ViRTUE's RAGE: From the Vault
Submitted by Virtue on 05/03/2017 at 08:58 PM

May 3, 2017

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue


You can just consider this an impromptu “From the Vault” special edition of ViRTUE’s RAGE. I went back through my various NoDQ columns over the past 12-13 months and found some very interesting topics that I pretty much nailed. As wrestling fans, we should all know by now that wrestling discussion is subjective and mostly a matter of opinion. Being correct on what ends up happening in the business is definitely a great feeling, but being wrong is still okay. We can only predict what may happen based on past trends. Please keep in mind this is totally a random column, but I am sure after you are done reading it, you will realize “I TOLD YOU SO”…

4/9/16: Kevin Owens- He just has that natural bully-type look that is easy to hate. I remember his program in NXT with Sami Zayn and at the same time he worked the program with John Cena on the main roster. Owens was simply incredible during this run, and in my opinion he nailed it. Why he was unceremoniously put into the mid card and Intercontinental Championship division after that just baffles me. I can see Owens easily take that spot as top WWE villain. He does not even have to change his appearance and it would still work perfectly.

4/30/16: The Miz- Remember the Miz headlined WrestleMania 27 when he faced John Cena? After that, it was all downhill for him…well, at least until recently. And all it took was a talk show called Miz TV and a Hollywood actor gimmick where he thinks he is an A-List star even though he is in straight to DVD movies. Even his real life wife, Maryse, is now his valet, which I am a big proponent of when it comes to heel characters. The Miz has always been a pretty solid wrestler and an above average talker. The wrestling skills are still about the same, but his mic work has escalated as his character has developed. Very entertaining! Character Score 4/5 Stars

4/30/16: Nakamura- I absolutely love Shinsuke Nakamura’s charisma. Yes, he does have to captivate the American wrestling fan base, but I truly believe he will. There may be a small language barrier he has to get through, but from my understanding he does speak English. In my opinion, his character is like a blend of Michael Jackson and an MMA fighter like Ken Shamrock. Yes, the charisma and stage presence of the King of Pop, mixed with the intensity and strong-style of Ken Shamrock, makes for a very captivating character. Character Score of 4.5/5 Stars

6/5/16: Alexa Bliss (NXT)- Who says you can’t go into WWE untrained? Bliss went to the WWE Performance Center in 2013 and was trained by Sara Del Rey. Bliss began in Columbus, Ohio as a female bodybuilder and a Division I college cheerleader . It definitely helped her cause to get signed by WWE by being part of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic. Like Enzo Amore, Bliss went to WWE on raw talent. She has since made her way to the top of the NXT Women’s Division by competing in several matches revolving around the NXT Women’s Championship. It is apparent to me that she has picked up how to be a sports entertainer/wrestler rather quickly. In addition to having big matches against Bayley, Carmella, and Nia Jax, Bliss also served as Blake and Murphy’s ring valet. I believe she would not only serve as a quality ring valet/manager on the main roster, but she could also become one of the WWE’s top female wrestlers.

10/2/16: Now let’s get back to the main topic, the Phenomenal AJ Styles. With about three months left in 2016, I believe he has already edged out the competition as Wrestler of the Year. Think about this for a minute! Since January 1st, he has wrestled in two of the biggest and most well-known wrestling companies in the World, NJPW and WWE. He has wrestled the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, John Cena, and Dean Ambrose. He has wrestled in major events such as Wrestle Kingdom 10, the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania 32, and SummerSlam. He is the reigning WWE World Champion and literally has become what many fans have wanted to see since the mid-2000s, and that’s the heel John Cena. That’s right! AJ Styles is the New Face That Runs the Place on SmackDown and in all of WWE for that matter. He is a guy that fans want to get behind and like but is willing to still be the villain. Sure, it all comes down to politics, but when I see Styles wearing the Cena arm band as a head band and saying Cena’s catch phrases, I can’t help but smile and think how great it all really is. Although Styles is nearing 40 years old, I think we still have a lot left to see from the Phenomenal One! Perhaps we have not even witnessed the best of him yet! Can you imagine what we might see from Styles in the next year or so? Just remember folks, never take anything for granted as a wrestling fan. When someone as talented as AJ Styles comes along, just be sure to appreciate him in the moment and not just the moments that have already passed. Be excited for what is currently happening, for what could happen, and for what will happen.

10/28/16: Roman Reigns- He is still the most likely candidate (to get the brass ring/torch) because he fits the Corporate WWE superstar model better than anyone else. I still believe Reigns is Vince McMahon’s guy, but it is going to continue to be a major challenge for WWE to figure out a way to get Reigns “there”. The Reigns heel turn has not happened for all the same reasons that the Cena heel turn never has. When the WWE Office looks at Reigns, they see House Show seats being sold, action figures and title belts being sold down the toy isle at Wal-Mart and Target, and T-Shirts and foam fingers being sold at the merch stands in the arenas. The children and parent demographic is what probably makes WWE the most money. Even though the modern day television audience seems to be mostly comprised of trolling IWC fans, WWE still needs to find ways to make money from the mass and casual audience. Quite honestly, a guy like Roman Reigns is going to be the answer whether you like him or not. Again, WWE needs to be creative with Reigns and book him properly. The IWC are difficult ones to trick, but with the right creative, it can be done.

12/11/16: At this point, I would consider Omega as one of, if not the top wrestler that WWE should pursue when his tenure is done with NJPW. Obviously, there are wrestlers like Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and some others that would be great choices for WWE to pursue; however, many of those would be as “last run” acts.

1/10/17: Now briefly on to the next topic of Chris Jericho becoming the new WWE United States Champion on Raw. I think it was a great call by WWE booking to finally pull the trigger and let Jericho have a title again. However, this should have been done a long time ago, perhaps soon after Kevin Owens became the Universal Champion. Nonetheless, I think it was a great move to continue to push and book JeriKO strong. It should definitely add some nice story building heading into (and after) the Royal Rumble. Maybe, just maybe, we will end up getting a Jericho Vs Owens match at Mania this year. As I think about it more, how many total Championships has Jericho now won in his WCW/WWE career? Wow! Drink it in folks!

1/22/17: Look, I know there are still fans out there that still get emotionally invested in wrestling despite playing video games and reading dirt sheets. It is 2017, and unfortunately the way of the Internet has dominated our World. Most of the fans who still give an organic pop are the unsuspecting children and parents. The rest of the crowd reaction is basically the fans going into business for themselves, trying to put over what they think should be over. It is kind of funny if you really think about it because the original marks for the wrestling business have always been the children and parents, but over time, that demographic has seemingly decreased in favor of the “smart” Internet fan. And most of those Internet fans are the ones who always read what is going on in the business, and then they play WWE 2K17 to pass the time for the next story or news bit to break. Wrestling today now has to cater to a desensitized fan base. Oh joy!

4/9/17: For those of you who hate on Reigns, it is not his fault, but rather the Machine’s fault for not diversifying the Main Event scene. CM Punk was the first wrestler in a very long time to actually earn his spot at the top of the card, rather than be handed it because he looked a certain way (cough, cough). Daniel Bryan was the same way, and ironically Punk leaving in 2014 gave Bryan the chance that he needed. I believe that professional wrestling can thank Punk for certain things since 2011; more credible promotions to work for, the resurgence and popularity of Indy wrestling shows, and wrestlers like Styles/Owens/Balor/Rollins being World Champions. Despite all this, if Punk could probably have one thing change that he directly affected, I believe it would be having only the full-time wrestlers get the last match every year at Mania.

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

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