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Trust The Process!

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As I’m writing this I haven’t watched Smackdown Live yet for this week but I can’t help but respond to a comment I saw on twitter complaining about the amount of time that Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas got this week compared to some other guys.  Namely that he and Sin Cara only got a few minutes while AJ Styles and Nakamura got in a singles and tag match on the same show.  Now while we can debate how much has been too much Styles and Nakamura (my take is that it’s old school booking so I’m mostly fine with it but I understand if you’re done), what I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole with you on is demanding more TV time for Almas right now.  In his own words now is the time to be tranquilo.  Why?  Because most people still don’t know who the heck he is, that’s why.

The majority of the SmackDown Live audience does not watch NXT or CMLL.  They don’t know about Los Ingernorables and they haven’t seen his matches with Aleister Black or Johnny Gargano.  To them Almas is some guy who showed up on their TV a month or so ago and has beaten a few jobbers.  Until they get familiar with him and develop a reason to care, he’s just a guy that’s running his mouth.  He was supposed to have this program with Sin Cara but that got delayed because Sin Cara hurt his hand and missed a few weeks.  So now they’re restarting it from almost square one.  My guess is that they would have had a match this Sunday at Extreme Rules and moved on but now it’s been pushed back.

This goes back to what has been a real issue among the wrestling fans who are on social media a lot ranting about how much WWE messes up everything and everyone.  You want your guys and gals who have excelled elsewhere to get the same shine in WWE and get it right now, and if they don’t then they’re ‘ruined’ or ‘buried’.  And I’m here to say that most of the time that’s not so.  You already care about those wrestlers but the general audience does not because they don’t know them and aren’t going to be swayed by simply watching a YouTube video of a match they had in Ring of Honor or New Japan or somewhere else.  What you do there only matters when you’re trying to get signed; once you do sign you’re starting over with a new, different audience and have to get over with them.

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Sure they could put Almas on TV against Daniel Bryan next week, and give them 20 minutes.  Then what?  You wasted what could be a pay per view match next year on ‘free’ TV just to give a rub to part of the audience that’s already plugged in.  Almas is a chance for them to build a Latin superstar who does not come with all the baggage that Alberto Del Rio has.  The last thing they should do is push him to the moon the way that they did with Alberto before the audience got familiar with him, and end up with a really talented guy that the general audience isn’t checking for because he was put in big spots before they were comfortable enough with him to be ready for it.  When a guy truly gets over with the main audience almost everything he does is gold but if he doesn’t then they won’t care.

Daniel Bryan got a three year build before he beat John Cena at Summerslam 2013.  CM Punk was on the roster for a few years before he got that rub  And even Cena himself spent a year jobbing on TV before becoming more competitive then winning big.  It takes time, even if you have an impressive resume from previous companies.  Was there any indication in 2010 when Bryan joined the roster that he could pull of something like his part in Team Hell No from 2012 to 2013?  Or blossom into the guy that sparked the Yes Movement in 2013/14?  No there wasn’t.  These things take time.

Everyone can’t be AJ Styles.  He was an urban legend like Batman that everyone had heard of even if they hadn’t actually seen him, and he wears lot of cool looking gear that’s easy to sell.  The ‘OMG he’s finally here!’ thing that happened when AJ walked through that curtain at the Royal Rumble just doesn’t exist for most people in the business so when they arrive in the WWE they’re going to have to get acclimated and get brought along as if nobody knows them, because most people don’t.  Even if you already do, and have seen all their greatest hits so far.  So trust the process!  If it’s allowed to work out the results will more than likely be better than if they just hotshotted it to give you what you want.


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Opinion

Why Sasha vs Bayley Is A Bigger Deal Than The Women’s Championship Situation

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Okay, before you guys start shouting, hear me out. I love Ronda Rousey, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well she’s adapted to wrestling, but the Sasha Bayley feud has bigger implications for the Women’s Division in the the long run than whether or not Ronda Rousey gets a Women’s Title run.

For years, the Women’s Division has been limited to one major storyline per show, always involving the Women’s Title and if there was a secondary storyline, it wasn’t of much importance, it was usually just to keep a top face on TV. Sasha and Bayley is different, these are two top stars in RAW’s Women’s Division having a feud that easily could be for the Women’s Title. It’s a tale as old as time (no, not Beauty and the Beast): Two friends become bitter rivals, but unlike a lot of women’s storylines, Sasha and Bayley are rivals over a guy, they’ve become rivals because both women want to be the best in the RAW Women’s Division.

However, this story is even more important than just the Women’s Division getting more than one important storyline. WWE allowing this storyline to happen without the title being involved means that they are treating the Women’s Division as a valuable part of RAW and are invested in the division long-term.

Where could this go? I’ve long had a theory that eventually, RAW and SmackDown will basically be a storefront for the Network and that every division will have its own show, like 205 now. We’d have 205, a show for the Women’s Division, Main Event for the low card, a show for the Tag Division, and maybe keep RAW and SD for the top tier and mid card.

Sounds like a pipedream, especially considering the huge TV deals that WWE’s signed for RAW and Smackdown, but with cable cutting and sites like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon developing more and more content, it’s very likely that down the road, WWE decides to move more and more of their wrestling to the Network and just keep RAW and SmackDown on TV for the fans that don’t subscribe to the Network.

Why would they do that? It’s becoming more and more clear that while WWE struggles with time management, they also have a growing problem of having way too much talent and not enough time and titles to go around. Both Women’s Divisions and the 205 division have a lot of talent and only one belt, which leaves a lot of talent wrestling in the doldrums. Having

Where does Sasha vs Bayley fit into this? Well, these are two top level talents having the makings of a great feud, if there were a secondary title involved, this would be the perfect feud for it. Sadly, that’s not the case, but if this goes well, it makes a great case for women to get more non-title feuds and TV time on RAW and SmackDown and better stories than what they usually get, which seems to revolve around men and/or catty comments.

So, let’s hope WWE does this feud justice and we’ll get better stories and more TV time for the Women’s Divison.


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The Rock: The 10 Defining Moments of The People’s Champion

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Has there ever been anyone who has be as if not more successful outside of the WWE as the were in WWE as the Rock? The Rock is one of the most charismatic people to ever step foot in WWE with countless quotable catchphrases. One of the best talkers of all time, a Hollywood megastar and by all accounts genuinely one of the nicest people.

He is without doubt the most electrifying man in Sports Entertainment history, but which moments were most electrifying? What moments truly defined the People’s Champ? Let’s find out today as we go through the Rock’s career to find his 10 defining moments.

10. His Debut

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This moment is significant not just because it was the first time we’d ever seen The Rock in the ring but how the debut was done. First off it was in Madison Square Garden so clearly, they had faith in him.  Then there was the way he was presented with commentary talking about his potential and his heritage being the first third generation superstar (He wasn’t). JR even declared Rocky would be “the man”.

They did everything they could do to present him as this fiery babyface even having him be the sole survivor. The problem was nobody bought it. He got a decent reaction but soon after that fans turned on Rocky Maivia chanting Die Rocky Die and Rocky sucks.

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It’s Not As Easy as ‘Change the Channel’ or ‘Find Another Wrestling Show’

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If you’re someone who is happy with the product WWE is putting out these days, the wrestling world is a beautiful place. If you’re not happy with the product, or just aren’t thrilled with some of it, it can be a very aggravating and frustrating world. Your frustration probably isn’t being relieved by the comments of well-meaning fans to your complaints: ‘No one’s making you watch it’, ‘Change the channel’ ‘Be happy that they’re on the card’, ‘Be happy they go X, Y, or Z’, ‘There’s tons of other promotions out there, find something you do like’. This advise sounds very fair and reasonable, and I know that most of the people saying it mean well, but basically telling someone to take their ball and go home when they aren’t happy, rather than listening to what they’re trying to say, comes across as condescending.

It’s not as simple as changing the channel or finding something else. If you’ve loved a promotion all of your life and find yourself not happy with the current product, being told to change the channel or find another promotion to watch is like being told to change jobs because you’re frustrated with management or finding another place to live because you don’t like the landlord. It’s not helpful and just adds to the frustration. Let’s look at some of the most common things frustrated fans hear.

Change The Channel. This is the most common one I see and it’s one of the most tone deaf. It assumes that you’re going to find something else to watch and that’s not always the case. If you can’t afford to have hundreds of channels on your cable or satellite dish, or afford a streaming site, your choices are pretty limited.

Find Another Promotion: This one is the one I find most irritating, because it assumes that 1. You haven’t checked out other promotions 2. That you can afford to pay to see smaller promotions or know that they’re going to be in your area, and 3. That you can find a way to watch another promotion. I can’t tell you how many times I see people asking where they can find a way to watch NJPW or some other non-WWE promotion. Overseas promotions are not always easy to get access to or fit into everyone’s schedule.

Be Happy Your Fave Is on the Card/Just Be Happy They Got X, Y, or Z. I sort of get the logic behind this one, it doesn’t make it any less insulting or make me any less furious. Yes, I realize that a promotion with a deep a talent pool as WWE doesn’t have to give opportunities to everyone, but telling someone who is expressing frustration that someone they view as talented isn’t being given a bigger opportunity, or didn’t get the recognition for a big accomplishment when someone else did, that they should just be happy with what the person did get is very insulting and condescending.


Again, I realize that when fans say this to one another, they mean well…usually. Yes, some of the complaints do get tiring, like the ones about how Vince/Triple H/WWE/whomever is ruining the business/company/world, Roman Reigns is overrated/can’t talk/can’t wrestle/shouldn’t be pushed because of Wellness Policy violation/he’s too good looking to be relatable (yes, seriously). However, there is a lot of understandable frustration with how things are going that should not be dismissed or poo-pooed away with well-meaning comments that just add to the frustration. If we want to make the online wrestling fandom the inclusive place we claim it is, we need to be more willing to actually listen to the concerns and frustrations of each other and realize that for many people, giving up on something you love is not as easy as it sounds, especially when it’s something you’ve devoted a lot of time,money, and emotion into. Being frustrated with WWE doesn’t mean they don’t still love the company, and we shouldn’t be outright dismissing them.


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