After nearly a month hiatus, This Week in WWE returns this week with some interesting topics including The Undertaker and what he means to Wrestlemania, the new WWE Championship, the re-emergence of Triple H, the New Age Outlaws still having a distinct connection with the fans, and the passing of William “Paul Bearer’ Moody.
The WWE Championship finally received a new design and I for one couldn’t be happier. Sure, the spinner title grew on everyone over the years as it became the richest prize in all of sports entertainment but, it had seen better days. Wrestling always had big and prestigious looking championships and when the spinner title was introduced in 2005 it was a great way to get John Cena even more over than he already was with the fans. The problem with that was that John Cena was already popular enough that he didn’t need something like that much like the Smoking Skull title and The Rock’s custom title that was never really used. The fact was that it should have been a title that had a 6 month run and be retired after Cena’s first title run. That didn’t happen and everyone started using it. The thing I never understood about that was that they had just created a brand new title in 2002 after the brand extension only to retire it less than three years later. I understand that it was a huge merchandise mover but, it just never sat well with me anytime I saw it. The new WWE Championship isn’t exactly traditional but, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. A championship should make everyone envy the person who holds the belt and that’s exactly what this belt does. Obviously, everyone is going to have a different opinion but, I think they’ve finally gone in a good direction with the title.
Triple H finally re-emerged on WWE TV without his trademark long hair. The thing that strikes me about Triple H this time around is how much he hasn’t lost a beat with a considerable amount of time away. Hunter cut a straight to the point promo to Brock Lesnar on this week’s edition of Raw and really made the crowd feel like he was ready for a war. Personally, I’m not all that interested in a Brock Lesnar/Triple H rematch, I don’t know what more they could really do this time around that’s that much different from SummerSlam. If I was booking Wrestlemania, the one match I would book while it’s still a possibility is The Rock vs. Triple H. These two had some amazing matches back in the Attitude Era and I really think that could have been one of the biggest matches we’ve seen in a long time. Instead, we’re getting two matches we’ve already seen before on the card for Wrestlemania.
The Undertaker also returned to WWE TV at old-school Raw and once again sent chills throughout the crowd. You have to think this could be it for The Deadman after this year’s Wrestlemania. Undertaker is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time in terms of athletic longevity and his Wrestlemania streak will never, ever be broken even if they try to do it. He’s done everything and beaten everyone that you can name off the top of your head and now he heads into Wrestlemania 29 to battle CM Punk. If there’s one guy that can have one more incredible match with Taker, it’s CM Punk. I expect this to be a 30 minute classic with a lot of near-falls and some interesting heel tactics from Punk. If this is Undertaker’s last hurrah, I think it may be one of his greatest. If not, I think the one man Taker may need to face at Mania next year has to be John Cena. It’s the only thing left for Cena to really accomplish and these two have never really worked a whole lot together. It would be interesting to say the least.
The New Age Outlaws had their first match together on WWE TV in over 13 years on Raw and I for one couldn’t believe the connection they still had with the fans. The Outlaws were easily one of the greatest tag-teams in the Attitude Era and were multiple time tag-team champions however, that run only lasted 3 years or so. It’s amazing how much the fans remember teams and wrestlers that made a big impact in a short period of time and how much they embrace these men so many years later. I must say that these guys still had it in their match, I would love to see one last DX run with The Outlaws and Triple H to battle The Shield or something similar. It would help get The Shield over as heels and it would give the fans one last taste of DX before it’s too late. I know we saw a lot of DX in the past 5 years but, they were a unit synonymous with the success of the Attitude Era and fan favourites. Love them or hate them, they’re always going to be loved by the fans.
The Titantron was a welcome addition to the set Monday night. I can’t believe how much I miss the old set and I think it’s because it brings me back to a time when wrestling was so much fun every week. The business has changed so much in the past 15 years that sometimes it’s nice to go back to the simplicity that made The Monday Night Wars so great. The tron was a great set piece that spawned many great moments like Shane McMahon’s fall, Austin destroying the screen, and Foley diving off of it into a trash bin. Sometimes I wonder if that’s all wrestling needs is to go back to things being simple and just worrying about telling a story. Really, that’s all wrestling is, a story between two or more people.
I’d like to extend my condolences to the family of William “Paul Bearer” Moody who passed away yesterday at the age of 58. Paul Bearer was one of William’s many personalities and easily the most recognizable. Bearer played an integral role in getting The Undertaker character over in the early days when Taker couldn’t speak for himself. I don’t think Bearer ever got enough credit for what he did for that character and how well he got the fans to elicit a reaction from him. Bearer would go on to be a huge part of Kane’s career as well bringing together the Kane/Undertaker connection and telling everyone the story behind their relationship. Paul would reunite with both men later on in their career’s, the latest just a couple short year’s ago during Kane’s World Championship run. Paul Bearer will go down as one of the greatest manger’s of all time and will certainly be missed by everyone in the wrestling world. RIP Paul Bearer.
That’s it this week in WWE, we’ll be back next week with more thoughts on the WWE product!