I have to say I have been a huge fan of Wrestling ever since I was a little nipper. My Saturday mornings literally consisted of me waking up and shooting down stairs to catch WWE Smackdown and see the likes of The Rock, Kurt Angle, Triple H, The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boyz do the business. I bet your thinking that is just so sad, especially when you think I used to use my pillow to perform Wrestling moves. Now if a Wrestling fan ever says as a child they never used to perform Wrestling moves on some sort of household object their fibbing I’m telling you!
Throughout the history of the WWE there have been what you could say, different eras. When I first started watching Wrestling in the late 90s, the famous Attitude era was in full swing along with the Monday Night Wars between the WWE and WCW being one of the most talked about viewed shows of the late 90s. The Attitude era is still probably regarded as one of the greatest points in WWE’s history and it’s fair to say it provided wrestling fans with some very memorable moments. For instance the great matches between the Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boyz were just one of many highlights for me. Just when you thought matches between the trio could get any better, they came out and pushed the limits of wrestling to the fullest. If you want a taste of what I mean, take a look at this clip from Wrestlemania 17. The second ever TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) match consisted of the trio battling it out for the Tag Team titles and boy did they go for it. Take a look and you will see why it is seen as one of the greatest matches in WWE history.
The attitude era eventually fizzled out in the early 2000s and afterwards entered an era known as Ruthless Aggression. An era which saw the likes John Cena and Randy Orton begin their journey to the top of the WWE mountain. However, as time move on and as a way to appeal to a much younger audience the WWE eventually entered the heavily criticised PG era.
Over the last couple of years through the PG era, the WWE seems to have hit of a dark spot. The WWE creative look to be running out of fresh ideas and the television ratings were at a low. It is a strange one though, the talent and product is there but just hasn’t been fully utilised by the creative team and the poor booking of matches and feuds recently has constantly attracted the criticism of wrestling fans alike. The praise you would have to give the WWE over the last few years though has to be the introduction of their development program NXT and also when NXT is becoming much more popular than your main flagship programs, you know something needs to be done. I would be in kind to agree with the critique though. I mean take the Roman Reigns situation in the last two years. The thing is I am actually a fan of Roman Reigns but the WWE just seemed to push him to hard and too fast and this has been met with anger from the fans comparing it to John Cena’s rise. For me, I don’t like the idea of booing superstars for this reason though. I don’t see it as their fault because they still go out there and try their upmost best for the company to provide us with entertainment. They haven’t been given many favours by the creative. It ends up leading to those like Roman Reigns being dubbed to look they have what is now being dubbed the ‘two moves of doom’ and nothing else in their move set when we have seen in the past that that is not true. Also when they are made to look strong by kicking out at 2 all the time it just doesn’t make it realistic enough for the audience. It all boils down to bad booking decisions again though and drastic changes need to be made.
However, in recent weeks the WWE maybe starting listen to our prayers and start to turn a corner, entering a new era that has me and fans all over excited to see what happens. The reintroduction of the draft had been rumoured for a while and the injection of which is exactly what the fans of been crying out for. The recent draft took place on the all new Smackdown Live and by the end a certain buzz of excitement echoed around the WWE Universe, especially with NXT superstars such as the Finn Balor and tag team American Alpha earning well deserved call ups to the main roster.
Now with the first shows of RAW and Smackdown Live after the completion of the draft both finished, that buzz of excitement has intensed and I firmly believe that the future of the WWE looks brighter then it has ever done. Take the episode of RAW just gone. That had to be one of the best we had seen in years. A new logo, new intro, new theme song, new commentary, new superstars and the inclusion of a new World Title all added up to a five star show in my books. The show saw NXT standout Finn Balor overcome a fatal four way and a showdown with Roman Reigns (who lost clean by the way, well done creative, well done finally) to win the right to face Seth Rollins at Summerslam for the new WWE Universal Championship introduced by GM Mick Foley (I’m sure the name will grow on me). Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins, The Demon vs. The Architect at Summerslam?! Just take my damm money! A match of epic proportions and one I know I’ll be watching in the early hours come August 21.
And what can you say about Sasha Banks? The only woman who can realistically drive this Woman’s revolution in wrestling forward, went onto show that when she finally realised her dream of winning the WWE Woman’s Championship when she beat Charlotte. An emotionally charged match that echoed the incredible, historic battle between Lita and Trish Stratus for the Woman’s Title back in 2004. Both match-ups saw each Woman go hell of leather and put on an incredible show. Similar to what happened in match back in 2004, Sasha Banks was prepared to do anything necessary to win that title and did a Lita by almost killing herself by going for a suicide dive through the ropes and landing in a very awkward fashion. Not to be denied, Banks pushed through and rolled up Charlotte into the Banks statement submission for the victory and became a Champion the fans well and truly deserve. The woman’s revolution is still alive and kicking.
Although she has come under scrutiny for her title reign, Charlotte showed just how tough a competitor she is and that moonsault from the top rope to the outside was just a thing of beauty. Although her title reign wasn’t the best, Charlotte still showed us how she can also be one to drive forward the woman’s wrestling revolution and how great of heel she can be. Charlotte’s partnership with Dana Brooke, some would say just doesn’t work but do you know what, I disagree. The duo is kind of reminiscent of the Laycool partnership which consisted of Michelle McCool and Layla, who ran havoc in the woman’s division between 2009 and 2011 and to be honest I know it’s a bold claim but I think if Charlotte and Brooke kept up this partnership they could also be seen as two of WWE’s best heels. I also want to talk about Chris Jericho. He’s been around for the last 20 odd years now and through that time has managed to stay relevant and has recently showed us how he can still hang there with the best and how he is still probably another one the greatest heels the company has ever had in it’s history. Drink it in mannnn!
It wasn’t just inside the ring that has got me excited for this new era but the commentary shake up as well for both brands seems to have worked wonders. The inclusion of Corey Graves is a brilliant move and he is the colour commentator the whole WWE universe has been crying out for and it also seems he has injected some life into his cohorts as well in, Byron Saxton and Michael Cole.
Moving on from that five star performance from RAW, Smackdown Live had a lot to live up to, especially with a more depleted roster to their Monday night counterparts. However, this didn’t stop Commissioner Shane McMahon and GM Daniel Bryan from producing a great show of their own. A six-pack challenge to decide the number one contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE Championship? Does it get any better? Especially with the likes of John Cena, Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews and Dolph Ziggler all included. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised Dolph Ziggler came out of the win because I was actually certain Bray Wyatt was going to be the one but I’m so happy for Ziggler to get this chance. The Showoff is one of the hardest workers in the company today and deserves nothing more than a chance at gold and I have a sneaky feeling he might just do that. The first Smackdown Live also saw the return of the one and only Viper, Randddyyy Orrrtton. RKO out of nowhere to the Miz, Oh yes! That will do. I have to say it is weird seeing him with this sort of new babyface attitude. It really does work for him, although he works so much better as a heel and always will be one of the best heels the company has ever had. The moment that got me the most excited from watching the show and I’m sure it did for many other fans and that was Smackdown Live’s announcement of the returning Shelton Benjamin. It had been rumoured for a while but the former member of the World’s greatest tag team is now finally returning. It is going to be interesting to see how the WWE decides to bring him back, maybe a possible Intercontinental title match or for me the dream situation would be for him to team up with American Alpha’s Chad Gable and Jason Jordan.
Even though RAW has the Woman’s Championship I really do believe the Woman’s division on Smackdown Live has the better roster I really do. Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, Alexa Bliss and even Naomi are Championship worthy and I think maybe the possibility of a second Woman’s Championship for Smackdown would be a great move.
It is going to be interesting now to see what the future holds for the WWE and where they could possibly go from here. It hasn’t been the best few years for them it has to be said. Although the PG era did provide us with some great moments, but I believe the storylines and the booking of certain feuds haven’t been great and they brought along with it a lot of criticism. Superstars are made to the look worse than what they are and it can’t be said the talent and product isn’t there because of course it is. The WWE has some of the greatest wrestling talent in the world, Finn Balor, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins to name a few, come on and their recruitment recently has certainly been incredible. If the creative team can just get the booking and storylines right then we could be in for a great ride. These last two shows have set the tone massively and I hope they can keep this going. Is this the turning point we have been waiting for? Are we for something really special? Now all eyes are on you creative, let’s make WWE great again.