By Haydn Gleed
-Where I would usually use this opening piece to make jokes about my soccer team, out of respect this week all I want to say is my thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic events in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday. May you all find peace from the outpouring of love that the world has rightly showered upon you this week.
-I also want to send my thoughts to the family of one of my best friends at university, Paul Woolston. He was a rock to me during a very dark period of my life and he passed away at the tragically young age of 35 this week. RIP, my friend.
-So, Monday night WWE presented Raw and in my mind they put operation “let’s try one last thing to get people to cheer Roman Reigns” in place by planting the biggest seed possible that The Shield are reuniting. As a viewer, I can’t deny that I’m excited about seeing these guys try to regain the magic that they once had. However, not to sound like a negative elephant, but I can’t help worrying that it will be a disappointment. Let me explain.
I’ve always said that in any walk of life we should all live by the rule of “never go back”. Be it a soccer player to his childhood club, an actor to a soap opera, or in this case a gimmick that was hugely successful in its first incarnation. 99 times out of a hundred, it’s never as good and therefore by default a disappointment. I’ve racked my mind to try and come up with an example of a wrestling gimmick that has been done equally or better the second time around. NWO in WWE – failure. DX in the late 2000’s – not as successful. Hogan yellow and red gimmick – Mr America anyone? Hogan vs. Warrior in WCW – you can stare in the mirror all you want, brother, but it’s never going to be seen as anything by historians as anything except an embarrassment.
The point I’m trying to make is don’t set your expectations too high that we will see the same Shield. Hell, even if we do, the argument could be made that it’s not going to be as fresh as it once was. Like part of a freshly cooked meal that has been frozen, it’s the same ingredients and cooked in the same way as the original, but it never tastes as good. I’m probably being overly cautious, but I’m not as excited about this as some people seem to be.
-Speaking of not being excited about something, Enzo F’n Amore. What in the blue hell has this been all about? Who thought it would be a good idea to allow Enzo to rip into the roster of the already maligned 205 Live crew by pointing out character and personality flaws that may or may not be true? What was the end goal here? Do they think by pointing out that apparently Cedric Alexander has no charisma (which is so untrue) will make people go, “kick his ass, Cediric”?! WWE needs to cut out this shades of gray nonsense while putting in worked shoot BS comments as it will either make the hardcore fans eyes roll due to the desperation or sail over the head of the casual viewer. The best thing of all is the savior that WWE have picked to slay the big vertical haired dragon is Kalisto! Part of me is actually starting to seriously wonder if WWE is purposely dragging down the third hour ratings so when TV rights negotiations come up next they can point to the decline in the third hour and use it to justify going back to two hours. That’s probably not the case, but I hate to think of the alternative, which is the higher ups in WWE have lost their damn minds.
-Looking up and down the WWE Hell in a Cell card, I can’t really point out a match that for one reason or another I’m not looking forward to seeing. Randy Orton vs. Rusev should be interesting. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler should be a spectacle either in a positive or negative way. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin will allow us to see at what level the Baron is at. And if Natalya against Charlotte can or will be allowed to get anywhere near their NXT effort, we are in for a real treat. I’m also looking forward to seeing what my guilty pleasure Aiden English is up to on this show. And then we have the big three matches.
It’s quite symbolic that the WWE Championship match is currently listed as third from the top. Following this week’s Smackdown, I don’t think you can necessarily place the blame on the challenger, but instead look at what has become a failure in the Jinder Mahal experiment. As much as I would have loved a new face in the main event, people just don’t seem to care about the man. Look at this week, people were happy to see Shinsuke Nakamura and the buzz in that building just vanished once the Singh Brothers and Mahal made their appearance. I’m hoping that Shinsuke wins the belt for no other reason than to get a true main eventer on top of the brand and hopefully provides a push towards regaining some of the Smackdown magic that we had pre WrestleMania. Meanwhile, the Usos and New Day have consistently had good to great matches and having the match in the cell will certainly add a new dimension to this match, so I’m certainly looking forward to that.
Say what you want about Shane McMahon, but there’s no denying that his feud with Kevin Owens has been the highlight of Smackdown week in week out for a while now. Unlike previous years in the build up to Hell in a Cell, they have built this feud logically to end in with this type of gimmick match and I’m looking forward to the contest and what the outcome means going forward. I’m a little nervous as WWE booking 101 deems that since Owens got the better of things on the go-home show this will mean Shane will go over. The other variable to take into consideration is whether WWE wants to send the crowd home unhappy. That would be a dramatic change to the usual McFormula. I think it would be a huge mistake if they have taken all this time to show Owens as this despicable heel just to have a mid to late forty-something non-wrestling businessmen beat him in a fight, not even a wrestling match. But we will see.
-TNA…..GFW…..Impact Wrestling announced that Bound for Glory will be held in Canada…….anyways……
-That will do it for me this week. I’m still on the mend after a nasty virus/cold/flu last week so I haven’t had chance to watch my usual fill of UK wrestling, which I intend to make up for this weekend. I’m also planning on going to Scotland in April next year to attend my first ICW event so I’m going to start watching the promotion on a much more consistent basis. If you guys have an appetite to have coverage of one of the biggest indie UK promotions let me know in the usual places. If there’s enough interest I would definitely like to bring you more UK wrestling scene coverage.
As always you can find me on twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
A friend and co-worker died recently. Sincere condolences to you.