TJRWrestling WWE Extreme Rules 2019 Preview

Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Extreme Rules preview. It is the 11th straight year where WWE has held an Extreme Rules event although the month has changed because it’s taken place in April, May, June and for the last two years, in July. The concept behind Extreme Rules is to set up some gimmick/stipulation matches to make it feel different from a regular WWE show. This year, they only have a few of those types of matches, so they definitely didn’t overdo it in terms of trying to spice things up a bit.

There are currently ten advertised matches with no plans to add anything more according to the Wrestling Observer, but they could always change their mind. I think you could make a case for Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler being on this card, but maybe WWE is saving those matches for a bigger show like SummerSlam next month.

I think the lineup is better than what they set up for Stomping Grounds last month. The thing about Stomping Grounds was that even though the matches weren’t that interesting going in, the work in the ring was pretty good and it exceeded the expectations of most people, including mine. For Extreme Rules, I think there are better matches “on paper” like Ricochet vs. Styles, Black vs. Cesaro, Kingston vs. Joe and Revival vs. Usos. Those four matches I mentioned all have the potential to hit four stars out of five (or higher) on my ratings scale, so when you have that many great matches on one show, then it’s a reason to get more excited about what we will see on Sunday night.

There is also some behind the scenes intrigue for Extreme Rules because Paul Heyman was hired as the Executive Director of Raw while Eric Bischoff was hired as the Executive Director of Smackdown. In the two weeks since those announcements, Heyman has had his fingerprints on Raw a bit although he’s not fully “in power” I guess you could say. Bischoff hasn’t been at Smackdown and he said he’s not even going to Extreme Rules because he’s driving his family to his new home in Stamford, Connecticut, which is where WWE’s headquarters are. The expectation is that after Extreme Rules, Heyman and Bischoff will both be more involved in their brands, but as we all know, Vince McMahon still has the final say on everything. What I do hope WWE does going forward is they stop the “Wild Card Rule” that they have largely ignored because both shows are better when wrestlers are exclusive to one brand. From a creative standpoint, it’s probably easier to book the shows that way too. On this show, we have Raw’s Samoa Joe and Alexa Bliss challenging for titles on Smackdown, so that’s something I would like to see come to an end because there’s enough talent on both brands that they don’t need to have people crossing over every week. Anyway, we’ll see if that gets changed on the road to SummerSlam.

I am running solo for this preview because my usual PPV preview partners, Mike Holland and Matthew J. Douglas, have been busy with work commitments.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of my friend Melo Man.)

 

Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese

This should be a good match between two former allies. Nese is the former champion that lost the title in a three-way with Akira Tozawa when Gulak pinned Tozawa (as I predicted last month), which was done to set up this match. I expect this to be on the Kickoff Show, which will allow them to get 10-15 minutes to have a very good match that’s competitive and fun to watch. The crowd usually gets into these matches towards the end. I’ll go with Gulak for the win because there’s no reason to take the title off him so soon after he won it.

Winner: Drew Gulak

 

Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

I like this match a lot. It’s the first Raw guy (Cesaro) vs. Smackdown guy (Black), but as we know, the brand extension is ignored now. There’s not much of a story going in because Black sat in a dark room doing promos for two months about how he wanted somebody to knock on his door to fight him. We found out on Smackdown that Cesaro was the guy that knocked, so here we are. Black is from the Netherlands while Cesaro is from Switzerland, so I’m sure both guys are excited about having a hard-hitting European style of match.

If I was booking, Black would win every match he has for the first four months as a singles act. Build him up to be a big star. Black has already been on the main roster when he teamed up with Ricochet for months, but this also feels like a “debut” for him, so I doubt Black is going to lose. I just hope they get more than ten minutes to have an awesome match.

Winner: Aleister Black

 

Smackdown Women’s Championship Handicap Match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross

Note: Nikki Cross said on Smackdown that if they win the match, then she and Bliss will be co-champions. It would be like Laycool nine years ago.

The reason this is a Handicap Match is because Bliss has been dealing with a sinus infection for over a week, which caused her to miss Raw and Smackdown this week. I think a title change is a possibility because the co-Smackdown Women’s Champions idea could be fun, but I would rather see Bayley hold onto the title. What they’ll probably do is have Bliss/Cross dominate most of the match, Bayley makes the comeback and then Cross accidentally hits Bliss with a move, which leads to Bayley hitting her Bayley to Belly on Bliss for the pinfall win. That way, Cross can be apologetic towards Bliss, which would lead to Bliss using Cross for her own personal benefit for a few weeks more until Cross realizes what is happening.

It’s also possible that Sasha Banks returns at this show to help Bayley win the match. That can lead to Banks/Bayley being on the same page for a while until Banks turns on her. I’d rather see heel Banks on Raw against Becky Lynch, but it makes sense to do Banks/Bayley too as a former best friends storyline. If Banks isn’t back by this show (she has been in Japan in the past week) then it will probably be SummerSlam when she returns.

Winner: Bayley

 

Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) 

These teams have wrestled several times with The Usos winning in non-title situations, so I’m happy that they are getting a PPV match. I’m also glad that they got rid of some of the silly comedy bits that hurt this rivalry a few months ago. The Revival recently won the titles, which makes it hard to predict a title change. It’s more fun when the face team is chasing the heel team in a scenario like this, so I expect The Revival to find a way to win. A DQ result is possible too. I have had some readers contact me in recent weeks about how they saw these teams in house show matches getting around 20 minutes and those matches were outstanding. I’m not surprised by that. This is another match where people will be raving about how good it is if they get time to show what they can do. I’ll go with The Revival winning in cheap fashion with a rematch coming at SummerSlam as well.

Winners: The Revival

 

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis) 

This match has sleeper potential to be very good. I really liked how the triple threat match on Smackdown between Bryan, Woods and Otis was put together. Bryan and Woods made Otis look like a star while Otis gets more comfortable every week. I’m glad that Heavy Machinery are not booked like jokes. I expect AOP to get back in the tag team scene very soon because they are healthy again.

It’s tough to make a prediction here because my head says Bryan and Rowan retain because they are doing well as heel tag team champions, but my heart wants Daniel Bryan to get a singles push again going into SummerSlam. That means a title change makes a lot of sense. I feel like they put Bryan in a team to take it easy on his body for a few months. I think he’ll go back to being in the WWE Title hunt or maybe the Universal Title if WWE continues to ignore the brand extension. I’m going with New Day to win because then they’ll have the titles while Kofi Kingston also in WWE Champion (I guess I gave that prediction away), so it will be happy times for the New Day trio. If Heavy Machinery wins the titles then that’s fine with me, but I would save it and keep building them up for a few more months.

Winners and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)

 

Last Man Standing Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley 

The stunt angle they did on Raw where Strowman tackled Lashley through the LED boards on the Raw stage was a cool moment that has helped this feud a lot. The match at Super Showdown wasn’t good, the arm wrestling and tug of war competitions were boring, but once you tackle a guy and set off explosions, that makes a feud look a lot better. It was funny how WWE teased the idea that Strowman had a serious injury like a ruptured spleen (a serious injury) two weeks ago, yet now he’s fine and having a Last Man Standing Match.

I think they are doing this kind of match to have Strowman lose without getting pinned. Strowman should be selling the injuries from two weeks ago while Lashley should be more healthy, which can lead to Lashley getting a much-needed win. I don’t remember the last significant win that Lashley has had, so he’s my pick to win this match. They can do a rematch with another stipulation at SummerSlam and Strowman should get the win there.

Winner: Bobby Lashley

 

United States Championship: Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles 

This is the match of the night…if they get time. Yes, I have mentioned wrestlers having time to have a great match a few times because it’s a major factor in terms of match quality. If they don’t get at least 15 minutes I’ll be surprised. Their two matches on Raw were both under ten minutes due to WWE’s ridiculous “no wrestling during commercials” rule that they have followed for the last month. This time, in a PPV setting, they have the chance to have more of an outstanding wrestling match that fans expect from wrestlers as good as Ricochet and Styles.

I had a few people complaining to me about this match because they did it twice on Raw. I don’t mind that at all. The reason why they did it twice was to put Styles over, then have Ricochet go over and Styles turned heel, so now when they have the third match, not only is it 1-1 but there’s more of a story with Ricochet wanting revenge for AJ’s cheap attack on him. It’s a good storyline that is designed to get Ricochet over more as a babyface on the rise that hopefully can be a PPV main eventer next year. I think Ricochet is outstanding, so the more screen time he gets, the better it is for everybody in WWE.

It’s a tough match to predict because Ricochet has only had the title for about one month while you can make a case that Styles doesn’t “need” it, so Ricochet going over makes a lot of sense. I don’t like picking champions to have very short reigns either. However, Styles just turned heel with his buddies Gallows and Anderson watching his back, so it makes sense if Styles gets some help to win the match and the title. They can have Ricochet chase for a few months after that to keep the feud going. I’m not sure about this prediction at all, but I’m going with a title change.

Winner and New United States Champion: AJ Styles

 

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe 

I already mentioned New Day winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles to join Kofi as a champion in WWE, so that tells you I’m expecting Kofi to retain here. This feels like the first match in a series of matches between these guys. I’m not sure if the rivalry was just thrown together to give Kingston a fresh opponent because Joe could have been booked better in the build up to this match. Yes, Joe attacked Kingston multiple times to cause him to pass out in the Coquina Clutch, but Joe should have beaten some quality opponents going into this match. At least the promo segment they did two weeks ago was very good.

It should be a match where Joe dominates most of it, Kofi makes the big comeback and finds a way to win. Kofi has been booked so well as the champion with his only loss since WrestleMania coming against Joe in the tag team match a few weeks ago.

My prediction is that Kofi will probably lose the WWE Title at SummerSlam to Joe or Daniel Bryan or maybe even Roman Reigns. I just have a hunch there might be a 4-Way at SummerSlam. I don’t have any info. It’s just a feeling I have. Even Brock Lesnar is a possibility via Money in the Bank cash-in. I think by the time we get to the Smackdown debut on Fox in October, the WWE Champion is going to be Lesnar or Reigns. For now, I’ll go with Kofi for the win.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

 

Extreme Rules Match for the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans

Note: This is a one fall match for both titles. If Corbin pins or submits Rollins, then he is Universal Champion while Evans is Raw Women’s Champion. If Evans pins or submits Lynch, then she is Raw Women’s Champion while Corbin is Universal Champion. The other part of the deal is that if Corbin and Evans lose, then they get no more title shots at Seth and Becky.

Did you know Seth and Becky were dating? Even if you don’t care, you probably know they are dating since WWE mentions it all the time. An Extreme Rules Match should mean that there are no tags needed and that they can just pair off to wrestle all over the arena. However, this is WWE, so they might have wrestlers wait for tags even though there are no rules.

I feel like this is an easy match to predict with Rollins and Lynch getting the win to move on from these boring rivalries. I think WWE realized the fans rejected Corbin and Evans as challengers, which is why they announce the “no more title shots” stipulation. Corbin and Evans also were not on Raw that much in the last two weeks. That tells me WWE is going to phase them out for a bit. I don’t expect a great match. I just hope WWE has better feuds planned for Rollins and Lynch coming out of this show because Rollins and Lynch have both lost a lot of positive momentum.

Winners: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch

BONUS: I don’t expect Brock Lesnar to leave Extreme Rules with the Universal or WWE Championship. I know Paul Heyman teased it on Raw. Lesnar might be there, but I feel like Seth and/or Kofi will avoid losing their title. It might be SummerSlam when it happens (if it happens at all) or perhaps in October when Smackdown is Fox. It wouldn’t shock me if WWE waited until next year either. Lesnar and Heyman are heels. They are supposed to lie. Fans shouldn’t be upset about it when a heel lies. That’s their job!

 

No Holds Barred Match: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon

I feel like this is going to be the main event because The Undertaker’s involved, Roman Reigns is a part of it and I expect their babyface team to get the win. The “No Holds Barred” stipulation is another way of saying “Extreme Rules” or anything goes, so again, this is another match where there shouldn’t be any tags. They will be able to brawl all around the arena, which is probably good for The Undertaker at this point in his career.

I know there are reports that there are not current plans to do The Undertaker vs. McIntyre at SummerSlam, but to me that’s the obvious direction to go in after this match. Why would Undertaker return for Extreme Rules and not build to a match at SummerSlam? Perhaps the plan is to do Undertaker vs. Shane at SummerSlam, but I would rather see Miz beat Shane to end their feud if Shane is going to have a match. Another possibility for Undertaker at SummerSlam is Bray Wyatt, who could be returning to action as soon as next week.

They should have a decent match, but with Undertaker and Shane as two older guys, it would be foolish to expect greatness. Shane will probably do some crazy bump through a table at ringside or elsewhere in the arena. Elias will likely interfere, which could lead to The Miz or Kevin Owens to come out to stop him from costing Reigns/Undertaker the match since Miz and Owens have issues with Shane.

My prediction is Reigns pins Shane in a match that gets around 15 minutes. I think Roman will be in the WWE Title picture sooner rather than later, so getting the win in this match might set him up for that WWE Title push at SummerSlam or soon after that.

Winners: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker

 

BONUS TOPICS!

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

I like Ricochet vs. Styles getting 20 minutes the most, but Black vs. Cesaro is right there too. I’ll never get tired of Revival vs. Usos either.

The Match I Care About The Least

Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans. I like Seth and Becky a lot. However, these rivalries have done more harm than good for them. Nobody is going to look back on Seth vs. Baron or Becky vs. Lacey as feuds that were great for either champion.

Longest Match

Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe. A few matches might go over 20 minutes. This is one of them.

Shortest Match

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing Match. I just have a feeling it will be around ten minutes. Bayley’s Handicap Match should be short too.

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

I’m at 7 out of 10 for this show. I like several of the matches as I mentioned in the introduction of this preview. One of the most frustrating parts about WWE TV in the past month are the shorter matches, so that makes me excited to see a show without commercials forcing the matches to be shorter. What prevents the show from being higher than a 7/10 is that the two main matches are tag team matches with similar stipulations. Neither match excites me that much.

 

Final Thoughts

I’ll be back with a review of Extreme Rules on TJRWrestling.net live on Sunday night, so check it out during the show or after it’s over.

Contact me on Twitter @johnreport with any comments or questions.

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com as well. Thanks for reading.

 

 

The post TJRWrestling WWE Extreme Rules 2019 Preview appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Kevin Owens – The Hottest Commodity in WWE Right Now? – by Mike Sanchez

First things first, if you haven’t done so already, please check out this clip from Smackdown Live this week before we continue.

Great, wasn’t it? Kevin Owens going full steam ahead in a passionate rant about Shane McMahon’s overbearing presence on WWE TV and more these past few months. He spoke from the heart about how much ‘TV time’ Shane is taking up and by doing so is forcing Owens’ colleagues in the locker room to take a back seat and not be involved at all. This is one of those rare times when story blurs into reality as there have been many vocal fans of WWE bemoaning the insistence of WWE to continually shove Shane McMahon down our throats. Owens was saying what we were thinking, and though I won’t try to compare his promo with the infamous ‘pipe bomb’ of CM Punk from eight years ago, it did bear some similarities and spoke some home truths.

Kevin Owens was doing what Kevin Owens does; what he wants, when he wants. His promo was so much more than an angle in that he took it upon himself to say what the fans have been thinking. He used the platform he has to vent his frustrations with the company, the direction it is going and the limited opportunities he’s had since returning from injury. Some are saying that this is the beginning of a feud that will see Shane take a step back from being an on-screen talent and go back to working behind the scenes or continuing to work on the many businesses he has outside of WWE. I really don’t care one way or the other, but one this is for certain; if this means more Kevin Owens on our screens, then I’m all for it.

The question is; what happens from here and also, after this feud is over? Shane is positioned as the heel in this story – something he’s been reveling in for some time now. His return from self-imposed exile in February 2016, saw him as the returning hero, there to do battle with his sister, Stephanie McMahon, and challenge his father’s authority once again. At that point, Shane was hailed as the returning savior to save the WWE Universe from the evil Stephanie’s reign of terror. That story played out well, but the feeling from many WWE fans is that Shane has overstayed his welcome. His very presence has become Smackdown Live’s version of WWE’s insistence on putting Baron Corbin in main event spots on Raw. It grates with us and has gone on for too long. That’s not a pop at Shane (or Corbin) personally, but the formula is getting old and tired. They need to be knocked off their perch.

Enter the new hero, the man who has decided to become the voice of the people – Kevin Owens. This gives Owens a new opportunity to go into this feud as a fully-fledged face, something he hasn’t been too much of in his WWE career. Personally, I love his heel work; from his destruction of John Cena on his main roster debut (when Owens was NXT Champion), to his beatdown of Chris Jericho when Owens decided to end the Festival of Friendship without telling his partner first. I think a face Kevin Owens will be a really fresh idea going forward. This new crusade he’s on, to rid the WWE of Shane McMahon, should see the crowd rally behind him and support his cause no end. It also shines a light on the side of Kevin Owens we rarely see – one who is supportive of others. Usually, Owens has been the loner in WWE; out for himself at all times. Sure, he’s had help along the way with the aforementioned Jericho and his real-life, long-time friend Sami Zayn, and a brief dalliance with The New Day, but I think Owens does his best work when standing alone.

As a fan of both Owens and WWE, I’m already invested in this and am eager to see where it goes. I like Shane McMahon and he’s held his own when it comes to performing in the ring, but at his age (he’s 49 years old), he should be taking a back seat and letting the younger guys and girls shine. His feud with the Miz was too long, boring and did little for either man. Miz should’ve whooped Shane’s ass in a big showdown, but it faded out into nothing memorable – which is a shame because Miz is awesome. All that feud did was give us even more Shane. The ‘Best in the World’ moniker Shane has given himself is also tiresome. It’s been done to death before and the Saudi Arabia show in 2018 wasn’t the highlight it was meant to be – with fans caring very little, if at all, that Shane ended the night with a meaningless trophy and title.

Kevin Owens should be the voice of the people in this. He should be the renegade who is determined to get Shane off TV, and not for himself, but for the rest of the locker room. He mentioned some notable names in the promo above: Apollo Crews, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Buddy Murphy and more. We’ve seen those stars have fantastic matches, but they never seem to get the time or opportunity to showcase more than once in a blue moon. Will the McMahons try to silence him? Yes, but will he go quietly? Not a chance. Kevin Owens should lead the charge against the regime. He should be the voice of the WWE Universe and he should be the figurehead for the stars in the back who are missing out because of Shane McMahon’s ego.

Could Kevin Owens be that guy on the roster who gets to beat up his boss? Could he take on the persona of the working man who takes out his frustrations on the suits? WWE tried that once before with a man named Steve Austin, who happened to use the same Stone Cold Stunner that Owens used on Smackdown this week. Things turned out alright for him, didn’t they?

Do you like Kevin Owens’ face turn? Do you see this as a positive move for WWE or should there be more Shane McMahon on TV? What happens if/when Kevin wins the feud? What next? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

The post Kevin Owens – The Hottest Commodity in WWE Right Now? – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

WWE NXT Spotlight: 7/10/19 By Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to another installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. I apologize for the lack of review last week, work and the 4th of July holiday made it tough for me to find time to watch the show and write. The results from last week were Mia Yim defeating Aliyah, KUSHIDA defeated Jeff Parker, Cameron Grimes (Trevor Lee) defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (Shane Strickland/Killshot) in the NXT Breakout Tournament, & Roderick Strong defeated Tyler Breeze. This week we have a title match on the card, along with the 3rd match in the NXT Breakout Tournament. So let’s get to it!

The New Side of Io

Io Sharai starts our show with a totally new entrance and look. All black and white lighting with new music as she wears all black and looks tormented while yelling at some of the NXT Universe. We see the recap of what she did to Candice LaRae two weeks ago after her cage match with Shayna Baszler. Io hesitates to speak at first as the crowd boos her relentlessly. She finally says she doesn’t need any friends and she doesn’t need any of the fans. She drops the mic and makes her way back up the ramp.

We go to a media room where Velveteen Dream is holding court. He says he’s here to answer any of the questions that are rumbling around NXT. The first question is in regards to who the first challenger will be for his North American Title. The Dream did not approve that question. Cathy Kelley has a question, which makes Dream smile big and remove his sunglasses. She asks about Roderick Strong continually asking for a title shot. Dream calls her “Queen Cathy”. (They’re dating, which is what makes this tongue in cheek and very funny.) He says with love and respect, she needs to calm down with that question, because Roderick hasn’t proven anything to show he’s a contender for Dream. That’s enough questions for the Dream.

Damien Priest vs. Blanco Loco

Loco is hailed from, “Mexico, New York”. Does that actually exist? The bell rings and Priest hits a pump kick to the back of Loco’s head. Big back elbow in the corner followed by a release vertical suplex. Loco with a right hand, but that was a bad idea as he runs into a brick wall and gets turned inside out. Priest throws him into the ropes and drills him with a lariat. Priest with his cyclone kick out of the corner and then hits his version of Cross Rhodes, which Mauro says is known as The Reckoning.

Winner: Damien Priest

K-Tank’s Take: I think Priest is in line for a big push. He has an “it factor” in my opinion that is undeniable. I may be higher on him more than others but I see a ton of potential.

So weird to see an Evolve Wrestling commercial.

We get a new Killian Dain vignette. He’s telling a harrowing tale of where he grew up with all the violence and riots. Really good stuff here and makes him look beyond intense.

NXT Breakout Tournament – First Round
Jordan Myles vs. BOA

Myles is the former ACH and BOA is a Chinese recruit for the Performance Center. Myles is still wearing his ACH gear. Myles goes for a handshake and BOA bows to him. Myles had a funny reaction to that. BOA has the size advantage in this one. BOA goes for a kick against the ropes but Myles ducks. BOA with a headlock takedown. Both men countering each other’s attempts at headlocks and armbars. BOA with a wrist lock that Myles springboards off the top rope to escape. Myles showing off his athleticism now after a deep arm drag. He backflips away from a BOA kick and then hits a dropkick. Double leg takedown followed by another wrist lock.

BOA escapes and goes for a back body drop but Myles catches himself and turns it into a pinning attempt. BOA kicks out and then drops Myles with a big kick. BOA with a Mui Thai clinch and bringing his knees to Myles’ face. Myles gets tied up in the ropes and BOA brings him down with a strong ax kick. BOA with a standing submission but doesn’t hold on long and instead feeds kicks to Myles in the corner. Single leg shotgun kick sends Myles back into the corner. BOA brings him out with a nice butterfly suplex for a two count. BOA tries a cross arm breaker but Myles stacks him up for a two count to break it. BOA with strong kicks to the sternum of Myles as he’s down on his knees. Myles starts calling for more and then catches one of the kicks. Big chop and then Myles unleashes kicks of his own. Myles with a couple running forearms and then a dropkick.

BOA in the corner and Myles hits a discus clothesline. Myles to the top rope and hits a 450 Splash, which Mauro calls Midnight Star, for the win.

Winner: Jordan Myles advances

K-Tank’s Take: Not as good as the first two matches in the tournament, but a solid showing for both nonetheless. They’re doing a “smiles for Myles” thing with Myles as he’s constantly doing a huge cheesy grin throughout the match. I don’t necessarily like it, but maybe it gets over. He was my favorite when the tournament was announced and I’m going to stick to it.

Shayna Baszler is now with the media and is asked about Mia Yim calling her out recently. Shayna says she’s holding the biggest target in the division. She says Mia has a great story, but it’s the most common story ever. It’s going to take more than a great story to impress her. The result will always be the same, tap, nap, or snap.

We get a vignette for Keith Lee. He says he’s been here for almost a year. He’s faced freaks, knockout artists, and all type of other athletes. He’s never been “the chosen one” though. No one looks at him to put the company on his back. He’s always said though that he is limitless and everyone will bask in his glory. He says in year two, there’s going to have to be some changes. He’s going to have to be so much more than he has. Limitless isn’t going to cut it anymore. He wants to be The Guy, The Money. He will be the main event. He will prove that by becoming infinite. That was a DAMN good promo/vignette. Hopefully, it’s leading to something for Keith finally.

We go to William Regal outside Full Sail and he talks about how a lot of athletes from outside NXT want to come to NXT just for the ability to face KUSHIDA. Next week will continue that trend as Apollo Crews returns to NXT to take on KUSHIDA. Also, Adam Cole will apparently have an NXT Title defense next week, but the opponent is not named.

NXT Tag Title Match
The Street Profits (c) vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

There are about 12 minutes left in the show as the bell rings. Lorcan and Burch want to shake hands, which The Profits accept, so good sign of sportsmanship to start. Lorcan and Montez Ford start us out. Ford uses his athleticism to escape a wrist lock and turns it into an armbar. Dawkins with a blind tag and Lorcan runs into a shoulder tackle from Dawkins. Dawkins rolling around with Lorcan caught in a front face lock. Lorcan escapes and is able to tag in Burch. Burch with a side headlock that Dawkins powers out of. Dawkins with a couple of leapfrogs on Burch, Ford sneaks in the ring and they drop Burch with a double flapjack. Lorcan comes in and they flapjack him onto Burch. Dawkins sets up both opponents on the ropes and lifts them up by the legs as Ford comes from behind with a leapfrog splash across his opponents, ala World’s Greatest Tag Team.

Burch and Lorcan regroup on the floor and then Burch comes in the ring and looks for another handshake as Dawkins extends his hand. This time though, Burch with the cheap shot. Burch off the second rope with a front dropkick. Dawkins brought to their corner as Lorcan tags in. They hit a double team Russian Leg Sweep. Dawkins tries to fight off both men but they end up hitting a double suplex and Burch gets a two count. Burch stomping a mudhole in the corner and then locks on a crossface submission. Dawkins tries rolling through it, but Burch keeps it hooked and Ford has to come in to break it up.

Burch goes for another front dropkick off the second rope but Dawkins moves out of the way this time. Lorcan and Ford are able to tag in. Ford tries a back body drop on Lorcan but there’s a little bit of a hiccup, but he’s able to seamlessly turn it into a spinebuster. Well done by him. Dropkick on Burch. Back suplex on Lorcan, followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Dawkins tags back in and he hits Lorcan with his cyclone avalanche. They hit a double team Acid Drop that leads to another two count. Ford is back legal and now They set up for Doomsday Device, but this time it’s Dawkins going to the top. Lorcan is able to send Ford into Dawkins though. Shotgun dropkick by Burch, who is now legal. Huge half and half suplex on Ford and that leads to a two count for the challengers.

Ford is able to prevent Burch from tagging in Lorcan, but Burch hits a release German on Ford. Ford ends up in his corner, so Dawkins tags back in. All four men in now as everyone is taking out everyone. Ford and Lorcan are left in the ring. Lorcan with chops, Ford with kicks. Ford charges Lorcan, who moves out of the way, and Ford just does a huge somersault dive over the top rope to take out Burch instead. Back in the ring, Dawkins with his version of Sky High on Burch after taking out Lorcan on the floor, Ford back up top with his awesome Frog Splash and the champs retain.

Winners: Street Profits retain

Post match with the Profits celebrating, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish show up and give them mock applause as our show comes to an end.

K-Tank’s Take: Really good stuff here from my two favorite tag teams. I would’ve liked to see them get a couple more minutes but they really made the most of it. Street Profits continue to get better, which is a good sign since they’re seemingly headed to Raw. With Undisputed Era making their intentions known at the end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a quick title change soon. Perhaps they stretch it out to Takeover, though.

That’s it for this week. Thanks as always for tuning in and until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me.

The post WWE NXT Spotlight: 7/10/19 By Kurt Zamora appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

A Look At What WWE Stars May Benefit From Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff’s New Roles in WWE – by Mike Sanchez

This week saw the first Monday Night Raw that was produced by Paul Heyman. It was safe to say that his influence was felt by many fans around the world. Eric Bischoff wasn’t at Smackdown Live this week, so understandably the blue brand didn’t look or feel much different, but maybe we’ll see something in the coming weeks, most likely after Extreme Rules.

Raw kicked off proceedings with a Falls-Count-Anywhere match between Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley. A great way to start the show with them venturing out into the crowd and culminating in a Strowman spear that saw both men go crashing through the screens behind the entrance ramp and into a blaze of explosions, smoke and darkness. It was a welcome return for the pyro. The aftermath was interesting too; a cry of ‘Holy Shit!’ by Corey Graves and an unusual backstage camera positioned to look down as EMTs, refs and others rushed to help the stricken men while the crowd roared their approval of the segment.

Over on Smackdown Live, it wasn’t as explosive as Raw as I said, but as John Canton noted in his thoughts about Heyman and Bischoff, Eric Bischoff is more known for long-term storytelling rather than instant impact and memorable moments – hence why the Raw opening had all the hallmarks of Paul Heyman’s booking. Perhaps Smackdown will take a little longer to change when Eric takes the reigns. Bischoff was responsible for the creation and push of the infamous NWO and they had their fair share of memorable moments, but told over many weeks and months. Hogan’s heel turn at Bash at the Beach in 1996 would lead to the creation of one of the most well-known stables in all of professional wrestling. Though Smackdown was quite promo-heavy, it did feature one interesting storyline possibility and that’s what prompted me to write this today. Last week I took a look at what Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff would bring to WWE’s shows, this week I wanted to look at who could benefit most from their new bosses.

Samoa Joe – Paul Heyman has gone on record about how much he rates Samoa Joe (skip to 1:40 in the above video to hear him talk about it). To be fair, WWE hasn’t buried or forgotten about him and he has been in some good feuds over the years. His interactions with AJ Styles showed a wonderful creepy stalker-esque side to his character and his feud with Rey Mysterio was sadly cut short when Rey got hurt. I thought Joe was a good choice to hold the United States Title, but with no disrespect to Ricochet and others, Joe is bigger than that. Although he was on Smackdown this past week, could he find himself on Raw with Heyman calling the shots? If he does (Joe is technically on the Raw roster), expect the killer heel push with a license to go off-script we’ve been longing for. Samoa Joe could be hitting the headlines very soon.

Though we saw a heel turn from AJ Styles this week, and the official reuniting of The Club, it was against Ricochet, who is currently at the mid-card level. I fully believe this can and will lead to good things going forward and will boost Gallows and Anderson into the Tag Team Title picture. That leaves a gap at the top of the card which could be filled by Samoa Joe. As I said, his stalker ‘run’ involving AJ Styles’ wife was so different and good to watch that it makes sense to have Joe somehow re-create or improve on that somehow. Perhaps he could do the same, but this time involving Becky Lynch? Then again, should he stay on Smackdown and torment Kofi Kingston? I honestly don’t know, but as long as he stays in the main title picture, he’ll be great.

Drew McIntyre – I make no apologies for my support of Drew. A fellow Brit, he went away from WWE, worked the indies and more and returned bigger and badder than he ever was. He was the perfect choice to feud with Roman Reigns after the big dog’s return from leukemia. McIntyre is a credible opponent for one of the top guys in the company and Reigns had good chemistry with him. I’m very interested in the current Undertaker/Shane McMahon story as I think it isn’t about putting Shane over, but more about starting a simmering background feud between McIntyre and the Deadman himself. WWE must know that Shane isn’t the answer to their flagging viewing figures and though I believe he ‘took one for the team’ by winning the Saudi Arabia tournament last year, the office surely can’t pin their hopes on him going forward.

That being said, is it fair to pin hopes on The Undertaker? I don’t think WWE is. Advertise him to appear at a show and there will almost certainly be a spike in ticket sales, plus he strikes me as the type of guy who does what he wants anyway, and guarantees people will watch. He’s also known for wanting to push younger guys in the company and will take part in feuds if it means giving someone a push to help the WWE. Perhaps Drew McIntyre is that younger guy who both the Undertaker and WWE want to try and get to the next level? Only time will tell.

NXT – I’d imagine both Heyman and Bischoff will be cautious about bringing anyone from NXT onto the main roster just yet, or at least until they’ve fully appraised the rosters they’ve taken on. They’ll want to tweak or totally rebrand certain wrestlers and make them part of the vision they have for their respective shows. This could be advantageous for the NXT talent. They will be less likely to be drafted onto the main roster with little or no plan for them going forward (for previous examples see No Way Jose, Tyler Breeze, Apollo Crews and, dare I say it, Aleister Black – at least right now, anyway). This past week on Raw, we saw the NXT Tag Team Champions, the Street Profits, on Raw interacting with Heyman and reports have stated that they are likely going to be featured prominently on Heyman’s Raw.

If and when NXT wrestlers are brought up to the main roster, I’d imagine there to be a solid plan in place. Whether that be bringing in a faction or stable like the Undisputed Era or one or two names who have hit the glass ceiling like Johnny Gargano or Velveteen Dream and need to be pushed onto the next level of their careers, I can see Heyman and/or Bischoff working closely with Triple H on how to preserve and develop a character that has been years in the making and not immediately rename them and have their gimmick changed to something that doesn’t work or that the wrestler isn’t invested in.

Bray Wyatt – I see Bray as a ‘free agent’ in WWE right now. He hasn’t appeared on Raw or Smackdown for a while, yet his Firefly Fun House vignettes are a highlight of a show. Wyatt may find himself in an interesting predicament as to how he’s reintroduced to in-ring action. He’s done extremely well rebranding himself yet again and has lots of promise with this new persona. I can imagine Heyman and Bischoff will by vying for his signature and working with him to show this special character to a wider audience.

So what do you think? Will we see Eric Bischoff’s influence sooner rather than later? Will Paul Heyman keep turning up the dial on Raw? What other talent do you think will benefit from the new regime? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

 

The post A Look At What WWE Stars May Benefit From Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff’s New Roles in WWE – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJR: 10 Questions and Answers About Paul Heyman (Raw) and Eric Bischoff (Smackdown) as WWE Executive Directors

When it was announced last Thursday morning that Paul Heyman would be the Executive Director of Raw and Eric Bischoff would be the Executive Director of Smackdown, I was very surprised. As any WWE fan that follows the business on the internet knows, there are rumors about a lot of things. A lot of it is bullshit, but there are plenty of things that are true as well. I did not see this rumor anymore, so when it was announced, I had to do a double take.

Like a lot of you, I wasn’t sure what it meant. As the morning went along, we came to find out that Heyman would run Raw from behind the scenes and Bischoff would run Smackdown from behind scenes, but they still had to report to WWE’s Chairman and CEO, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. That’s not a surprise because Vince has been running WWE for nearly 40 years and as the primary owner of the company with the most stock options, he has the right to do as he pleases.

Heyman has a long history with WWE from when he ran ECW in the mid to late 1990s and he was getting help from Vince McMahon to keep it going. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was revealed after ECW died in 2001. Years earlier, Heyman was a photographer at WWF shows when he was in his teens. Heyman was a tremendous heel manager in WCW as the leader of the Dangerous Alliance and then he took over as the booker as well as owner of ECW when he was in his early 30s. In 2001, WWE hired Heyman as an announcer to replace Jerry Lawler until Lawler returned later that year. Heyman also joined the creative team, then he was put in charge of Smackdown for most of 2002 and had a great run there, but it was time to move on because he rubbed people the wrong way. Heyman got to run WWE’s OVW developmental system, then there was the failed ECW reboot in 2006, which saw Heyman lose his job in December 2006 after the disastrous December to Dismember PPV. Heyman wanted CM Punk to be put over strong as the new face of ECW, Vince wanted Bobby Lashley in that spot and that meant the end of Heyman in WWE. In 2012, Heyman was back with Brock Lesnar and also CM Punk. Heyman, who first managed Lesnar in 2002, has been with Lesnar on WWE TV for the past seven years. Now at 53 years old, Heyman is back in a powerful role as one of the men in charge of WWE’s three-hour flagship show known as Monday Night Raw.

Bischoff is a wrestling guy just like McMahon and Heyman. Bischoff started as an announcer in the AWA in Minnesota, he tried out for the WWF, but they didn’t like him and he found a home in what would become WCW. A few years later, he became an Executive Vice President in WCW because Ted Turner was impressed by him. Bischoff suggested that WCW start Nitro in September 1995 on Monday nights opposite of WWE’s Raw show and Turner liked that idea. Within a year, WCW was beating WWE regularly and won the Monday Night Wars ratings battle for 83 straight weeks. (Bischoff is so proud of it that his podcast is called 83 Weeks.) Bischoff’s greatest idea in WCW was turning Hulk Hogan heel to lead the New World Order stable in the summer of 1996. They had a lot of success, but when the WWF got momentum in 1998 thanks to Steve Austin as the top guy, they passed WCW and WCW died in 2001 even though Bischoff had tried to buy the company. McMahon ended up buying WCW. A year after that in the summer of 2002, Bischoff was hired by WWE as the on-screen GM of Raw. He had no booking or creative control, but he was great as an evil boss over the next three years. Bischoff went on to help run TNA/Impact Wrestling from 2010 to 2013 and they tried to compete with WWE, but it didn’t work out. Now, Bischoff is back in WWE at the age of 64 with more power than he’s had in the business since WCW died nearly 20 years ago.

I have taken the last several days to unwind a bit and to think about these two well-established men in these roles. What I’m here to do today is go over ten questions that I have had about these hires and come up with ten answers to those questions.

1. Does adding Heyman and Bischoff really matter if Vince McMahon has full control as usual?

Time will tell. I hate starting off with a vague answer to that question, but I think that’s the question that most wrestling fans have right now. We all know Vince McMahon owns the company and has been booking every WWE storyline for nearly 40 years. We just don’t know if Heyman or Bischoff will really change things. My hope is that the 73-year-old Vince McMahon learns to trust other people more in terms of running with their ideas.

Another thing to remember is that Vince McMahon owns the XFL football company that is going to launch (or relaunch) next February. While Vince is not as hands-on this time compared to 2001 because he has hired Oliver Luck as the President of the XFL, he’s still going to be heavily involved. Once the XFL kicks off, Vince may take a bit of a step back from WWE, so having Heyman and Bischoff in these jobs could be Vince’s way of alerting those in the company that Paul and Eric are going to have a lot of influence.

There’s no way of knowing how much impact Paul and Eric are going to have until they are fully entrenched in their jobs. It may be a few weeks until that happens.

 

2. Were these hires done because of ratings and attendance going down?

Most likely, yes. I think it’s a reactionary business. You can change things for the sake of changing all you want, but when key business indicators are down then you need to react to it. Vince knows that as well as anybody. Ratings are down about 15-20% from last year, which were down from the year before. Are people at home watching less TV in general? Absolutely. The top sitcom and dramatic TV shows have less live viewers than then they did ten years ago and much less than twenty years ago. Netflix has over 100 million users, not to mention all the other companies like Hulu or Amazon that offer users a different way to experience TV shows.

Getting back to the attendance issue, last week at Stomping Grounds was very telling. It is rare for WWE to only fill up about half of an arena for a PPV. Then the next night at Raw, there were about 3500 people. That’s very low for a typical Raw. Smackdown was even less with around 2000 people. Two days after that, WWE announced these hires. Apparently, the discussions were on for a couple of weeks, but clearly, after the bad business week that WWE had as well as ratings/attendance moving in a downward direction, they felt the need to announce Paul and Eric in these new roles.

 

3. What excites you the most about Heyman running Raw?

He has one of the most creative minds out of anybody in the wrestling business in the last 30 years. I can remember an interview with Heyman where he talked about wanting to accentuate strengths as well as hide weaknesses. That’s what I expect him to do. If somebody is weak at promos, Heyman will give them a manager or limit what they have to say. Of course, all of it is dependent on Vince letting Paul do his thing.

One thing that Heyman did so well in ECW as well as when he was running the show on Smackdown in 2002, is develop characters. One of the biggest issues in WWE right now is so many of the guys look the same. It feels like half the roster has long black hair with beards. They don’t stand out at all. When you think about ECW, it was such a different cast of characters with Raven as the moody heel, RVD as the cool stoner guy, Tommy Dreamer was the typical babyface, Sandman was the popular guy that loved to party, Sabu was the maniac and Taz was booked like a badass shoot wrestlers that could break anybody down. They weren’t repetitive or boring characters. They were different and it worked so well. Heyman is also very good at long term stories. That Raven/Dreamer feud was one of the best of the 1990s with Raven winning every match until Dreamer won the last match to finally end it.

I think what Heyman is going to bring to WWE is more well-defined characters. Heyman has been a regular in WWE for the last seven years, so he knows everybody on the roster. If you look at Raw right now, there are very few interesting gimmicks. I think with Heyman wielding more power, we might get something fresh for Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and all of these other guys that could be doing a lot more.

When Vince McMahon talked to Heyman about getting this job, I sure hope Paul pitched him on several changes that he wants to do. Once again, it’s all up to Vince giving Paul the freedom to make those changes.

 

4. What’s a good thing that Eric Bischoff can bring to the Smackdown brand?

Long term vision. The best angle that Bischoff did while in WCW was obviously the formation of the New World Order in 1996. It was an invasion angle that was lifted from Japan, but to a lot of us in North American, it was fresh. That’s why it worked so well. When Bischoff had Hulk Hogan turn on WCW to form the NWO with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, that was obviously a huge game changer for the company. The angle carried them for a couple of years as they built up babyfaces like Sting, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page and Bill Goldberg as rivals of the NWO. The problem with the angle was that they didn’t know how to end it or when to end it, but Bischoff deserves a lot of credit for making it happen.

If you look at Bischoff’s run in TNA/Impact, the best thing he did there was start the Aces and Eights stable full of wrestlers that were bikers. It was another long term angle that took over six months to develop that helped make Bully Ray into the top heel in the company while using Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke as a pawn in the plan. Some of it was silly and it’s not like it turned TNA around into a consistently profitable company, but most of us that watched it happen will think of it fondly.

I don’t think Bischoff is great at coming up with gimmicks for wrestlers or the shorter ideas. I think he’s better at setting up the bigger angles, which is a good thing because a lot of WWE storylines feel like they only have a one or two-month story arc. The longest storyline in WWE is the Shane McMahon feud with The Miz, but I doubt many fans would say it’s that interesting. They need to be better in terms of presenting long term storylines.

 

5. Do you think the Wild Card Rule should end?

Yes! Absolutely yes! It should…but I don’t know if it will.

When WWE brought in the Wild Card Rule in May it was done to try to help ratings. The feeling was that if you get more top guys on Raw and Smackdown then it’s going to help the shows. If fans see Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Becky Lynch and whoever on both shows then they might be more interested in watching. Have ratings or attendance improved? Nope.

I think after Extreme Rules on July 14, WWE should announce that the brand extension is in full effect again and there are no exceptions. The reason I say after Extreme Rules is because the card is mostly set right now, so it’s okay to keep going in that direction. Don’t give up on the brand extension, though. Enforce it and make it count because that’s the way to make both shows better.

 

6. Should Triple H be upset that he wasn’t given one of these “Executive Director” positions?

No. It’s a no because he’s already busy and he has plenty of years ahead of him where he could be given more responsibilities. Triple H turns 50 years old this month, so he’s the future boss of WWE. I think Triple H is too busy right now to be given the responsibilities of running one of these shows while continuing to do what he does.

Triple H is currently the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative, which is the job title he has had since 2013. In other words, he is the real-life General Manager of WWE if you were to compare it to a sports team. He hires the wrestlers. It was a job that John Laurinaitis and Jim Ross have had in the past. In addition to that, Triple H runs NXT as their main booker, he’s the main booker for NXT UK as well, he helps to run 205 Live, I believe he still is responsible for booking all WWE live events on the weekends and there are numerous corporate tasks that he has to do on a regular basis as well. The Executive Director position is a full-time commitment, so I don’t know if Triple H would even want to do it if that meant he would have less time for his other responsibilities. Raw and Smackdown are important to WWE obviously, but Triple H and his team developing talent is also a vital part of WWE’s future as well.

If Vince McMahon retires or something unfortunate were to happen to him to cause him to not be the boss anymore, then I think Triple H will be the one to step into that position in terms of running WWE creative. For now, I think Triple H is in the best spot for him at this point in his life because he has done such a great job with NXT. Let’s see what he can continue to do heading into the next decade as well.

I think Triple H is very good at what he’s currently doing, especially in establishing the NXT and NXT UK brands. There’s no need to mess that up right now.

 

7. Should Heyman and Bischoff be on-screen General Managers again?

Since WWE announced Heyman and Bischoff as the Executive Directors of Raw and Smackdown, that makes me think that there are plans to put them in control on screen as well. The authority figure role isn’t fresh especially when you consider Bischoff was doing it in late 1996 and then Vince McMahon was doing it in early 1998. Since then, WWE has usually had somebody on screen that makes the matches the same way Shane McMahon is doing now.

With that said, if WWE were to eliminate on-screen management positions altogether than that’s fine too. Ideally, what they should do is what NXT does with William Regal. He is not on every show. He’s only there when there’s an important decision that needs to be made. He might be in the ring to moderate a contract signing too. That’s really it. We don’t need the authority figure to be all over the show.

The reason I would support Heyman and Bischoff in those roles is because of how great they are in terms of delivering their promos. If it were up to me, I would completely change things up and not have a figurehead on the shows. Give the time to the wrestlers that need it, not the boss.

 

8. Should WWE have hired other people for these roles considering the numerous failures on the resumes of Heyman and Bischoff?

They could have, but I think Vince wanted to go with “executives” that he was familiar with. Since Vince has had a working relationship with Heyman for decades and he seems to respect Bischoff for beating him in the Monday Night Wars, it’s easy to see why Vince picked them. However, it’s fair to bring up the failures as well.

Heyman’s original ECW company lasted about seven years. Heyman was fired as Smackdown’s head writer in the first brand extension in less than a year, which I think was ridiculous, but that’s what happened. The ECW revival in 2006, which saw Heyman work under Vince again, lasted about six months when he was fired by Vince.

Bischoff’s run as President of WCW saw Nitro beat Raw for almost two years, but then WCW fell off a cliff and died within a few years. When Bischoff went to TNA/Impact, they had some moderate success at first although, by the time he was gone, they were in a worse spot than they were in before he got there.

I think if you’re Vince McMahon, the hope is that “time heals all wounds” and that each guy is able to learn from mistakes they made in the past. I don’t think Heyman or Bischoff are too old to be in the job they are in. I think their experience is a valuable commodity that Vince covets, so that’s why they are in this spot. While both have failed, they also deserve a lot of credit for the success they had in their careers.

 

9. Is Heyman the choice for Raw and Bischoff the right choice for Smackdown or should it be the other way around? 

I think they are both in the right spot for this to work. The reason I say that is because Heyman has been around WWE regularly since 2012 and he has been helping creatively for several months while going to Raw and Smackdown every week. Heyman probably knows every one of the wrestlers on the main roster pretty well along with most of the people working backstage in WWE. Considering all of that

Bischoff hasn’t worked regularly for a wrestling company since he left TNA/Impact about six years ago and we all know they were a mess by that point. I think tossing him into the fire and having him try to run the three-hour Raw show would be a difficult task. Putting him on Smackdown, which hopefully remains at two hours (there are rumors that FS1 might get one hour of Smackdown), is the right move. Plus, Bischoff has produced numerous non-wrestling TV shows in his post WCW career and I think his experience in dealing with network executives should be seen as a positive when dealing with the bosses at Fox.

Just because Bischoff was the GM of Raw 15 years ago and Heyman was the GM of Smackdown 15 years ago does not mean they have to be running those shows in 2019. It’s all WWE. I think they are in the right spots where they are now.

 

10. Was this the right move for WWE to hire Heyman and Bischoff in these key roles?

I’m leaning towards a yes right now, but “time will tell” certainly applies here as well. It’s going to be months or maybe even years until we can really know if this was the right move. I’m sure that fans are going to overreact to the TV ratings as soon as this week even though Heyman and Bischoff are not going to be in charge yet. Even when they are in charge later this month, it’s still July, which is traditionally one of WWE’s slowest months. You know why? Because it’s summer. People like to go outside and do things until 10pm at night. They don’t need to stay in the house watching wrestling shows. Angry wrestling fans won’t care, though. They’ll overreact to everything.

The reason I am content with the move is that I really like Heyman. I have been wanting to see him in an executive role in WWE again. I didn’t know if it would ever happen, but I’m glad that it’s a reality. I am less fond of Bischoff, but I respect what he’s done and from listening to his podcast regularly, I think he has learned from a lot of mistakes that doomed him in WCW.

I hope this works out and makes the WWE product better. I’m a lifelong fan of the business that covers everything in-depth, so the more fun I have watching the shows, the more fun I will have writing about it too.

Best of luck to Vince, Paul and Eric. I really hope it works out…pal.

===

I probably could have asked another 50 questions about this, but I’ll leave it at that since I covered a lot here. All feedback is welcome in the comment section below, via email or social media.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

 

The post TJR: 10 Questions and Answers About Paul Heyman (Raw) and Eric Bischoff (Smackdown) as WWE Executive Directors appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff: The WWE Dream Team Going Forward? – by Mike Sanchez

This week I was all set to pen my thoughts on the recent social media spat between some WWE and non-WWE wrestlers and the various reactions to it, but that was stopped in its tracks by an announcement from WWE that none other than Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman are to take new roles in the company and become Executive Directors of Raw and Smackdown Live. Heyman will take charge of Raw, while Bischoff will take the reins of Smackdown. It’s a big surprise and a welcome piece of good news that could go some way to silencing many WWE critics. Both men are hugely experienced in booking, producing, managing talent, writing and appearing on camera and are household names when it comes to the wrestling industry.

It’s fair to say that WWE has had its issues of late. From the repeated booking of matches, to the strange rules of the ‘Wildcard’, myself and many other fans have questioned what direction the company is going and what their game plan is. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s been a case of ‘as you were’ such as the continued involvement of Baron Corbin in the Raw Universal Title picture, or the lackluster attitude towards the Women’s Tag Division. In all fairness, there have been some high spots like the recent push for Samoa Joe from US Title level to heading into a feud with Kofi Kingston and the swift rise of Ricochet who took Joe’s belt away last Sunday at Stomping Grounds.

What does the addition of Heyman and Bischoff mean for the product going forward? We haven’t been given full details as yet, but one thing is for certain; Vince McMahon is still calling the shots. Whether Vince is going to take a back seat for some of the TV shows, or ease off the booking remains to be seen. However, he wouldn’t have hired both men in the high-profile spots they’re in if he didn’t trust them or at least wanted to relinquish some control of each show. For all we know, they may be given a remit of booking and producing the mid to lower card portion of each show, dealing with the Women’s Tag Division, Intercontinental and United States Titles while Vince and his crew focus their attention on the top tiles in the company.

Then again (and more likely) I could be wrong, and Vince may hand significantly more control of the shows to Eric and Paul while he adopts a more hands-off approach. He’ll still have Stephanie, Shane and Triple H to ensure things don’t get out of hand while he takes a break. The move smacks of a Vince McMahon idea; in the face of competition, do something that’ll take them down a peg or two. Yes, I appreciate that the fledgling AEW hasn’t been too much of a nuisance to WWE lately but there’s no doubt that many will be tuning in to the new fed once it gets off the ground – especially here in the UK when WWE moves from Sky Sports to BT Sport from 2020.

For those who aren’t aware of this, a quick side note as to why that move from WWE may be significant in the UK. Many people here pay for a selection of packages when it comes to Sky. I personally buy their sports package, which comprises of several channels that show English & Scottish football/soccer, Formula One, Golf, Tennis, NFL, NBA, Darts, WWE and a whole lot more. For this, I pay £12 per month. For me to purchase BT Sports on top of that (because I want to continue watching the other sports on Sky, so I won’t be cancelling that), I’d be forking out another £16-£30 per month depending on whether BT supply my internet or not. Frankly, I’m not paying that just to watch WWE. I’ll be catching up with Raw & Smackdown right here on TJR Wrestling, or on WWE’s YouTube channel, which is really good. AEW’s weekly show, on the other hand, will be free to watch on ITV.

The UK viewership for the Champions League soccer dipped when the rights for the games were bought by BT a few years ago. In 2016 when BT bought the rights to Champions League soccer for an eye-watering £897 million, the audience dipped from 4.4 million who were previously watching on free to air TV to less than 200,000 (source: Daily Telegraph). Although those numbers have grown since, they certainly haven’t hit the heights of their free to air rivals. Sky’s subscribers in the UK total 23 million for 2019 (source: CSIMagazine.com), whereas BT’s subscribers were around 1.8 million in February 2018 (source: tvbeurope.com). The migration from Sky to BT in the UK may make business sense for WWE, but the number of eyes on the product here will surely drop.

Video credit: Inside the Ropes

But I digress. Vince McMahon may have jumped the gun with these new appointments and fearful of AEW snatching up one or both men, has acted first in tying them into WWE. Vince has already seen Jim Ross, Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Dustin Rhodes and more of his former employees jump to the new federation, so in retaliation has made some signings of his own. I fully believe this move will only be positive going forward. By allocating a specific show to each man, they can focus on one product at a time and begin to look long-term into their production. A huge bonus from this will be the freeing up of Triple H from Raw and Smackdown duties so he can dedicate more time to NXT. Triple H has shown what a superb operator he can be and though I have little doubt he would be successful with Raw or Smackdown, his fondness for NXT makes him the ideal person to stay with the brand for the time being.

The acquisition of Paul Hayman and Eric Bischoff is a shrewd move by WWE. I expect the brand split will reignite with stars appearing their own show and nothing more, save for some PPVs. I imagine a revamped and revived Draft to be put in place with talent from NXT included to be stepped up onto the main roster. I hope there are inter-brand rivalries with Heyman and Bischoff taking center stage to promote their show and hype their contracted talent.

I believe this change will bring the stability that has been missing from WWE TV for a while now and will sow the seeds for the future. In regards to AEW, I don’t believe they’ll have too much to fear, however, Vince McMahon has been in dogfights before and has recruited two men who he previously competed with in business. They all know how to play dirty. They know how to draw talent and viewers. They know how to work for a wrestling company. Perhaps the most important signings in wrestling right now aren’t wearing tights, but are wearing suits and potentially holding a microphone. Only time will tell.

—-

So do you think the addition of Eric Bischoff & Paul Heyman will be beneficial to WWE? How do you see it playing out? Will Vince McMahon relinquish some control or will he still keep a firm grip on proceedings? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

The post Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff: The WWE Dream Team Going Forward? – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.