Looking Back at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in WWE This Week by Mike Sanchez

The Good

Seth Rollins vs, AJ Styles

I think it goes without saying for many WWE fans that we were all looking forward to this match at Money in the Bank, and it certainly did not disappoint. An online gripe since Wrestlemania I’ve been reading is fans grumbling about the booking of the face champions on both brands, but I can’t understand why some seem determined to moan about minor issues. Rollins should be the Universal Champion on Raw and for a long time. Rollins’ character is fearless and takes on all-comers, hence his challenge to Brock Lesnar after the Royal Rumble. He doesn’t shy away from serious competition and so I was extremely happy that he accepted AJ Styles’ challenge.

The match itself was really good and shows what WWE can offer when they just let two top professionals just go at it in the ring. The loss didn’t hurt Styles at all, in fact, I believe it only enhanced his glowing reputation even further and signaled to Rollins that his run as champion is anything but secure. This match will undoubtedly happen again in the future, but if this week’s offering was anything to go by, then it needs to be saved for big PPVs.

Bayley Cashing in and Becky Losing a Belt

Hear me out, Becky Fans (of which I’m one too).  Since Becky captured both titles at Wrestlemania and became ‘Becky Two Belts’, I worried for her booking going forward. I believe that having her on both shows, defending both titles would lead to an over-saturation of the character and ultimately causing the office to have her lose both belts in quick succession. The scenario we saw on Sunday with her having two title defenses in one night was always going to happen, but I think WWE got this right. With Charlotte Flair’s win just minutes old, Bayley, fresh from her MITB win, cashed in to become a grand-slam women’s champion.

Becky can now carry on as The Man and champion on Raw, where she can continue on her journey free from the additional pressure of carrying the division on her own. The Man is a great gimmick, but it’s unfair on the other talented women to have just one figurehead when there are two belts to be had as well as the Women’s Tag Titles. One person holding multiple belts never lasts long, as it restricts feuds and storylines that revolve around titles. Bayley’s win should be the kick-start her character has needed for a couple of years now. Hopefully, this should give Smackdown some fresh matchups.

 

The Bad

Brock Lesnar winning the Money in the Bank match

Two steps forward, three steps back. Sigh. I was as surprised as anyone when Brock came out to disrupt the men’s Money in the Bank match and end up climbing the ladder to take the briefcase. Then that surprise turned to annoyance – again. Look, I get it that Brock Lesnar is an attraction. I get it that he’s not like anyone else on the roster and I get it that Vince McMahon and co think he should permanently be in the title picture, but to have him win MITB is ridiculous. The whole point of MITB is to give someone an opportunity at a title who wouldn’t normally be given that chance. Young up and comers traditionally take part in the match and the winner is usually someone who has yet to capture a top title, or has rarely held the belt in the careers; think CM Punk, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Braun Strowman, Carmella, Dean Ambrose etc. That being said, both John Cena and Randy Orton have been previous winners, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised at Brock’s win.

What riles me most about this is that Brock doesn’t need it. For me, the whole PPV is a moot point now as Bayley has already cashed in and not many fans care if or when Brock cashes in too.  He will do it when the champ is vulnerable and easily pick up the win, leading us to even more weeks with an absent champion who only turns up when WWE see fit to give him a big paycheck. WWE don’t appear to have learned their lesson with Brock and there seems to be an obsession with him being champion. Not all wrestlers need the gold to be popular or have great matches. Lesnar is firmly in the ‘veteran’ category when it comes to WWE – he turns 42 in July – and has had a stellar career, but I personally believe MITB should be reserved for younger stars. I could be wrong, but that’s just my opinion.

Shane McMahon’s never ending feud with The Miz

Can we stop this now? Please?

 

The Ugly

The 24/7 Championship

They wheeled out poor Mick Foley for this, didn’t they? No amount of cheap pops from the Hardcore Legend could get this over. I like that WWE is trying out new things, as it’s important to continue evolving, especially with AEW’s debut on TV right around the corner, but the introduction of the hideous 24/7 title is just a re-hash of the Hardcore Title from the Attitude Era. Appearance aside, I’m genuinely interested as to where WWE is going with this. Is it purely for the lower to mid-card talent to fight over, and will be part of comedic storylines going forward? Is it destined to be held and lost by R-Truth multiple times in 2019 to set a new record for most title wins in WWE?

I would have preferred a title that is defended every week on TV, much like the United States Title open challenges, but I suppose a belt that gives some of the talent screen time and feuds that they normally wouldn’t have is a good thing. Time will tell.

So what do you think? Was it a good week overall for WWE or should they be taking their long-term planning more seriously considering lots of fans will be tuning in to AEW to see what they have to offer? What are your thoughts on the new 24/7 Championship? I’d love to hear them. As always, thanks for reading.

The post Looking Back at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in WWE This Week by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 260

Is Money in the Bank on the backburner now?
Photo Credit: WWE.com

It’s Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 280 characters can’t restrain me, fool! If you don’t know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

This question hearkens back to another question you had asked about the briefcase becoming oversaturated, and WWE course-correcting. I feel as if this is another move in course-correcting having Bayley cash in the same night she won and Brock Lesnar take his briefcase with him to his mud hut in somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota. Lesnar, by definition, will cash in on a surprise given that his appearances are surprises anymore. Granted, not all surprises are objectively good, and I’ve made my thoughts clear on his briefcase win. Still, everyone knows Vince McMahon’s ideas rarely line up with too-online jerks like myself. So this is definitely his way of rehabbing it. Still, I’m not sure Money in the Bank was ever bigger than Survivor Series, except those weird years at the beginning of the decade when it was rumored WWE was going to phase the event out and CM Punk made MITB ’11, ahem, must see. WWE never offered travel packages for MITB, but recently, Survivor Series has been treated like any of the other Big Four.

Best: Andre the Giant, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Colony, Manami Toyota, Jushin Thunder Liger

Worst: Bad Ass Billy Gunn, Farooq Asad (pre-Nation, Sunny-managed), Giant Gonzalez, The KISS Demon, Deuce and Domino

The leftist in me says that the best way for him to die is via guillotine with all the other billionaires. The ironic wrestling fan in me wants to see him go taking a bump, like the most basic of bumps that causes some major trauma in him that ends up killing him. The former is quicker and cleaner, but at the result of a revolution that will redistribute wealth, while the latter can happen at any time, but will be more painful, so it’s really hard to say which will be more satisfying. Odds are, he’ll probably die peacefully with his grandchildren at his side and with a thousand thirsty sycophantic wrestling writers led at the vanguard by Justin LaBar and Ryan Satin to give him great hagiography for how he BUILT pro wrestling with his bare hands, which will be severely irritating. But whatever, I’m used to only getting sporadic wins. I’m a Philly sports fan.

I only really have two criteria. Is it memorable, and does it fit the character? Look at the Kanellis’ theme song as an example of a perfect theme in the modern age.

Is it memorable? It might be the only memorable thing about that act in WWE right now, which is partially WWE’s fault for dropping the ball and partially bad luck as it came right at the time when Mike was at a turning point in his opioid addiction. The opening shreddy noodle catches your attention, and then the big booming vocal intro burrows into your mind like a worm. Now, does it fit the character? Given that Mike is blindly dedicated to Maria here under the guise of love, I’d say the aggrandizing lyrics fit perfectly. Not that I’m SCREAMING to see more Mike Bennett on WWE TV, but the gimmick had a great hook, and if he was going to succeed anywhere, it was going to be in WWE. But that’s another question.

Normally, I would say that Blastoise’s heft and double water cannons would be too much for Gage, but MDK the man’s taken out bigger opponents, and he seems like the kind of guy who’s either too tough or too stupid to quit in a fight unless he was incapacitated, unconscious, or dead. So I’m still going for my man Nick Gage here, MDK Gang Affiliated.

The short answer is HELL NO.

The longer answer is that AEW has a chance to “break the wheel” so to speak. WWE’s oppressive schedule is obviously the paradigm which they should hope to break. Sure, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling stream all of their shows, but the former especially might have an argument for maybe not hitting every town and allowing people to engage it as a TV product (New Japan has TV in Japan, maybe porting that for America would help them not have as many shows as they do, but they’re actually the company whose load I’m least worried about). With billions backing it, and unlike ROH, billions that are interested in wrestling, AEW should probably just stick to television tapings and live shows for the big events to be streamed on the Bleacher Report app. It can be the big money promotion without having wrestlers run down by superfluous appearances that only serve an anachronistic belief that it’s not wrestling unless you get to see it live. It would also further a friendlier attitude to the indies by allowing them to fill the live wrestling gap, especially if they allow their wrestlers to be true independent contractors and selectively work dates they WANT to work rather than being mandated.

Well, if McMahon were booking the show, he’d have had NO CHANCE IN HELL of killing off Khal Drogo in season one, but assuming he only got to take over the show, only women would be able to fight women, the Night King would’ve survived the Battle of Winterfell and then traded victories with Arya Stark until an unsatisfying conclusion in the finale that left everyone dissatisfied, and Daenerys would have cut a scathing promo about how she HATED the people of King’s Landing before doing her dragon strafing of the city. Oh, and Euron Greyjoy would’ve been on the Iron Throne at the end and also he’d have been recast as Triple H.