It’s no secret WWE is a mess right now. There’s no debate or argument against it. The company has been in chaos for years, seemingly getting worse every month. Saying there’s something to be thankful for sounds difficult at face value, and I don’t blame you for questioning it.
By the time I finish writing this article, a whole new set of releases could happen. Hit Row’s push straight into being let go is indicative of how frenzied the creative process is due to these so-called “budget cuts”. Legends like Eric Bischoff and Mick Foley can’t help but to criticize publicly. Former Superstars are asking fans to boycott. Triple H has heart problems and Stephanie McMahon’s trying to say when he spits water, it’s an “immersive experience” for some reason.
Absolute mania, and not in the WrestleMania sense.
But today is Thanksgiving—a day where you’re supposed to look at what you have and be thankful. So while World Wrestling Entertainment is a dumpster fire of insanity, horrible mistakes, purely illogical practices, constant frustration and perhaps the worse morale in company history, there are still good things going on. They may be hard to find, but they’re there.
With all that being said, here are some of the things I’m personally thankful for in WWE at the moment (and I invite you to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments!)
The Ultimate Show
A lot of this list is going to be dished out with a grain of salt or some “but/if” caveats, looking on the glass half-full side of things. That’s certainly the case with the state of the WWE Network, which has been a mess with the Peacock transition.
Peacock essentially killed the service as WWE doesn’t provide nearly any content for it anymore. Even when they do, they tend not to release it, for some reason. But one show that does get made now and again is The Ultimate Show and I personally enjoy that a ton.
For those who haven’t seen it, Matt Camp, Ryan Pappolla, Sam Roberts and sometimes a fourth get together to suggest a fantasy lineup for an imaginary pay-per-view card using an all-time roster mentality. It’s something I’ve done before tons of times in articles and podcasts, so it speaks to my fandom 100%.
I don’t always agree with what they pick. Often, I think they go with options that make no sense to me, even. But I enjoy the discussion every time and I love seeing how they go about thinking of their personal preferences. It’s fun to watch the gears turn while they decide Owen Hart is a bigger priority for a pay-per-view than John Cena or something.
I highly suggest checking it out and playing along to figure out your own mock cards while watching.
Fresh Faces on NXT 2.0
I’m not the biggest fan of this NXT 2.0 experiment, if I’m honest. The idea that WWE heard criticism about the Capitol Wrestling Center being too dark and said “I know, we’ll make it super white and change the logo to paint splatter and that will solve some issues” is bad enough without factoring in how they won’t listen to other criticism. I also don’t like the idea that the old guard is being pushed out.
However, this new batch of talent does have some reason to brag.
Diamond Mine’s got a solid tag team in The Creed Brothers. They have no personality yet, but they’re entertaining to watch.
Duke Hudson’s finally finding himself after several false starts. I love his moniker of The House with the catchphrase “The House always wins.”
Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are quickly becoming stars. They might be guys to watch out for, if WWE doesn’t just call them up to the main roster and fire them a few weeks later, that is.
Odyssey Jones is getting there. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen have some potential. Grayson Waller hasn’t fully clicked, but there’s a chance he will. Tony D’Angelo is a lot of fun, character-wise. I’m interested to see what Solo Sikoa has to offer.
Bron Breakker is an awful name, but he’s quickly become someone the fans are interested in. Rex Steiner was such a perfect name, though. Shame on WWE for changing that.
Toxic Attraction works for me. Persia Pirotta is someone who, if WWE keeps working on her, could be worth watching out for, while Indi Hartwell is getting more and more comfortable and progressing in her own right. I like Cora Jade, too, and I can imagine she has the potential to be a new Paige in some ways, even if it’s not to the same extent.
Xyon Quinn went from just some guy who was hanging out in the Performance Center to a legit star. That guy’s got major star power going forward.
I’m definitely not fond of some acts, like Lash Legend or Ru Feng, and I’m perpetually worried everyone will be let go, but NXT is the overall most entertaining WWE program to me at the moment even if it’s not as good as the black and gold Johnny Gargano/Adam Cole/Tommaso Ciampa/etc type era that I prefer.
The Tribal Chief
We wanted this heel turn for Roman Reigns and we got it last year. Since then, this Tribal Chief gimmick has made him go from the chosen top dog to the definitive actual top guy in the company.
Each individual segment might not be great, but the overall package is fantastic. Reigns suffers from WWE’s lack of self-control when it comes to having all heels need to cheat to win, yet he still has more credibility than ever before. They’ve positioned him as someone on par with legends.
Think about it. Do you want to see anything else main event WrestleMania next year and possibly the year after that than Reigns against someone? If we got Reigns vs. The Rock, would that not be the biggest possible match they could do today? And that’s not just because Dwayne Johnson, but because his opponent, too.
Big E is WWE Champion
Just the same, while Big E’s championship reign has not been the absolute best, he’s still WWE champion. That in and of itself is something that fans have been calling for for years and it finally happened a few months ago.
I’ll go so far as to say WWE is giving Big E as credible of a reign as they can at the moment, too. That’s nowhere near an excuse for the way things are, as they’ve proven in the past they can have more than one strong champion at the same time, but I think that with the total insanity in today’s company, this is probably the best they can muster up.