The NJPW stars today need to stay in NJPW. Why? Because WWE could not handle them the way they deserve. WWE has a long history of taking gimmicks and botching them. Vader, Sting, DDP, NWO, the list goes on and on. As I have said many times, if it is not home grown WWE then they don’t know how to handle what they are given, and want to remake it in their own image. Once stars arrive in WWE they lose what makes them great by having to adhere to the WWE formula, along with being written for by the creative team. Once these superstars have left NJPW all they carry with them is their name if they are lucky. Once you enter WWE you are remade in that WWE image. Is this a bad thing? It is when you lose who the wrestlers are in the process.
Fall from Grace
A prime example of this sad attempt of NJPW in WWE is AJ vs. Nakamura. Hype was built but never delivered like it did in Japan. Why? Because at the heart and soul of NJPW is wrestling, something that WWE uses as an afterthought. Entertainment is their business and it can be great at times. But, when I see talent that I know have had legendary matches across the ocean, it’s hard to get behind what we are given such as subpar double crotch kick crap. I mean Nakamura has been reduced to a heel who has an obsession with hitting AJ in the nuts? WTF?
The Botching of Talent
I personally cannot stand what they have done with Balor. They have taken everything that made Balor great, everything that made him be able to get signed into WWE, and just thrown it out the window. His run in NXT was great, now he is just there, bouncing around not really doing anything. Should he be top dog? No, but how can we just take raw talent and allow them to barely keep their heads above water. Speaking of floundering NJPW talent look at the Anderson and Gallows, or should I say lack of. A great tag team that has been reduced to jobbers. Who given their talent could be a great tag team, if creative knew anything outside of homegrown talent.
Lets look at the best NJPW has to offer, Kazuchika Okada. Now Okada, puts on 60 min. matches in NJPW, he delivers every single night, and has been bred by NJPW to be their top guy. (Might want to look at this on how to make a top guy WWE) There is no way he would ever leave NJPW. But if by some chance he ever did, who would want someone who puts on amazing matches to do a 10 minute match on Smackdown or Raw. I will pass, thanks. The only way these dream matches could actually work is if they are given the proper time and hype build up. Something that WWE has completely forgotten how to do. Why was Jericho vs. Omega so good? Why will Jericho vs. Naito be amazing? Because it is on a NJPW stage, NJPW knows how to handle talent, and build for a match, and then they do this thing that truly baffles WWE they deliver.
Could these stars of NJPW find great success in the promise land of WWE? It is a possibility. Would they ever be as big as they were in NJPW? No, not with the current way that WWE handles talent. I like my NJPW stars where they are, where I know I can get great matches. For all of those who think they want to see these acts in WWE more power to you. Of course, these are all the WWE fan boys, who don’t have a NJPW world subscription, watch the AXS TV events and are just riding high on the fumes of their Bullet Club shirts that they bought at Hot Topic.
Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans
Either last week or earlier this week (my days are running together so I don’t remember), Stephanie McMahon was at a summit called ‘Game Changer’ and she made the following comment: ‘We’re successful for one reason only – we listen to our fans.’
The internet smarks ROASTED Stephanie over this comment, mocking her for claiming that WWE listens to their fans when, in their minds, that is clearly not the case. Why? Because Roman Reigns, not Braun Strowman is champion, among other things. Clearly, any company that makes Roman Reigns champion over Braun Strowman isn’t listening to their fans, or at least, their REAL fans. You know, the all-knowing, smark community who know how to run a multi-billion dollar business better than the people who work there do.
I’ve tackled this ‘Real fan’ nonsense in the past and I’m really not in the mood to do it now and the issue of Braun Strowman being champion is an article unto itself. However, let’s be clear here: WWE DOES listen to their fans and the fans they listen to are the fans that buy stuff.
WWE first, last, always, and forever, is a business. They need money to survive and being a publicly traded company, they need money to keep the shareholders happy, that means they have to know who and what makes the money to keep the shareholders happy and keep the company afloat and who is making them the most money is Roman Reigns.
Don’t give me that look. Don’t roll your eyes at me and grumble about him being over pushed and/or shoved down your throat. I can name several people in WWE not named Roman Reigns that are over pushed. The bottom line is that Reigns moves merchandise, his stuff sells and sells really well. Having been to a few WWE TV/PPV tapings, I can tell you that Reigns’ stuff can get a little tough to find and is usually the most requested item.
Now before any of you make snide comments about Reigns having more stuff to sell, I checked WWE’s shop are and compared the number of Roman Reigns shirts to the number of shirts for AJ Styles, in terms of shirts including: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and what’s available for both genders, Roman Reigns had thirteen shirts available while Styles had twenty. Thirteen different shirt designs to twenty and that doesn’t include hats, gloves, or the non-wearable stuff available.
Oh, Reigns’ stuff is bought by women and kids, so it shouldn’t count? Here’s my question: So what? It’s still money that SOMEONE is spending on merchandise. If WWE didn’t want women and kids to buy their stuff, they wouldn’t be marketing stuff for women and kids. Why? Because women and kids are FANS!
For those of you still grumbling, here’s some food for your thoughts: Why should WWE listen to their ‘real’ fans? No, I’m serious. Why should they listen to fans who cheer something one week, boo it the next, demand that indy darlings get pushed despite getting mediocre pops from Main Roster audiences, and pay more attention to beach balls and time clocks than the matches? Why should they listen to people who BRAG about spending a lot of money on tickets just to boo one person they don’t like?
WWE is like any company, they listen with their bottom line, and what they’re hearing from fans is that the fans like Reign because that’s the stuff that sells the best. And before you say one thing about about Reigns’ stuff being more available at TV tapings and Live Events, I’ve been to a RAW taping, a RAW PPV, and a SmackDown/205 taping and while Reigns stuff was at SmackDown, there was also a lot of Styles and Cena stuff available at RAW events and I’m not hearing any complaining about that.
Maybe the problem isn’t that WWE isn’t listening, it’s just that your views aren’t the what the majority paying fans think or want. WWE is catering to what most of their fans want, not just the small minority that can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want.
Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?
Why Finn Balor should “Quit” The WWE
After seeing KO burst into tears on Monday night RAW two weeks ago and “quit” there were a slew of videos about why KO “quit”. The biggest one was to revitalize his character. So in playing the devils advocate why not have the first Universal Champion quit? Here’s why!
After Balor won and “lost” the title after 2016 SummerSlam he’s had and up and down career in the main roster. The once longest reigning NXT champion was a phenomenon when he joined the NXT, but once he hit the main roster, while fan support is still there it is fleeting. He had a brief reunion with Gallows and Anderson which might’ve singled a heel turn to fans, a feud with Rollins for the IC title and has had back to back to back matches against Baron Corbin. None of which have done anything for the superstars character. A heel turn might have helped a few months ago, but the repetitive booking has kind of killed that momentum.
With Finn away from the scene for a while it might help the WWE reevaluate the talent that is Finn Balor, it might also give Finn time to figure himself out too. With a WIN to his name against Elias, it seems like the co-founder of the Bullet Club may either turn to his alter ego The Demon, or perhaps a superstar shakeup is in order and he should be in place to get Balor back in the limelight. Right now, Raw seems packed full of main card talent that is either starting a faction of sorts I.E. Braun, Drew and Dolph or is turning on The Shield.
Listen, while SmackDown Live is producing the better show, it is not like the talent on there is being utilized any better. Nakamura is in limbo with the U.S. title, Aj and Joe are having a great feud in terms of promos, but not in the squared circle. The only thing that brings SmackDown Live as the A show is really their tag division and the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch feud.
So maybe a frustrated Finn goes away, and comes back as The Demon on SmackDown Live and interjects himself in the feud between AJ and Joe, maybe he causes friction between The Club and AJ and they “screw over” AJ during a title match, the possibilities are endless moving Balor to team blue, but what this boils down to is WWE needs to make this move while Balor is still a fan favourite and what I mean by that is that he will always have the crowd behind him, but even the loyalist fans can get bored.