Sunday, September 01, 2013

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/01

#1 Randy Orton [--] (47-18-4)
[WWE Champion]
It is by no means a new observation, but it needs to be said that I'm more than a little sick of seeing the same things in WWE booking again and again and again. The only thing worse than endless repetition is the constant presence of non-title matches, frequently featuring losing champions. It demeans the entire objective around which the concept of professional wrestling is run and it's fundamentally stupid. Beating the champion to get a shot at the champion is awful. Beating the champion to achieve nothing is a waste of everybody's time.

Alberto Del Rio has been in steady competition in 2013, reigning as World Heavyweight Champion for most it. With very few title defences coming in that time, it goes without saying that he has been one of the most frequently featured wrestlers in galling non-title bouts. A fact that only goes to diminish his tenuously relevant matches with the likes of Christian and Rob Van Dam, who in theory represent seasoned pros as contenders, but really just look like filler on disappointing cards.

Thanks to the hands-off nature of their rivalry and the construct of the authority figure with infinite resources; Bryan Danielson and MITB WWE Champion Randy Orton have managed to stay relatively far apart. They certainly haven't wrestled ad nauseum, favouring instead other obstacles for Danielson to overcome, and other pointless adversaries (like Christian) for Orton to not defend his title against.

#2 [--] Alberto Del Rio (40-14-5) [World Champion]
#3 [--] Bryan Danielson (39-24-1)
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [--] Kane (27-21-0)
#6 [--] Roman Reigns (25-8-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [--] Seth Rollins (25-12-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (24-14-0) [United States Champion]
#9 [RE] The Miz (22-10-2)
#10 [-1] Mark Henry (22-10-0)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (24-8-1) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (19-7-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (19-7-0)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (17-10-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-10-1)
#8 [--] Naomi & Cameron (5-3-0)
#9 [--] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)
#10 [new] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (5-13-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#39 Brie Bella (6-6-0)
Of all the things I might've expected Total Divas to do for the WWE product -- elevating women's wrestling probably wasn't one of them!

It stands to reason that in order to cross-promote wrestling through a divas reality show, you would indeed need to reinstate some amount of divas wrestling to the card. WWE worked hard over a long stretch of time to set the bar for women's wrestling so low, it was finally (and fairly) excluded from competition all together. They've been given another chance to earn their place and I think I'm pleased to say they're doing it.

Given her pedigree, it might've been more obvious to praise the overdue use of Natalya Neidhart. She's done some brilliant work in the past, only to be overlooked in favour of the barbie doll brand of diva. Anecdotal accounts of the Total Divas narrative suggests that's been the crux of her story on the show, and I'm glad it could be reversed. I must say, however, during her recent feature at Summerslam [08/18/2013], it wasn't Natalya who stood out!

Brie Bella won't be confused for Kurt Angle any time soon, but I was surprised to find her more than proficient during the Summerslam singles bout. The more talented (and pretty) of the two Bellas dominated her match with Neidhart, succumbing in the end to Natalya's lone offensive manoeuvre: the sharpshooter. Otherwise - it was all Brie! Impressive in and of itself, that she could sustain a match on her own. That anything specific could be quoted is downright spectacular: and it was her leg drop that struck me as particularly crisp.

I like pretty girls as much as the next guy, and I do indeed find Brie Bella quite palatable. When it comes to women in pro wrestling, however, I like to see a modicum of grappling talent. Brie Bella seems to have taken up that challenge and I applaud it! The divas are back on the card and better still: they aren't stinking the joint up. Sure, it helps that the matches are kept short, but that can now be a genuine compliment to the booking. Short, but sweet. Onwards and upwards, Total Divas!

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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