September 12, 2009
Mat Matters: Breaking Point broken before it starts
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
With Night of Champions becoming a successful gimmick pay-per-view and buyrates generally falling across the board, WWE has decided to head in the direction of more gimmick pay-per-views.
Sunday's Breaking Point is one of three such pay-per-views remaining in the year, joining Hell in a Cell in early October (replacing No Mercy) and Tables, Ladders and Chairs in December (replacing Armageddon). The company also has anchored February's No Way Out with two Elimination Chamber matches the last two years.
In addition, Cyber Sunday also has been renamed WWE Bragging Rights.
In premise, these events are a nice way to change things up. However, when you talk execution, there's a lot to be desired.
First, let's talk about the actual matches that are going to be submission matches. We have Randy Orton defending the WWE Championship against John Cena in an "I Quit" match. Then you have CM Punk defending the World Heavyweight Championship against the Undertaker and then you have DX facing Legacy in a submissions count anywhere match.
Here are the two biggest flaws in regards to execution with this plan: WWE has booked itself into a corner in all three matches and second, many of the submission moves used by these performers aren't over, mainly because they've been used for exactly two matches.
Of the eight men in the three matches, exactly two have established submission holds: Undertaker's Devil's Triangle, a gogoplata, and John Cena's STF. Nothing wrong with these moves, as both have won WrestleMania main events with them.
CM Punk is reviving a submission he hasn't used in a long time, the Anaconda Vice, while Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes have attempted to use submissions the last two weeks (including Triple H applying the world's worst Sharpshooter on Monday).
Orton hasn't applied anything close to resembling a submission, although he's in an I Quit match, so he could theoretically make Cena quit with something other than a submission. Although maybe Orton is working on a Level 17 Randy Orton Chinlock for this one and we just don't know it.
Now, back to the booking. There could not be a more terrible time for a submission-only pay-per-view.
For the DX/Legacy feud to continue, Legacy needs a win here. The only person Triple H and Michaels have tapped out to in the last four years, I believe, is John Cena. So let's be serious there. I like DiBiase and Rhodes, but there's no way either of them will tap Triple H or Michaels with a hold that hasn't been established one iota.
So Legacy will lose unless there is a tainted finish, which could be a problem considering our next contest, which is the worst of the bunch, the CM Punk/Undertaker match.
This is legitimately some of WWE's worst decision making (from a match perspective) in quite some time. The Undertaker isn't going to tap to anyone, let alone CM Punk, in his first match back. But CM Punk has been absolutely on fire since his heel turn and taking the title off him at this point would be the worst mistake they've made in quite some time.
So we've established that the Undertaker is not submitting to the Anaconda Vice. Nor should Punk lose the title. So that leaves us with one solution: another tainted finish. Unless Bret Hart comes back and costs DX the match, there's no way to do two tainted finishes and expect fans to buy this show next year. Advertising submissions and delivering run-ins galore would be something TNA would do. Note to WWE: Don't do anything you think TNA would do.
I can't even begin to imagine how they are going to book themselves out of this corner.
The premise of Breaking Point is sound. As the sport of mixed martial arts has proven, submissions can greatly enhance the excitement of a match -- if used correctly. But with professional wrestling being a work, capturing that pure excitement and unpredictability of an MMA fight is difficult to pull off.
Maybe if WWE put in more than a two-week build and placed greater emphasis on the fact that matches can end at any point via submission, the booking of these matches wouldn't be so tough. But considering WWE is seemingly more interested in promoting Jeremy Piven's latest movie instead of getting new holds and new superstars over, the entire effort is a waste of their time, our time and our money.
WWE has handed the eight wrestlers in these three matches lemons. Unfortunately, the only lemonade being made inside Bell Centre tomorrow will be at the concession stands.
Matt Bishop can be reached at email@example.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio.