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"Eck's Factor": Weekly Analysis For Dec. 12, 2011
Here are my takes on the noteworthy developments in WWE over the past week:
Talking point: Kane returns under a mask, attacks John Cena
Eck’s Factor: Based on the “Kane Resurrected” vignettes, it wasn’t surprising to see The Big Red Machine under a mask (and with long hair) when he made his dramatic return at the end of Raw during the Cena-Mark Henry match, but it was shocking that he attacked Cena instead of Henry, the man who put him on the shelf for five months. The question is: Was Kane really after Cena, or was Cena just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Regardless, it was an impactful return and I’m excited about Kane donning the mask again.
Talking point: The Slammys episode of Raw gets mixed reviews
Eck’s Factor: Depending on who you ask, the Slammys show was either great or awful. The feedback on Facebook and WWE’s live chat was overwhelmingly positive, while the dirt site pundits absolutely hated the show. I thought the program was very entertaining and way better than last year’s Slammys. In addition to Kane’s appearance, we got the surprise returns of Triple H and Rey Mysterio to TV and the marquee matchups of John Cena vs. Mark Henry, and CM Punk and Randy Orton vs. The Miz and Alberto Del Rio. Plus, former WWE stars “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Lita (who looked fabulous), Road Dogg and Tony Atlas made cameos as presenters, and Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan had an exciting Fatal Fourway Match. I also liked the comedic aspects of the show, and I certainly did not miss the presence of David Arquette and Dennis Miller, who hosted last year’s and the previous year’s shows, respectively. I find it funny that the some of the people who panned Monday’s show are the same ones who have fond memories of Saturday Night’s Main Event and Tuesday Night Titans. I suppose campy comedy can only be entertaining if it happened 25 years ago.
Talking point: Jim Ross wins a “rap-off” against Michael Cole
Eck’s Factor: Yes, J.R. forgot his lines, but I thought that only made the train-wreck segment more fun and memorable. There is such a thing as “so bad it’s good,” and this was right up there with The Shockmaster as far as I’m concerned.
Talking point: John Cena trash talks The Rock during his acceptance speech
Eck’s Factor: I loved the way Cena toyed with the audience when he came out to accept the award for Game-Changer of the Year, which went to The Rock challenging Cena to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII. Cena first acted as if The Rock was there live, and then when it was clear that wasn’t the case, he said that Rock must be appearing via satellite, which also wasn’t true. I can’t blame Cena for once again drawing attention to the fact that Rock wasn’t at the show. As much as I love The Rock, you simply can’t say “I’m back and I’m never leaving” and then only show up on rare occasions.
Talking point: CM Punk shows a video tribute to John Laurinaitis
Eck’s Factor: Judging by the sound of crickets after the clip aired, the live crowd must not have seen the humor in the video parody that featured the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the Interim General Manager of Raw in all his glory during his days as an active competitor under the name of Johnny Ace. I, on the other hand, thought the montage (set to a cheesy ’80s song) was hilarious. I also popped when Punk brought out an “anatomically correct” mannequin with a Johnny Ace-style mullet wig and a Dynamic Dudes t-shirt. By the way, I never thought I’d ever see Laurinaitis’ outspoken former tag partner Shane Douglas on Raw again, but he was in the video (and on the t-shirt).
Talking point: WWE presents Tribute to the Troops
Eck’s Factor: As I’ve said many times in the past, the annual Tribute to the Troops show has become as much of a holiday viewing tradition in my house as “A Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Story” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” It was great seeing the men and women of the military having such a fun time with their loved ones during the event at Fort Bragg, N.C. In case you missed the show Tuesday night, it will be rebroadcast in a one-hour format Saturday night on NBC.
Talking point: “Extra” host Maria Menounos pins Beth Phoenix in an eight-Diva tag match on Tribute to the Troops
Eck’s Factor: It’s clear that Maria has a passion for WWE and she takes performing in the ring seriously. I applaud her for that. With that being said, however, I was appalled to see her take a fall on the Divas champion – especially one with as much credibility as Phoenix.
Talking point: Things heat up between Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes and Booker T.
Eck’s Factor: Last Friday’s SmackDown kicked off with Rhodes attacking Booker from behind on the entrance ramp as Booker was headed to the announce table. Booker responded later that night by attacking Rhodes during his match against Daniel Bryan. Then on the Tribute to the Troops show on Tuesday, Booker helped Bryan defeat Rhodes in a Non-Title Match and proceeded to get the better of Rhodes in a physical confrontation afterward. I’ve enjoyed watching Booker mix it up as of late and I’m looking forward to seeing him return to the ring to challenge Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title Sunday at the TLC pay-per-view. Win or lose, Rhodes benefits from being in a match against someone with Booker’s star power. On a side note, what was with the awkward interaction between Rhodes and Aksana in Teddy Long’s office on SmackDown?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in “Eck’s Factor” are those of Kevin Eck alone and do not necessarily reflect those of WWE.
WHO IS KEVIN ECK?
For those who are unfamiliar with me, I come to WWE from The Baltimore Sun, where I was an assistant sports editor and the author of a pro wrestling blog titled Ring Posts. In between two stints with The Sun, I worked as the editor of WCW Magazine from 2000 to 2001.
Follow Kevin Eck on Twitter at Twitter.com/KevinEck_WWE. Eck will be live tweeting during Raw on most Mondays.