Earlier today, Cesaro pinned Sheamus at a house show in England. Normally this wouldn’t exactly be breaking news but it was match number four in a best of seven series between the two. This story hasn’t exactly been the best received so far but that’s never stopped WWE before. Today we’re going to take a look at this story and see why it’s getting on a lot of fans’ nerves.
It’s really hard to get fired up about a wrestling match that you’ve seen just as recently as last week, especially when it’s really just a midcard match. It’s not like these two are trading the World Title or even the United States Title. No instead they’re fighting for a chance to get a “championship opportunity” somewhere in the future. What championship? What opportunity? When will this take place? None of that matters you see, because titles don’t mean much anymore in WWE.
No instead what matters apparently is “establishing dominance” over the other person. This is the phrase that “Monday Night Raw” General Manager Mick Foley used when he set this series up in the first place because he liked seeing these two fight. That might be interesting, but it came on the heels of Cesaro beating Sheamus in back to back weeks. How much more dominant can you be than defeating someone both times you’ve faced him?
Well apparently dominant enough that you need a best of seven series to establish said dominance. It’s not the first time this idea has been used in wrestling but it’s certainly been a long time. This concept has shown up twice times in singles feuds in WWE and both prior versions had featured Booker T. (who oddly enough was also in a Best of Seven series in WCW).
The key difference though is those series were both for the title. Yeah imagine that: a bunch of matches of people fighting for a championship instead of a shot at a championship later. That’s the kind of thing WCW did back in the day (and somehow made it a Best of Eight series because they’re not that bright). Instead of having this be for the title with a big blowoff, we’re sitting around waiting to find out who gets the title shot in the real big blowoff.
Oh wait sorry as I’m getting off topic again because this feud is about physical dominance and the titles are really secondary. I’m still not sure what they mean with that term. In theory it means one guy making it clear that he was better than the other, meaning the first two matches really didn’t mean anything. Cesaro beat Sheamus twice in a row but now we’re seeing them fight again.
But wait: those two wins don’t mean anything either. Maybe it would be Sheamus winning three in a row. Does that establish dominance? Well apparently not as we’ve still got up to four matches left. Assuming this series goes the distance, someone is going to wind up with four wins to three. How dominant can someone really be when they win four out of seven matches, or about 57%? Of course that’s assuming you ignore the two matches before the series started. If Sheamus wins the series 4-3, that puts him at 4-5 against Cesaro in their nine matches, good for forty four percent of the winning. Brilliant no?
Ok so now that we’ve gotten a working definition of establishing dominance (FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT!), let’s look at the other major issue with these matches: they’re pretty average. These two are both power wrestlers though Cesaro adds a bit of high flying to vary his offense up a little bit. However, how many times can you watch Cesaro hit his European uppercuts and Cesaro hit his forearms before it stops being interesting?
The answer to that question would be upwards of nine apparently because that’s what we’re likely looking at: these guys fighting each other nearly ten times in the span of probably two months. When the most recent televised match took place earlier this week on “Monday Night Raw”, I shook my head because I’ve seen this match enough recently.
It aired three on “Monday Night Raw” in August, again at “Summerslam 2016” and now again on “Monday Night Raw” in September and to put it mildly, I’m sick of it. I don’t care what they’re fighting for (Title shot! Establishing dominance! FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT!) and I don’t care to see them hitting each other with the same moves every single match. But hey, we’re not done yet because they’re going to fight at least one more time…..assuming you actually buy into the idea that this isn’t going to seven matches, which means we’re just over halfway done.
In theory this wraps up the “Clash of Champions” pay per view with the final match. The series got started on Aug. 1, 2016 and, assuming the “Clash of Champions” idea is correct, will wrap up on September 25, 2016. That puts this story at about two months. In addition to the other issues I’ve already touched on, this is where it all falls apart for me: the story feels like a way for the writers to take two months off instead of coming up with something fresh in between.
We’re coming up on the fifth and perhaps sixth and seventh matches between Cesaro and Sheamus (again, ignoring the two matches that helped to set this up) in less than two months. By comparison, one of the greatest rivalries of all time, Steve Austin vs. the Rock, took place ten times ever on TV/PPV (assuming you count a match on a British pay per view in 2001).
The less frequent meetings allowed the feud to feel fresh. This feud didn’t feel fresh when the official series started as they had already fought multiple times coming into the seven matches. Somehow in the span of just over a month, a feud has been run into the ground for the sake of…..well actually I’m not quite sure, other than Foley wanting to see someone establish that fifty seven percent dominance. It doesn’t matter if it was Austin vs. Rock, Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper or Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels: if you keep running the same match over and over again, the interest is going to wear down because it’s been done already.
At the end of the day, we’ve seen Cesaro vs. Sheamus several times now and we’re going to be seeing them fight again multiple times. Once this series is over, one of them is going to get some kind of a title shot (assuming they somehow manage to say the series is a tie and give them both a shot at the Tag Team Titles to make sure that the story somehow keeps going).
I’m sure some people are having a good time watching these two beat the heck out of each other over and over again but I lost interest right around the time the series officially started. This series feels like a way to keep both guys busy without having to put in any significant amount of effort. I know they’re under a lot of new pressure with the Brand Split, but the fans shouldn’t be stuck sitting through the same match over and over for two months because it’s an easy way to fill in time.
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