By Haydn Gleed
-It’s been a difficult week in the world of wrestling with a true legend of the industry passing away and you can find my memories of Bobby Heenan in a blog earlier this week. Again I would like to echo that my thoughts still go out to his friends and family at this difficult time. Aside from this sad news, it has been a mixed bag in the world of wrestling with some ups and some downs but I feel that the positives slightly outweigh the negative as I sit down to write this, but as we go through the highlights maybe I might change my mind.
-The biggest negative by far this week was Smackdown. I could write a paper on what was wrong with this show. There were some brief moments of light such as Kevin Owens and Charlotte, but the majority of the show was the true definition of the word meh. Let’s start with the champion Jinder Mahal, who WWE decided should reveal himself to be a hypocrite by making stereotypical references to his Japanese opponent Shinsuke Nakamura. I can understand to a point what WWE was going for in terms of that they wanted to show that the man who has been complaining about being treated differently and stereotyped based on his race is doing the exact same thing to someone of a different race. With that being said, there are two massive problems here a) it’s 2017 and b) there is too much apathy towards Jinder. Obviously, in a politically correct world, what WWE presented was not okay and it not only does it not put any heat on Jinder but instead puts heat on the company. Secondly, in order for people to care enough about someone being a hypocrite, they have to care about the individual and I just don’t sense there is enough buzz around Jinder to justify this risky style of build. I don’t sense that the fans are wanting to see Jinder get his, they just want to see the title away from him and that’s not a good position for the brand to be in.
-What in the holy hell is the point of the Dolph Ziggler angle? I really don’t understand it. Week one I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt even though I thought it was counterproductive for the acts he was mocking. But can someone please tell me what exactly is the payoff going to be? Jake Barnett came up with an interesting theory in terms of that it could lead to Bobby Roode making his glorious entrance, but are you seriously telling me that for weeks now we’ve had to endure this nonsense for the payoff of Roode saying no one can make a glorious entrance like me? And then what? They have a feud over who can make the best entrance? Sigh. I would also like to point out that using terminology like “Shawn has lost his smile” or whatever the terminology Dolph used to appear edgy and “look at me being all smarky” was in reference to something that happened 20 years ago! I would wager that large parts of the audience watching this are either too young to have been born when that happened or the reference just went completely over their heads. What is he going to do next week, a recreation of the Montreal screwjob?
-Last bit of negativity, where are Luke Harper and Erick Rowan? Even if they brought them back together which might feel a little bit like a step back for both men, at this point it would freshen up Smackdown. The last time I saw either men was at a house show in Cardiff, Wales back in May where Rowan came out with a balloon that he was talking to. I’m not making that up. Meanwhile, Harper was rocking a 18 wheeler trucker look… On second thought, if that’s what they have in mind for these guys then perhaps they are better with what they are doing at the moment.
-On the plus side, I find myself really looking forward to No Mercy on Sunday. Color me purple, but I enjoyed the slight shift in the Jason Jordan character on Monday and I expect him to lose to The Miz at which point I hope we see a bit more of the edgier disgruntled son come next week. Roman Reigns impressed me big time on Monday when he cut what was essentially a heel promo. I can’t believe none of us called a heel Roman being the best way forward for him (sarcasm). I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I feel Roman always came across like someone delivering lines and that seemed exposed in the worked shoot environment they are going for. In this case, he looked poised, confident, and completely in line with what his character was saying. Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar had a good exchange that further built to their match and made it feel like two bulls about to tear each other apart. Raw is definitely in a good position at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing both No Mercy on Sunday and the fallout on Raw on Monday. I will have my official preview and predictions over the weekend before the event.
-So GFW is back to being called Impact Wrestling…….anyways……
-Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view takes place this evening and it looks decent on paper. Some of the undercard matches really stand out to me, especially Chuck Tayler vs. Marty Scurll for match quality, and Silas Young vs Jay Lethal from a storyline perspective. Of course, any show where The Young Bucks pull double duty means the viewers will get their money’s worth from those two matches alone. I’m not as high or as sold on the main event of Cody Rhodes vs Minoru Suzuki, mostly because I believe ROH should be looking to push more younger talent into the main event slots considering the amount of talent they’ve lost over the last twelve to eighteen months, but I’m still intrigued by it.
-One nugget of information out of the UK this week and that was Progress Wrestling put the tickets on sale on Tuesday for their Wembley show next September. All the floor seats have already sold out as have a number of other sections in the building. When you consider that this is a show that is one year away and no talent or matches have been announced, the response of the fans to snap up tickets as soon as they can shows how big Progress has become with the fans in the UK. Looking at the way they have the seating plan laid out, it looks like they are taking the TNA approach where they will black out the back wall stand and have two thirds of the floor covered with seats and the stands either side of the arena available with a video screen by the entrance ramp. This should enable at least 5,000 to 7,500 seats, which is amazing for a company that started out with 323 fans at a small rock venue five years ago.
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