I was one of the few who was quite interested in Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg when the latter returned, to what was not exactly a chorus of cheers outside of the arenas. I was also one of those who absolutely despised the ‘match’ they had at Survivor Series 2016. Sure, in years to come we will all remember their encounter as one of those unforgettable moments, something that has gone down in history that we were there to witness, but there’s a difference to those other moments.
I’ve commented on this site before about the equally ridiculous (at the time) short win for Sheamus over a then-heel Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. Just one Brogue Kick and that was that. It turned that crowd and it turned my stomach to see it, but in the end you can see that being the start of the tension on the catapult that threw Bryan to the top. It was a moment that did not define Bryan, it became part of his reason to prove everyone wrong and us right.
There’s no upside to Goldberg’s equally ridiculously quick win. In fact, there’s nothing but downsides. It’s wasted Brock beating Undertaker. It’s wasted the opportunity for the next person to beat Brock Lesnar and help build a star. It’s not going to lead to a significant push for either man because they’re already being pushed beyond their draw.
All it is going to lead to is a win back for Brock, possibly even involving the title (I smell a triple threat, after what transpired on Raw last week).
I don’t know how they’re going to get to that at the Rumble, and that’s proving they’ve done a good job of booking the Rumble so far – we don’t know how they’re going to play it. It’s my prediction though that they do get there and that they get there with all the fanfare they can muster. They’ll build it as the biggest match ever, possibly even with Reigns holding the title. They’ll also be surprised when the crowd dumps all over Reigns vs. Lesnar vs. Goldberg, if it happens, but that’s another story for another day because I hope I’m wrong and Owens holds on to the title for a lot longer.
In true WWE tradition, it might also be a good match. Or at least an interesting one. Which is great – but then all of the PPVs are good to great and packed full of good and interesting matches. It’s not enough. I want to see good, interesting and new matches.
Not ones I’ve seen before like matches involving Lesnar and Goldberg.
I can’t get over why WWE can’t see it – to repeat matches again, and again, and again ad nauseum is infuriating. I didn’t want to see Rollins vs. Owens on Raw because I’ve seen it before. Much as I like both guys, much as it was probably a good match (I fast-forwarded through it) it wasn’t new to me. I didn’t want to see Ziggler vs. Miz again in their last match either. I don’t want to see Miz vs. Ambrose now. I’ve seen it before. I will recognise spots and be able to see them coming and that will take the shine of the matches for me.
Strowman vs. Zayn on Raw last week was great because it was a showcase match we haven’t seen before from those guys, even if we’ve seen the match up. But I’m done with them wrestling now too – I don’t want to see them in the ring together again, at the Rumble in a mini-spot, or anywhere.
Same with Banks vs. Charlotte – great as they were, I was done with it by the last match. Even taking the title changes out of it, which were a perfectly good storytelling device for them to have more matches, and much as each match offered something different, it didn’t have the wow factor of the other matches. There wasn’t as much anticipation.
The icing on this cake of repetition is the best of seven series between Cesaro and Sheamus. It was predictable as hell until the final match. Heel wins, face fights back to level it up then something screwy happens. It was a classic simple singles match played out over seven innings and it was dull.
When you shrink the rosters so much, there’s only so much they can do. This is why I was so down on the brand split when it happened – the rosters are now both far too small to maintain interest. There aren’t that many new feuds, not that many new stars have been made and not that much has changed with the booking or anything else. Sure, SmackDown is more must-see viewing than it has ever been, which was the goal, so from that point the brand split is an unqualified success – but it’s only even slightly new because of the presence of AJ Styles and Baron Corbin.
It’s all doom and gloom, right?
Not in the slightest.
On Raw there might be more cause for gloom than on SmackDown. The blue brand looks to be giving us a new feud with a newly interestingly-heel Ziggler and Crews, although I happen to think that’s more of a way to put Ziggler over as someone who has found a way to win by being a heel than it is going to be a classic rivalry. We also have a ton of match ups AJ Styles hasn’t had yet to look forward to and an interesting, slow-burning storyline with Orton and the Wyatts, which is the best thing Orton has been involved in for years.
This is still a great time to be a wrestling fan, as I said last week – but we’re not at the future yet. There’s still too much TV to fill with too few people for there to be much prospect of not seeing the same match ups again and again in the coming weeks.
That doesn’t mean they have to keep doing them in the same way, though and they’re doing a fairly decent job, on the whole, of making sure the matchups feel fresh in style if not in personnel. On the whole.
That’s why I’m so confused they’re focusing on Brock vs. Goldberg yet again. It’s been bad twice and it isn’t going to be good the third time. It’s really, really confusing to me – and even if they freshen up the match up by adding a third person, which is just a guess on my part, I still can’t see it being what they want it to be. The spectacle of Goldberg’s first match back has come and gone, anything else he does now won’t be subject to the same allowances he was given for that first match.
The other problem with so many repeat matches is that WWE blows its load too soon with too many matchups too quickly. I’ve always thought it a bit odd that they throw away big matches on Raw or SmackDown because they’re hardly special when they happen on a PPV if you’ve seen them two or three times before.
Despite some of those gripes, it’s still the best roster they’ve had for many years. It’s still ram-packed full of guys who are great to watch in the ring and who have the capacity to take the in-ring product places it hasn’t been before in WWE. Zayn, Owens, Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose are an exciting future, particularly when mixed with the experience of Orton, Jericho, Undertaker, Foley and Cena.
Speaking of Cena, every time I get positive, there’s another cloud on the horizon, looming again which actually I might be more on my own about not being excited about. I don’t want to see Cena vs. Styles again. Again, this isn’t because they’re telling a bad story. It’s not going to be anything close to a bad match. I like both guys. But I’ve seen this before. I can see the matches on the network whenever I want if I want to see them again. This is live TV; I need to have not seen it before. This is 2017, I can see old matches any old time, and I don’t get a wow factor from big match ups being repeated any more.
What do you guys think? Am I over-playing the impact of repetition?