So there was a lot of buzz about Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley making their debuts on the Main Roster after WrestleMania. A lot of people have been predicting that McIntyre and/or Lashley were going to be Universal Champion before the year out, and even predicted that Lashley would be the one to unseat Brock Lesnar. The same has been said, to some degree, about Bobby Roode. Here’s the problem: The only way any of these guys going to get close to the Universal Title is if WWE has another plague of injuries.
Now, before you all get mad, hear me out. I’m not saying that McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode aren’t talented, because they are and their records speak for themselves. The problem is that WWE has a huge pool of talented guys on its Main Roster and a lot of established stars, which means McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode are likely going to spend their careers in the mid-cards, at least on RAW. They might have slightly better luck on SmackDown, but I wouldn’t bet everything on that pony either.
Let’s look at each guy and see what could possibly hold them back in WWE.
Drew McIntyre: McIntyre has a lot to recommend him, at least on paper. He’s got a great look and a lot of talent. His promos leave a little to be desired, but that’s not a dealbreaker on its own. The problem with McIntyre is that his gimmick hasn’t changed that much from his first run in WWE. His look isn’t that unique compared to other guys on the roster and neither is his moveset.
Bobby Lashley: Lashley’s pros are many: Great look, lots of talent, but his cons are going to be a real problem sooner than later. The biggest con is his total lack of a personality. He seems like a nice guy, but there is no real discernible personality that I can detect and that’s going to be just as big a problem now as it was back during his first WWE run.
Bobby Roode: Of the three guys in this article, Bobby Roode has the most sterling record. He’s a multi-time World Champion and Tag Champion before he came to NXT. He’s got a great look and a ton of talent, and he’s good on the mic. The problem with Roode is 1. His age, he’s 41. and 2. Roode is not a good WWE babyface. In TNA, he was at his best as a heel or tweener in singles and tag team, but I’m also not sure that turning him heel is going to help in WWE.
‘Wait’ I can hear you saying ‘All three of these guys were World Champions outside of WWE and/or in NXT. How can they not be destined to be Universal Champion or WWE Champion?’. Well, the simple answer is that the indy scene, NXT, and TNA have smaller pools of top tier talent, which makes it easier for talented guys that are usually relegated to the mid or low card in WWE to leapfrog straight to the top. Cody Rhodes is a prime example of that.
Again, I’m not denigrating the talents of any of these guys, or the guys coming up that are going to be in the same boat. What I am saying is that WWE has a top tier talent rich pool on RAW and SmackDown and guys like McIntyre, Lashley, and Roode are likely not going to get close to the top spot like they easily could outside WWE.
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.