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The Pipe Bomb #1: Pro Wrestling is becoming fun again

So…this is where it begins. I’ve been wanting to do this for years but I never actually put thought into how to start. I guess that just goes to show my infinite brilliance *insert sarcasm here*. Well, I suppose it is a good idea to start out with just a bit of information about the person who is writing this crap. I cannot remember a time when I was not a wrestling fan. I grew up during the Monday Night War and spent the entire war firmly on the side of World Championship Wrestling. I’ve written articles for a number of wrestling websites and have spent some time in the past as a column editor for one of those websites. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can move onto the important stuff.

Now for a “State of the WWE” address. I want to clarify that I am only covering Raw and SmackDown, not NXT or Superstars. I’ll start out with SmackDown! Let me say this first, Christian has been giving us some of the best work of his career. The Christian/Orton feud kept things interesting, though I wish they had done more than tease at the inclusion of others in the feud. Christian deserves this time at the top, and hopefully he remains a main event player.

I must say now that I cannot stand Randy Orton. People complain about John Cena, but Orton is much more bland. At least Cena is a fruity pebble. Despite my hatred of Orton, His work on the blue brand has been pretty good. I think that the he should have put Christian over in their feud a bit more. Randy Orton getting the title back makes Christian’s title reigns feel pointless.

Mark Henry has done an amazing job in his current push. Seeing Henry destroy Kane, Big Show, and Kozlov was a nice change. Typically a Mark Henry push has consisted of Henry taking out a few jobbers and then losing to somebody in a match that nobody cares about. The build for Sheamus into a face has also been a pleasant change.

Cody Rhodes will be a world champion, and I have a feeling that this angle with Cody and Ted Dibiase will do far more for Ted than Legacy ever did. Daniel Bryan having a Money In The Bank briefcase in his posession is one of my favorite things about SmackDown, and his current feud with Wade Barret has been entertaining despite it the fact that it would have been even bigger during the peak of Nexus.

All in all, Smackdown is a pretty solid show, but it is not a must see spectacle, and if you miss an episode, you won’t really feel too upset over it. I see a lot of power players in the works, but the brand needs to shake things up and take a few chances. Speaking of chances…

Monday Night Raw has been full of dice rolls. Vince McMahon handed a mic to CM Punk and let him air his complaints on Live TV. CM Punk has managed to turn himself into the focal point of Raw, a spot that has been held in a stranglehold by John Cena for years. I cannot remember a time in the past six or more years that anything happened on Raw that I felt actually meant something.

When this angle started, I had only one worry: What would happen to the rest of the Raw roster? As excited as I was to see CM Punk getting the spotlight he deserves, I wondered if WWE would abandon all the hard work they put into building up guys like R Truth and The Miz. Truth has had a pretty interesting feud with John Morrison, but the whole thing has been hurt badly by Morrison’s injuries. The Miz went from WWE Champion to Subway mascot.

Another man who I was worried about was Alberto Del Rio. Everybody knew it was a matter of time until he won the title, but he was starting to get pushed down the card. He was in a few forgettable angles and heading into summer slam, he didn’t seem to have much going for him. All of my concerns were put to rest however, starting at Summerslam. Del Rio fulfilled his destiny after Kevin Nash returned. Del Rio went from having an upcoming win we all expected to a sudden shocker than had people polarized from elated to furious…He has our attention.

The Miz and Truth came out on Raw and outright said that they are tired of being overlooked. Miz even made mentione of his subway endorsement and how he thought it was ridiculous. John Cena is back on the title hunt, but there is an undeniable shift in Raw’s landscape. The past few weeks have been built far more around CM Punk and his angle with Nash and Triple H. Some people worry that the angle will revolve around Triple H and Nash, but I’ve got a feeling that this is the start of something huge that will see CM Punk come out on top of the WWE Universe.

Raw seems to be doing much better than SmackDown in providing must-see television. There is still a lot that needs to happen, but I get a feeling that this fabled “Reality Era” is actually coming to fruition, and CM Punk is the man at the helm.

Overall, wrestling is becoming fun again. Smackdown has some catch-up to play with Raw, but both shows are improving. Even TNA, or “Impact Wrestling” is putting on some of their best shows in years, and with their Destination X pay per view a few months ago, they showed that they do know how to please the fans. Let’s hope that this ride keeps up, because the industry needs this to last. I need this to last. It’s a lot more fun talking about how good wrestling is becoming than talking about how much it has sucked.
–Kenny McKnight