It's been quite a week in the WWE with a controversial ending to Night of Champions, another on Raw and news that John Cena had elbow surgery and will likely be out of action for a few weeks.
I've been out of action myself when it comes to the blog here recently, as real work and a sick kid has kept me from posting as many regular updates as I'd like (not to mention some issues with my cable company that kept me from live tweeting Night of Champions as planned). Nevertheless, I've got some time now and here are some of my thoughts on the latest happenings in the WWE.
Night of Champions draw keeps Cena-Punk feud alive
While a draw is an unsatisfactory finish for many fans who doled out hard-earned cash to watch Night of Champions on pay-per-view, I liked it, as it kept both John Cena and CM Punk looking strong. Not to mention, the match itself was very, very good. Had it gone 15 minutes and ended in a double count-out or a disqualification, I would understand frustration. Instead, it was 30 minutes of high drama and, for a moment, looked like a decisive win for Cena. Obviously, this sets up another match between the two where there must be a decision. Sounds like Hell in a Cell to me.
On Monday, Cena again seemed to have Punk beaten, this time in a tag team match also involving World Champion Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. Punk's foot was on the rope, but a rookie official still made the three-count. The lasting image of Monday's Raw was Punk and Paul Heyman -- who shockingly wasn't involved in the Night of Champions finish -- chasing the referee backstage demanding an explanation.
I really like what WWE has going on here, and with Cena out a couple of weeks after having surgery to remove bone chips/spurs from his elbow, it gives Punk another focal point while Cena can't wrestle, although I still expect Cena to be on television to talk. But that brings me to my next point.
Cena's injury exposes lack of babyfaces
Obviously, Cena has been WWE's workhorse for some time, but his injury brings to light the lack of big name, full-time babyfaces on the Raw roster. In fact, it makes you realize why they were using Jerry Lawler in that role to be Punk's TV feud during the PPV build-up to a match with Cena.
Randy Orton and Sheamus are probably No.'s 2 and 3, respectively, with Rey Mysterio as a fourth. All three are mainly Smackdown talent but work Raw each week, so they could work Punk until Cena is healthy. There is still that promise of a Punk-Sheamus match that we haven't seen yet.
One possibility is to return the Big Show from his recent absence and try to push him as a face. That might be hard to do, especially against Punk, who a lot of fans still want to cheer for.
Something I'd like to see if Kofi Kingston and R-Truth -- no longer tag team champions and without a rematch clause -- to return to singles competition. Someone like Kofi could get a heck of a rub from working with Punk in the main event scene. With five Raws between now and Hell in a Cell and Cena not in action -- not to mention WWE now competing with the NFL on Monday nights, WWE would be wise to have Punk defend the title on free TV against a young challenger as a "mini-feud" to bring the gap until Cena's ready to go again.
I am the Tag Team Champions
Other than Punk and Cena, the most entertaining duo in the WWE right now is the new Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan and Kane. These guys are getting comedy right. Without giving too much away, I can say that these two are the focal point of Friday's Smackdown and that I can't wait to see that show. Hopefully, these two can do what Kofi and Truth failed to, and that's re-energize the tag team division.
The division could also get a boost from Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, who seem to be a regular tag team now. On Monday, they defeated Primo and Epico, then were attacked by the Prime Time Players, likely sparking a feud between the two teams.
It's a good time to be a fan of tag team wrestling in the WWE.
Eve steals the Divas title
You know what, it's a good time to be a fan of the Divas division too, in my opinion. I think the work Eve Torres has done with Kaitlyn and Layla has been the most interesting stuff in the Divas division since the departure of Michelle McCool and Mickie James. Eve is, without question, WWE's most marketable Diva, and her coniving character has more depth than any other female in the organization right now, including general manager AJ Lee.
Feuds with Layla and Kaitlyn, when she returns from the injury likely caused by Eve, are likely how she'll close out the year until a new challenger -- perhaps AJ? -- comes along in time for WrestleMania season.
Barrett open for business
I'm not quite sure what Wade Barrett means when he says he's "open for business," but I'm guessing he'll be playing a hitman type character (not Bret Hart) who other heel wrestlers would pay to beat up their opponents, not entirely unlike what the APA did back in the day. If I were booking things (I'm not), I'd have him beat up some lower card guys before the big pay off is beating up Sheamus and allowing Dolph Ziggler to cash-in Money in the Bank successfully, setting up a revenge feud with Barrett.
Orton and Ziggler treading water
Orton and Ziggler had arguably the best match of Night of Champions, which Orton won clean. That wasn't too surprising, but I didn't get an impression one way or the other whether their program was continuing on Raw. Orton beat Tensai for the second time in a week and Ziggler beat Santino to bounce back from his PPV loss. I'd actually like to see Orton get a title shot against Sheamus, as it was talked up that a win for either man at the PPV would put them in position to challenge for the World Championship. It's only a week, but right now both seem without direction.
Feed me more BMTs
Ryback was hilarious when he used his catchphrase in a backstage skit with Jared from Subway. I didn't so much like his destroying of the set of Miz TV. One can only assume this is setting up Miz for a feud with Sin City Cyborg over the Intercontinental Championship. I don't know about putting the title on Ryback just yet though, as I think Miz still has a lot to offer as the IC champ.
JBL, JR return
I like Jerry Lawler as much as the next guy and wish him nothing short of a speedy recovery from the heart attack he suffered on last week's episode, but boy, did the return of John Bradshaw Layfield and Jim Ross to commentary make me realize how bad the commentary had gotten with King and Michael Cole. Now that Cole is playing a straight-laced play-by-play guy instead of an arrogant jerk heel, he is much more tolerable. JBL is just great as a heel commentator, and while I'm glad he's found success elsewhere, I wish he hadn't, because that means chances are he would make a full-time return. Oh well.