Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nothing to Brag about?

So tonight is the next "theme" PPV presented by WWE, the aptly titled Bragging Rights, where the main event features seven Smackdown guys competing against seven Raw guys. Before anything else, I'm going to bring up the obvious point made by several others: Why do such a match just weeks before Survivor Series -- the originator of the specialty-match-centric Pay-Per-View? It'll only make me even more disappointed if the WWE, once again, abandons the elimination match formula for the traditional November event.

Anyway, this past Friday, practically the entire Smackdown team was overhauled. Normally I would criticize such a dramatic change happening two days before the big show, but in this case I think it was the right decision. My initial reaction to Team Smackdown was that I never really identified any of the Superstars as "Smackdown Superstars." Kane changes shows pretty much every year, so I don't really solidly classify him with any particular brand. Cryme Tyme has spent more time on Raw than they have Smackdown. Drew McIntyre and Eric Escobar have only competed in a handful of official matches, so they're far too fresh to represent the brand. And while Dolph Ziggler is getting the biggest push of his career on the blue show, since he was initially introduced to the company as a Raw guy, I think a lot of people still identify him with that program. And although Chris Jericho has been pro-Smackdown since being drafted, he still appears on Raw each and every week. In fact, out of the original 14 guys participating in the match, DX is really the only ones I solidly identify with their show. And Cody Rhodes too, I guess.

I was beginning to think WWE should have just gone all out with this match, and had guys like Cena on the Raw team and Superstars like Batista and Rey Mysterio on the Smackdown team. It would have at least given us a reprieve of the same title matches we've seen all year.

But anyway, I think this Smackdown team shift was a smart move. While guys like Matt Hardy and Finlay have switched shows a few times, I honestly do consider both "Smackdown" guys. And it's great to see the Hart Dynasty get some of the spotlight. I'm actually majorly intrigued with seeing them compete against DX.

In the end, though, I think the rumored original concept of the show was superior. A night full of triple threat matches (one guy/team from each brand), with the winners of each match competing in a brand supremacy multi-person tag match. Sure, it would get a little clunky with a big three way at the end, and the uneven roster sizes, but it at least would have guaranteed fresh matches, and some of the ECW guys that never see the light of PPV day could have gotten a nice payday opportunity. Plus Undertaker vs. Orton vs. Christian could have been a nice, fun change.

Anyway, ultimately, I see Raw winning because it seems like they're being pushed as the faces in this war. Then again, I think it could also be interesting seeing Big Show turn on his team to help Jericho and Smackdown win.

In related news, yesterday I picked up Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 for Wii, and I must say, I am majorly disappointed. A HUGE reason why I bought the game was because of the Superstar Threads feature, which allows you to alter the attire of the Superstars who appear in the game. This is one of my favorite aspects of the hugely popular No Mercy for N64. In fact, I still go back to that game and update certain appearances. As it turns out, that feature is only available for XBox and PS3. Yet and WWE Magazine BOTH go on and on and on about this feature, never once mentioning the exclusivity of it (the game's official site makes one reference to it, from what I can tell).

Along with that, the appearance of some Superstars haven't even been updated since the last game. Shawn Michaels, for instance, is in that same pair of black and red pants that he's been seen in since WrestleMania 21. And he's minus the beard, which he's been sporting for two years now. And Finlay, who's typically in green tights and orange boots, is in his old black tights and white boots. And Edge is in a very early incarnation of his Rated R Superstar tights. Sure, certain guys who have gone through dramatic physical changes have been updated (like Matt and Jeff Hardy), but for the most part the character models shown on are not what I've seen on my game.

The game play is fine and there are a lot of fun new features, but overall I feel a little misled, which has taken a lot of the fun out of it for me.

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