First of all, I find it quite funny that I had those concerns in the above post and you immediately addressed them in the news and notes, especially the SFC thing. Secondly, putting it here instead of the thread itself, well done to you (and iMac
) for the interview; it was a great read. You're a very humble guy and tbh you should give yourself credit for both some terrific writing and some terrific bookiing in this thread. Congrats on your five years too.
Starting with Hussan/Punk is a move I liked. Far too often at the moment (looking at you WWE, Punk/Bryan/Kane opening Raw constantly) a main event feud or match is put first - I don't mind it, I do it myself, and will do with one of my upcoming shows, but it can't be done consistently or it devalues the 'main event' status of it. Rant over - basically, I appreciate the mic/segment time you've devoted to giving this feud one last big moment before the pay-off. Hassan is a strong midcard heel figure and a solid inaugural Dynasty Champion, and in a way his opening lines set up well for a Punk interruption, the classic cheap heat and anti-American attitude coming across perfectly. Face Punk 2007 is never an easy character, as he's still in his 'my drug is competition' phase with only a little of the sarcastic attitude that defines him nowadays (I also think he's a better heel but that's another discussion
) but you write him well. His picking apart of Hassan's character really gives another layer to the feud and of course the 'street rat' metaphor is one that characterises the whole thing so it was good to see you reference it. One small thing - you used 'conceded' a lot but you were almost definitely looking for 'conceited' in that context. Word choice issue. I'll agree with cp954, too; I think the real life Punk/Jericho feud veered a little too closely to this and chances are, when Y2J and Punk sat down with writers to figure it out, Punk said they could do the alcohol thing, but only if he didn't actually drink any of it. In terms of real life people, I don't think Punk himself would let someone pour two bottles of JD down his throat. Otherwise, a vicious assault from Hassan to really get him some heat, and almost certainly the final knoll to his title reign. Booking 101 suggests Punk gets his revenge, and the title, at A Very Merry War, but knowing me I'll have a huge discussion about this during my predictions anyway. To summarise: strong characterisation, good booking, well written, great way to open the show and make this match a must-see next week.
The hinted return of Christian is very promising. Jericho/Christian for the title, especially with the involvement of Lashley in the Legion and even Torrie Wilson (I assume), is the big money feud. Months of intricate booking preparing to pay off, and I can't wait to see you pull the trigger. Christian winning the title would be THE feel-good moment of the company.
Two athletic guys like Low Ki and Doane with a nice fast-paced match here, plenty to get excited about. Doane going over was of course the correct decision, and his recovery continues, especially with demolishing Evans afterwards, too. This was good stuff - sensibly booked for Doane's sake, with a good match in there to boot. "Whaddya mean what cost? It doesn't cost him anything!" was also JBL's line of the night.
"Everybody loves Carlito" reminds me very much of the cocky but doesn't-take-himself-too-seriously heel Carlito who's always fun to read. Contrary to cp (although the only thing I disagree with in his feedback), I actually really liked his debut promo. He got some cheap heat and established his character in a matter of a few well-aimed lines. I'm actually a fan of Super Crazy, if only because of his hilarious gimmick and killer finisher, but of course he had to get squashed here for Carlito's benefit and 'Lito looked damn good. Apple spitting afterwards was elementary and a good start for Carlito in AOW. You've got a long list of entertaining heels at the moment, so it'd be nice to see Kofi or Black enter the fray just to have another face or two to let these heels play off them. And at some point, push Super Crazy plz. He's Super AND he's Crazy.
"Uh... let him in, but stand really close to me."
Brilliant. Finlay not revealing his motives just yet is fine, allows him to do something at A Very Merry War.
Rob Van Dam? I know one of the main issues with this angle so far has been its closeness to Christian's, and the eerie feel of this linked a little to the 'Man on the Moon' promo, but you've given RVD a new spin with this and the empty arena was just chilling. Guessing Finlay will come out and interrupt him next week, sparking their feud for real, but hey, who knows. Nice little promo from RVD to add the next reason to watch A Very Merry War.
Samoa Joe is an asskicker. Got it. Reminds me a lot of Orton, the strong, silent 'hero'. Very effective.
BIG win for the Samoan Fight Club, and exactly what I was hoping for - a 15 minute match, competitive, with Manu getting the big clean (relatively) pin at the end and chanting "We destroy" during the pinfall. Great staggered action afterwards, each team gets a bit of the spotlight, but now it could go any which way. I thought Manu came out of this looking damn good, especially, but on every level, this tag team feud got very interesting here. Don't really know which way it's going, though I could see the Sons pulling it out so we have new face champions vs Mercs, SFC, American Made... again, not sure. Very unpredictable with your shows at the moment. Good stuff.
Agreed with the above in that 'HBK' then 'Mr. Michaels' was a continuity issue but otherwise this interaction between HBK and Danielson was a good way to give a little closure to Danielson's actions a few weeks ago. Also sells the idea that HBK might not get another chance to say this stuff, maybe playing the 'just in case' card and making next week's big match all the more vital. Short but sweet.
Thought the show was running a little long - guessing you go 9 til 10:30? If it's 10:25, I wondered how you were going to pull off the main event... and then I got it. Wright/HBK wouldn't have ended clean, so ending the show this way is just fine. You solidified Danielson as one of the real do-gooders (as well as being a bit of a 'come on, I'll take you all', which is the badass side of him that's easy to get behind) and obviously gave the Legion some more reason for us to hate them with the numbers game taking over. Joe following up on his earlier threats also shows him off to be deadly ahead of the match with the equally-dangerous Lashley, and you made sure they didn't do much to one another ahead of the contest; we can see the cowardly element of the Legion under Jericho, what with them essentially running from Joe, and overall, I'd say the whole thing worked. Everyone's character was developed to a degree, it was time efficient, and it hyped up both HBK/Jericho and Joe/Lashley next week. My one concern is Jericho taking the Superkick AGAIN, seeing as it's happened so much now, and it reminds me a lot of Jericho/Edge in real life ahead of WM26, where Edge kept Spearing Jericho every week and he lost quite a lot of credibility as champion as a result. Here, I'll let it slide tbh because he has the Legion to make sure he's always considered a threat, but maybe it's something to be wary of? Not sure. Keeping the theme of my nods to the small details in your shows, Joe not helping HBK is great - it means the face/heel dynamic doesn't define these characters, while it shows continuity in the mini-rivalry they've had in the past, and just in general it shows that Joe sticks to his principles. Strong, well-thought-out end to the show.
Overall, very good take-home show. Unsurprisingly, you focused on the matches set for next week, but you also got Doane and Carlito in there with much-needed and much-expected wins, respectively. Always a good thing. There was the occasional small thing I didn't like (the realism issue with Punk comes to mind immediately, possibly the number of times you had heels standing tall as well?) but all in all, I enjoyed it, and that's the key bit. Your characters and stories will perpetually be the reason to read this thread, not that there's anything wrong with anything else, but I'll use one of my favourite writing phrases to define it - the 'snowflake cast'. Each one of your characters is different, even down to the dichotomy in Low Jack, silent versus outgoing, and that means each feud is already half-written when you get to it. You have some terrific stuff in store, especially in the Christian and RVD angles that we've received snippets of in this show, and I'll give you my full insight into the individual matches in my predictions when you've done us a preview. AOW is looking healthier than ever - the King approves, stamp of approval and all that jazz. Now FEED US MORE.