Though it's been a little gap since the last time I took a peak at a star that could return to help improve the depth of the WWE and just in general give the company a breath of fresh air. Now I know last year numerous names were rumored to becoming back or at least to have been contacted by the company, but only a small handful of people actually did return. I will mention that one name that was rumored to join the company, but didn't because of injury; however not in this one. For this one we look back at a former leader of the Women's Division and for a time was the heel answer to Lita and Trish.
Over the years if we learned anything from Lisa Marie Varon better known as Victoria or Tara it is that we should expect the unexpected. During her original run with WWE she was considered one of the top women in the company even competing in a Hardcore match with Trish Stratus. Also she has the distinction of being one half of the first Women's Steel Cage match in WWE history which fought Lita in and won. There is no doubt Victoria was an extremely unique member of the Women's division at a time which it was going through a period of transition, and she helped add a tremendous amount of credibility to the division.
Though at this point in her career I'm not sure that Victoria would want to return for a full time schedule or have the desire to be a full-time competitor anymore. But seeing her return for a short run with the company could definitely help in elevating the current crop of women's wrestlers on the main roster or even help by giving women in NXT some credibility.
Since his retirement from the ring in 2010 there have been a number of rumors about WWE wanting a legend to return to the ring. Following his departure from the company cracks started to form in the depth of the roster and the WWE actually started to move toward promoting younger talent. The Streak match has become a major part of the biggest event of the year and normally attracts fans to it just based on who The Undertaker was facing and his matches at WrestleMania 25 & 26 are two of the reasons why it is. For two consecutive years Shawn Michaels attempted to break the streak and two of the greatest WrestleMania matches in history.
At WrestleMania 26, Michaels lost a retirement match against Undertaker and officially put an end to his legendary career. Over the last couple of years WWE management has tried to lure the "Heartbreak Kid" back to the ring but every time they tried he would always say no and that he wants to remain retire. However, last year heavy rumors began to pop up that Michaels could be returning for a huge dream match at Royal Rumble 2017 against AJ Styles.
Even though this dream match would end up just as the other matches as Michaels would reject the offer to return. The only difference between this offer and every other Shawn had received prior is that this one came from Vince himself. For the first time Vince actually asked Shawn to come back for a match against AJ and if Vince asked you know it was something he wanted to have happen at the Rumble. But I do think it is fair to say that Shawn is happy in retirement and will not be making a coming back again.
Tye Dillenger vs Aiden English
Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn
This feud much like his feud with Strowman has displayed just exactly why Sami is so good in the ring. The reason is because his in ring style really works well with a wide variety of talent, and with the weak finish of the Ambrose/Corbin feud the "Lone Wolf" needs to recoup momentum some how. With the lack of wins and good things happening for Sami I do believe that he needs the win tonight more than Baron does. With that being said I pick Sami Zayn to win tonight.
Luke Harper vs Erick Rowan
This is a feud that should have happened a long time ago as this two men have been stuck in a rut over the last few years, but since the draft it seems like they maybe on the right track. Since the break up of the Wyatt Family, Luke has slowly become someone who could have a future on Smackdown Live. On the other hand you have Erick who is still getting his feet under him as a singles competitor following his most recent return to the ring. With that being the case and keeping in mind that Harper is further ahead in his development I think giving Harper the win is the right way to go.
6 Woman Tag Team Match:
(c) Naomi, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch vs Carmella, Natalya, and Tamina
I think that this is a bad choice for a PPV match and it feels more like something that should be done on Smackdown instead. It almost seems like the WWE aren't sure how they want to go as far as long term planning in the womens division on Smackdown. Considering the recent loses for the face side of the division I think it's clear that they need the win tonight more then the heels do.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler
If everything goes the right way then this could be one of the top matches on the night and a fantastic way to have Nakamura arrive on the main roster. I do have my doubts of these two not clicking and the match falling short of expectations, but I feel like these two have enough talent to make this match a highlight of the show. Since this is his first big moment on the Main Roster it'd be only fitting to see Nakamura get the win.
Smackdown Tag Team Title Match:
(c) The Uso's vs Fashion Police
Prior to the "Superstar Shakeup" the tag team division on Smackdown had fallen into a rut as far as things not really being that good or interesting. But the new Uso's and Fashion Police have been carrying the division in recent weeks and doing a fantastic job of it too. The pick to win is very up in the air as far as I'm concerned because it could go either way and that's the best part that I'm not sure who wins. But if I have to pick I would like to see the Fashion Police get the win.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal
I have enjoyed the build up for this match, but I feel like it's stretching the idea of believability a little to far after how Jinder was booked on Raw. I'm not saying that Jinder doesn't deserve this chance as I do believe he does, but it's that I just feel as though it is happening to soon for the former 3MB member for it to be believable. With that being said having a placeholder feud is one thing and that is what this feud is so I think finally Orton gets one over on Jinder with a win tonight for the Viper.
WWE United States Title Match:
(c) Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles
If Dolph and Nakamura don't steal the show then this match will as these two are two of the best the WWE has to offer. Since his debut in the company last year Styles has defied all expectations as nobody expected him to be booked as well as he has been over the last year and the same could be said of Owens. A match between these two will help elevate the US title to a higher level and the only question is who leaves the victor. Well since Owens just won the belt back a few weeks ago and it's too soon to do another switch I think there is only one logical choice. Kevin Owens retains the United States title.
In July of last year the WWE changed the landscape of the company once again as they decided to bring back the brand split. Once the announcement came out rumors began to fly that numerous people were contacted by the company to return and help with the depth on the lacking roster. Many veterans including Rhino, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, John Morrison, Melina, and various others. Though the number of returns was very low and we are almost a year into the split the WWE could afford to pay some old faces to return to the company still.
Back in 2004 a new face appeared almost out of nowhere on the Smackdown brand to win the Untied States title from John Cena. When he made his debut Carlito was one of the more unique members of the roster as he had a different gimmick unlike most everyone else on the roster and would use that to his advantage. During his run with the WWE he would win both the United States and Intercontinental titles in his debut on Smackdown and Raw respectively. I do think I am one of those many fans who thought that Carlito absolutely had the potential to become the World Champion and lead the company on the Main Event level.
Sadly, Carlito would mutually departed from the company after a very successful run with the company. Now if he would make a return I don't know if he would be as successful due to the "WWE Return stigma" (which will be discussed more in depth in a later post) but basically it's that he isn't new anymore and his gimmick would need to be different then what it was to feel nostalgic. However, I do think that Carlito would make a very good addition to the WWE roster as he would be an established name for the company and would allow them to have another proven commodity to help build for the future.
At first when the brand split was announced I thought that it would be a lot similar to how the WWE handled the brand split the first time around. However, very quickly we found that this time around the split would be very different then the first time. For those who may not know the first time around the WWE had only 12-14 PPV's a year for the company which is a vast difference from nowadays with WWE having 19 total PPV's for the main roster.
See originally the WWE had one PPV every month with each brand having a PPV every other month. For example, Raw would have Backlash in April but then wouldn't have another PPV until June with Bad Blood or Vengeance. Then Smackdown would have Judgement Day in May and Great American Bash in July this layout allows for feuds to develop longer and have more PPV quality matches on TV. In my book the smaller the PPV schedule the company has will have a trickle down effect on other aspects of the company for example it would give feuds more time develop which allows fans more to get interested in feuds rather than having a feud go for 3 months and then ending it.
The difference between the first time around and the second time around is that the WWE didn't have the WWE Network. I believe that the only reason why WWE upped the PPV count is because they just want as much content as they could which is negatively effecting the product as it overexposes talent and makes new feuds easier to go through faster cause of the extra content. A PPV is supposed to be a special event where we as fans see matches that we don't normally or wouldn't see on regular television. Having a short gap between PPV's makes it very difficult for the company to have enough meaningful matches set up for the PPV, and not having meaningful PPV matches hurts the credibility of a PPV event.
I think it's fair to say that the WWE games franchise has hit somewhat of a cold spell with them not really having a great game in a very long time. I feel that though they have done very well with the DLC in recent years, but other than that the game have fallen flat overall. Even with Goldberg as the DLC, I feel like they haven't done enough to take advantage of Goldberg's invovlement in the game as both the streak and WCW as a whole could be tied into the game even more than it is a season mode or something.
Though the graphics are getting even better and better with every year that goes by, but with everything they have been changing since 2K took over the gaming rights it might be fair to say that time is all they need, but as it gets more real looking it seems like more is missing from the game. Because as I mentioned above I feel like this would've been the perfect game to bring back a story mode of some kind either based on The Streak or a WCW story mode of some kind that you could playthrough. I know that they have sort of a new season mode where you play as your created wrestler but still more variety is good and helps the playthrough rate of the game.
I will say that I do extremely like the reintroduction of the ability to go both backstage and in the audience as that has been something I have been missing in the WWE games since they removed it from the game a few years ago. So I am very glad to see that feature back in the game!!
As far as next year goes I think with the reintroduction of the Brand split it would be the perfect time for the WWE games to bring back the old classic with more added this time around that being the return of GM Mode. I loved playing this mode back in the older games from the WWE series and it helps the playthrough of the game tremendously because there are so many ways to have variety with that game mode. I hope this comes to be as it would make me extremely excited for next year's game for the first time in years.
Back in November the WWE shocked the world when another former star that many of us thought would never returned actually came back to the WWE for the first in 12 years. The legendary Bill Goldberg returned for one more run with the company and to redo his feud with Brock Lesnar and end things better then they did the first time. At first nostalgia and shock reigned supreme for fans as most of us thought that Goldberg would never go back to WWE. However, the novelty soon wore off for some fans as they were very disjointed with Bill's booking as they thought at his age he shouldn't be dominating because he wasn't believable anymore.
At this time most within the company were disappointed to see Goldberg leave because the character was hot, merchandise was selling very well and the promos were a lot stronger then they thought they'd be, and some would like to see Bill return. However, I don't think that a return for Bill at this time is feasible due to his age and just the general lack of mobility he displayed during his last run. An official time was put together for all of his matches during his last run and it was something I believe under 14 minutes which should give a good reason for Bill not to return.
I am not going to lie I did enjoy Goldberg being given one last run in the WWE and a good one at that, but he was given the chance to show his son and his wife what he used to do & exit on his terms. In my book there is nothing more you can ask for especially being able to do something for your family; it is clear that Bill is still capable to give a Spear, but as far as competing I think those days are well in the past.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present