The online pro wrestling community went into a frenzy this week after news broke that Randy Orton won the WWE world heavyweight championship at the SmackDown tapings. In a matter of a few days this has turned into one of the most controversial WWE booking decisions in recent memory.
It didn’t take long for a firestorm to break out once news broke about the title change Tuesday night. The WWE rarely changes major championships on pre-taped shows so Orton’s win was one of the most newsworthy stories to come out of a WWE SmackDown taping since Jack Swagger won the same title at around the same time a year ago.
It wasn’t just fans that blitzed the online and social media communities with comments on the title switch. Even pro wrestling stars weighed in on the news offering their thoughts on the news. Former WWE superstar Chris Jericho (who was the man ironically defeated by Swagger last year) tweeted in response to the news and fan outrage.
Hey everyone b*tching about @Christian4Peeps losing the title, have u ever thought that maybe it’s just the beginning of a bigger storyline?
It is amazing that amidst the controversy that it takes Chris Jericho in 140 words or less to make the most sense out of the news. Chris Jericho is 100% right here. Who knows where this thing is going? What if Christian beats Orton at SummerSlam? What if Christian becomes a bigger star out of this by chasing Orton? What if Christian turns heel and brings back the Captain Charisma many of us loved to watch four years ago with weekly freestyle raps? The point being is a lot can happen from here and judging an angle from the first match is a mistake that is often made by the wrestling community.
I think the biggest irony in all of this is that while the “smarter fans” seem to be the most outraged, they should know better than anyone else that WWE titles don’t mean squat in 2011. The belts have been bastardized to the point where it has been a long time before a title match of any kind had any real significance in the WWE universe. I can’t understand the outrage over taking the belt off of Christian after two days when quite honestly, the belt doesn’t even mean a whole lot in 2011.
I also say this as a writer who is not a fan of Randy Orton whatsoever. In all fairness, I think he has been great in the CM Punk feud and maybe even at his best. Yet I am the same guy months ago who wrote an entire blog questioning why Randy Orton continues to get a monster push. So believe me, I am not coming at this as a big Orton fan. I am just trying to be a realist when it comes to playing Wednesday Morning Booker.
I was involved in the pro wrestling industry for a long time, yet on a miniscule level compared to the WWE. I have sat in and offered my two cents on the creative process in various independent pro wrestling companies. I remember many times where we would pull off a match or an angle, people would immediately complain, yet six months later they couldn’t get enough of the feud. This happened quite a bit during my tenure in CZW simply because their fans are some of the most passionate on the indys so I can appreciate the passion of Christian’s peeps who are upset this week.
Dave Meltzer reported that many in the WWE are shaking their heads over the move. Meltzer also reported that this was a decision made Monday or Tuesday. I think if there is anything questionable here it is giving the match away for free without any build on television. As I wrote in my blog when I reported the title change, I think the WWE blew a golden opportunity here to build a Randy Orton vs. Christian championship match to Summerslam. I think with the right hype and anticipation the company could have made it something special and helped reestablish the importance of the belt. The short sightedness of the move is my biggest gripe, not the result.
I am not standing up on a soap box telling people it isn’t right to criticize the move. Whether you are a WWE fan or not, you have every right to express your opinion no matter what the basis for your conclusion is. I just think some people are taking this a little too hard and really need to sit back and see where it goes before you completely go off the deep end and turn off the WWE for good.
I also think that whether Randy Orton or Christian hold the world heavyweight title on SmackDown doesn’t make a darn bit of a difference to the bottom line. Randy Orton is going to draw or not draw whether he has the title or not. I am a fan of Christian but I am not tuning in or not tuning to SmackDown because he has the belt or doesn’t. None of this really matters.
But give me a long build with some fun ups and downs to a Christian vs. Orton SummerSlam match and you’ll have me in front of my television every Friday night. Hopefully that is where this is going, and if not I’ll go back to watching Kitchen Nightmares.
Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com