If I had asked you a few weeks back to pick a solid match-up to feature on Monday Night RAW, I'm willing to bet you wouldn't have answered with "Randy Orton vs. Goldust."
That's important to note.
Goldy may have the heart of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), but you can't open the show with him sans face paint and expect the live audience to tear the house down, much like they did with Edge during last night's broadcast.
That's not a knock on his ability, either.
But the fact remains that there is no Dustin Runnels in the WWE "Universe," there is only Goldust. And his run in WWE has been a rollercoaster of a ride. Creative has been stopping and starting him for so many years, his career is like a drive down the Garden State Parkway.
Not surprisingly, he can wrestle.
The good news is, he's not the only one. WWE has an entire roster of guys who can work, which means we don't need two A-listers to tell a good story. What we do need, is a commitment from the powers-that-be to turn these guys loose and have fun.
Is it too much to ask to get one great match per hour?
I think if RAW opened with its usual talking points, then rolled into a hot match, viewers would stick around. Right around the second hour, when we get that urge to flick around, boom, uncork another. Then save the last one for the overrun. I know that when I get invested in a great match, the time flies.
On a three-hour broadcast, that's a good thing.
A "great match" impacts the bigger picture (or pay-per-view build), has time to complete a story arc and above all, is capped with a satisfactory ending. It's important to differentiate between "satisfactory" and "one I like." I don't need to like an ending for it to work.
Take Antonio Cesaro, for example.
I saw a few comments last night from pro wrestling fans who were incredulous at the fact that Cesaro was pinned by the returning Santino Marella, noting how the finish made Cesaro "look like crap."
Cesaro is stuck in a tag team with Jack Swagger and had to abandon his Swiss heritage to play an American patriot under some portly redneck with a handlebar mustache, and it's a loss to the "Milan Miracle" that makes him look crappy? He doesn't have a belt and is not embroiled in a meaningful feud, so I'm okay with Marella stealing one for his comeback tour.
The ending, at least to me, was satisfactory.
It sure as hell beats the trendy "Heel gets angry, walks to locker room, gets counted out" type of finish, which I'm sure gets rubber-stamped in the back as the "Live to fight another day" ending. I'll take a finish I don't like over no finish at all, any day of the week.
But preferably on Monday.
I understand that slick video packages, long-winded promos, instant replays, self-serving polls and incessant yammering from an overcrowded commentator's table are part and parcel of the RAW broadcast, but those distractions are much easier to tolerate when they're sewn into the fabric of good, old-fashioned wrestling.
Last week I said that "wrestling" comes before "entertainment" when you spell out WWE, but perhaps I missed the point. After watching Goldust wrestle a terrific match against Randy Orton last night on RAW, which was designed to get his brother Cody back on the roster and defend the family legacy, I realized that wrestling is the entertainment.
Now I want more of it.