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DECEMBER 2020 WRESTLING TALK.


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Speaking of guys creative has never gotten, Black hasn't had a match in two months. With the release of his wife, I have to wonder if he's just sitting out the rest of his contract until he can join her. I've been a fan of his for years and hope they both can find something better. 

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15 hours ago, BobbyWhioux said:

 

And even the successes they do have, Roman Reigns and Bayley, the poster children proudly displayed on the Smackdown On Fox promotional banner ad every time it props up during the live ad copy reads during a football game, have succeeded in spite of the system leaving them dead in the water several times each yet stayed floating long enough to grab hold of some quality flotsam.  [And not coincidental that in both cases it involved them finally becoming Raging Asshole heels]

 

 

Roman Reigns is really only a success by default. It's not exactly that he's a big fish in a small pond, but that he's the largest fish left in a lake that is drying up. Other than Daniel Bryan, pretty much everyone who overshadowed him is either gone from his brand or no longer with the company at all.

I think nobody has benefited more from the lack of crowds than Reigns.

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2 hours ago, Six String Orchestra said:

The biggest wrestling company that has Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, NXT and 205 Live to fill yet creative has nothing for guys like Aleister Black or Ricochet.

I'm all for that, actually.  Ricochet is a helluva an athlete and I was a big fan of Tommy End when he was wrestling in Europe, but neither guy really ever struck me as having the skill set for the WWE.  Both seemed like projects the company wouldn't figure out how to use effectively to me.  I'm assuming Ricochet was signed mostly to keep him away from potential competitors.

Water finds its level, as it were.  Ricochet hasn't show much personality or promo ability (imo).  Black has charisma, but doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the WWE in terms of in-ring style, look, or character.   I never really warmed up to his aloof "man of mystery" character.  I'm guessing that's true for a lot of fans.

It's partly creative's fault, but it's partly a function of signing guys who weren't going to fit the system.  Whatever.  I don't have any interest in seeing either guy on tv at this point. 

 

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It’s like you say, it’s all on the product, and if those guys fit into WWE’s version of television wrestling. Some guys can fit into all kinds of wrestling, some guys can just fit into the WWE, or just AEW, or just New Japan, and so on, and so forth. You might be the top star of one promotion, but in the next promotion you’ll be a sidekick to an undercarder. Somebody like Black you’d think just by looking at him that he’ll be playing a cult leader in the WWE. Why not, this is the WWE? Vince is obsessed by cult leaders, right? So why isn’t he? Maybe giving him that stupid guy in the dark room gimmick was to test him(like others have said) to see if he would crack. Whatever it is, it just ends up being bad tv.

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41 minutes ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

Aleister Black would be a good fit for New Japan, unless they have a prejudice against tattoos. 

Japan in general is weird about tattoos, but they've had guys full of them work there before.

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12 minutes ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

Somebody like Black you’d think just by looking at him that he’ll be playing a cult leader in the WWE. Why not, this is the WWE? Vince is obsessed by cult leaders, right?

WWE sucks at using cult leaders.

 

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Roman has benefitted from no crowds, in that his promos have a quiet intensity that translates better without smart alecks trying to interrupt him.

When he's the one full-time person who moves numbers across the board (ratings, YT views, merch, social media, etc), I don't see how he can be brushed off as a dweeb who got lucky. Just my two cents, though.

2 hours ago, just drew said:

 Anyone who can't find a segment for Aleister Black every week doesn't need to be in the sports entertainment business.

I enjoy Aleister a lot. He should be in a better spot, especially with his kickboxing background. But I'm not surprised that he's struggling. If anyone has a persona that Vince and Bruce wouldn't understand, it's Aleister. Even when he was in good standing, the guy was cutting weird promos in a closet for months. His fate was pretty much sealed when Heyman was fired as RAW's creative director. He lost his biggest supporter.

Aleister is a prime example of the disconnect between NXT and RAW/SD. With NXT, he had the lengthy entrance with candles and the vampire rise. He was given a certain aura that worked well in the smaller setting. It wasn't going to translate to the next level. Some thinking he was going to become a modern-day variation of the Undertaker was a setup for disappointment, too. Besides, they have their resident spooky guy for this generation in The Fiend.

His best bet probably would have been to stay in a tag team with Ricochet. Two guys who seem wildly different being tag partners and good friends would have helped both until they adjusted to the bigger WWE picture.

I wonder how long Aleister's contract goes for. I can't imagine he wants to stick around with Zelina getting her walking papers. But if he signed a new deal within the past year, he may be stuck for a while.

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1 hour ago, Burgundy LaRue said:

With NXT, he had the lengthy entrance with candles and the vampire rise. He was given a certain aura that worked well in the smaller setting. It wasn't going to translate to the next level.

But like, is current day WWE "the next level"?

How come he can't have that same aura? NXT gets 50% of Raw's viewers. Do you think those people don't also watch Raw? Or that the half that don't watch NXT would automatically hate any presentation created by NXT? It's a weird disconnect. You have the minor leagues to get people ready for the major leagues, but then you make them completely start over in the major leagues and take away everything you taught them to rely on. The only true answer for the system to work is put the same vision at the head of both tables. If Vince hates NXT wrestlers' work / aura / presentation, then put someone there that creates the work / aura / presentation that Vince likes. (I mean I would rather vice versa, keep NXT how it is and give Triple H the head of creative on the main roster too but I digress).

WWE is bleeding viewers. This isn't me shitting on anyone who likes it. There's still plenty of positives to get enjoyment out of it. The top of the women's roster kills it all the time. Reigns new character work is awesome. But this is eerily similar to 1994 / 1995 to me. Yeah there's some good shit like Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels on the shows, but you gotta sit through so much dumb TL Hopper / Aldo Montoya / The Sultan shit to get to it. They need a creative shake up that totally re imagines the product like the attitude era did. Like the rock and wrestling era did. Something so stark and different that it jumps interest. And I just don't think Vince has it in him.

Edited by NoFistsJustFlips
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6 hours ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

Although it’s starting to shut down again in places, there is some really good indie lucha from the past few months that is so much better than either of the big two in Mexico.

Post it. All of it.

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1 hour ago, Burgundy LaRue said:

When he's the one full-time person who moves numbers across the board (ratings, YT views, merch, social media, etc), I don't see how he can be brushed off as a dweeb who got lucky. Just my two cents, though.

I don't feel like he's a dweeb who got lucky, but I feel like you have to recognize the situation he's in. Brock is gone. Ambrose is gone. Taker is gone. Cena is gone. Wyatt and Reigns are on Raw. All guys who either overshadowed Reigns at some point or got the cheers the WWE wanted Reigns to get during their feud.

Now, of course the counter-argument is that it's obvious the WWE sees him as their guy for Smackdown, since they're using him to anchor the show and build around it. And that's fair. I don't know the numbers so I can't comment on whether he moves the needle, as they say. I just feel like you can't comment on whether or not he's a success without recognizing the environment he's in.

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13 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Post it. All of it.

Basically anything that is an indie fed that takes place at Arena Naucalpan. 

If it’s not behind their pay wall, +LuchaTV’s YouTube channel is your hook-up. 

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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When I say the next level, I do so in context that NXT clearly isn't on the same creative wavelength as SD/RAW. As several of us have said, there is a disconnect to where too many NXT wrestlers aren't prepped in a way to please Vince. Is that on Vince? Hunter? A bit of both? There are likely several factors. There should be joint planning between the 'main' roster and NXT. Making sure to showcase what someone has done prior to RAW or SD to help non-NXT viewers get to know them.

I'm not personally saying Aleister shouldn't have the same aura from NXT. He 100% should. But until all of Creative is on the same page, talent like him sadly suffer.

That's another issue: NXT needs to be redefined. They tried to showcase it as its own brand, particularly with their Survivor Series appearance last year. But with half of their roster paying no heed to COVID, that couldn't happen this time. They still have the developmental smell on them. Until they're part of drafts and shakeups, it will remain that way.

As for viewers, SD's ratings has gone back over 2 million and RAW has stabilized for now. NXT pulls in about 40% of RAW's numbers at the moment. A creative shakeup is needed. But the Attitude Era frankly shouldn't be considered in doing so. I get the point. But AE was lightning in a bottle in many ways. WCW was actually pushing WWF at a time WWF could realistically have gone out of business. AEW is doing well, but it will be some time before they fully push RAW in terms of viewers. There's no urgency to change the status quo. WWE makes tons of money and will continue to do so for some time. AEW isn't bankrupting WWE, and vice versa.

I agree with many of the overall viewpoints being presented, please know. We're just taking different routes to get there.

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1 hour ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

Rob adds more to the Twitter thread, but he basically comes to the same conclusion, and that it’s all on the agents.

I haven't seen the Garza match, but it sounds like the Lee-Elias match on Raw a few weeks ago.  Lee dwarfed Elias (and the difference in their billed weights is about 120 lbs.), so naturally Lee sold too much for Elias and won because Jeff Hardy distracted Elias.  It was a very short match but I didn't feel like it put Lee over that well.

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14 minutes ago, kafkonia said:

I don't feel like he's a dweeb who got lucky, but I feel like you have to recognize the situation he's in. Brock is gone. Ambrose is gone. Taker is gone. Cena is gone. Wyatt and Reigns are on Raw. All guys who either overshadowed Reigns at some point or got the cheers the WWE wanted Reigns to get during their feud.

Taker aged out (and he was never a full time guy during Roman's tenure; he's been an attraction whose body was shot), Cena went to Hollywood, etc. But that happens to every generation. You could point to Cena and Batista and say they wouldn't be shit if Austin's body didn't give up on him and Rocky never left. But those things happened and there were spots to fill and those guys were seen as the most qualified. Similarly, Roman occupies the spot Cena and Taker left because he's seen as most qualified. A hypothetical consideration about if they were still around oughtn't diminish the body of work Reigns has amassed and the shoddy mismanagement he's managed to shine through. Also, no consideration was ever given to Reigns being universally cheered against either of those guys or Ambrose. So it's not as though he failed to meet some expectation there. 

If you'd like to make the case for Ambrose, one of Roman's actual contemporaries and top guy in his own right, you're welcome to. But I don't remember Wyatt ever overshadowing Roman. Mixed reactions, sure. But that's every Roman match. Outside of initial Fiend buzz, Bray's never been within spitting distance of Roman's solid top guy standing. 

Roman's not successful "by default." He's successful because looks the part and walks the part and wrestles the part and clearly knows how to ingratiate himself to the people who will give him the chance to have the spot. That's not default. I'd grant that he was afforded many opportunities, but his success didn't occur "by default."

I'd also push back against the notion that Roman is a beneficiary of the lack of crowds. People have been waiting years for Roman to get a chance to take this kind of leap forward. The people would likely be lapping up every last drop of greatness Roman deigned to ladle out. 

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That doc about Vampiro was added to Amazon Prime Video today, for those interested...

Edit: Title is Nail In the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro

 

 

Edited by Shane
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On 12/11/2020 at 2:46 PM, Dolfan in NYC said:

Meltzer is reporting that Vince "threw a fit" and has sent the following guys down to the PC for further training:

Dabba-Kato

Dio Maddin (big guy in Retribution - Mace)

Omos (AJ's bodyguard)

Otis (!)

Keith Lee (!!!)

This is coming on the heels of some reports that one of the matches for Mania 37 was going to be Lee vs. Brock vs. McIntyre

What's work with Lee or Otis, The other guys didn't get any work experience outside of NXT house shows.

He's ok with Nia Jaxx who is Uncoordinated and Unsafe but throw a fit over Keith Lee and Otis who are 2 of the most over guys they have.

Those other guys have been rushed to tv because of their looks. Its his fault for putting those guys in those positions with out having much live tv experience. They are probably still better than Nia Jaxx whose been on TV 3 years. I've made excuses for Jax since the beginning, I still believe she was fast tracked though Developmental but she's been on the main roster 3 years and worked with every female on the main roster by now. In NXT they have the luxury of going  over their matches several times over a period of days most times. Thats why her best work was in NXT plus she was working Bayley and Asuka almost exclusively in NXT.

Edited by Ziggy
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14 minutes ago, Ziggy said:

In NXT they have the luxury of going  over their matches several times over a period of days most times.

Which is how it should be on the main roster too. You can't tell me Raw & SD wouldn't benefit from the format being finalized a week before the show goes live vs a few hours / minutes before they go live. Not saying you're saying this per se, but I've seen that used as a knock a lot. That NXT workers get more time to prepare. That shouldn't be a knock. That's a good thing. And if the main roster had their shit together they'd have a week every week to talk out psychology and spots instead of so little forethought being put in.

Edited by NoFistsJustFlips
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32 minutes ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

 if the main roster had their shit together they'd have a week every week to talk out psychology and spots instead of so little forethought being put in.

Yeah, no. It's WWE. Remember how Sheamus and D-Bry spent weeks coming up with things for their big match at Wrestlemania, and then on the night they only got 14 seconds? THAT.

As far as Bray being more over than Roman, wasn't that kind of the point of the whole "Anyone but You" feud they had? Bray the heel was more over as a Babyface than Face Ace Roman, so they feuded with mindgames and shit to try to do a heat transfer.

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6 hours ago, kafkonia said:

Roman Reigns is really only a success by default. It's not exactly that he's a big fish in a small pond, but that he's the largest fish left in a lake that is drying up. Other than Daniel Bryan, pretty much everyone who overshadowed him is either gone from his brand or no longer with the company at all.

I think nobody has benefited more from the lack of crowds than Reigns.

And they waited until they had no crowds to turn him heel and let him be more of himself. He's doing his best work and this should've been what he was doing years ago. Even as the top guy he's dealt with alot of shit too creatively. Ambrose was close enough to the top, the top guy on Smackdown when they split up the brands and WWE champ for a minute. He complained after he left about how micromanaging Vince was and how is prevented him from getting over more. Its not the same Vince from 20 years ago. Once you got over, Vince pretty much had enough confidence to let you keep doing what you did to get over. Today you have to do things his way no matter if its not working. Moxley knows what works and what doesn't work for him, obviously Roman does too based on his current work. The same for alot of the other talent that have either been working the indies for years or grew up watching forever, look at Pat McAfee. Vinces current system is just a filter of allowing people to get over to certain degrees and doing things exactly they way he feels a wrestler should be 

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6 hours ago, LoneWolf&Subs said:

Aleister Black would be a good fit for New Japan, unless they have a prejudice against tattoos. 

The tattoos would be an issue in Japan as they are generally frowned upon and Black has a ridiculous amount of them. Kotetsu Boku has opened up about having problems because of his tattoos and he has much less than Black.

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