Wrestling LogicLee: The Historic Week
Submitted by LoneLee on 10/07/2019 at 01:27 PM

It came and it went. The first week of October 2019. The week that we had been waiting for since January. In reality, we had been waiting for nearly two decades. The loyals solemnly believed that it would be the week that would lay the groundwork for the next chapter in professional wrestling, or Sports Entertainment if you prefer. It would resurrect a ruthless competition attempting to persuade and steal viewers on the same night. And professional wrestling would take its long deserved place on major network television. WIth that, I chose to watch all programming during the week simply as a fan. Not a smark, critic, or cynical mad man that I can be at times, but to go back to thatplace where I could remember why it is that I choose to give so much of my time to this business as I have. I put down my phone (sans commercial breaks) and took in the spectacle as it had always been intended. It was a rollercoaster of emotions as I rose to the highest of highs and once again the negativity poked the bear and pulled me right back down to the lowest of lows. Because in most cases, the more that things change, the more they stay the same.

I want to do something a little differently this week. instead of paragraph after paragraph of big words and nonsensical jargon I'm going to kind of jot down some random thoughts as they come along in my cluttered head. Think of it as the Journal of the Joker but not quite as, well, sane.

WWE hit the reset button for sure this week. For the first time since its inception, Monday Night RAW is no longer the A-show. In fact, it felt like a completely different show entirely. One that leaves room for growth and definitely has the room for it still being a 3-hour marathon. I suspect after the upcoming draft the Red Brand will be now known as the “Land of Opportunity.”

Yes guys, i missed pyro too.

We were given a new announce team with no explanation, no background, and no chemistry but as the night progressed so did their groove. Vic Joseph seems to lack a personality and Dio Madden only speaks in video game references. Still, I can tolerate that odd couple than I can with Jerry Lawler's frequent dad jokes.

One of the highlights included a beat down that caused a bait-and-switch for theadvertised Universal title match. in retrospect, it's obvious to see where they were going with that, needing the rushed build for the controversial end of SmackDown. Let’s be honest, there are probably very few fans who believed Rey Mysterio would be taking the title this close to Roliins’ confrontation with The Fiend. The sadistic side of Twitter was glad to see Dominic finally take a few scary bumps and who better to deliver them than WWE's, or more importantly Vince's prized possession, Brock Lesnar?

I wonder if Paul Heyman views marriage and relationships as if they all belong
on the Jerry Springer Show. It’s not enough to have we have Maria Kanellis doingher usual emasculation of her husband, we end the night of the most awkward make-out session that I can remember on WWE television. And yet for some reason,it tickles me. At least for now Rusev and Lashley won’t be used as transitional TV opponents for whatever champion needs a quick victory and it may provide for some at times cringe-worthy entertainment. So bad it’s good?

This had to be the most exciting go-home show week WWE television has had in quite some time...but not for the usual reasons. Very little hype for Hell in a Cell and only three advertised matches up until that weekend made me question why even have the PPV at all? It's insignificance made even more evident by announcing half of the card just hours before the actual event. It's not as if this SmackDown premiere just snuck up on them. Why not just stretch these feuds until the Saudi Arabia show and give it some importance rather than the glorified house show that it always comes off as?

Moving on to NXT. I may be guilty of only watching the Takeover events in the past but it has never been hard to distinguish who the true stars were. There isn’t a female on that roster that makes me question their credibility as an athlete. Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, they are all money. Add Rhea Ripley to that mix and you’ll have matches far more exciting than seeing WWE’s Horsewomen trade feuds and victories. Can you imagine what they cando with the Women’s tag championships?

I wonder how the casual fan has accepted Mauro Ranallo. He can be a bit over-the-top at times but never comes off as disingenuine. He broadcasts the action with fervor and legitimate excitement for the magic that he's beholding and I appreciate some of his corny lines every now and then. “Like a dentist and a carpenter tooth and nail.”

It’s good to see Finn Balor back where he made his most memorable mark in the company. I remember him saying in an interview prior to his shipment to the mainroster that he was perfectly fine staying in NXT for a long period of time is and was in no rush to be called up. Even he could see the writing on the wall.

They played it right by having the Street Profits go on last. It was a long-awaited wrestling debut for the USA crowd who’d never seen them compete before and we're only subject to their backstage pandering. And in just three weeks of being on USA, NXT TV has made it clear that the Undisputed Era rules the roost. They’ve established them as that cool stable of heels that the Bullet Club were once recognized as.

WWE spared no expense or attempt at getting the fans to tune into this rather than AEW. With all due respect, limited commercial interruptions, having almost every title being on the line, and whatever surprise returns or appearances they had planned could not prevent the curiosity and debut of a new wrestling promotion. Perhaps if you’re like me then you’ve stuck with WWE through thick and thin. Whether it was 15 years of John Cena having God-like resilience or The Shield dominating stale storylines one after another. Maybe you were pouring your heart into every new promotion and seen rise just as quickly as you’d see it flounder soon after. AEW promised to make wrestling fun to watch again and that's exactly what it did.

The crowd was electric, the setting automatically felt big time, and Good ol’ JRwelcoming us on the call before passing it over to Tony Schiavone gave it its validity. Though I can do without them referencing WCW from time to time, they need to remember there’s a reason it isn’t around anymore.

Even though the Wednesday Night War is what we're calling it I have to compare Dynamite to SmackDown more than anything. Both shows we're introducing their fans to a new market both shows pulled out all of their big guns on their premieres and left the comedy and somewhat underwhelming talents for later on. Heck, you can even say that they started to show off with their biggest stars in Cody and Becky respectively.

Both AEW and NXT are being presented as wrestling heavy shows. No 20-minute in-ring promos are long, dramatic backstage segments. And dear God please no contract signing segments. One thing I'd like to see AEW work on is their match length. Some matches feel like they overstay their welcome. This goes for NXT as well; not every match needs to be Savage/Steamboat Wrestlemania III with 23 near falls.

I don't think the AEW’s women's division is as strong as NXT's. Unless they planto have Nyla Rose switch gears and turn babyface I don’t see the reason for her foil being a very small Riho. We need to see a lot more about this division has to offer and quickly.

Although one thing AEW has promised is the best tag team division in all of wrestling, and they definitely have the tools to present that. Not in the form of Best Friends or Dark Order, but in the familiar SCU, Young Bucks, and PrivateParty. They're definitely smart to have this tournament featured over the next couple of weeks of dynamite.

My only takeaways from the event they've proven in one night that it's not safe to have an interview in the ringer on the stage without being attacked. Cody, SCU, and Riho all got into scuffles when somebody with a microphone approached them.And making a notation back to WCW Nitro’s debut on the same network a  decade-and-a-half earlier, fans were on edge waiting for that surprising Lex Luger moment when a new signee would emerge and it turned out to be....Jake Hager...Yeah.

A commercial for SmackDown came on during the Fox morning news in the break room at my job. One of the executives seen it and laughed. I confidently assured him “Wrestling is going to get good again, just wait and see.” Welp. SmackDown proved to be exactly what I feared it would be, a shill for the new network and fans who are not familiar with WWE since its glory days.

WWE continues to rely on stars from The Attitude Era and before because they failed to create any stars since then. Don't get me wrong, I love The Rock but his spiel is predictable is satire you can recite it with him verbatim and even though it never gets old, it's also nothing new.

Imagine having a reporter backstage who obviously knows nothing about WWE, a boxer featured in a segment with the ever celebrity dependable Braun Strowman, and a former UFC fighter featured in a WWE title angle. Well, that's exactly what they did.

My most popular tweet of the weekend read “10 seconds. That's how long it took to turn a six-month feel-good story into a marketing campaign for the new channel.” Well, I am happy that accrued almost 500 likes, I'm devastated surrounding its circumstances. It's not impossible to assume that the FOX network didn't want a show presented as a real sport to have its champion not ofa dominating stature and slinging pancakes around. But you completely bury him and everything that he created in that time frame and cast him aside or questionable angle is just disgusting. What kind of message are they trying to send?

I expect SmackDown's new era on the FOX Network to be nothing more than awkward celebrity involvement and matches featuring only the upper echelon of talent that over time will become diluted and repetitive.

Lastly, that we came to a conclusion with the Hell in the Cell pay-per View. Aside from being understandably ecstatic at the Kabuki Warriors capturing the women's tag titles (and they’re heels now too!) I also have to say there was another exciting tag team match on the card. Harper and Rowan thrive in the tag team Division and that's why Creative keeps putting them back together. Adding the tornado tag element made it feel a little bit more like a fatal 4-way at times with a member or two from each team taking breaks laying prone on the outside of the ring. It also took away for the tired need of a hot tag. But it successfully told the story of just how intense this feud has become. Roman Reigns thrives in the street fight environment and Daniel Bryan never fails to get the fans behind him when he's facing a bigger man. Even though the story may have been a trainwreck as it was being told, it has produced some exciting matches.

That being said, as I stated before, “The more things change the more they stay the same. Surprise, surprise, Charlotte Flair is once again Women's champion *sigh* When can make the assumption that the blue brand feels a lot more comfortable being represented by someone with the name “Flair” as it takes on its new channel.

Let me end things by discussing my thoughts on that wonderful main event! Seth Rollins versus The Fiend Bray Wyatt. I had jokingly stated last week that I would be tuning into HIAC simply to witness how in the world they could ruin The Fiend. Well, I don't think they successfully ruined him just yet exactly, they did manage to turn the crowd against the entire match and in a very crucial week. I'm searching my mind thinking of how much no selling Kane or Undertaker ever did in their careers and it doesn't even come close to what the Fiend did at Hell in a Cell. I'm usually critical of Seth Rollins having to do 3 Stomps just to finish off an opponent at a pay-per-view but on this occasion he had to do at least 13 to get the Fiend down for a one count...Sure Bray looks strong but Seth also looks weak and Bray looks unbeatable to the point where it's ridiculous. Not only that but he failed to walk away with the Universal title...due to ref stoppage in a match historically boasted for its barbaric nature... and the only way I can justify that is the referee draws a line at attempted murder?

The way the crowd was riled up I'm truly surprised that it did not incite some sort of riot in a parking lot or lobby area. Though, I wouldn’t put it past AEW fans at a future event if things don’t go their way. Sometimes I believe that it's Vince McMahon's personal pleasure to find the exact wrong thing to do that would cause the most turmoil among the fans and

The way the crowd was riled up I'm truly surprised that it did not incite some sort of riot in a parking lot or lobby area. Though, I wouldn’t put it past AEW fans at a future event if things don’t go their way. Sometimes I believe that it's Vince McMahon's personal pleasure to find the exact wrong thing to do that would cause the most turmoil among the fans and
bring it to life at every pay-per-view. I always flash back to his words before bringing in the NWO in 2002 “I’m gonna kill what I created! I’m going to INJECT it with a lethal dose of poison!” Turned out to be a shoot.

My question is do we really have to continue to subject ourselves to this excessive punishment with new promotions on the horizon? Do we have to keep doing this to ourselves now that we have easier access to NXT, a show that Vince claims to be free of his fingerprints?

What I learned from wrestling this week is that there is hope for the future as far as fans being heard. There are ears out there listening to what we like and what we want to see. It's just not the old man in Connecticut. It might be his son-in-law and it might be the grandson of a plumber in Jacksonville with his Elite brethren, but we do have options now. I am overjoyed as I look forward to those options becoming bigger and better than anything represented by red and blue. Will I stop watching? Honestly, probably not. Like a bad marriage, I stay with WWE because of the memories we’ve had over the years. I continue to support the independent contractors I do enjoy to watch and the anger coupled with frustration is a great escape from real-life's trials.

I’m just glad to have wrestling in my life and so much of it!

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