Dave Barton talks WWE Breaking Point

I haven’t watched wrestling regularly in 3 years (by choice), although I’ve been a fan for over 30 years & still follow it occasionally online. Every once in a while I read about an upcoming PPV & decide to see it. This was one I wanted to see. Rather than review every match, I’d like to explain what I liked & didn’t like & how it relates to me ending my love affair with modern wrestling 3 years ago.

Josh Matthews, bless his little soul for saying what Vince whispered into his all-too-willing ears, says “DX has never tapped.” I hope I was just distracted, and that he actually started that statement with “As a team” because John Cena made them each tap at back-to-back WrestleManias. If he didn’t & just flat-out claimed they’ve never tapped, well then the constant re-writing of wrestling history is inexcusable to me, since I’ve literally observed it for over 30 years. As for the match itself, I’m glad Legacy won. It was the right thing to do in order to keep getting these younger guys even more over than they’ve already gotten. Legacy is working for Rhodes & DiBiase, and having them go over clean on a legend like HBK was good.

Andre the Giant, Haystacks Calhoun, Big Show, Kevin Nash…these were/are big men who still manage(d) to get over & draw because they were able to rely on something more than their limited in-ring ability. Great Khali has nothing but an honest-to-goodness “I could kill you with my bare hands” look. But that’s it. We’ve heard him talk, and it was so bad that they had to give him an interpreter. We’ve seen him go over Undertaker clean very shortly after his debut, and still no one took his in-ring work seriously. His credibility is completely shot, even after trying to work him into a comedy role & a babyface role. Everything that could be tried in order to find something salvageable with him, has been tried & failed. Why is he still here? Better question…why was his match kept on the show, and Morrison/Ziggler taken off when Morrison tore the house down with Rey so recently??

Christian vs Regal, good solid WRESTLING match. After Vince’s every attempt to make ECW a C-grade show (and now with Superstars, maybe even a D-grade show), two solid in-ring performers stole the show for me.

Orton vs Cena. As good as the storytelling was for the match regarding the use of handcuffs, I am sick to death of seeing John Cena take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Its Hulk Hogan all over again…take a guy with limited in-ring ability, have him take the best that “the bad guy” can dish out (in order to carry the match for “our hero” who can’t work), and then make a comeback for the win. Seen it, sick of it.

Punk vs Taker. You couldn’t find a bigger Undertaker fan than me up until a few years ago. He was constantly evolving through the years…visually, verbally, and in the ring as well. He found ways to keep his overall character fresh, which is why he’s lasted for nearly 20 years without the fans turning on him like they did with Hogan & Cena. You simply never had a pocket of fans who hated him as the years went on because “He hasn’t changed his act, he still does the same exact thing, its boring now.” But even I am tired of him. He’s done all he can, and I started resenting him soon after he returned to his (literal) Dead Man gimmick. Hardly anything new has been added since then, its been nearly all recycled material. So when I read (because I didn’t watch it) that at SummerSlam, after taking months off post-WrestleMania, he just shows up at the end of the PPV & choke-slams Punk, and gets immediately put into a title match with Punk at the very next PPV…and that until the last few days leading up to it, he was scheduled to WIN the title…I make no apologies, I’m glad he got “screwed” out of the win. Montreal rehash? Its been rehashed before & I thought it was stupid, but this time I honestly don’t care. I’m just glad he didn’t win the title. If he’d won, it would’ve been Hogan & Cena all over again…and Undertaker has shown far too much talent & ability in the past to have to be lumped in with those two in my book. But, because of the booking of recent years, I’m sad to say that a longtime favorite of mine has been reduced to just that. As for Punk, he’s the freshest top heel WWE has had since Edge, why ruin a good thing?

-Dave Barton, Seaside Heights NJ

  • Dave Barton

    I can easily admit that I did hear wrong. I just watched the Josh Matthews interview on YouTube, and he DID say “As a team, DX has never submitted.” I don’t know that they have submitted as a team, nor will I claim to. But, the statement that WWE constantly re-writes their history is still accurate and I WILL stand by that.

  • D-BOP

    Cena’s is not the only stale gimmick, Orton constantly being champion is just a rehash of what triple H was doing in 1999-2000 and also 2002-2006 and JBL in 2004 (legacy is virtually the same as evolution and looks to be heading the same way), the sneaky heel champion is such a tired plot. The wwe needs more complex characters or ‘tweeners’ . At the moment there are only four very cliched styles of character, the superman face, ie Cena, the more laid back/comedy face ie MVP or Khali, The sly heel (Punk and Orton) or the monstor heel (big show or Kane). As for Punk being ‘the freshest top heel… since edge’ That Is not true , He has a far too bland personality with non existant mic skills so basically he is just an Edge clone without the ability.

  • D-BOP

    Ps I do however wholeheartedly take your point about the re-writing of wrestling history, examples include the pretence that Chris Benoit never existed (by claiming michaels as the only man to win the royal rumble as number one entry) and the best one being Kanes mask hiding a hideously burned face, and then when he had to unmask trying to claim that he had only emotional scars, fantastic.

  • Lady Poison

    BRAVO~
    Thank you so much for putting into words what I ahve been thinking for years! As a female fan of many genres of entertainment, I can wholeheartly state I’ve had more fun watching soap operas than I have McMahon’s company in recent years. Unlike yourself, I didn’t stop watching by choice, our young son was copying the moves on unsuspecting children. For the safety of other people’s children and our own sanity, wrestling had to cease in our home. But, what we have seen since then has made this a blessing rather than a curse. This was a fun family thing for us at one time. We watched as a family, went out to see the PPV’s together, and laughed when our daughter (4 at the time) drooled over her favorites like a teenager! But come on! It seems like they’ve either tried to turn unknowns into beloved characters of the past, or they expect what worked 10 yrs ago to work now (i.e. DX). I firmly believe the fault doesn’t lie foremost with the onscreen personas, but with the writers…maybe it’s time for a change, before ALL the fans decide a test pattern on the television is more entertaining!

  • Dave Barton

    Another thing with Kane’s final unmasking is that he was unmasked previously 4 or 5 times. And every time, his hair was never a part of the mask.

  • Dave Barton

    Stone Cold, The Rock, Mankind…when did such TRUE superstars (lets face it, regardless of what WWE calls every single wrestler in their employ, they are not all “superstars”) really hit their stride? When they were told “Well if you don’t like what we’re writing for you, then what do you want to do?” And all 3 became the biggest stars of the Attitude Era.

    No one knows how to be innovative with their character anymore because they’re not individual wrestlers, per se…its the same writing team(s) writing for everyone. How are a handful of writers supposed to come up with great gimmicks & great action for a hundred different wrestlers each year (including those who come & go quickly for “not getting over” and those who get tryouts in dark matches and at house shows), when the wrestlers aren’t being given a chance to find what feels most comfortable for themselves? On top of that, they learn to find themselves in OVW or FCW or ROH, then get signed to WWE & get told “Yeah that was nice, but now you’re going to do what WE want you to do.” Wrestlers are forced to go completely against the grain of everything they’ve learned & practiced successfully.

    As big of a machine as WWE is, they don’t always know what’s best for getting guys over. As I mentioned: Austin, Rock & Mankind were all “created” in large part by the athletes themselves. Hell, even Hulk Hogan had Hulkamania in full swing BEFORE winning the WWF Title in 1984. Vince didn’t create Hulkamania, he capitalized on it just as he capitalized on what Williams, Johnson & Foley were coming up with. And I feel that this is the biggest reason why wrestling is so…boring for me, right now. No real originality or individuality permitted.

  • D-BOP

    Regarding your latest point, about permitting individuality, I think that the reason the rock and stone cold were allowed to express themselves was that they became too important to lose to WCW, and that is why for WWE to be great again it needs serious competition, I mean John Cena is capable of far more moves than you see in wwe but he has to keep to ‘trademark moves’. This is not a new thing, before WCW became a force they did it to hogan, if you see his matches in Japan he does wristlocks, armbars and even enziguris (im not joking) but Vinnie Mac limited him to about 5 moves in the wwf. Put it this way, How fast would usain bolt run if he didnt have competitors and wasnt timed? It is no coincidence that Wrestlings best years wereduring the monday night wars.

  • Dave Barton

    Let me admit right off the bat that I had no idea who Usain Bolt was until I Wikipedia’d him, but I see the relation.

    Undoubtedly, competition did bring out the best in WWF. And maybe if Vince weren’t so desperate to win the Monday Night War, he wouldn’t have let Rock & Foley try something different. Likewise, DX became a hit for just the same reason, it was their idea & not Vince’s…HBK & HHH used to goof around in the locker room & eventually begged Vince “Please, the boys like it, why wouldn’t the fans enjoy it too?” Granted, it wasn’t wrestling…actually, between DX, Rock, Austin, and Foley, they ran mostly on gimmick during their most popular years in the Attitude Era to begin with.

    What’s interesting is that it was June 23, 1996 when Austin broke the “no foul language” rule & blurted out “Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass” at KotR, which had him in the doghouse for all of about 24 hours, when the next night on RAW there were homemade Austin 3:16 signs everywhere…his choice to break script was an obvious hit with the fans. I say this is interesting because Nitro & RAW’s were steadily trading wins in the ratings until then. Scott Hall had only shown up 4 weeks earlier on Nitro (with Nash following a week or two later), and it was 2 weeks later on July 7, 1996 that Hulk Hogan officially joined Hall & Nash to form the NWO.

    The reason I find it interesting is because, although fans were digging Austin’s new persona, it wasn’t enough to lead WWF once Nash joined Hall & Hogan joined them, which started the Ratings Streak for Nitro. Even when DX formed to do their experimental gimmick in September 1997, it still wasn’t enough. The second RAW after Austin won his first WWF Title (April 1998), when he was set to face Vince, was the first RAW to win the weekly ratings in over 80 weeks. It was also right at this time that The Rock took control of The Nation due to his rising heel-popularity for experimenting with his character. Foley had been making waves for about a year with his new “funny” version of Mankind, the new extended version of DX was just starting as well, and Undertaker had evolved into a more human-like creature to do battle with “brother” Kane.

    Why am I bringing all this up? In all honesty, just to show that even if Vince allowed one or two of his low/mid guys to experiment a little, it probably wouldn’t work. It was when 6-10 guys all started trying something new & worked on it, tweaked it, had the “thumbs up” to keep trying until they got it right, that the whole “let me try it my way, Vince” concept worked. Without any serious competition (TNA & ROH aren’t close to the monster machine WWE is), Vince hasn’t got the patience for it. He’s fallen right back into his old cookie-cutter style of “Here’s your gimmick, and here’s your 5 moves.”

    Alot of guys had handcuffs put on them when they came to WWF…RVD, Y2J, Lance Storm, Jerry Lynn, Dean Malenko, and Raven, just to name a few. Pure coincidence, btw, that the first 6 names that came to mind had great success in Paul Heyman’s ECW. But even in WCW, Jericho & Storm had some excellent matches. Even Rey Mysterio & Eddie Guerrero (more ECW alumni) had to work their butts off to be given enough TV time (or PPV time) to put together matches that I would’ve ranked near or as high as their work in WCW or ECW. And I think that’s the biggest reason guys with good solid ability fail in WWE…they’re not given enough time in the ring to really get going, or in Raven’s case, not enough mic time to really show the personality that made them famous. Oddly enough, the 2 guys who I felt were given full reign over their arsenal were Kurt Angle and (after he’d earned the chance) Chris Benoit. I’d say the same of Eddie & Rey, but honestly, I didn’t feel they had opponents they could go full-tilt with often enough. Kurt & Chris, on the other hand, always seemed to bring their A-game regardless.

    I know this is a huge post, but I’m inspired. :-) That said, I’ll leave with this. Hulk Hogan in Japan. Damn. Good. Stuff. I’ve seen his work in the 80′s & 90′s in Japan, and just as you said, the guy CAN work for a big man. Suplexes, leglocks, just being able to move around the ring & use some offense instead of relying on his opponent to do all the work & then “Hulk Up” and pin him anyway. He was no Dean Malenko (the best traditional Technical wrestler I’ve ever seen) or Kurt Angle (the best modern Technical wrestler I’ve ever seen), but he was good.

  • Dave Barton

    In trying to say something positive about John Cena (aside from his merchandise selling so well), I’ll give Cena credit for one thing that I do like about his performances, and that’s his raw power. Lifting Big Show for an FU at WM20, Edge & Lita at the same time for an FU at RR06, and then lifting both Big Show & Edge at WM25…mindblowing, I really enjoyed seeing that, especially since Cena’s not a 300-pound monster like Hogan or Lesnar.

    But his overall moveset, I don’t like, especially that hip toss where he throws himself on his own butt…what’s the advantage of that? How does that make the move, a simple hip toss mind you, any more effective? For that matter, wasn’t that how he tore his pec? He just has alot of moves that I feel are more about making him seem “original” than for effectiveness. The FU in general is a little ridiculous. If it were a Death Valley Driver, I’d get it. But its a simple fireman’s carry into a slam, one of the most basic maneuvers in pro wrestling, just modified a bit. In no way should it be considered a “devastating” finisher.