Ok, I wanted to start this as a regular piece over the summer, and stopped after 3 weeks. After the atrocity that was last night's Monday Night Raw, I had to vent.
I've been saying this for a long time, and it bears repeating. The creative staff, because they are not being properly or formally trained in wrestling psychology, falls into streaks of ineptitude in putting the show together. Last night was one of those bad nights.
Executive VP/Talent Relations & acting GM John Laurinitis made a series of matches to determine who'd face CM Punk at the TLC pay-per-view on December 18. The underlying theme was to illustrate just how crooked he is.
Match 1: The Miz (Michael Mizanin) def. Randy Orton via countout due to interference from Wade Barrett.
The Problem: Barrett, who had his first major feud with John Cena last year, is feuding with WWE's other top star, Orton, this year, and for the 2nd straight week, his indirect actions cost Orton the match. For Miz, this was a lazy way of winning, as he was the only one who didn't score a pinfall or submission.
The Solution: A 2nd referee comes out after the match, after Barrett has attacked Orton in the aisle. After a break, ring announcer Justin Roberts announces that Miz is disqualified for interference. In order to earn his title shot, Miz must wrestle a 2nd match.
Backstage, Smackdown GM Teddy Long, who was otherwise not used on this show, has it out with his opposite number, telling him that this is no way to do business. Long picks the new opponent for Miz, and also makes a substitution for Alberto Del Rio's match, which is coming up next.
Couple the countout with Miz's actions against R-Truth (now suspended) and John Morrison (since released) the last two weeks, and Miz is being rewarded for violations. That should not be allowed to happen. It's a tired, stale, cliched ream that needs to be retired, right along with WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, but we won't pursue that further for now.
Later in the show, Miz is put in with Justin Gabriel, and goes over clean with the Skull Crushing Finale in about 7 minutes.
Match 2: Alberto Del Rio defeated Daniel Bryan via submission.
The Problem: Bryan was "injured" in a WWE World title match vs. Mark Henry 6 days earlier on Smackdown. Despite the fact he had a couple of decent efforts vs. Del Rio previously, Bryan was "not 100%" and should not have been used in this spot. It illustrates the heel GM's attitude that fellow heels should get what amounts to a "lay-up". They shouldn't anymore.
The Solution: Long substitutes Trent Baretta for Bryan, but the result is the same. It also establishes Long further as a face GM who will protect his brand from being manipulated.
Match 4: John Cena defeated Zack Ryder.
The Problem: Ryder wants Dolph Ziggler for the US title. Rather than grant Ryder his wish, Laurinitis puts him in with Cena, dangling title matches in front of both men. Cena would give up his title opportunity to help Ryder, leading to the next match......
Match 5: Ryder defeated World Champion Mark Henry in a no-DQ match with help from Cena.
The Problem: Like Bryan, Henry wasn't "at 100%" coming out of the title match 6 days earlier, and shouldn't have been used in this spot.
The Solution: Long, after a phone call, cancels out the Cena-Ryder match, and amends it to a tag team match. Cena & Ryder vs. Wade Barrett & Drew McIntyre. Cena & Ryder go over when Ryder pins McIntyre. Thus, Cena advances, as does Ryder, after all.
Laurinitis & Long are arguing, and Long lets slip that he'd been on the phone with their boss, Stephanie McMahon, and she isn't happy with Laurinitis' actions, and thus empowered Long to overrule him as he saw fit.
Match 7: Sheamus defeated US Champion Dolph Ziggler after a distraction from Ryder led to the pin.
The Problem: Two distraction finishes on the same show. Now, that is lazy writing at its worst.
The Solution: Ziggler's stablemate/tag team partner, Jack Swagger, comes out, and that ultimately prompts Ryder to appear to even the sides. By leaving Swagger out of the match scenario, the creative team botched it big time, skipping an important "chapter" in the storytelling aspect of the match.
The show ends with what is now a fatal 4-way TLC (tables, ladders, & chairs) match announced for the PPV, and it will be an elimination match. The predictable brawl ensues, and Punk AND Cena are standing tall to end the show. We'll solve Cena's storyline problem another time.
What should happen next: Laurinitis is removed as GM, with Mick Foley returning to take over the gig on a short-term basis until a more permanent GM can be found. It's better to cut Laurinitis off as GM before things go from bad to worse. Orton will get Barrett either on Smackdown or at the PPV to collect his receipt.
I've proven here that I am largely overqualified to write for WWE, much less TNA. Then again, that shouldn't be a surprise.