Dot Net Exclusive: Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates sounds off on the Brock Lesnar and John Cena story
Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates sent the following commentary on Monday's WWE Raw show exclusively to Prowrestling.net. Follow him on Twitter and send feedback to Twitter.com/SethMates. If you choose to take excerpts of the commentary for another website please must provide fair credit with a link to Prowrestling.net and Seth's Twitter page.
By Seth Mates
What the hell was that?
I want to see Brock-Cena. I really do. It's an AWESOME attraction. But I feel like I'm watching it all in fast forward. And a lot of what I see doesn't make sense.
Start with the opening seg - seems they paired Johnny Ace with Brock because they want Brock to be the heel, Cena the face. But Brock is fresh and Cena is stale, and crowd will always cheer for fresh over stale. Chicago crowd will crap all over Cena at Extreme Rules no matter how he's booked.
Does Ace have an issue with Cena and I missed it? I'd thought Ace's issue was with Punk - the WWE Champ. If Ace wants to bring in Brock, why isn't he doing it to get the title off the guy he's actually been feuding with for eight months?
And Ace has been GM for a week, but has been exec VP for talent relations for 10 years. Why is he first adding "legitimacy" now?
I was at least hoping that Ace being out there meant Brock wouldn't speak -- preserving his aura as a monster. But he spoke. (and then spoke again later in the show - why!?!) They're turning him into Just Another Guy. And he's not.
Cena coming out and getting into it with Brock was OK, but I hated the pull-apart. Why did the roster all come out? Why make the rest of your roster look so secondary? Would Miz, Del Rio and Henry really not want Cena and Brock to destroy each other?
Why not have Cena come out and challenge Brock, then Brock out, gets in Cena's face, then Ace comes out and says no way? Keeps Ace the heel, keeps the match from happening right away, keeps Brock from talking, gives you some time to build it.
I'm not saying Cena-Brock should have built for a year. But announcing the match 20 days out?
The year build for Rock-Cena made it feel EPIC. They could spread the word far and wide, make it larger than life. The build for Brock-Cena is about a week longer than the build for Maria Menounos' WrestleMania match.
The argument could be made that Brock-Cena is bigger than Rock-Cena. Rock's the bigger star, but Brock's the bigger PPV attraction. They'll pop the buyrate at Extreme Rules a bit, yes. But it's at the expense of popping a lot of other buyrates a whole lot more. I keep thinking back to the line from Punk's promo last June about Vince being "a millionaire who should be a billionaire."
And who is the audience for this match? Is it WWE fans, many of whom haven't been properly reintroduced to Brock yet? Or is it UFC fans, who don't like fake wrestling anyway and have had no time to digest this?
And that's part of the issue -- there's a re-education necessary to bring both the WWE and UFC audiences up to speed here. Yes, there's overlap, but not as much as you might think. Three weeks (now two) isn't enough time to tell that story.
And what's the finish? Do you job your biggest star Cena to a part-timer for the second month in a row? Does Brock lose his first match back? Or do you do a schmozz, which just upsets everyone?
The logical thing would have been to put Brock in a glorified jobber match, to reintroduce him in a big way, since his first match back is an attraction, no matter who he faces (I'm just glad they're not doing it on free TV with no build). It'd be similar to how they re-introduced the Undertaker at WrestleMania 20 and The Rock at last year's Survivor Series.
In fact, my guess is the buyrate for Rock's reintroduction at Survivor Series scared them, and rather than do something like that, they threw him into the big money match from the get-go. But Rock's reintroduction was the main event, whereas Brock's can be shielded by a main event of Punk-Jericho or Cena vs Please Not Tensai. And then BUILD to Cena vs. Brock.
Remember when Stone Cold walked out rather than fight Brock with no notice? That match only had 20 days less build than this one.
Kudos to Cena, by the way, for making Brock look so physically dominant. Cena has made Punk, Miz, Del Rio, Rock and Brock all look great in the past year and deserves credit for all of it.
Another nitpick from the main event - Brock is in the ring, having just attacked Cena, you wonder what's gonna happen next -- and they cut away from live action to a replay of what happened 20 SECONDS AGO?
The domino effect of this is that yet again, the WWE Title is relegated to second-class citizen at a big show. In fact, the WWE Title now more resembles what the IC Title was in the 80s and 90s - the "workers" title that's a house-show attraction but is relegated to second tier after the "big guys."
OK, rant over. Again, all my opinion. But what do I know? I've only paid for the product within the last 10 years, unlike most of the people making these decisions.
Would love to hear your thoughts -- Twitter.com/SethMates
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