Just as the WWE did so infamously this past Monday night, this week I plan to deviate from the usual fare and comment on something in the wrestling world itself. To keep with the parallel, the topic will be just that, Monday Night Raw.
Some who know me personally describe me as "jaded" when it comes to the current state of professional wrestling. To be perfectly honest, I'd even describe myself using the word. Do I detest absolutely everything about modern wrestling? No. Was I spoiled by just how great it was when I was younger? Maybe. Will I admit when something modern is actually good? Yes!
Over the past few years a friend and I have developed a "code phrase," for lack of a better term, to emphasize when something in the world of wrestling, past or present, particularly pleases us. Since it came about, my friend could probably count on both hands how many times I've used the phrase regarding the current product. This past Monday was one of the times.
If you've been under a rock or simply don't follow the current product, I will provide a short summary. The "rookie" stars of the WWE's SyFy channel program "NXT" emerged and proceeded to wreak havoc during the main event of Monday Night Raw. John Cena, CM Punk, referees, announcers, and even the ring itself fell victim to the 8 marauders.
If you have yet to see the segment, I highly advise seeking it out. It has been well over a decade since something in the industry made me sit on the edge of my seat and leave me yearning for more. It wasn't the same old run-in, it was an old school WRESTLING angle designed to make you ask "What's next?" It was the very thing that this business was built on. Something that the Stamford, Connecticut-based company has been lacking for a long time.
Some more jaded than I have posed the obvious cynical question. Based on their track record of following up on hot angles, will the WWE be able to capture Monday Night's lightning bolt in a bottle? Mr. Jaded himself, yours truly, certainly hopes so. Perhaps going against his own beliefs is something Vince McMahon needs to push his company back over the top. Certainly the interest is there. He has stars that fans are interested in. Kids are loving wrestling again. It just needs some sort of shove to make it back to the plateau visited in years such as 1985 and 1999.
Maybe old school storytelling is the answer.
Maybe Mr. Jaded can give up his title.
In one quick note, be on the lookout for the September issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. John Cena, Kenta Kobashi, Ric Flair, and Harley Race grace the cover, while yours truly makes his PWI debut on page 30 with a feature on, what else, wrestling memorabilia! Be sure to pick up your copy which should be hitting newsstands at the end of June!