High Road/Low Road 06.25.10: Rey Mysterio – World Champion
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).
Rey Mysterio – World Champion
It has been awhile since Rey Mysterio has been champion and it was important to get him another world title victory. If he had not gotten this victory, then in the eyes of the fans it would seem like he is no longer a viable world heavyweight champion contender.
He didn’t need the win, he’s permanently over. To smarks, he hasn’t been a viable contender for a long time, but to kids and the average person, he’s always seemed credible because they love Rey Mysterio. Losing here wouldn’t have made him any less viable. If he hadn’t been written off already, it wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
SmackDown has been really low on main eventers since the Draft. With the talent pool low on SmackDown, it really was only a matter of time before we saw Mysterio as the champion.
The WWE could have kept the belt on Swagger and tried out some new main event talent. This lack of main event talent shows why pushing new guys is essential, while sticking the belt on Mysterio seems like a desperate attempt to put it on anyone who’s been close to the main event for a while, because there’s no one else.
Rey Mysterio needed to be rewarded for all of the hard work that he has done in the past year or so. He has been involved in some of the best feuds in the WWE with CM Punk and Chris Jericho. Add the fact that he has worked through multiple injuries and it makes sense to reward the guy for his hard work.
His last run as World Heavyweight Champion was weak and demonstrated that the WWE doesn’t know how to book him in that role. The title doesn’t seem like a reward, it seems like an excuse to have Mysterio lose more, because he’s the underdog in every match. Besides, I’m not a fan of the belt being a ‘reward’ when it should be given to the guy who will further stories and keep things strong. Mysterio doesn’t seem like that guy.
Rey Mysterio was the best option to win the World Title because it creates the most matchups. If Jack Swagger had won, the two available options would have been Big Show and Rey Mysterio. I have no interest in Swagger/Show and with Swagger/Mysterio, it would have been hard to buy Mysterio has a legitimate contender. The Big Show has not been world champion in forever and none of the matchups are that interesting. CM Punk would have been an interesting champion, but I think it makes sense for him to chase Mysterio and maybe do a Title/Mask situation.
There are a lot of other options than you mentioned with Swagger as champ: MVP, Christian, and Kofi Kingston all spring to mind immediately. Why not take the opportunity to push some new, younger guys? Also, I find it funny that you argue that a Swagger/Mysterio feud with Swagger as champ wouldn’t work because “it would have been hard to buy Mysterio has a legitimate contender.” That says it all about Mysterio as champion: if he wouldn’t be a legitimate contender, why should he even get the belt?
One of the arguments that I have heard against having Rey Mysterio as the world champion is that he should not have gotten the title because he injured the Undertaker. I don’t think it is fair to blame Rey Mysterio for something that could not be avoided. He has to wear the knee pad because of the problems with his knees. Finally, it is not like he injured the guy on purpose and let’s remember that he was going to get time off after the match.
No, that’s not his fault, but it doesn’t exactly make the situation look great either. From a purely image standpoint, Mysterio doesn’t look good by benefiting from the injury of another wrestler, especially when he caused said injury. Not something that most fans would be aware of, but it is a negative in some respects.
We are always complaining about how things are not planned out in advance. I think the plan was for the Undertaker to win at Fatal 4-Way, but obviously that was derailed with the injury to the Undertaker. So, for the plan to work properly, you have to have the Undertaker’s replacement win the title. You could argue that it is stupid to give a guy a World Title run just so the plan stays in place and it would be if there were no other legitimate reasons to give the guy the title. In the case of Rey Mysterio, there are other reasons.
Rey Mysterio and the Undertaker, while both beloved by fans, are very different performers and can’t just be swapped out for one another. The dynamics of each are radically different with Rey Rey as the underdog and the Undertaker as the imposing threat. Using the same plans with Rey smacks of laziness and a lack of imagination and creativity. The minute the Undertaker was injured, plans should have changed, because the Undertaker is such a unique performer (both in the ring and because of the way he’s treated) that no one can simply be put into his place.
I’m not too sure if this high road is valid or not, but I think Rey Mysterio winning the title is bound to get the kids even more interested in him. I think him actually winning the title should get him some fans because everybody loves a winner and he has not been a winner in quite some time. If it does get him some more fans, then I see his merchandise sales going up and house show ticket sales should also go up.
Rey Mysterio wins a lot, just not world championships. And that’s fine. The guy is so over, he doesn’t need the belt, especially since it’s hard to be the underdog when you’re the champion. It works against his character and can only serve to weaken his fanbase as he’s either booked to look weak continually or is so dominant that he isn’t the same character anymore.
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 The NXT Angle:
High Road: 56%
Low Road: 13%
Both Roads: 31%
Sat: Looks like Chad forget to write a response in this section. Anyways, I think this is a high road, everybody is talking about the angle and that is really all you can ask for.
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.
I feel that it is too early yet to determine if the NXT angle is a high road or low road. It does have a lot of potential, but the WWE doesn’t have a very good track record of doing invasion angles. I am hoping that the Danielson firing is a work, but right now it doesn’t seem to be. I do believe that he will return to the WWE before his 90 day no compete clause runs out if it is not a work.
Sat: Terry saw that we were getting no emails, so he decided to throw in a comment with his vote. Anyways, I also think the Danielson firing is not a work and I do see him returning to the WWE within six months.
Chad Nevett: One thing I want to address: people sometimes complain that we do High Road/Low Road too early on topics, but the point of the column is to usually discuss things while they’re hot and something that readers are interested in discussing/reading about. While that means we’re more speculative than some may like, it’s something that needs to be done. If you wait for stories to play out entirely, then, by the time we do a column on them, no one cares. Just wanted to get that out there.
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 Evening Pacific Time.
ROH Commish Writes:
IF the angle helps get Barrett over, then this is a win. On Monday, I was astonished at how good he was on the mic. Not nervous at all. Barrett’s mic skills are in the upper echelon of WWE right now.
Barrett is the key to the angle. Danielson was always gonna be second to him. But I believe he will be back at some point.
The problem with the limo crap was that made this angle another bullshit wrestling angle i.e. fake. The first night worked so well because it seemed legitimate. The crowd wants real serious no bullshit angles. Same thing happened with the Bret Hart vs Vince feud where it started personal and descended into a comical farce.
Sat: I think the NXT angle will be a success if somebody besides Barrett gets over. I think Barrett is going to be a star no matter what, so it depends on what this angle does for the others.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, Barrett was going over already, so it’s a question of how many others they can bring along. So far, that’s still very questionable.
The Gold Standard Writes:
Low Road. By John Cena walking fine after the beatdown he buried the angle. Only thing that could revive this is if Wade Barrett or someone takes the WWE Title and renames it or something. Like circa invasion 2001/
Sat: You had to get Cena walking just because he had a title defense coming up; I don’t really have a problem with that.
Chad Nevett: I think they could have sold that better, but my point of frustration is the inconsistency in people coming from the back to stop the NXT guys.
“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.”
Why do you assume that the vote was real? The “voting” winners fell into place too “cleanly” for it to be based on a real fan vote.
As for the NXT angle. I vote High Road. Only because we haven’t seen a full blown anti-establishment stable in a long time. The SES doesn’t count because they’re only targeting specific wrestlers who could further the “Straight Edge” cause. Now what the WWE does with this does have me worried. Especially if the rumors of outside interference regarding Danielson’s firing are true.
Sat: Though in a way, isn’t the SES targeting everybody because everybody is not Straight Edge?
Chad Nevett: I assume the voting is real because so few of the matches mattered that there was no point in rigging the vote.
High Road – as pissed as I am about the Bryan Danielson situation, I am honestly curious how this will pan out. I am almost tempted to buy the ppv to find out… Almost.
Sat: I think people might have bought the ppv if there were some good matches on the card, but that was not the case. The best match was an impromptu match which shows a lot.
Chad Nevett: Even with the promise of more NXT stuff, I avoided the PPV because it looked weak. Besides, selling a PPV on an angle alone rarely works. You sell PPVs on angles and the matches that advance them.
The NXT angle started out strong. The second week wasn’t as good, but the best run angles aren’t all consistently strong each individual show. That is just the nature of booking and the lulls in a story. Really, after the surprising attack on Cena, how could the next show be as good?
I don’t want to sit here and be cynical and say that it is all downhill from here. Somebody was bright enough to start this out right. I’m willing to give it time and see where it goes.
After all, I’m entertained now and that’s what the ‘E’ is about.
Sat: I think the main problem with this angle is that they hit the high right away and they had to go down from that.
Chad Nevett: That first Monday was great, but what’s come since has been lacking quite a bit. The WWE often shows they know how to start things well, they fall down in the actual storytelling, though.
The Dutch Writes:
Low Road: This angle got Bryan Danielson released.
Sat: I think he will be back eventually, so it doesn’t really matter too much.
Chad Nevett: Hey, it’s three months of Danielson doing indie shows, which is always a good thing. Though, I understand the point here and don’t entirely disagree.
We are still talking about it almost two weeks later and the possibilities are endless, that’s enough to give it a high road. Yes it cooled off after the first week, but due to Danielson being fired, they had to tweak things here or there, and at least the follow up promo last Monday was well done…and actually made sense. I am more and more impressed with Wade Barrett each week, and see a major star in him, and this could be just the vehicle to launch his WWE career (aside from winning NXT of course).
My only gripe is that I DESPISE parking lot segments, they always come across as completely unbelievable and more often than not they end up in disappointment. Remember Rikishi doing it for the Rock? Or JBL trying to run over John Cena? Or how about the Teddy Long/Undertaker limo ride? Vince Blowing up? I still don’t know who was driving that damn Hummer in WCW! You get the point…
However, I’ll be optimistic, because I’ve liked everything else done so far with the NXT Invasion. I look forward to seeing where they go from here, and Bret Hart’s response Sunday night.
Sat: The parking lot segments are awful. I think the stuff that we saw on RAW this week was really bad.
Chad Nevett: Since the first Monday, the drop in this story has been very big. I’m almost at the point where I don’t care because the execution has been so weak.
Look, guys, this isn’t really all that hard to figure out. Am I really the only one here who realizes that nobody actually gets to vote on anything here? Or maybe you do get to vote, but it doesn’t really do anything. It’s not like they are going to book a match based on what their target audience, children, are going to want you to do. That’s why they give such atrocious choices – so the kids don’t feel THAT cheated when they don’t get what they would have wanted. The bodyslam contest was just plain ridiculous. Of course it had to be the bodyslam contest, otherwise the cute little sequence at the end wouldn’t have been able to play out. Slam, submission, toss. Find a better sequence. Toss him out first? Then you have to go get him. Submit first? Then you have to pick him up again. Getting the drift here? No fan gets actual input in these things. And who in the right mind believes that CM Punk would be voted in over Mysterio? With all those kids in the audience? Not a chance. Mysterio is the only one in the company almost as popular as Cena. With the kids, I mean. There’s no way in hell Punk gets voted in over him. Punk had to be in there to show the severity of the angle. The simple fact that they destroyed a “bad guy” along with Cena means that this is serious. And then that same bad guy actually tries to help Cena, which really makes you wonder just what the hell is going on. It was absolutely imperative that Punk was in there instead of Mysterio, and no 8 year old kids were going to get the chance to screw that up. Smelling the coffee yet?
Sat: I honestly had not looked at like this and it does make sense. I was thinking the voting was not rigged for the final match, but now I think it was.
Chad Nevett: You’re assuming tons of kids were voting online, which I don’t think was the case necessarily. I also think that Rey Rey being there instead of Punk would have made it as serious, if not more so because it would have been the NXT guys destroying two of the most popular superstars in the company, which outweighs the benefit of both a face and heel being beaten.
“Look, guys, this isn’t really all that hard to figure out. Am I really the only one here who realizes that nobody actually gets to vote on anything here? Or maybe you do get to vote, but it doesn’t really do anything. It’s not like they are going to book a match based on what their target audience, children, are going to want you to do. That’s why they give such atrocious choices – so the kids don’t feel THAT cheated when they don’t get what they would have wanted. The bodyslam contest was just plain ridiculous. Of course it had to be the bodyslam contest, otherwise the cute little sequence at the end wouldn’t have been able to play out. Slam, submission, toss. Find a better sequence. Toss him out first? Then you have to go get him. Submit first? Then you have to pick him up again. Getting the drift here? No fan gets actual input in these things. And who in the right mind believes that CM Punk would be voted in over Mysterio? With all those kids in the audience? Not a chance. Mysterio is the only one in the company almost as popular as Cena. With the kids, I mean. There’s no way in hell Punk gets voted in over him. Punk had to be in there to show the severity of the angle. The simple fact that they destroyed a “bad guy” along with Cena means that this is serious. And then that same bad guy actually tries to help Cena, which really makes you wonder just what the hell is going on. It was absolutely imperative that Punk was in there instead of Mysterio, and no 8 year old kids were going to get the chance to screw that up. Smelling the coffee yet?”
Negatory, good buddy.
WWE couldn’t lose with the NXT beatdown. They get one of 3 results;
The 2 top faces in WWE beat down = millions of OHNOEZ!
The 2 world champions beat down = OMIGOD the best guys in WWE got taken out!
The top face and the top heel in WWE taken out, with the HEEL trying to save the face mid-beating!
Seriously, all 3 choices and subsequent scenario would make NXT look badass, so there’s no reason why the votes shouldn’t be legit.
Sat: I guess this is a valid point too. I think though with Punk helping Cena, it made you really wonder what was going on, while the two world champion getting beat up and two babyfaces getting beat up would require you to put two and two together.
Chad Nevett: Exactly. It worked no matter who was in the ring with Cena at the time.
CM Wolf Writes:
Have to take Both Roads again for the exact same reason I gave for the Viewer’s Choice Raw. That said, Im LEANING more towards the Low Road however. The shot of Danielson choking Justin Roberts out is definitely one of the more striking images from the attack. WWE essentially BLEW the entire angle by firing Danielson. Instead of having a truly edgy angle where no one really knows what will happen next, we get the watered down version. WWE COULD have fined Brian or suspended him while still maintaining the storyline. Instead they basically shot the BEST potential angle of the last 2 years in the head before it even had a chance to be flushed out.
Sat: I agree. The main problem is that we got a great moment which would not have happened if the WWE did not want to shock people and if it had been scripted, then we would not have had a great moment.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, the loss of Danielson was a big blow to the angle, but the follow-up segments have been very weak, which I don’t think has anything to do with him not being with the group anymore. Danielson makes a good scapegoat for the NXT angle failing now, but, so far, they’ve been so cohesive that his presence wouldn’t have made what we’ve seen better.
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.