I could recap all three hours of this week’s Raw. I could crack silly jokes about how the voting in this Cyber Sunday knock-off was rigged and speak about how the whole A-Team thing was sheer nonsense. But I won’t. There’s only one section of Raw that warrants any kind of comment and that’s the final segment. It’s the only bit that counts.
The public had chosen CM Punk to face John Cena in the main event. Nice. But some way into the match, NXT winner Wade Barrett appeared at the top of the ramp wearing an ‘N’ armband and looking like a true leader. Then, the rest of the NXT rookies appeared from various points in the crowd and surrounded our more established heroes in the ring. From there here they went on to floor every member of WWE staff they could put their hands on. Not only did Cena and Punk take a beating, but the SES, Jerry Lawler, my mentor Matt Striker, the time-keeper, Justin Roberts and camera operators all got pummelled. The ring was trashed and was left looking like nothing but a pile of slackened rope and timber slats. It was shocking, remarkably brave and fantastic to see WWE going for something so gutsy. I had no idea they had it in them.
After I watched Raw on Tuesday evening, I had planned on coming on here and taking the line that “Well, if you force these young men to carry out ridiculous tasks and perform tricks like circus animals for your own petty amusement, something’s going to snap.” Think Siegfried and Roy. Unfortunately, when I sneaked a quick look at Twitter yesterday morning, I realised those jokes weren’t going to work. What Vince McMahon giveth, he taketh away. All reports were that Bryan Danielson had been released from the WWE. At first I was pretty sure it was all a work. The entire NXT set-up is a work. But as the day went on I started thinking it probably was the real deal.
Sure, this could be the most elaborate and successful work in many a year. And I’ll be thrilled to have been sucked in by it, should it be fake. But that’s looking unlikely. Andrew and I got a little suspicious on Wednesday when we noticed some heavy editing on the repeat play of the ambush on NXT. We assumed it was a timing issue. Now, it makes sense. The primary rumour is that Danielson’s choking of Justin Roberts with his own tie was a step too far for some of the child-friendly sponsors and someone had to take the fall. If this happens to be the case, it’s disappointing.
Children are regularly informed that they shouldn’t copy anything they see in the ring. Surely that’s enough of a disclaimer. But in watching WWE programming we’re not watching wrestling as such, but supporting a global business. Whether you like it or not, all that glitz and pyro doesn’t pay for itself. It’s business first, wrestling storylines later. You could go down the road of saying that the WWE can’t have it all ways. The rookies were sent out to do a disturbing and convincing job of taking over the show. They can’t then say it was too convincing, can they? Actually, they can.
The good news is that Bryan Danielson will be absolutely fine. He was the only NXT rookie who isn’t actually a rookie. The indie wrestling community will open their arms and welcome him back into their warm bosom, and all will be well again. I can hear the “Wel-come ho-me” chants as we speak. I will be most disappointed if I don’t see him wearing one of these…….
By the way, you can buy this shirt from Yolanda Jernigans Gimick$! Wrestling Tees. She’s great!
If tomorrow proves us all to be fools, so be it. But for now I’ll leave you with my favourite Saturday tweet from my favourite wrestling people.