Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/15

#1 Randy Orton [--] (50-19-4)
All signs pointed toward a hard earned chase for fan-favourite contender Bryan Danielson, but Night of Champions will go down in history as the night the underdog made good in less than one month: Or will it?...

Having missed much of the show, I'm forced to rely on testimony that says the celebratory finish will lend itself to a reversed decision come this Monday's RAW. It makes perfect sense that corporate champion Randy Orton would stay one step ahead of Danielson this early in their conflict, but I can't say I'm a fan of this particular brand of underhanded tactic. To my mind, it is too encompassing a circumvention of the rules that are the foundation of the contest. The best heels are those that work somewhat within the rules -- to subvert, bend, or deceive them. If a master villain is free to simply undo every hero's triumph, it threatens to diminish the credibility of any future contest.

Returning to the unique heel legacy of Triple H and how it colours his role as C.O.O. [08/25/2013]; the reversed decision does have interesting, special significance. In his guest appearance, Edge recalled some of the much publicized talent biases that earned Triple H the ire of fans in his former life. If he does steal the win from Danielson, it will inevitably conjure images of similar outcomes waged against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in their ill fated campaigns against a domineering Champion Triple H [circa 2000]. I don't expect WWE has the wherewithal to make a meal of these kinds of details, but they add something to the tapestry, in any event.

A World Heavyweight Championship DQ keeps Alberto Del Rio from stealing Danielson's moment in the Countdown. With Sheamus still out of action, they're unlikely to have a lot of competition for the Top 3 ranks. It'll be interesting to see if Orton keeps his busy schedule. He's the first wrestler to hit fifty wins for the year -- maintaining a huge gap.

#2 [--] Bryan Danielson (43-24-1) [WWE Champion]
#3 [--] Alberto Del Rio (42-15-5) [World Champion]
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [+1] Roman Reigns (27-8-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#6 [+1] Seth Rollins (27-13-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [-2] Kane (27-21-0)
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (26-16-0) [United States Champion]
#9 [+1] The Miz (25-11-1)
#10 [-1] Ryback (24-16-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (26-8-1) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (20-7-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (20-7-0)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (17-13-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-10-1)
#8 [--] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (7-15-0)
#9 [--] Naomi & Cameron (5-3-0)
#10 [--] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)

Superstar Spotlight:
#71 Goldust (0-2-0)
Of all the ways to keep Cody Rhodes relevant during his last minute hiatus [for a legit honeymoon] -- the return of elder brother Dustin (RAW; 9/9) was not one I expected to see!

Goldust was treated to a respectable encounter with WWE Champion Randy Orton in a surprisingly substantial upgrade from his customary Royal Rumble cameos. It wasn't quite a catch as catch can clinic, or a study in ring psychology, but it got the job done. What really stood out was the lithe mobility of Rhodes: who has become one of the many aging talents clearly benefitting from DDP Yoga. It was the kind of performance that inspired a glint of hope for one more triumphant return to competition at the top level.

Obscured by the gold paint of the character he was drafted to play: the wresting pedigree inherent in the Rhodes DNA has rarely been tapped to any convincing ends by WWE. In hyping his return: they showed they are capable of making more of the Rhodes dynasty on those rare occasions they really want to. The double-edge of Dustin's career will forever be that "Goldust" made him one of the most memorable and unique characters to come from the McMahon stable, but also too specific to easily obtain any lasting measure of main event success in front of a live crowd.

As much as I believe in Bryan Danielson as the top babyface of the moment, there's a part of me that wants to see an Orton/Rhodes feud continue. The more obvious conclusion would be a Cody Rhodes return, but I'll never shake the feeling that Dustin deserved a little bit more. It's tough to picture Goldust as WWE Champion, but I like to think there's something still in store for the long serving "bizarre one" -- whatever that is. As a distraction to allow Danielson time to earn a credible second bite (should he be stripped on Monday), Goldust could be a pleasant stand-in challenger for the upcoming Battleground PPV.

Truth be told, it's much easier to see Goldust with the World Heavyweight Championship.
It wouldn't be the first time the title was used to give a charitable reign to a deserving champion not quite regarded on the WWE title level. The thought occurs that Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank contract and the existing animosity between he and former partner Cody could somehow be parlayed into the much discussed Cody/Goldust Wrestlemania feud, as well.

Again; it probably makes more sense for Cody to be the one to interfere in Sandow's World title plans, but there's always a way to get to the desired result in the end. A well constructed Cody v Goldust feud could give the Wrestlemania XXX undercard a terrific feature match that puts one of their young stars over, in the end. I wouldn't expect it to involve the World title by that stage, but you never know. We've got a long way to go before 2014 and Goldust has only had one match. Lets not get too carried away, lest we end with shattered dreams.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

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