A few days ago, our own David Levin wrote about Roman Reigns and wondered when his seemingly endless push to the top of the WWE would end (which you can read here). His determination is the one that most hardcore fans accept as reality: “It’s a relationship that will continue to remain toxic as long as Reigns is pushed down fans’ throats.”
The WWE has tried everything to get “The Big Dog” over, going so far as to seemingly plant fake Reigns fans in the crowd to begin positive chants during the most recent edition of Monday Night Raw. Things that have earned other superstars respect in the past hasn’t made a dent in the boos that rain down on Reigns every time he steps between the ropes, and eventually, Vince McMahon will have to accept that a spade is a spade.
And that Roman Reigns is in danger of never getting over and becoming the face of the company. We’re not wishing that upon him. If anything, he’s a victim of his own circumstance. Yet wrestling is a fickle business, and the WWE has refused to be flexible while waiting for the perfect moment to crown him as the new John Cena.
Should that never happen — and should McMahon actually accept that — then he’ll have a former chosen one waiting in the wings in Drew McIntyre.
The former 3MB member did something this past Monday that Reigns has never managed to do: he captured the crowd with a from-the-heart promo that immediately resonated with fans. Anyone who wasn’t sure about who McIntyre was after his main roster debut last week was immediately filled in.
“And trust me when I tell you that times are changing. I’m not what WWE wants. I am the wakeup call and reality check that this place so desperately needs,” he passionately barked into the microphone, his eyes ablaze as he gazed out into the crowd. At that moment, it was his crowd and he knew it.
His words rang true with the audience because McIntyre has one trait that all the creative in the world can’t bestow on Reigns.
He’s not a wanna’ be bad ass character with the machine of one of the most powerful media companies in existence chugging along behind him, creating so much smog fans can’t tell what’s real and what is fake. McIntyre has already been the chosen one once, and you can tell that it eats him up inside that he didn’t capitalize before.
One gets the feeling that he’s not going to miss out on that opportunity again. And this time, it’s an opportunity that he’s worked for. The evidence of his hustle is all over YouTube and available online, and in today’s wrestling, that matters.
Now he’s the prodigal son, and it appears that the WWE isn’t going to force him into some gimmick or schtick. They aren’t going to force him to downplay his previous accomplishments, like we’ve seen with the likes of Finn Balor and, to a lesser degree, AJ Styles. He’s not a caricature of himself.
The man we saw in the ring on Raw was Drew Galloway, through and through. His magnetism was undeniable, and WWE fans learned what indie supporters have known for years now: that when McIntyre speaks, people listen.
It wasn’t an Austin 3:16 moment — those kinds of promos are once in a generation — but we did see a flash of what is to come for the 32-year-old journeyman turned champion-in-waiting.
Unlike numerous other superstars who have been plucked from the independent circuit, McIntrye is actually built like a prototypical McMahon guy. The announce team on Raw couldn’t stop talking about how great he looks in the ring, and he appears even bigger standing next to the somewhat undersized Dolph Ziggler.
Reigns is also 32, but the mantle of the next face of the WWE is very much up for grabs. If McIntyre stays healthy and performs up to his own lofty standards, then he’ll belong in the ring with the likes of Reigns and Brock Lesnar within a year or two.
If Monday night was any indication, he’ll have the support of the people along the way as well. People have been fed up with Reigns for years now, and they seem to be souring on Lesnar as the ludicrous details of his new WWE contract emerge. Six percent of all merch sales? More than $600,00 per match? That’s supposed to the working people’s guy? Someone who tugs at our heartstrings?
Please. Deliver us Drew McIntyre. A man who was accepted, pushed, rejected and then had to work his way back to the top wrestling promotion on Earth.
Do people seriously want a 3MB reunion?
— The Golden Maharaja™ (@KingNj90) April 24, 2018
Drew McIntyre was a charisma vacuum ten years ago. His promo on Raw last night was fantastic. I have no doubt he'll be world champion within a year.
— Thomas Broome-Jones (@TBroomey) April 24, 2018
What happens when a former hand-picked McMahon guy clashes with a so-called Big Dog who has had five-plus years to win crowds over? And what happens when it’s McIntyre, and not Reigns, who is getting the hero’s welcome? It’s tough to imagine WWE ever putting someone like Balor or even Elias over on Lesnar.
But McIntrye? He’s the best of both worlds. An indie darling with a sharp wit, great in-ring skills and the look to match. Imagine where Styles could be if he’d arrived in the WWE before his 35th birthday. That’s the kind of scenario we have on our hands right now.
The road to the top of the mountain is incredibly long. And once you reach that peak, that’s when the real work begins. One promo doesn’t make a championship-caliber career, but McIntyre took a booming step forward on Raw this week.
And we can’t wait to see what he’s going to do for an encore next Monday.
WWE: I Believe WrestleMania 35 Comes Short
Will the “Granddaddy of Them All” fall short in April?
Shawn takes a closer look at WWE WrestleMania 35 and the reasons he thinks it will come short.
It is very rare for me to discuss World Wrestling Entertainment. However, with the gunslinging bookings for the promotion’s grandest show of the year something needs to be said. There are a lot of opinions regarding the expectations of WrestleMania 35. There will always be fans that completely love every aspect and that is ok. However, just as many wrestling fans would agree with myself that WrestleMania 35 is set up to fall short of WrestleMania standards.
Why do I believe WrestleMania will be a disappointment? Historically, WWE begins their road to WrestleMania between two shows 1. Survivor Series and 2. Royal Rumble. Both of these big events begin multiple storylines that play out and build leading into the Main show of the year WrestleMania. Now, I do not deny that there are going to be some great matches on the show. If all you want as a fan is a great match, you should enjoy the event. I would say that you can find great matches without background depth at most independent promotions as well. I believe that having a logical and properly marketed story leading into the main conflict makes each match much more fulfilling.
Imagine attending one of Shakespeare’s best plays Macbeth. The show begins and the curtain raises. The first scene fans see is ‘Macbeth’s guards slaughter Banquo and his family’. First Who is Banquo? Why did the guards kill him? Why did the guards murder his family? There was nothing about Macbeth’s treason in assassinating the king to take the throne. No evidence that Banquo knew enough to risk Macbeth’s status. No prophecies by the three witches.
Now, let us look at a few of the matches we know of:
Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch
Becky wants a title and Rousey has it, but why did Becky choose Rousey? The story is Becky wanting to prove her legacy, overcoming injury, overcoming doubters and the system. Now she must face her arch-rival as well as the champion. I believe it was important to include Charlotte into the match 1. Flair/Lynch have had 2 matches against each other recently. 2. Lynch already lost to Asuka so her claim at being the best are weakened. 3. Rousey’s recent MMA all out assault on people either it won’t be logical if Rousey can’t do that 1 on 1 with Becky or the main event is a very long butt kicking that fans won’t get into. 4. In the 3 way match Becky can win without defeating Rousey. And 5. Flair can work cheap heat during the match.
Seriously, what other match has been planned out and developed? Whoever in the WWE creative writing department has a GREAT storyline with a war between WWE products vs Independent products, but this is the ‘Macbeth without the story around it’. Imagine, the storylines that could have been.
- Tag Teams split: Such as Bobby Roode (indies) and Chuck Gable (WWE), Rusev (WWE) and Shinsuke Nakamura (Indies), Sheamus (WWE) and Cesaro (Indie), Xavier Woods (Indie) breaks with Big E and Kofi (WWE).
- New Teams bond: Lashley/Corbin, Strowman/Harper, Balor/Roode, and the Rotundas (Bray Wyatt & Bo Dallas)
- New Rivalries: Roode(Indies) vs Gable (WWE), MIZ (WWE) vs Kevin Owens (Indies), USOs (WWE) vs Anderson/Gallows (Indies), EC3 (WWE) vs Sami Zayn (Indies), amd Bray Wyatt (WWE) vs Kevin Owens (Indies).
- This storyline could have bled over with NXT as stars on both sides began a ‘My path is superior’, ‘WWE only brings in cream of the crop rookies’ vs ‘WWE rookies had help from retired legends’ debate. Main Roster stars invading NXT events and vice versa.
- It would get the women’s division shaken up and more talent involved. The women’s division has never been as talented as it is today.
Things To Fix
The WWE needs to stop with a few things:
- Stop booking Shane, Stephenie, and Triple H in Wrestlemania. I can understand their victory lap following the end of the Monday Night Wars, but their time is past and their jobs are supposed to be running the company. Keep it that way. This doesn’t mean they can’t be booked in other events, but should never again be included on the biggest show of the year.
- Celebrity night should be practiced at SummerSlam, TLC, and FastLane. Stop booking them on the biggest show.
- WWE needs to stop cutting talent at the knees when the talent begins to ‘get over’ or ‘make cheap heat’ with the fans. Start working with it, even if you would like to see something else, the fans are what pay the bills.
- WrestleMania 35 has matches such as Triple H vs Batista, Shane vs Miz, Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio, Buddy Murphy vs Tony Nese, Angle vs Corbin, There are even rumors floating about Undertaker vs Finn Balor, and Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre. While many of these matches might be great to watch, does anyone honestly believe they should be played out on WrestleMania? Cesaro vs EC3 would make a better performance than most on this list.
- The list above is a result of WWE realizing they didn’t prepare correctly and are rushing to fill matches. Problem was that they were so busy filling matches that until this past weekend, they didn’t realize they booked too many matches.
There are so many great options available to the WWE, no promotion can claim the surplus number of superstar talent and yet many of these talents have been buried in mediocrity. Creative writing needs to begin pushing young talent throughout the year and adjust their stories according to fan reactions. If they are able to learn from WrestleMania 35 than next years event could be through the roof spectacular.
WWE WrestleMania: The Last Stand For Ronda Rousey?
What do the betting odds tell us about Ronda’s potential departure?
Greg DeMarco takes a look at the odds for Ronda Rousey moving away from WWE after WrestleMania 35.
WrestleMania season is upon is, and with that comes a plethora of wrestling news that is hard to decipher. Is it true? You’ve got fans upset because Charlotte Flair got added to the Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey match, when Charlotte was the original plan anyway. No one knows what’s happening with Dean Ambrose. Vince McMahon is using Kofi Kingston to take fans on a ride that they aren’t sure they like, but will probably love in the end. Kurt Angle is wrestling Baron Corbin, yet Jinder Mahal doesn’t have a match. (Okay, that last part is just me!)
Not lost in all of this is the fact that Ronda Rousey might be going away—short term, long term, or forever, after vaulting women into the main event of WrestleMania.
How real is the possibility of Ronda disappearing? Sports Betting Dime, which reports on the betting odds of every major sport and more, also has odds on WWE. According to SBD’s odds, Rousey is unlikely to really quit WWE following WrestleMania 35. Odds of her quitting is +350 while odds of her staying is +300. Although she may not be quitting, it won’t be surprising to see her taking some time off seeing as she isn’t advertised for any events past WrestleMania 35.
What does this mean? It means that you stand to win slightly more by betting on Ronda to quit—but the key word there is slightly. It also means that if you were to place a bet, betting on Ronda Rousey to stay in WWE past WrestleMania 35 is the safer bet.
Ronda Rousey made her WWE in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34, teaming with Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Ronda’s performance captured the imagination of fans everywhere, leading to Ronda eventually dethroning Alexa Bliss to become Raw Women’s Champion, and working the main event of Evolution, WWE’s first ever all-women’s pay-per-view event. Since that result, Ronda has seen her character shift into a UFC fighter that half-despises the worked nature of the wrestling business, and she has become a heat-magnet in the process.
I think the most likely scenario is indeed Ronda taking time off, but still staying in the company in the long run. Her character has been taken through the ringer during this WrestleMania build, which can do a number on a veteran—let along someone with a year of experience in the business. Plus, the topic of an off-season has been hotly discussed, including our own Rob Bonnette developing the framework for a plan to give talent time off.
What say you? Do you believe that Ronda staying should be a slight favorite over her leaving? Sound off in the comments or on social media!