Even though at this point it has been almost twenty years since The Rock has been an active full time competitor in the ring. At first The Rock was doing both wrestling and acting; this was the case until his role in The Rundown as he would walk away from a full time schedule in April 2003 following a loss to Goldberg at Backlash. As the years went by we would still occasionally see Rocky pop up from time to time including feuds with John Cena, CM Punk, Evolution and others. Also who could forget the times that we got surprising appearances where he verbally eviscerated his advisories.
By now I think that most fans know the history of Dwayne Johnson in wrestling and the legacy he will now be leaving behind. But I am sure not everyone knows why he has chosen to step away and the simple reason is insurance. With the schedule Rock has been keeping being extremely hectic it has been difficult to bring him in for a match when he's not attached to a movie which means a movie studio would have to insure him to protect their investment. Also according to a Forbes article published on July 19th, 2019, at this time The Rock is the highest paid actor in the world which basically killed any chance of him returning to the ring.
In my opinion, The Rock is one of the greatest ever on the microphone and no slouch in the ring, but the hands of time come for us all especially in wrestling. Sometimes though it's for a good reason, after watching for as long as I have I always prefer seeing wrestlers hang it up on their own accord as opposed to being to forced because of injury. Thanks for the memories Rocky you earned chance to sit back and enjoy the legacy you have built.
It's been a while since I've done one of these, but it's also been a while since there has been news like this that share a bit of a connection. With the arrival of All Elite Wrestling there has seemingly been a ton of non-stop discussions about the possibility of various underutilized WWE wrestlers making the jump to the new company and both Mickie James & Luke Harper specifically Harper were at the forefront of the discussion due to his dissatisfaction with the WWE.
Based on recent reports it seems like Luke Harper is officially back on the road with the WWE after a short vacation. Harper was one of a number of WWE stars to ask for their release earlier in the year as AEW prepared for their first event. As we know Harper's request was denied and he was forced remain with the company even though he wanted out. In my opinion, after both he and Rowan ended up on the injured list last year derailing their tag title reign he hasn't done much other than sit at home waiting for something to do. Harper is one of the most gifted big men in the business and has never gotten the opportunity to show it on the big stage. Hopefully with both Heyman & Bischoff in control now things might finally be looking up for Harper.
As for Mickie James, she has been the veteran of the division since her return to the WWE in a way took over the role that Nattie had as the veteran who occasionally wins but normally doesn't. James recently had surgery to repair her ACL and will miss the remainder of the year. In my opinion, upon her return she should be given one more chance to run for the Women's title just as a thank you run for all she's given to the company over the years. The reason for this would be it is possible she doesn't have too many years left as an active competitor and it's also possible she might not even return, but let's try and be optimistic. Get well soon Mickie!! We hope to see you in time for the Women's Royal Rumble next year and maybe you'll win.
Extreme Rules 2019
At this point no matches have officially been announced for the pre-show but I am sure something will be on the show.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Drew Gulack vs Tony Nese
These two are two of the most gifted men in the division and more than likely could be the next two that the company chooses to move up to either Raw or Smackdown like they have done with Buddy Murphy, Ali, and Cedric Alexander. I have loved the skills both men have in the ring for a long time as they are both two totally different competitors. However, Gulack has worked for to long to get to this point and will not be dropping the title just yet.
Aleister Black vs Cesaro
No doubting that this will be the match of the night and might peak at one of the best matches of the entire year. It is unfortunate what happen to Sheamus, but this is now Cesaro's opportunity to break out and show exactly damn good he is. In my opinion, Black was the most underrated NXT World Champion for the brand and this will be his chance to finally show what he can do. This is one of the only matches on this show that I am actually interested in at all. I would like to see a series of matches between these two capping off at Summerslam and for that I'd want the youngster Black to get the fist win.
Raw Tag Team Championship:
(c) The Revival vs The Uso's
I am going to make this easy if the company ever wants to look at one of the main reasons the ratings were sinking then look no further than how they were booking The Revival. Nobody wants to see pointless comedy as it isn't entertaining at all, comedy does have a place but only if it's entertaining. With that being said I want them to book this like an old school match because that plays to the strengths of Dash & Dawson who are an old school tag team. Neither team should get the win I want a draw finish in this match to give the feud a different feel. I know this won't happen, but it would be something different so I'm sticking with it.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship:
(c) Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs New Day vs Heavy Machinery
In my opinion, this is best way the company could've chosen to book Daniel after he lost the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. This way he stays on television and gets to be a champion that makes sense and it gives us a break from seeing him in the title picture. Bryan and Rowan have been a welcome addition to the tag team division on Smackdown that needed a face lift, but now they have competition. Normally it's Kofi & Big E as the team for the New Day so seeing Woods and Big E will be something a little different for the trio and this is the biggest test yet for Otis and Tucker since they arrived on the main roster. The benefit of a match like this is someone doesn't have to be pinned which then allows for the feud to continue and another match to happen. With Summerslam right around the corner WWE will likely hold off on some title changes till then and this will be one of them. Bryan and Rowan retain with Woods taking the fall allowing Otis and Tucker to be the challengers at Summerslam to continue their push.
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
First off I am extremely happy to see Alexa getting back in the ring and seemingly having a clean bill of health after such a long time on the IR list. Bayley as champion has been a welcomed surprise since her win at Money in the Bank and Nikki being involved has been a breath of fresh air for a lacking division. I know that some think Sasha will return during this match, but I don't see that yet. I do see her coming back to even the odds, but just not yet. Bliss will get the win tonight and will begin to have a reign with Nikki as her lackey and an eventual challenger.
Last Man Standing Match:
Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
I don't get it!! Braun was at one point the hottest wrestler in the company and they let it all drift away in one fell swoop. Now he is on par with Bray Wyatt as someone who could've been a bigger star then they are currently. Unfortunately that's something he has in common with his opponent as it seems like any time Lashley gets momentum it's gone within a few weeks. Right now Lashley deserves the win, because we need a break from the unbeatable Braun Strowman and Lashley would be someone new for Rollins to fight against.
United States Championship:
(c) Ricochet vs AJ Styles
Considering the fact that AJ has become a heel once again and realigned with Anderson and Gallows like someone should've been. This brings up the question will Styles continue to garner momentum or will this be another stop start feud. In my opinion, either a DQ finish with Anderson & Gallows getting involved or Styles winning tainted should be what happens. Either way though a post match beat down is a must this way we can keep feeling bad for the underdog. Styles gets the win this way Ricochet can go on the chase for the US Title.
No Holds Barred:
Roman Reigns & The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
First off who thought giving Shane McMahon such a big push as oppose an active wrestler was a good idea should be put under evaluation. Second off I was just as shocked as everyone else when The Undertaker of all people was the one to save Roman Reigns from Drew and Shane a few weeks ago on Raw. Then again it's possible that Undertaker wants to redeem himself after the match he had with Goldberg last month. Now I am not sure where they are going with Taker for Summerslam, because there are some options. I'd give Roman and Taker the win tonight with a little assistance from Kevin Owens to protect Drew McIntyre. Undertaker vs McIntyre at Summerslam is my guess!
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Kofi Kingston vs Samoa Joe
That is one match I never thought I'd write especially with Kofi being the defending champion which makes this match even more surreal. I know that last year Joe fought Styles in a lackluster feud for the gold but they burned threw that one like the Dudley's use to burn threw tables. Though this feud is only a few weeks old it seems like they have a lot of tension that needs to keep building as like I said in another article this could be a career making feud for both men. Kofi needs a feud as champion to make his reign a success and Joe needs a top feud to make him legitimate. Even though the ratings have been down it seems like Joe is consistently one of the only bright spots weekly for the company and he should be rewarded. Now I know what I would do, but I am not WWE and even though they do have options there is only one way to end this match. Joe wins via submission and Kofi doesn't tap he passes out. This opens the door for a new story that being how Kofi can conquer Joe.
Winners Take All for the Universal and Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Becky Lynch & Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
I don't mind that they are allowing life to imitate art with Rollins and Becky's relationship being included in the feuds. But that type of booking has a shelf life and won't last long term eventually they will need to have separate identities once again. For now though it's an interesting way to give their respective feuds a twist to keep them going. I also think a tag team match would be the best way to cover for Lacey being extremely green and needing of more time before she moves up to the top of the division. As for Corbin I think he is one of the best if not the best heel in WWE right now and has been the perfect foil for Seth since winning the title. However, it's time for them to move onto new challengers and that's what will happen tonight with Becky likely getting win this way Lacey can take the fall. That does leave it open for Rollins to fight Corbin again, but like I mentioned earlier if Lashley does win he should be #1 contender for Rollins heading into Summerslam.
At this point I have really had somewhat of a falling out with the WWE, but with the sudden change adding a new creative direction to the company has peaked my interest. In my opinion, since the ratings issues started last year Smackdown has still found a way to have some good shows during a lackluster period for the company. Comparing Kofi's feuds with Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Samoa Joe to AJ Styles feuds with Shinsuke Nakamura and Joe last year it's like the polar opposite as it seems the company remembered how to book. Now don't get me wrong the intensity was there with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, but the booking was way to one sided and thus far Joe has seemed more like a bad ass and less like a stalker in his feud with Kofi.
I know this feud is still fresh and developing, but this WWE's chance to really set the right foot forward and focus on long term booking as oppose to continuing to burn through opponents like firewood. In my opinion, Dolph is an ideal early challenger for Kofi because of his status in the company and could be a victory to establish the reign. But with Samoa Joe the feud needs depth and a direction or it's wasting a golden opportunity for what could be a career making feud for both men. I know it might be a streach but just think about what having a competitive good feud could do for both Kofi and Joe at this point.
Overall I could see this feud going past Summerslam if done for the long term and it should allow Joe to become WWE Champion for at least some time even if it means Kofi getting the title back to keep things going. These guys could lead the company into the Fox generation and make for some very interesting television and could help lead the way for Smackdown becoming a brand on par with Raw.
At this point everyone knows about the creative woes that WWE has been suffering from since the fall of last year. We know that last year's didn't come to fruition for one reason another, but knowing what we know about those what the company be in any better shape then they are right now. It's hard to say one way or the other, but we do know is that they have tried everything to bring fans back and regain even a shred of positive but seemingly has worked. Over the last few weeks I have gone through somethings that I feel like WWE could do to help themselves regenerate interest in the product, but they did a complete 180 from what I expected.
I never thought that I'd see the day when Eric Bischoff would be working for the WWE in a creative capacity, but that day is here. A few days ago the news broke that Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman have been named executive directors of both Smackdown and Raw respectively which is something nobody expected. The main thing to note about the position for both Paul and Eric is that they report directly to Vince which in my mind means they have a similar position to that of a head booker. Clearly this is a direction nobody expected WWE to go in and in my book is a welcomed sight because of that and in all honesty I am very interested to see what comes of this massive change.
During his first stint with the company we saw Eric Bischoff become one of if not the most hated person on WWE programming. However, he was just a talent and had zero say or impact on the creative direction of the company. Heyman on the other hand has been a member of WWE creative in the past specifically during the early years of the first brand split and with WWECW until he left the company. Recently, Paul had been helping Ronda with her segments as well as doing his work with Brock and this is the reason I am not surprised that Paul moved to a creative role of some kind. In my opinion, I would've expected Paul to move down to NXT and Triple H take control on the main roster rather than what we got, but it is a welcomed sight either way like I said. The infusion of fresh ideas from two of the smartest wrestling minds still active is something that could really help WWE, but only time will tell.
One thing that isn't talked about nearly enough is how important it is having a reliable and referee in a match. Over the years that I have been watching one of things that is easy to forget is well the referee, because one thing that makes a good ref is that they are seen not heard. Even though having a good referee can make or break a match they aren't suppose to be the main focus of a match for the fans. The crowd is always suppose to be focused on the talent and not the referee.
In my opinion, this one of the main reasons that we forget how long some referees have been with the same promotion. It is insane that Mike Chioda has been a member of the WWE roster for 29 years and is still going to this day. The amount of classic matches he has been a part of over the years including Rock vs Austin, Lesnar vs Angle, Rock vs Hogan, Michaels vs Cena, and so many others you can lose count. Mike was the referee in the legendary 123 Kid vs Razor Ramon match which was when the kid got the name 1.2.3. To think that Mike has been seen names like The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, John Cena, and so many more come and go puts into perspective just how long he has been dawning those stripes.
Overall the referee is one of the unsung heroes in wrestling and just like the announcers they get a wink and nod but very little recognition. Thank you for all the work you have done, the travel, the stress, and any injuries you have endured to gives us all the moments and memories we hold dear. It wouldn't have been possible without you.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been looking at what could help the WWE fix the problems that have been plaguing the company in recent weeks. I have broken down various ideas that could possibly help change the company for the better and generate some interest in the programming. Even though I know the company will never implement any of these ideas as they will not be reading my site, but it would be interesting if they did.
One thing I noticed about the poor sales heading into this weekends PPV event is that maybe the company should shift away from the PPV formula they have relied on for the last two decades. Back in the 1990's the WWE only had four or five PPV events for an entire year which gave birth to the "Big Four" and then the "Big Five" (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, King of the Ring, and Suvivor Series). I know that it was a price of the Monday Night Wars that the company expanded to twelve events, but now things have changed.
Since the company made the move to giving NXT Takeover events and Supershow events in other countries continuing to have a PPV event every month is a bit of overkill. The reason that this is the case is because there isn't enough time between events to build proper interest for the shows because of the amount of programming the company has at least on the main roster. Think about this there is only five NXT Takeover events for the year and they only have one hour a week to build hype for the events. In my opinion there is been maybe one or two average Takeover events, but for the most part there hasn't been a bad Takeover.
Overall the WWE needs to pull the events that don't draw and rebuild the bigger events that use to consist of the "Big Four." In modern wrestling I don't think there is a need for a PPV every month of the year and quality is more important then quantity. Basically having less events would give WWE more time to generate interest in events that they want to make mean something again like they use to so at least some PPV's can still draw money other than Wrestlemania.
Ideal WWE PPV Calendar:
January: Royal Rumble
November: Survivor Series
Now I know that the controversial Saudi shows that would take place I didn't include because I'm not sure when they would have them considering the date of the first event was different last year then this year. Either way though I would have at least two Network Special's not PPV's during the year with one likely in between Wrestlemania and Summerslam. The other would be between Summerslam and Survivor Series with both special's being bridges for the bigger events to come in the year. Hopefully this would help bring the audience back for these important events and lessen the over saturation that has been hurting WWE for the last few years.
The series continues as we try to find another way to help the WWE reverse their current fortunes or just recreate some interest in the product. I mentioned previously that a unification match for the Intercontinental & United States could be something that if done right it would help give the company something for both brands & could regenerate interest in both championships. The next idea is that the company could use the three hour programming block of Raw starting an angle the begining of the show & pay it off in the third hour as a way to keep the fans around for the show.
Overall if it was me we could do the same idea on either Smackdown or Raw, but it would be easier to do so on Raw with the longer run time for the red brand. One thing that the company would do during the "Era of Attitude" is starting the show hot and would see the angle progress slowly during the show either to pay off that night or adding the show to the bigger picture. This is one small part of the bigger picture of the long term booking mentality that for some reason the WWE has moved away from in recent years.
Even though having show long angles/feuds seems like a very minor detail in the bigger picture it does matter, because it could add to feuds in the long run and that is one of the reasons long term booking matters. However, having show angles keeps the fans interested and intrigued over the course of shows or at least can show that the company is trying to keep the fans at home interested during the show. I do think that this is something that would need to change over time and couldn't change over night, but I do think if they did shift back to long term booking then it would help the company in the long run.
It's time for another short series featuring WWE based around the recent problems about the company and their programming. I know that I'm not the only one that thinks that the company has a ton of problems at this point. The real question right now is what will fix the current issues of the company, but for that we have to figure out the problems. Recently I have thought about the possibility of a unification rivalry that could help bring together some interesting television. Now with the brand split still a semi major part of the WWE programming it is extremely unlikely that the World Title will be unified due to the ability to the company running split house shows to maximize financial profits.
With that being said I don't believe that we would see a World Title unification match anytime soon even though having one World Title would be ideal due to the fact that it would allow fans to know who in fact the undoubtedly best in WWE. However, I do think that if the company really want to strike some energy back into the United States & Intercontinental Championships they could kick off a few where one title will be retired.
Considering at this point the company does have the Wild Card rule which could allow either the United States or Intercontinental champions to jump between shows if they wanted to raise the intensity of the feuds. Reality is there is so much history tied up in both of the titles that it is pitiful to see just how poorly the titles have been booked in recent years. In my opinion, they own both titles history and don't really take a much as they should based on the feeling that most champions have a creative ceiling.
The way it would work is just random moments would be recored where both champions randomly bump into each other. Then you can slowly have the intensity raise and things pick up as the weeks go by as action doesn't need to be leaned on so heavily with video footage of the past being the main focus of promoting the feud outside of the ring. Also I think that playing to the strengths of the WWE production team by putting together video packages highlighting the histories of each titles and the reasons why the fans should be paying attention. Overall I think that the company would benefit from this type of feud, but may need an actual main event level feud to build things around as opposed to leaning so much on the mid-card. Most of the under card isn't enough to sell the tickets and that's why it could be a good start but they would need a lot more to re-focus attention change plans.
Though there were some rumors earlier in the year that Smackdown could possibly expand to three hours following their move to Fox later on this year. Another report was that Smackdown would be moving back to Friday nights from Tuesday nights. There is no doubt that Smackdown had struggled at first with fans having to adjust to the show being on a new night and even though they have had a good track record recently having solid shows the ratings don't reflect it.
A few weeks ago we found some great news that a few weeks of fear that Smackdown would end up like Raw by going to three hours. I am sure that every WWE fan was overjoyed when they found out that Smackdown Live would be remaining a two hour show even after it moves to Fox this fall. This will be what's best for the blue brand as it not only separates it from Raw and allows the program to still have it's own identity. It is also worth it to mention that the company will have a studio show set to debut on FS1 this fall on the former home of Smackdown Live on Tuesday Night. More than likely this could be similar to the old "Talking Smack" network show but I think it's possible that both Raw & Smackdown would be included in the set to debut FS1 show.
The other thing to note was that even though Smackdown Live will be moving back to Friday Night in it's old time slot. At this point Smackdown has been on the air for twenty years and for the most part had been tapped up until 2016. In 2016 upon the return of the brand split the company made the switch from Smackdown being tapped to airing the show live. Upon the move to Fox the blue brand will remain as a live program instead of reverting back to a tapped broadcast. Overall this will be interesting to find out how exactly the move to Fox and the arrival of All Elite Wrestling on National Television.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present