Let me start this article by saying, I would love to have been mostly positive about this week in WWE. If you asked me about last week, I almost definitely would have been. This week however… this week has not been filled with the same highs. I enjoyed all three shows even with the doom and gloom though. So, join me as I run through the cons of this week, with a couple of pros thrown in for good measure.
Con – Keith Lee And Karrion Kross:
Quite often with WWE’s booking, it feels they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. In some ways this situation is no different, Karrion Kross needed to win after his quick debut loss to Jeff Hardy the week prior. The problem is, Keith Lee also needed a win after WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made quick work of him. So what was WWE’s solution when two men needed a win? Have them face off against each other in a lose/lose situation.
This situation was completely avoidable, especially when there is plenty of good wrestlers stuck in catering who could have been used instead.
Pro – Women’s Division Main-Eventing Again:
Over the last two weeks, women’s wrestling has been in the main event of 4/6 of WWE’s three brands. The fact that as of October 2016, women’s wrestling had only main-evented RAW on two occasions, and now it can happen two weeks in a row is a good indication of progress being made.
Despite not necessarily agreeing with WWE cashing in the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase within 24 hours again. Using it to elevate a wrestler into the top end of their division is always going to be beneficial. Nikki A.S.H is now RAW Women’s Champion, and if she is used properly, her character could remain at the top of the card for some time. It may not be a character for me, I was never going to be its target audience. But, any fresh talent at the top of a division is always a welcome sight. And, main eventing shows will always be the best way to elevate talent in the women’s division, simultaneously elevating the division as well.
Con – What Was That Contract Signing?:
Right, where do we start with this one? So, John Cena comes back to WWE and confronts Roman Reigns. He then challenges Reigns to a match at SummerSlam which Reigns rejects, instead opting for Finn Balor. Setting up a contract signing for this past week’s episode of SmackDown between Balor and Reigns. So far, so good.
Then, we get to this week’s episode. Reigns signs the contract, then Baron Corbin of all people throws Finn Balor out of the ring and goes to sign in his place. This is where John Cena hits the ring, attacks Corbin and signs the contract. A contract which I will make clear again, was meant for Finn Balor! Paul Heyman then rightfully approaches Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce backstage, pointing out that that’s not how contracts work. Deville and Pearce then essentially go, “well it’s signed by two people, that’ll do.” Here’s a list of issues with this.
- John Cena is the heel in this scenario. Stealing someone else’s championship match is something the bad guy does. Tell me what part of hustle, loyalty and respect does that fall under? Is it in the small print?
- That’s just not how contracts work. If this is the precedent WWE has set, why doesn’t someone steal Big E’s Money in the Bank briefcase? Because clearly, the name on the contract for a championship match does not matter.
- Finn Balor loses his championship match in a completely unjust situation. As a result, next week he has a match against Baron Corbin, but… why? Corbin didn’t end up stealing the match, Cena did. Balor shouldn’t have much more than a care in the world for Corbin, he should be furious at Cena, Deville and Pearce.
- Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce just allow the contract to stand. I know there’s an awful lot of budget cuts going on in WWE, but is printing a new contract for Balor to sign really that expensive?
- Perhaps the biggest issue of all of this, is how easily it could have been avoided. If Cena vs Reigns was always the plan (as we know it was), why bother with all of this? Why not just have an extra few weeks of Reigns and Cena facing off with promos? More isn’t always better.
Pro – Samoa Joe Is Back:
It may have taken a long stint behind the RAW commentary desk, as well as his release from and eventual return to WWE. But now, after a year and a half away from the ring, Samoa Joe is set to have his first match as an in-ring performer.
Karrion Kross vs Samoa Joe is now set in stone for NXT TakeOver 36, making it a first-ever meeting for the pair. It would have been easy for NXT to let Kross’ booking on the main roster stop this story from being told in a proper way. Instead, NXT has presented Kross as a man who will answer to nobody, with Samoa Joe being the only person who may be capable of stopping him. Storylines aside, the return of Samoa Joe is the return of a one of a kind wrestler, and we should be set for an exceptional main event.
Con – The Heels Of SmackDown’s Women’s Divison:
Now, I know earlier on in this article I praised WWE for placing the women’s division in the main event of both RAW and SmackDown. But, the booking of the individual superstars has been particularly poor. Wrestling is like any good story, every hero needs an equal villain. A nemesis to be their match. On the SmackDown roster, there are just three heels that are active amongst the women’s division (Sasha Banks, Carmella and Zelina Vega).
Let’s break those three names down. Vega throughout her two stints in WWE has a record of 3 wins to 72 losses and 1 no contest including house shows. She has won 3 matches in her WWE career, none of which have come since she re-signed with the company! Then there’s Carmella, who has just lost her last 5 TV matches in a row, including two SmackDown Women’s Championship bouts. And yet, both her and Vega believe they deserve a title shot? Finally, there’s Sasha Bank who is a legitimate star. Yet, Belair has beaten her, and though their inevitable WrestleMania rematch at SummerSlam will likely be excellent that doesn’t change the fact we have seen it before. Wins and losses rarely matter in WWE, but it’s ridiculous to accept that these are the three people demanding title matches. One has yet to win, the other has failed twice in a row, and the last will somehow walk her way into a title match despite being gone for almost four months. Make it make sense.
Con – The Release Of Bray Wyatt:
Any employer in any field should be grateful to have an employee whose sole goal was to improve. In WWE that man was Bray Wyatt. Wyatt reinvented himself on multiple occasions, changing and adapting and keeping his character fresh. WWE is full to the brim with exceptional wrestlers, many of which are excellent in the ring. What is lacking in the company is characters, people who throw some shades of grey into the black and white of WWE.