WWE’s Tables, Ladders, Chairs (and Stairs) event this past weekend was both significant and insignificant…in very interesting ways.
It’s hard to argue many storylines were furthered. Dolph Ziggler won the Intercontinental title in front of a hometown crowd, which is the sort of thing that happened before wrestling shows were quite as scripted as today. But backstage vignettes were almost non-existent, and even though the final match involved a sill exploding monitor, there was no big shocker to end the night, like Sting appearing or the ghost of Bray Wyatt’s sister doing a run-in. Even the inevitable John Cena win was buried mid-card, like the filler it was.
But that’s also what was good about the show.
Pay-per-view events used to be purely the culmination of great rivalries, rather than an overlong build-up to a twist ending (that was Raw‘s role). That nothing happened except good matches is a big deal. That the card closed with Bray Wyatt versus Dean Ambrose is an even bigger deal.
And the sheer amount of bruises and blood in that Ziggler/Luke Harper match? Either the two of them will be penalized for that, or – if both of them get a continued push – it shows that WWE may be putting out feelers about ending (or at least relaxing) the PG era. That match was not TV-PG.
I had over at least one friend who was not up on current WWE and he followed along just fine. That’s what the special events SHOULD be – solid matches accessible to all viewers. After the last couple of duds, this was both a good show and a clear attempt to push newer talent to the top.
In other news, CM Punk signed with the UFC. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I think about this, and I just don’t know.
The odds are against him. UFC athletes tend to have very short runs on top before peaking, and Punk is older than most. Brock Lesnar made the transition so well in part by being a physical monster, and in other part by having actually been a champion at amateur wrestling, which is a good starting base for MMA. Punk hasn’t been a professional jiu-jitsu fighter, and he doesn’t have the thick layers of padding Brock has to cushion blows. He would probably be better compared to Batista and Bobby Lashley, both of whom came quickly back to wrestling.
I get that Punk feels the need to test himself and see if he can. And if the former Green Power Ranger’s challenge to him is accepted, I see that getting great buy rates from casual fans and even non-fans. But what I suspect will happen is that he’ll be served up a couple of easy guys, get injured, and find his way back to pro-wrestling again. He may think he burned the bridge to Vince and Triple H, but as long as there’s money to be made, that thing can be rebuilt double-quick.
Incidentally, my utterly non-scientific way to pick winners in the UFC is this – if you know nothing about either fighter, bet on the one with the fewest tattoos. It works more often than not. And not necessarily in Punk’s favor…or the Green Ranger’s. But again – non-scientific.
Talk back about Raw and TLC below.