The Crazy Wrestling Weekend of 07/13 – 07/14

With expectations being set high going into this past weekend, it was up in the air how things would be when the dust settled. It was a stacked Saturday, with an EVOLVE anniversary card going against an AEW benefit show, mix that in with two New Japan shows that included their annual tournament, the G1 Climax, taking place with a plethora of independent shows and you had a very stacked weekend. I had a lot to watch with some new Joshi promotions I had been getting in to. I made it a point to have New Japan as a priority overall. If I was going to miss anything, it damn sure wasn’t going to be NJPW. But luckily I was able to get in a lot before the end of the weekend.

I wanted to cover the entire weekend at once, and the reasoning behind that was most wrestling fans saw as much as they could. WWE putting the EVOLVE show on the Network was a move that put independent wrestling in front of a lot of new eyeballs. I know people were saying that this wasn’t an indy show, and I suppose you could make a case for that, but I saw a lot of indy guys on that card. I think one mistake, and it wasn’t a big one, because it is on the Network and you want people watching this show, was having two WWE guys work the main event. I don’t care how good it was. I don’t want this sold as a Barely Legal like show if the main event is WWE guys. I could only imagine what the crowd would do in 1997 if that ECW Pay Per View had a main event of Marc Mero vs. Flash Funk.

But was it better than AEW? I would have to lean towards yes. It was presented in a different fashion than a normal WWE Network special. It was an EVOLVE show. They made sure to keep that authentic feel to the show. AEW wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The main event didn’t deliver, and there were just too many misses. But it wasn’t a bad show. I think I have just set a high expectation for AEW shows and it is hard for them to meet those standards.

The underlying story was how both shows were booked on the same night. Since EVOLVE is probably having their shows being put on the WWE Network very shortly, it looked as if WWE wanted to broadcast it to not just showcase it, but to spite AEW. Kenny Omega took offense and fired off some tweets that played on WWE’s relationship with the Saudi government and ulterior motives for running the show the same day as their benefit show. I don’t blame him for questioning it or even lashing out about it, but it just turned it into an “us vs. them” thing within the fan base, and it got old really quick. The entire conversation is kind of silly, but social media makes things silly.

My opinion on it: of course McMahon did it to spite AEW. He is a spiteful person. You don’t buy out your competition time after time without being a little cutthroat.

Is this wrong? I don’t know. I honestly don’t think so. It is just the way that Vince operates and has operated for years. I think we should just get used to stuff like this and move on from it. The mistake I think that was made was Cody and others continually acknowledging it. That made it come across as being bitter. The focus really should have just stayed on the charity and left it there.

As far as wrestling goes, it was a mixed bag from AEW and pretty solid from EVOLVE. AEW doesn’t have to come up that big, at least to me, yet. They have until television starts, and that is when I feel like they need to get serious. Right now, these are sort of free test shows to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. A lot of stuff doesn’t work. The Librarians gimmick doesn’t really work. It just gets annoying heat, and it does nothing for the wrestlers. Sonny Kiss got no favors having to deal with that gimmick, and that is a guy who could have benefited from a good showing in a singles match.

Brandi Rhodes cutting a promo about being depressed and being buried for her wrestling skills and then coming out and working heel for her match, and babyface for the post-show promo: that doesn’t work. We can’t be told to believe that Brandi isn’t playing wrestler one minute and then see her do that exact thing the next minute. I think she will turn into a great performer if she sticks to it, but we also don’t want to be insulted in the process, especially when you are selling yourself as a smarter alternative to the WWE.

Alex Marvez, and the entire concept of a three-man booth: it’s not working. I don’t even think I have to elaborate on this subject. It’s just not working. Let’s fix it.

There was some good to come out of this show. I loved seeing the preview for Kong vs. Kong. Aja came out for a save for Allie after the Brandi match, and it was an amazing moment all by itself. I would guess that the match is going to take place on Pay Per View, and I wonder if it will be a tag or a singles match. From what I’ve read, Awesome Kong is pretty busted up these days, and she has been wanting to focus more on her acting after being on GLOW. But this is a match that wrestling fans have wanted for a long time.

The emphasis on Japanese Women’s wrestling as a whole is a plus for me. I love women’s wrestling in general, but Joshi wrestling has always had a soft spot in my heart, and seeing women like Riho and Nakajima go out there and wow audiences with their skill is something that makes me happy with what AEW is doing. You can tell that Kenny has a lot of say in how the women are booked, and he has always revered his Japanese female counterparts.

The wrestling was also amazing. Sammy Guevara and Luchasaurus came out and showed why they have a spot for a company on national TV. MJF has a star presence that few in the business can capture as well as he does, and he isn’t even twenty-five yet.

As for EVOLVE, the entire show was pretty good, and there wasn’t too much I had to complain about besides the WWE guys working at the top. This is something that is not new for them. They have had other shows with NXT or WWE guys there. A lot of those guys did go through there and work, with Bryan, McIntyre, and Gargano sticking out specifically. I’m sure it was great for them to go back to their old stomping ground and lend a helping hand for their anniversary show. Also, if this is what the premium tier of the network is going to bring, then I am all for it. I would gladly pay $15 a month for the tape library, WWE and EVOLVE Pay Per Views, especially if you threw in some ICW and wXw.

As we are getting short for space and we still have to cover the G1 Climax as well as Extreme Rules, I am going to say that you should check out Shotzi Blackheart vs. Brandi Lauren in their No DQ match. Those two stole the show, and that is saying something when you look at the talent that was there that night.

Moving on…

The G1 Climax 29 has not disappointed at all. This really has been one of the best starts to the tournament that I can remember, but every year for the past three years have been like this. It sounds so crazy to keep saying it every year, that this could be the best G1 of all time, because how can that even be? Especially this year, when so much of the top talent isn’t back in the tournament?

But New Japan has found a way, again, to try to top themselves. I think that is what I like most about this company. They don’t ever settle for something that the fans will just think is okay, they really try to go above and beyond each time they go out there for a show.

I have to mention that due to personal conflicts and priorities, I was unable to watch Monday morning/Sunday night’s show. I will have to include those matches in a future installment, most likely a Working the Loop or a stand-alone New Japan write up, but I do want to mention that I am aware that Will Ospreay was unable to compete in his match last night. While this isn’t the first time this has happened in a G1, it is kind of rare to see it. I just hope he is able to heal and get back to doing what he loves. I know a lot of people have so much invested in this tournament, and we all think about how the booking will change and whatnot, but we really should be thinking about the guys doing this stuff too. I hope Ospreay makes a full recovery, and most importantly, I hope he takes care of his body.

Matches that stuck out to me, and ones that I rated above an 8 are as follows:

– Shingo Takagi vs. Juice Robinson 8/10

– Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii 9/10

– Jay White vs. Hirooki Goto 9/10

– SANADA vs. Will Ospreay 8/10

​- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kazuchika Okada 9/10

​- Kota Ibushi vs. Evil 8/10

​- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA 8/10

I know people will think that I am being liberal with my match ratings, but those would probably be people who haven’t seen these shows yet. It isn’t just high spot after high spot either. They were really matches that told a different story.

The biggest story coming out of the standings would be Kota Ibushi going 0 for 2 as far as wins go. The loss against KENTA wasn’t too surprising, but his loss to Evil was really shocking. He was my pick to win the entire thing besides Naito, and he could still run the table and find himself in the finals, but this isn’t a lock anymore. The other big story would be KENTA beating not only Ibushi but Tanahashi as well. I don’t really feel shocked by this, seeing how KENTA is an amazing athlete and worker, and he deserves to be showcased in this tournament, but I still find it strange that a “NOAH” guy came in and beat two of New Japan’s top guys.

For the record, I don’t really see Yano rolling up Naito as a surprise. I remember when he pinned Tanahashi years ago in another G1 Tournament. I just love that Yano acts as a spoiler from time to time. He is perfect for that spot.

Also, Lance Archer is the man. Please make sure to watch his matches this year.

On to the last item…

Extreme Rules was all right. There was some good wrestling, and we had the best Undertaker match that we have probably seen in years, but as far as the story goes, it was disappointing. For one, the scripted promo from Seth and Becky was really awful. It made them sound really weird and kind of psycho. When couples talk about walking around a city talking about how they are going to crack people’s heads open and pigeon poop, then that is when I question their sanity. I think that the WWE writing team has really lost any aspect of reality when it comes to booking realistic stories.

This event was also too long. This is a common theme with WWE. Even their smaller Pay Per Views feel like they are dragging. I know that it cuts down on people getting bigger paychecks and revenue, but holy crap lets cut some of the fat on these shows down. I didn’t even watch the pre-show, because I would have put my head through a wall. Wrestling shows shouldn’t take up half of your day. I don’t care how big of a fan you are, there needs to be some time to breathe and let everything process. Having it stretch out so long makes that really hard to do.

As for the big story out of the event, it looks like Brock is back with the Universal Title and we are back to holding pattern city. I mean, I knew he was going to eventually get it, but to me, this just says that we are going to get a “WrestleMania rematch” come SummerSlam, and I feel like that is lazy booking. I want to see new interactions and matchups, not the same thing that I was watching in April. WWE should feel lucky that AEW is so inexperienced right now. They are just leaving money on the table putting Brock back in the title picture. Maybe I am wrong, and we will get some amazing story out of this, but I really doubt it.


That is that. I can honestly say that this weekend lived up to much of the hype. I really enjoyed it. I don’t think these weekends should come around often, as I am worn out from watching so much wrestling, and I still have some Japanese promotions to check out this week, but it was still a really fun time. What was your favorite thing about the weekend? What was your least favorite? Comment below or feel free to hook up with me on social media. I am going to go and watch something fictional that doesn’t include men and women wearing tights. Enjoy your week!

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Sendai Girls 06/09/2019

06/09/2019

Sendai Girls has always been a company that I wanted to follow, but just never got around to or it slipped my mind. I finally caught their June 9th show, and I was really impressed by what I saw. Presentation wise, it isn’t going to blow too many people away. It’s a basic arena with the all right lighting. They do a good job of playing to the crowd and also making sure they are facing the hard camera for the home audience. It’s a pretty decent Joshi promotion with some really great talent at the top and in the mid-card.

I will be adding my rating to my new Cagematch Database account. Therefore, I will be using a scale of 1 to 10 to rate the matches that I will be covering. Also, I will be covering this from the perspective of someone who isn’t too familiar with the product; I want to state that at the beginning so that people don’t assume that I know the product as well as some others. I think this will be a fun way for us both to sink our teeth into a new promotion with only passable knowledge of the product.

Initial Thoughts:

Sendai Girls is a woman’s promotion that started around 2006, and it is owned by Japanese wrestlers, and legends, Meiko Satomura and Jinsei Shinzaki. While it is not considered a premier promotion, I felt that most of the matches were at least watchable. It wasn’t on the level of Stardom, but I would say that it is probably better than a lot of American woman’s wrestling. although the states are catching up right now. There are some other Joshi promotions that I will be watching later on this week as well, so be expecting write-ups from there as well, and we can see the different impressions.

The production wasn’t bad. The commentary was kind of random at times, staying perfectly quiet and then talking at other times. But I don’t speak Japanese, and I guess it wasn’t really bad enough to ruin the matches. It was just weird. The lighting was done in that old style of lighting just the ring and leaving the audience unlit. I kind of like that. I know you can’t really see the audience react, but the cheers are enough to know they are there, and it wasn’t completely dark for the crowd.

The wrestling was pretty easy to watch. I wouldn’t call anything on the card must see, but it was a fun time for me and I saw some pretty good wrestling. Let’s break down the card.

Match #1: Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Mei Suruga

This match was okay for an opener. Mei came off as this teen idol character, and I recognized Matsumoto from her time in the Mae Young Classic. Pretty decent comedy wrestling, but nothing really outstanding. Mei looks like she has a lot of potential, and you will realize that is a theme for this company through the show. They have a lot of women who are going to be ready at some time, but they just aren’t right now. Mei Sugura is in that category. Matsumoto wins.

4/10

Match #2: Hikaru Shida vs. KAORU

Shida is signed to AEW, but she wrestles all over the place, and she is really talented. This match wasn’t the best way to showcase that, squaring off against KAORU, who used to wrestle in WCW when I was a kid. But they were able to put on a decent showing. Shida played into KAORU getting under her skin a bit, and the veteran also hit a Dragon Attack off the top that was really surprising for a woman of that age. Holy shit. That wasn’t really enough to make this a match to go out of your way to see, though. Too many parts felt flat. Ends in a time limit draw.

6/10

Match #3: Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Mikoto Shindo

I became a fan of Mikoto. She is this old school, no gimmicks needed type of worker who just appeals to old school wrestling fans. I like it. She tried her best to outwrestle the larger Hashimoto, and there were times where this match was pretty competitive.

Hashimoto is another person that you should keep an eye on. She is really agile and can do a lot of cool things. In the end, she was too much for the smaller Mikoto. While Mikoto has also only been wrestling about a year, she holds the Sendai Girls Junior Championship. After the match, Mikoto refused to shake hands.

7/10

Match #4: Six Man Tag Match Alex Lee & Medusa Complex (Charli Evans & Milli McKenzie) vs. DASH Chisako, Manami, & Meiko Satomura

This match was interesting, and while it was entertaining at times, it just kept breaking down and losing it’s timing. Manami is very green, but very young, only 14 years old, so she has a long way to go, and it wasn’t like she didn’t show potential. But matches that feature talent that is that green is going to see things like this from time to time.

But there were really good things for this match. Medusa Complex is amazing, and Charli Evans throws a mean lariat. I was impressed with their parts of the match, and I felt like it brought the entire match quality up when they were in there. Seeing Satomura still get in there and go is also always something to be thankful for.

Even with those things factored in, I still didn’t find myself very impressed with this match. Decent. Evans pins Manami for the win.

6/10

Match #5: Heidi Katrina & Mika Iwata vs. Sareee & Yuu

This isn’t my first time seeing Iwata, but it has been a while. I saw her match in Stardom with Shariai and Sane(Hojo) back in 2016. While she was the homegrown talent, Sareee was the woman who had the title, and she is signed with World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana. She holds both promotions world championships, and she is really good. She won the Sendai Girls title from Chihiro Hashimoto and now seems to be doing a heel gimmick where she insults the company. It worked pretty well in this match. You could tell they were building towards her and Iwata, and they did enough to tease it, and not reveal too much now.

Yuu and Heidi Katrina stuck out too. Katrina is one of those women who you could see being signed up by a Ring of Honor or Impact. Even NXT would be better with her. She didn’t really showcase much, but she looked really good in the opportunities she was given.

I liked Iwata’s selling and I loved the story that was told. Yuu took the fall for Iwata. After, the women started cutting promos on each other, but I don’t speak Japanese, and it wasn’t subbed. I do assume that the next big show will probably be Iwata vs Sareee, and that is going to be an amazing singles match.

07/10

Sendai Girls is a fun promotion, and I will probably be watching more of it. I especially would like to see Sareee and Iwata again. There is a pretty good stable of women here, and it looks like they are getting better with each show. While they may not have the talent of a place like Stardom yet, they have a good foundation of girls. They also have women like Heidi Katrina, and Mikoto Shindo who look really good and capable of one day being stars.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

Don’t let that score fool you. This is just a TV show, and big matches in Japan, just like the states, need to be built on the smaller shows. Sendai Girls may be part of my rotation of wrestling to watch going forward if they keep up with the amazing product. Maybe you should give it a shot if you are looking for some women’s wrestling.

WrestleMania Thoughts

Well, that was interesting.

I can’t say that I hated WrestleMania, although that is what I was expecting from the build since January because nothing really caught my interest. Sure, there were wrestlers who I wanted to see perform, but as far as the stories were concerned, I felt they were lackluster, to say the least. But, even with all the shortcomings regarding the booking leading up to last night, I felt that the majority of the card delivered.

It was by no means a perfect WrestleMania. Some things went well, while other things were sort of just there. While I prefer to have most things wrapped up in a bow after an event like WrestleMania, I can understand leaving some things open. This is a new era for WWE, especially with the night after WrestleMania being so huge, and that isn’t mentioning keeping the ball rolling with the WWE Network and it’s subscriber base. I just felt like there were too many questions on what was going to happen going forward.

I think the majority of these issues of feeling unresolved can stem from how the card was set up. For one, management seemed to not have a set plan going into the new year like they did for previous Manias, aside from maybe the Women’s Championship match, and it let this feeling of backwards logic take over the product for the past three months or so. You can’t really blame them for going with their gut in some instances. The Kofi Kingston storyline was really amazing. But for the Kofi storyline, you also have the Hug and Boss Connection winning a new title only to have it lost in a multi-team match that didn’t really tell a bigger story. I know every story isn’t going to hit the same nerves as others, but this is WrestleMania, and it should be an attempt to deliver on all metrics, not just the top of the card.

I think that is the main issue; we no longer are conditioned to care about anything under the top stars. That leaves limited upward mobility for the mid-card to opening wrestlers. This is pretty troubling heading into the fall, when the new television season will force WWE to start making their product appealing to a wider, and more mainstream audience. If they want to deliver on those ratings that FOX is counting on them for, they will have to give people either: A) wrestlers that come across like Superstars on television, or B) stories that captivate their audience enough to get them to stay tuned in and also bring in other viewers. Only time will tell how this will be handled.

But for the most part, I felt pretty positive as the show went off the air. I feel like there is a lot of promise on the horizon, especially with the championship scene getting a bit of a shuffling. Let’s break down my pros and cons, and then we can look towards the future and see what is in store for us as the summer approaches.

PROS:
JOHN CENA RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS

 

This was pretty exciting for me, even if it was only a small part of the show. Cena has had the same gimmick for so long that any sort of change would be welcomed by me right now, but for him to go back to his old “rapper” character, even if it is just for a one off, was really entertaining. I had thought that the entire thing was a fun break from the really long card. With Cena not being around as much, I think that it allows leeway like this for when he does make appearances. When he was the regular top guy John Cena had to make sure to keep those house show and merch numbers up. Now I feel he can add more to the product by doing more fun one offs like this.
SETH ROLLINS, KOFI KINGSTON, AND BECKY LYNCH ALL WIN
I saw so much speculation on the internet on how the company could not have all three win on the same night due to not wanting to seem predictable. I can understand, especially after seeing what happened with Roman Reigns over the past few years when it came to winning the Universal Title. Luckily, this year we weren’t hampered with dumb booking decisions just to swerve the fan base.

Pro Wrestling is a lot about the payoffs, and if you don’t deliver on them during WrestleMania, when do you give the fans what they want? It just leaves the opening still there, and when you do finally pull the trigger, who knows if it will have the same outcome?

This is the part where I do have to be a bit honest though. I wasn’t really all that impressed with the Seth Rollins build, or the Becky Lynch one, for that matter. I know, Becky is definitely the hottest commodity to come out of this entire ordeal with Ronda and the Woman’s Championship (both brands), but I just didn’t like how Becky was beat down through almost the entire build. Sure, she had a couple of house of fire moments, but for her to be the new Steve Austin while also getting beat down week after week is disappointing.

The Kofi Kingston story had some of the same problems. The one thing that set this apart from the other title chasing stories was how good Daniel Bryan has become as a heel, and how it so closely reflected his own hijacking of the WWE Championship match years ago. That came across like deep story telling, rather than just ham fisting an opponent in due to crowd reaction, which is kind of what we got. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending, and seeing the scene with Kofi finally holding up the championship that has alluded him his entire career was really awesome, but the reasoning behind it causes me to pause. We shall see if this will be a career changing development, or a one off story.

 

IN RING QUALITY

 

I know a lot of traditional WWE fans like to harp on the independent scene and how in ring work doesn’t really matter compared to star power and story telling, but I also think that we should recognize how good WWE is bell to bell right now. It also seems to be getting better and better as the years go on and they continue to sign free agents like Ricochet and Walter. I have always liked companies that have different flavors for all kinds of fans, whether it be through in ring work or promos, and right now feels like a very strong mix of the two.
CONS:
WAY TOO LONG

I don’t have to elaborate on this point, do I? Starting to watch a show around 2 PM my time, and not turning off the television until around 10 PM is not an ideal night of wrestling for me. I can only imagine how it would be leaving MetLife Stadium after the show wrapped up, and that would be on top of watching countless hours of wrestling the week prior, through the weekend, and again tonight for RAW. WTF!?

I know that we need to have a bunch of matches and a bunch of workers so that everyone can get that fat WrestleMania check. but still, these shows are WAY TOO LONG! Quality over quantity works even, in professional wrestling.

 

KURT ANGLE

 

What was that? Really? I think back on retirement matches in the past, like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, along with Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, and I wonder where we went wrong here. Was Kurt really that beat up that he couldn’t pull off one of those classics. Is Corbin really going to benefit that much from this win? I really feel like this match should have been against Styles or Joe, the two opponents that Angle faced this week on television. Hell, it could have even been a three way between the trio. I understand that there is no “WWE” history behind them having that match on Mania, but it would have been better than this. Hell, even Thuganomics Cena vs Angle would have been cool to see. Instead, we got this… Complete dud in my opinion.
MULTI-MAN MATCHES AND BATTLE ROYALS

 

I don’t think many younger fans really see the appeal of a battle royal now a days, and I really don’t blame them. The original intent of the match was to see a bunch of guys in the ring beating the shit out of one another, all while being thrown out of the ring, This was back when boxing and pro wrestling were sort of still intertwined, and the idea of a fighter falling out of the ring seemed very dangerous. That thinking doesn’t really work in wrestling anymore, especially when you consider how much diving and planchas are included in most wrestling shows. Because of that, the idea of a battle royal has become fairly antiquated.

This is exactly what has happened with these battle royals that happen during WrestleMania. I kind of wish that Money in the Bank wasn’t an annual Pay Per View anymore, and that we had a woman’s and men’s match on here instead like we used to in the past. I understand the logic behind having it on it’s own show, but I just am really over battle royals as a whole and I don’t see the point in either of these. I’m hoping they both get scrapped over the years to come, but I doubt that will happen.

 

 

All in all, WrestleMania wasn’t bad. It was fun, it was entertaining at times, and it felt like a fresh air after it was all done. I just hope that the story telling going forward is engaging enough for us to sit back and enjoy, rather than having to force the company to do what the fans really want. Time will only tell if this will happen, though.

The Nostalgia Trap

WWE is a very mixed bag right now. If you want to see some of the best wrestling in the world, you can turn on any given wrestling show produced by them and see at least one really entertaining match. That couldn’t always be said about their product, but with guys like Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Kevin Owens doing amazing things each time they are given the chance. But at the same time, you have a program at the top of the card being taken by older, slower, but far more popular stars for a tag match about eight years past it’s shelf life.

Look, I don’t try to knock older wrestlers. But at the same time, I think that there is a point where guys shouldn’t be at the top of the card, regardless of how big of a draw they still are. I know that this is a business, and with any business you have to look at profits and what makes you the most money, but you also have to have forward thinking, and that is something that seems to be lacking in a lot of wrestling right now.

Minoru Suzuki recently had an interview in Japan where he talked about what was missing from NJPW right now, and his answer was pretty telling, in that he stated there isn’t a star in their 20s right now. He pointed out that when Kazuchika Okada first won the IWGP Heavyweight Title, he was only 24. When I think back fifteen years ago, and I think of guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, and Dave Bautista, the landscape looked like there was so much on the horizon, and right now, I don’t feel that is the case at all.

Look at all the guys who should be future players and money makers for the WWE and NJPW. Most, if not all, are currently in their 30s, already in the stage of their career where they should be making the most money of their career. The problem is that unless you want some carousel of revolving champions that dilute the main event scene in the process, most of these guys will never reach the top. There are only so many spots available, and again, we have to see who has the most potential with earning money in those spots.

The biggest problem right now is with the mid-card. No one is ever built up to be a legitimate threat to anything in the long run. Even a guy like Braun Strowman, who was the most over person on the roster for much of the past year, was shown to be expendable. Since his heel turn after SummerSlam he has been booked vastly different. So we have all of that build up and having him crush everyone in his path save for Brock Lesnar, we are now seeing him act like a coward when it comes to facing off against Roman Reigns.

These companies aren’t doing much to make us believe that someone can rise through the ranks and become a true star. We have been conditioned to believe that there are only a select few that can make a true impact on the main event scene. Sure, there are exceptions like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, but those guys were huge stars outside of WWE, and neither of them are young.

One could argue that there are wrestlers that are in the pipeline. NXT is as stacked as ever right now, and the match ups that you will see when they start to get called up is exciting, but looking at others who have prospered in NXT and then get called up to the main roster (Bobby Rude comes to mind), it doesn’t leave a lot of confidence that stars are on their way. I think a lot of times the writing team gets excited about having a new wrestler to incorporate into their story lines, but after a bit, the shine seems to fade and Vince gets convinced that the person doesn’t have the right “it” factor.

That is the big difference with WWE and the world outside of WWE. Vince wants to convince people that he knows what a star looks like. And he does. Lord knows that he has made this amount of money in wrestling because he knows his product and he knows his audience. But the problem is that is doesn’t leave much for organic growth. When we as fans see someone who we perceive as stars on TV, and then they get jobbed out continually once the honeymoon is over, it frustrates us. It feels like an insult of our intelligence,

One thing that WWE and NJPW have to consider is that there is so much on the horizon that is going to be crucial to growth of their product and profits going forward. WWE is going to be on network television, and they need big TV stars, not just “wrestling” stars, in order to keep the ratings consistent. Also, with New Japan Pro Wrestling trying to expand globally, they need to establish that they are a big deal outside of Japan, and the way they do that is to present stars that audiences want to see.

Nostalgia is a big part of professional wrestling. I remember being a kid and being excited to see Roddy Piper and Terry Funk wrestle, even though they were well past their primes. But, it is not a viable way to continue making money. One only has to look back to the end of WCW, and while many mistakes were made then, I think the most glaring one was that they never established young talent that would eventually replace guys like Hogan and Flair at the top. Let’s hope that the top companies now-a-days don’t make the same mistake.

Raw Thoughts (09/10/2018)

Although I can’t promise being able to do these every week, I thought a weekly Raw segment would be a nice touch to the blog. Now this won’t go in full depth of the show, as there are many fine blog that already do a good job of reviewing Raw as a whole, but I do want to dive into some topics or spend a little extra time on other important ones. This week’s Raw (09/10/2018) had quite a bit packed into it to set up this week’s PPV, so let’s go ahead and dive in.

The Shield being back has been pretty lackluster to me so far. Maybe it’s because Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman are so different together and it comes off as unique compared to the Shield, but also I think it is partly the booking since they made their return. Rather than let them get over in matches like they did during their inception and initial long run on the main roster, they have them doing these weird angles with police vans and axe handles. I think the main problem is they are booking backwards, and trying to get the crowd into hating Braun enough to boo him come Sunday has made them pull out a couple of tricks out of the hat.

This week’s angle with the heel army being demolished seamlessly just reminded me of old WCW television where I would see Kevin Nash plowing through an entire roster with a baseball bat. But they want to make Strowman and his new group seem cowardly, and they want to make sure to accelerate it as much as possible. The go home segment wasn’t bad though. I sort of find it weird when they do these big gimmicks on a go home show. I always liked the approach where the two guys don’t touch each other. But this worked, I didn’t hate it, and it seemed to really get over.

Ronda Rousey needs new gear. There is just no cutting it. All these other women have phenomenal gear, with cool patterns and personality, and Ronda is here with shorts that ride up constantly and she looks like she is going to hop on a treadmill. Some new threads which accentuate her MMA background while also making it a bit more comfortable to work in would be ideal. Aside from that, Ronda and Alexa Bliss is a really nice program with an old school build. I know people on the internet knock on Bliss for her work rate or whatever, but she plays the role of heel very well and gets better each time she is out there. The rib injury angle worked spectacularly, and it makes the match on Sunday a bit more believable with Alexa being able to get some more offense in this time. The only problem I see with this is that as a person who watches MMA, I know that fighters compete injured all the time, but I don’t think most pro wrestling fans are going to consider that. I also find it cool that we are getting quite a bit of free matches from Rousey on a regular basis, and it shows that she is going to be more than just a special attraction.

Mick Foley promos are always great, and Mick has gotten to the point where he can do them in his sleep. He is going to be the guest referee in the Universal Title match. I’m not sure that this match needs anymore thrown at it, especially because this is a newly established feud, but part of me is interested to see where it goes from here. I like stipulations thrown onto matches later on down the road, and this one seems like they are trying to heat it up too quick.

I see a lot of vitriol coming around due to the Bellas being back on the main roster, and while I can understand some of it, most of it has me shaking my head. A roster isn’t always going to be packed with workhorses that can steal the show. Sometimes it needs a bit more of a mainstream appeal, and even with the talent out of the women’s division, the Bellas do have an audience that they can cater to. Not only that, but Nikki has really tried to broaden her moveset and diversify her offense. Even if she isn’t as crisp as other females on the roster, she is still out there working hard. I could compare her to the Miz in a sense that she goes out, does her best in the ring, even though it doesn’t look great, and gets over. Although, I will admit that Miz is far stronger on the mic, but there aren’t many women on the roster that are crazy strong on the mic either.

Besides, Ronda is going to need people to face going forward. Introducing the Bellas so that Nikki can eventually turn and face off against her could be really good. I had my doubts about Alexa Bliss at first too, but this program is shaping out to be a pretty entertaining one. I say give them a shot, and let’s see if things will really be that bad going forward.

 

I thought it was a decent Raw. Nothing too crazy to get me ready for Sunday, but better than some go home shows I have seen in the past. WWE seems to be trying to have longer storylines to keep fan interest up through the entire show, and it seems to be working for the most part. While this is the lull before the Survivor Series in November, we have the Evolution and Melbourne specials to build towards in October, and that has sort of rejuvenated the weekly shows right now. It’s interesting to see how this will shake out as the fall goes on.