Welcome to another edition of eWN Ring Position, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on WWE Backlash 2018 and the happenings surrounding the event.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Yiannis Bouranis, Richard Staple and Ethan Absler.
1) “Did WWE succeed in making this co-branded card more appealing for you to watch, or is this only just as good or possibly even worse than it was with the brand split events?”
MANGO: In the long run, I think this is going to be good for the pay-per-views themselves, but bad for the television shows, as the people who aren’t prioritized and can’t make the card on a regular basis are going to look like they aren’t worth a damn watching, because clearly, WWE doesn’t value them enough. For this card, it’s suffered from the spillover of the Greatest Royal Rumble and the Superstar Shake-up, so I don’t think it’s as good as it could have been, but hopefully, Money in the Bank and Extreme Rules will be a much different story. Right now, it’s a wash for me.
BOURANIS: I think they have booked many great matches that make this card very interesting and exciting. From Romans Reigns vs Samoa Joe to Seth Rollins vs the Miz and Carmella vs Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss, most titles will be on the line, while all matches will be of high quality. So, I believe Backlash will be a great and must-see show.
STAPLE: If you notice, whenever WWE does the brand split, they always go through this cycle where they give each show their unique rosters and give them their own exclusive PPV’s. Then, they realize that they are under the spell of content overload, producing too much content. The cards become repetitive in nature and lack depth, and then we go back to co-branded PPV’s. It’s an endless cycle for them. The brand split was never necessary, to begin with. All WWE has to do is produce quality entertainment and they can take advantage of their deep roster to produce good cards. The card this Sunday looks pretty solid, but I don’t think it has to do with it being co-branded. All I care about how feuds are booked.
ABSLER: As a viewer, a single brand pay per view is better than dual brand. As a fan buying tickets, dual brand PPV’s are ideal. I believe that WWE has done a fantastic job at marketing the show to people who are actually going to buy tickets. As a television viewer, however, I am no more or less enticed to watch this show vs any other.
2) “Which one superstar not currently booked for this event do you wish would have some kind of presence and how would you book that person if given the chance?”
MANGO: I think it’s a little strange that we have no representation of the Cruiserweight Championship, the Raw or SmackDown Tag Team Championship titles, or the Universal Championship. I guess that’s just how things are going to go from now on, which is a shame, as it devalues those titles if this regularly happens going forward. If I had to pick one person, though, it would be that I think Elias and Finn Balor could have some sort of No. 1 contender’s match to determine who will fight for the Intercontinental Championship next, with Elias coming out on top, as we’ve seen enough Balor vs. Rollins for now.
BOURANIS: I would say a match between Ronda Rousey and Mickie James would be exciting, following the recent feud between the two. Or a tag team match between Rousey and Natalya against two members of the Riott squad.
STAPLE: Probably Finn Balor. Not because I’m a huge fan or anything, but I think the seeds should be planted for a heel turn. Since Finn has returned from injury, he’s been losing in big match situations and only has a 1 day Universal Title reign since coming to the main roster. At some point, I feel as though that he needs to make that failure cause a heel turn and he can just say that who he’s been hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and maybe changing his attitude will help him find success. If I had the choice, I’d probably have him lay out Seth with the title after the match.
ABSLER: I would love to see Dean Ambrose return at this show and make a big statement.
Bold move on booking ahead! Dean returns and helps Seth defeat the Miz. After that, Rollins and Ambrose go on a rampage, even attacking referees and announcers, effectively turning them heel. The storyline progresses in the future with them trying to turn Roman to the dark side.
3) “If Shinsuke Nakamura fails to win the WWE Championship here, is that it for him, or do you think this will continue or he’ll get another chance at a world title run down the line?”
MANGO: This is it for him, I think. He’s had too many opportunities already, and if they try to get another match out of this feud without a title change, it will be one far too many. I do think Nakamura will win the title here, though, rather than coming up short. However, if he isn’t able to win, I can’t imagine WWE giving him the championship at any other point in this year—especially not where he’d hold it going into WrestleMania 35.
BOURANIS: This is the third time Nakamura will fight for the WWE Championship in the last three weeks. If he fails again, I think he should fight for another title, like the United States Championship, and then he will have the chance to get a future WWE championship opportunity, as the WWE considers him as a top prospect.
STAPLE: I can’t imagine the heel turn experiment with Shinsuke would end after Sunday. Nakamura is finally transitioning into the superstar he looked like when he faced Sami Zayn in Dallas over two years ago. He’s hard-hitting, he’s aggressive, relentless, humorous and doesn’t care who he affects. That’s probably the best version of Shinsuke we can ask for. Nakamura has low-blowed AJ to the point where his grandchildren’s children probably won’t be able to have kids anymore, which is why I’m picking AJ to retain this Sunday. But it won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be over after this Sunday. Even if Shinsuke doesn’t win this Sunday, I can’t imagine this heel turn is a lost cause or that any chance of him being WWE Champion ends. The heel/face dynamic with AJ and Nakamura has potential and if WWE actually lets them do their stuff instead of giving us the first 15 minutes of a potentially great match just to end it abruptly, we got magic.
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