High Road/Low Road 06.18.10: The NXT Angle
Welcome back to the High Road/Low Road!
A brief explanation of the column: Sat takes the High Road (positive view) on angles, gimmicks, and other wrestling related “stuff” while Chad Nevett takes the Low Road (negative view).
The NXT Angle has been a success because following the angle, everybody was talking about it. That generally never happens with things the WWE does because of spoilers and what not. Another reason why this angle might have people talking is because nobody saw it coming. I think the fact that everybody has been talking about this angle for the past two weeks shows that this angle has a lot of potential.
The angle hasn’t been a success yet. The first night was fantastic, but that’s only a piece of the puzzle and doesn’t tell us how well it will work as a whole. The second Raw already shows cracks in and has people backpeddling from calling it brilliant to saying ‘oh, it has potential if they don’t screw it up…’
One of the main reasons why this angle might be working so well with the fans is because the NXT wrestlers have a legitimate reason to be angry. During the first season of NXT, the rookies were humiliated multiple times and even the rules kept changing on them. I think the fans are interested in this angle because the fans see that the NXT wrestlers have a legitimate reason to be angry.
But, that’s what the NXT rookies signed up for: a competition where, yes, seven of them will look bad. Were some of the competitions outside what they thought? Yeah, but that’s fair game. They want to be in the WWE and must know that that sometimes involves less than flattering things being done in and out of the ring. Most of the rookies look like whiners who are just upset because they didn’t win.
The Fatal Four Way pay per view has been very poorly promoted by the WWE. The NXT angle has had people talking, so it makes sense for the NXT wrestlers to force Bret Hart to give them an answer on Sunday. Since this has been a popular angle, it figures that people might buy the pay per view because of it. I think the WWE did a smart thing by using the NXT angle to try to get people to buy the pay per view.
I don’t think the NXT angle is strong enough to sell PPVs. It didn’t improve the ratings of the following Raw a whole lot. Using it to fill the gap in storytelling and build to the PPV won’t work, because, while interesting, people don’t care about the NXT rookies enough. Like Fatal 4-Way, they also haven’t been built strongly enough up yet.
The Daniel Bryan firing was unexpected and really did not make a lot of sense. I do not see anybody arguing that. The one thing that the firing has done is that it got the fans talking even more. Is the firing real or was it a fake? I honestly have been going back and forth on this and I am still not 100% sure.
Even as a work, I’m left wondering what the point is. Either way, it seems stupid and pointless right now. Getting people talking and wondering is great, but when it’s universally negative, that’s not good. People don’t seem like they would be happy with it being a work beyond that meaning Danielson is back with the WWE. The explanation/story would have to be really great to win people over.
The one thing that I found interesting about RAW was how Wade Barrett mentioned that Daniel Bryan is not here because he felt remorse. I think that this has some potential for fans to think that he might be coming back, which will in turn have them tune in the following week. The other thing the comment does is that it could allow him to return as a baby face and start feuding with the NXT guys. Finally, who knows who the limo driver was? It could have been Daniel Bryan.
I thought the explanation was serviceable, but given Danielson’s actions in the weeks leading up to the attack, him feeling remorse seems unlikely. He had no problem attacking Michael Cole and he was among the most vicious in the attack on Raw. If you look at his character, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s obviously the best they could come up with. And you could see enough of the driver that it wasn’t Danielson.
I don’t see the NXT angle failing just because Daniel Bryan is not there. It would have been nice if he was a part of it, but I think the angle can survive without him. I think in a way it can help the angle because somebody else is going to be forced to step up which is definitely going to be a good thing.
Unless no one manages to step forward. It’s good to put the pressure on and demand more out of the NXT gang, but if no one is able to raise their game, then it fails. Danielson was essential because he guaranteed a measure of quality control and, without him, that guarantee isn’t there. There’s too much uncertainty about the abilities of this group to pull it off.
When season 1 of NXT ended, we all knew that most of the competitors would be on the main roster somehow; the question was how it would happen and how long it would take. I think this NXT invasion angle was the best way to get everybody on the roster as soon as possible because the wrestlers were still on everybody’s mind. If you had waited a few months, then you would have had to potentially reintroduce them.
Not all of them deserve to be moved up. Yes, they obviously wanted more than one of the NXT rookies, but not all of them. This puts them in an awkward position of what to do when the angle is over: who stays, who goes, and how? A slower introduction might have worked better for the ones they wanted, especially if they used the pros that were closer to their rookies.
A minor high road, but the NXT angle saved the Viewer’s Choice RAW from being one of the worst RAWs of all time.
Yeah, that first night was great, but the following Monday was less so and retroactively made elements of the first night look bad. Why didn’t anyone come out to save Cena and Punk if the rookies were being so disrespectful? Why didn’t anyone go help Bret Hart? By having a united force saving Cena this past Monday, they’ve made it hard to explain the inaction of the WWE superstars now. Standing alone, the first attack was fantastic, but, as part of the whole, it loses a little bit of its charm and logic.
Are you taking the High Road or the Low Road?
Simply write “High Road”, “Low Road”, or “Both Roads” in the comment section.
Results for Viewer’s Choice RAW:
High Road: 12%
Low Road: 47%
Both Roads: 41%
Sat: I had the hardest time counting the voting in the comments this week with people responding to other comments and the WWE sucks and TNA sucks comments. Anyways, this was a low road; the show failed miserably.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, it was just not good. Easy Low Road.
These are all of the e-mails that we received this week. We do not respond to the actual e-mail, but the reply to your e-mail will be below.
Sat: Another week of voting emails. Let’s go to the comments.
Below are the comments for last week’s columns and our responses. Every comment will not be included because it makes our lives a lot easier. The comments section was last looked at on Tuesday Afternoon Pacific Time.
HBK’s Smile Writes:
Low Road x 10. Both the choices and the voting were bad. There was nothing remotely good that came out of anything that the fans voted for. The angle at the end was the saving grace of the show, which had nothing to do with fan voting (except that the SES were beat down instead of Rey along with Cena, a very minor point at this time).
Sat: I agree. I had a hell of time writing the high roads and that was because the show failed miserably.
Chad Nevett: I’m surprised people chose Punk over Rey since people love Rey Rey and this was a rare chance to see Cena/Mysterio. I was actually looking forward to that since it’s so rare with both being faces on different brands.
ROH Commish Writes:
Viewer’s Choice was no Cyber Sunday for sure. The choices were meaningless and the differences in the matches were minimal. i.e. Big Show was gonna beat Jericho all three ways regardless of what choice came up.
The best time to do a voting show is right after the draft. Nothing is set in stone and new matchups could be tested.
Sheamus v Kane interaction was interesting and a feud between them might be good. Best thing about this past RAW besides NXT was Kane and Sheamus. Bourne is not on Sheamus’ level and his push was not really hurt here. Bourne will probably help Cena and hopefully face Gabriel and Danielson.
Sat: That’s an interesting idea about having the viewer’s choice RAW after the draft. It can’t do any worse than the show we just saw.
Chad Nevett: Well, just Gabriel now perhaps…?
The Pants Writes:
I was apparently one of the IWC who actually enjoyed the majority of the show.
I think many have this image of Vince on a throne with a crown shouting out nonsensical changes to the shows for his own pleasing. The fact is that getting to the top is hard, but staying there is even harder; WWE is wont to try random new things to get people involved with varying results. Some are good (NXT) and some are bad (Millionaire Mania). It’s just a reality of business. Was Viewer’s Choice really that bad? I say no.
What I think a lot of people forget about wrestling is what it is from a production standpoint compared to other television shows. Like Foley said, wrestling is really a circus; you have you’re strongmen, trapeze artists, clowns, animals and sideshows, flashy costumes and “big” environment. Shows like that (nighttime talk shows, variety shows, etc..) are the hardest shows to put on, much less actually succeed at.
My stance is an old IWC one: Stop being so critical. This shit is hard. I mean, really, it’s a miracle that wrestling exists at the level it is in America anyways considering how fucked the industry is. Did Viewer’s Choice succeed? Probably not, but I didn’t hate myself for watching it and it’s good when WWE tries something different. Ergo, both roads.
Sat: I think this is a good point. So far, there have been no high roads and I hope we will see one because I want to see what reason they give.
Chad Nevett: I didn’t hate the episode as much as others either, finding most of it just mediocre. Stuff like the tag match, Kane/Sheamus, and Punk/Cena were all solid.
You internet nerds you run down WWE for being PG and not giving you what the IWC wants just got it. They gave the opportunity to vote on what we wanted to see. They allowed us to be what we’ve always wanted to be (BOOKERS).
Yet when given the chance, when the democratic process is used and put into motion and the desired results aren’t on display, you know what happens? Everyone on this website shits on it….STILL. The WWE gave us the choice and the people spoke and you still throw bitch fits!
This shows us how unimportant the internet/older fan base is. More importantly it shows us how small of a percentage that fan base is.
The IWC shits all over the WWE for this yet go bonkers for the NXT Pearl Harbor attack. Guess what? You’ll all tune in next week and many of you will order the PPV.
Stop calling yourself smart marks cause you’re not. You’re marks, we all are. Just buy into it and allow yourself to be entertained cuz that’s what this is. You will live a much healthier life that way.
Sat: This is a high road that I will buy. It was a democratic process and it looks like the people who are not a part of the IWC participated more than the people in the IWC. The one interesting thought that came to mind is who many people actually voted for the stuff. I did not and I think the odds are good that most of the IWC did not either.
Chad Nevett: I didn’t vote, because, in Canada, I was watching it an hour and fifteen minutes after it was happening. Makes it kind of hard. But, it’s also not being bookers. It’s being given some rather bad-to-mediocre options to choose from. That’s a big difference. Then again, I don’t see why a fictional TV show should be ‘democratic’ in its writing.
Comment Board Poster Writes:
Getting the viewers involved gets the viewers involved (yes, I know that sounds stupid). How often have you said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages…” Viewer participation increases viewer interest which can increase the number of viewers.
But man, it makes for some bad matches as the viewers usually choose the stupid over the awesome.
Sat: If viewers voted for stupid stuff, then they have to watch it.
Chad Nevett: Viewer participation decreases my interest, but I guess I’m weird.
CM Wolf Writes:
Both roads. WWE needs to keep coming up with fresher content. Sports entertainment aside, due to things like Benoit and other scandals, WWE is forced to change the style of WRESTLING being done in their rings to protect their talent more. At the same time they have the fanbase to deal with. As we all know the ENTIRETY of the wrestling fanbase SHIFTS according to the times.
The straight up hardcore WRESTLING fan’s numbers have dwindled in America since the last boom. The casual fan wrestling won in the 90’s have grown up and many have left wrestling behind with good reason.
Point is, ALL the wrestling companies are struggling with creative issues, the Viewer’s Choice thing is just another in a long line of, “crap thrown against the wall to see what STICKS”. Im a fan, I can always find a decent match somewhere in the indies or Japan or Mexico while the big guys figure out the next move.
Sat: I’ll buy this argument; you have to try stuff to find out what will be successful.
Chad Nevett: Except this isn’t new, it’s just Cyber Sunday with no build or advance voting. It’s new for Raw, but it’s not a new concept for the WWE.
I guess I’m one of a minority here, but I actually liked the show.
I don’t feel that if the WWE wanted one thing and they got another, there is a flaw in the system. I think maybe it might open up some new opportunities for the superstars they weren’t expecting to win.
It’s basically a popularity contest. If Punk gets more votes than Mysterio, it’s because people think Punk is more entertaining character and would rather see him in that situation. So, if they didn’t give people a choice and just went with Mysterio, for example, it would still have worked, but there would have been a more popular choice they might not have thought of.
Plus, the choices were obvious who would win, I think they pretty much got what they wanted anyway. Jericho is (kayfabe) hated, therefore the logical choice would be to pick the match that would put him at the most disadvantage. Khali and Hornswoggle are so mismatched, it was obvious they would win whoever they were against, just for the novelty of seeing them in a ring together. Koslov and Santino had two dull choices and one that was so outrageous, again it was obvious it would win because of the absurdity of it. Divas are divas. They wanted all 12 girls out at the ring, and I doubt they really cared whether it was 6 on 6, or battle royale. If title vs title somehow won, they’d make the other 10 girls lumberjacks and end it in a dq followed by a brawl. And if they wanted Evan Bourne to win, for example, they would have put him in a segment with Sheamus right before the vote, instead of having Kane in that segment. If they wanted someone other than Matt Hardy vs. McIntyre, they wouldn’t have made such a big deal about the “mystery opponent” and so on.
The only one they might have wanted different was Cena vs. Mysterio instead, just because it would be better for the NXT rookies to beat up two top faces, but really I’m sure they were fine with it, because in the end, it didn’t matter who Cena’s opponent was. The goal was to incapacitate Cena and wreak havoc. Plus, it put an extra wrestler, in Luke Gallows, at ringside for the NXT rookies to beat up and make look that much stronger.
Sat: Punk winning the voting was a bit weird. Maybe the IWC got sick of the results and decided to vote for Punk.
Chad Nevett: If the WWE wants something to happen, why bother with the illusion of voting? They obviously pushed for certain options and, most of the time, got them. So why bother?
if anyone had a problem with Raw then they should blame the fucking fans that voted. as WWE has been good lately and that ending of Raw was EPIC. i think a lot of the trolls on the internet tried to sabotage the show with picking the worst possible choice. fucking idiots! the NXT was WWE’s idea and not the IWC’s cause they don’t know shit in how to book an event…
Sat: If people were intentionally voting for the bad stuff, then they need to seriously get a life.
Chad Nevett: It’s partly the voters, yes, but it’s also the matches made by the WWE and the options they gave. Instead of building to the PPV, they delivered a lot of bland matches that advanced nothing. But, there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Your reasons for taking the High Road, Low Road, or Both Roads and suggestions for future High Road/Low Road are welcome at [email protected] or in the comment section. Your reply will be included in next week’s column.