Tonight will Be undeniable
I will keep this simple and let the video do the talking for me, though the breaking news might be a little distracting for us. It shouldn't take away from the fact that Wrestlemania Night Two is still happening tonight. Since his return last year the conversation has existed will Cody be the one to dethrone Roman Reigns. I do have to ask if not Cody then who will be the one to dethrone Roman? Cody proved himself last year against Seth Rollins in that Hell in a Cell Match. Tonight it will be clear that Cody Rhodes will officially move from Undesirable to Un God Damn Deniable
Since the start of 2023 one shadow has revolved around WWE and that shadow was the possibility of the company being sold. Prior to his return Vince McMahon made it clear he was returning to help facilitate a potential sale and in the negotiations of the media rights contracts. Those reports have spurred a lot of news and even more questions, for example what WWE would be like not run by a McMahon. Well in twenty four hours we may have our answer as the sale seems to be almost completed!! According to CNBC.com
"A deal could be announced as soon as Monday. UFC and WWE are expected to form a new publicly traded company as part of the agreement, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the confidential nature of the discussions."
"Endeavor is slated to own 51% of the new combat sports and entertainment company, while WWE shareholders would get 49%, according to the people. The Endeavor deal gives WWE an enterprise value of $9.3 billion, they said.Emanuel is expected to act as chief executive of both Endeavor and the new company. McMahon, likewise, is expected to be executive chairman, while Endeavor President Mark Shapiro will also work in the same role at the new company. Dana White will remain as president of UFC, while WWE CEO Nick Khan will serve as president of the wrestling business."
It is in fact intriguing that Endeavor, the current parent company of UFC, seem like the potential winners of the WWE sweepstakes. Since taking full ownership of UFC in 2021 Endeavor has continued to grow the UFC reaching 1.3 billion in revenue last year. WWE would be in capable hands as both Nick and Vince would be in control but not with the same power. Ari clearly knows enough to allow for the smoothest transition you need to keep the previous regime in control. The only question would Ari be able to keep Vince McMahon under control??
Royal Rumble 1997 Thoughts
Might be a little rusty as it's been a while or it feels like it's been a while since I've written much on the site. Either way though it's Royal Rumble season which means I had to spend sometime watching a Rumble from the past. This year I chose the Royal Rumble from 1997 and boy was it something else. One of the main things I noticed was the fact that it was a very silent crowd and a lot of that could've been chalked up to the Alamo Dome being a very large building, but it was the between time. This Royal Rumble falls in a time where WWE isn't the hottest company in the world and is actually about a month away from the lowest rated Raw in company history which would take place overseas.
Audio issues early in the match left you wondering what was happening as superstars would just appear and there really wasn't much from the fans until Ahmed Johnson appeared with an exceptionally large 2 x 4 to attack Faarooq. Even with an in fusion of AAA stars including Latin Lover, Mil Mascaras and Cibernetico it didn't drum up a reaction as I believe most WWE fans wouldn't have known who these guy were or why they should care about them. One takeaway is when Mil Mascaras eliminated himself by jumping off the top to the floor technically not going over the top rope so even though his feet hit the floor he shouldn't be eliminated.
The amount of Royal Rumble debuts within the match should how deep the transition was the company was going through at the time. For those who might not know 1997 Royal Rumble was actually Goldust's first Royal Rumble. I also couldn't help but notice the amount of praise that Vince was heaping on Rocky Maivia upon him entering the match. There was also a nice mixture of surprise performances and expected solid performances based on knowing history. Terry Funk had the most surprising performance being in the ring for a lot long then I would've expected especially being the hometown hero. The expected solid performances came from The Rock, Austin and Mankind as I would say think about the upcoming year.
Earlier this week it was reported that Vince McMahon returned to WWE's board of directors after being removed from power over the summer. Vince alongside George Barrios and Michelle Wilson returned to WWE as members of the board of directors. According to the various reports Vince made a plea to return to WWE to assist with the eventual media rights agreements and a potential sale. It isn't the first time that a conversation about WWE being up for sale has boiled to the forefront of the news cycle.
This honestly is the first that I can remember potential suitors being actually discussed and a possibility of an actual sale going through. WWE has always been a company owned by the McMahon family and the idea of the company not being owned by the family would be surreal. It is in this video where I break down the potential suitors for WWE and the likely nature of each possibly purchasing WWE. To think a sale could happen within the next three to six months is absolutely surreal.
A lot has changed since Triple H took control of WWE creative. Including a number of former stars have returned to the company thanks to Triple H correcting the mistakes made by Vince McMahon. There were some questions for the future of certain stars within the company that were among Vince's go to members of the roster. Triple H is trying to slowly recreate WWE and thus far is doing a very spectacular job of recreating the WWE in the image that he was trying to create on a smaller scale with NXT.
On Raw last week Lashley was surprised by a returning Brock Lesnar who indirectly cost him his United States Championship. This week Lashley went on the offensive and this is the first time we've seen someone dominate Brock Lesnar like this since his feud with the Undertaker a few years back. I know this match is leading to a meeting at Crown Jewel next month and thus far keeping Lashley as a threat to Brock has gone well which is something they need to do going toward Saudi Arabia. For me though seeing Brock work someone else other than Roman Reigns is a positive in itself.
Seeing Miz finally get a measure of revenge on the mysterious Dexter Lumis is a positive and unexpected way to keep the feud going without having the two in the ring. Thus far the mind games have been a go to for the mysterious Dexter who hasn't been in the ring since his return to the company. My only question is if he doesn't have an official WWE contract then why is he entering from the entrance ramp and not from the crowd or under the ring.
Last note is I like the inclusion of NXT stars looking to the main roster for help as it adds an unexpected wrinkle to the feuds on the white and gold brand. Also it allows names like Cora Jade, Cameron Grimes and others to be seen on the main roster before they officially make the move from NXT. I do think that some of the problem in the past was assuming that everyone would know the NXT star right from the start which isn't the case as not everyone watches NXT. Small windows like this are a great way to allow WWE to peak the curiosity of the fans to find more about the members of NXT.
Adios Max Dupri..... Yeah
A number of fans have been clamoring for the return of one of the most charismatic members of the WWE roster. One of the many names that stuck out from the outset after NXT changed to NXT 2.0 was the man LA Knight. Fans were excited though when the veteran was brought to the main roster only for the excitement to be cut when his name was changed to Max Dupri. The Maximum Male Model gimmick isn't a horrible gimmick as it has given both Mansoor and Mace new life and allowed both men to show there entertaining side.
Last week on Smackdown we saw it happen!! For weeks it seemed like Maxine Dupri would be taking over control of the faction from her brother Max. It seemed as though we were seeing Max slowly evolving back into his former persona. Since Triple H took over control of creative a few months ago he has been slowly correcting the mistakes his father in-law had put in place including changing LA Knight. Age is a factor for LA Knight, but if the current ageless roster is anything to keep in mind then we might be seeing one of the future headliners take his career by the horns. Let me talk to ya.... Yeah..... Yeah!!
Presentation is Key
One name has been looming no pun intended since the creative change over the summer and that man is Dexter Lumis. The former NXT star made his main roster debut a few months ago and since then has seemingly taken to a major interest in mind games with The Miz and now Tomasso Ciampa as well if last Monday is any indication. Lumis has been presented since his return as someone to be feared and someone who acts without much thought. Before his departure from NXT one half of the former InDex had been one of the most unpredictable stars on the roster. On the main roster though I think he has taken the unpredictability to a whole other level.
As often as I've preached, the importance of long term booking the art or act of presenting stars in a certain way is just as important. Recent articles have been focused on the Judgement Day and the need for the stable to be presented as winners if the company wants any hope of Rey vs Dominik being something people care about. I still believe that Dominik should be the one in the team so he can continue to work in the ring or at least put him to work on Main Event or something. The reason I bring up Judgement Day though is Dexter Lumis has been presented in such a way that the fans have learned and now are reacting. Lumis should be the example that the company follows with as the creative direction continues to change.
In my opinion, continuing to build this slowly is the ideal way to go as there is no reason to rush into a match. For example, Miz can contend that he will be hiding in an undisclosed location until the Lumis problem is taken care of which allows Ciampa to try and handle it. Could also have Ciampa with Miz for a few weeks in the undisclosed location until Ciampa wants to fight. All the options the company has for this feud makes this one of the most intriguing and underrated current feuds in the wrestling world.
Judgment Time Decision
Things have taken an interesting turn for the Judgment Day and momentum seems to be tracking in the right direction. Based on his booking in NXT under Triple H it's clear that Finn Balor is looked at as a potential top star. Many times in the past I have referenced the importance of long term planning and it seems likely that Triple H is developing his own long term plan. Adding Dom to the faction gave them a different type of momentum and new type of heat that they can build on. I mentioned in a past article about how important momentum would be for the faction now with Dom as a member.
This week on Raw we saw an in ring segment including Balor, Priest and Riddle. However, the entire faction needs to keep building momentum and being looked at as more of a threat to be looked at in the same regard as Matt Riddle. It seems possible that if there is a future they could be looking for ways to keep Judgment Day busy and in front of the camera, but also bring Dominik forward. I do still believe that Dom's best bet would be teaming with Priest for the time being while Balor would be the singles star and the final boss of the faction.
In my opinion, the booking of the Judgment Day faction has been subpar to this point. It can be changed and made better and it will be made better based on recent events. There is money to be made with Finn as the leader of a stable and top heel on the main roster. It's something we've never gotten the chance to see on the main roster, but Finn as a top level talent is something that NXT has had the pleasure to see. Balor leading the Judgment Day into a feud against Riddle would be an ideal way to keep the stable's momentum moving forward or Lashley would be another ideal candidate. Either way it's decision time for the Judgement Day and Triple H needs to pick a direction.
The big surprise from earlier in the year was seeing Edge attempt a heel turn to create a darker character alongside a faction. It was clear though that the faction wasn't working and Edge would soon be replaced by Finn Balor who would turn heel joining Damien Priest & Rhea Ripley. For the last few months Judgement Day has been in a heated rivalry with The Mysterio's and Edge. This past weekend in Cardiff saw Edge and Rey Mysterio reunite after nearly twenty years teaming against Judgement Day. The Judgement Day got the last laugh after the match when Dominik turned on Edge and his father.
The main problem with the Judgement Day is that they have had a tough time keeping momentum steady or gaining any steady traction. Following this weeks Raw and what seemed like the Judgement Day taking out Edge they need to gain some wins and get traction going. Especially considering Dom's heel turn and needing to build him up for the eventual match with his father, but before then he needs wins. Balor as the leader should be a featured talent and could be a top heel if given the chance to prove himself over again then he could be an asset. The best way to proceed for the company would be splitting the championships again one for each show this way someone like Finn Balor could be a featured heel challenging for the World Title.
Another idea would be Finn Balor dropping the challenge on Lashley if it's time for him to move on from The Miz. Until the World Championship is split once again the United States Championship should be the featured championship on Raw. Especially considering how well Lashley has been booked as the champion it would only help Balor, but he needs wins and some momentum before challenging anyone of prominence. In my opinion, Balor being the top singles star in the faction would leave Dom and Priest as the tandem challenging teams in the tag division. Placing Dom in a team would allow breathing room for the eventual match with his dad and take some pressure off of him to allow him to create a new character without having the spotlight. Ripley has been absent from the Women's division for long and I'd keep it that way for now as it would mean a bit more when they move her back in. The main thing Judgement Day needs is to be booked as if they were Balor's stable in NXT and not on the main roster.
The Clash is Coming
Though it seems as though other matches may likely be added to the card ahead of Saturday as there are currently only six matches set for the event. It is also possible that there will not be any other matches added and the matches that are announced could be getting a ton of time. This would be the first official premium event under the creative direction of Triple H. Remember normally on the original NXT Takeover events each match especially the major matches were given a ton of time to really put on display why they are the featured matches.
An NXT inclusion is always a possibility to try and elevate the youngsters on the developmental brand. Planning and placement will really put on display the plan for the rest of the year and I expect some unexpected matches to get real time to be on display and correct more of the past damage. One name missing from the card that has been busy on Raw is United States Champion Bobby Lashley. Lashley has been busy with Miz, Ciampa, and AJ Styles in recent weeks so it could be expected to see the United States Champion featured on the card.
Honestly, I can't pinpoint one or two stars that will be elevated or are expected to put in a career making performance. It is expected that Triple H will look to elevate and or correct the career path of individuals that suffered under Vince McMahon. Riddle has been hitting his strides in recent weeks and is one many helping to create a bit more depth on top for WWE in the coming year. Based on his reign as UK Champion Gunther has the track record to become the most dominant Intercontinental Champion in recent memory and I believe Hunter will be looking to that reasonable plan. Especially the draw of Pete Dunne floating in the background as a viable challenger for Gunther if things continue with Sheamus.
Two of the most talked about matches on the card are the Undisputed Universal Championship contest with Roman Reigns defending against Drew McIntyre. The other match is Bayley, Dakota Kai, Io Sky up against Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss. Expect the spotlight to be turned up bright on this match and the biggest question will be answered will Drew McIntyre finally be the one to dethrone Roman Reigns.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present
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