NWK2000 wrote: ↑
Feb 21st, '19, 13:59
Big Red Machine wrote: ↑
Feb 21st, '19, 12:59
Yes, you mentioned that some people have gotten hotter recently, but I'll give you some counter-examples of guys who are colder (and, in some cases, WAY colder) than they were a mere six months ago, even if they have been consistently pushed:
- Drew McIntyre
- Braun Strowman
- Seth Rollins (Seth was MUCH hotter now than he was even back in May when there was no Shield reunion going on, and Seth just won the f*cking Royal Rumble)
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Elias (what a ridiculously ill-conceived heel turn this has been!)
- Dean Ambrose (if you don't think now is a fair comparison, look at pre-Rumble Ambrose compared to him before he turned. And he never even got hot as a heel in between).
(And that's not counting people who have been mysteriously removed from TV for long periods of time like Ziggler, or people who got hurt and then came back but WWE has totally bungled the potential opportunities provided by their returns like Alexa.)
I'm not saying there isn't evidence o the contrary because there is, but if we were having this conversation 6 months ago, Finn, Sasha, Bailey, and Kofi could've represented the argument you're making here. I think that a few people have plausible reasons for being less over. Dean is publicly on his way out, so of course he's less over than he was a year ago. Nakamura's (and maybe Rusev)'s only crime is that he's on a roster that's so top heavy. I'm pretty sure if either were drafted to Raw, they would be main eventing and putting on good matches against Seth or Finn. Braun's case I think is similar on the other end, he's a big dude in the land of big dudes. Draft him to Smackdown, and you have the inherent feud of a big country boy from North Carolina versus persnickety vegan Bryan, or Braun vs Joe, or Braun vs Miz. Seth's case is unfortunate as well because, being injured in his Mania build up means he can't put on amazing matches on a consistent basis, which is what I think his bread and butter is, so of course he's cooled down. Everyone else is in that place where, if they had one good match against somebody like Seth or Bryan, they would be catapulted from there. Specifically, I think Drew will be main eventing by the time Summerslam rolls around.
I don't buy your arguments here at all.
- Dean stopped being over when he turned heel and they had him do stupid goofy sh*t.
- I think Smackdown actually has more large guys in use (and probably per capita, too) than Raw does. Raw has Braun, Corbin, Lashley, Drew, and AoP as guys who are portrayed as being larger/more massive than the average or who break a cut-off point of, let's say, at least 6'4 and 250lbs (Raw also has Mojo, Jinder, Titus, Konnor, and Goldust, but they rarely make TV). SD has Joe (he fits into the AoP category), Orton, Sheamus, Cesaro, Harper, and Rowan (plus Killian Dane, Big Show, and Luke Gallows not being used) (we'll leave Cena, Kane, Taker, and Hunter out). You're not wrong that a Bryan vs. Strowman feud would work, but them not doing feuds like that is not the reason why Strowman has cooled off so much.
- Is the SD roster top-heavy? Yes, and especially per-capita when compared to Raw, and even more so when you look at the women's divisions, which on SD after the Shakeup had Asuka and Charlotte (with Becky added to the top mix later) while Raw really only had Ronda as someone who could be an actual main eventer (Bliss is there personality-wise but usually needs someone to carry her to real main-event level matches and Nia was not there at all but they just put her there because of marketing reasons) and Ronda was only there because of starpower and wasn't really going to be able to carry a main event workload in the ring.
That being said, there are a few reasons this felt like a problem on SD and not Raw, and a lot of them are issues that WWE has created for themselves. The first one (the one that isn't WWE's fault) is that Raw got bitten by the injury bug a lot more than SD did. I can't think of a single SD top level guy that had any real injury problems this year other than Harper & Rowan (who really only count as one because they took both off TV the moment one got hurt), Sin Cara (who I think was feuding with Almas when he got hurt but otherwise no one would have noticed), Nakamura's dog-bite and Becky's concussion (more on that in a moment). Raw, on the other hand, had injuries to Dean, Strowman, Roman, Owens, Zayn, Bliss, Sasha Banks, Jason Jordan, and Matt Hardy (and that's not including undercard people who could have been something if pushed like Ember Moon or bit-players like Liv Morgan, or Tye Dillinger on SD). While a lot of Raw's injuries are things it is tougher to use for an angle, I think the fact that they have missed a clear opportunity to make something of Alexa's return
But when Becky got injured, they were able to at least make some hay out of it in storyline, where as Raw couldn't. In a lot of cases this was due to Raw's injuries being harder to do this with, but at the same time, the fact that SD was able to while Raw completely failed to (other than the Corbin/Strowman disaster and "how the f*ck did you possibly think this was a good idea?!" Ambrose turn) shows that the SD team is just plain better.
Two other reasons that SD feels more top-heavy than Raw are that where SD has pushed it's tag division to the point where it can main event a TV show and the top teams (New Day, Usos, arguably The Bar and Bludgeon Brothers) could come off as stars, Raw booked there into the ground, and then spent most of the year with it and the IC Title all tangled up together in a feud that eventually merged with the feud over the Universal Title. There was good six-month period where the only possible main events Raw had were the Rollins (& later Dean) vs. Drew & Dolph feud and Roman vs. X #1 contendership/Universal Title feud... which was only made worse when Roman won the feud agaisnt Lashley and started to feud with Braun, only to have that feud merged with Seth & Dean vs. Drew & Dolph, meaning that there was only one main event feud and it tied up all three men's championships (and, as described above, Ronda couldn't carry a main event feud in the ring on TV). If Raw had instead been building up a real tag division (Lucha House Party, AoP, Revival, Titus Worldwide) instead of focusing on jokes like the B-Team and Matt/Bray or getting the belts lost in the Shield/Anti-Shield feud, or if they had put Ronda in the ring with vets who could carry her like Sasha, Nattie, Mickie, or Ruby, or if they had ACTUALLY PULLED THE F*CKING TRIGGER ON SASHA VS. BAYLEY, Raw would have had more main eventers and it wouldn't feel like there was such a disparity between the number of top acts per show.
My point is that this top-heaviness is all a problem of WWE's own making. After all, they could have done the Superstar Shake-up differently so that things weren't so top-heavy on one side. And they themselves exacerbated things, too. If SD is already too top-heavy, don't compound the problem by adding Rey when he signs. Instead, put Rey on Raw, and when you want him to feud with Almas, have Almas demand a trade (or, you know... do what they always do and just have him sow up non the other brand without any explanation). And don't add Mustafa Ali to the mix, too! Let him stay on 205 Live and do his thing over there and make him a face of that brand. If the men's singles division is so top heavy then take two singles guys and make them a tag team instead of adding TV-time eating Shane McMahon to the mix.
All of that being said, I think the real problem is that their booking just plain sucked. And I'm not even talking about stuff that "could have been done better" like the Ronda/Bellas turn. And I'm not even talking about issues of logical consistency. I'm talking about storylines going on in circles for months and months and months! AJ vs. Joe, Orton vs. Hardy, Joe vs. Hardy, Seth & Dean vs. Drew & Dolph, Roman vs. Lashley, the post-TLC part of AJ vs. Bryan, Strowman vs. Corbin (and, by extension, Strowman/Lashley/Drew vs. Corbin/Drifter/Seth or Balor). Even Seth vs. Dean went on a lot longer than they actually had new ideas for. How many months- or, more importantly, how many pointless RESTARTS- did it finally take them to get from "asking is Lana's or Aiden's presence at ringside detrimental to Rusev's career to actually turning one of them because of it?! How many months did we get Owens vs. Strowman or Corbin vs. Balor for without anything new actually happening?! How many MONTHS of repetitive "will they?/won't they?" crap did we get with Sasha and Bayley?
There is only so long that people can keep caring about a character if they realize he/she is caught in an infinite loop of the same exact sh*t week after week and month after month.
Combine that with mistakes that should have been obvious MILES AWAY due to the well-documented history of such things cooling characters down such as quick turns and turn-backs (Braun, Drifter, Alexa), confusing moral stances (Charlotte at the end of the year), and constantly putting a group back together after what seems like a clear turn (Sasha & Bayley are the most obvious example, but Alexa & Mickie and Alexa & Nia have both had this problem, plus one or two more recent quick "yeah... we just dropped that storyline. We're not doing it anymore" situations with Mandy & Sonya, Drew & Dolph, Revival & Lucha House Party, Jeff & Joe), etc. it's no wonder people stop caring about the wrestlers because you're telling them that anything they try to get invested in could disappear the moment you decide to change your minds, which you do on a weekly basis.
Yes, fans have been able to care about wrestlers after terrible mismanagement, but for the most part this only happens with people who have developed a hardcore support base (the new version of an "indy darling" type of thing). People will care about a Finn Balor or a Jeff Hardy or a Samoa Joe or an AJ Styles no matter what you do to them. Kofi was an extenuating set of circumstances, aided by some VERY un-WWE-like booking. With Becky the issue was more that fans were angry that she didn't win and (wrongly, IMO) had decided that Charlotte is a female Roman Reigns and that's why she won, so they revolted (in reality, I thought Becky's heel turn was a rare example of WWE telling a story competently). But a Braun Strowman or a Rusev or even a former indy darling who is seen as corporatized (Rollins) can be damaged by this bad booking because there are the casuals who won't see them the same way for a long time.
With Sasha & Bayley I honestly think them getting cheered is from a segment of the audience that has somehow bought in to WWE's crap and thinks these women's tag team titles are the best idea ever and some sort of great leap forward. This is the "YOU DESERVE IT!" crowd. The people who actually think that Big Boss Man and Ivory and and Jacqueline and Godfather have had Hall of Fame careers. The marks. The ones who are happy to buy absolutely everything WWE shoves down their throats. You could have put The IIconics or Nia & Tamina or Mandy & Sonya and it would have gotten the same response (although the promo wouldn't have been as good).
NWK2000 wrote: ↑
Feb 21st, '19, 13:59
Furthermore, as I've said I'm not comfortable projecting the four call ups' careers when they've had two main roster matches, on different brands,
Assuming there's going to be a Superstar Shakeup sometime before the year's end, let's see where everybody lands around Survivor Series time. If they're in the same places they are now, or in programs unbecoming of them, even as soon as Summerslam 2019, I will concede that you are correct. I just have a gut feeling that a lot more people are one match away from greatness than you think.
This is fair, but if you look at the evidence for the past few years, the vast majority of call-ups have been flops (cheap plug for an article that I swear I will actually write. And this time I really mean it).