'Eck's Factor': Raw SuperShow 11/28 and SmackDown Holiday Special 11/29 Analysis
During this column's nearly two-week hiatus, I received a number of inquiries from readers as to whether "Eck's Factor" had been axed by the powers that be for being "too real."
Nothing could be further from the truth. I simply took a brief break to recharge my batteries and eat some turkey and pumpkin pie with my loved ones. While doing so, I decided that "Eck's Factor" needed to be tweaked a bit.
Rather than continuing to write separate entries for Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-views, I will now offer my takes on the latest happenings in WWE (with some obscure references sprinkled in) in one weekly column. In addition, I'll also be posting some exclusive video content ("Eck's Factor Xtra") in future entries.
And rest assured, I will continue to call it like I see it. That's what us legitimate journalists do, you know.
Talking point: Roddy Piper asks John Cena the tough questions on "Piper's Pit"
Eck's Factor: Piper trying to get Cena to admit that the mixed crowd reaction bothers him made for a very compelling segment. I didn't completely follow Piper's logic during the interview (and I have no idea why he handed Cena his WWE Hall of Fame ring), but I thought Cena put on a tremendous performance and kept the segment from spiraling out of control. He made a very strong case as to why the boos don't affect him when he mentioned the Make A Wish families that he met that day, the little kids wearing Cena gear in the front row and the members of the military that were in attendance. Cena kissing his dog tags as he made his way up the ramp was a nice touch, as well. I'm very interested to see what happens with Cena between now and his showdown with The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII in four months.
Talking point: WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry retain their titles on TV
Eck's Factor: It was a great week to be a member of the WWE Universe, as both major championships were defended on TV. First, Punk turned back the challenge of Alberto Del Rio on Raw on Monday, and then Henry successfully defended his title against Daniel Bryan in a Steel Cage Match on SmackDown the following night. Both matches delivered in the ring and I thought the Henry-Bryan contest especially told a good story. On a side note, one of the best things about the WWE and World Heavyweight Title pictures at the moment is that John Cena and Randy Orton aren't in them. No disrespect to either of them, but with 21 world titles between Cena and Orton, it's refreshing to see other Superstars in the title programs.
Talking point: John Morrison exits WWE
Eck's Factor: Just in case anyone was uncertain about Morrison's status, his contract has expired and he has indeed left the company. I liked that he went down fighting and showed a lot of heart during his Falls Count Anywhere Match against The Miz on Raw. Let's face it: It could have been a lot worse for JoMo. It wouldn't have surprised me at all if he had been on the wrong end of a 30-second squash match in his final appearance. I do think Morrison will eventually return, and I also believe that taking some time off will be good for him in the long run. Not only will he have an opportunity to let his body heal up, but he also can work on some of the holes in his game while he is away.
Talking point: "Kane Resurrected" vignettes air
Eck's Factor: Speculation is running rampant throughout the WWE Universe that Kane will be wearing his iconic mask when he makes his return. I'd love for that to happen, but I think it's going to be a swerve. I'm guessing that Kane does indeed come back under a mask, but it won't be his - it will be Rey Mysterio's!
Talking point: Mick Foley hosts SmackDown holiday episode
Eck's Factor: Look, I love Mick Foley and Christmas as much as the next guy, but I'm going to have to be a Scrooge here. With the exception of Hornswoggle experiencing a Christmas miracle, the holiday high jinks fell flat for me. Perhaps it was because the Christmas special aired in November, which made it difficult to get into the spirit of the season. Roddy Piper making a cameo at the backstage Christmas party was nice, but this show could have really used an appearance by Ebenezer Piper to liven things up.
Talking point: Hornswoggle speaks
Eck's Factor: Santa Claus granting the little guy his Christmas wish of wanting to talk has to be the best feel-good moment on a holiday episode of a TV show since The Fonz spent Christmas with the Cunninghams after Richie realized he was lying about spending the holiday with relatives in Waukesha. It's just too bad the Attitude Era is over and WWE can't turn Hornswoggle into a potty-mouthed leprechaun. Now that would be money. By the way, am I the only one surprised that Hornswoggle doesn't have an Irish accent? You know, I'm beginning to think that he isn't a real leprechaun and that he could actually speak all along.
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