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Take good with bad
Too much wrong with WWE to list off in just one column


My original article didn't make the cut this week. With WWE's ratings nearing record lows, pay-per-view buys swiftly heading south and live event attendance reaching bomb-scare levels in many markets, I decided to point the finger of blame at specific flaws in the WWE product. Attempting to compile a list of the company's recent booking gaffes, I churned out a 2000-plus word rant about the (mostly preventable) reasons the wrestling business is heading up you-know-where without a paddle.

It was a pretty therapeutic writing exercise but short of turning it into a five-part series, there is no realistic way my oversized editorial will fit into the pages of the Sun.

So, rather than attempt to condense a week's worth of frustration into highlight form, I'm going to trust that even the most casual observer doesn't need my help to see what's wrong with WWE. After all, that's why the majority of you don't tune in anymore, right?

So instead of looking at the obvious negatives, today we're going to focus on the positive side of the coin -- the things WWE has done right this past week. Let's start with the Billy Kidman vs. Paul London match at No Mercy.

This was the first time either Kidman or London have been put in a position where they could truly steal the show and boy did they ever take that ball and run with it. The in-ring action was off the charts, with London in particular taking advantage of his chance to shine during the 11-minute match of the night.

When Kidman finally hit the shooting star press to get the win -- and nailed a second SSP with his opponent tied down to a stretcher -- the wrestlers (and the manoeuvre itself) moved up a notch in the eyes of the fans.

The copious amounts of blood -- for once, coming from a blood capsule, not a blade-induced cut -- and the buzz from the post-match assault have elevated this into one of the hottest ongoing feuds in the company.

Another smart decision was made on Tuesday night in Boston, giving the rub to Carly Colon in his Smackdown debut.

Everyone and their dog knew John Cena was off to Australia to shoot a movie. Everyone logically figured he would be losing the best-of-five series to Booker T before he left.

Instead, they gave Cena the big win but had him drop the U.S. title to Colon, who debuted as Carlito Caribbean Cool on Thursday.

I may make fun of Colon's Razor Ramon rip-off gimmick (and in the original version of this column, the cheesy cartoon characters took a well-deserved slamming) but Colon got a big boost from beating Cena, especially since rapid-fire title switches are no longer a regular WWE fixture.

Cena, who also benefited from the brief run with the belt, is now well on his way to becoming wrestling's next major crossover celebrity, i.e. the next Rock.

His debut rap CD hits stores in January, his movie is set to be released by 20th Century Fox next summer and he even appears on the cover of this month's Muscle & Fitness magazine.

Critics say Cena is lacking in the in-ring department but, honestly, the mainstream just doesn't care.

He's consistently one of the most popular wrestlers on WWE shows and has a look and charisma that opens up a world of non-wrestling opportunities.

Over on Raw, the diva search was an XFL-esque disaster, but I'll be darned if the surviving ladies aren't evolving into one of the highlights of Monday nights. Christy Hemme and Carmella DeCesare have a believable chemistry and -- perhaps because they haven't passed through the WWE school of acting -- their timing and delivery is fresh and exciting.

WWE also deserves kudos for opting to tape Raw and Smackdown in the U.K. next week, where the crowd and atmosphere are guaranteed to be electric.