For anyone that has been living under a rock for the last month or so this weeks episode of Monday Night Raw was the 25th anniversary edition of the broadcast. Of course if you know anything about the WWE they always try to pull out all the stops for a major show to make them feel special and they did exactly that on this occasion. However, I think they overdid the idea of expanding to both arenas tonight as they really didn't do enough at the Manhattan Center. I'm also not just saying that because their were fans on social media that mentioned that fans were chanting how they wanted a refund
This should really give an indication on how "well" the company booked the event including a solid go home show for the Royal Rumble. But, think about how you would feel if you had paid to go to Raw and not seen anything off a big screen for a little over an hour at first. There is no doubt that the lackluster use of the Manhattan Center is a major criticism of the major event. Other than that though I really did enjoy the show especially since this was the first episode of Raw that I've seen in a long time. I've never actually taken this much of a break from the show as mostly out of habit I really would always watch the event.
From all the legends, to seeing more build up to the Royal Rumble, to looking back at a whole lot of nostalgia this was a show for the history books and will be remembered as a lackluster show. But I do think that this could've been a lot bigger had the WWE started to build a feud up to WrestleMania using this large scale. Though I do feel like this is a missed opportunity for all I know this actually could've happened as John Cena did get attacked by a certain musician last night.
In recent months the WWE has really had a very lazy booking style when it comes to the Women's division in particular as they have relayed on repetitive booking. If you don't agree with what I am saying well look no further than the Riot Squad & Absolution and tell me they don't look similar or even to the point of being carbon copies. Yes Absolution has been booked better then Riot Squad, but it really feels just like a lazy way to get a lot of new faces on the roster really quickly. However, there are other ways to get a lot of stars on the roster at one time other than letting them show up all in the same way. But even just looking at how WWE books certain talent they seemingly fall into the same trap when it comes to setting up feuds.
Look no further then with how the WWE books Bray Wyatt as they have been relying on his supernatural characteristics in every feud with never really letting any other aspects of feuds be put on display. Comparing the WWE specifically the main roster to other companies and even NXT they seem to struggle with unique ideas and booking talent to their potential, but also with being repetitive. The issue with repetition is it opens the door for predictability and if a company becomes predictable then it is problematic as people are less likely to stick around.
Repetition doesn't just apply to the booking of weekly programing, but for me it also applies for major events like PPVs and specifically WrestleMania. Basically if the WWE are set to have one person main event every year then that can get predictable and also repetitive to the point of losing interest in that person or the match due to having a hunger for something new. This also ties back into the above mentioned need for fresh faces on the main roster, but also having them debut in different ways and not the in the same fashion on both brands.
Earlier this week we heard about four major signings from the Indies all heading to the company as they have become official WWE stars. One of those names is top female competitor Candice LeRae who was a major player in companies like PWG & Beyond Wrestling. Candice is also actually the wife of Johnny Gargano and much like her husband she may have a big weekend on January 28. For one reason or another signing with the WWE in the month of January normally brings about some interesting possibilities for new talent as it opens the door for them being a part of the Royal Rumble.
For the first time ever this years Rumble event will not just have a Rumble match for the men as we will also have a match for the Women. This means that considering the WWE don't have enough women on the current roster to fill up a 30 women Rumble match they need some new faces in their as well. I mentioned this last week when I spoke about Candice & Ricochet signing with WWE that I thought Candice could appear at the Rumble. Even though I do have doubts if she would be allowed to skip NXT I don't think she needs to as she could just appear in the match, and then go down to NXT following the event, sort of like just coming up as a surprise and then heading to NXT for the time being.
Candice is just the start of a list of names that I think could be making their presence felt in two weeks time in Philly at the Royal Rumble.
For years, the man Dolph Ziggler has had an interesting run to say the least within the WWE since his World Title run. Most fans will say that Dolph has been either held down or just forgotten about in recent years which could be considered the truth. But its also possible that looking things like this if the WWE didn't see something in Dolph would he really still be employed by the company had not become a victim of spring cleaning. Now there is no doubt that Dolph has been the man without a plan especially since the start of the brand split but it seems that WWE has something in mind.
A few weeks back Ziggler walked out leaving his newly won United States title behind & he "quit" the company many pointing to CM Punk's 2011 angle as an example. Reports have even come down that Dolph hasn't been competing on house shows to keep the TV angle smelling like a rose. The WWE may not realize this but this is exactly what the fans have been wanting for Dolph for years due to the old saying of I can't miss you if you don't go away. Now with Dolph off TV its allowing fans to miss him and they will want him to comeback after a while which is a refreshing change for Mr. Ziggler.
Looking back at the booking of Dolph in recent years it has been somewhat weak & lackluster but; pinpointing his feud with Miz specifically shows that Dolph still has that fire but needs something right to bring it out. The one question I do have is if this means that we could be seeing a Dolph Ziggler return ahead of WrestleMania or if the company will hold his return off until after the big event. I think I know the answer but as most do WrestleMania season is the time to speculate about what could happen in New Orleans.
Recently some interesting news has been making the rounds about two former Evolution members. One of these names have become a major star in the world of Hollywood due in part to his place in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The other is coming off an extremely rough and borderline terrible 2017. Even though both Randy & Big Dave to this point have had a Hall of Fame career they have both fallen on hard times within the ring in recent years. With Dave's 2014 run & the last two years of Orton's career as two perfect examples.
However, in the last few weeks a lot of news has been printed about a full time return for Dave & Orton likely taking some time off in 2018. First with Batista I think it would be more or less just his way of making up for his last run and not wanting to go out in that way. Unfortunately the likelihood of Dave returning is highly unlikely at least in a full time capacity due to his part in numerous Hollywood blockbusters & his stock rising in the city of Movies.
Orton on the other hand has been a full time competitor in the company since he got healthy after a rough few years with injuries. It does seem however, that at some point this year likely following WrestleMania the "Legend Killer" will be going on hiatus. At last look Orton seems to have a limited schedule following the Royal Rumble & that could mean that Orton is just trying to keep himself healthy. A few years ago for those who don't remember Randy spent more time on the shelf then in the ring & that began to raise questions of his future. I do think that Randy has a few years left but much like Cena he has to think about what the future holds after wrestling.
Last week I started with the positive things that the WWE have done in 2017 and now we can look at the negatives from 2017. This has been very much an up and down year for the WWE with more moments that left us saying "I never thought I would see that." Now some might say that there was a lot more negatives than positives this year, but I would have to disagree and I think that this might be tough to come up with two negatives like I did last time, but I am going to try.
One negative that comes to mind is the lack of long term booking that seems to plague the company nowadays. Though it might seem hard to believe based on todays product, but back in the day they would plan shows 6 months ahead or sometimes a year out. However, now it is clear that the WWE goes week to week or sometimes even day to day with plans never really planning that far ahead. Considering the booking of Jinder Mahal this year and his interesting title win it is pretty clear that they don't plan ahead like they use to. Truth be told yes the booking of Braun Strowman may show the opposite but did it really show the opposite.
Fact is long term planning or even just having a rough idea of where you'll be going in the future allows it to seem more real in my opinion. Because giving the talent a heads up that they will be working with each other a few months in advance could give them the opportunity to start planning things out ahead of time. Once again let me point to the idea that talent use to say that they would work with someone ahead of a feud on house shows. For example, Kevin Nash mentioned that the reason a lot of matches looked good at the time was due to the fact that talent would work together for months on a house show ahead of them feuding. Even though I don't know for sure it seems to me that talent don't work together on house shows until they start feuding on TV.
This is a problem due to the fact that talent have to start a feud at square one instead of having an idea of where they are going before the feud kicked off. Also working together on the house show ahead of a feud it allowed the wrestlers to focus on getting the feud over instead of the feud & in-ring stuff as this is how things are when they just kick off a feud on TV. Though it might be a little complicated the underlying idea is that long term booking matters & is a major negative of todays WWE.
Over the last couple of months I have done this series for a variety companies some where very in depth and other I surprised myself by how depth. However, I did want to cover all the companies ahead of the new year next Sunday. For this reason we are focusing now on the WWE and issues that 2017 has brought up but also the positives. The company has had quite the 2017 with both ups and downs but either way it has been an interesting year for the company. With tournaments and sights that most fans never thought possible this year has been crazy. I will say that the best way to get going with this is by focusing on the positives first before getting to the negatives.
In my opinion, the highlight of 2017 for the company is another tournament that took place in the latter part of the summer. This unlike last year was really a sight that I never thought I would see due to the idea of WWE actually giving woman the opportunity to showcase their skills in the ring. Based on this I think that the Mae Young Classic both in magnitude and just exposing the WWE fan base to new faces. Also the tournament was a great way to introduce fans to Kairi Sane and other talent that might be signed. The way this year has gone for woman has really shown just how far the division and the booking of the division in recent years.
The other positive thing in my opinion from 2017 is once again the change of pace from how the WWE had booked the tag team division in recent years. If the brand split didn't exist than the tag team division would be incredibly deep but also in a way very over bloated. Which is something in itself considering how many teams broke up this year but how many they still have. From New Day to Uso's to The Shield to The Bar the division is incredibly deep but could still be booked better. The reason I could criticize the company is because of how poorly the company has booked a number of their tag teams. Which basically is my way of saying they have the bodies but they aren't all totally credible. Even though they have the bad parts it is a lot better then it once was as it use to be very clear that the WWE didn't care about the tag teams but with the Ambrose & Rollins story being given the time it has shows how the companies perception has changed.
WWE Clash of Champions 2017
Zack Ryder vs Mojo Rawley
Breezeango vs Bludgeon Brothers
I don't have much to say about this match other than I believe it will be a short match but not squash level short. I think Bludgeon Brothers win as it is too early in their new run to have loose mystique.
WWE United States Title Match:
(c) Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler vs Bobby Roode
So far Corbin's run with the United States title has been weak at best with his run being as hot as Dolph Ziggler currently. Not going to lie the WWE had their chance to go all the way with Corbin's push after last year but they didn't looking at you Wrestlemania 33. Either way I think this match is built for Bobby Roode to be US Champion.
WWE Tag Team Title Match:
(c) The Usos vs Benjamin & Gable vs Rusev Day vs New Day
Since their debut on Smackdown Live the New Day have been showing why they are among the best in recent memory & the Usos finally entering their primes. This tag division has been incredible & with the addition of Rusev Day it has gotten deeper. If the WWE was capable of long term booking then I would say The Usos. But I think they will go Rusev Day to win this one.
WWE Women's Title Match:
(c) Charlotte vs Natalya
After seeing these two wrestle a few times you come to see that they aren't perfect all the time. Instead I would say these two are hit or miss in the ring, and hopefully they can pull one out tonight because I still feel like the division is coming out of a really bad booking period and needs momentum. Either way though I think with in fusion of heels for a face champion to face I think Charlotte winning is the best choice.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura
Far and away the best thing going on WWE TV since almost the start of Owens run on the SD Live brand. Zayn & Owens have always had chemistry and I am glad they are working together especially since they haven't been a team in a long time. I do like the Orton & Nakamura tandem as it keeps two top stars on TV. I kinda think Owens & Zayn win here just to push the Shane and Bryan tension.
WWE Championship match
(c) AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal w/ Singh Brothers
Styles has deserved the title since he lost it to Cena back at the Rumble and in his first at the title he got it back or second shot. I think long term the belt needs to be with a guy like AJ while they build Jinder up to be an actual main event player and not a fluke. With that being said I think there is no doubt that AJ winning is the way to go.
Even though older fans may remember when the WWE had their very own themed restaurant in Times Square. However, not many fans are aware of the purchase that the WWF made in late 1999. The company would win the bid for the property of the then Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel when the building would go up for sale in 1998. You read that right at one point the WWE owned property in Las Vegas to attempt to build a WWF Hotel. They paid 10.65 million for the land and would strip out the interior and look to redo the entire inside.
The initial plan for the building was to make a 35 story wrestling themed hotel which sounds awesome in my opinion. For those wondering exactly where this would've been or where the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel was the property was located on 305 Convention Center Drive in Las Vegas. This investment does show exactly how successful the WWF was at the time how much money they had to toss around for fun. The company would change their mind about the casino when coming to the thought that the land wasn't big enough.
According the WWE Corporate site the company would sell the property on December 26th, 2000 with the company selling the property for a little over 11 million. The sale of the land did net the company a profit overall but not by much once again according to the article on the WWE's corporate site. At this point the land is abandoned with the last hotel featured in the video below as the Clarion Hotel would be torn down in early 2015.
Where we move next for the series is too another member of the kliq and another recent inductee in the Hall of Fame. During his career Kevin Nash began as nothing more than just another big man jumping in the business to try and make a quick buck. Seeing how things went during his career in WCW, I do think that Vinnie Vegas was the first hit as a gimmick. However, once he moved on to the WWF and the verge of becoming a major star in the company as Diesel.
From 1994 all the way to 1996 when he would walk away from the company to move back to the WCW and formed the NWO. Nash would become a triple crown champion in the WWE as he would hold the Intercontinental, World, and Tag Team titles. However, Nash would help change wrestling when he jumped to WCW with Scott Hall to form the NWO with Hulk Hogan and set WCW up for a crazy run.
Overall, Kevin does deserve to not only be in the WWE Hall of Fame, but based on his legacy in wrestling he deserves at least to be a two time inductee from his NWO association. At one point Kevin was destined to be the top star of the future for the WWE, but then became legend instead just by walking out on Nitro. In my opinion Kevin made an impact because still today people notice him and cheer when he comes out on the show which means he did something right.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present