The “walkout” angle on Raw certainly captured attention, with some very impressed with the magnitude of such a move, along with its presentation on TV, (with at least one fan so affected by this they went on Jim Ross’ Blog and scolded him for being unprofessional.) After all, it was executed well, and the acting all around was good despite dialogue like “bedlam”. But most people groaned, at least the ones who frequent this site, because they couldn’t see the trees for the forest. What I mean with that mixed up analogy, is that as a mere episode in the weekly soap opera of HHH the COO, this was incredibly lame and contrived, but as an individual angle it’s actually a pretty good idea that hadn’t been done to this level on a wrestling show to my memory. I think this was a strong concept completely misused, mistimed, and overshadowed by the silly circumstances surrounding it and the lame psychology of at least half the characters involved. If this exact premise had been used under even slightly different circumstances, this could’ve been a meaningful angle that had people talking and would get things going in the right direction.
A walkout is a pretty major thing for any business or sporting entity, as a result there needs to be a very strong reason for it. In this case, the reason was the entire Raw locker room and TV crew felt they weren’t safe with HHH as COO since Raw was “out of control”. This is not only hypocritical, since they’ve advertised Raw as being “out of control” since 1993, but the past couple of months have not been anymore out of control than at any other time. The reasoning is weak, and the fact that this is just an overly obvious set up for the mysterious enemy trying to get HHH booted just makes it even more lame. When this started as David Otunga whining with a few other heels, it made perfect sense. As a bitch move, it fits right in line with a heel psychology. But when they brought in the entire babyface roster along with Lawler and Ross, they’re telling the audience that this is actually right and correct, but it is not, so it just ends up as confusing and ineffective. So instead of solidifying the purpose of the angle, it just turned every babyface who was there, into a complete pussy. Like Meltzer and Alvarez pointed out all this week, HHH completely buried 98% of their babyface roster, to which the fans chanted after the show, “You still got it!” at HHH. That’s right Hunter, nobody can bury their peers quite like you. Oh, but wait, this isn’t stupid booking, its sophisticated writing from an “Emmy Award winning” writing staff. After all, our hero is being framed by a nefarious and mysterious enemy, whose friends have turned on him, so he will overcome this obstacle like Dr. Richard Kimble in the Fugitive and everyone will embrace him again in the end, right? Wrong, this isn’t clever, they just emasculated their babyfaces and added another groan inducing chapter to a lame novella.
The last time the babyface was framed in wrestling was in 1996 when a fake Sting beat up Lex Luger, and because the other faces thought for even a brief time that it was the real Sting, Sting got pissed off and offended, turned into the Crow, and beat up everyone who questioned his loyalty, before taking out the guys who were responsible for this set up, all building to WCW’s hottest period peaked by Sting’s record setting PPV showdown with Hulk Hogan over a year later. The walkout on Raw is not the Sting angle by any stretch. One reason why is because the WCW babyfaces didn’t stand around the ring and vote no confidence in Sting. By the way, how wimpy is that to vote “no confidence” to get someone booted? Can you imagine John Wayne or Rambo doing something like that? All that was missing was a petition signed by the Raw roster.
But maybe if there was a better reason for a walkout, this could’ve been pretty cool. The last time there was a legitimate walkout was 1997 in Montreal after Vince McMahon screwed Bret Hart. If anyone remembers, Mick Foley, Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, and several others were all ready to walk over the injustice they saw against Bret Hart. It ended up not happening, but had this been presented on TV as an angle, fans certainly would’ve bought this is as justification to walk out.
Walking out as a group, to get someone fired is a bitch move, anyway you spin it. Walking out because someone is unlawfully fired or punished, can be noble and admirable. With a couple of tweaks, the same walkout angle could’ve made HHH a true martyr which would’ve made HHH an even bigger babyface (as if we needed that), but would strengthen the entire angle.
Instead of the narrative of the past couple months being things getting “out of control”, the narrative should’ve been HHH doing things to endear him to the locker room in a way that he was always fighting for them and the fans, despite the circumstances of Miz/R-Truth, Nash, and other outside factors. This way when HHH is attacking a handcuffed Miz/Truth at Hell in the Cell, the narrative is he’s fighting for the boys instead of being a maniac who “has no control” over his company.
On Raw this week, Otunga’s heel group should’ve gone to the “Board” to present their final case about removing HHH as COO. After all didn’t they establish when Vince was booted that the Board has control over who’s in charge, not the locker room or the cameramen? So with the entire roster at ringside, Johnny Ace and the Otunga group break the news to HHH that the Board voted no confidence in him and break out the handcuffs. At that point John Cena, CM Punk, or another top babyface steps up, and cuts a promo about how HHH is being screwed and set up and he always fought for them and the fans and if they’re going to fire HHH then they need to fire him too. Then another top babyface steps up and says how HHH might screw up but he’s doing his best and fights for them and the fans. And another speaks, and another, all ready to walk out for their guy. As each babyface defends HHH, and he tears up, in handcuffs, seeing how guys are going to bat for him, they are elevated and he becomes a legitimate sympathetic babyface for one of the few times in his career. So instead of fans being confused or booing as faces walk up the ramp, they would cheer at the likable stand the faces are taking. And then when the last guy, Jim Ross, who desperately needs his job with Raw, because Obama’s economy has destroyed his BBQ “small business” (which only Linda McMahon as Senator can fix), walks out, we know he means business, and it further strengthens the angle. And this also allows the new heel COO to personally humiliate Jim Ross at a later date as punishment for walking out!
It’s remarkable how many poor, or slightly off the mark creative decisions have been made since CM Punk’s historic promo in July. This walkout was just the latest. But as you can see with just a few minor changes, this cheezy soap opera episode could’ve been a more traditional wrestling angle with consistent logic, and you’d get to humiliate Jim Ross and campaign for Linda all at the same time. What more could you ask for?
20 YEAR SUBSCRIBER
This week marks 20 consecutive years of subscribing to the Observer, all without missing a single issue. Some kid in the 5th grade gave me your "Who's Who" book in 1986, which got me hooked on wrestling, but it wasn't until 1991 that I subscribed. Dan Farren is the one who referred me to you, as he and the late Dynamite D would talk about the newsletter all the time on Dynamite's cable radio show.
-brian Kendrick is horrendous. The most boring and awkward gimmick ever. Just nothing appealing about it.
-god I hope they turn Abyss soon. Because this slow gradual timid thing they're doing with him is horrid.
-ive said it for years. How am I supposed to take Samoa Joe seriously with that physique. Its like they went back to 1982 and got Mario Mancini or Salvatore Balomo and said "just act angry and mean". He's just not main event with a body like a pear. I can't accept him. He also runs the ropes in slo mo
-will somebody please give Angelina Love a sandwich! Please?
-Kurt Angle may be training for the olympics but he looks like a small pizza delivery guy at this weight.
-the crowds on the road are so much more interesting that the Orlando crowd. They need to do this more.
-roode and storm are both awesome. Deserve the elevation.
-Mr Anderson - so average and "tries" to be funny. And often isnt.
---Printing this e-mail makes Al Gore cry.
HELL IN A CELL
In reading your comments regarding HIAC & lack of detail, it harkened me back the the "infamous" night that Hogan plowed a rig into the ambulance that held The Rock, while the following week, Rocky came without bandage #1.
One of the main issues here is that VKM continues to think his company is something that it isn't, & tries to scurry away from the conventional methods that are the heart of what the business is- athleticism,violence, & personal conflict, with a healthy dose of believability & conviction.
Don't blame the "writers"- they were trained in a world completely separate from the one in which they currently work- in the world they come from, all scenerios are sewn up in 30 minutes to an hour, with the end result usually a positive one.
Just to use a ( incredibly) dated reference, how many times were the exploits from one episode to the next on Happy Days? Never, unless it was a two parter.
But wrestling is a slightly(?) different animal, that requires a continuation of conflict, particularly when excessive violence is used. "Writing" ( a term I desparately hate) doesn't lend itself well to wrestling- however, "booking" usually does.
I struggle to grasp the idea that, in a company that employs veteran talent behind the scenes such as Arn Anderson, Michael Hayes, Dusty & Dustin Runnels, Tom Prichard,Steve Keirn,Rick Steamboat, etc etc etc that the television direction is largely shaped by those who credentials arent even up to snuff to write tv shows for fledgling tv networks.
Everyone wants to say "this guy can't draw" or "that didn't get over", but.. do they ever consider the source? I'm not saying that being a wrestler is an absolute must, but it sure helps- and sure couldn't hurt a company that use to get my business almost every month,but is now lucky to get it once a year.
Everyone of the aforementioned have a lifetime of experience, & at least once in their careers were part of or expereinced a tremendously personal angle that drew outstanding business; you cannot, no matter how good the talent involved, into a ring, surround it with metal, and expect it to draw....particularly when the guys pulling the strings have no comprehension, & The Boss longs for the company to be something its not.