In recent weeks, Twitter has been inundated with "Share Your Unpopular Opinion About Insert-Topic-Here" tweets. I've seen them about numerous sports, musical genres, movie genres, books, food, and countless other subjects. I decided to take some of my own unpopular opinions about pro wrestling and turn them into an article instead. If your memory is sharp, you'll remember that I posted a similar piece for Fightful about a year-and-a-half ago. A lot has changed in wrestling since December 2016, so let's see where I stand on some conversation-worthy topics.
Shawn Michaels Should Stay Retired: I would never call myself the world's biggest Shawn Michaels fan, but I would be the first to admit that there was a large stretch of time where the man could do no wrong in a wrestling ring. It didn't matter who his opponent was. All you had to do was send him out there and he'd put on a show. However, he's nearly 53 years old, and he hasn't had a match in over eight years now. Do you know how much can, and probably has, changed since 2010?
In the sport of pro wrestling, retirements almost never stick, but Michaels has been very adamant that he was done for good. He has turned down multiple opportunities to return for matches, even ones like Royal Rumble appearances where he probably wouldn't have to do much, and has mostly stayed away from any kind of spotlight. Sure enough, though, he finds himself involved more and more with the behind-the-scenes product these days, and in a recent interview, he stated that he would be open to a return to the ring if the right scenario was presented to him. That's big news, as it is the first time he has left the door for a return cracked open a little. There is little doubt that an HBK return would be presented as a huge deal by WWE, and rightfully so. He's one of the company's top performers of all-time. A "Dream Match" against Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles would make a lot of money. That's fine and all, but should such a thing happen?
The last time HBK wrestled, it was widely regarded as one of the best WWE matches of all-time. If he returns to the ring and is a shell of his former self, how much does that tarnish his legacy? Human beings, in general, can have a "what have you done for me lately" way of thinking. A classic match eight years ago? They'll only remember his not-so-classic match in his return. What about those who weren't around for Michaels' prime? What if this match is their first time seeing him live? All the WWE Network footage in the world isn't going to make those fans wonder why this balding, beyond-middle-aged man is praised up and down as Wrestling Jesus. There is way too much on the line here, and I just don't see it as being worth the risk. Michaels should stay away, and keep his legacy intact.
Way-Too-Positive WWE Fans Are Far Worse Than Way-Too-Negative WWE Fans: Think about those negative fans for a minute. We all know people like that. Some of us are people like that. This match sucks. This wrestler sucks. This feud is stupid. This guy doesn't make any sense as champion. This guy doesn't deserve a push. There's a lot of negative thoughts and opinions on the WWE product, and these folks seem to have all of them. For years, those fans were laughed at by everyone else on the internet, as people wondered why they would continue to watch a product that they find so bad.
Over the last year, I've noticed the opposite line of thinking taking over on social media. Fans that praise any and every single thing WWE does. I don't know if they mean what they say, or if they're simply doing it for the sake of trolling, but it keeps happening. Popular decisions get praised, but also, largely unpopular decisions get praised. If an argument about Roman Reigns breaks out, these folks are quick to talk about how Reigns is the best in the company. If an argument about Jinder Mahal breaks out, these folks are quick to talk about how great a heel Jinder is, and how deserving of his title reigns he is. If an argument about how poor WWE's writing is breaks out, these folks are quick to talk about how much money the company is making, and therefore, they're doing an awesome job.
That's so annoying.
Because something makes the most money, that means it's the best? Go ahead and flip your local radio stations on right now and listen to what they're playing. Those songs are the most popular in the country. They are the songs making the most money for the artists performing them. Would you say those songs are the best pieces of music in the world at the moment? Of course you wouldn't. Same for the television shows that get the highest ratings and the movies that make the most money at the box office. They're making the most money, but almost always, they aren't the best or the best rated shows and movies. Stop that nonsense.
If you're one of those people, let me just say something to you right now... it's alright if someone says something negative about WWE. You don't work for them. Your livelihood isn't going to take a hit because a random wrestling fan on Twitter thinks Jinder Mahal is doody in the ring. Even more so, it's alright if you say something negative yourself. Not everything is positive. It's not always rainbows and butterflies, folks. It's compromise that moves us along. At the very least, you can say the constant negativity from other fans comes from a good place, because they want to see WWE and its overall product improve. There's honesty in their comments. It doesn't come across as disingenuous. If you're praising anything WWE does, even if you legitimately mean what you're saying (which you don't), nobody is buying it.
Cut it out.
Brock Lesnar Is Still Very Entertaining: Fans seem to go through ups and downs when it comes to Brock Lesnar. At some points, they love him, and they call him the most believable "monster" that pro wrestling may have ever produced. At other points, they hate him, and they call him "boring", "predictable", a "waste of money and airtime", or "lazy". Recently, the accepted line of thinking is the latter instead of the former.
I still find myself entertained by Brock's matches, however infrequent they are. It goes back to what I said about him being a believable character. I've seen so many complaints about how his matches don't last very long, but they aren't supposed to. He brings the "kill shot" potential to his matches, and that "realism" means his matches are put together differently. Those matches don't need to be 45-minute New Japan back-and-forth classics. Giving them no more than ten minutes makes perfect sense. He's like a video game boss in a lot of ways. He has a very difficult pattern to deal with, but it's still a pattern. If you let him get to you, he'll be able to end things quickly, but if you're able to figure his pattern out, you can cause great damage yourself in a short amount of time.
I will say this, though... I can't stand Brock having the Universal Title, especially for such a long period of time. Lesnar has been the Universal Champion for just over 14 months now, with the rumors being that he's going to be the champion for at least the next two months. If he does lose the title at SummerSlam, that would mean he was the titleholder for 16 months, and in that span, he defended the title a total of six times. SIX TIMES. For the sake of comparison, Seth Rollins has defended the Intercontinental Title six times in the span of 31 days, from the Greatest Royal Rumble event to the May 28th episode of Raw. He's a "Prizefighter", so I get that he wouldn't just show up to have random matches against random opponents with no real stakes on the line, but my goodness, would it kill WWE to have their top title around on a weekly basis? If you're going to give him the title, that's fine, but in no way, shape or form should his reign last this long unless you're going to roll out the Brinks truck to Brock's farm and pay him to show up more often.
If you're against the way Brock is booked, I get it. If you're against the way Brock performs in the ring, I most certainly do not get it.
Daniel Bryan Should Leave WWE: If you're unaware of the situation, Daniel Bryan's WWE contract is set to expire on September 1st, and he has yet to re-sign with the company. There's a lot of "will he or won't he" talk about if he's going to stick around. At one point, he was looking to potentially leave because he wanted to wrestle and WWE wouldn't clear him to do so. With that out of the way, many expected his re-signing to be inevitable. Well, he returned to the ring over two months ago, and there is still no new contract signed.
As much as I love watching him wrestle for WWE, I think it would benefit him to leave. We're living in a different era of pro wrestling these days. Gone are the days where WWE was the one and only way for a wrestler to make any real money. I don't know how much he makes on his WWE deal, but you'd be a fool to think he couldn't match that number quite easily wrestling elsewhere. He'd be able to name his price for appearances, and promotions all over the world would trip all over themselves to give that to him. North America, England, Japan, Mexico... he could wrestle all over the world, meet his own goals, and work at his own pace.
When WWE cleared him, fans immediately talked about all the people that he wasn't able to wrestle before having to retire in 2016. They drooled over the idea of him wrestling people for the first time, or at least for the first time in WWE, as he had obviously wrestled the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, etc before. Well, that extends far beyond the WWE roster. Look at some of the biggest names in the world of non-WWE wrestling...
He hasn't wrestled Kenny Omega in over nine years.
He has never wrestled Kazuchika Okada.
He has never wrestled Tetsuya Naito.
He has never wrestled Will Ospreay.
Zack Sabre Jr, Pentagon, Marty Scurll, Austin Aries, Matt Riddle, Rey Mysterio, Joey Ryan, Jeff Cobb... the list goes on and on and on. These are all people Bryan has never wrestled, or at least hasn't wrestled in many years, some going back to his time before WWE. He has an invitation to print money just waiting for him out there.
Besides, who doesn't want to see him come to the ring while "The Final Countdown" plays again?
Ricochet Should Be A Universal/WWE Champion Sooner Than Later: I'm not 100% sure just how unpopular this opinion is, but here we are. Ricochet has been an absolute star for the NXT brand. If you've been following his career, that shouldn't surprise you. He's not the biggest guy in the world (billed as 5'9" and 188 pounds), but he doesn't carry himself as a smaller worker. From the moment his entrance music hits, you just know a "big deal" is what you're witnessing. It helps that he then gets in the ring and tears the house down every night.
The "easy" option is for him to make his way to 205 Live if and when he gets called up, but where's the fun in that? Why not roll the dice and take a chance on someone that could shake things up? Ricochet against the likes of Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan (if he sticks around), Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and so on and so forth? That could work, and work well, I might add.
Yes, I know... NXT stars don't always translate well to the main roster. Vince McMahon gets his grubby little mitts on these people and their careers wilt away before our very eyes, blah blah blah. I understand that, but do you know what sets Ricochet apart from the likes of, say, The Revival, Adam Rose, Emma and the rest of the failed NXT call ups? Ricochet isn't human. It's that simple. You put him in the ring, and you watch him do things that nobody else on the planet can do. That's the kind of thing that any WWE fan of any age or background can enjoy. It's those special talents that can become successful without having to be a vaunted wordsmith in the land of larger-than-life characters.
I'm not saying to put Ricochet on Raw next week and have him defeat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at SummerSlam. I'm just saying that he has the ability to make a huge mark on WWE programming, and that it would behoove the company to give him a chance to do so.
What say you? What are some of your wrestling-related unpopular opinions?