Mustafa Ali is a permanent member of the Smackdown roster, and has a pinfall victory over the WWE Champion. According to David Levin, That could be an example of a shake-up!
It’s all about taking chances and new opportunities.
After a solid Monday Night Raw where the McMahon’s set the tone for a new era of WWE and change on the horizon, Tuesday night’s SmackDown Live showed it could keep up with its big red brother.
Mustafa Ali scored the biggest victory of the night and showed the company that has been dwelling in stagnation is willing to pull off major upsets. Not since Ricky Steamboat beat Ric Flair in a tag team match in WCW has this been so important.
If you are not familiar with what I am talking about, check this out.
WWE is pushing the right buttons, first putting the SmackDown Women’s Title on Asuka and now giving fans hope that Ali and up and coming wrestlers will fill the void that hasn’t been filled with the addition of Shinsuke Nakamura or a babyface Rusev or any number of add-ons this past year.
Someone back stage pulled the right marionette strings.
Someone backstage clearly understands just how good Mustafa Ali is. What a win. #SDLive
— Kevin Berge (@TheBerge_) December 19, 2018
WWE got out in front of the holidays with better ratings with the hope fans will buy into the changes for the new year as the Road to WrestleMania 35 begins with the Royal Rumble.
It could also mean there will be more superstars on the NXT roster that will make the leap to the new brand.
For so long, the McMahons were reluctant to change the format of their “program” and how performers kept their position. The “Bigger is Better” philosophy was always prevalent although brief changes to the blueprint gave fans a reasons to cheer for Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy. I believe there is a change on the horizon in WWE that is necessary because of the growing popularity of NJPW and the independent circuit.
If anything, this is the wake-up call the brand needed to move forward. It might also be an indictment of the fact the company waited too long to make changes in the first place. Loading the horse and carriage and asking Roman Reigns to lead the company took its toll on the fan base that has had fatigue for many years.
We should see a new winner at the Royal Rumble. There will be a push for Ali, Andrade “Cien” Almas. Daniel Bryan will continue his stronghold on being the blue brand’s best villain and the possibility lies in the face The Miz could still get another crack at company gold.
WWE is speeding up the pace a bit for all the right reasons. It began this week. Hopefully it continues through the new year and beyond.
NXT Minus 6…The Triangle of Truculence!
Bradley’s 6 step power point project runs down the latest episode of NXT!
Bradley’s 6 step power point project runs down the latest episode of NXT!
This week, we’ve got horror movies, silent movie stars and another MOTY candidate.
6. HHH took Goldie from Tommaso Ciampa?!?!?! You do not put your hands on another man’s wife! Call me crazy, but that should be the Takeover main event when Ciampa does return.
5. The Forgotten Sons are looking to cement their legacy? That should be the first, last and only time we hear “Forgotten Sons” and “legacy” in the same sentence…unless one of them is referencing the 1978 cult horror classic “The Legacy” starring the Who’s Roger Daltrey. I’m sure you’ve all seen it.
4. Triangle of truculence. Yes, Mauro Ranallo actually used the phrase “triangle of truculence.” One more reason NXT is black & gold standard: you can watch wrestling AND study for the ACT at the same time. Someone should create Mauro Ranallo’s Word of the Day app.
3. Let’s brainstorm. How can we get around the fact that the Sky Pirates really don’t give good interviews in English? A manager? Subtitles? Give them a kooky gimmick where they are always shown in black & white and made to look like the stars in a silent movie? The upside is it will keep them in NXT longer. The downside is they might not get the opportunities they otherwise deserve.
2. I’m going to air 2 very tiny grievances. They could have sacrificed about 5 minutes of interviews & sketches to give the main event more ring time. Also, there were really only 2 possible winners of the match. That being said…
1. Another week, another MOTY contender. 4.8 stars to the fatal 5 way. Everyone involved looked absolutely fantastic. The action was great. The near falls were exciting. The winner won in a way that made sense. It gave us a Takeover main event that should be all kinds of special. I’m actually planning on watching Takeover: New York twice in the same amount of time it would take me to watch WrestleMania once.
That’s right…I said it!
The Ronda Rousey Situation
Can Ronda handle the WWE Universe?
Elisa Maria kicks off her Chairshot career with a look at the state of Ronda Rousey in WWE!
I am probably not the first to say this but when WWE signed Ronda Rousey, I was skeptical if this was a good idea for wrestling. Several questions went through my head
- Can she actually wrestle?
- Will the WWE be a good environment for her?
- Will her ego and personality get in the way of making her successful in this business?
- Is wrestling even a good move for her?
UFC and wrestling are two extremely different businesses. The norm is anyone can be a wrestler however, you need to put in the time, dedication and training. This is something I knew Ronda will be able to do however, one thing I am still not convinced is whether she can wrestle. The past year every single match she has been in has been in my opinion somewhat dry and lacking in technique.
Let’s be honest, the only reason she was getting by in this business is the fact when you speak the name Ronda Rousey, there still comes to mind the bad-ass, dominating persona that we all saw in UFC. To fans like myself, that still gives us an incentive to sit down and still watch her matches. She is still an imposing figure whether you like her or not. Another thing that I am not sure she could handle is the WWE Universe.
The WWE Universe
WWE Universe is not exactly like any other sport fans. They cheer who that like and they will boo who they do not like. If a wrestler has a slump or has a bad match, the crowd will eventually let them know “hey, you suck”. That is just the way this particular universe works. This is why character development, story line writing, gear change, entrance music change, or turning heel or even baby face keeps a wrestler marketable and in touch with the WWE Universe.
However, Ronda is somewhat different. She left the UFC after coming to terms with two things: 1) She cannot handle losing and 2) Her technique and fighting skills in the UFC just did not help her cut it with opponents like Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. We all saw this when Holly Holm exposed her by simply fighting fist to fist with her and avoiding submission card Ronda always plays.
We are now seeing this emotional side in which she cannot handle certain outcomes or reactions from the crowd in the WWE. Ronda Rousey coming into the Staples Center for Survivor Series against Charlotte Flair, who was handpicked by ‘THE MAN” Becky Lynch to represent Smackdown, turned her into the automatic enemy to the WWE Universe. You can see the reaction on her face coming into the ring that being greeted her to boo’s was not a reaction she expected. Even through the acting, she could not phantom why the fans were booing her and you can tell, it bothered her on a personal level.
I do not feel that Ronda has completely learned from the devastating losses she experienced in the UFC.
It took Ronda a year to come back to UFC after the first loss and even then so, the results of her comeback weren’t any better as Amanda Nunes knocked her out in the first round.
So if the rumors are true that Ronda is leaving the WWE after WrestleMania 35, it only solidifies that Ronda cannot handle losing or the WWE universe for that matter. She is used to winning and having the crowd and when someone with her ego hasn’t had enough experience with being critique on a negative basis or most importantly, with losing in their respected sport, they can react emotionally and irrationally. In turn, it shows they cannot handle the situation. Take The Miz for example, who embraces his heel and uses it to his advantage. I mean look at where he is now and it is possible he might be going to WrestleMania as a baby face. I actually prefer seeing THE MIZ a heel than a baby face, but either one, he embraces it and it shows through his promos.
Can Ronda Be The Top Star?
Ronda is great but not enough to carry the company in my opinion. There is a lesson that should be taught to every child while growing up and that is “the great ones treat failure as a necessary part of their journey. It’s not win or lose. It’s always win or learn”. Quite frankly, I do not feel Ronda has fully learned from her failures. This is what separates her in this business from the Becky Lynch’s or Charlotte Flair’s or Sasha Bank’s.
It will be interesting to see after the heel turn last night on Monday Night Raw, where Ronda takes this change. However, by the look of the crowd last night, It looked like they were not convinced. Her promos were a little too shaky and one could even argue that some things were spoken out of truth to what she is really feeling about WWE from a business perspective. But again, it will still be interesting to see where this goes leading up to WrestleMania 35.
As far as where I would like to see her, I honestly would like to build Ronda’s character after WrestleMania. I would love for her to stay and have WWE put her in the “underdog” category and see where she can flourish. I have always said that for certain wrestlers, character building should start from the bottom and work their way up. Great example of this, Stone Cold Steve Austin. The way he began was terrible but him being able to stay true to self and basically not give a damn, developed a character that the WWE Universe could relate to. I would love for WWE to develop her into a great heel similar to what they did with Becky. I would love to see her develop more technique in her wrestling that could boost her confidence and see her in some solid one to one competition. One thing I can agree on is her leaving WWE after WrestleMania can only do damage to her character and perception of the WWE Universe.
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