Levin: Orton, Wyatt Bring Back The Art of the Promo

David Levin has high praise for the ending of Smackdown.

I saw brilliance on Tuesday night.

It’s only fitting that as I begin covering SmackDown Live here on Wrestledelphia.com, that the best promo since CM Punk’s pipe bomb occurs on my watch. In one quick swerve (the one we all saw coming), Randy Orton became Bray Wyatt’s kryptonite.

For the first time in ages, I got goose bumps watching a professional wrestling program.

The irony, as it might seem, comes on the heels of a Rolling Stone article that came out last week stating the art of the wrestling promo is dying a slow and agonizing death. Before we go any further, can I call bullshit on the Internet?

In a twist of fate that will come full circle at WrestleMania 33 – while the blue team figures out what to do with AJ Styles, Luke Harper and Shane McMahon – The Viper finally struck the Eater of Worlds. It was masterful, it was calculated. It was the kind of thing we had hoped would happen for some time. It was one of those poignant moments that already has me thinking there is a Match of the Year nomination on the horizon. After his usual shtick, Wyatt was at a loss for words. Orton, who isn’t known for his gift of gab, launched a feud between the 12-time world champion and the current WWE World Champion into a stratosphere many of us expected for Seth Rollins and Triple H.

It was perfect now that WrestleMania is just over a month away.

The Rolling Stone article points out that when a professional wrestling promo is done correctly it elicits one of four reactions from fans. It’s either:

  1. A) be that guy just for a day
  2. B) have a beer with the guy after the match
  3. C) watch the guy get his lights turned off by an opponent
  4. D) murder him with their own bare hands.

I’d say Orton hit a home run on the last reaction, with Wyatt speechless and in desperate need of a tranquilizer.

Mission accomplished, WWE. Fans finally get what they want. John Cena is nowhere near the main event and Styles, although he won the right to be the man to face Wyatt for the title in Orlando, will more than likely find his way into a match with Harper once again.

In one segment, wrestling was great again. It has gone off the beaten path for years now, where actions became more important than words. Only a handful of wrestlers can make a grown man cry with their words of enticement. This isn’t a case where a red-faced Ric Flair calls out Harley Race or Dusty Rhodes threatens to take down the Four Horsemen. Those days are gone forever. This was Kevin Owens and Raven wrapped into one thrilling segment with a hint of 1990s Undertaker added to the recipe. It tasted like success.

If you want a toe-curling promo these days, fans look to Wyatt or The Miz or Chris Jericho. Kevin Owens also showed he can talk the talk on Monday night. But if you look at the current roster, there aren’t many more who can stop the show dead in its tracks. Add Dolph Ziggler on a good day and Cena, who has improved over the years.

Tuesday night was everything that is right about this business. It showed that WWE can still find a way out of the quicksand from time to time. Finally, there was a segment on Tuesday night where the words spoken were better than any action taken in the ring.

And luckily, it fell in my lap at the right time.

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