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CALDWELL'S TAKE
FIVE THINGS: The biggest concerns WWE must address post-PPV

Nov 19, 2012 - 3:29:31 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Following last night's Survivor Series PPV, callers during the PWTorch Livecast post-game show expressed ample concern about the direction of WWE's product. The following are the Top Five items WWE must address starting with tonight's Raw.

(1) Is the Rollins/Ambrose/Reigns group just another Nexus knock-off group that will get squashed by Ryback? Hardcore fans have waited a long time for Seth Rollins to get a slot on the main roster (and are still waiting for Mr. Richie Steamboat to get called up to the crowded mid-sized babyface roster). So, with Ryback needing to get his heat back a la the Brad Maddox squash following Hell in a Cell, the concern is that Team Rollins will be easily disposed of.

The hope for Team Rollins fans is that an expected association with C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman - plus a potential major storyline arc incorporating the Brad Maddox Chapter - will keep Team Rollins in the spotlight for quite some time. Of course, the same happened to the Spirit Squad feuding with DX several years ago. Only one man (Dolph Ziggler) survived. But, this is a much more credible group, specifically Rollins and Ambrose. Team Rollins will likely play surrogates for Punk by taking some beatings from Ryback and/or John Cena along the way, but if they survive the initial trial-by-fire period, this could be a break-through opportunity for new stars.

(2) Where does The Rock fit into Royal Rumble build-up? WWE has an interesting decision to make on whether to have C.M. Punk skip a title defense at TLC and go straight into a two-month build-up for Rock vs. Punk in January. If that is the choice, then it's quite possible Cena vs. Ryback headlines the TLC PPV, along with perhaps a C.M. Punk non-title match.

As for Rock, the concern is that he will only make a few TV appearances prior to the Rumble, which means Punk-Cena-Ryback continues to dominate TV until the end of January. Will WWE go heavy on "live via satellite" appearances and "Touts" to incorporate Rock into the show with him unavailable in the flesh? The concern is amplified by WWE having three hours of TV to fill on Monday nights, an over-taxed Creative team, and a penchant for harebrained ideas. The solution could be a strong story arc involving Team Rollins that helps carry the weight of a three-hour show to Rumble/Mania season.

(3) Will Dolph Ziggler's victory mean anything? Ziggler picked up a semi-main event, standalone victory over Randy Orton in the traditional Survivor Series elimination match, but the key is follow-up. Will this be just another match outcome, or will it be a career-defining victory that holds value for Ziggler? PWTorch columnist Greg Parks laid out the path for Ziggler during the Livecast - big win at Survivor Series, strong TV follow-up to validate the victory, Money in the Bank cash-in, and solid ground to begin a World Title run.

WWE cannot afford another Jack Swagger 2010 situation where Swagger was going nowhere on Superstars prior to a surprising MITB victory at WrestleMania 26 before suddenly winning the World Title in 10 seconds that led to him floundering as champ. Swagger had no foundation to stand on; WWE has a foundation for Ziggler, but Survivor Series follow-up is key.

(4) Will the Cena/A.J.-Vickie nonsense ever end? This one appears to have new life with the addition of Tamina to the mix at Survivor Series, which will surely frustrated a portion of the audience. The biggest concern is the payoff - is there a satisfying payoff that makes the awful journey worth the amount of television time spent on the angle?

The same could be said for Kane and Daniel Bryan's "Hug it Out" story that dominated TV, and now has cooled down to where WWE will have to re-heat the issue to build to a satisfying payoff.

(5) What's next for Big Show vs. Sheamus? The consensus was that Big Show and Sheamus found a way at Survivor Series to equal or top their first match at Hell in a Cell. Now, a third match at TLC is expected for the top stars on the Smackdown brand. The key will be whether Show and Sheamus can keep momentum going for the Smackdown brand without the feud becoming repetitive, then losing steam heading into a likely chairs match at the December PPV.


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