As I expected, there was a bit of fallout from my assessment of RAW's 1000th show. I'd be apologizing if I knew I was the only one who felt the way I do. But, in fact, others felt the same as I. So Steve Austin was recovering from surgery and couldn't see himself coming to the ring with crutches....I've got a scenario that would have made everything worthwhile.
During the Punk/Cena match when The Rock came out and was given a GTS for his trouble, we hear the glass shatter and his music cue up and see Punk's face of shock as Steve Austin comes out on his ATV. He dismounts the ATV and grabs a mic. He tosses out a couple of lines about how Punk just did him a favor and puts a hand out and then gives him a stunner, grabs the mic and tells him that he likes to do his own dirty work. He gets back on his ATV and leaves. Minimal walking, he gets a possible angle with Punk, The Rock can still be involved with whoever is the champ come Rumble time, and everybody wins. But we didn't get that. Not even a satellite feed from the Rattlesnake from his ranch where he's recovering.
I love when WWE fans get riled, though. They love to criticize TNA for taking WWE talents and for not making their own stars and whatever the line of the day is, but at the end of the day TNA is leading the pack in terms of compelling storytelling and taking risks with untested talents. WWE used to do that often. Now, not so much. My point is simple, WWE made a very large mistake, as did Steve Austin by not making his presence known even via taped message. Simple as that. RAW WAS AUSTIN!!! Do not let anyone tell you anything different. From 1996 all the way until 2004, Steve Austin was THE guy to watch on Monday Nights....period.
All of the RAW talk aside, WWE is making some VERY bad choices right now and a reflection of this is that when Randy Orton returns this week from his 2nd violation of the Wellness Policy, he's going to be pushed hard. Why? The roster is already running lean on top tier FULL TIME talents. The solution to their problem in in front of them, but they are too content with their own numbers to fix the problems going on right now. The solution is to push more young talents to the top....take some more chances and let the next generation step into their place. Zack Ryder could have been huge.....but now his momentum is gone and it would take a huge story to bring everything back. He's just one of the dozens on that roster who could make some very nice strides for WWE if they would just hand the ball to them and let them run with it.
But this is the fallout, people. This is the product that WWE fans are swallowing right now and, in a lot of cases, are enjoying. My mind is resolute and my resolve is anchored with TNA, though. Tides are changing and it won't take long to find out just where people's attentions are drawn before summer's end.....and you can take that to the bank.