By Jeremy Konrad
Welcome one and all to what should be a weekly (yes weekly!) column here at BC looking at the crazy world of professional wrestling. Couple things rights off the bat, for people who may get smart in the comments and such:
-Yes, we all realize professional wrestling is scripted. Thank you for the reminder.
-No, I (and many other) wrestling fans do not live in our parents basement.
-Women also like wrestling. Even though they may or may not be portrayed in the best light.
-There are in fact other companies besides the WWE. But they are not the focus here. Maybe someday TNA will…………………………..nevermind.
Why write this column? Because I said so! No, really, I have watched professional wrestling for as long as I can remember, minus a long break in the early 2000's because, well, it was not appealing anymore. Since then, and I have to credit my friend Billy for pulling me back in. While one could argue that the product is not exactly having a creative renaissance right now, there are way more enjoyable aspects than frustrating ones. No really, there is.
So think of this column as a place to discuss Raw, SmackDown (yes it is still on, though nobody is sure on what night it will be), PPV events, general goings on, and occasionally companies other than WWE. Oh, and of course, the WWE Network. You guys all have the Network right? Well, did you know it only costs $9.99? You do you say? Do you like wrestling, like, at all? You do? Do you have the Network then? You don't? Then I have just one more question:
Why the hell not?
I was just as skeptical as anyone when the network was announced, but I subscribed the first day. And it continues to be maybe the best $10 I spend every month (Sorry, $9.99). The amount of content on there is exceptional, and they have not even added everything on there yet. According to their estimates, they have 150,000 hours of content that they own the rights to as of now. And they have only uploaded about 40,000 hours of it. Every single PPV from WWF/E, WCW, and ECW? Yep, those are there. This is a business that has a rich history behind it, and now you can watch most of it, and soon all of it.
And for those of you who DO enjoy the current era of WWE programming, it is almost worth it to watch NXT every week. For those who do not know, NXT is the farm system, the show for up and comers and retooled veterans alike, where they allow new talent to sharpen their skills for an eventual call-up to the big show. Recent graduates to the big time include Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, Paige (who already had a run as the Divas champ), Summer Rae, etc. There is a wealth of talent down there, and it is worth a look.
Really, it would be worth it just for the monthly PPV's to begin with, since those cost between $40-$60 a month alone if purchased through a cable or satellite company.
Ok, I have shilled enough for the Network at this point. Lastly this week, here are my 5 takeaways from Raw this past week, as we build to SummerSlam in two weeks.
-They are really building up the Brock Lesner/John Cena match well. John is away putting his ducks in a row for after he is done wrestling, and Brock is………….just not there. He does not have to be. For once, we don't have to endure 3-4 weeks of the guys wrestling each other every Raw leading up to a PPV. That makes it anti-climactic. His has a big fight feel to it, which it should, since Brock used to do this to people. They have done the impossible: I care about this match. A lot of the credit goes to Paul Heyman, who continues to be the MVP of WWE television most weeks. When that guy has a microphone in his hand, magic happens.
–Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are the two best guys on the roster right now. Week in, week out, their feud is the most entertaining part of the show. Their Lumberjack match is going to be the match to beat at SummerSlam. It may even be match of the year.
-Never before have I wanted them to unify the undercard belts more than right now. Quick: when was the last time the United States Championship was defended? Or mattered? I'm still waiting. Now would be the perfect time to unify it with the Intercontinental Championship and use it as it should be used: as a springboard to the main event.
-Paige and AJ could be one of the great Divas angle ever produced, but so far the really have kinda flubbed this one. The "besties" angle did not go over very well at the beginning, although having Paige go heel works for me. There is still time to save this one, but it is looking pretty grim at the moment.
– Kudos to Heath Slater for picking up a "clean" victory over Seth Rollins on Raw this week. Say what you will about 3MB (RIP), but the group never getting over was not the fault of Heath. He is a pretty good performer, with some decent mic skills as well. IF they gave him a midcard push right now, I think Heath and a Dolph Ziggler could tear the house down every night.
That about does it for this week. Is there anything you want to see out of this column? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. Also: I would love a Q&A/mailbag portion of this column, so send all wrestling-related (or general nonsense) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week: SummerSlam predictions and other……….things.
Jeremy Konrad is the Senior Star Wars Correspondent for Bleeding Cool. As you can see, he also enjoys the squared circle. Follow on Twitter @jeremyohio to ask him anything.