Posted in: The Schoolhouse
The Schoolhouse: Why Bobby Roode Is The Best Champion In WWE Today
By JCool & Shane
May 15, 2017 - 1:07:15 AM


Greetings, folks, and welcome to the schoolhouse. Six weeks ago, there was a beautiful moment on Saturday night, April 1st, at nXt Takeover in Orlando. It was a moment that revealed, to a global audience, the gift of the glorious one, Bobby Roode.

At his biggest match in nXt to date, Roode successfully defended the nXt Championship against fan favourite, Shinsuke Nakamura. It was his second victory over the former champion and an indication that he is quickly becoming the greatest champion in nXt’s short but notable history. But he’s more than that…

Here to help me present the following argument is one of my favourite wrestling writers in the world. His current work can be found gracing the pages of the LOP Columns Forum, as well as on LOP Radio, as a founding member of the WCW Legacy Series. He is the mystic, Shane.

I’m honored to be in the schoolhouse, J Cool. I do know one thing about teaching: we are greatly benefited when we are engaging interesting material. And, in the world of pro wrestling, very few are as interesting as the Glorious One.

Today’s argument...

Bobby Roode is the best champion in WWE today.

How does he prove this? He does so with class, dedication and the reputation he has built, over the years, of being a talented and dependable champion around the world.

· Class- Roode exudes this in his posture, his aura, his words and in his promos. He’s a man who knows he is better than most and acts like it.

· Reputation- The man is a veteran in the wrestling business. He’s not a rookie trying to prove he can play with the big boys (#WCW). He’s an established pro wrestling champion who is simply in a new environment. It’s almost unfair for his competition because he simply cannot be matched in this area.

· Dedication- Watch Roode’s matches. This guy works hard, wrestles smart, and perseveres through whatever is thrown at him.


Shane: You know what, J Coooooooool? I really like the topics you chose here. In my course of hosting WCW: The Legacy Series with mizfan, back when I was on Twitter, there were continual conversations about heel sympathizers and #BabyFacePrivilege. I don’t quite know what makes Bobby Roode a ‘bad’ guy, simply because he is better than most and is honest about it. In fact, this is how I originally (and easily) chose Bobby Roode over James Storm in TNA.

For those who know the history, Storm won the world title that we all (minus Hogan) thought was meant for Bobby Roode. A tough, tough break for a guy who absolutely wants nothing less than to be the best. So Storm comes out with the title that Roode wanted, and he cuts a promo where he says he would like to say he’ll be the kind of champion who will defend the title seven days a week and twice on Sunday, but he likes to drink, watch football, and go to church, so that won’t happen. I can’t tell you how Bobby Roode felt hearing that, but I can damn well tell you how I felt.

It felt like Bobby Roode had now been robbed twice.

The guy who wants the belt, wants to defend it, wants to go on radio shows and podcasts and lift entire brands to higher levels, has to watch the new champion talk about his lack of zeal for defending the title on drinking days. I have said it before, but if you watch the promo that Roode and Storm do together, just before they wrestle for Storm’s TNA title, it is as if Roode is saying goodbye to something that has passed away. Maybe it’s the friendship, maybe it’s the team of Beer Money, but Roode is mourning an end, in my opinion, so that he can do whatever he needs to do to rescue the TNA title from a drunken cowboy. Is Roode arrogant? Hell yeah he is. Would I want to cross him? Not on my best day. But I do believe, if you were to drill down deep with Roode, what is best for himself is also what is best for the company, at least in his mind.

So when Roode breaks a beer bottle over Storm’s head or grabs a one-legged crab on an injured Nakamura and starts punching the damn knee, like it or not, he’s not just doing that for himself, he’s doing it for the sake of a better, more glorious brand. That’s the kind of class some might not want, but it’s the kind of class we need. Suit up, throw away your flip flops, and just appreciate a better man than most.

JCool: I don’t even own flip flops, Shane. I guess that’s why supporting Roode is a no-brainer to me. There’s not much I need to add to what you’ve so eloquently presented. Roode exudes an aura that demands respect. He may play mind games and plan sneak attacks and try just about any way to get a win, but he never does any of this lightly. He respects his opponents and, hell, he respects the wrestling ring, too. Watch him on the ring apron before the match. He’s one of those guys wiping his feet before entering the squared circle. He’s one of those guys who looks out into the crowd, all corners of the arena and soaks in the atmosphere, appreciating every single fan who’s there. Of course, in his mind, they are all there to see him. And they should be. That’s class.

Shane: Spoken like a true teacher, J Cool. You know everything that goes on in the classroom. It seems, from your analysis, Roode also knows everything that goes on in *his* classroom.

What class.


Shane: Reputation, or, the section where I will old man rant at some people. You know what I don’t like, J Cool?

JCool: What’s that, Shane?

Shane: I don’t like it when people can’t understand quality because the thing being considered didn’t happen on RAW or SmackDown.

JCool: Ah, yes, the myopia that plagues many wrestling fans today. We can’t fault them for it. If you live in a world where WWE is the only wrestling you’ve ever seen or heard about, or you’ve been taught that only WWE matters, how can this perspective be faulted? Fact is, there’s plenty of good quality wrestling happening outside the “universe” and Bobby Roode was one of the best examples of it, captaining the ship at TNA Impact for quite some time.

Shane: Such as: the longest world title reign in TNA history, which is held by Bobby Roode. I watched the whole damn thing. He got better and better and better. I think he was poised, on a TNA level at least, to be to that company what Ric Flair was to the NWA. The fact that he wasn’t isn’t on Bobby Roode. It’s on TNA. I also don’t like people who think Roode is just wasting his time in nXt, even as he has classic matches with Nakamura and runs the whole damn brand as world champion. I don’t like people who think Drew McIntyre is slumming in nXt because he was once an IC champion. Fact is: he’s lucky he might get to be in the ring with Bobby Roode, so miss me with the “Drew is too good for nXt” stuff.

What I’m saying is this: Roode’s reputation was glorious even before he had the theme song. A person not watching TNA doesn’t negate what he did there. A person seeing nXt as an inferior brand doesn’t negate what he’s currently doing in nXt.

JCool: A person seeing nXt as inferior is misguided. Reading through the new book on nXt by Jon Robinson reveals Triple H’s vision of the brand. He talks about veteran stars coming in and how their role is a multi-faceted one: they get a chance to establish themselves on TV, on the WWE Network, in front of a wider audience, they almost always improve their stock or credibility with the fans, they play an important part in the development of other stars around them and they make the nXt brand an even more popular and desirable place to wrestle.

Bobby Roode does all of those things by being in nXt. When he comes out and says he is making nXt better, that’s 100% fact. He’s making it better every time he’s on the show but he’s also making it better, behind the scenes, in ways we’ll never see. His technical in-ring skills and promo abilities are the kind you want any young wrestler to model. That’s the kind of reputation he brings to the yard.

Shane: Lazy thinking makes lazy narratives. Sharpen your thinking, folks, before you approach the legacy of Bobby Roode. He is, on one hand, stable and dependable. He is, on the other, nothing short of a gamechanger. Understand the reputation or just don’t talk about it. Though I’m sure that’s asking too much of people.


Shane: I like this section, simply because it gives me the chance to talk about not-in-character Bobby Roode. I listen to most of his interviews on radio and podcasts, and there are two things he always come back to.

The first is his absolute respect for old school, psychology-based in-ring performances. As a fan of 80’s NWA, this drew me to him before I even knew his explicit appreciation for this style. In the world we live in (and you won’t hear this from anyone but me) the most radical thing you can do is not to do a 17-star splash or go head first through 67 tables. The most radical thing you can do is to have your opponent on the floor and *not* jump over the top rope. And the most impressive thing you can do is to *refuse* to be a spot monkey in order to tell a damn good, realistic story, and still be the top guy on your brand. Roode is doing it, and it flies in the face of almost every other match I watch on any given card.

The second thing Roode always talks about is his respect for the vets. He constantly tells stories about how, in TNA, he would try to ride with guys like Bubba Ray Dudley anytime he could, simply to pick his brain about the wrestling business. This is the attitude I love. This is what guys like Steve Austin, Raven, the Kliq, and others did all the time. They lived this stuff. They breathed it. They talked it. We need more of that, in my outdated opinion. Not sure how much talking needs to be done to do the same damn spots in every match without a thought for context. But when your game is psychology based, the conversations simply never end.

JCool: Roode’s dedication to his craft and the kind of style he wrestles will ensure his gloriousness endures long past this first successful year in nXt. You are so right about his choice to stick to the basics of working over body parts, varying the pacing of the match and making the high impact moments that much more meaningful. In both of his matches against Nakamura this year, he involved the crowd in so much of what he did, giving them opportunities to cheer and boo him, to catch their breath and to shout out in surprise.

To some, this is Pro Wrestling 101 and none of it is new, and yet, by dedicating himself to being the best at the basics of ring psychology and not wrestling a more extreme style, he could wrestle for a long time to come. That’s why Flair was able to last for so long. Roode could do it too, but I think his matches would be much more well-received.


The discussion period is about to begin and we leave it to you to agree or disagree with what has been presented…

Do the other champions in WWE, at present, beat Roode in the categories we presented? If you think so, explain how.

Watch Roode’s matches against Nakamura and how smart he is in avoiding his finisher on multiple occasions. Do you wish wrestlers employed more creativity in this area instead of taking finishers and kicking out?

What strategy will Roode use to defeat Hideo Itami this coming Saturday at Takeover: Chicago?

Bobby Roode is a true class act and, by his very presence, he is making nXt a better place for his fellow wrestlers and for us fans, too. We applaud his championship run so far and anticipate it extending for months to come.

Later this week, I’ll be posting the results for Wednesday’s show and my Takeover predictions. You can read more previews and predictions on Takeover in the Columns Forum from Shane and Xanman.