The World Wrestling Federation was the greatest organisation of professional wrestling. It always found new ways to surpass itself, be it a new character or a reinvention of oneself, a match filled with enough excitement to make our jaws ache from smiling too much, or a storyline so good the usual flurry of Oscar candidates would’ve been jealous they’d not come up with them first. Even when the inevitable name change happened, Vince McMahon knew how to create fresh angles and book dream matches. It was a great time to be alive. Sure, the WWE has always had its rough spots, but as we tune in to Raw and Smackdown in 2018, the feeling that the reigns should be handed over becomes a constant scenario to question.
Given what HHH has done with NXT, the main roster could find purpose again. There are so many good stars that are being misused or dumped on that it hurts to see the likes of Asuka being criminally underused. Who in their right mind thinks bringing back James Ellsworth was a good idea? It’s an absolute farce, isn’t it? Who thinks letting Brock Lesnar keep hold of the Universal Championship is fair, or in the slightest bit enjoyable? Who thinks watching guys like Tye Dillinger, Bobby Roode, and Bray Wyatt take back seats to some of the bigger stars makes any sense???
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I’m not knocking Vince McMahon, especially as he’s one of a kind – a modern day P.T. Barnham – however, I am questioning his legitimacy in the world of professional wrestling today. Some of his ideas are so out-dated (see The League of Nations) that you have to wonder exactly why they go to air. The writing team have a long way to go to match the likes of NJPW or ROH. Even Impact Wrestling is having a good time of it at the moment, especially within their Knockouts division.
I’m not sure that it can be fixed at the moment, and it seems far too broken to be able to rectify. Roman Reigns is bland in his promos, wrestles with barely any enthusiasm, and has zero personality apart from the tough guy/fought to get here shtick we’ve already seen in a million other guys before him. He’s not championship material. I wish for a world where Kevin Owens is back on top, but that day is highly unlikely to arrive. He’s a stopgap for Braun Strowman, a guy who’ll probably end up being the next champ, and honestly I’m OK with that, as long as we’d have a Universal Champion who’ll be there week in, week out.
My biggest concern for the WWE at the moment lies with the fate of Finn Bálor. His meteoric rise in NJPW was well-deserved, becoming a 3-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and more. He arrived on NXT and won the highest prize there, before coming to the main roster and winning the Universal Championship from Seth Rollins at Summerslam. Unfortunately, the Demon King suffered a shoulder injury which kept him out for the rest of 2016. Upon returning in February 2017, Bálor looked as though his popularity would continue, but ever since then it hasn’t quite worked for him.
He took part in the Mixed-Tag Challenge, feuded with Bray Wyatt and Elias, challenge for a shot at the title, and formed Bálor Club with former BC stablemates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, but it just wasn’t the same.
Seeing him feud with Baron Corbin, sorry, Constable Corbin (*sigh*) is a massive slap in the face. Finn is a guy that oozes athletic ability, has an old school gimmick that feels new and exciting, and just look at that face – what a handsome dude. It seems as though Vince has given up on him, and the likelihood of him getting a proper push for the title is a damn shame. There are too many wrestlers selling the merchandise and ticking the right boxes for Vinny Mac, so another Bálor title run unlikely.
The best thing for him at this point is to move him to Smackdown. Guys like AJ Styles and Nakamura are competition he thrives on and deserves. The Raw product is much weaker than SD at the moment, so why not let the sink ship by moving him over. The draft won’t be happening for a long time though, so his days on Raw jobbing to mid-card superstars seems to be the place he’ll be set in for the near future.
For everything WWE is getting right, four other things are sinking in the mud, and it feels like a miracle is going to be the only thing to save it at the moment. Just imagine the kind of shows Ring of Honor, ICW, or PROGRESS could put on if they had some of the money from Vince’s kitty…
I know I’ve been pretty negative, but I’ll always have hope. We should always have hope in Vince McMahon. It’d just be nice to have him listen to the fans for once and give the real stars on the main roster a chance to lead the company. He did it with The Ultimate Warrior back in the day and he can do it now, whether it’s with Finn Bálor, Kevin Owens, or Asuka, professional wrestling is changing and it’s not going to be long before the fans he’s tried so hard to keep will start looking elsewhere, like me.
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