Canton’s Corner: March 17 Edition

Welcome to Canton’s Corner. The column will be in a different format this week. I haven’t watched Smackdown yet. Not sure when I will. I haven’t watched TNA in a month. I probably will after Sunday’s PPV as they get on the road to Lockdown. What you’ll get here are the polls, a column from myself on the Jericho/Punk feud, the random clip, the Twitter Ten and the Melo Man will bring it home with his thoughts as usual. Let’s roll.

Last Week’s Poll Results
The poll question was: John Cena vs. The Rock. Who wins the match? The results after 2,600+ votes:

John Cena – 70.82%
The Rock – 29.18%

That’s a 70/30 split. I thought it would be closer to 60/40. I’m not surprised Cena won, though. That’s my pick too.

This Week’s Poll Question: Who do you personally like more: The Rock or John Cena?
That’s right. Another Rock/Cena question.

I like Rock more. I have nothing against Cena. I like him too. Rock is one of my six favorite wrestlers ever. I’d rank them in the order of Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Randy Savage and then The Rock with a guy like Chris Jericho right after him. After that there a lot of names, but that group is at the top for me. I like Cena. I just don’t consider him one of my favorite wrestlers ever. I’m not a hater.

I gave you five options. Pick one. Choose wisely. We’ll look at the results next week.

On a somewhat related topic, here’s a clip of Jim Ross talking about Rock that came out within the last week. I agree with him 100% by the way.

I would support Piper’s Pit for Rock/Cena too. I don’t know if it will happen, though.

I covered Raw on Tuesday as always. What more is there to say about the Rock/Cena and Triple H/Undertaker matches? I’m just ready for them to get here. What I wanted to do for this section is to share an article I wrote on Monday night for the Bleacher Report regarding the Jericho/Punk feud. This was written after Monday’s Raw. I know I included parts of it in the Raw Deal, but I wanted to share the whole thing because I’m really proud of what I wrote and I think it puts the storyline into perspective for those that were questioning if it was a good idea to make the feud more personal.

Why Chris Jericho and CM Punk are Two of a Kind

The “Best in the World” feud between WWE Champion CM Punk and No. 1 contender Chris Jericho is very popular amongst the Internet Wrestling Community. Why? Because these two men, more than any two individuals on the roster, represent what it means to be an all-around wrestler. They are two of a kind.

When fans look at a guy like John Cena they will acknowledge, that he’s a good talker, but in the ring, sometimes he’s below average. In big matches he usually delivers. Not all the time, though. When fans look at Randy Orton, most would agree that he’s a very good in-ring performer who has shown a lot of improvement since becoming a babyface especially. What about his promos? They’re just okay. His personality doesn’t shine when he speaks. I can point out flaws of others such as The Miz portraying a heel even though he doesn’t come off as a tough guy at all. There’s Jack Swagger’s lisp that is a big reason why he has a manager. John Morrison never got a shot because of his uninspiring promos and they barely let a guy like Kofi Kingston speak, even though he’s great in the ring. There are plenty of other wrestlers that we can find faults with, but that’s not what this column is about.

When it comes to CM Punk and Chris Jericho, what flaws do they have? They are both skilled enough on the microphone that you could say they are among the 10 best talkers in the history of the business. In the ring, each guy has had a number of classic matches in their career while in WWE, but Jericho also had classics in Japan while Punk proved how good he was while in Ring of Honor. What I really like about both guys is they have clearly defined characters that allow them to stick out from the rest of the pack.

Jericho’s the smart veteran that walks with a level of confidence because he knows he’s the best. He doesn’t just say he’s the best. He shows that he’s the best with how he carries himself. He gets the kind of heat that says: “That guy is really a jerk, but you have to respect how good he is.” It’s a reputation not given, but earned through years of hard work.

We know what CM Punk is too. He’s a man of high moral values that is proud of the fact that he’s straight edge – never having a drop of alcohol in his life or doing drugs. He’s also a guy with a very deliberate way of talking while also having a good sense of humor that is allows him to outclass every opponent via the “pipe bomb” we’ve come to know as the microphone.

If you look back over the years, these two were the best performers in the company when they were given the chance to shine. In 2008, Jericho had a classic feud with Shawn Michaels that really proved Jericho was the best in the business. In 2009, Punk turned heel, created the Straight Edge Society and had a memorable feud with Jeff Hardy. If Punk wasn’t the best that year then the nod would go to Jericho. In 2010, neither guy was pushed strongly and Jericho ended up leaving, but by that point it was obvious they were the best in the company. Obviously in 2011, it was the year of CM Punk as well.

Now their paths have crossed on the road to WrestleMania.

On Monday’s edition of Raw, the feud became personal. Jericho cut a promo from the backstage area that aired on the Titantron while Punk was alone in the ring. It was the usual kind of trash talk with Jericho proclaiming himself to the best until he revealed a dark secret from Punk’s past. He said Punk was straight edge because his dad was an alcoholic and he didn’t want to grow up like him. Jericho went on to say his goal was to beat Punk for the title, which would then cause Punk to drink alcohol.

Punk sold it great. No smartass comment. He had a serious tone, which was different for Punk. Following the show, Punk continued to react to Jericho’s remarks with the following tweets:

Monday 11:55pmET: “I don’t want any sympathy. Save it for Chris. Shit just got next level. I will hurt you.”
Tuesday 12:41amET: “Everybody has skeletons in the family closet. Keep my father out of it.”

What do I get from that? He’s mad. He’s defensive. He’s a strong champion showing weakness.

My opinion? This is great. A well done twist to a story that needed it. The idea that the feud has become personal now will only add to the match on April 1. Some people will hate it. They will think it’s “too real” and not needed. Guess what? It’s fiction. It adds a layer to the feud that was, with all due to respect to both performers, lacking a spark to make it as good as it could possibly be.

When the babyface is the champion as Punk currently is, he already has the advantage. When the heel has the title, the story is easier to tell with the babyface trying to get the prize. In this case, they had to do something to make people really want to see Punk get his hands on Jericho. The “your daddy was an alcoholic” angle will make people think Punk really hates Jericho because of how Punk reacted to it.

If there’s a fan out there that had an alcoholic ruin their life in some way, they will absolutely root for Punk. If they don’t have any life experience, they will still root for Punk simply because Jericho is acting like a jerk. It’s classic, old-school heel heat.

The key to the segment was not what Jericho said. It was how Punk reacted to it. He didn’t smile. he had a look of sadness on his face. The WWE Champion that we know as a confident guy with a witty sense of humor was replaced by a guy with a heavy heart that looked defeated by the words spoken by another man.

Isn’t that what wrestling is all about? The constant battle of good vs. evil is the easiest story to tell, yet it’s often times a difficult one because of all the stories that have been told in the past.

CM Punk and Chris Jericho are the best wrestlers in the world. At WrestleMania 28, they will prove it together.

Random Clip of the Week
I’m disappointed that there’s no Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania this year. Since there’s no MITB PPV (unless WWE changes their mind again), the rumor is the match may happen at Summerslam or one of the other PPVs. The video below has clips from the first five Money in the Bank matches from WrestleManias 21-25. I think the first one at 21 is the best of the bunch, but they are all very good to great matches.

You know who I miss in WWE a lot? Shelton Benjamin. What an awesome athlete.

People send me questions on Twitter @johnreport and I answer them.

@singlemalt30yr Is there any way WWE brings back War Games for the Laurinaitis v Long match at WM?
Not happening. It’s a 6 on 6 tag with one fall to the finish. If they bring back Wargames it won’t be for this.

@jfkooo What do you think the future holds for The Rock in the WWE after WM28?
Apparently he has three movies back to back to back after WM, so don’t see him being around WWE much. Maybe Summerslam. Nobody really knows.

@Tomtrek3r What do you think will be the first match at wrestlemania?
Rumor is Punk/Jericho. I’d like it in hour two. I’d start with Sheamus/Bryan personally. Crowd would be hot for it.

@kjbrophy Who is/are the best wrestler(s) that can play both a face & heel great instead of just one & not the other?
I’d go with Angle, Michaels, Austin or Punk/Jericho of current guys. If you’re an all-time great you can do both.

@_ronarch CM Punk said month or 2 ago in an interview that Vince McMahon didn’t get him. Said Vince got Stone Cold, but he didn’t get Rock. Vince not getting Punk but getting Stone Cold is obvious. What did Punk mean by Vince not getting Rock though?
Not sure. Perhaps he means Rock’s sense of humor? I’d have to see the quote and context. Hard to say, really. I really like Punk, but think he’s missing the boat on a lot of Rock related things he’s said.

@timbo_37 What is your take on when Jericho leaves? Does Punk lose at WM only to regain when he leaves to tour summer?
It’s not like he’s leaving for months. It may be a two or three week tour. Maybe he misses a minor PPV. Not a big deal. I think their feud goes 2-3 PPVs.

@William_Russell Are wwe trying to set otunga up as a long term main event prospect? And if so why?!
I don’t see him as a main eventer. Not good enough in ring. Okay as a talker and character though. He’s married to a legit singing star like Jennifer Hudson. They like that.

@Dedwyre When did you get interested in independent wrestling and who were some of your favorite indy wrestlers early on?
Late 1990s. I started driving in 1997. My buddies and I would go on road trips. I saw guys like Edge, Christian & Rhyno in the indies here in Southern Ontario and in Michigan. I haven’t been to an indy in years. You grow up and priorities change, but I’d recommend that fans support them. I guess I’ve been lucky. I saw E&C in the indies, I saw Christian make his WWE debut at the Breakdown PPV in September 1998, I saw Edge’s last match at WM27 last year and I’ll be seeing Edge’s induction into the Hall of Fame at WM28 this year. Full circle.

@BeeyondGrave Do you think the WWE is pushing hard for the Be A Star campaign because they knew Cena/Rock & Jericho/Punk would be so personal?
I think they do it because they believe in it. People bitch about it, but I admire their efforts. I know people joke about it. I do too. I applaud any organization that does charitable work of any kind. It’s important to give back and get the message out.

@kptorres what are the short term plans for zack ryder? Wasn’t he supposed to face Kane at Mania?
He’ll be on Team Long at Mania. Probably be the most popular guy on the team (with Santino). The Kane/Ryder match at Mania should have happened. Lame booking.

Melo Out with Steve Melo

Hello everyone. Hope you are all well. Sorry I missed you guys last week. It was not been a good week for me. Actually that is an understatement. It is by far one of the worst weeks I have ever had in my life. On March 7th, I lost a family member suddenly and it has been very devastating accepting the fact that he is gone. And when I say family member, I am talking about my cat. Most people don’t view them that way. They look at animals for what they are. But not me. Along with my dog Rocky, Roland was a part of our growing family. I say growing family because my wife and I are expecting out first child, a boy, this May. Why am I telling you this? Is it to express my grief or to vent my feelings? Of course. But there is more to this sharing of personal information about myself with my fellow wrestling fans that meets the eye.

As I am sure you are well aware by now, I attended the RAW house show in London, Ontario with John Canton and my good friend Eric, who I have known for many years and actually got me into wrestling. It’s funny because like many non-wrestling fans, I used to look at wrestling and view it as fake and stupid and all the words we have heard from all of our friends that are non-wrestling fans. But one day Eric was over and he said “Put on TSN, the RAW replay is on” and long story short, I have been hooked ever since. It entertained me regardless if I knew it wasn’t what I would have classified as “real” life. It put a smile on my face watching it.

At that house show, with everything on my mind and all of the emotions I was experiencing, being happy and having that smile on my face wasn’t one of them. That is until I was in that arena and the show began. And for the next few hours I was entertained. I was happy. I was smiling and forgetting and letting go of those negative emotions I had been feeling and just allowed myself to let the WWE family do what they do best and entertain me. Now I’m not straight edge. I’m not saying I smoke or do drugs because I don’t, but I do enjoy an occasional beer and other forms of alcoholic beverages from time to time. Like CM Punk said in his first promo on ECW, (WWE version) “I don’t do drugs. My addiction is wrestling.” And I think the same speaks true to me. No matter what is going on in my life or with my family, the WWE family is always there for me. I grew up with them. On sad days, they cheered me up. They still do today. They give me that high, that escape, and when you put it into that kind of perspective, suddenly you start to understand why addicts have such are hard time letting go I suppose.

At this house show, we sat 2nd row and they really interacted with us like we were all just one big happy family, and in a way, we are. We see these guys every week. We let them into our lives and they let us into theirs. When you become a wrestling fan like I did all those years ago, you become part of a very big family. Most people don’t view them that way. They look at wrestling for what it is. They look at wrestling like I use to look at wrestling. But not now. I remember feeling like I just lost an uncle when I heard Eddie Guerrero passed away. That same day my car got broken into and the punks made off with my sub and my amp. But I didn’t care because one of my all time favourite wrestlers had just passed away. I saw him on a weekly basis practically. That’s more times then I see actual family members or even some friends. Heck, you can even get so mad with WWE or for whatever other reason decide to stop watching for awhile, but when you start watching again, the WWE family take you in with open arms. No questions asked.

My first WWE live event experience was (believe it or not) Wrestlemania 18 in Toronto, Ontario. I honestly never thought any other live event would top that, but this house show was the most fun I have ever had at any wrestling related live event I have ever been to, and believe me there have been plenty over the years. They give me that high, that escape I so desperately needed after having to deal with what I had to suddenly deal with. For those that don’t know me very well, I don’t deal with death very well. I have a hard time accepting it. I find each time my faith is shattered a bit more whenever I lose a loved one, be it human or in this case an animal. A pet to me makes a house a home. That is what Roland was to my home and my family. That is why I have shared all of this somewhat personal information with you, my wrestling family. Because no matter what type of family you come from, family is always there for each other in the end.

I want to thank the WWE. I want to thank in specifically Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, Chris Jericho and Santino for making me laugh, for interacting with us fans and putting a smile on my face. A smile I so desperately needed more then you could ever know. And lastly, thank you to Eric for being there for me and to John for promising to help put a smile on that face of mine and keeping that promise.

Until next time, sit back, relax, never take each day for granted & Melo out, because to me, that is what wrestling is all about.

Steve “The Melo Man” Melo
Facebook: MeloOutTJR
Twitter: @MeloOutTJR

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We’re two weeks away from WrestleMania. Are you checking out my reviews of every WrestleMania ever that are exclusive to TJR? I’m up to 22. Five more to go. I should get them all done by the time I leave for Miami on Wednesday March 28, so keep checking out the site to see when they are posted.

That’s all for this week. As much as I love writing about WrestleMania and reliving those memories with all of you, I’m ready for the write-ups to end too. Once WM28 is over, this column will return back to what it was before when I wrote about Smackdown and TNA more often. It’s just that there’s only so much wrestling a guy can take in a week! Have a great weekend and I’ll likely be back on Monday afternoon with the WrestleMania 23 recap. Then I’ll be back on Tuesday for the Raw Deal.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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