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'Bash' epitome of WWE woes

| Sunday, July 31, 2005

"Smackdown" general manager Teddy Long tried his best to put a positive spin on what turned out to be a not-so-"Great American Bash."

Long stood in the middle of the ring Thursday night and assured fans that they missed a stellar pay-per-view last Sunday. In actuality, the "Great American Bash" ranked as one of the more disjointed WWE events in recent memory.

More significant than winners and losers of matches, the pay-per-view epitomized what plagues WWE, more specifically, "Smackdown."

The Thursday night brand lacks direction, both from a storyline and character standpoint, which became even more apparent after last Sunday's "Great American Bash." The WWE creative team did nothing to advance ongoing plotlines or develop new feuds, and further buried both rising and established talent.

The most glaring examples were Christian and Chris Benoit suffering loses at the hands of Booker T and Orlando Jordan, respectively.

Benoit and Christian arrived on "Smackdown" as part of last month's lottery draft, but neither has made much of an impact. Christian easily is the most "over" superstar on the "Smackdown" roster and should be in the world-title hunt. The same could be said for Benoit.

The purpose of the Christian-Booker T feud was to elevate Christian to a main-event level. Christian needed that pay-per-view victory more than Booker T, who isn't in a position to make another run at the heavyweight championship.

As for Benoit, he seemed certain to capture the U.S. Title, a championship that hasn't meant anything since WCW folded four years ago. Jordan didn't deserve to defeat Benoit, a former heavyweight champion who could have reintroduced prestige and credibility to the fledgling U.S. title.

Jordan hasn't shown enough in-ring ability or charisma to warrant such a victory. He's a champion just for the sake of wearing a belt.

The losses by Christian and Benoit proved that WWE's creative force isn't sure what to do next. They apparently have no plans for Christian or Benoit, which is why both lost their pay-per-view matches and have continued toiling in going-nowhere feuds on "Smackdown."

A logical move would have been to put Christian over Booker T and have Benoit best Jordan for the U.S. Title. Then, Christian, after his "Great American Bash" triumph, could have challenged Benoit.

Christian would then defeat Benoit, because Christian, unlike Jordan, is ready for that kind of push to the top of the card.

Simple enough, right• Well, apparently not that easy if a slew of WWE writers can't figure it out. Maybe Vince McMahon should start shopping for writers who understand professional wrestling, instead of hiring Hollywood flunkies, led by his daughter Stephanie, to churn out one melodramatic storyline after another.

Paul Heyman isn't an option, since he's working in Ohio Valley Wrestling, one of WWE's minor-league promotions. Heyman, a more wrestling-oriented mind, clashed with Stephanie, who values entertainment.

But in the midst of producing the "secrets" of Eddie Guerrero or favoring John Cena's music career over his wrestling one, WWE's writing team forgot how to produce a quality pay-per-view that adheres to the simplistic decision-making that creates new stars and protects proven ones.

The "Great American Bash" was proof of that, despite what Long or any of the McMahons say to the contrary.

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