Now we move to the next number on the list with Adam Cole fitting in at number nine on the list of top 10 wrestlers from 2018. In recent months I have found a consistent schedule for Friday's for the most part by looking at this week's Smackdown and I will still do that, but it will be sliding back a few days. Either way though looking at the last twelve months I think that Adam Cole has really found his place in the WWE specifically as really a very special competitor. Next to Tomasso Ciampa I do believe that the Undisputed Era is among the hottest acts in not just NXT but the WWE as a whole. In my opinion the reason I feel there is proof of this is that the Undisputed Era is the only team to compete in both War Games.
Looking back it the Undisputed Era is one of the top stables in wrestling today and in a way is a throwback to stables of the past much like a Four Horseman type group. Even though some fans might think that this is an unfair connection, but I do believe other than maybe comparing Adam to Ric Flair being unfair I don't think it's that bad of a comparison.
From his feud with Ricochet to his inclusion in one of the top matches of the last twelve months to crown the first ever North American Champion. I think that Adam Cole has really found his place in the company at least for the time being and in my opinion I don't think he needs a run with the World Title before moving up to the main roster, but I guess we shall see what comes around. The scary part is though that Adam is still only 29 years old and keeping that in mind he will have a very bright future ahead of him in the biggest company in pro-wrestling.
For anyone that saw this week's episode of Monday Night Raw would probably agree that seeing Finn Balor move into the spot once occupied by Braun Strowman was both a positive and negative. Since his arrival onto the main roster and subsequent victory over Seth Rollins to become the first Universal Champion most fans have been hungry to see the "Demon King" back on top of the red brand. However, an injury derailed his early career and he never really recovered even after he returned his momentum never came back as the creative team never got a clear picture for how to book him.
Recently we saw just how different his career was down in NXT when he appeared on the first ever NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool. The sight of Balor having his old entrance with the fans incredibly into his presence giving a glimpse into what his career could be on the main roster. At point Balor was a top star and the reality is that he has always shown the capability to be a top star like he was in New Japan as well. The best way to put it though is like Finn said on Raw it is clear that Vince has never truly believed in him and that's really why he has his standing where it is.
Brining the Braun Strowman situation into the picture now a lot of people are questioning why exactly Braun has been removed from the title match at Royal Rumble. From what I understand Braun was removed from the match due to him not being completely healed from the injury he sustained late last year. Strowman was also apparently removed from the match based on the fact that they had no intention of letting Braun beat Brock and didn't want him to loose for a third time to Brock. Now I know that some fans might look at this as Finn Balor being set up to do a job for Brock Lesnar.
However, think about it like this as a test for Balor in a big spot especially one against the top draw for the company in Brock Lesnar. I know that some people might think that Balor should win, but I'd rather have the next time Brock loose be his last match in the company and where he doesn't comeback. Though some fans might not agree with me in my opinion Brock Lesnar is the measuring stick for WWE and that if you can good match out of Brock you will have a bright future. Overall there is no doubt in my mind that the WWE need Finn Balor in a top position to help a lacking baby face roster. I do worry about Braun, but am excited about the future that we could see for Finn Balor in 2019.
With another solid episode of Smackdown Live in the past we have somethings to look back to what exactly happened on the blue brand. Since the announcement of the WWE's new era we have seen a number of solid Smackdown Live episodes. Unfortunately of course though the WWE has still not changed certain aspects of their booking styles especially when it comes to the tag team division.
One aspect of the creative process that WWE still drives fans crazy with is that the company really doesn't bring the other teams on television. The Good Brothers, Colon's and Sanity are still with the WWE but never really appear on television. After a solid first feud with the New Day we haven't seen Sanity gain too much momentum since their arrival on the main roster. The same could be said for the Good Brothers and The Colon's, but the real question is why the WWE aren't seemingly willing to allow some fresh teams to contend for the championship. Also the tag team division isn't the only issue with WWE as the Untied States Championship has had it's issues in the last year with the company booking the title as something that has very little importance.
One positive to take from this week's edition of Smackdown Live is the continued incredible work of the "New" Daniel Bryan. Since the heel turn nobody saw coming we have seen the incredible work of Daniel Bryan which nobody really saw as something that could happen. Daniel has shown some fantastic work as a heel which is something we haven't seen since his time as ROH World Champion in 2005. I remember seeing old footage of Daniel screaming "I have until 5 ref" using that as his catchphrase, but now it has been taken to the next level. I have very much enjoyed everything that Daniel has put out thus far since turn and I will most definetly be keeping my eyes on the WWE Champion.
It is hard to believe that only a few days into the new year and we have lost one of the greatest, most talented, lovable personalities in all of wrestling. The one name that was brought to the WWF very early on in the national expansion when Vince McMahon first began to go national and "Mene" Gene would become part of the WWF's brand from his debut with the company in the 1980's all the way through to his departure in 1993. During his time in the WWF he become a man of many talents which included interviewing, hosting, announcing, and even wrestling. For those who may not be aware Gene actually teamed with Hulk Hogan in 1984 against George Steele and Mr. Fuji, this would be the only match Gene's career.
After nine years with the WWF the time came when his contract expired for Gene to walk away from the promotion and move onto a new home WCW. Gene would join the WCW in the fall of 1993 and other than one short "vacation" away from the company in 1996 he would remain a member of the WCW until the company was sold in 2001. Gene would become a staple of the promotion much like he did in the WWF years before providing "information" with his hot-line and a common presence for interviews every especially his with Ric Flair they were always a highlight.
Looking back it is funny to think how much of an impact Gene had on the product, because a good interviewer had the ability to keep your interest even during the non-wrestling segments. In my opinion if Jim Ross is the greatest wrestling announcers ever then "Mene" Gene is the greatest interviewer in the history of pro-wrestling. Nobody could help the wrestlers or ask the right questions to really keep your attention during segments that can be hit or miss. If you look at the interviewers of today they couldn't even lace a pair of Gene's boots and though the sport has changed a lot over the years one thing truly hasn't a good interview is nothing but helpful.
Thank you Gene for all the moments you were a part of and memories you helped make all the more special. You will be incredibly missed by everyone who had the pleasure to see you do what you loved with those that you loved for all the years you were able to do it. Now you will have the chance to give the wrestling event in the sky the greatest interviewer in history and just another reason that show is just so damn lucky. "You know something "Mene" Gene!" We will miss you, god speed!!
For the last few months there has been one question really absent from my mind and it's now shocking how little thought I gave to the idea. For most of 2018 I didn't really pay any attention to the whereabouts of one John Cena. The former franchise of the WWE has been mostly absent from the company since his appearance at one of the super shows I believe it was Australia where he teamed with Bobby Lashley. It is incredible to think about how much things have changed in the last few years knowing that the WWE is in fact surviving without John Cena, not triving at the moment but they are surviving.
Last year was really going to be the year when new faces took over Cena's post as the franchise of the company and even though some attempted to bad booking was mostly the thing that stopped anyone from doing so. Well expect Roman Reigns as nobody expected, or anticipated the events that happened to take place and I for one do wish that Roman was still on Raw every week. Either way though this week's Smackdown gave us a sight that I don't think any of us really ever thought we would see when Becky Lynch stood in the ring with John Cena.
Now don't get it twisted I am not saying Becky was never capable of standing in the ring with John Cena, but too many the segment they had together looked a little bit like a passing of the torch type situation. In a way it seemed like Cena was giving Becky the spotlight and the opportunity to shine on a bigger stage then she had been before. Not to say that this run she has been hasn't been great, it's just that the company doesn't have a lot of mainstream stars anymore so when a former star comes back and gives current talent a rub. This in my opinion is how the company should use former/nostaglia acts to benefit the current crop of talent, because if former stars won't be there every week they should be used to help get the current talent even more over then they were before.
At the end of last year the WWE announced a creative reset for all programming we were then given a vignette to promote the debuts of a number future NXT stars. Though it will be exciting to see the new NXT stars on the main roster to mix things up and give us some fresh feuds. However, the upcoming NXT talent aren't the only talent to be excited about as the WWE has been keeping some stars very strong. Names like Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, Elias, and others have been booked very strong in the last few months which I think only means bigger and better things for them in the upcoming twelve months.
In reality I know that with the ascension of Drew McIntyre we have also seen the fall of Dolph Ziggler, but I think we all knew this was coming from the start. Now don't get me wrong Dolph is a tremendously talented competitor, but his time to become a star in the WWE has come and gone with only memories to look back on of what could've been. Since his arrival on the main roster last year following the "Superstar shake-up" it has been clear that Drew McIntyre will have a very bright future in the WWE and that he found the potential some thought he had the first he was in the company.
Overall I am excited for the upcoming year and very excited for Wrestlemania season, because WWE always has a way to make programming this time of year a little bit more watchable then it is at other points during the year. With the Royal Rumble coming around the corner, I think that the "New Era" of WWE will slowly begin to take shape and we will hopefully see the indication of the future of WWE in this years Royal Rumble. Also if things don't get better there is always All Elite Wrestling now for wrestling fans to eventually turn to in the future, but let's be optimistic.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present