This past weekend Brock Lesnar destroyed Kofi Kingston in a short match during the ‘Beast in the East’ Tokyo show. In this piece, Craig looks at squash matches and wonders what role they could have in modern wrestling TV.
It was to no one’s surprise, really, that Brock Lesnar’s match with Kofi Kingston at ‘Beast in the East’ was so short. After all, with WWE Battleground coming up, Lesnar needs to rack up some wins and in matches where he looks unbeatable. There was also no expectation that Kofi would get any offence in during the course of the match.
And so it was to be. The WWE let Brock Lesnar destroy Kofi Kingston in under three minutes before a post-match beat down of the other New Day members left the people in attendance and the viewers watching at home that Brock Lesnar meant business.
Now, whether or not you think that Kofi was the right
victim opponent for this is another story – and I don’t think it should have been Kingston – but that’s another topic for another day. What isn’t up for dispute is the role that squash wins have in building up momentum for a superstar.
In the grand scheme of things, I like squash matches and I think that they have a role to play – particularly in getting a superstar over as a dominant force or allowing them to rack up a lot of wins with minimal impact.
It was something that was used very well with Ryback when he would defeat multiple local jobbers in a match. Sure, we knew these guys were just that – jobbers – but it still showed him to be an intimidating force and helped him get over, to an extent anyway, with the WWE faithful.
If we go back 20-25 years, squash matches against jobbers were part and parcel of a promotion’s TV output. In fact, when Raw first debuted on our screens back in 1993 the formula of the show tended to be: couple of squash matches and upper midcarders in a match. That was long before mid-card titles were defended regularly on Raw let alone the World title.
Wrestling shows slowly began to move away from this although that was sped up during the Monday Night Wars era with the demand every Monday night for pay-per-view calibre matches forcing both WCW and WWE to give away for free the sort of bouts that they could have sold PPVs around.
For many wrestling fans, myself included, it’s left a sizeable hole. Gone are the days of seeing your favourite superstar vanquish a ridiculously named, and often ridiculous attired, local talent in super quick fashion with a handful of clobbering blows before a very stiff looking version of their finisher.
I felt the destroying of enhancement talent would have been perfect, short term, for getting The Ascension over as well. Seeing them steamroll through two jobbers would have kept them looking strong before the WWE either found something meaningful for them or lost interest. Instead, the WWE lost interest without even having them look all that strong.
With the WWE having so much TV time to fill nowadays, and with them being light on star-power, I think there is certainly an argument for there being a place for some use of enhancement talent on modern day programming.
I’m sure many of you are like me and would much rather see a local jobber lose to an up and coming star than see an established performer – as was the case on Saturday Kofi’s Kingston who was until recently one half of the tag team champions – take such a beating. It would also save the likes of King Barrett, Dolph Ziggler etc being beaten frequently on TV one month before the next we are supposed to take them serious as a credible challenge for a champion.
Ultimately, that’s the crux of the matter. Who wouldn’t rather see a local enhancement talent take a quick loss on TV rather than a more established performer? And what an easy way to fill a few minutes here and there on Raw whilst making their would be star of the day look just like that: a star?