Hey, what’s going on, marks and marquettes (SP)?  I’m Derek Ruttle and this is the first edition of my column, Blood On The Canvas here on PWMania!  Thanks for checking it out and feel free to comment, disagree and stir up a debate or two with yours truly.

For my first column, I simply grabbed my latest one that I wrote last Thursday, September 30.  Some of the statements may appear to be dated as the Hell in a Cell PPV and last night’s Raw are now in the books, but I hope you’ll dig it enough to keep checking it out as time goes on.  Peace!

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird, it’s a plane!  No, it’s the inflated opinions of a wrestling fan with too much time on his hands!

Yep, it’s another edition of the Mixed Bag, where I’ll rant and spew my venomous views on the current landscape of wrestling.  As always, I welcome your own thoughts and discussions so shoot me an email or hit up Blood on the Canvas on Facebook.  Look for the ultra close-up shot of a bloody Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13 as the page photo!

–  First off, let’s get this Matt Hardy business out of the way.  Everybody with a desk or laptop has been talking about it, so I’ll throw my two cents in.  I think the guy is just attention-starved.  I can’t pinpoint what exactly the situation is backstage in the WWE, but the popular notion seems to be that he’s either trying to get himself legitimately released or he’s working everyone in what will ultimately be a setup for his return to Smackdown.  I’m personally inclined to believe the latter because I think it would be a huge coup for a wrestler to make the entire dirtsheet and smart mark audience think he wanted out of a company, only to return in a hot angle surrounded by so much fanfare.  But what’s he really got to be pissed off about?  And why exactly has he garnered all this office heat in the first place?  Far as I can remember, Matt has always had a YouTube account where he spoke his mind.  One apparent reason is that he’s put on weight in recent months, but is that really what may get him fired in the very near future?  I don’t buy it.

As far as Hardy being mad about the lack of a decent push, well, let’s be honest, it’s because Matt sucks on the mic and can’t carry a feud.  He has charisma but when it comes to taking the ball and running with it, Hardy fumbles.  His feud with brother Jeff should’ve felt like a bigger deal than it did, and going back even further, his mega-hyped feud with Edge in 2005 faltered because Matt dropped the ball in keeping heat between them.  If Matt really wanted out of WWE, or any other wrestler did for that matter, I truly don’t believe they would take to YouTube and start ranting away about wanting out.  I think Matt is a huge mark for himself and these videos are pretty over the top, but what’s he doing at the end of the day?  He’s doing what every other mid-card wrestler wants the fans to do – he’s getting them talking about him.  Good, bad, positive, negative, it doesn’t matter.  Hardy is getting his name out there while Vince McMahon keeps him on the bench.  You don’t see everybody unloading in message boards about anyone currently on the sidelines;  Joey Mercury, Christian, hell, even Triple H.  Long story short;  we’ll be seeing Matt back on Friday nights pretty soon.

–  Speaking of Triple H, I see he now holds an executive position with WWE, serving as a Senior Advisor to Vince on creative direction.  Wait, hold up, you hear that?  I think that’s the sound of a million Hunter haters crowing about politics!  In all seriousness, I think there’s nobody better suited for the position than The Game.  For one, he’s a senior wrestler in the company and has seen its ups and downs almost more than anyone.  Second, he has an obvious knack in seeing who can be a huge star.  Do the names Batista, Randy Orton and Sheamus ring a bell?

–  So the WWE brings back Paul Bearer, and automatically the collective thinking of the IWC turns to The Undertaker’s retirement.  Again, this is something else I don’t buy.  It was a nice move by WWE to bring back Paul, as he has obvious ties to both Taker and Kane in their current feud, but I don’t see this as an omen that the Dead Man is calling it a day in the next few months, or at WrestleMania 27.  I’ve always believed that the IWC underestimates the shape Taker is in;  sure, he’s reaching 50 years old and his very physical style has caught up to him in the last few years, but Mark Calaway has always been able to retain the character’s image by not overexposing it and committing to every house show and every TV taping on the schedule.  I definitely see Taker holding on until Mania 28 where he could retire with an incredible 20-0 winning streak.  My only hope is that that Mania is indeed held at the former Skydome in Toronto, so I can attend.

–  I’m still not fully sold on Alberto del Rio.  Show me a solid, 10-15 minute match on TV or PPV that tells a good story and I may just hop on the bandwagon with the rest of you.  Right now, I’m just hearing a lot of talk and little action.

–  Bad timing for Christian to be injured.  I was really hoping he’d get some much-needed exposure in a decent feud with del Rio.  Hope he can get back by either the Rumble or in time for Mania.

–  How bad does Edge need to go to Smackdown?  The poor guy hasn’t had a consistent angle or feud since his programs with Jericho and then Orton.  All summer and so far this fall, he’s just been a guy who’s “there” on Raw.  Throw him in the middle of the show or throw him in the main event, but Edge’s lack of direction scares me.  He said it best on Raw this week:  “We go from Steve Austin stunning Vince McMahon to Edge arguing with a computer!”

–  Is CM Punk ever gonna grow his hair back out?  He seems to like the ‘Christian Bale as John Connor in T4’ look.

–  I’ve been loving everything that Kane has been doing in the last four months.  It only took until the age of 43, but WWE decided to finally do something right with him!

–  There better be blood at Hell in a Cell.  PG or no PG, you don’t half-ass a Cell match and some feuds require the office policies to be bent, such as Taker vs Kane.

–  Why does John Cena need to avenge every clean pinfall loss he takes, even overdoing it?

–  Chris Jericho isn’t leaving WWE.  Trust me.

–  If The Miz hasn’t cashed in his MITB case and had a run with the WWE Title before the biggest show of the year, then Miz vs Taker at Mania sounds very intriguing.

–  Speaking of Miz, I’ll admit that I was wrong with my original assessment of him about a year and a half ago.  I was one of those people that thought John Morrison would easily be the bigger star of the two, but it looks like Miz is reaching that plateau first.  He definitely deserves it, and I still say he’s got the best music in WWE right now!

–  On the topic of Morrison, at last it looks like WWE is finally doing something constructive with him.  That match he had with Sheamus a couple weeks back on Raw was very good and reminiscent of those Hardcore Title matches in the Attitude Era, where matches took place everywhere except the ring.  It’s too bad that both WWE and John to an extent dropped the ball about a year ago with him, seeing how he was having excellent matches with the likes of Jericho, Edge, Punk and World Champion Jeff Hardy.  He even pinned Punk on two occasions when Punk was World Champ.  But that’s the past and now is here.  I like his more serious demeanor and he’s really pulled back on the flashy spots.

–  I think it was too soon to put the WWE Title on Randy Orton.  Yes, he’s definitely the biggest face on Raw right now and he’s pretty much the Stone Cold of the PG era, but the trigger was pulled prematurely, in my book.  I would’ve had Sheamus retain at Night of Champions by pinning Orton, but then Randy would get another shot at Hell in a Cell and win it there.  Make one of these random, B-show PPVs have some meaning after Orton continually chases the gold.

–  I support the idea to unify the World and WWE Titles, but not the Intercontinental and United States belts.  If Raw and Smackdown are still meant to be separate brands, then both shows still need a respective mid-card Champion.  WWE needs to go back to how the IC Title was regarded in the 80’s and 90’s – a stepping stone to the World Title.  The IC and US Titles need to be held almost in that same regard, only that to the mid-card talent, those are THEIR World Titles.

–  I literally laughed out loud at how ridiculously overboard Vince is going with this PG content after he had the divas parade around the ring in bathing suits straight out of 1955.

Again, feel free to email me with your own thoughts and views, and don’t forget that Blood on the Canvas is on Facebook.

See you at ringside,