WWE’s long term opportunity

As a wrestling fan, I try to keep the bigger picture in mind. It’s easy to react with disgust on a week-to-week basis when you see how some people are booked or certain match results. I’ve written before about how the regularity with which that happens leads to me losing interest in WWE’s main roster product. But I can deal with bad booking or the lack of a character if I can at least see where it’s going, and I try to give stories a chance to play out before judging them.

Long-term storytelling is when wrestling is at its finest. Last November I wrote an article looking at how Becky Lynch’s momentum and stardom seemed so organic, and that was down to small nuances over several years. Now the crest of that wave is taking her to the main event of Wrestlemania. Continue reading WWE’s long term opportunity

Best of the WWE Network – 2014

It was recently the WWE Network’s fifth birthday, which is actually pretty mad. The original concept for the Network came bout back in the mid 00s, and it was something that was being worked on for years before finally becoming a reality on February 24, 2014.

WWE spent a lot of time building up their classic video library, buying rights to other companies’ back catalogues and digitising them, in preparation for the Network. But the key selling point has always been the new, original programming. WWE have tried a lot of different show formats over the last five years, some have worked and some haven’t.

With five being a fairly round number, I though I’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of WWE programming in the Network era year by year. 2014 was a changing of the guard in WWE, both in and out of the ring. So, as I used to say in these posts fairly regularly back around that time, without further ado… Continue reading Best of the WWE Network – 2014

Fantasy Booking Series: The round-up

It beat me guys. It got away from me. I started this fantasy booking series thinking it would be a great idea, I could update it as I go and put something great together. I had all the main points planned out, and I thought I had a Wrestlemania card that had something for everyone.

But now I’m coming up for six months behind real time, and I don’t think it’s salvageable.  I hadn’t taken into account Crown Jewel, which hadn’t been announced at the time. Plus I made the decision at the start to ignore stuff like injuries, but take stuff like releases and signings into account. Then I watched as Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Rowan of the Bludgeon Brothers and probably more got injured. I saw Big Cass get released and Rey Mysterio come back. Then the kicker came – the announcement of Roman Reigns’ leukaemia. I had him as my top guy in the company, the dominating heel world champion for pretty much all year through to Wrestlemania. I don’t feel like I can go back to that now. Continue reading Fantasy Booking Series: The round-up

TV Talking Points – 11th-14th March

The last PPV before Wrestlemania was last Sunday night, and now we are officially on a one way street to the biggest show of the year! So how did WWE bring it’s focus round to Wrestlemania this week? Read on for all the highlights of the last week’s TV.

Fastlane

6-pack challenge completed

AJ Styles went into Fastlane facing insurmountable odds – or so WWE tried to tell us. The obvious Wrestlemania WWE Championship match has been AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura for months now, and Styles’ successful defence of his title set it up as expected. But the match was a fun one, full of action with some big spots. It was the most impressive Baron Corbin has looked in a long time, it furthered the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn/Shane McMahon story (more on that later) and of course, AJ Styles retained to confirm the Mania dream match.

Continue reading TV Talking Points – 11th-14th March

Wrestlemania 33 PPV Spotlight: Charlotte vs Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley

It’s time for the second match in my week of PPV Spotlights in the build-up to Wrestlemania 33! This time round, I’m looking at a match the features two competitors who were in my match of the night at last year’s Wrestlemania. It’s also probably the single biggest missed opportunity of the night. I’m talking about the Raw Women’s Championship match between Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley.

It’s such a missed opportunity because Bayley should have been crowned champion on Sunday night. I think we all know that by now, I just hope WWE realises that. It was a great Raw moment, don’t get me wrong, but the moment itself and the significance of Bayley’s subsequent title run would have been so much more had it been saved for Wrestlemania. But, I still think it can be saved. Continue reading Wrestlemania 33 PPV Spotlight: Charlotte vs Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley

Wrestlemania 33 PPV Spotlight: Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose

So with it being Wrestlemania week, I thought I’d try and up the ante a bit. Usually I pick one match out of a PPV line-up and talk about the build-up, how it could play out and where it could go from there. But with this being the biggest card in recent memory with potentially 14 matches on the card (I mean so, many, matches), and it being Wrestlemania, I can’t pick just one. So I’m going to try and look at one match a day all week leading up to Wrestlemania. Starting with… Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship!

Is it just me or has this match had the worst build out of them all for this Sunday? It’s just been so… forgettable. They still have one more shot to do something big tomorrow night, but so far that’s the word I’d use. There has been something every week, Corbin getting the upper hand most weeks, until last time round where Ambrose cost Corbin a match against Randy Orton. That wasn’t actually too bad to see, as it protected Corbin in an inevitable loss against the challenger to the WWE Championship at the biggest show of the year. Continue reading Wrestlemania 33 PPV Spotlight: Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose

WWE Fastlane Predictions 2015

So we’re a month or so from the granddaddy of them all, therefore it must be the annual filler PPV. For the record I am massively in favour of scrapping PPVs named after matches ie. Elimination chamber, TLC, HITC, as I think it restricts the creative possibilities of using these matches at other points of the year when they could have meaning in feuds.
This one is their newest offering, Fastlane. I don’t mind this card at all really as I always see it as the only PPV that will genuinely continue the longevity of big storylines that were started at the Rumble.
Feeling slightly more optimistic about this one so we’ll crack on. Once again though I’ll be sticking with the whole philosophy of putting as much effort into the writing as they have. Continue reading WWE Fastlane Predictions 2015

News In Review: April 2014

Sorry for the radio silence guys, it’s been a busy month personally. And it’s coincided with quite a dramatic lack of news in the post-Mania wrestling world. Considering how eagerly everybody was clutching to any scrap of any information at the start of the month, it’s one hell of a drop off.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing happened at all – this was Wrestlemania month after all – so this is your monthly news in review column for the month of April 2014! If you haven’t seen this format before, it’s pretty simple to pick up. I divide the biggest news stories of the month into three categories: Inside The Ring, for things that we see in the WWE on our screens every week; Outside The Ring for the backstage gossip that isn’t really developed on TV; and finally In The Industry for any non-WWE related news stories. Let’s get to it! Continue reading News In Review: April 2014

Thoughts of a Pleb: A Raw step forward?

Wrestlemania weekend is finally over. It’s bittersweet, because on one hand Wrestlemania is generally when the product is at it’s hottest, and highest quality. On the other, I may actually get some sleep now. It all culminated in Raw last night, the show that widely considered to be one of the best of the year, partially because of the Wrestlemania hangover: all the fans stick around for Raw the next night too. This year though was a bit different. The word I keep using to describe was underwhelming.

Last year we had a Ryback heel turn, Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase and won the World Heavyweight Championship, and The Undertaker wrestled his first match on Raw in 3 years, as he teamed up with Kane and Daniel Bryan to take on The Shield. The year before saw Brock Lesnar’s return to the WWE. We could be forgiven for expecting something equally as huge this year. Continue reading Thoughts of a Pleb: A Raw step forward?

Thoughts of a Pleb: Mania Musings

Wrestlemania 30… that was some show. Whether it was for the right or wrong reasons, it was memorable. So memorable, it will stick with us forever. I’m not going to lie, I’m still a little bit in shock at the whole Undertaker situation. The plan for this article is to put down some random thoughts about the event as a whole, but I’m saving most of the Undertaker discussion for a separate article. I feel like I need to do it justice, and so trying to keep it brief here wouldn’t be a good idea. Let’s see how it goes… Continue reading Thoughts of a Pleb: Mania Musings