I have been a fan of pro-wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment for the last twenty two years and even though I may not watch as much any more, that doesn't change about the fact that I will always love pro-wrestling. My earliest memory as a child was watching Road Wild 1998 in my living room with my family. Since then I have grown to have a vast amount of knowledge of pro-wrestling, and thus I have formed my own opinion of the proper way to book wrestling. In my opinion, wrestling showed always been portrayed as real as possible to avoid insulting the audience. Most wrestling fans know about the secrets of wrestling and don't need to be reminded about what happens behind the scene at all as most fans don't care. The fans care more about what they see on camera and most promotions need to focus on putting together compelling programming instead of throwing inside jokes or winks and nods to "smarks."
One criticism that holds precedent of WWE programming over everything else in my opinion is that WWE doesn't know how to give reasons to why two people are feuding. They don't like spending any extra time to explain why we should care about a feud or a new wrestler or anything of that nature. The fact is exposition is needed in wrestling to give the fans a reason to care about what they are watching and emotionally invest in the wrestlers. The WWE has one of the best if not the best production team in wrestling and they don't spend nearly enough time taking advantage of that perk they have to introduce new superstars.
Mainly the company should've spent a crazy amount of time investing in the exposition of Retribution giving us a reason to invest in these new stars. A number of these stars have been fixtures of NXT programming for over a year or more and yet there has been no explanation to why they chose the names they did or why they arrived in WWE. The main question is why they need to seek Retribution on WWE and the talent suddenly. It would've made more sense if they included talent that had gotten released earlier this year, because they would have a reason to seek Retribution rather then talent from the NXT brand.
It has seemed like WWE is throwing things at the wall to see what sticks instead of taking time and investing real time into developing meaningful stories, feuds and characters for talent. I know we are currently in an unprecedented situation, but this doesn't mean that WWE couldn't spend time filming vignettes for new talent, interviews to give talent more depth, or coming up with meaningful and logical ways to use talent in the best way possible. They haven't been which is extremely puzzling to me as they have nothing, but time to be able to do exactly what I just mentioned. But they haven't at all and it's extremely puzzling to me and a waste.
Upon his return to the company at Summerslam we've seen a different side of the former "Big Dog" a more aggressive side of Roman Reigns has finally been given to us. Led by Paul Heyman has given him a new edge and a reason for fans to hate the new side of Roman instead of embracing the side we've been waiting for years. This move is clearly a sign of desperation for the WWE due to the dropping ratings especially considering Roman is on Smackdown and helping a Fox television show gain a ratings bump.
I have already voiced my opinion about Roman winning the Universal Championship even though it helps legitimize his heel turn and help it gain some credibility. Roman Reigns needs to establish himself as a heel turn and a top star again the only way to do that is to prove his attitude has changed. A dangerous, self centered, evil side of Roman needs to be the center point of Smackdown every week. This needs to start with his next feud coming up at Clash of Champions.
Shockingly, Jey Uso won a #1 contender match on Smackdown to earn a shot against Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions. Three years ago, at Backlash we were shocked to see Jinder Mahal challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship and this is a similar situation, but there is no doubt that Jey isn't going to a run with the gold and the family affair will be used to develop this evil side of Roman Reigns. Roman needs to establish himself and taking out Jey Uso would be a perfect fit to help establish the dominate side of Roman and plant the seeds for a future feud with Bray Wyatt still happening in the future. Bray has unfinished business with Roman and will be on chase having him save Jey to help change the perception of both men.
At this point Roman Reigns had been missing since the week before Wrestlemania due to concerns around the ongoing pandemic. With the stress and uncertainty that had been present during Wrestlemania season it was unclear when Roman would possibly return to programming. It was unfair to assume that we could possibly know when Roman would be returning to the company as we didn't know when the pandemic would be under control to point where could even consider doing so. In his absence Braun Strowman took the lead and became the unexpected Universal Champion defeating Goldberg.
At Summerslam the rivalry came to ahead between The Fiend and Braun Strowman it finally happened after being robbed of the gold by Goldberg his title is back. The Fiend is once again Universal Champion and is the leader of the Smackdown brand. In my opinion, now WWE needs to keep rebuilding him and not make the same mistake twice don't f** up again, because Bray Wyatt can't handle another misstep. Goldberg's loss set him back a few months and he has finally rehab himself to solid ground, but it can all evaporate just as quick. Defeating Cena at Wrestlemania helped reset The Fiend and now winning back the title undid the past missteps, but now they have to continue on this road and not switch back to make him chase again. Roman might be back, but really who knows if he is staying or just has returned to give The Fiend a deserving rub and then he can disappear once more. I guess we will have to wait and see what comes next on Smackdown for Roman Reigns and The Fiend.
A couple of weeks ago at this point Adam Cole appeared on Pat Mcaffe's talk show and things got interesting relatively quick. Mcaffe would begin to express his opinion on how much Cole's record setting title reign was reliant on his association with the Undisputed Era. After making some quips about his height as well Cole would storm out of the show breaking some equipment in the process leading to what might've still be a real altercation between Cole and Mcaffe. Things would continue to build up with Mcafee being invited to NXT as a way to quell any ill will between Cole and Mcaffe in a professional manner.
Everything seemed to be fine, but then Mcafee would again start taking shots at Adam Cole specifically about his reliance on Undisputed Era and his height. Pat said on commentary that he respects the other members of Undisputed Era outside of Adam Cole. Things would escalate from there leading to one of the better heel turns and in my opinion one of the best things WWE has done in a long time, because it felt real. Mcafee is training to get in the ring with legend Rip Rogers and it seems that is where we are heading at this point and it seems like a face turn for at least Adam Cole is in the cards while we build. Take a look for yourself at Pat Mcafee turning heel!!! Also known as effectively using a non wrestler to the best of their ability!
I have really fallen out of favor with wrestling in recent months not where I don't still love it, but it is more where I'm tired of waiting for things to change and wasting my time watching the show. I think the best comparison I can make is that WWE hit a 1.9 rating on the March 3, 1997 edition of Monday Night Raw. This was the Raw that turned everything around for the company when they finally decided to turn the corner creatively toward an "Era of Attitude."
The most recent episode of Raw hit 1.7 million viewers and even though that was higher then the week before it was one of the lowest in recent memory. I can't answer many of the questions in this article alone, because there are just way to many questions to answer in the same article. Can probably write a book on how many problems there are with WWE today and the biggest problem facing the company is that new problems keep popping up before they have a chance to solve the old problems.
Yes! Are there easy fixes? Of course should the company be looking for those fixes? Well no, but the real question is will they be looking for those types of fixes, let me ask this is WWE right? It would be more surprising at this point if they try to actually fix any problem the right way. The right way for them to try and fix the problem is by sitting down and actually taking the time to figure out the best plan of action for the company to go and take the time to put those plans into place. It's like I've heard from some old school wrestling personalities "I can't make you money tomorrow, but in six months we will have a chance to be making money." Basically in it's truest form wrestling takes time to develop, it takes time for the wrestlers to get over and build a sense of attachment with viewing audience, it takes time for a story line to get over or not. It's simple really, but WWE has lost sight of how important exposition is to wrestling allowing fans to know clearly who to get behind and invest in over time.
The reality is that WWE has been placing band aids on a crumbling system for years and Vince has been resist to admit that either creative needs to change or he does. Vince isn't out of touch, it's that he's trying to do to much and not letting his employees do what they were hired to do. Basically, if Vince was a coach in baseball how he's running WWE would like him telling a player the exact way he wants them to swing a bat or through a ball. Vince has always been crazy, but he use to be able to delegate to others around him that he could trust. I can keep talking about Vince or the problems facing WWE for hours, but I don't want to keep talking to long so let's save that for next time.
Recently I heard that number one Summerslam is still up in the air as Vince had wanted fans to be back in the crowd for the biggest party of the summer. However, that doesn't seem like something plausible at this point due to the recent outbreak. I also believe that due to the recent issues WWE has had dealing with the current situation they should step back from planning big events and figure out the right now.
Either way though Brock Lesnar is rumored to be challenging Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Summerslam. Two ways this doesn't happen though is if Summerslam is pushed back or if Brock is unable to enter the USA. For those unaware Brock has been a Canadian resident for a few years at this point and with the current situation it has made traveling between countries a very complicated situation.
At this point, should Brock be unable to make Summerslam the WWE has a replacement in place for Lesnar in Randy Orton. Initial plans penciled him in for another match with Edge at Summerslam but that changed when Edge got injured. Orton has had a bit of a resurgence in 2020 and could make for a credible opponent for McIntyre on the large scale and I'd point out I'd rather Orton take the belt then Lesnar take it again. It is likely we will get our answer of his opponent following Extreme Rules and the end of his feud with Dolph Ziggler. I'd rather see Brock stay off television and let Orton take the spot, but they are desperate and even though Brock may help one week it won't change much.
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
I agree with what I read on CBS Sports predictions so I will just take what they said "Sheamus picks up the win on Sunday, and with Extreme Rules tentatively scheduled as the next PPV on the calendar, Hardy will emerge victorious in the feud in some sort of gimmick match." I don't like this feud, because I think that they could've put more thought into it just like I could've with this prediction.
WWE United States Championship:
(c) Apollo Crews vs Andrade
It was a big surprise that Apollo finally was given an opportunity to shine with the United States title and I think that they need time to rebuild his credibility to give him something to fall back on when he no longer has the title. With that being said Andrade can take a loss and be fine, but Apollo really can't in the same vain. Apollo takes the win and moves on from Andrade.
Women's Tag Team Championship: (c) Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs The IIconics
The only thing that makes logical sense is keeping the titles on Banks and Bayley to allow them to remain on television and be a part of the eventual feud between Banks and Bayley. Plus the two women never really got a fair reign with the titles the first time around. Banks and Bayley retain.
WWE Women's Championship:
(c) Asuka vs Nia Jax
I'll keep it simple Asuka is extremely entertaining and I wouldn't take the title off her right now. Asuka retains the title.
Universal Championship Match:
(c) Braun Strowman vs The Miz and John Morrison
I don't really understand the logic of this match, because if Strowman defeats both Miz and Morrison it will do some damage to the two former tag team champions. Even if it is just a placeholder feud it would've been better served as Miz or Morrison vs Strowman not both men or at least making it a triple threat match instead to drive up the interest. Strowman wins tonight!
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Lashley
Even though is nothing more then a placeholder feud for McIntyre to waist some time I'm more intrigued by this one then most anything on the card. I think there is more to build up with a partnership between Lashley and MVP to maybe have a rematch down the line with Drew, but pulling the trigger now would be to soon and make little sense.
Edge vs Randy Orton
In my opinion, this feud should've ended at Wrestlemania, because running a feud like this too long will make it loose the same tension it had when it began. There is no need for another match to happen especially with them using the worst possible tagline imaginable. It's called "The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever" it's a f***** wrestling show between two guys who have never been known to have great "wrestling" matches. Just let them fight with no freaking tagline it's unneeded. Plus fans want to see dream matches with Edge due to many questioning how many years he will remain active. AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, or having him elevate some younger stars into the main event like Andrade. Edge wins with the hope of them ending this unneeded rivalry.
On Sunday night the NXT brand wrote another chapter in it's tremendous legacy of upstaging the main roster and it was no different this time. In Your House use to be the go to brand name for WWF PPV, but was dropped back after ST. Valentines Massacre in February 1999. However, the WWE finally cycled back to the historical event in the year that marks 25 years since it's debut. Now it's unclear at this point if In Your House will be a yearly event for NXT, but if this year is any indication it will be welcome addition.
On Sunday we saw the much anticipated debut of Karrion Kross who collided with NXT stalwart Tommaso Ciampa. A lot has been made of Kross the exceptions that management have for him so a feud with Ciampa this early isn't a shock. With an apparent emphatic win against the former champion it is a new look for NXT but a massive first victory for the new monster in NXT. For once we could see someone who didn't get a chance to reach their potential elsewhere find it in WWE.
As for the main event which saw the Women's Division given center stage and Charlotte defend the NXT Women's championship. Flair holding the NXT title was an interesting break from the normal down on the black and yellow brand, but now it's time shift back to those who call NXT home. Also it might be time for Charlotte to head back to the main roster. The match proved exactly why the WWE's women's division is a step ahead of most every division in american wrestling as far as in ring competition. It is indeed a breath of fresh air seeing Io Shari get her shot to lead the women's division and with likely feud with Ripley now in the cards it will be more interesting the next few months in NXT.
The series is back with another person that had waited till later on in his career and maybe was a little bit past his prime. Steve Williams would debut in WWE in late 1997 as a member of the failure of a Brawl for it All. Around a year before that another legendary figure from Japan would finally make the jump to the WWE this time from WCW. At first Vader's career really struggled to take off in America and really didn't find his place in wrestling until he got the chance to go to Japan. In Japan, Vader would become a top box office draw and would eventually move back to America to join WCW and would spend the later half of his prime as a box office draw in WCW.
Even though WCW prior to the arrival of Hulk Hogan didn't have the same type of notoriety as they would, but Vader was one of the top stars in the pre-Hogan WCW. Around the time of Hogan's arrival it was when Vader run in WCW was winding down. The reality is at the time a five year run in one place was still extremely rare especially with Vader staying as a heel for his entire run in WCW. Vader would leave WCW in late summer 1995 prior to the start of Monday Nitro and would eventually sign with WWE.
Vader would debut as a member of the Royal Rumble and would then attack President Monsoon the next night on Raw which was rare at the time, because nobody laid hands on Gorilla Monsoon. Vader at the time needed surgery so they needed to write him off for a time which was unfortunate, but something that needed to be done at the time. A lot has been made over the years out of the eventual feud between Vader and Shawn Michaels and I will not dig deep into this part of Vader's career. Overall Vader's career in WWE would hit a wall after an incident in Kuwait due to getting arrested for beating up a news reporter who asked if wrestling was fake. Even though at the time in 1998, Vader was approaching the twilight of his career as he was in his early 40's, his body was wearing down, and had experienced weight gain.
In my opinion, Vader was a victim of circumstance from the very start of his stint in WWE and if his run started a little differently. I'm not sure if they knew about Vader's need for surgery from the start of his signing with the company then I wonder exactly why they didn't chose to hold off his debut until after his needed surgery was completed. Vader was out of his prime by the time he moved to WWE and in reality his in ring style didn't really fit the WWE style, because he was more snug in the ring. I do think that there was still drawing power for Vader early on in his run with WWE, but the mystique would've disappeared eventually anyway. I just don't think it would've happened as quick had they held off his debut or done things a little differently from the start, I just don't know how Vince didn't see money in Vader and did with some of his other experiments at the time.
A few weeks ago one of the bigger missteps from the WWE had taken place with them leaving Drew Gulak behind even though he had been getting a push teaming with Daniel Bryan. According to various sources Drew Gulak thought that he had earned a raise due to his status in the company changing and becoming more valuable to the WWE. However, there is no doubting that this isn't the right time to be asking for a raise even if you deserve it. Gulak was very early on in his push and even though he was in a better more stable position in the company it was a little too soon.
Rumor has it at this point that Drew Gulak has not only resigned with WWE, but earned his multi-year contract. Taken from an article on the Bleacher Report: "Meltzer added that other promoters attempted to contact Gulak during the brief period of time that he was a free agent, but he "clearly had a destination" in WWE."
I more then once questioned how Gulak and WWE couldn't have come to a compromise to keep Drew within the company and prevent him from leaving for greener pastures. Gulak has finally been able to show his potential, but it was derailed by something that was preventable. If the company was smart then they would be using his short departure as a part of a story line especially if it means him turning heel on Daniel Bryan eventually.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present