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.

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WWE: Lin-Manuel Miranda should serenade us at WrestleMania

Lin-Manuel Miranda was in attendance at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff, and the news that he’s a fan means we definitely need him at WWE WrestleMania 36. NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff finished off a spectacular event with the WWE United Kingdom Championship match between Tyler Bate and Walter, and Lin-Manuel Miranda was in attendance to witness […]

WWE: Lin-Manuel Miranda should serenade us at WrestleManiaDaily DDTDaily DDT – A Professional Wrestling Blog Covering the WWE, NWA, and everything Professional Wrestling

L.A. & Las Vegas Among Four Finalists to Host WrestleMania 37

Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that mayor James T. Butts Jr. of Inglewood announced that the LA/Inglewood area is one of four finalists for the host of WrestleMania 37 in 2021. The upcoming home of the LA Chargers/LA Rams is the stadium in the running for the big show, while RAW, SmackDown & NXT would likely emanate from the Staples Center.

According to WrestleVotes, the second city in the running is Las Vegas, NV and their under-construction Allegiant Field, with SmackDown, RAW & NXT likely coming from the T-Mobile Arena.

There is no word on the third and fourth finalists.

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Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns should main event WrestleMania 36

Stop me if you have heard this before, Roman Reigns in the main event of WWE WrestleMania. In the span of seven years on the WWE main roster, Roman Reigns has been in the main event of four WrestleManias. For context, that is more main event spots at WrestleMania than Stone Cold Steve Austin. One […]

Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns should main event WrestleMania 36Daily DDTDaily DDT – A Professional Wrestling Blog Covering the WWE, NWA, and everything Professional Wrestling

WWE: A Good Blend of Youth and Experience, or Sidelining the Younger Talent? – by Mike Sanchez

The second-biggest WWE PPV is almost upon us, SummerSlam – although I personally regard the Royal Rumble as the second biggest, with SummerSlam coming in a close third. The build for SummerSlam has been okay. Both Raw and Smackdown Live are trying new storylines, new feuds and generally finding their feet as WWE approaches a huge period for the company. The FOX deal is on the horizon and WWE seems to be doing all they can to draw both new and old eyes on the product. So much so, that they’ve delved into their past and pulled some veterans out of semi or full retirement and back into the squared circle. I think this can be both positive and negative for WWE going forward, and I want to explain why I think that.

In recent months WWE has begun to put some of the biggest names in their history front and center on their TV shows. Rey Mysterio has decided to have another run and I think WWE has struck gold by pairing him with Andrade, a younger talent who has excellent chemistry with the veteran Mysterio. Both men tell a great story and their feud doesn’t need outside interference, a title or a gimmick. They’re both just so good when paired against one another. It can only do wonders for Andrade’s career right now.

For the ladies, Trish Stratus has returned and is looking incredible for her age (42), and even though she’s hinted that her SummerSlam match against Charlotte Flair will be her last in WWE, her name will certainly be a draw to the huge Canadian fanbase WWE will have at the PPV. Add to that the return of Goldberg (at age 50) in what must be the lock of the night in his match against Dolph Ziggler. A strange addition I thought, but Dolph will sell to make Goldberg look like a million dollars, so perhaps a smart pairing from WWE.

Over on Smackdown Live, Randy Orton is making his presence known by challenging Kofi Kingston for the WWE Heavyweight Title. Though not ‘retired’ as such, Orton has certainly slowed down his career and taken time out away from WWE. Orton’s push in the title picture is similar to that of Natalya in her feud with Becky Lynch. Both Becky and Kofi are popular champions and their title wins were very well received, but their current spots make some think the chase is sometimes more exciting than the title run. Kingston has defended his belt well, but after four months as champion, do fans and WWE feel a change of direction is needed? The same too can be said about Becky. It was smart to have her drop one of the two belts she won at Wrestlemania, but is the division in danger of becoming stale on Raw at least, with her recent appearances being in tag action or alongside Seth Rollins instead of standing alone and taking on all comers?

I think we all understand that WWE is a business and the purpose of the business is to make money. By advertising Goldberg, Trish, Orton and others for big SummerSlam matches, WWE are pushing their ticket sales and viewership on the WWE Network. Then there’s the FOX deal. FOX have stated in media releases that they fully intend to promote and push WWE in a big way on their network. WWE won’t be treated as a niche or small part of their shows, but a major player and a big draw. WWE needs to hold up their part of the bargain by ensuring their fans tune in to FOX and raise their viewing numbers. The easy way to do this is to appeal to the widest demographic and try to catch as many fans as possible.

I’m not saying WWE has talent that people don’t want to watch, but the names like Trish Stratus, Randy Orton, Goldberg and even The Undertaker are names older fans who may have strayed from WWE will recognize. These are the fans who are spending money and subscribing to networks, so they are the ideal target. Will they tune in to the first WWE show FOX broadcasts on October 4? Perhaps, but are they more likely to tune in to a show that’s been heavily promoted and will include appearances from their favorite stars when they were kids? More likely, I would suspect.

Where does that leave the ‘lesser known’ stars to the wider audience? If you haven’t been watching WWE for a few years, you may be unaware of Aleister Black, Ricochet, The Viking Raiders, Kari Sane, Nikki Cross, The IIconics and Buddy Murphy. You may be unaware that Drew McIntyre returned to the company, and even if you took a passing interest, the lack of regular TV time and/or pushes for Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Bobby Lashley, Rusev, Lana, Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman may mean you’re not familiar with many of them. But if WWE is looking to push on with the new exposure FOX will bring, surely now is the time to showcase the talent on the roster rather than wheel in the veterans? Unfortunately no, while Trish, Goldberg and Orton all have matches scheduled for SummerSlam, everyone listed above with exception of Ricochet and Owens (who is yet again facing Shane McMahon – sigh), hasn’t been put on the card as yet. There’s hope at least one or two may be added, but this is WWE, so don’t expect too much to change.

Is this the proverbial Catch-22 for WWE? They want to boost their viewing figures and grow the company, but they continue to rely on bringing back stars from yesteryear to draw in the fans, rather than push their younger talent on their own merit. The only problem with that is the veterans aren’t getting any younger, and the superstars of the Attitude Era (the biggest professional wrestling has ever been) just aren’t interested or physically able to go like they once did.

Does WWE need to change tactics for the years ahead? Is there anyone who was part of the Attitude Era who could realistically put on a match in 5-10 years? If not, who will be the next crop of veterans to be brought back to the company? The Rock recently confirmed that he’d officially retired from wrestling. Perhaps WWE had been in touch to try and bring him back too? Does that only leave John Cena as the most well-known veteran of the modern era who could put on a match? Perhaps WWE should trust in their younger talent to make themselves household names and be the future of the company? Right now is as good a time as any to do just that.

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