Saturday 12 November 2011

A King Versus a Dragon

Did the world really need to see Bryan Danielson take on Mark Henry for a second week in a row? Probably not, but we got it anyway. Danielson’s one of the best wrestlers at WWE’s disposal and one of the few men capable of dragging a bearable showing out of ‘The World’s Strongest Man’, but two weeks in a row is not doing Danielson, or the audience, any favours.

Having watched this week’s Superstars I think Danielson’s bout with William Regal would have been a better addition to SmackDown. Thanks to Danielson’s popularity and the match taking place in Liverpool (close to Regal’s hometown of Blackpool) the contest between the two got a tremendous reaction from the crowd. The relationship between the two men (Danielson has credited Regal as his mentor and a strong influence on his career many times over the years) allowed for a natural story to be told throughout the match, both in the ring and on commentary.

Had the student versus teacher match taken place on SmackDown it would have reached a wider audience and would have possibly improved the blue brand’s ratings. Contrary to the promotion’s beliefs there are still people out there who want to see a solid wrestling match on WWE television, and Regal v Danielson is one of the best examples of such a match WWE is capable of promoting.

Had Regal and Danielson been granted a show-long build that including a backstage interview for each man and an emphasis by the commentary team on the influence Regal’s had on Danielson’s career (perhaps even mentioning the maroon trunks the former ‘American Dragon’ wears as a tribute to his mentor) the match could have made for one of the liveliest and memorable SmackDown main events in a long time.

It certainly would have been more enjoyable than another Mark Henry match, as well as being a more logical use of both Danielson and Regal.

A few months ago I wrote about how Regal deserved to wrestle the World Heavyweight champion on the Liverpool show. I still think that would have been nice, but Regal v Henry would have been nowhere near as good as the Danielson v Regal match that Superstars hosted. Once again WWE has thrown away a great opportunity to do something different, meaningful and memorable.

And they wonder why their ratings are decreasing and they can’t get new talent over.

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