Each week, we break down the world of professional wrestling and examine two of the polar opposite ends of the spectrum: one thing that was by far the worst thing (Cheap Heat) and the best thing (Cheap Pop) to happen over the past 7 days in sports entertainment. So, what went down this week that we loved and hated about the business?
A few months ago, I expressed disappointment over Monday Night Raw seemingly always ending in a disqualification. Done for the right reason or the right story, they can work great, but the frequent occurrences of them really dampened some endings down, which is why I am so pleased to say last week's Monday Night Raw seemed to pull out all the stops for its finale.
Not only did we get a second sneaky appearance from Sting, we also got the lesser spotted Brock Lesnar mowing down Seth Rollins, Kane, and Big Show. Plus, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback all got their jobs back.
Just one of these would have been enough, but for all to occur in the last five minutes of the show? That's a surefire way to get people talking and build anticipation for the Royal Rumble and the Road to WrestleMania. In one fell swoop, the anticipation for the triple threat match with John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins has skyrocketed, and the way Triple H was fuming over Sting's interference was further sewn the seeds for a WrestleMania match.
Sure, Super Cena won an improbable 3-on-1 handicap match, but the aftermath more than made up for it. If WWE could come up with endings like this more often, it would go a long way to silence critics.
Oh, yes, and not a disqualification in sight.
Last week, we discovered Tough Enough would be making a comeback. Given the past success of its previous winners—or for the most part, the lack thereof—is this really what we need?
The show sees wannabe wrestlers in a Big Brother setting, being trained by stars and competing in various tasks (both wrestling related and otherwise). Between 2001-2011, the show was a prominent part of WWE schedules, but fell by the wayside for the more wrestling orientated NXT, which eventually turned into the training program with Full Sail University, and the excellent weekly TV show of the same name. Many would say NXT is one of the best initiatives of recent years, with a plethora of future wrestling stars emerging from the ranks.
So, why do we need this show? WWE must know it is highly unlikely to bring them the next WWE World Heavyweight champion, or even a serious midcarder. Anyone can apply with zero wrestling experience required, and therein lies the problem. The contract winner will be unlikely to get respect from his peers. It will look like skipping to the front of the line without as much as having to push. No dues will have been paid.
One can only hope the winner goes to NXT first, not skipping straight to the main WWE roster for maximum publicity purposes.
However, I will point out the show was not all bad. It did have some serious contenders who made an impact during their time. One of those best examples was the first male winner, Maven Huffman. He did have talent and a great look. Heck, Undertaker wanted to be eliminated by him in the Royal Rumble; so you know he could not have been that bad. Another excellent example would be Series 3 winner, John Hennigan (John Morrison).
But let's face it, the careers of those who made a name on this show is a short list.
I am not going to dismiss the new series entirely before it has run, but I do question the necessity of it when measured against NXT.
So there you have it, my two choices for the week. What do YOU think are the Cheap Pop and Cheap Heat this week in professional wrestling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!