It is no secret that I usually like to save my ‘headline’ piece of criticism for the end of the post, but here there is no ignoring the new Brothers of Destruction storyline!
This storyline was born essentially from a problem: last week, Undertaker was injured in his match with Rey Mysterio, keeping him out of action probably for a good few weeks, leaving a gap in the Smackdown Fatal Four Way main event. It would have been easy for WWE to just tell the truth the slightly mundane truth and switch another babyface in to the PPV, but instead, we got this:
After quite some time of reportedly self-induced exile from the main event, Kane re-asserted his position as a central figure in the company, literally with a bang and one of the best, most impassioned promos I may have ever seen! It was perhaps a little hammed up, but in the World of Wrestling, that is perfectly acceptable. When we saw the patented Undertaker funeral procession, it made me think of the kind of ‘dark forces’ that used to drive both characters a lot more and tends to make them much more interesting. Is it wishful thinking to suggest the inclusion of Paul Bearer in this story? Out of nowhere, we now have a very interesting ‘whodunnit’ storyline where the perpetrator is not at all obvious. Instantly, this reminds me of one of my favourite ever storylines, when Stone Cold was run over and the subsequent investigation by the rattlesnake himself.
There’s no harm in making suggestions though! It should not be Kane. That would be a bit clichéd and repetative. There are two candidates that spring to mind as potentially interesting attackers. The first is the man that injured him in real life, Rey Mysterio. Maybe I just missed it, but I can’t remember a heel Mysterio. He is one of the most beloved wrestlers in the world and has a fantastic connection with younger fans – so imagine the emotion that would be induced by Rey turning on his fans! His face character, for me, is a bit staid, and it’s time for a change. The other option I would suggest is Drew McIntyre. I’m pretty sure he dropped the IC title recently to allow him to move to the main event, and while he’s already over as a heel, what better way to get over as a top top heel than by underhandedly taking out Undertaker and depriving the fans of him?
This storyline dominated the show, but there were other elements of the show worthy of attention. For instance, two bright lights of the industry, Jack Swagger and MVP, had a fantastic match-up. There have been a lot of PPV quality matches of late on both RAW and Smackdown, and this was another one. MVP has been between feuds of late, and I did worry that this would be more of a job for MVP, but that was not the case. Week-in, week-out, he puts on high-quality matches, and it’s about time he got main-event recognition. This was a long match, with lots of near-fall drama and good in-ring chemistry with move-specific reversals. I understand that WWE are looking for a new African-American top star, with people like MVP and Kofi Kingston being frontrunners. I think Kofi deserves it in the future, but MVP is ready now. Another thing this match showed is how much MVP is over with the fans. Hopefully with WWE looking for a new African-American star, he will have caught their attention.
The Intercontinental Title match probably didn’t compare that well with the Swagger/MVP one, but it was nonetheless a deserving title match. The thing that really stands out with these two is how well they gel in the ring. Kofi’s ‘sping-loaded’ style contrasts in a really comfortable way with Drew’s more brutal technicality. Like Swagger and MVP, their move-sets seem to lend themselves to innovative reversals and combinations of moves , and like Swagger and MVP, these two should represent the future of WWE. Ultimately, it was good that Kofi defended successfully, meaning that he can continue to look strong, while Drew is released to advance and nuance his character without a championship becoming the most prominant feature of his feuds.
Then followed the main event, the battle royal. There’s not an awful lot to say about this. Battle Royal’s are rarely wrestling clinics, but as the Royal Rumble proves, they create an awful lot of excitement! It’s the sort of main event which makes the show seem like a stand-out special. As for the winner, i’m not too interested in seeing Rey Mysterio replace Taker unless he turns out to be his attacker, so i’ll hold my breath with that. I’ve probably been like a broken record about MVP, but i’d have loved to see him take the spot. Perhaps WWE want to see him in major feud first. The real problem with Rey taking Taker’s spot is that it may force his feud with CM Punk (which ended naturally at Over the Limit) to continue, without much interest, and with a degree of repetition. Hopefully Kane will have some sort of malevolent influence over this match that will overshadow anything like that. On top of that, I hope Kane makes it back to the main event. For a very long time now, Kane has perhaps sacrificed himself to put upcoming superstars over, probably to the detrement of his own character. I think the Kane of late has become a less interesting shadow of the masked Kane, but a refreshed run at the main event with a loaded feud could be enough to bring out again the things that make Kane (and his relationship with his ‘family’) incredibly interesting and actively engaging.