A lot of WWE fans have been wary of the attempt on a third show to complement the 1-2 punch of Raw/Smackdown. Previous attempts like NXT, Superstars, and even nu-ECW have led to them mostly being relegated to an online audience, rather than being canceled right out. When they announced a new show called Main Event was going to debut, a lot of fans were a bit apprehensive about its real potential, necessity, or for that matter longevity. Frankly, most expect it to end up with that same online only fate as all the other shows. Now while I’m not hedging my bets on this show having the staying power of Smackdown, I do think it’s here for a while, for a few main reasons.
The first is that it was promoted and executed in much the same way Smackdown was. That is to say, almost like a little mini-PPV. I remember when Smackdown debuted on the UPN network 12 years ago, and it felt like we were getting a free 2 hour PPV with how important and different it was from Raw at the time. Main Event gave me that same feeling, by the promotion of the big fight in it between CM Punk and Sheamus. The whole thing has a good hook, being a champion vs champion match and all, and with CM Punk and Sheamus’ in ring skill, it was hard to accurately call who’d win. As much as I hate Sheamus, I can’t deny he’s a great wrestler who should just never say anything ever.
The second main reason, is that it has a pretty self-sustaining, built-in purpose. At first I thought that “Main Event” was just a place holding, whatever-lets-just-name-it title, but the show does seem to be literally a Main Event worthy spectacle. With how crappy the main events from Raw are these days, a whole show dedicated to making sure there’s one solid, well done match in its runtime is refreshing. At an hour-long, it’s also a refreshing change of pace from the long 3 hours of Raw, and the sometimes just right, sometimes too long length of Smackdown. The actual show itself opened up with both Michael Cole and The Miz announcing themselves as commentators for the show, and introducing the show itself, which is fine and dandy for the debut episode. They followed it up with some actually pretty decent video packages for both CM Punk & Sheamus. Punk’s in particular was AMAZING, and told a good story in 3 minutes.
The actual match between Punk and Sheamus was a good 20 minutes long, and did a good job of making Sheamus look strong, while making Punk appear to be more of a Heel, without actually sacrificing any of his internal logic of character framework. Whoever is responsible for the direction that CM Punk’s character is going, is a genius and I have a strong feeling it’s Punk himself. The show ended with a brief tag team match between Santino & Zack Ryder, and Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd. Making that match the connection between it and Raw was smart as well, since this whole Tag Team Tournament is probably the best thing that’s happened to the Tag Team Division since I’ve been watching WWE.
I’m loving this whole tournament concept.
The strength of this show is that it doesn’t NEED to follow on the heels of any of the Raw/Smackdown story lines, they can just announce a Main Event (see? That’s brilliant), and then just go with it. Next week’s show is between Big Show and Randy Orton for the #1 contender spot for the World Heavyweight Championship. Something like that immediately gives us great purpose for the show, as it could have great longevity as the Go-To show for settling feuds, contender spots, angled matches, special gimmick matches, and the list goes on. If they just cut out the promos and give us two 20 minute matches, I could see it doing the WWE a lot of good. Fans who have an issue with the WWE not having enough actual wrestling could tune into this, and enjoy seeing 2 solid and fairly long matches a week. Currently it seems like its gonna be one big longer match and another shorter one, but it could change.
Again, the most surprising thing by far was the quality of the video packages. Each was actually captivating and informative, rather than an unnecessary recap of previous events. It sets it apart from Raw & Smackdown pretty definitively. I’m looking forward to the show’s future, and hope it lasts. Hopefully the average fan will get past the fact that there’s “just one or two matches”, and dig it for what it is. It’s not a perfect show yet, but I could see it getting there. All in all, it was a well done hour-long show, that I’ll definitely be looking forward to in the future.