Some things work really really well, like casting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Sure now it seems like he was the only choice but at the time Downey wasn’t exactly in vogue in Hollywood. His comeback attempts after several drug related run in’s with the police hadn’t really materialized (unless you are one of the eleven people that enjoyed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang…ok I’m one of those eleven). The director and the studio were taking a huge risk, the kind of risk that could get people fired and working at a Hollywood Starbucks and hitting on the moderately attractive barista girl that you told you were just “researching for a role”. Of course, hindsight now shows us that no one else could have played that role better. He is the perfect blend of ego, snark, and brains to play Tony Stark. Another risk that has paid off is turning the Money In the Bank ladder match its own PPV. I was a major skeptic at first, thinking they’d screwed up the match as they did Hell in a Cell. However, last years MITB was possibly the number two PPV of the year.
Not just because it was Punks biggest moment, the one that marked his real arrival as “the guy”, but that certainly made it better. The MITB matches themselves were entertaining as hell as they always seem to be. Something about the formula just works and why wouldn’t it? Tons of ladders, young stars looking for a chance to make a name for themselves, bodies flying around the ring like knives at an Amazing Jonathan show. Side note went to his show in Vegas last week and I couldn’t recommend it more if you enjoy corny jokes, watching people in the audience get made fun of and mediocre but funny as hell magic it’s your show. Side note to the side note a happy belated birthday to my fellow drunk Vegas buddy I know is reading this. Aaron your birthday gift was getting to watch me scream like a girl on the Fremont Street zip line, you are welcome. Okay, back to the here and now. The MITB PPV is now on my short list of “PPV I have to buy”. (Who are we kidding I get all of them but I actually pay close attention to this one)
So, naturally the WWE changed the formula for the Raw MITB. Instead of getting to see guys like Ziggler, an up and comer who puts everything on the line in big moments. Ziggler has “it” and acts like every match is Wrestlemania. You know when he’s in there he’s giving 100% and you are getting a great show, especially in a MITB match. No, instead the WWE in their infinite wisdom decided to screw with it. I picture the meeting went as follows.
Writer 1: Hey, you guys know how the fans love MITB?
Writer 2: yeah what about it and make this quick I’m writing another terrible Funkasaurus segment.
Writer 1: well I was thinking fans love the high risk and high flying. So, what do you say to taking all that away for the Raw MITB? We put Big Show, Kane, and Cena together. That eliminates any chance of it being awesome.
Writer 2: Perfect, oh wait Vince says to put Jericho somewhere in the show now that he’s done “touring”. Let’s add him to the match.
Writer 1: All right, but he’ll probably screw up my plan by doing some entertaining moves off the ladder.
Boom a WWE writing session in a nutshell. I can’t believe they changed the formula, oh wait yes I can. The WWE loves to take things we love and like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy they “stroke it, massage it, but it’s a naughty pet yes it’s naughty, then oh my God I killed it”. They just seem to hate anything we have grown to love and enjoy. Sure they took a risk by making it its own PPV, so many fans said “should have kept it on Wrestlemania” I was among them. Then it grew on me and I’ve become a huge fan of it. The SmackDown MITB match looks to be great. At least they gave us that.
This would be like the creative minds behind The Avengers deciding to recast Iron Man with Jeremy Piven. Sure, he’s a capable actor, or at least a little passable, okay he’s terrible. This would have ruined The Avengers; it still would have made money in spite of its self. It still would have made hundreds of millions but it would have been an inferior product. Instead of making the best movie possible, they would have made a good movie that made oodles of cash. Is that where we are now in the WWE? Sure, MITB will make oodles of money in spite of the fact that they screwed up one of the two ladder matches? I want greatness; it’s why I’m spending $49.99.
To put Cena and Big Show in MITB matches with just two other guys, one of which has won a MITB match but usually isn’t that good in them is a travesty. MITB shouldn’t be for former champions, it should be a match for young up and comers to get their first real shot. Guys like Edge who were teetering on the edge of obscurity won it and become The Rated R superstar over night. CM Punk won it, chased it in, and become a top tier guy. Time and time again, the winners were young guys looking for their first real shot at the top. The WWE has changed this for the Raw MITB and I’m very disappointed. Of course, I’ll still buy it, and they’ll make money of it even though they made a mistake. It is what it is; we are getting The Avengers with Jeremy Piven instead of Robert Downey Jr..
Now on to cheerier things. My good friend and Indy star Darin Corbin has started a very entertaining, unbelievably funny and irreverent YouTube show that I know all wrestling fans will enjoy. If you like Colt Cabanas comedy segments from “Creative Has Nothing for You,” then you’ll really enjoy Corbin’s show. Not convinced yet? Well if you don’t watch then a zombie high on bath salts will come looking for you. Check out his first video where he explains what exactly it is he does.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll pee a little, and it’s all for charity…what’s that? No? Okay well it’s just for fun but I promise it’s a good time.
All right, that is all for this week folks, thank for reading. Also, if you enjoy my wrestling column then you should check out my new column at filmonair.com. You can reach me to complain, praise, or whatever either via email at email@example.com or twitter via @JaredGebhardt.
The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt