Saturday, November 29, 2008

WWE's Element of Surprise

Dr. Wrestling at discusses how a recent trend has emerged in the WWE, with storylines, champions and the return times of superstars being less predictable. In years past, there would be promotional hype leading up to a superstar's return. John Cena had this sort of publicity behind him for the Survivor Series 2008, but certainly didn't when he made a huge surprise return at the Royal Rumble earlier this year to win it. The big surprise of Survivor Series for many was the return of Edge to win the WWE title.

Dr. Wrestling notes in his writing that this trend with surprises in the WWE started with CM Punk cashing in the Money in the Bank title while Edge was visiting Raw. Punk won the title in dramatic fashion after Batista had left Edge layed out in the ring. It was an exciting moment to see, because even as Punk made his way to the ring, you know that Edge always has tricks up his sleeve. Nonetheless, Punk wins, Punk wins, Punk wins, and the place goes wild. Of course, Punk went on to lose the title in almost strange yet surprising fashion when he was knocked out of the Championship Scramble by Randy Orton. Then we saw Chris Jericho wrestle in two matches in the same night, first getting a beat down from HBK, then surprisingly entering the Scramble to win the World Heavyweight title.

Batista was able to win the title off Jericho at Cyber Sunday, then lost it back to him several weeks later during a cage match on Monday Night Raw. The WWE merchandise, marketing and sales people knew Cena was coming back, and knew who would sell merchandise and tickets best for Raw. Even Cena coming back held the possibility for a surprise, where Jericho could've spoiled the show and kept the title, or another superstar such as Orton or Batista interfered to throw the match.

I'd contend that the WWE always has these surprises up their sleeves and the trend didn't just start with CM Punk's situation. The surprise Intercontinental title win of an audience member, Santino Marella in Italy, was definitely not something anyone expected as they tuned in to Raw. Cena's shocking injury leading to Orton receiving the title, followed by Triple H defeating him, then losing it back to him in the same night, may not have been so predictable either. Every time fans at Raw hear the sound of glass shattering, there's a possibility that the Rattlesnake is back in the building as well. Bringing the Rock back in any capacity would tear the roof off the building, but that may be wishful thinking at this point.

These surprises are what makes the WWE brand better than its competition. There's been recent news of several possible former WWE stars moving back over from TNA. These could be worked into the storylines of WWE in great, dramatic fashion. The writers and creative team at WWE always have the ability to give the fans the best brand of pro-wrestling entertainment possibility. Whether it's the shocking blast of pyro as Kane makes an entrance, or the surprise return of a WWE Diva or Superstar, WWE needs to pull out more of the surprises to keep us fans on the edges of our seats.

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