Unpopular Opinions About WWE Right Now – by Mike Sanchez

This week I accidentally dragged myself into a heated debate with my friends over the answer to a simple question about a particular food brand – namely which of the most popular brands I preferred. Apparently my answer was not popular and though some chose to question my decision, others jokingly thought I’d lost my marbles. I didn’t back down, and we eventually agreed that I had stumbled upon an unpopular opinion – something I staunchly believe to be true, but will leave myself wide open for criticism, or outright disbelief that I think such things.

Though some of the following opinions of mine are light-hearted and not judgments I’m willing to die on a hill for, it’s worth remembering the golden rule; opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Just because I think something doesn’t mean you have to agree, but this is wrestling and it’s not supposed to be taken too seriously.

Baron Corbin was the right choice to win King of the Ring

I know, many of you will have stopped reading as soon as you saw that, but hear me out. I wrote a few weeks back that the whole point of the King of the Ring tournament was to elevate a mid to lower card wrestler. Established names or guys with titles need not apply. This is purely to give stars some much-needed exposure and hopefully propel a career that may have stalled. Someone who at one time showed much promise, but for one reason or another, hasn’t hit the dizzy heights expected of them and needs a push. Corbin ticks all of these boxes.

Look, I wanted Chad Gable to win this Monday on Raw, I really did. But WWE doesn’t always give us what they want and sometimes with good reason. Gable has been the plucky good guy since he arrived in WWE, always up against the odds, and the KOTR tournament gave him a shot at winning over the crowd – and to be fair, he was doing a good job. However, perhaps WWE’s plans for him are as a heel going forward, or as a frustrated good guy who thinks the world is against him and will fight and scrap for everything from here on out. Worked out ok for Becky Lynch, didn’t it?

Back to Corbin and I’ll be the first to admit he wasn’t my favorite guy in WWE. Then again, when I think about it, he’s been hampered with some awful gimmicks; the annoying authority figure on Raw, the whiny wrestler who inserted himself into feuds and generally whining about everything. In recent weeks he’s changed. He’s stopped bitching and become cockier. He’s winning matches rather than fluking them, he’s berating the crowd a lot during his matches and now he’s won a high-profile tournament.

Corbin is never bashed by his peers inside or outside of the business and seems to be well-respected. He took on those awful gimmicks and tried his best with poor material. I don’t think it was his fault he didn’t connect with the crowds, but perhaps all he needs is a fresh start, a new feud and an opportunity. Gable will likely get a feud with Corbin out of this, so hopefully putting Corbin over was the right call and can elevate both guys in the long run.

Seth Rollins Isn’t The Biggest Name in Wrestling

Is Seth Rollins talented? Hell yeah. Is he a top guy? Of course. Is he one of the most well-known stars on the roster? Yep. Is he the ‘biggest’ name in the company? Well, that depends on who you ask. Being the champion of a brand or show in wrestling proves two things; you’re the man/woman to beat, and the company has faith in you right now. Rollins is a very safe hand and a credible champion. He never phones it in and is a poster boy for hard work, determination and toughness. Do I think he should be champion? Yes, I do. He’s popular with the fans of all demographics and is the standard-bearer for Monday Night Raw. His recent engagement to Becky Lynch has only served to make him more likable and popular.

However, some questioned his #1 ranking in the recent PWI rankings, and though I don’t class myself as a wrestling scholar or at the same level as those who ranked over 500 pro wrestlers – I mean, where do you even begin with that list? – is he the biggest name in pro wrestling right now? Let’s do some searches on Google. If he’s the biggest name out there, surely he should be top of the search rankings, right?

  • Seth Rollins – 25.9 million results
  • Chris Jericho – 26.6 million results
  • Bayley – 26.7 million results
  • Becky Lynch – 30.3 million results
  • Roman Reigns – 40.5 million results
  • Sasha Banks – 198 million results
  • AJ Styles – 260 million results
  • Daniel Bryan – 310 million results

And to prove the internet is a fickle mistress and not all wrestlers are equal:

  • Gillberg – 1.08 million results
  • Braun Strowman – 4.8 million results
  • Kenny Omega – 9.75 million results
  • Baron Corbin – 9.9 million results
  • Kofi Kingston – 13.7 million results
  • Randy Orton – 18.5 million results
  • Hulk Hogan – 36.4 million results
  • John Cena – 228 million results

So does that prove that Rollins’ popularity doesn’t transcend outside of WWE? Perhaps, but if that was the case, AJ Styles would be mega-popular outside of wrestling and more people would know Roman Reigns than Hulk Hogan. Take it with a pinch of salt, but my opinion is that Rollins isn’t the biggest star WWE have on their books – at least to the non-WWE audience.

Brock Lesnar is Money and an MVP Whenever He’s in WWE

It came as no real surprise that Brock Lesnar has been brought back to WWE to coincide with Smackdown Live’s launch on FOX. I’ve gone on record before that Brock is a blessing and curse to WWE. He is a draw. He is a freak of nature and a natural talent. He is a star attraction. If he lived, breathed and bled WWE, he would be the biggest star in the industry since Hogan or Austin, perhaps even bigger. Thing is, he doesn’t live for wrestling. WWE is a paycheck to him and nothing more. And honestly, who can blame him?

WWE will always find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. They try to push new talent, but forever go back to big names for their biggest shows.

Wrestlemania coming up? Book Undertaker, Triple H and Goldberg in matches. Got a high-profile show or major change to the brand on the horizon? Throw money at Brock Lesnar and give the Rock a call to see if he’s busy. What’s that? There’s a new X-BOX/Playstation game being launched and we need some talent for the promotional video? Find Sting and tell Hogan all is forgiven.

It’s a never-ending cycle. If WWE won’t push or build new stars for the future, they’ll be forever relying on big names from the past. It would be like NXT bringing in Samoa Joe or AJ Styles to headline a Takeover show.

The problem now is that everyone mentioned above can’t put on a show longer than ten minutes in a high-pressure match with the exception of Lesnar, so they have little choice in bringing him back. Lesnar is their current go-to guy, and sad as it may seem, he is a big attraction and will generate interest – also due to the fantastic hype man that is Paul Heyman. I’d love to write that Rollins, Reigns or Kingston were the big ticket guys who will draw in new audiences, but they just aren’t right now. Reigns does have a good demographic reach and a recent study showed non-wrestling fans find him the most intriguing/interesting/handsome of the current crop on TV, but his run as champion a couple of years ago, along with a negative reaction from WWE fans, saw that idea put on the back burner for a while.

As it stands, we’re stuck with Brock Lesnar being billed as the big draw for WWE. I don’t hate the guy, far from it, but it would be nice for WWE to try something new and showcase some of the current roster and use them as ways to draw in new audiences. Do what NXT does; build from within and use the talent in the locker room to get out into the world and make names for themselves. Garner interest from outside and bring new eyes to the product.

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So what do you think? Do you have unpopular opinions about wrestling? Did you disagree with all of mine, or did I get some right? I’d love to hear your thoughts. – Oh, before I forget, the unpopular opinion I had with my friends that caused so much outrage? I said the Burger King Whopper is a better burger than anything on offer in McDonald’s. There, I said it. I’ll die on that metaphorical hill.

The post Unpopular Opinions About WWE Right Now – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Why Winning the King Of The Ring Tournament Will Not Help Baron Corbin by Alex Podgorski

Earlier this week on the September 16 edition of Raw, Baron Corbin won the 2019 edition of WWE’s King of the Ring (KOTR) Tournament. He beat Chad Gable, a perennial midcarder who has done precious little since splitting up with former tag team partner Jason Jordan. Corbin, meanwhile, has long been rumored to be one of Vince McMahon’s personal favorites, as seen with his previous accomplishments.

Since his main roster debut in 2016, Corbin has won the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, The Money in the Bank briefcase, the United States Championship, and has also been an on-screen authority figure. It’s clear that someone in WWE’s backstage environment wants the audience to think of Corbin as a credible main-event-level star. And now, with this win, he can add another accomplishment to his list.

Sadly for him, that win will not help him whatsoever.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, Corbin gets a negative reaction from the fans already, but not in the right way. Corbin tends to get what’s known as ‘X-Pac heat’, or ‘go-away heat’. This means the fans aren’t booing him because they believe in his villainous antics; they boo him because they genuinely dislike him and do not want to see him in a top-level position.

Corbin has already been maligned for being overrated; many have lambasted him for having below-average matches for someone that’s supposed to be a main-eventer. This is why he received the dubious honors of Most Overrated and the Worst Gimmick (that of ‘Constable Corbin’) by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 2018.

The original purpose of the KOTR has been to serve as a launching pad for a rising star. It was meant to signal that the winner was going to be showcased more and be elevated to the top of the card. So now that Corbin has won, the assumption is he will be featured far more than he is already. This means fans will have to get used to seeing more of Corbin, which will actually be a bad thing.

WWE has already tried elevating Corbin through his previous accomplishments. He won the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royale in 2016, back when that still had some degree of importance. But WWE capitalized on that supposedly important victory by having Corbin lose on his first main roster PPV.

From there, Corbin became just another guy in WWE’s bloated mid-card, trading wins and losses and occasionally challenging for world titles without success. A year later, Corbin won the Money in the Bank briefcase, which was supposed to be another (and more realistic) channel through which Corbin could capture world title gold.

Corbin ended up losing his MITB shot in the most embarrassing way possible. In a sudden cash-in challenge, Corbin faced then-WWE Champion Jinder Mahal for the latter’s WWE Championship. Then, as soon as the bell rang, Corbin charged at John Cena, who was on the ring apron (instead of Mahal, on whom Corbin should’ve kept his focus at all times, since Mahal was the world champion, not Cena). Cena avoided Corbin’s attack, and Mahal defeated Corbin with a ROLL-UP OF DEATH, despite Corbin being fresh and Mahal had just finished a lengthy match. Just like that, Corbin was made to look like a complete chump and lost all credibility as a contender, all because of some backstage shenanigans.

Yet WWE persisted with pushing Corbin as a top attraction (mainly because he is tall, which is reportedly why Vince likes him so much), and once he was drafted to RAW, he was saddled with the most irritating and groan-inducing gimmick of all: the evil authority figure. This is a hated character for multiple reasons. WWE’s booking has been centered on the ‘corrupt authority figure’ model for the past twenty years, ever since Vince and Steve Austin had the greatest feud of all time built around that concept.

Over the past decade, the concept has been done to death, especially with the McMahon family redoing and rebooting the concept time and again. It has become so muddied and convoluted in recent years, what with each show having a General Manager, a commissioner, and of course, Vince as the one that can override any of them. Having Corbin act as yet another person in power did not make fans want to watch him get beaten up by the underdog hero. Instead, it made people want to change the channel whenever “Constable Corbin” was on screen.

Whenever Corbin won, fans groaned because it was the same, tired, shenanigans-filled nonsense that has permeated WWE’s booking for the past years. For many people, Corbin overstayed his welcome whenever he found himself in main-event spots thanks to on-screen abuse of power.

Even before the KOTR Tournament was over, Corbin was cutting promos as if he’d already won, ending his speeches with the lines, “All Hail King Corbin”. Sadly, this is a harbinger of what’s to come in the weeks/months ahead. Instead of using the tournament win to give Corbin enough credibility and momentum to reach the main event naturally, Corbin, like several previous winners, will inherit the dreaded ‘royalty gimmick’ that comes with the KOTR victory. WWE’s creative minds like to think that this ‘regal’ gimmick is what fans want to see and will make the winner more noticeable.

Unfortunately, history has not been kind to many of these previous ‘kings’. ‘King’ Wade Barrett is the best/worst example, as becoming a ‘king’ did more harm than good. King Sheamus was completely forgettable. Kurt Angle was only ‘King Kurt’ for a very short while before reverting back to his ‘Olympic Gold Medalist’ character. Bret Hart, Edge, Triple H, Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar barely used the ‘king’ gimmick at all. In their cases, it was done to elevate their careers without altering their respective gimmicks in a significant way.

The only wrestlers for whom becoming a ‘king’ really worked were Owen Hart, because he used it to further his already-established feud with brother Bret, and Booker T, whose over-the-top King Booker shtick was outstanding and cannot be replicated by anyone on the main roster.

For many people, it’s bad enough that Baron ‘Boring’ Corbin is in his current position as an upper mid-carder on RAW. But now that he won KOTR, he’s going to be showcased even more than before.

If there was ever proof of a disagreement between what WWE’s fans want and what their management wants, this is it.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my post here. I have been writing about wrestling for five years now and am very proud to be writing for TJRWrestling. I hope my regular columns will become your ‘preferred reads’ about anything related to pro wrestling.

The post Why Winning the King Of The Ring Tournament Will Not Help Baron Corbin by Alex Podgorski appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 9/19: WWE NXT on USA Network, AEW, Lesnar Returns, More

Welcome TJR readers, my name is Matt Fowler. I am a 30-year fan of this wacky crazy world of professional wrestling. Now get this TJR fans, I am here to bring you all a brand new, never before seen concept, which I am calling a “Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week” (working title – we’re open to suggestions!). This “list” will consist of the top stories of the week and my unique and quite frankly brilliant take on them. So get ready to be amazed as I bring you what I feel were ten of the biggest wrestling stories of the week.

10. AEW Finalizing Their Card for Debut Episode on October 2

Just as this column clearly is doing, AEW has to make an amazing first impression. With the crowning of the first Women’s Champion and The Elite vs Jericho, plus a mystery team, they are hoping to do just that. Now, if they could just get Lex Luger to show up in the middle of a giant mall, they will be on the path to success for sure! (Rajah)

9. Police Have to Be Called to a WrestlePro Event After Big Cass Acts Aggressive and Erratic Backstage

Usually my goal is to be lighthearted and have fun in these columns, but unfortunately, this story does not have a lot to laugh about. Far too many wrestlers’ lives have been cut short. Being 7ft tall may not be teachable, but how to deal with the stresses of daily life on the road and being in the public eye hopefully can. My hope is that Big Cass can learn those lessons and get the help he needs before it’s too late. (Rajah)

Here’s hoping for some good news out of this story after Enzo Amore posted this letter on behalf of Big Cass. Get better soon, big man.

View this post on Instagram

A letter from my best friend @thecazxl 🙏🏼 …… I have been very honest with my past struggles, and it has been an ongoing battle. On Saturday night, I obviously let my demons get the better of me and I ruined an important night for a really great guy in an unfortunate series of events. I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am, and even harder to overcome my ongoing battle with depression. But I will work my absolute hardest to right the wrongs of Saturday night and apologize to Kevin Mathews, Pat Buck, Joey Janela, the entire WrestlePro locker room and all parties involved from the bottom of my heart. I’m getting help from family and friends as we speak and will be getting professional help in the near future and ask all to please respect my privacy in the meantime. When & if I reemerge as a public figure it will be in good faith and I hope to inspire those who struggle with the same mental health issues I do to seek the help they need. If Tyson Fury can do it….so can I. Remember…I ain’t dead yet. And neither are you. Peace and love, William Patrick Morrissey III —

A post shared by nZo 🖤 (FKA Enzo Amore) (@real1) on

8. Maria Kanellis Has a Gender Reveal Party on Raw

Remember how many of you have been clamoring for the return of the Attitude Era? Clamor no more. We now have a “cuckolding” storyline on RAW in 2019; I hope you are satisfied. At least the happily married Rusev is returning to potentially be the baby’s illegitimate father. All we need now is for the baby to end up being a hand, and the Attitude Era is back! (TJRWrestling)

7. WWE to Hold a Draft on October 11th and 14th

They say the third time’s the charm. After attempting, and then abandoning the idea of separate brands in 2002, and then again in 2016, WWE is promising two completely separate rosters from now on. Will this mean we will never again see RAW stars on Smackdown and vice versa? Or will a month from now Vince come up with another brilliant idea, like the “Wild Card Rule”? Since Vince seems to change his mind on this more than Ric Flair changes wives, I’m going to guess the latter. (TJRWrestling)

6. Baron Corbin Wins King of the Ring on Raw

Despite immensely improving in the ring, including a great match with Chad Gable this week, Corbin is still, unquestionably, one of the most loathed wrestlers on the roster. No matter how good of a heel he becomes, it seems like a portion of the audience will always give him “go away” heat. Does this heat come from not wrestling in the Indy’s, getting pushed way before he was ready, or his strangely shaped belly button? The world may never know. (TJRWrestling)

5. Luke Harper Returns at Clash of the Champions

I found Clash of the Champions from this past Sunday to be a mostly average show. One exception to this was the surprise return of Luke Harper, who helped Eric Rowan beat Roman Reigns. Will this underused big man finally be able to show that he has all the tools, or just a ridiculously large hammer again? (TJRWrestling)

4. Kevin Owens Sues Shane McMahon for Wrongful Termination

After being fired last week, WWE waited a whole week before having Owens return to television. We’re being told if Owens wins this lawsuit he will get 25 million dollars and apparently the ability to fire the boss’s son. Maybe next week it will be revealed that Shane will have to be Kevin Owens’ butler if Owens wins as well. Now that’s quality storytelling! (TJRWrestling)

3. Two Matches Announced for Hell in the Cell

The Hell in a Cell concept is hard to pull off in today’s WWE without the use of blood, and the occasional molar in a nostril. However, if any two matches can pull the Cell off, it’s these two. Banks, after contemplating quitting wrestling altogether, has returned with a new hair color and a new heel attitude. Wyatt, who has had more stops and starts than a NASCAR race, has gotten his new Fiend persona over more than anything else in the WWE right now. There is no way that the WWE can possibly mess this up, right? …..Right? (Rajah)

2. Brock Lesnar to Face Kofi Kingston for the WWE Title at the First Smackdown on FOX

For years, one of the top complaints from the WWE universe is that a part-time wrestler has been holding the title on Raw hostage. Now, a part-time wrestler is potentially going to hold the Smackdown title hostage instead. See guys, Vince McMahon does listen to us. (TJRWrestling)

1. WWE NXT debuts on the USA Network

NXT came out with guns a blazing on USA last night. It was a show that had many great moments, including Roderick Strong capturing the North American title from The Velveteen Dream. NXT was clearly looking to end the Wednesday night war before it could truly begin. Can AEW respond to the “follow that” challenge put in front of them? I, as one wrestling fan, certainly hope so. If this is any indication of the quality of wrestling we are going to be getting every week, then all of us fans should be chanting “fight forever.” (Review by Jim Kress of TJRWrestling)

That concludes the inaugural Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week. I’d like to take a moment to say how excited and humbled I am to be a member of this site. I have been reading John’s reviews and coming to this site for well over ten years. It’s hard to believe I am a part of it now. If you enjoyed my input and wacky sense of humor, you can follow me on Twitter @BackseatBookers or listen to my podcast The BackseatBookers (Beware it is explicit content as I have a potty mouth). Until next week, remember that wrestling is supposed to be fun; don’t let it stress you out too much.

The post Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 9/19: WWE NXT on USA Network, AEW, Lesnar Returns, More appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The Four Horsewomen: The Most Valuable Team in WWE? – by Mike Sanchez

This Sunday at Clash of Champions, there will be two WWE Women’s Title matches that will see Bayley defend her Smackdown Women’s Championship against the nine-time champion, Charlotte Flair. On the same show, “The Man” Becky Lynch will defend her Raw Women’s Title against a rejuvenated Sasha Banks.

I doubt either match will top the bill as the ‘Main Event’, but I’m looking forward to them and predict both contests will be of very high quality. All four participants have been showcased well on TV in recent weeks, and they’re all excellent athletes who will undoubtedly deliver on the night. I’ll save any predictions, as I’m honestly happy with any outcome. It got me thinking, are the Four Horsewomen of WWE the most valuable team in the company? And are they collectively carrying their entire division?

Step back in time to 2018 and there was one woman who sat on the top of the WWE Women’s pyramid – Ronda Rousey. Rousey was an excellent and shrewd acquisition by WWE. They signed probably the most well-known female MMA fighter ever and one of UFC’s biggest stars in their history. She’d suffered defeats at the end of a stellar career in UFC and looked to take the next step in her life. WWE saw this opportunity and swooped to pick up this star attraction. I was one of those fans who was very excited to see what WWE would do with such a talent and though I, like many others, had reservations about her ability to learn how to be professional wrestler, she picked it up as naturally as Kurt Angle did when he arrived. Sometimes talent shines through and if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

The issue with Rousey being top of the pile – and being a very credible, dominant and believable champion from SummerSlam to WrestleMania – was that it stifled the rest of the roster. Over on Smackdown, Asuka was being pushed, but the momentum behind Charlotte, Becky and others means she stood on unsteady ground and soon lost her title before slipping down the pecking order. Rousey, however, stood firm and fended off all challengers until the momentum behind a reignited Becky Lynch in the early part of 2019 saw the champion toppled and off our screens to hopefully take time with her husband and start a family. Therefore, post-Wrestlemania, the new guard had been dethroned and the Four Horsewomen began to rise again.

Becky Lynch was at the forefront of this rise and although she dropped the Smackdown Women’s Title to Charlotte Flair (who held the belt for just under five minutes before Bayley cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase), Lynch has been a mainstay on Raw and like Rousey before her, has defeated all challengers. The introduction of the Women’s Tag Titles allowed the women’s division to breathe and expand outside of two titles, however they haven’t been as successful as WWE would have liked and the lengthy reigns with minimal defenses haven’t helped either. Only in recent weeks did WWE move away from the ‘newer’ women in the company holding the titles and opted to put them on the more recognizable faces on the roster. Alexa Bliss has done a fine job in pushing the titles and bringing Nikki Cross along for the ride, but even that hasn’t jostled the top tier of women wrestlers form their position.

To be fair to WWE, they have tried to improve the division; Natalya has been superb in putting over the other women and they’ve given Lacey Evans a fair crack at the whip, although her push appears to be on the wane of late. The IIconics (Billie Kay & Payton Royce) were given the Women’s Tag Team titles, capturing the new belts from the inaugural champs, Bayley and Sasha, Banks at Wrestlemania. The IIconics held the titles for 120 days, yet I struggle to recall any of their defenses. Asuka disappeared from the title picture and has yet to return, while others on the roster such as Ember Moon, Tamina, Mandy Rose, Liv Morgan and Sonya Deville have rare forays at the top of the women’s card if any at all. WWE seems firm on the idea that the trusted members of that roster are Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Sasha Banks.

That isn’t a criticism of WWE at all, but the fact is they’re blessed with four of the most talented women in professional wrestling right now. Each has their own unique look, style, move-set and approach. They’re way above average than most on the mic, although I think Bayley is bottom of that small list, but improving. That being said, Bayley and Lynch are natural faces in the company. Bayley has a connection with younger fans and has a huge following from children and young girls in particular. She’s smiley, colorful and playful. Her recent descent to the dark side notwithstanding, she is a draw for a big demographic of the WWE fanbase.

Lynch was catapulted into the next level after her fracas with Nia Jax (and attack on Rousey that same night) that saw ‘The Man’ character be born. Her unending quest to be crowned champion was a well thought out story that carried over several months and culminated in her victory at Wrestlemania. Her recent engagement to Seth Rollins (arguably the biggest name on Raw right now) only serves to raise her profile both inside and outside of WWE.

Both Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks took a back seat post-Mania and didn’t enjoy the push their former NXT colleagues did. Charlotte is not someone who can be kept quiet or away from the spotlight for too long. She’s arguably the most talented of the group and has the pedigree and championship history to prove it. She’s a natural heel who comes across as arrogant, entitled and determined, yet is a fully believable champion and every bit as dominant as Lynch or Rousey.

Sasha Banks has returned from a hiatus to become her best persona, a heel. Banks is a popular character, but her best work is as the bad girl foil to a babyface. Her NXT run was spectacular and she is a great worker. I believe WWE is doing the right thing by pushing her in that direction once more. It’s apparent that WWE is focusing on the foursome going into 2020 with little to stop their momentum. They’re a tight-knit group and I don’t foresee anyone challenging their spots anytime soon.

What does the future hold for the Four Horsewomen? Are they set to be dominant for the next five years or more? I think they’re comfortably top of the pile for now, but WWE aren’t daft and know they’ll need to bring through the next group of women to challenge them, rather than rely on another Ronda Rousey. NXT is the breeding ground of great talent and none more so than their women’s division. Though perhaps not just yet, WWE can’t be far away from considering main roster debuts for Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim and more.

The present may belong to the Four Horsewomen, but the future is far from certain. It’s up to them to continue to prove they’re the best and we know they’re up to the challenge.

The post The Four Horsewomen: The Most Valuable Team in WWE? – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

A Friend in Need: Looking At Alliances in WWE and How They Help the Stars – by Mike Sanchez

The wrestling business can be a fickle mistress, one minute you’re the toast of the town, the most popular person on the roster, and the next you’re out of the main event, sitting in the locker room dreading the words we hear so often from those who’ve been there before; ‘Creative has nothing for you’. It’s a sad fact that not every wrestler can be top of the bill at once. Every person in WWE may want to be champion of their respective division, but it may not happen. True, hard work, determination and a sprinkling of luck may get some to the very top, but for others, they can sometimes ascend the mountain only to slip back down at a rapid pace and see others take their spot.

Recently in WWE, there have been alliances either forming or going from strength to strength. There have always been stables in wrestling and that’s unlikely to change, but sometimes stars are paired up or form allegiances to get ahead. This may take the form of a tag team, a temporary arrangement between parties to even the odds against and opponent who has people in their corner or it may be the creation of a faction or stable like I’ve mentioned. If we begin with stables, the most successful usually last a long time, are recognizable to the fans and carry an aura that is more than the sum of their parts. The Shield were a great example of a stable who achieved more when together rather than alone. Even though it’s unlikely we’ll see them reunite (again), there are some very strong stables in WWE right now that boost their members when they unite rather than stand alone.

The New Day typify this in how they’re multi-time Tag Team Champions and have yet to even show a hint of a fracture between their members. It’s been teased a couple of times, but their strength lies in their unity. It was inevitable that one of the group would take the next step, but since Kofi Kingston became World Heavyweight Champion, his New Day brothers have always had his back. The same could be said for the Undisputed Era in NXT. They’re a team of talented guys with perhaps Adam Cole as the standout among them, but again their numbers and strength as a team has seen them capture gold in the company. I think the Undisputed Era have molded themselves like the New Day in that they’re better as a stable than individuals and by keeping them together, WWE can put them on the main roster as a group and have them make maximum impact on their competitors. Think about it; is there another four-man faction who could take them on?

Perhaps some stars don’t arrive in WWE already in a stable and need to form an alliance to help boost themselves up the card. Recently two tag teams have aligned themselves with a singles star to form an alliance or a stable. The OC have re-joined with their old pal AJ Styles in a move that has seen them revitalized in the company. I’m not saying Gallows and Anderson weren’t being used properly, but their partnership with the incredible Styles has seen them go from a tag team who struggled to cement their place at the top of the tree to a dangerous group who look more and more formidable with each week that passes. I really like how WWE has given the entire group the heel persona; they deliberately gang up on wrestlers and cheap shot others to help further their cause. Styles may be out of the Heavyweight title picture for now, but the OC are making waves nonetheless without carrying any gold around their waists.

Speaking of the WWE Heavyweight Title, a return for Randy Orton has seen him installed as the #1 contender for the belt at Clash of Champions, going up against Kofi Kingston. Orton is a very capable standalone character in that he’s rarely a chickenshit heel, more of an opportunist who strikes hard when he can. He was part of arguably one of the most successful stables in WWE when he was the young apprentice in Evolution alongside Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista. It was from Evolution that the Randy Orton we see today emerged. He dabbled with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr when they formed Legacy, although Orton was now leading the pack rather than following. His new mini-faction has seen him team up with The Revival. This is a really positive move by WWE as The Revival are a good, solid tag team who should have been more successful since their main roster debut. Like Gallows and Anderson, hopefully their alliance with Orton will take the group to the next level. Like the OC, they too overwhelm their opponents although their feud seems to have a clear destination when a likely six man tag match with the New Day seems inevitable.

I’m not alone in saying that WWE needs to create more stables in the company, so perhaps these alliances are a way towards that. Even now we’re seeing some lone stars who have been floating around the periphery of the cards being paired up to try and create something new. This past week on Raw saw a Tag Team Turmoil tournament that saw Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode win to get a shot at the Raw Tag Titles. Is this just filler for the upcoming PPV or is there something more meaningful going on? With the push behind the OC and other tag teams of late, I hope this Ziggler/Roode pairing can elevate both guys – even if it goes some way to repaying Ziggler for his fantastic selling for Goldberg at SummerSlam. The guy is a selling machine and has had some seriously bad luck over the years. It would be nice if WWE replayed him in some way. Perhaps this alliance will be the one that reaps the most reward at Clash of Champions? Who knows? That being said, another guy who seemed to be overlooked in recent months, Braun Strowman, has been catapulted into the main event scene by pairing with Seth Rollins and capturing the Raw Tag Titles. Strowman has made no secret of his desire to be Universal Champion, so maybe his partnership with Rollins has an ulterior motive? Only time will tell.

So what do you think of the alliances in WWE? Is Randy Orton in it for the long haul with the Revival? Can Ziggler and Roode be a potent partnership? Will WWE bring the Undisputed Era up to the main roster as a unit to continue their dominance? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

The post A Friend in Need: Looking At Alliances in WWE and How They Help the Stars – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.