As somebody that regularly writes about WWE for multiple websites, people expect me to care about their major events. I typically do. WrestleMania is always easy to get up for, even if the card looks lackluster. SummerSlam is typically built well and takes place at a great time for big events: the end of summer. Survivor Series has cool elimination matches. Heck, Money in the Bank has fun ladder matches, even if the briefcase concept is beyond played out.
Another event I’m always excited about is the Royal Rumble. Growing up, it was the event I looked most forward to. Even more than WrestleMania. There was something about the Royal Rumble Match that appealed to me. Thirty men entering the ring individually in approximately two-minute intervals for a shot at the WWE Champion at WrestleMania was incredibly fun. Even if the winner was pretty darn predictable most years, I felt like it gave everybody a chance to become Champion. Even guys like Virgil & Repo Man had a shot at it in my eyes.
It’s the one “Big 4” WWE event I’ve attended. In 2012 I made the trip to St. Louis with some of my offtheteam.com friends to see the Royal Rumble event. It didn’t go down in history as one of the great Rumbles, but I had a tremendous time. I haven’t been to a WrestleMania and that doesn’t really bother me. Getting to a Rumble more than makes up for it.
With all that being established, you would think that I’m pretty interested in Friday afternoon’s Greatest Royal Rumble event, being aired live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on WWE Network. It’s certainly a stacked show. Every male championship will be on the line. John Cena & Triple H will face off. The Undertaker will battle Rusev in a casket match that’s had the strangest build of any match in recent memory. The cherry on top? A 50-man Royal Rumble match! I have no idea how they’ll fill that many slots without taking volunteers from the crowd.
It’s certainly an interesting show on paper, and feels like something I should be excited about. Yet, I don’t feel excitement. Something just doesn’t feel right. This isn’t a Top 5 column, but let’s run down the reasons I’m not feeling the Greatest Royal Rumble hype.
That name…Greatest Royal Rumble.
I mean, “Greatest Royal Rumble” is just an awful name all around. It sounds like you’re trying way too hard to get people to pay attention. It puts down all the Royal Rumbles that took place before it, including the one back in January. Speaking of which…
We just had a Royal Rumble.
Why are we stepping all over the annual Royal Rumble event by holding another one a mere three months after? This reminds me of when Major League Baseball would hold two All-Star Games in a season. OK, I wasn’t alive when they did that, so I can’t really say it reminds me of it. But you get what I’m saying. You got one Royal Rumble a year. Why water it down? And as the year they had forty people enter it proved, more doesn’t always equal better.
Noon on a Friday
Maybe this aspect doesn’t matter as much in 2018 because we can watch the damn show anytime we want. But there’s still something about the live aspect of a show, with the live reactions on social media & everybody discussing what’s going on. Most of us will be working when this happens. And let’s be honest, it’s a Friday, so most of us aren’t going to interrupt our Friday night plans for it. WWE should have figured this out when they put SmackDown on Friday nights & nobody watched.
OK. Here we go.
I realize that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has paid Vince McMahon & World Wrestling Entertainment a tremendous amount of money. WWE, therefore, should feel obligated to put on a hell of a show for the money they’re being given. As somebody that has various jobs based on customers paying me their hard-earned money, I totally understand.
As somebody that isn’t getting paid by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I don’t have to hold my nose & glorify their regime. Their deplorable human rights record is well-known. We all know that the United States & other nations turn a blind eye because of the oil reserves. They’re customers just like WWE is. They control the oil, so they can do whatever they want. It’s not an ideal situation, but we haven’t figured out a way around it yet.
The most obvious influence the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has had on this show? The complete lack of female Superstars. Which in this climate where WWE has been all about women making history for the past few years is pretty glaring.
The pro-Saudi crowd will point out that women were granted the right to vote in 2015. You know, only 96 years after the United States started letting them vote. That’s not too bad, right? They let them drive last year, which might be even crazier than letting them vote.
To be fair to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, things seem to be heading in a different direction. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been making waves recently. He especially seems interested in opening Saudi Arabia up to the entertainment industry. Along with this random WWE show, Saudi Arabia recently allowed a movie to be shown. A MOVIE!
Listen, we’ve seen people try to enact reform in the Middle East. Yitzhak Rabin. Anwar Sadat. The Arab Spring uprisings. It never ends well. Somebody gets assassinated & things end up more repressive than before. I’m going to need to see a lot of things happen before I buy into the idea of WWE having a Rocky IV moment in Saudi Arabia, where if you can change & I can change, then everybody can change. Once WWE does a few of these events & they go off without a hitch, and progress is made to the point where they actually let the womenfolk on these shows, I’ll start buying into the hype.
I might not be from Missouri, but you still have to show me.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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