First off, happy holidays and a happy new year to you and yours. 2016 saw the launch of Fightful.com and I think we made good progress pretty quickly for breaking news and delivering exclusives, so I look forward to 2017 and a revamped site with new additions and features. And thanks of course to Sean Ross Sapp and his crew since without them this site wouldn’t have legs.
Back in my previous wrestling writing days with JimmyVan.com I did a weekly “Random Thoughts” article and thought I’d try to make the time to do that again now. So here we go for the week of December 26:
- A lot of Fightful people seem to say this but I agree – I love Braun Strowman. He to me is the dark horse surprise of 2016 for WWE. Over the years we’ve seen so many big muscled-up guys come and go that have nothing to offer the business aside from their look. But with Braun you’ve got a guy who is not only enormous, but actually pretty agile for a big man, and not a terrible promo either. I think WWE has built him up very well; I was concerned to see him booked against Seth Rollins on Raw this week but they protected him even against a top guy like that. I also love his finisher, the British Bulldog’s old running powerslam. I think Braun executes it well and it suits him perfectly. They’ve been toying with the idea of having a reverse chokeslam be his finisher but I think that move looks awkward whereas the powerslam is a good, underrated move. If the company can continue to be patient and build him up slowly for six more months, I think Strowman vs. Lesnar at Summerslam would do big business.
- Jack Gallagher is tremendous, they need to elevate him outside the cruiserweight division and give him matches against “regular” talent. The cruiserweight division has for the most part been a disaster because WWE is treating it like a sideshow act with the purple ropes and different canvas, but Gallagher has been one of the bright lights coming out of the concept. I wasn’t a regular viewer of the cruiserweight tournament on the WWE Network but when I saw a clip of Gallagher wrapping up Akira Tozawa like a pretzel on the mat and then walking away, leaving Tozawa laying there helpless, it got my attention. He then debuted on WWE television and in a matter of just a couple of weeks he’s brought us such gems as informing a wrestler in advance before attacking him (because you know, he’s a gentleman), and attempting a running dive - after pausing to say a quick prayer – only to decide last minute to step through the ropes normally instead. He’s funny, he’s charismatic, he’s creative, and he also has the athleticism and work rate to keep up with other performers.
- I’m not a fan of Charly Caruso, who is the new backstage interviewer for Raw. I can’t believe I’m saying this as a bad thing, but she comes off too “polished” and too much like a serious journalist for wrestling circles.
- I’ve given Stephanie McMahon my fair share of criticism, but I have to give her props for being prepared for the “CM Punk” chants on Raw in Chicago and throwing out that UFC fight reference. That was gold.
- So first, Sheamus and Cesaro are the newest in a long line of feuding tag teams, but then they settle their differences after a bar fight and share pints. But now they’re back to being a feuding tag team again even though they’ve won the WWE tag titles? Some continuity would be nice.
- This sounds bad but I really liked when Nia Jax hit the leg drop on the jobber on Raw because it reminded me of Yokozuna’s old leg drop and looked devastating.
- TJ Perkins’ whole entrance is ridiculous. His ring gear looks silly, his little “dance pose” thing looks stupid, and it’s hard to take him seriously as a worker (and he’s a solid worker) when he comes out looking like a clown.
- I actually don’t mind that Cass is being booked to look like Enzo’s protector rather than Enzo fighting his own battles, because I’ve felt all along that Enzo would be of better value as Cass’ manager and not his tag team partner.
- Golden Truth’s entrance… my gawd. I’m happy that those guys have full-time work, especially given their ages, but that entrance is the cheesiest and most mind-numbing in all of WWE.
- How many weeks in a row now have we seen Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns wrestle in some capacity, yet we’re expected to anticipate seeing that match at the Rumble too?
- John Cena came off looking hypocritical when he said on Talking Smack that he was wrong to criticize The Rock for leaving WWE for Hollywood. I mean everybody knows it – Cena is going down the same path as Rock now, right down to doing SNL and appearing with WWE part-time. But that being said, you can’t blame Cena for doing what he’s doing and anyone in his position would do the same thing.
- I really like American Alpha, although I hate their team name since WWE is a worldwide entity and I think you risk turning them into heels outside the U.S. with that name. Anyway, to me they are the second coming of the World’s Greatest Tag Team, and the titles suit them well.
- Not a fan of Baron Corbin but his End of Days finisher looks great when used on good workers like Dolph Ziggler who can really sell it. Good luck executing that one on a bigger guy though.
- Having a four-man commentary team is so nonsensical. Phillips and Ranallo are essentially doing the same job. I’d say the same thing about JBL and David Otunga but Otunga is so awful in that role and doesn’t talk much anyway. I don’t care what anybody says – if his wife wasn’t Jennifer Hudson, Otunga wouldn’t have a job in WWE, period.
- I mentioned this in the comments on the site already but – don’t feel bad for Mick Foley that he is delaying his hip surgery due to not having health insurance. He can afford the cost of the surgery, he’s just notoriously cheap and would rather get coverage to pay for it.
- Batista says that a match with The Rock at Wrestlemania with Vin Diesel as guest referee would be too cheesy. So I ask you – who do you think would make for an interesting match with the big guy? I suggested on Twitter that both Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns don’t have Mania plans set in stone yet.
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