two from today (“want to be clear aboat something” and “I’m not sorey for a single thing”). Thanks, Chris.

Jericho deserves another mention for providing us mouth-breathing rasslin’ fans with some excellent vocabulary. Today’s word is ‘solipsistic’. Solipsistic, adj., extremely egocentric; having to do with theory of solipsism, which states that the self can only know its own surroundings and modifications, and thus can be considered the only existent thing.

They’ve announced that Motorhead is playing the official song of Unforgiven. I guess this means Triple-H will retain.

Does anyone care about Jamie Noble or Layla? Does anyone else feel really bad for William Regal for being involved in this?

Hey, Candice is back, and this time, she’s registered to vote! Voting is a powerful civic duty, but how it translates in the ring is questionable. I mean, MVP would kick her ass, and his voting privileges have been taken away.

Quite a few debuts this week: Primo Colon defeated Charlito, but Haas stole the show. R. Truth (Ron Killings) completed his switch from TNA, and he brought his unnecessarily spinny action down hard on poor Kenny Dykstra. Victoria drew the short straw and lost to Brie Bella (who’s apparently from Scottsdale); at first blush, Brie looks like a Diva in the vein of Maria and Kelly Kelly: hot as hell, awkward in the ring.

Why does every young wrestler have to be described as brash, arrogant, and disrespectful of the old guard? It seems like a required rite of passage for all new wrestlers to play the heel to an old guy. Frankly, I’m tired of it. Mix it up, Vince — give me the fresh-faced dude who gets along well with the old guard. You know, as I write this, I realized that TNA recently did just that: Petey Williams was mentored by Scott Steiner, giving rise to Li’l Petey Pump. So comes another reason to prefer TNA.

PREDICTIONS

I should finish with my predictions for the big matches of Unforgiven. I invite my blog partner to do the same.

Tag Team Championship: I’m voting with my heart and having Cryme Tyme save us from the wooden jackasses.
ECW Scramble: Hardy will win, and rightly so.
SmackDown Scramble: I’ll go out on a limb and say MVP wins, but HHH never gets pinned. Regardless, I’m rooting for Kendrick.
RAW Scramble: Punk will retain because Vince hates me.
Michaels v. Jericho: Michaels will get his revenge. A Jericho win is highly unlikely, but it would be super ballsy. No matter what, this will be a great match.

That’s all for this week. I’ll start writing TNA updates soon. It’s not for lack of desire; it’s just gonna take awhile for me to settle into a comfortable writing schedule.

-Darrell

Darrell Johnson https://www.thesteelcage.com

Darrell is a dude from Arizona who likes wrestling. Like any good, pretentious fan, he views pro wrestling as a testosterone-laden synthesis of high drama and ballet. He loves the athletic wrestlers, but prefers the ones with great comic timing. As such, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and AJ Styles are his long-time favorites. In addition to writing for TheSteelCage, he is the sole contributor to the occasionally humorous blog at www.zazzumplop.com.