What's that they say? A penny saved is a penny earned? No, not that one. Oh, right! Better late than never!
I know, it's been a few days since Bragging Rights hit the airwaves to those with deep pockets. However, I finally have some time to talk about it (if you noticed, I didn't even do an immediate reaction on video for this one!), so let's get right to it. Here's my thoughts on the booking of Bragging Rights:
US Title vs. IC Title - Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler - The booking was ok here, but I'm beginning to have a real problem with the Daniel Bryan character. At Summerslam, he was this tough little guy with a chip on his shoulder. Now, he's a geek with some submission holds. The music is goofy and strikes fear in no one, and he comes off as they guy you would actually bull in school. Of course, he does the bullying in the ring, so you see the dichotemy of thought here. It doesn't make sense. He can obviously go so I'm fine with having him win here, especially given what would happen later in the night, but come on. This guy will become a joke when he drops the U.S. title, and that's sad.
Impromptu Unified Tag Title Match - Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes(c) vs. David Otunga and John Cena - First off, it's always a positive thing to put your top draw in an UNADVERTISED match on a Pay Per View. With PPV buys very low to begin with, don't you think even a small build to this match would have been a good idea? Apparently not, and this match happened anyway. I'm also not a fan of Cena winning on his own. I get why it happened in regards to the Nexus angle, but it did no favors for Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre. These are guys that need to be built for the future and Cena beat them single-handedly. Not good for the future I'd say.
Goldust vs. Ted Dibiase - This too should have been advertised but wasn't. Graned, this was an ongoing feud and could be expected to have a match eventually, but it should be on the card beforehand. It's not "big time" like a John Cena match, but when you advertise just 5 matches on a card, people tend to think you will have problems with the show. As it was, this match was booked quite well, with Goldust playing the face and caring about his woman, costing him the win. However, the feud doesn't end as Ted does not get back his Million Dollar Belt. This story has legs and I think for an undercard story, it's the best we've seen in a long time.
Unified Divas Title - Layla(COc) vs. Natalya - The booking for the match was fine, as the numbers game beats Natalya again, but I fear that this gimmick is losing its legs. Why? Overexposure. Now that Laycool are on two shows and getting promo time every week, the act is starting to run a little dry. I recommend that they get to talk once every two weeks and stick to wrestling the other 3 shows in those weeks. Then, maybe they can come up with better material and freshen up their act. I think it would go a long way for the longevity of this gimmick. I still think Beth Phoenix is going to take the title upon her return though.
World Heavyweight Title Buried Alive Match - Kane(c) vs. Undertaker - This did not play out how I thought it would. However, the way it DID play out offers a lot of storyline possibilities. It was speculated that creative considered having Nexus be the perpetrators of Undertaker's attack originally, but ultimately went with Kane. Good choice. Now, Nexus has actually gotten involved with Undertaker, but why? Seeds laid for either Wade Barrett or John Cena vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Perhaps. Maybe there's something else though. It's a nice piece to leave open though. Either way, Taker is buried..........again, and we don't know when he will return. This has really solidified Kane's spot, so hopefully he'll be booked strong for the rest of his career at this point.
Bragging Rights Match - Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown - Right off the bat, I don't love this match. There was a 7 on 7 at Summerslam and there will be 5 on 5's at Survivor series. Did we need more? About the only positive here is that having a lot of competitors allows for personal feuds to continue or new ones to evolve. We saw that with Rey and Alberto Del Rio, but there wasn't much else. I like that John Morrison got the pin on Jack Swagger though. He is getting pushed hard and it's good to see him get a relevant pinfall on Pay Per View. This match was booked pretty well, even if a little predictable. With Vince's new declaration that Smackdown needs to be the "A" brand, it was pretty obvious that they'd win, and when Rey was taken out, it was pretty obvious he would come back. Still, the execution wasn't bad. I still don't know why we have bragging rights though. Will people honestly brag for more than a couple of weeks about this?
WWE Title - Randy Orton(c) vs. Wade Barrett w/John Cena - This match became incredibly predictable when Wade Barrett walked out and said "if I don't win, you're fired" to John Cena. At that point, it was abundantly clear that they wouldn't do a title change as it would be blatantly obvious, but that Cena would find a way to get Orton DQ'ed so Barrett would still get the win in the match. That's exactly what happened and it really lacked luster in that sense. Had Cena done what he did without Barrett's decree, it would have worked A LOT better. When you basically give away the match finish at the beginning, what's the point? Obviously the story is developing nicely, but I was not a fan of the execution of this booking. Bad job here.
This was an OK Pay Per View. I still don't like these theme PPV's and this one is one of my least favorites, but we have to roll with the punches I suppose. At least we'll finally get to a classic PPV next month with Survivor series. Hopefully, we'll get necessary matches and a much better booked main event there. Knowing what we know about the Cena/Nexus storyline now, I'd bet on it.