Great job on setting the tone right from the get-go with a rabid crowd not even needing the music to start singing, clearly very passionate about the product they’re paying to see. ECW-esque vibes almost - not a bad thing at all.
There isn’t a whole lot of feedback to dish out tbh, it was a solid, wrestling orientated show, with a conveyor belt of matches to savour. Like I had previously said, ten matches in such a short space of time felt a little much for me. I’m not entirely sure if this analogy will help - depends on whether or not you’re a UFC fan - but it did feel like a season opening Ultimate Fighter show, with two solid hours of preliminary fights to earn a shot in the house. But, in your favour, your viewers/readership will already be familiar with the characters on show, and their own distinct personalities. And, in their own way, each one of the ten matches on show here delivered.
I suspected we’d see at least one instance of tag team partners facing off - if only to play up the unpredictability of the draw, and I found it interesting that in the two matches where partners clashed, both were set to be time limit draws until Burchill intentionally got himself disqualified against Albright. In general, the matches on display were something of a purists ‘wet dream’ if you will. Punk vs. Lance Storm as the season opening match?? Yes please. I also think Punk being the first man out on the season opener is an indicator that he’ll be a heavily featured act - even more so than he was last time around - and I think he’s a lock for the semi-finals at least … if not even further. Carlito vs. Kofi, Finlay vs. London, Benjamin vs. Kendrick on the line up of mouth watering matches too. Awesome array of talent.
But what impressed me was a couple of other things you threw into the fray to switch things up, rather than allowing the show to become bogged down by successive match after match. For instance, after all the hullabaloo around THE BOONDOCK SAINT~!! (yup, still love it
) not being allowed to appear for a period on television, yet turning up and competing (via representative) in the tournament certainly put a spanner in the works, and I’m intrigued to see what the backlash is from that. While I’m not a Tarver fan in the slightest, him being brought in with Banks hiring him to his own contract works for me. Hopefully Tarver ends up as an eventual muscle or bodyguard for THE BOONDOCK SAINT~!! as I feel that’s probably the best role available to him. There was also the main event scenario that was a great surprise - but I’ll get to that shortly.
In terms of surprises in tonights matches, I don’t think too many results really felt as such. Bar perhaps the finish to the Albright/Burchill match, and the draw between the Sons of the Dungeon … HOWEVER … it would be remiss of me to not call the inclusion of Shawn Michaels a surprise, because I certainly wasn’t expecting HBK to be the ‘thief’. My money was on another OVW alumni looking to make a mark … so getting Michaels was a big shocker, and right away, the Showstopper has to be the odds on favourite to go all the way … but I don’t see it going down that way myself personally.
Also, quick question - if Shawn Michaels stole Alex Rileys ball … then who was dumped from the tournament to allow Riley to compete?? :S
Now, while the tournament dominated the show, the best part of the night - for me - was the Christian/Jericho in ring confrontation. While for now, Christian is refusing to play the games with Jericho, not being lured into granting Jericho a shot for ‘validation’, I think Jericho will wear him down eventually - months from now - and break Christian until he does meet him again. You write the cold, calculating character of Jericho brilliantly - so brilliantly, that it almost, almost feels like a shame that he had to lose the title - but in that respect, I’m excited to see what you can do with him and what devious schemes he’ll muster up now as he plots to get back into the title hunt.
Right now, the tournament will be the focus of the shows, so that’s to be expected … but I thought you handled it well. Being completely honest, the inclusion of HBK as the shock #10 probably helped this go from a serviceable but ultimately forgettable show to a memorable season opener, ending with a bang. Nothing needs said really on Jericho or Christian really - you’ve got both mens characters nailed. Just keep the brilliance coming with both of them, thanks. Good to see this back