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.
In a shocking move Drew Gulak is no longer a member of the WWE roster and there seems to be a simple reason for it. For anyone that hasn't been paying attention to WWE in recent months Drew had been working Daniel Bryan and seemed to finally be getting a much deserved push. Drew actually had just fought Bryan in a solid contest on Smackdown three days ago and still got his walking papers. First off WWE didn't release him his contract expired and the company failed to resign him.
I have praised Drew in the past as an underrated performer who really stuck out from the pack during his stay in Combat Zone Wrestling. Originally signed to be a member of the cruiserweight division in 2016, it took Drew a few years to even get a shot to stick out, and his time as cruiserweight champion gave us a taste of what he could do in the spotlight. Last year we got our first taste of Drew getting a chance to shine on a brand that matters when he started feuding with Daniel Bryan. In a fresh take on long standing concept Gulak actually joined Bryan and it seemed that WWE had a long term plan for both Bryan and Gulak which could've led to Gulak being the one to retire Daniel in the future.
According to Dave Meltzer the reason for Gulak's contract expiring is simply due to Drew thinking he was due a raise and WWE not wanting to give him one. With the current situation troubling society WWE will not be giving talent a raise and they pulled his contract. I understand the WWE's perspective in this uncertain situation they can't exactly toss money around, but I feel like this situation could've been handled a little better. If I had to guess Drew didn't want to leave and would've been willing to compromise or at least was open to some sort of negotiating. Another bad step by WWE in a time of constant issues for WWE.
Money in the Bank 2020
Jeff Hardy vs Cesaro
MVP vs R-Truth
A random match that feels like something designed to help MVP and is more or less PPV filler will be treated like that here. All I will say is MVP wins.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships:
(c) New Day vs The Miz & John Morrison vs The Forgotten Sons vs Lucha House Party
After a shock win against the tag team champions the Forgotten Sons have found their way into the title picture very early on in their main roster run. Looking at it from that perspective I think that the Forgotten Sons can take the fall in the match. Right now is the best time for the WWE to take a test run with someone unexpected, because nobody is at the show and they need a new direction to peak interest. The Lucha House Party are my pick to get the win here, because they need it the most.
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Bayley vs Tamina
A test for Tamina who has never been in this type of position before in her career so this is a first time for her. Bayley has woken up to a degree since Wrestlemania and it seems like they planted seeds for a real feud between Banks and Bayley and they finally need to stay the course. Bayley will keep the gold tonight!
(c) Braun Strowman vs Bray Wyatt
It is still strange seeing Strowman with the Universal Championship after his shock win at Wrestlemania. I'm happy that they finally gave him a shot and like I mentioned with the Tag Title match this is the perfect time for that with Strowman to take the lead, because it will show if he can handle the pressure of being on top. Wyatt has recovered a lot of the momentum he lost back in February after losing to Goldberg in Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if Wyatt needs the win here or if they could get another match out of this feud without giving up on the feud this early. Considering there is more meat on the bone it is obvious to me that Strowman gets the victory tonight.
(c) Drew McIntyre vs Seth Rollins
Much like Strowman it is still strange knowing that McIntyre is WWE Champion and has done a solid job so far as champion. I was surprised to see Rollins jump into the title picture this soon, but I guess with the current situation they wanted to try jolt energy right from the start with this feud and not wait for it. McIntyre will not drop the title yet it is too soon unless they want to put him back on the chase for the gold against Rollins, but I don't think it's the right time for that. McIntyre wins tonight!
Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Nia Jax vs. Asuka vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Lacey Evans vs. Carmella vs. Dana Brooke
I'm gonna make this pretty easy and say that I never have liked matches with too many on screen at one time and I've heard that both Ladder matches will happen at once I have zero interest in that aspect of this years event. I do have interest in seeing it happen at WWE headquarters, but they should take place individually not together. It is unfair to the competitors to have the match happen together and I really hope that WWE has changed their minds on that front. After losing at Wrestlemania to Becky Lynch it is clear that Shayna Baszler is the logical choice to get the win tonight and get her revenge on Becky.
Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match: AJ Styles vs. Aleister Black vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Otis vs. King Corbin
Copy and paste what I said above about the ladder match down here to, because it will it uninteresting and hard to follow if both matches happen at once. I don't know how I feel about it happening at the Headquarters, but they do have my interest and intrigue. This is the right chance for them to take a chance on someone new and give them a shot which only leaves Otis or Aleister Black as possible winners which aren't bad choices. Otis has made his case recently by being someone the people care about and have gotten behind, but Black is almost the opposite and needs a little oof behind him to really take the next step. With sticking with the same logic I've been using so far I will select Black as my choice to win Money in the Bank this year.
I will speak on what happened yesterday at some point, but now isn't that point and I wanted to give the tweets the opportunity to show how much emotion was in the air yesterday. It is hard to put into words the gravity of what happened yesterday and what could still be coming it is clear that the WWE will have to work very hard to come back from this and rehab their public imagine. Reality is we should be shifting our attentions to the show of solidarity among the wrestlers to their friends and co-workers.
Though we could be looking at the possibilities for the wrestlers that did get let go and talk about where they could end up. Eventually that will be where our attention shifts, but at this moment it is too soon to talk about. It is clear though that this might not be the last time we are talking about cuts, and the other wrestling companies will need to keep their eyes open to see which talent would best fit into their roster as WWE decides when enough is enough. Best of luck to all of the employees that lost their jobs yesterday and I hope that you will not be unemployed for long in this time of uncertainty.
I don't normally do this, but I had thoughts on the situation and wanted to share them with y'all, but at this point it doesn't seem like it will be happening. At one point last week it seemed possible that they would be taking a break, but if Wrestlemania proved anything Vince doesn't want to cave in if he find a way to keep going. According to a report (can be found here) WWE will be going on as planed with this week's episode of Smackdown Live on Friday and Raw on Monday even with the current situation going on. It is unclear if they will be taping somewhere else other than Florida, but the assumption is that it will continue to held at the Performance Center in Orlando some how.
In my opinion, it seems more like WWE doesn't want to admit that they made a mistake by not taping anything extra after this week's Raw even though they have archived footage they could air instead or a special episode. Taping once restrictions were put in place is a step the WWE should've taken and then they could've taken a break. Using logic though it should've been obvious even with everything going on that if anyone would figure out a way to avoid a break it would be Vince and his stubborn mind.
In May 1998, the WWF signed one of the toughest men in the wrestling world at the behest of Jim Ross. Prior to the upcoming Brawl for All tournament the WWF signed "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to compete in the tournament. Williams had debuted in wresting in 1982 for "Cowboy" Bill Watts in Mid-South Wrestling. Prior to training to wrestle, "Doc" played Football both in college at Oklahoma University and for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL. Williams was actually the teammate of NFL Hall of Famer Herschel Walker.
It didn't take "Doc" long to develop a reputation in wrestling as a tough guy and a legitimate athlete. From the very beginning Bill Watts presented Williams as a local hero in Oklahoma which wasn't hard remember how much people love their college football. Williams would carve out a solid career in Mid South and later UWF, but would also start touring in All Japan Pro-Wrestling where he would team with Terry Gordy. In Japan, Williams would become not only a main event star, but in some cases a legend on the same level of his Miracle Violence Connection tag partner Gordy.
However, as everyone knows it doesn't matter what you do outside WWE it matter what you can accomplish inside WWE. Even with his reputation and seemingly being someone who fit perfectly in "Attitude Era" WWE, but we'd be wrong. It seems that for the most part a poorly timed injury and never really being able to regain his momentum was the culprit in this case. The main reason "Doc" was booked so differently in Japan to WWE is in my book the miles on his body caught up to him and couldn't be the tough guy anymore.
Overall had "Doc" come to WWE right after Universal Wrestling was sold to Crockett then he would've still been in his prime instead of in decline when he was on the big stage. I don't doubt that "Doc" could've still fought hard when he was in WWE, but I also think he had lost a step or two by the time he found his way into Vince's playground. It is fun to think though about what could've happened had somethings change a little bit.
The biggest takeaway from Elimination Chamber is that main roster newbie Shayna Baszler saw herself take the spotlight in the closing moments of the PPV. Baszler is now the #1 contender to fight Becky Lynch at Wrestlemania for Raw Women's Championship. Baszler had debuted about a month or so ago and from the very beginning has had her eyes on Becky Lynch, and now they are on a collision course. Baszler was once the leader of NXT and even though very few talent have succeed on the main roster, but it seems like it's so far so good for the Queen of Spades.
Another slick surprise was the ending of the handicap match between Sami, Nakamura, Cesaro, and Strowman. To this point Sami Zayn has never held championship gold on the main roster, but in a surprise Zayn was the one to score the pin on Braun to capture the championship. After all this time it is rewarding to finally see Sami win gold in WWE. Let's hope they let him have a decent run with the former workhorse championship.
The last takeaway would be the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match for the tag team gold. I always question when the tag team champions retain the titles in a match like this, because they defeated every team in the division. Even though Miz and Morrison may not have defeated everyone in the match it seems more likely that Ziggler/Roode and Heavy Machinery will have a match at Wrestlemania then Miz & Morrison through the ongoing feud the teams have developing. The only thing I see happening is Miz and Morrison being added to the feud and setting up a Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the Smackdown Tag Titles at Mania to include the champions in the ongoing rivalry and the reward for whoever wins the match.
None of us know what the future holds or when Vince will finally be able to step back and let someone else take the reigns of WWE, even on a trail run. I know that George Barrios and Michelle Wilson leaving was a big story on the business side, but it didn't effect the wrestling side of things. Barrios and Wilson were both well respected executives, and them leaving was a shock. In my opinion, saying that WWE doesn't have a plan once Vince steps back would be true to a point, but not completely true.
As I mentioned in Part 2 the WWE has plenty of people within the four walls to handle the wrestling portion of the promotion when the time comes. I believe that Stephanie can remain in her position and Shane takes control leaving Triple H in the position he already has in talent development. I know that Wall Street may have an issue with Shane, Stephanie, or Triple H taking power when Vince steps away, but they have the proven track record in the wrestling industry and that's the part that should matter not having a background in business.
I know that it might not make a ton of sense, but the wrestling business isn't like most other industries and having a background in business might help in the board room, handle stock holders, and business agreements, but it doesn't teach you how to run a wrestling company. The only way to do that is to be in wrestling and learn from your mistakes, and having been able to learn from some of the greatest minds in history gives said person a great starting point. This is the opportunity that was afforded to Shane, Stephanie and Triple H as they've been able to learn from Vince, Pat Patterson, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Heyman, Jim Ross, and various others.
Overall the best choice for WWE is to keep with what has worked in the past and that Vince passing the company down to the next generation and continuing the McMahon legacy, because they can handle it. Triple H, Shane, and Stephanie deserve a chance to prove the critics wrong and their supporters right by taking control of WWE and making all the more successful. The best decision is to move them up and allow them to surround themselves with business minded people that would help handle the non wrestling part of the business to allow the McMahon's to focus on the wrestling side of things. Seems simple in my mind, but the only that is clear is that any change will not be taking place until Vince McMahon decides it's time to step back and be a mentor or retire.
I know there has been a bit of time between this part and part 1 (which can be found here), but it's time to continue down this road that was brought up in articles after George Barrios & Michelle Wilson were let go from WWE. Specifically the articles stated that with those departures official WWE now had no plan in place for after Vince retires or passes away. Let's keep dissecting this idea:
At one point, I'm sure everyone expected that the time would come when Shane and Stephanie would take control of WWE. But that all changed in 2007 when Shane left WWE and attempted to strike out on his own to make a name for himself. From what I remember it was actually one right after the other as Shane left first and then Linda would walk away from the company soon after. Shane would disappear from WWE for nine years returning in February 2016 shocking the wrestling world at the time as nobody really expected him to return at the time.
In February 2014, WWE made another change to programming after four years the NXT television show would be canceled and NXT would then become the developmental territory. In all honesty nobody could've expected that NXT would've reached the level that they have at this point. Even more surprising Triple H aka Paul Levesque would assume control of talent develop and NXT officially entering the corporate world of WWE. This opens the door for two viable choices to take control of at least the wrestling portion of WWE once Vince wasn't around to control things anymore. At the time it was hard to take him seriously as an executive, but over the years Triple H has earned his place in management and proven his critics wrong.
The main question is really do Stephanie, Triple H, and Shane want the responsibility of operating WWE and having to answer to the stockholders like Vince does or would they rather freedom to make a legacy outside of WWE. Well that is something that will be dissected in Part 3 and as we wrap up Part 2 I want to make the point that in my opinion, it isn't the wrestling side that is the issue it's the business that makes wall street wary. Stay tuned!!
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present