Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WCWC: The Culmination of the DDT Challenge

Photo via WCWC Facebook Page
When you tape a month's worth of episodes for a wrestling show in a matter of hours and devote most of the attention toward a match revolving around a single maneuver, a letdown is bound to occur. Episode 08 of PDX TV featured the DDT Challenge between Danny Duggan, representing The Grappler and Jeremy Blanchard who is wrestling on behalf of Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and the match itself was a methodical affair. Yet the episode did include a promo from Roberts that provided a reminder of why he was such a big star in the WWE.

Prior to the DDT Challenge, Roberts, accompanied by Blanchard, spoke to backstage reporter Pat Kelley. Roberts states that in regard to choosing Blanchard for the Main Event of this episode, "I'm not going to say that I never made a mistake, but this is not one of them". Roberts speaks about how Blanchard can be a "monster" in the promotion if he would focus on being his best and stop concerning himself with other's ideas (such as The Grappler's) and really does a great job of putting Blanchard over.

Now the content within the promo was solid, but the ethos and pathos that Roberts used were what truly shone in this backstage segment. Roberts has always been one of my favorite talkers in the wrestling world, and his delivery is still fresh to this day. When he looks the audience in the metaphorical eye (through the camera lens), he draws them into everything that he is saying, no matter how nonsensical it may appear when typed out and read aloud by someone else. I appreciate what Roberts has done for the art of delivering a promo and I enjoy seeing newer wrestlers (such as Bray Wyatt) use those same tactics to create magic on the mic.

The DDT Challenge included the stipulation that the move must have been performed by a wrestler before that wrestler could have registered a pinfall. This stipulation did the match a disservice as Duggan and Blanchard continued to feign delivering the DDT throughout the match taking away from the anticipation of the actual DDT that was delivered at the end of the match. Also, having a heel and a face together on either side of this match caused a great deal of confusion to the crowd. They did not know who to cheer for and decided to make very little noise at all. The finish involved The Grappler getting on the apron and slapping Duggan. When Blanchard tried to attack Duggan from behind, he bumped into The Grappler and received a DDT for his troubles.

The crowd sat on their hands and did not react to the pinfall because they were cheering for Roberts. Lucky for them, a run-in occurred and featured a DDT from Roberts on The Grappler. Although it was fantastic to see Roberts performing a DDT at all at this point in time, it was not a good one. *ducks out of the way of tomatoes being thrown my way* The Wrecking Crew then came out and defended the head of their stable, attacking Roberts. A kick from a loaded boot by The Grappler III highlighted the end of the run-in and the setup for the feud to continue between the two legends (although it would be for live audiences only).

Overall, the inclusion of Roberts in this series of episodes created a palpable buzz among the live crowd, but it did not do any favors for the in-ring product or the storylines on the periphery. The next series of TV tapings include very good indie wrestlers such as Caleb Konley and Jimmy Jacobs, and business should pick up. I have to admit, however, that it was nice to see Roberts on my TV screen once again.