Imp’s ‘Mostly’ Perfect Moments from WWE
December 6th 2017
Am I the only one that has their Christmas decorations up for the 12 days of Christmas and not the entirety of December? 12 days before and 12 days after. Not December 1st, not November/immediately after Thanksgiving. But December 13th till January 6th, every year, give or take a day depending on laziness. Surely my family aren’t the only ones that do this, there’s that 12 days of Christmas song after all. A song that will now forever be the 12 of Days of Rusev in my head! Oh what a glorious, festive occasion Rusev Day has become.
Before we start, a quick announcement.
I’m going to see Star Wars next Friday! No, that’s not the announcement, I just really like Star Wars. Starting next week I’m going to be jumping head first into covering New Japan Pro Wrestling! I’ve been watching the promotion since mid-2014, I’m a huuuge fan and really want to give them a spotlight up here on Lords of Pain. So, in time for Wrestle Kingdom, I’m going to get us all educated and ready for January 4th via Imp’s NJPW Adventure!
So I don’t know the future of this exact series, I like being happy so I might be able to pump out the odd one in between my NJPW research. But more likely than not, you’ll mostly be seeing me talk WWE in my Worst Case Scenario series that’ll also debut here next week. A format which (you will know if you ever read in the Columns Forum or listened to on LOP Radio) isn’t exactly a ‘traditional’ WWE PPV preview.
So, for at least one more week, let’s try and be mostly happy shall we? I do have one inkling to throw a mardy over though, I’ll warn you with flashing lights and everything so you know it’s coming.
First a few Honourable Mentions:
1 – RAW was a great show, from top to bottom a rather entertaining outing this week.
2 – Elias is consistently great, week after week I’m liking him more and more.
3- The Asuka and Paige angle is genuinely intriguing because I have no idea what’s going on.
4- I still don’t know why Bobby Roode is a good guy.
5 – Nor do I know why Nakamura cares about Orton’s wellbeing… because he’s also been doing nothing?
Roman Reigns feels like a star, he would actually be one if it wasn’t for WWE’s egregious booking of him for the first couple of years of his push. From a true top contender for the worst Royal Rumble in 2015, to WrestleMania 2016 against the authority where he defeated Triple H to become WWE Champion and THE top guy in WWE. What didn’t help was Creative constantly changing his character/motivations on an almost week to week basis, giving the impression they were just flicking through all the tactics they could think to get him over. It failed, horribly.
However, then Roman Reigns had a rivalry with this chap AJ Styles. I’ve heard he’s quite good. And I don’t know what it was, but something changed in my perception of Reigns. The Big Dog started to have these things called ‘good matches’ and most surprisingly of all, Creative stopped changing his character. They actually picked something at stuck with it (mostly). Sure, his feud with Rusev/run as US Champion was a bit weird, (especially as Rusev came across as the good guy during the whole thing) but it served as an important part of Reigns’ character development. He became a bit of a dick.
In 2017 Roman Reigns has gravitated to becoming more and more of an obnoxious prick, truly believing he is the best performer in the world. Entering number 30 in the Rumble to a chorus of boos was amazing, standing in the ring on the Post-Mania RAW for 10 solid minutes of hate was a goose bumps moment and his feud with John Cena highlighted his obnoxious tendencies. All great additions to Roman’s arc of realising how much of a prick he is. With us now at the point where his character is a bit more self-aware and is defending the IC title every week as a direct reaction to Cena criticising his US title run.
But he still thinks he’s the best thing going in wrestling today. A trait that is totally heel. His reactions to those challenging him say it all, Roman Reigns is officially a dick. And it’s great! Just as long as WWE stick with that and don’t fix up another genius plot to get us to cheer or feel sympathy as he tries to achieve some sort of redemption. They’ve hit a really good balance with him right now, a mix of pride and obnoxiousness. But I fear we’re on the horizon of a repeat of the 2016 Road to WrestleMania. Just let him be a dick, WWE. Let Roman be a dick. #LetRomanBeADick
There was something about the Fatal Four Way match on RAW that really reminded me of TNA’s X Division in the late 2000s. When guys like Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt were kicking out fast paced, well-rehearsed, show stealing matches on a regular basis. Alexander, Neese, Gulak and Ali did exactly that this week on RAW, a frantic match that turned fans from sitting on their hands to chanting, “This is awesome!” Which admittedly isn’t that hard to do nowadays, but it says something when the match started with very little atmosphere and ended on such a high.
This is what the cruiserweights are ultimately all about, incredible fast paced affairs with lots fancy flippy flopping. 205 Live seemed to hit a stride during the Summer, the show was pumping out at least one great match every week. The division started to figure out its niche. Then Enzo became champion, 100% brought more eyes to the product, but also brought a hit in quality for the actual matches. One thing you can say about Neville’s run as Cruiserweight Champion, he always gave you an amazing match when it was time to defend that title.
Enzo is the opposite, he is money on the mic and a paper bag in the ring. Which to me means that he is an amazing person to use to bring eyes to the product, but only have him be a temporary feature and move him on when the time is right. Because Enzo has brought a dramatic improvement on the character/promo side of things, guys like Drew Gulak have benefited from that so much. But once those guys have taken in Enzo’s influence and developed those characters, what purpose does the Certified G serve?
I’m thinking a bit far ahead into the future, right now the Cruiserweight guys are killing it. All they need is to not be given crap storylines for the sake of having storylines like last year. One last thing, I think Drew Gulak is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait for the man to be Cruiserweight Champion in the near future. He’s so damn entertaining. In fact, he’s so damn good he’s gotten the WWE crowds chanting for PowerPoint Presentations, just think about that for a second.
Hell, why not have Gulak accidently win the title next week on RAW?
LA were loving the Woken! Popping every single time Matt Hardy did anything! Seriously, every minor movement seemed to get a loud cheer. Thank you Anthem, thank you for dropping your fight for what you felt was your intellectual property. I do worry that the pure weird parts won’t land without Borash’s ‘interesting’ mind behind the camera, but tonight’s debut of the character was bloody brilliant.
You have to know going in to this, the reason this gimmick worked in TNA was the people making it kind of knew it was crap. But they used that to drive it forward, just kept piling on the weird until it was high enough to touch the memes of the heavens above. The pre-recorded nature helped as well, it’s something that’s really needed to help explain what on Earth is happening when Matt Hardy wrestles. Because one funny VT ain’t going to be enough, WOKEN Matt Hardy is flipping weird. He slots more into the box labelled ‘Great Wrestling Bollocks’ rather than ‘Pure Wrestling Genius’.
WOKEN Matt Hardy is a demented mix of Bray Wyatt’s rambles on the supernatural and Ultimate Warrior’s utter gibberish. But at its soul, the whole thing is essentially a comedy. That’s where WWE’s attempt with New Day vs The Wyatt Family failed, they treated it like a serious fight. Now try telling me The Final Deletion was serious whilst Matt Hardy’s throwing fireballs out the back of a truck.
With all that said, I’m damn excited to see where this goes. Because this isn’t for everybody, there will be those of you that will absolutely hate this. But you can’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Just don’t take Matt Hardy as a serious entity. The BROKEN/WOKEN thing a brilliant gimmick, but it’s not really something you complain about for four paragraphs. Its silly entertainment, something WWE rarely nails. I am hopeful for this one though, if TNA can pull it off…
Side note: Being in an angle like this could work wonders for Bray Wyatt, something completely different and utterly stupid. Maybe this is just what he needs.
Randy Orton Is On Auto-Pilot
Oh Randy, you came and you gave without taking. But I sent you away, oh Randy.
So, time to admit something. I kind of checked out on Randy Orton earlier this year, just got bored of him and became a little fond with that Fast Forward button. The last time I’ve properly payed attention was when Khali came back for night to cause him to lose to Jinder again. Even then, I hadn’t been paying that much attention on SmackDown Live each week. I’ve somehow developed a trigger finger, keeps firing off and winding through Randy Pandy’s segments.
The worst part about that, from what I’ve gathered, is that I haven’t really missed much. After his stuff with Jinder he’d come out and RKO Rusev for a month or so, then he teamed up with Nakamura till Survivor Series and now he’s kind of feuding with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. The whole time, never really keeping my interest. He’s just there, doing Orton things. Like the plane is on auto-pilot and he’s off somewhere else, with his nose in a really well written book or something.
Sure the plane is still flying, but nothing’s going to land in that state. Yet the fella still gets pretty damn good pops and reactions during his matches, so I’ve started to think it might just be me. Am I the only one that just doesn’t give a damn about Randy Orton? Is everyone else enjoying him hitting those RKOs out of nowhere every week? Because to me I see a guy that’s had a year memorable for all the wrong reasons, one bad feud after another. Scattered with the odd month of filler.
That’s it! He’s like Naruto! Randy Orton’s an Anime in a constant state of filler, whilst Creative think up the next big arc for him to play out. Right, moan over. I think I’ve just had my fill of Orton and I’m ready for the next course.
Technically this story has been brewing for a month or so, but that doesn’t change the fact that the pieces are gradually coming together now. It could come across as WWE trying to justify their earlier subpar writing, but Jason Jordan seems to have an arc now and I can’t really complain about that. Because from now on, every time he runs to Papa Kurt, every time he goes on a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants, it adds another notch to the belt of his critical peers.
And we as the viewer become increasingly irritated by him, this is a fantastic heel turn in disguise. That is if a heel turn is what this is meant to be. There’s always that chance this is a genuine attempt to get us to root for baby JJ, have him constantly run head first into danger in a desperate attempt to prove himself to father. I bloody hope we’re seeing the former though, if not there’s more than enough time to pivot.
Jason Jordan could make a brilliant heel one day, and I truly believe the gradual turn is the exact kind of thing he needs. He’s got more than enough time to play out a long character arc, I’d just hate for WWE to try and stick with Plan A of trying to give us an Angle 2.0. Because that won’t work, we already have that and his name isn’t Jason Jordan, it’s Chad Gable. But irritating Jason Jordan, now that, that just might work.
I’ll be honest, I’m just happy we’re getting more character than ‘He’s Kurt Angle’s son’.
And that’s the end!
Did I miss anything you loved? Like Alexa Bliss’ facial expressions? People GIF the hell out of those.
Anything I liked that you absolutely hated or didn’t give a crap about?
You can catch me LIVE every Thursday on LOP Radio as the host of Perfect 10 Wrestling, joined by a different special guest every week!
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I will be back next week with the start of my NJPW columns and Worst Case Scenarios for WWE Clash of Champions!