|Only in WWE would no-selling a knee injury be acceptable|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If any average story has one, singular Chekhov's Gun, then the story told in the match between Dolph Ziggler and John Cena Monday night suggested they were introducing Tank Johnson's Weapons Cache. Seriously, they threw in no fewer than three different "things" during the match. Ziggler started to undo the turnbuckle padding. Cena landed on his "injured" knee. AJ Lee and Vickie Guerrero came out to provide distraction. Three different elements were introduced into the match, and not a single one of them figured into the finish.
It's one thing to have Cena defeat Ziggler clean. That in and of itself left a bitter taste in my mouth for two reasons. One, I'm sick to death of seeing Cena win clean, especially against guys who are cool and whom I like to see win matches. Yes, that's kind of a juvenile way of looking at things. No, I don't care if you're offended by it. Secondly, it felt like an abrupt end to a story that didn't feel like it was over. Of course, that would mean countless more weeks of Guerrero pulling out more evidence and interviewing more creepers, but hey, if going on what we saw Monday was evidence, I would have welcomed more and more and more matches between the two.
But even if the cards were supposed to show a clean Cena victory, then what was the point of adding in all those other things? What was the point of having them be nothing more than red herrings? To be unpredictable? I thought we were past the point of "ZOMG SHOCK TV" as the goal.
Chekhov's Gun is a storytelling device that gets used over and over again because it works. If you give them a reason not to react to it, then it becomes less effective to that crowd. It's like the Owen Voice, the Dusty Finish, and everything else WWE Creative has ruined with its stupid, figurative hands over the last fifteen years.
There are myriad things I hated about the finish of that match, but none more than them dressing up a clean victory by John Cena with red herrings. If you introduce a bare turnbuckle or an injured knee or a squabbling sideshow, you fucking use them. If not, then you're a terrible storyteller and should probably be forced to take high school English courses.