As has been the case over the last few years…I haven’t really had a lot on my mind to write about, so I’ve limited my comments on the current state of wrestling to short posts on Facebook & Twitter, but there’s a lot of good stuff to write about now, so that’s why I’m back here today.
For those of you who are in our Facebook Group, WrestlingFansAnonymous or various other groups I might post to or follow me on Twitter, some of this might sound repetitive and for that, I’m sorry. But there’s a lot of stuff that’s happened in the world of Professional Wrestling over the last few weeks that I’d like to comment on, so please bear with me if I jump around a lot.
To start off, I’m going to say this: if you’re looking for my insights on anything AEW-related, you won’t find it here, as I stated in my last post back in August, I’m really just not interested in that company or most of its performers, so I’ll stick to what I do like here.
CM Punk Has Returned to the world of Professional Wrestling!!
Back when WWE made the deal to bring SmackDown to FOX, one of the interesting notes about that deal was FOX’s interest in producing other WWE-themed shows across their family of networks. Most recently, they launched WWE Backstage on FS1…a sort of week-in-review type of show where they recap certain segments from Raw & SmackDown with a panel of WWE stars both past & present. Most notably, FOX signed CM Punk to a contract to appear on that show and as he has put it: “FOX has A-Rod for Baseball, Troy Aikman for Football, and now CM Punk for Wrestling”. He’s stated in interviews that he’s been hired to comment and critique WWE programming, and the best part of it is that since he’s not employed by WWE, he can’t be punished by WWE for voicing his opinions!
He made a surprise debut at the end of last week’s show, where he stated he would be on this week’s show. So naturally….being the huge CM Punk fan that I am, I had to tune in! He had a great interview with Renee Young, where he gave an update on his current status as being a FOX employee, explained that he had a lot of catching up to do on the wrestling business, and in later segments, called WWE’s creative garbage, responded to Seth Rollins calling him out on Twitter by telling him to stay off of Twitter, gave David Arquette an F- for his promo on Booker T, and even cursed on-air! As I tweeted that night, I could easily find myself tuning in for the weeks he’s on!
A little background on my CM Punk fandom: When he first debuted on the relaunch of ECW on SciFi, I didn’t get him. I had been conditioned by all the years of following WWE & WCW of what a professional wrestler should look & sound like. CM Punk did not fit this mold, and I just didn’t get his crowd appeal. He won the ECW title and wrestled on a fairly consistent basis on WWE programming, but again I still didn’t get what he was all about or why I should care about him. He took over the leadership of the Nexus, and thru his promos, I started to catch onto the CM Punk character.
As his time with WWE continued, he explained what being “Straight Edge” was, and created his Straight Edge Society with Luke Gallows, Joey Mercury & Serena Deeb and through his promo ability while playing a heel, I got hooked. He then broke out on his main event run, winning the WWE title, dropped his “pipe bomb”, seemingly left the company as WWE Champion and put together a great run as WWE Champion for a total of 434 days, when he would declare himself to be the Best In The World — a moniker that at that time, I really believed fit! His matches with John Cena during that run are some of the best matches of Cena’s career!
Since leaving WWE following the 2014 Royal Rumble, crowds around the world continued chanting his name with virtually zero chances of him returning. He recorded a couple of podcasts with Colt Cabana, which due to statements he made, cost him & Cabana their friendship while fighting a lawsuit which they won that still cost the duo quite a bit of money to accomplish. He trained his ass off to make a jump to MMA & signed a multiple fight deal with the UFC that didn’t exactly work out as well as he had hoped. Though he was a Pay Per View draw for them, he just wasn’t a good enough fighter to be fighting professionally at that level.
He’s since started an acting career and a few months ago, had a sitdown interview with PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson at Starrcast 3, where he was informed of the new culture within WWE, where wrestlers were allowed to take time off and he also said that he “wouldn’t not talk to them” if WWE called to negotiate a return. The honesty he’s always shared in each of these interviews/podcasts has always been the biggest draw with him as far as I’m concerned. I just love his candidness & honesty as it relates to the current product & the world in general. His zen attitude is a welcome change as compared to so many others in politics & the media who are all out to get one another. He spoke about where he stands on a return & everything in between. He’s kinda always been an open book to his fan base & that’s so big in this day & age. He’s still not actually back with WWE since this deal he has signed was with WWE’s broadcasting partner, FOX, but clearly, bridges are being built. Stay tuned, you know I will be!
And while I’m on the topic of WWE Backstage…am I the only one who hates Booker T with a beard? Honestly, I think it looks absolutely awful on him & wish he would shave it off immediately!
Adam Cole is WWE’s MVP right now…BAY BAY!
When WWE put on their latest show overseas in Saudi Arabia, the majority of the talent got stuck in Riyadh due to mechanical issues with the plane. The problem here was that with that show being on Halloween Night, Thursday, October 31st, they needed to have the talent back in the States, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo for a live SmackDown show. So when 98% of the talent that went out to Saudi Arabia did not return in time for the show, it was decided that an NXT invasion storyline would be pushed up a couple of weeks and fans were blessed with one of the best episodes of SmackDown in years!
NXT Talents were called upon to fill in the gaps made by the lack of SmackDown talent actually available for the show. Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee & Tommaso Ciampa all had great appearances on that SmackDown with Adam Cole main eventing, defending his NXT Title against Daniel Bryan.
Since then, NXT talent have appeared on Raw & SmackDown while Raw & SmackDown talent have appeared on NXT from AJ Styles & the OC, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Revival & the Viking Raiders to Seth Rollins have appeared most recently on NXT television. It’s really been an amazing run of TV all around! Adam Cole specifically, has been EVERYWHERE…facing Daniel Bryan on SmackDown, Seth Rollins on Raw…all while still nursing that broken right wrist! This weekend alone, he’s leading the Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) into the cage at War Games to take on Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & a mystery partner while Pete Dunne, Damien Priest & Killian Dain fight it out in a ladder match to determine who gets a shot at Adam Cole’s NXT Title the following night at Survivor Series!
He’s been everything the company as asked him to be over these last few weeks & was even put over on the recent TakeOver conference call by Triple H, saying how much of a professional he’s been, constantly stepping in when called upon.
Kofi Kingston was WWE Champion??
Hey, remember when Kofi Kingston won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania back in March? If you do, could you please remind him? Because since losing his title to Brock Lesnar on the SmackDown 20th Anniversary episode in a match short enough to be an animated GIF, all I’ve seen him do is goof around with Big E & Xavier Woods, tossing out pancakes & twerking. If it were me, and I just lost a championship, I’d probably do whatever I had to do to get back to being the king of the mountain. Instead, Kofi is now slapped back down to being one half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions like that 6 month reign as W..W..E…World…Heavy..weight…Champion never existed at all. Top guys don’t enjoy their time in the sun & when it’s taken away, just move on without a wimper. So glad I never got invested in that storyline.
Survivor Series is suddenly exciting!
I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the Survivor Series Pay Per View. The whole “Teams of Five Strive to Survive” used to be a fun concept when they built the teams logically and actually had the team leaders add people to their teams on a weekly basis instead of the way it’s been run in recent years where it’s “here’s this team & they’re going to be facing this team” with minimal story telling involved in the creation of said teams.
Two years ago, they made the whole night a Raw vs. Smackdown theme with each of the various levels of champions facing off. Universal Champion vs. WWE Champion, Intercontinental Champion vs. United States Champion, Raw Tag Team Champions vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions, etc. Each of those matches weren’t actually for any of the titles, in the end, it was all about “bragging rights” for either brand while there were also a mens & womens traditional Survivor Series 5-on-5 matches pitting Raw competitors vs. SmackDown competitors. Well this year, I’m guessing because NXT is now featured weekly on the USA Network, NXT has been thrown into the mix, which is what sparked the whole crossover storylines with each brand’s talents appearing on each of the other brands to wipe out each others’ competitors. So now we’ve got title defenses for the WWE Championship (Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.), Universal Championship (Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan) & NXT Championship (Adam Cole vs. Dunne/Priest/Dain), while the remaining title holders will each be in matches ostensibly fighting for “bragging rights” again:
- Raw Tag Team Champions (The Viking Raiders) vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions (The New Day – Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions (The Undisputed Era – Fish & O’Reilly)
- United States Champion (AJ Styles) vs. Intercontinental Champion (Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. NXT North American Champion (Roderick Strong)
- Raw Womens’ Champion (Becky Lynch) vs. SmackDown Womens’ Champion (Bayley) vs. NXT Womens’ Champion (Shayna Baszler)
Along with traditional Survivor Series mens & womens matches between the three brands. Honestly, for me…it’s throwing the NXT talents into the mix that really has me fired up for this weekend of shows! And while I’m not going to be naive here…I’m not expecting the NXT talents to be getting a lot of wins vs. the Raw & SmackDown branded stars, I think it’s exciting to see these fresh matchups. I just hope my NXT people don’t get buried on this show. But this should be a fun weekend with a ton of great stuff to watch!
NXT TakeOver: War Games III is tonight in Chicago, Il & it looks to be yet another very strong card. Who will be Team Ciampa’s mystery partner? Will the women of NXT continue to raise the bar in their own War Games match? Who will face Adam Cole at Survivor Series for the NXT Championship & what kind of shape will Cole be in following his own team’s War Games match as he prepares to defend his title the following night? Looks to be another good one, I certainly won’t miss it!
As always, thanks for reading!