We all have them. Some of us aren't afraid to share them, while others quietly sit in the background, worried about the backlash that would come their way if they spoke up. Unpopular opinions are everywhere. The Big Bang Theory is the most watched television show in America. Captain America: Civil War is the highest grossing movie of 2016 so far. Adele's "25" has remained one of the best selling albums in recent history. Disliking any or all of those things would, technically, rank as an "unpopular opinion".
In wrestling, those types of opinions flow freely. Thanks to the internet, people are able to share their thoughts on any and every little thing taking place. Thought this particular match was a five-star classic? Say so. Think so-and-so isn't a very good in-ring worker? Speak your mind. I am no different than any of you. I have had some rather unpopular opinions through the years. Because you have given me the floor to share, that's exactly what I would like to do here. For one reason or another, the following opinions of mine just don't seem to match up with the thoughts of the "majority".
1. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat hasn't given us the best match trilogy (or greater) of all-time. Of course, don't get me wrong... their matches were really good. Their three major matches against each other in 1989 still stand the test of time, coming on 28 years later. I will forever give them credit, but their matches simply aren't at the top of the list for me anymore.
Call me whatever you will, but my choice for the greatest match series between two wrestlers is Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi. These New Japan legends have been engaged in a heated rivalry for nearly five years now. In that span, I've watched them square off a total of nine times, and not only have I never seen a bad match between them, I haven't even seen an average one. Come to think of it, I haven't even seen an above average match of theirs. The first match of theirs that I ever watched (from NJPW's New Beginning event on February 12th, 2012) is my least favorite of the bunch, and if you asked me to give it a star rating, I'd still give it 4.25 stars, which puts it into consideration for Match Of The Year in any year. A whopping SIX of their matches would get the full five-star rating from me. By sheer volume alone, that means I have to rate it higher than Flair vs Steamboat, Samoa Joe vs CM Punk, Steve Austin vs The Rock, or any other group of matches between a set of opponents that has received tremendous praise from wrestling fans. Seriously, if you haven't watched anything involving Okada vs Tanahashi, you're missing out. You owe it to yourself as a fan of the business to check them out and see if it doesn't change your opinion, too.
2. The Attitude Era simply wasn't as great as many people make it out to be. Before anyone gets too worked up about that, I'm mostly talking about the in-ring product here. People always get caught up in the wrestlers that came out of the Attitude Era. They look at "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and the like, and they automatically get nostalgic about that time. They always seem to forget that the in-ring stuff back then was... well, let's just say it was lacking.
Call me crazy, but I like to watch wrestling when I watch wrestling. The Attitude Era gave us some legendary names and some all-time great stories, sure, but there wasn't a focus on the in-ring product at all. On any given episode of Raw, you could watch a heavily hyped main event, probably for the WWF Title, and it would end in five or so minutes, probably due to some sort of screwy ending or outside interference. Pay-per-views saw even bigger main events that would end around the 15-minute mark. For the sake of comparison, Kalisto vs Baron Corbin nearly went that long at TLC.
With the WWE Network featuring the episodes of Raw from that era, I, like many fans, have been able to go back and watch the things I loved when I was growing up. They simply don't stand the test of time for me, and I find myself fast forwarding through a large majority of every episode or pay-per-view. For my money, I'll take the last several years of the WWE product over just about any other time in the company's history if we're STRICTLY talking about wrestling.
3. Damien Sandow/Aron Rex is, and always has been, awful. Remember back when the Damien Sandow character started taking off? People were all over social media saying that he should be pushed to the main event. I didn't see it then. Remember when he debuted as Aron Rex in TNA? People were all over social media saying that he should be pushed to the main event. I didn't see it then, either.
He's just so awfully plain and boring to me. If you look at him, it's like you're looking at a Create-A-Wrestler that was never finished up. No real physique to speak of, blank tights, blank pads, blank boots, and a beard. That's it? It got even worse as his WWE tenure went on, because that normal physique turned into something that resembled more of a "dad bod", as if he stopped caring about having to work out all the time. It got even worse in TNA, though. He showed up on Impact looking like a janitor that accidentally wandered his way out through the curtain.
That look translated to his matches, too. Go ahead and name one really good Sandow/Rex match. I'm not asking for a five-star classic. I'm not even asking for a Match Of The Year. I'm wanting to see if anyone can remember any of his matches, actually. It's tough.
4. One of WWE's biggest mistakes of the last decade is not pushing Kofi Kingston to main event status in late-2009/early-2010. Alright, that's slight hyperbole, but it was still a pretty big mistake on the company's part. This was the time when Kofi was consistently getting some of the best and biggest face pops week in and week out, and his matches were full of the exciting offense that makes sure live crowds pay attention. He lacked a bit of an "edge", though, but that seemed to be taken care of during the November 16th, 2009episode of Raw. That was the episode from Madison Square Garden, where Kofi would save "Rowdy" Roddy Piper from an attack by Randy Orton, ending with the highlight reel shot of him delivering a Boom Drop from the stands onto Orton, who was prone on a table. That won over the infamously "smarky" MSG crowd, who went crazy for the whole thing. It led to Survivor Series, six days later, where Kofi was the Sole Survivor for his team after pinning Orton to win a traditional SS elimination match.
It looked like big things were on the horizon for Kingston, but it didn't happen. He never got the elevation to make it to the main event scene, and he remained at about the same level as he had been before the Orton feud. I'm not here saying that Kofi should have become a ten-time World Champion or anything, but he was on fire at the time, and it really wouldn't have hurt to give him a chance in a main event title feud, even if he didn't win.
5. Jason Jordan > Chad Gable, especially for the future. I like Chad Gable. I really do. He's pretty much the closest thing to Kurt Angle we've seen since Angle himself. However, if you're going to look at who has the most potential to be a success under the WWE umbrella, why wouldn't you choose Jordan over him? Jordan is younger than Gable, but has more pro experience. Jordan is seven inches taller than Gable, and he outweighs him by 43 pounds. If you don't think that matters to the people in charge, you're kidding yourselves.
Does size matter as much as it used to in pro wrestling? Absolutely not. Does size still matter in pro wrestling? Absolutely. Even when you're one of the best wrestlers of all-time, like Daniel Bryan, your push is never something taken quite seriously, and you're constantly ridiculed for your size on television. Until you-know-who is no longer in charge, that's something that will never change in WWE. Daniel Bryan is both taller and heavier than Gable. What do you think is going to happen if Gable goes the singles route?
Let's not act as if Jason Jordan is dookie in the ring, either. He has a really good amateur wrestling background. He might be one of the best overall athletes on the roster. All that, and he's basically the same size as someone like Sting, who was never viewed as someone "small". It should be obvious to all of you that Jordan will be the one groomed for success, whether you want it to be him or not. Should be obvious. Isn't. But should be.
6. Mauro Ranallo's commentary is overrated. Think of this as a bit of a bonus opinion. I was debating with myself on whether or not I should even include it. I really do feel that Ranallo's work on commentary is overrated, but people will take that as me saying that he sucks. That's far from the case. He's the best play-by-play guy that WWE has had in a long, long time. He actually knows the names of moves, and he uses them in his commentary. You'd think that would be a given, but Michael Cole hasn't called a move that wasn't a finisher since 2005.
With that said... it would be nice if he didn't spend so much time trying to cram pop culture references into his work. If some word or trend is popular on Twitter, you can bet that Mauro is going to say it the following week at some point. Popular song? Meme that just went viral? Yup, he's going to mention it, even though there's zero connection to the match or wrestler he's talking about at the time. He's a far less annoying Matt Striker, all while over pronouncing everything he says like Joey Styles, who is TERRIBLE, but that's another argument for another day.
Hey, Mauro, just tone it down a bit, would ya?
What say you, folks? What are some of your biggest unpopular opinions in the world of wrestling? I look forward to hearing from you on this one.