By Haydn Gleed
-When I wrote my Friday blog, I wasn’t sure what I should put as my top story of the week. After all, there had been a lot of things happening in the world of wrestling but nothing really stood out as the top story. I decided to go with Kane being added to TLC simply because it was part of the main event this week. So I wrote my blog, submitted it and it was published………five minutes later the biggest news story possibly of the year happened. That’s probably karma from the gods for calling American Football “throwball”.
So you’ve probably heard by now that the TLC pay per view is in somewhat chaos after several of the roster developed viral infections. WWE announced that AJ Styles will replace Bray Wyatt/Sister Abigail (I’ll refrain from making the so what if Bray is ill, Abigail should be able to compete jokes) and Kurt Angle will replace Roman Reigns in the main event. WWE also announced that every performer will be tested to ensure their health is what it should be so we may not have heard the last of the issue.
There has been a huge positive reaction to AJ Styles being the man to wrestle Finn Balor and it’s understandable. The two former stars in Japan facing each other on the biggest stage in North America is something of a dream match. I’ve heard the grumblings from some people that they should have saved this match and although I understand that sentiment, I don’t necessarily agree. After all, this match has now become more of an exhibition match with nothing riding on it apart from the quality of the match. What I mean by that is if this was the middle of a feud, you could expect some storytelling within the match in terms of possible outside interference or a non finish perhaps, but essentially this has become a one-off, let’s steal the show potential of a match.
For Balor. this is an opportunity to show a WWE audience, who has no idea who Prince Devitt is, what all of the buzz is around him. For AJ, it’s a massive boast that when Vince McMahon was in trouble, he decided to turn to the former face of TNA. All the circumstances are horrible, but it has offered a huge chance for an exhibition style match with nothing held back like we expect from a NXT Takeover show. With all that being said, I can imagine some hocus pocus Bray Wyatt video nonsense being edited and put together somewhere in Stamford right now.
-I’m not so excited about the return of Kurt Angle and there’s a few reasons. Firstly, I feel it’s a massive wasted opportunity. Kurt hasn’t wrestled in WWE in over years and his return to the ring should be a massive moment. As a late replacement, it feels like hot shotting. There are plenty of babyfaces who could have filled the spot and although they wouldn’t be a huge draw in comparison to a Shield reunion or the Angle return, for this single brand B PPV they could write it off as one of those things and saved the big moments for a big show down the road. Hell, if WWE wanted to be brave, they could have had Rollins and Ambrose start the match on their own and Braun Strowman could have turned to align with the remaining parts of the Shield.
Secondly, it doesn’t make any storyline sense short or long term with the Raw GM throwing himself into a match. How does he come back from this when the likes of The Miz and Strowman accuse Angle of being biased in his decision making? And finally, it’s Kurt himself and the type of match he’s coming back for. Can anybody who knows anything about the personality of Kurt either personally or through the countless documentaries say that he’s not going to do something extreme to prove that he’s ready for at least a part time return to the ring? Anytime he climbs a ladder I’m going to be terrified that he’s going to go to the top to perform a moonsault. Anybody who has followed the career of Kurt knows that it’s a distinct possibility and why that would be a foolish thing to do. All that being said, if Kurt wrestles sensibly and WWE can come up with a great story to tell from these terrible circumstances then I will happily eat crow with a side of pigeon.
-24 hours is a long time in the world of wrestling as proved this week, but in a strange way the last few days has made TLC a lot more must see than it was going into the weekend. I just hope that not only do the guys and gals who are suffering with the viral infection get better soon, but I hope that any last minute changes do not come back and bite WWE on the bum.
As always, feel free to get in touch via twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m hoping for a WWE swerve with Angle laid out backstage and someone else filling that final spot (probably Jason Jordan).
Samoa Joe would be good. As far as Balor/Styles goes, if the match is as awesome as it should be, then I wouldn’t be surprised at a WrestleMania rematch.
With all the talent loaded onto Raw at the expense of Smackdown, they have to get a Smackdown guy to take on Balor? It seems the pillaging of Smackdown now takes several forms beyond just the bi-annual draft/shaft. If this was a Smackdown PPV and they lost AJ Styles to an infection, you think Vince would send Balor over from Raw to replace him? We would probably end up with Jinder Mahal vs. Mojo Rawley as the main event.
Any word on what the issue was that caused Owens to be pulled off the Smackdown tour this week? Maybe getting him back in time to pop that surprise sometime tonight?