Last night, I took advantage of the fact that we had no viewing lab to go to and tuned in to watch a full episode of Raw. I was excited to do so, because I (surprisingly) missed my Monday night wrestling viewing habit, and so I just wanted to make some observations on the show.
I was buying the show, and I got a kick out of the "fan" that won the Intercontinental title. I thought it had a good build to the Bobby Lashley interference, and the fans seemed to be buying it as well. But then, Lashley was passed the microphone, and he gave the most underwhelming promo I've heard about all year long. It killed the intensity of the match, of the segment, of just about everything. It was so lackluster in its delivery that it made me laugh instead of making me believe in his character.
This made me remember an argument I once had with a fellow fan, and so I decided to bring the topic here. I know that in this day and age, promo skills are almost a necessity... or are they? Let's take Umaga for example. All this guy does is growl and pant and destroy people in the ring. Between Vince and Armando Alejandro Estrada (I love how he says his name), they pretty much do all of the talking for him. He hasn't said a word and everyone buys his character, at least, most people do. Between them helping him by showcasing his voice through him and his in-ring intensity, Umaga doesn't need much else.
Enter Bobby Lashley. This guy has the look of a champion and he has the moves of a champion, but I would rather Moolah and Mae Young try to wrestle now than hear this man on the microphone. And yet, if promo skills are so important, why is this guy the focus of the show apart from the champion himself, John Cena? Granted, not everyone can be a Ric Flair or a Rock on the microphone, but guys like Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam were often criticized for their rather underwhelming promos (they got better). Shelton Benjamin in particular is a phenominal athlete, but he never got off the ground for a singles push because he couldn't "connect" with the fans. But I'm supposed to believe in Lashley and want him to win... right. It's the same problem on the blue show with Batista, although he's gotten better, he still sometimes leaves something to be desired on the microphone.
But does it matter? In my opinion, it doesn't, because to me, it's what goes on in the ring that's the most important thing. You can say what you have to say in the ring, Chris Benoit being the premiere example. But nowadays, it seems like more and more emphasis is placed on the dramatic storylines instead of the actual in-ring content, and if that's the way it's going to be, then they should put some effort into guys like Lashley and his microphone skills. After all, he's a big name now, and he's involved in a high-level feud with the McMahons. It reminded me of what JR said when he came to visit - some guys are shot to the top and they're just not ready for it. If Bobby Lashley doesn't fit that criteria right now, then I don't know who does...