Road To MetLife: You Had One Job WWE

Of course WWE couldn’t go a full month without ruining something that was already perfect. Yes, folks. My love/hate relationship with the E is taking another dark avenue, only this time WWE had only one job. NOTHING! They literally had to do nothing for the next several weeks and let Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey do their promos in the ring and social media. They had it. They had lightning in a bottle and they actually managed to ruin it by creating a ridiculous swerve by adding a third participant in a what could’ve been a classic one-on-one encounter. Allow me to quickly recap.

We all know that Becky Lynch won the Royal Rumble, which “gaurentees” the winner a shot at the Championship at Wrestlemania. We also know that, despite her upcoming title defense at Elimination Chamber, Ronda Rousey will walk into New Jersey with the Raw Women’s Championship. And up until Monday night, we were aware that Becky Lynch was challenging Ronda Rousey for that championship in what was supposed to be a personal, heated, and unforgettable collision course between these two women. But, leave it to the “creativity” of the writers and bookers, WWE felt it would be much more entertaining to suspend Lynch and hand the main event to Charlotte Flair. Seriously, WWE? You couldn’t just leave it alone, could you? Becky and Ronda have been doing a great job building their storyline since Survivor Series when they were originally scheduled to meet. They never stopped their momentum and only continued to draw more interest in their rivalry. The writers literally didn’t have to do anything. But they thought adding Charlotte Flair would be much better. It’s not.

I’ve read feedback from the opposition and all I keep getting is a short term payout. “Becky beating both Charlotte and Becky will make her bigger”. So explain to me the purpose of the injury angle with Becky’s leg? Lynch is going into Wrestlemania with a bad knee and her opponent is one of the biggest submission specialists in the game. Out of the gate, Becky would be absolutely outmatched with this handicap which gives us a great story right there and Becky having to overcome the odds against an angry and hostile Rousey would be the cherry. And if you REALLY want to add the McMahons in this story, have them make the match no disqualification which will unleash Ronda’s rage. Something we’ve yet seen since her arrival and trust me, she NEEDS to tweek the attitude. Ronda Rousey going Super Saiyan on Becky Lynch would might give Rousey a decent pop from the crowd. Something the McMahons want.

“Charlotte can take the fall, keeping Ronda’s momentum going”. I can’t stress this enough: RONDA NEEDS TO LOSE. It’s not out of hate or boredom because I love Ronda. You can’t oversatutate her because then you get a female Brock Lesnar. Right now Lesnar is the laughing stock of WWE by keeping this “invincible” persona and making very few appearances. He’s made the main event picture and the Universal Title a joke and having Rousey (also a former UFC Champion, mind you) duplicate that direction is going to turn the fans off even further. Wrestlemania is the time, and right now, Becky is the (wo)Man to do it. Adding Charlotte would dilute Ronda’s momentum and honestly, Becky’s as well.

I’m not saying Charlotte doesn’t deserve a title match, or even the championship itself. But this isn’t her moment anymore. It’s clear WWE wants to center the women’s division around Flair, but fans right now want Becky Lynch so why deny them? Because it doesn’t fit the corporate agenda? Stone Cold Steve Austin didn’t fit that mold and look where he stood. Daniel Bryan didn’t fit that mold and look where he’s at. Sometimes the best stars are created organically. Through the fans, not always by the machine. WWE dropped the ball big time by putting Charlotte in the title picture despite the fact we all know Becky will return and make the match a triple threat. Nobody asked for this. Literally nobody wanted this. The fans were happy with a one on one match. Adding the swerve waters down the entire storyline by adding a Becky Lynch 2.0 and you’re fooling yourself if you don’t see the similarities. The Road to Wrestlemania did get interesting, but not the way Vince and company hoped. They’re reading the tweets. They hear the outrage. And for their sake, the payoff better be huge, because a new threat is soon going to appear in their rear view mirror.

Let Them Fight

First off, happy birthday to “The Man” Becky Lynch. An appropriate topic to bring up on this day.

Wrestlemania season is officially in full swing and WWE did not waste any time getting the road started. We already have two main events announced but the one I want to discuss is the one I’ve been hyped about since before they announced it. We’re finally going to get Ronda Rousey defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch, and for the love of GOD, PLEASE VINCE AND COMPANY, keep it that way. No gimmicks, no special appearances, and NO TRIPLE THREAT MATCH!

Since Becky got injured during Survivor Series week, the highly anticipated collision between her and Rousey has been a hot topic and whether WWE should go through with the match at a different time. The crowd was not only in favor of the match, but even suggested these two clash at Wrestlemania, with Lynch going in as the challenger and ultimately ending Rousey’s reign and winning streak. The roadblock here is that for some reason WWE feels these two need a third participant in this feud. That third wheel being Charlotte Flair. No way, AND I MEAN, NO WAY does Charlotte need to be included in this rivalry and the proof was presented this week on Raw and Smackdown.

On Monday, Ronda had a very awkward and cringing promo that thankfully got overshadowed by Becky’s unexpected arrival. Lynch wasted no time ripping Rousey apart on the microphone and showing her how to cut a promo. But then something clicked in Ronnie’s head as Becky likes to call her. I don’t know if the nerves shook off or if Becky’s words triggered something, but we got a different Ronda Rousey. One that I’ve been begging to see since her debut last year. She cut a dark and angry promo that sounded almost biblical which got the crowd going. Meanwhile, Becky stood there cool as a cucumber smiling and taking Ronda’s enraged words like it didn’t faze her. With about nine weeks left until the big show, these two women already got fans pumped for their battle in East Rutherford (which I’ll be attending btw).

The following night on Smackdown, during a Becky Lynch promo, Charlotte interrupted and put her two cents into Lynch’s Royal Rumble victory and overall success. The crowd wasn’t feeling it nor were they buying the fact that she had any influence in her rise to the main event. But, I feel this is the segment WWE bookers wanted to slowly bring Flair into the title mix which is a major mistake. Nobody’s asking for this. At least not the majority so why add her? Including a third person in this already heated rivalry will just dilute the match and bring the heat down several notches. Flair had her chance. She failed, so put her in a different program while Lynch and Rousey have their moment. Have Charlotte go after Asuka in a rematch from last year with a different result. Or have her chase the newly implemented womens tag team titles. WWE has lightning in a bottle right now and it would be a shame to waste this because management is hellbent on making the daughter of Ric Flair a main eventer. Don’t get me wrong, Charlotte is a tremendous athlete with hall of fame status written all over her, but this isn’t her spotlight and this is one moment where she should take a backseat while we see magic between Lynch and Rousey.

If we get Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania, I can almost promise you a classic will take place. They’re both amazing athletes with plenty to offer in a one on one match. Becky’s been doing this for years and she’s only been improving, especially since this new edgy persona took effect. And Ronda has evolved so fast and has learned so much in a short time that seeing her best against a prime Becky Lynch would be fantastic to witness. And honestly, throwing Charlotte in the mix would give her the wrong kind of heat, especially in a New York/New Jersey crowd. We’re talking Roman Reigns/John Cena heat. Hey creative, this is one mistake you should stop repeating!

The Road to Wrestlemania Starts Here

This Sunday, the Road to Wrestlemania officially kicks off and it begins with the Royal Rumble. 30 men and 30 women compete for the chance to challenge a champion of their choosing on the biggest stage. For the men, they can either challenge for the WWE or Universal Championship, whomever that may be. It could be Brock Lesnar or Finn Balor unless creative throws a huge curveball and gives us a new champion (which is highly needed). For the women, they’re fighting to challenge for either the Raw or Smackdown’s Women’s Championship who’s currently being held by Ronda Rousey and Asuka respectively. How we get to Wrestlemania starts with Sunday.

Regarding the men’s division, there’s a lot of talk over who’s going to win the rumble. While everybody is rooting for Finn Balor to win back his Universal Championship, smart money says Lesnar is walking away with the belt to set up his loss and possibly final run with WWE. My guess is Rollins will be winner and get his overdue push to Wrestlemania to challenge the Beast. The setup to the storyline can be easily set. Since Lesnar and Roman Reigns have some history from their past rivalry, Heyman can push the envelope and mock Roman’s current condition which can elevate the feud between Lesnar and Rollins. A strong and aggressive match between these two can push Seth to the moon. But of course, there’s still the Braun Strowman factor which Vince might still want to showcase and if the Monster’s momentum is still strong going to East Rutherford, the trigger to push him to the main event might still be pulled. But for this to happen, Rollins will have to go through 28 men and one monster.

We’re also entering the second ever women’s Royal Rumble and this year is more unpredictable than the previous, which is great for business. In 2018, everybody knew Asuka was getting that huge push to the championship scene, but this year it’s anybody’s ballgame. Some are already saying Charlotte Flair is a shoein to win the whole thing and normally I would agree. Becky, Sasha, Asuka, and Ronda are all competing in championship matches so of course that leaves Flair wide open for the w. But I think a lot of people would groan over the thought of Charlotte getting ANOTHER championship match. She’s seriously turning into the Tom Brady of women’s wrestling which won’t end well for her fanbase so it would probably be best to throw a swerve in the Rumble. Enter Becky Lynch. Becky should take the loss to Asuka, by hook or crook which SHOULD cut her out of the title scene. Then during the women’s rumble, Lynch should attack a superstar, let’s say the #30 entrant and throw Charlotte over, declaring her the winner and number one contender for the women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. This outcome will finally give us the Becky Lynch/Ronda Rousey match we’ve been waiting since October.

If there was a time for wrestling fans to get back into tuning in, now would be that time since the stars are aligning this Sunday. Not only does the Road to Wrestlemania officially kicks off at the Royal Rumble, but WWE is starting to make some big changes in the direction of their characters and their overall product. I guess you can call this a soft reboot which I’m very excited to see. I’m already going to apologize in advance because with the writing team on high alert for the next 10 weeks, my creative anxiety will be revved up.

WWE 2018 Review

Greetings, salutations, and Happy holidays! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (or Festivus if you’re a rebel who watches Seinfeld). Not to get too involved with the current program, I wanted to do a year in review this week since this is the final week of 2018 and nothing really eventful is occuring this week. This week’s WWE Wednesday is discussing the year the company’s had whether the good, the bad, and the who who who who….Bad Day reference anybody? Ooook.

Let’s discuss the good first, because despite my criticism over the last couple of weeks, there were some positive moments in WWE. For starters, the women in WWE dominated 2018 in terms of headlines and match highlights. We had the first all womens Royal Rumble match which also had the rightful honor to headline the ppv. The rumble featured many returns, a few renewed rivalries, and some new star power in the roster. But in the end, there can only be one winner and that superstar was Asuka who deserved that moment, probably more than anyone that competed in the match after showing everybody why nobody in the roster at the time was ready for Asuka. Although she suffered her first loss at Mania against Flair and had a few bumps throughout the year, the Empress of Tomorrow would rally and win her first Smackdown championship at the final ppv of 2018.

Another major highlight also took place at the Royal Rumble. We had the arrival of Rowdy Ronda Rousey who made her presence felt at the end of the women’s Royal Rumble letting Asuka, Smackdown Champion Charlotte Flair, and Raw Champion Alexa Bliss aware that the former UFC Bantemweight Champion is here. Ronda would make her debut at Wrestlemania in a mixed tag team match with Kurt Angle as her partner to face WWE COO and former 14x World Champion HHH along with his wife and part owner, Stephanie McMahon. Rousey shocked the world with her quick knowledge of the ring and her impressive skill set. It would mark her first victory in a winning streak that still hasn’t been broken as I write this. Since Mania, Rousey has gone to compete in a handful of top quality matches and ultimately winning the Raw Women’s Championship from Alexa Bliss at Summerslam.

One female superstar that completely took control of her destiny in 2018 is Becky Lynch. Nobody, man or woman, has gained such a popular fanbase than Lynch did in the year. She’s been a babyface throughout her entire WWE career, but at Summerslam when she lost her triple threat match against Carmella and Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Lynch snapped and became a whole new person attacking her best friend who had just won the title. You’d think the fans would boo and disapprove this new Becky, but quite the contrary. The crowd absolutely loved this new aggressive persona and felt she was robbed of not only the match, but a push to the main event picture she had been fighting to reach her whole life. Even when she won the first ever Women’s Smackdown Championship, it seemed like management was overlooking her and her potential. That all changed at the tail end of the year when Becky regained the title from Flair and dubbed herself “The Man”. Her popularity only continued to grow as fans understood her struggle and related her fight in the same way we’ve all fought for recognition of our hard work. Although she lost the title at the TLC ppv in a triple threat TLC against Asuka and Flair, Lynch still has a champion swagger that could easily carry her into the main event scene in 2019.

The women evolution hit a new high when WWE finally created a ppv exclusively to the ladies of past and present WWE superstars. Trish Stratus and Lita returned, along with Tori Wilson, Ivory, and Michelle McCool and we had Becky Lynch face Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing Match which should be considered match of the year because nothing was as intense as that match. Well done to all ladies involved.

While the ladies took over most of the headlines in 2018, the men had some impactful moments. Queue the haters, it’s a Roman Reigns nod. Reigns had quite the year in regards to chasing the Universal Championship. He headlined, yet failed to capture the belt from Brock Lesnar, who hasn’t really been around since winning it the Wrestlemania prior. Reigns spent the bulk of the year chasing the title until finally achieving his goal at Summerslam. Say what you will about Roman Reigns, he was a major workhorse, not just in 2018, but his whole career and absolutely deserves his place in the main event picture and as the face of the company. However, his title run did get cut very abruptly as I’ll mention that later, but whether you loved him or hated him, he was must see and I for one respect the man’s drive and ambition.

One of Roman Reigns’ biggest foes (no pun intended) was also a major highlight in 2018 and that guy was Braun Strowman. Now I’m not sure what WWE management had in mind for Strowman, but the fans already envisioned a main event push for the Monster Among Men and they petitioned hard for it. While Strowman didn’t get a high profile match at Wrestlemania, he did get a rather unique storyline. He was set to compete in a tag team championship match, but didn’t have a partner. We wouldn’t know his partner until the big night when he revealed his partner would be a fan in the audience. Even with a 10 year old fan in his corner, Strowman managed to win the tag team titles by himself. Since then, Strowman has won the Money in the Bank contract and has been in a few high profile matches regarding Reigns and Lesnar. He’s currently on the sidelines dealing with an elbow injury, but hopefully will pick up the new year where he left off.

With our ups comes our downs. One of the biggest blows came from a real life situation. In late October, Reigns announced that he his leukaemia had resurfaced and would have to take time off to battle the cancer. Love the man or not, you never wish this kind of thing to a man, especially a good, hardworking father who puts his family ahead of his own life. The entire wrestling and sport world was rocked by this news leaving many people their thoughts, prayers, and best wishes. I myself wish Roman Reigns a speedy recovery and looking forward to seeing the Big Dog take back his yard.

It seems that politics played a part in every single aspect of our lives and WWE was not immune. The company was set to travel to Saudi Arabia to air a WWE Network special entitled Crown Jewel. All looked good and ready until news broke out about the controversy surrounding the Crown Prince and a Turkish journalist who went missing and ultimately killed in the Consulate. This obviously looked bad and decisions had to be made fast even though any decision was going to cost WWE a significant amount. The final call was to continue the ppv as is even though stocks did take a hit and superstars did protest the outcome such as John Cena and Daniel Bryan. But as Vince says “the show must go on”.

My biggest complaint of the year took place at the last two months of 2018 when the creative team seemed to have called it a year. I’m not going to write this like some ignorant fan yelling for not getting whay they want like THEIR champion or THEIR main event without any thought of the longterm goal. I get it that writing for a multi-million dollar company can be hard work and even stressful. I also understand that writing five hours of content is no picnic. I don’t even entirely fault the company as much as I do USA Network and Universal for putting that kind of pressure on the creative team. But it boggles my mind when ridiculous content is allowed on television when something more constructive could’ve taken its place. Lucha House Party was a waste, Dean Ambrose’s heel turn was poorly handled and some of the promo work felt forced. Sometimes it’s best to let some of these men and women handle their own work as the end result comes off more organic and entertaining. The writers also needed a hook to start the show and lately, it’s the same formula every Monday from 8:00-8:17; recap, promo, interfere promo, make match, commercial break. I’m not hooked nor interested until later in the show but by then, the show is already dwindling down and the ending is almost as lack luster as the beginning.

2018 has been a rollercoaster year for WWE in front of the camera and behind the scenes. We saw women shatter the glass ceiling and we saw milestones get celebrated. We witnessed heartbreaking announcements and headscratching storylines. Although I did express some frustration towards the direction of the company, I was a fan of this business for 30 years and will continue to stay loyal even in the lows. Here’s to a strong and successful 2019 and to new milestones to achieve.