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Mathew’s Wrestling Quickies #4 Feat Violent Giants vs Strong BJ

Time is a flat circle, and there’s a lot of wrestling. Mathew touches on a few matches that he wasn’t able to cover so far this year!

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Time is a flat circle, and there’s a lot of wrestling. Mathew touches on a few matches that he wasn’t able to cover so far this year!

Welcome back to my Wrestling Quickies! The last time I did one of these was about three months ago, so I wanted to bring this back since I really enjoyed doing these.

For those that don’t remember how it works, I’ll be covering 6-8 random matches from any promotion as you’ll never know what you’re gonna find from each addition of my quickies and long as they’re uploaded between a 2-3 week period since not all of them are aired live. So which matches will be added to this version of my quickies?

Let’s find out.

 

World of Stardom Title Match
Kagetsu (c) vs. Hazuki

Review: I know I cover Stardom, but I’m a little behind on the shows and wanna move out of January since we’re halfway through February already. We have Kagetsu defending her World of Stardom Championship against her fellow Oedo Tai member, Hazuki. Kagetsu wanted this challenge once she defeated Jungle Kyona to retain the title. Hazuki won a tag match in the Oedo Tai vs. Oedo Tai bout to get some momentum and she could become Hazuki two belts if she can defeat the leader here. Will Kagetsu retain again or does Hazuki win the big one?

Kagetsu is already treating Hazuki like any of her other opponents when she doesn’t give her special treatment during her little beatdown as she starts throwing Hazuki around the outside of the ring while Sumire watched on as the two fight in the ring. One little critique I would give the match would have to be Hazuki while great in the ring, didn’t show her best work in the match as she had a few slip-ups that were noticeable and not sure if it was the pressure of the main event for the big title or not. Kagetsu though seems to really be stepping up her game recently in these title matches as she’s showing much better work in her performances. Aside from my one little comment, I thought the match was nicely executed for the majority of the match with some nice moves displayed, a good story involved, and very nice near falls.

Kagetsu would hit Hazuki with the Chokeslam and it looks like Hazuki is out of it but would still kick out at two this time around. Kagetsu went for the Oedo Coaster as Hazuki quickly went up to hit a Brainbuster off the top rope. Hazuki would finally hit the Atomic Bombs Away in the match as Kagetsu after failing to do so the first time and would somehow kick out of the move. Hazuki hits another Brainbuster for a two count and once she picked Kagetsu up, the Prime Minister would knee her in the face for the two to fall down. Kagetsu hits a Michinoku Driver off the top rope and goes for the Oedo Coaster for a second time as Hazuki moved out of the way to apply the La Hazukistral and this could be it, but Kagetsu kicked out again! Hazuki went to the top rope as Kagetsu would push the referee into the turnbuckle for Hazuki to fall down and hits another Michinoku Driver. Kagetsu would finally hit the Oedo Coaster onto Hazuki but she picked her up to hit the Death Valley Driver and instead of pinning her, she started to apply a Sleeper Hold and modifies it up a little bit as Hazuki is passed out, meaning Kagetsu retained the title!

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Singles Match
David Starr vs. Timothy Thatcher

Review: Our next match takes place in Germany’s promotion, wXw during their January 19th show called Back To The Roots XVIII where David Starr is scheduled to take on Timothy Thatcher. David Starr is someone I’m not too familiar with but I’m gonna find out more about him when he fights Timothy Thatcher, who is one of my favorites in the UK scene right now. This is sure to be a technical bout and time to see who wins this.

I was right to say that this match was technical in the beginning with the both of them getting even ground until Timothy would now get the control of the match when he worked David’s injured arm. What I enjoy about this match is the shoulder manipulation Timothy would be doing to David throughout the match with submissions, strikes, and impact moves. David did well going with the underdog type of role in this match while taking the punishment Timothy would lay out to him while getting some good comebacks into the match. Timothy would hit a beautiful Butterfly Suplex for a two count and once David kicked out of it, Timothy would quickly get him into a submission hold with that injured shoulder. Timothy would try to roll with the submission but David would roll with him and would get the big pinfall for the surprise victory in a short and sweet match!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

World Tag Team Title Match
Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama (c) vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi

Review: Since I’m not subscribed to BJW and this is for All Japan’s World Tag Team Championship, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the match on here. We got The Violent Giants defending the titles against Strong BJ, Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi at the BJW show, To Was Gat Early on the January 13th show. After Violent Giants retained over The Bomber, Strong BJ came out to make the challenge at their show and the Giants would accept the challenge. It should be a great match and can Violent Giants retain again or does Strong BJ beat AJPW in their turf?

What an incredible combination of power and wrestling mixed into this tag match as it was something you would expect for things to go out between these two powerhouses. If you enjoyed when Daisuke and Jun fought Violent Giants during the Real World Tag League, then you’ll love this bout as it was as hard hitting as this match but just had a better display in this match. Yuji being involved in this made it a bit better as he shows a better display of strength, especially when Suwama would have him in a Sleeper Hold and he just grabbed his hair to flip him over to get him to break the hold. Violent Giants were on point in this tag match displaying tag team wrestling and if people haven’t heard of this team, I would recommend start following them immediately.

Shuji was in the ring with Daisuke as he would start doing his combo with a running knee to the face and does a Dragon Suplex but Daisuke would kick out of the pinfall at two. Violent Giants start attacking Daisuke with a Double Lariat as Shuji has him by the ropes now to get the advantage and hits the Fire Thunder for Yuji to break the hold. Suwama and Yuji go at it now as Yuji would hit a Lariat as Suwama gets up to hit a Backdrop Driver to get him out of the ring. Daisuke and Shuji are back at it again as Daisuke starts to hit a few Lariats onto Shuji to try and get him down but Shuji would still kick out of it. Daisuke hits one final big Lariat for a two count before he hits the German Suplex Hold for the pin and we have new tag champs! Stong BJ has won the Tag Team Championships and wonder what it’ll mean for the titles due to BJW wrestlers winning the AJPW titles. Will Violent Giants get them back or will a new team try to dethrone them? Great tag match!

Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter

 

Wrestle-1 Title Match
Shotaro Ashino (c) vs. T-Hawk

Review: You all remember Wrestle-1, right? They’re still around and I know I kinda stopped covering them for the time being until I find a good day to write about them again, but I would still like to talk about Shotaro’s next title defense as he goes to take on Strong Hearts member, T-Hawk. Strong Hearts is still apart of Wrestle-1 as the rivalry is still going on in the company and the show took place on January 5th at Wrestle-1 Tour Sunrise. Shotaro was able to defeat Manabu Soya twice and this is his first title defense for the year as he looks to drive Strong Hearts out of their company while T-Hawk looks to win his first big title. Will Shotaro defend W-1’s honor or do Strong Hearts take another big win?

It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen T-Hawk in singles competition, so let’s see how he fairs here against the champion. I thought T-Hawk has gotten a lot better over the years and you can see the progression in his character and skills once he left Dragon Gate to join CIMA with STRONG HEARTS and seeing how much he’s grown as a wrestler for the past eight years. Shotaro is still showing how amazing he is in the ring and how good he is with the body manipulation as he would work on his ankle once he got the opening from tossing Hawk into the turnbuckle post to make him land on his ankle and once that happened, Shotaro had him right where he wanted him as he just worked on the ankle any chance he would get. Hawk would sometimes get time to shine when he would try to chop Ashino in the match along with a Brainbuster. What I loved about this match was that neither STRONG HEARTS or Enfants Terribles interfered in the match to give it a fair fight and it worked out better this way because it turned out to be a great match.

Shotaro would apply the Ankle Lock in to try and make Hawk tap out as he was able to get the ropes in time but he’s not done as he would be able to hit strong European Uppercuts into the match to get Hawk down and out and once Ashino ran towards Hawk, Hawk would toss him up to give him a knee to the face and a Reverse Suplex for a two count. Ashino was able to get a Running Uppercut in there before he would get him for a few German Suplexes to try and put Hawk away and ends it with a German Suplex Hold as T-Hawk kicked out of it. Ashino calls for the ending of the match as he attempts the T-Bone Suplex but Hawk would fight out of it and picked him up for the Night Ride and this could be it, but no since Ashino kicks out of it! T-Hawk would quickly get back up and hits the Cerberus to knock him down as we have a new Wrestle-1 Champion! T-Hawk has won his first major singles title in his career and it was the right time to pull that trigger in Wrestle-1. I wonder who will take the belt away from him but I would love to see these two go at it again in the future.

Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half

 

ROH Women of Honor World Title Match
Kelly Klein (c) vs. Mayu Iwatani

Review: Sure, I’ll throw ROH a bone and give one of their matches some love. Their first show since The Elite left the company has had negative reviews for the most part and now we’re gonna cover their recent show on February 10th, Bound by Honor 2019 as we’re gonna cover their Women of Honor Title match where Kelly Klein defends the title against Stardom’s very own Mayu Iwatani. The last time they fought was at the Five Star Grand Prix where Kelly defeated Mayu and it even happened during their first-round tournament for the WOH title as well. Mayu has a lot to prove here tonight as she looks to try and defeat her rival. Will Mayu win her first ROH title or will Kelly retain?

So about this match, I didn’t think it was an awful match but I also felt like they definitely could’ve done a lot better for this one as well. My problem with the match really was that it didn’t felt like a Mayu match and what I mean by that is that there was no story fully told in the match or just Mayu not giving it her all as she felt like she was just there. Also, guys, it’s a Dragon Suplex and not a Tiger Suplex, how did you guys mess that up? The match also felt very one sided with Kelly doing most of the dominating and we know how Mayu works and can give Kelly a run for her money and they just didn’t seem to be going for that role in this match which just felt odd.

Anyway, the more I think about these issues, the more I get mad about it and then realize that they’re not in Stardom and this is a different promotion, which is also not the best promotion or best division right now. One thing that really threw me off is that they treated Mayu’s Dragon Suplex like it was nothing in this match when we know it did put a lot of people away and Kelly felt like she just brushed it off and I know she’s a big girl and all, but come on. Aside from the complaints I had about the match, it wasn’t the worst one I’ve seen, just how ROH handles that division and their wrestlers. Mayu would hit a Moonsault off the top rope for a two count and then Mayu would go for a second one for the pinfall as Mayu wins the WOH Championship. I know a lot of people were mad about the fact Kelly lost it quickly after chasing it for nearly a year, but I guess Kelly is set to go to AEW and they needed a new champion crowned, at least it’s not Sumie Sakai again. The good part of this is that I can hopefully see Mayu with the title at the garden now since I’m going to that show.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White

Review: Well, I guess it’s time for another surprise with New Japan Pro Wrestling with their recent big show on February 11th, New Beginning in Osaka where Hiroshi Tanahashi will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Jay White. Tanahashi went from having a classic match against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 13 to win the title for the eighth time to defending the belt against the new Bullet Club Leader. Jay White has been on a roll lately with his new leadership when he defeated Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom, cleanly no less. Jay now looks to go for the big title in this match against the ace at the New Beginning show. Will the ace reign supreme or will it indeed be a new era in NJPW?

This match was mostly about one thing and that was the evolution of Jay White and his character in New Japan over the past year and everything he’s been doing since this new persona has been unveiled to the world. Jay’s character has evolved with how his mindset works, how he speaks, the mind games, and the following he has gained when he was the new leader of Bullet Club. Tanahashi, despite having a classic with Kenny Omega recently, he’s still injured and body is still busted and you can see that with how he moves in the ring and when Jay attacked his knee recently, he found a target point to use throughout the match. The best part about this was that the interference with Gedo was very minimal and I’m glad that was the case since that would’ve been overkill if he did it constantly, even Tanahashi would attack Gedo a few times when he just had enough of his shit.

Gedo would be used as a distraction once again to give Jay enough time to try and hit Tanahashi with the chair but would move out of the way as he accidentally hits Gedo with the chair. Tanahashi was able to get High Fly Flow in but onto Jay’s back and wasn’t enough to put him away and as he went for the second one, Jay would roll out of the way. Whenever Tanahashi would try to hit a big move in the match, Jay would use the ropes to hold himself up so that Tanahashi wouldn’t get a chance to hit a Slingblade. This was a smart move as he would do it a few times and whenever Tanahashi had him away from the ropes to try and hit it, Jay would fall to his knees to buy himself a little bit of time. Jay would attack the knee a little bit more but Tanahashi would finally get a chance to get some Dragon Screws in before applying the Lucky Cloverleaf to try and make JAy tap out but Jay had the ropes just in time. Jay caught Tanahashi to try and go for the Blade Runner but Tanahashi turned it into a Slingblade and would hit another one to put Jay down. Tanahashi is up on the ropes once again as he would attempt another High Fly Flow but Jay caught him in midair to hit the Blade Runner and he connects this time for the pinfall and we have a new champion!

I’m actually speechless as to seeing Jay White win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship here since I expected Tanahashi to at least have a few successful defenses under his belt before dropping it at the G1 Supercard or Dominion, but it looks like they backed themselves up into a corner with Jay White since he had a ton of momentum leading to this match that losing here would hurt him slightly. Jay White has been wrestling for six years and has been with New Japan for about four of them and he has now defeated the ace to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It looks like New Japan has a new star made to fill the void of Kenny Omega, which Jay did beat early in 2018 along with Kazuchika Okada, and now Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay is the new star and we’re indeed in the Cutthroat era.

Rating: Brice Prichard and a half

 

 

Overall: Aside from the ROH match being lackluster, the rest of the matches would deliver in quality with W-1 and NJPW giving us my favorite matches for this set of quickies in this one. I had to reset the list a couple of times since I wasn’t happy with the lineup I originally had set up, but I was satisfied with this one.

Favorite Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White

Least Favorite Match: Kelly Klein vs. Mayu Iwatani

Score: 7.5/10


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News From Cook’s Corner 9.20.21: The Column From Hell

Plane rides aren’t the only thing on the docket! Cook’s News corner is definitely unique this week!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and it’s been a rather eventful week in the world of wrestling. Big E became WWE Champion on Monday night. The new NXT debuted Tuesday night & had a pretty eventful outing that got their best rating in quite some time. About 85 million things happened on Dynamite, as is typically the case. There are no shortage of current wrestling events to talk about here.

So of course we’re talking about the Plane Ride From Hell instead of all that stuff.

This might be a first. I don’t think previous Dark Side of the Ring episodes led to people getting punished at their workplace. We’ve had some people come off poorly on that show, but nothing led to anybody getting any sort of punishment other than being yelled at on the Internet. Which, as somebody that’s been yelled at on the Internet pretty often, I can say isn’t the biggest deal. Annoying, sure, but you move on.

One had a feeling that a re-visit of the Plane Ride From Hell could lead to issues for some people. You know how it is…we tend to forget things. Those of us around back then heard most of the steamy details. Since it was the early to mid-2000s, most of us didn’t think too much about it. We laughed at Michael Hayes getting his ponytail cut off. Curt Hennig & Brock Lesnar getting into a fight seemed amusing. Nobody was surprised to read about Scott Hall falling off the wagon. We laughed at Dustin Rhodes singing to his ex-wife…and yep, we laughed at Ric Flair doing his signature robe spot. As detailed in the documentary, Ric had done the “naked under the robe” thing on numerous occasions. It was part of what made Ric Flair Ric Flair. Wrestlers & wrestling writers told us this, so we believed them.

Now, this is the part where I have to plead ignorance, which annoys those wishing to excuse Ric’s behavior by telling us that everybody already knew this stuff, and we’re just getting hot & bothered now because it’s 2021. I didn’t really follow up on the story when the lawsuit went down, didn’t look at the legal documents or anything like that. I was just a 411 wrestling writer with a weekly “news report” where I took the piss out of everything. So, I had no idea that Ric Flair did anything on that flight other than the robe stuff, which is pretty gross in its own right because who needs to see that?

As for the the point that peoples’ reactions to this type of stuff have changed in the nearly two decades since this all happened…well, duh? Some people do evolve. When the Plane Ride From Hell happened on May 5, 2002, I was a senior in high school. I was no different from most high school boys, a sex-crazed idiot that didn’t know anything about anything when it came to sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. As most of my 411 columns from the 2000s will show, that phase lasted awhile. As I got older & learned things I should have learned a long time ago but didn’t for a myriad of reasons, my viewpoints have changed. Some people don’t understand how it’s possible to change your mind on something over the course of twenty years, as we see in politics. They keep their head in the sand & believe the same things they believed before they had any type of life experience, which must be nice.

Just because I say Ric Flair is the greatest wrestler of all time doesn’t mean he was the greatest person to ever lace the boots. Two different things.

For those of you that didn’t see the broadcast, I recommend you do so since I won’t be able to paint the full picture here. We’ll run down some of the major points here.

-Tommy Dreamer has been suspended from his position with Impact Wrestling, where he serves on the creative team & wrestles fairly often on television. Dude got a title match on his 50th birthday not that long ago, which was made a big deal of because everybody in the business loves Tommy Dreamer. At least they did until he went on this program and made an ass of himself. Dreamer somehow managed to make himself come off worse than the actual subjects of the show, which is fairly impressive.

I’ve seen some people upset over Dreamer being punished because it’s not like he was one of the people forcing themselves on the flight attendants or anything like that. Thing is, when you’re in a position of authority, as Dreamer is with his role on creative and as a veteran leader of the locker room wherever he goes, people have higher expectations for you. When you go on national television blaming sexual assault victims for what happened & bemoan the fact your ugly hairstyle probably offends people since everybody gets offended these days, your reputation is going to take a hit. Some people in Tommy Dreamer’s locker rooms aren’t going to look at him the same way now. That lessens his value as a “locker room leader” greatly.

Dreamer did the social media apology thing that everybody does now. I figure he’ll be back in Impact eventually & will say the right things to rehab his image with most of his wrestling peers. It’ll take some time though. It’s interesting that Dreamer will probably get the biggest punishment out of anybody involved here…but at the same time, at least the people that actually did the acts can claim that they’re different people now. Scott Hall & Dustin Runnels have talked openly about their past and the fact they’ve changed for the better without substances controlling them. As far as we know, they have. They also got punished at the time, Hall being fired & Runnels getting fined.

Dreamer doesn’t have that as an excuse. He’s just an idiot who wishes he could go back to the ECW Holiday Inn.

-Ric Flair’s future could be a little murky. CarShield has “paused” their national commercials featuring him for the time being. More importantly, one has to wonder how this affects his future plans within pro wrestling. Everybody figured he would end up in AEW pretty soon, as he’s friends with Tony Khan, his son in law needs a manager, and a good percentage of his old friends already work there.

The question will be if Tony thinks it’s worth the potential backlash that could happen if Flair makes an appearance. It was already kind of debatable if a Ric Flair in his early 70s would add a ton to AEW’s presentation. Add in the current heat on his name, and AEW’s probably best served to wait until this thing dies down. One has to think that WWE isn’t too sad to have Ric off the payroll at the moment.

Also of note: Flair recently said on Renee Paquette’s podcast that if this program tries to paint him in a bad light, he’s going to take everybody down with him. So be on the lookout for that. Could be an interesting week.

-Brock Lesnar showed Terri Runnels his penis. Jim Ross apparently heard of multiple incidents involving Brock Lesnar’s penis appearing at inappropriate times. This one’s flying under the radar mostly because…well, do you want to get Brock mad at you? I wouldn’t mention it myself if I had a larger audience.

-Scott Hall has no recollection of any of this. Not surprising.

-One possible issue for Dark Side: Was Vince McMahon on this flight? Multiple people on the show say he was, but reporting from the time period suggests that Vince did not make the Europe trip. Vince not being there would explain why certain members of the talent roster felt more emboldened to do dumb things. Or at least dumber than usual, since Vince was on a number of other flights where things got hairy. One untruth on a documentary is enough for many to cast aspersions on everything else on the program. The producer stated on Jim Cornette’s podcast that everybody they talked to said Vince was on the plane.

-Another possible issue for Dark Side: Getting people to go on their show in the future! Jeez, if I was a wrestler and saw how poorly most of these people on this show came off, the last thing I’d want to do is go on it myself.

Definitely one of the most interesting Dark Sides yet, with the most fallout from a given episode. Next week’s will feature the story of Chris Kanyon, and there’s a good chance that some people will look bad there too. I think most of them are retired, but there may be somebody I’m forgetting!

NXT Contract Update

Contract updates have become a weekly feature of Internet reporting, as it seems like our favorite Internet reporters have a better idea of when these things come up than WWE does. Wild, isn’t it? All I can say about it is that Fightful must have quite the mole in that front office.

Pete Dunne re-signed with WWE for three years. It’s fair to wonder what Dunne’s ceiling is in WWE. He’s a talented wrestler, but is much smaller than the athletes WWE tends to feature, and doesn’t seem to have the charisma to make up for it. It’s still the right move for Dunne, as when you’re a foreign talent wrestling in America, it makes sense to stick with your current company as long as possible. Otherwise, you’ll get sent home. If Dunne wants to stay in America, staying with WWE is the easiest way to do that.

Johnny Gargano’s contract is set to expire in early December. I could see keeping him around as a veteran to work with the young guys that WWE sees potential in, but don’t be surprised if Dexter Lumis carrying an axe around with him leads to something. Not that WWE does murder.

Yang Time?

Remember Andrew Yang? Yeah, the guy that ran for President in 2020, then later promised to go after WWE for their third party policy that kept their “independent contractors” from using certain sites for profit. He went off to do other things for a minute, including a run for Mayor of New York City that went nowhere. Now he’s talking about wrestling again, which is good because there were a ton of people that got fired during this pandemic that might have used some help. Fortunately, Andrew Yang is with us now!

Yang says that early returns are positive. He also used the phrase “bolieve”, so we can only hope that Bo Dallas becomes the star witness in whatever happens here. I don’t think we’ll get much, especially since it involves a politician.

Welp, that’s all we have time for tonight. We’ve got a big week coming up though, with the Week 3 NFL Picks (actually done on time this week!) and some Extreme Rules Gambling Picks! Yep, that show’s next Sunday! Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.


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Rob: End the Brand Split?

Rob was inspired by some of the current IWC clamoring for an end to the brand split. How does he feel about that rhetoric?

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Some weird stuff happened on Twitter after SmackDown went off the air this past Friday.  A match was announced for Monday Night RAW this week featuring the Bloodline vs The New Day, and with it came two bizarre groups of tweets.  One was accusing WWE of hotshotting a pay per view worthy match out ratings fears (which is so dumb that I’m not going to even bother discussing it) and the other was a bunch of calls to end the brand split, which I find to be equally dumb but more of a worthy discussion topic.

Now before I go any further let me just say this:  the brand split is not ending.

As long as WWE is getting a billion dollars from both Fox and NBC they are going to book two shows with two separate rosters.  The only way the brand split ends is if one of the two shows gets cancelled and can’t find a new home.  But as long as they are getting paid big money for each show then there are going to be two shows.  And those shows are going to have separate rosters, separate creative, etc.  But just for the sake of playing along, what exactly would it look like if they ended the brand split?  Here are some possibilities:

Double Duty

I looked at four weeks of Raw and SmackDown from  January of 2016, before the brand split happened, and what I found was that on average nine people would work both shows in one week.  But in addition to that, on average two people worked four shows over a two week period, eight would work three out of four shows over two weeks, and twelve would work two shows over a two week period. And finally one person worked seven out eight possible shows over the four weeks while four more did six out of seven over that time.  And that’s not counting people who were at ringside for a tag team partner or stablemate.  There’s no reason to think that would be different this time around which means that your top men and women would be working two shows lots of weeks while the rest of the roster filled in the gaps.  And since the roster usage would revert to how it was that would mean………

More releases

Please understand that were the brand split to end there would be no need for the roster to remain at it’s current size.  The usage rate of talent that existed before just does not require as many people to make it work.  And remember a no brand split world is one where they are getting less TV money, which means less to pay people, which means some people will have to go.  And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only people who will get released are the ones you think aren’t good enough to keep.  There will be another Braun Strowman or Aleister Black in that group.  And unlike today’s landscape there will likely be fewer places for them to work because a world in which the WWE has to downsize for financial reasons is one where some of the existing companies have already gone under or have already downsized.

More wear and tear

Going back to my first point; a no brand split world is one where people are working more dates.  The top third of the roster would be working anywhere from four to seven times a month on TV; by contrast this year only Matt Riddle is working at that kind of pace.  A full brand split schedule is around 150 to 160 matches a years counting TV, pay per views and house shows.  By contrast pre-brand split Roman Reigns had 204 matches in 2013 and 213 matches in 2015.  Those 50 extra matches along with the travel that accompanies them make for a shorter career for everyone who has to do them.  They also lead to more injuries – remember WrestleMania 32 where John Cena, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and Cesaro were all out with injuries and the entire main event angle had to be rebooked?  Anybody want a redo of that?  I didn’t think so.

A harder glass ceiling

If you think it’s hard to move up now, then a no brand split world would be worse.  The last full year with no brand split, 2015, saw the pay per view main event slots split among nine people and the World title matches split among ten people.  By contrast in 2021 to date the main events have been split between 13 men and the World/Universal Title matches have been split between 16 men, with a 17th on the way in Finn Balor. In the post unification, pre brand split world 13 guys by my count were in World title matches across just over two years.

And then there’s the women’s side.  In 2015 the Diva’s title matches were split between four women.  In 2021 the Raw and SmackDown’s women’s title matches were split amongst nine soon to be ten with Alexa Bliss challenging at Extreme Rules.  Ending the brand split likely would mean unifying the top men’s and women’s singles titles, which would in turn would mean less room in the title picture afterwards and ultimately fewer roster spots.  Why?  Because you wouldn’t need as many.  Look at the current match distribution across Raw and SmackDown; that’s not likely to change with no brand split so that begs the question of whether you need 10 plus women for each show (short answer: you don’t).  Which means more releases, and again you can’t assume that it will just be people you’re not interested in seeing.

The same logic goes for tag teams, by the way.  One title means fewer title matches which means fewer teams needed which means more releases.

What’s it all mean?

To be honest when I hear ‘End the Brand Split’, I can’t think of anything that would solve.  Do you want bigger matchups more often?  A look back at the past would shoot that down real fast.  You would still get the same kind of stalling moves in the booking so as not to burn big matches out too fast.  Fewer rematches?  Not going to happen with the smaller roster that would result.  More opportunities?  Again, with a smaller roster how exactly would that happen?  A smaller roster is more likely to mean a double down on the people in the top tier not a more open door to reach it.  If the problem you have is that you only want to watch the bigger guns go at it and not be bothered with what you consider to be filler matches then I suggest you watch Main Event to get a quick recap or watch the Hulu versions of the shows on fast forward or just watch the pay per views.  But wishing to end the brand split is some short sighted thinking because for all intents and purposes you’re asking for some bad times to come through to necessitate it.  There is no scenario in which business is going well AND they end brand split just because.  So think about what you really want and then try to adjust your viewing habits accordingly.

I’ll end with this.  The brand split exists because the WWE is being paid to provide enough live TV content to warrant it.  Until that is no longer the case then it’s going to stay, and a world where that’s no longer case is one that is not as good for anyone actually working there.  So be careful what you wish for.  And that’s all I got on that.  Until next time….


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