Let’s come up for a breath of fresh air, sift through the week that was, and accentuate the positives.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the negativity that exists online when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. Let’s put a pause on the bad stuff, all the complaints, criticisms, rants, and rundowns. Instead, let’s come up for a breath of fresh air, sift through the week that was, and accentuate the positives.
Here are your top positives from the week that was:
This past Tuesday night’s Smackdown Live featured what seems to be a rather polarizing angle. Dolph Ziggler, after being attacked by Bray Wyatt at the start of the night, put his title shot on the line against the “Eater of Worlds” in that night’s main event. Throughout the night, Dolph proclaimed to anyone within earshot that he was not afraid to defend his contendership and that others’ doubt was misfounded. I’ve read several reactions and reviews to this angle, and there seems to be a lot of criticism over Dolph putting his title match in jeopardy even when he had nothing to gain. I don’t do negativity here, so think of this as my In Defense of Ziggler or something like that.
Now, normally I too would groan and eye roll at the thought of someone voluntarily putting a title shot (or a title for that matter) on the line for nothing in return. Heck, even if there is something to gain, most of the time whatever is put up against the title or title shot is usually not worth it. I would think that here, but if not for one detail, Ziggler didn’t immediately accept.
After making his way backstage, Ziggler was met by Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon who assured Ziggler that he wouldn’t have to defend his title shot against Wyatt. Ziggler blew up at both men, interpreting their tone as an indication that he wasn’t good enough to retain the title shot. That’s why Ziggler put the title shot on the line. He felt they assumed Bray would win if he did defend his title shot and he couldn’t stand that. His character isn’t one to accept others not believing in him and not believing he can accomplish what he sets his mind to. His character had to put the title shot on the line.
This was a turning point for Ziggler’s character. After being on the losing side of things for far too long as of late, Ziggler needs to prove this title shot isn’t a fluke. I thought the situation on Tuesday night added a bit of legitimacy to Ziggler’s title shot and helped give his character a fuller story as we move close to SummerSlam. Ziggler’s character is now that of someone who knows how good he is and has proven it in the past, but feels others have now written him off as being left to live in his past accomplishments. Ziggler’s need to win the title at SummerSlam is now even stronger and there’s more to invest in now when it comes to that match. If Ziggler wins, it’s his character’s ultimate response to would be critics. If he loses, it will necessitate a change of some sort in his character, as he would be bankrupt of swagger and void of anything worth showing off about.
I also approved of this segment because everyone around Ziggler openly admitted that it was foolish of him to put his title shot on the line with nothing to gain. It wasn’t a case of WWE wanting you to overlook how unwise Ziggler was being, just so they could throw together the main event for Tuesday night. The WWE Champion himself, Dean Ambrose, said that he would’ve gotten his revenge on Wyatt in the parking lot if he were Ziggler as opposed to giving him the match he did. It played perfectly into Ziggler’s paranoia that “no one” believed in him.
So, as we go towards SummerSlam, we have a WWE Title match between a guy who prides himself in being a rebel and walking to the beat of his own drum, who fought, scratched, and clawed to get to the title in Dean Ambrose going against a man who has proven he can be a world champion and has been praised for his abilities since the day he walked into the company, but feels forgotten and underestimated now in Dolph Ziggler. My interest level in this match is a lot higher now, than it was before Tuesday night. Mission accomplished.
EC3 is Bound for Glory, will Lashley or Storm be Champion?
Before I get started, I should point out that I’m not someone who reads spoilers, so I did not know who was going on to Bound for Glory as the number one contender until Impact aired this past Thursday night. I thought the finals of the tournament gave us a really good match-up, as either EC3 or Mike Bennett could have worked moving forward. I also like the idea of Bobby Lashley going after the one singles title he doesn’t have, the King of the Mountain Championship.
I really enjoyed the opening segment from this week’s Impact as the back and forth between EC3 and Bennett was very well done. I think these two work extremely well together and I think TNA would be smart to keep these two around each other for years to come, as I think the company should build around these two men as the centerpieces of their roster. EC3 has transitioned this year into being the top face of the company quite nicely and he does a great job playing the sarcastic, cocky face. Bennett on the other hand compliments EC3 in the cockiness department, but his god complex character is a great juxtaposition to EC3 and I think he’s the most complete character TNA has on the heel side of things.
The best part of this match-up, however, was the fact that both EC3 and Bennett could have logically went on to face Lashley at Bound for Glory. They both have issues with Lashley, with EC3 and Lashley having a past that goes back to Lashley’s return to the company a few years back and Bennett, along with Moose (who I’ve thoroughly enjoyed thus far in TNA), have had a couple of run-ins with Lashley as of late. So, I like that the main event didn’t feel like a foregone conclusion. I think EC3 was the better choice here and I think his match-up with Lashley will be a big moment for TNA and I’d like to see EC3 go over there as well.
Of course, I guess it’s possible that Lashley might not be the one defending the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Bound for Glory. Next week’s Impact is live(ish) so TNA could always throw a wrench into things, but I hope that isn’t the case. In fact, I’d love to see Lashley win the Legends/Global/TV/King of the Mountain Title, unify it with the World Title and make it disappear forever. Maybe they can send it back to Booker T as a get well present as he recovers from his recent elbow surgery? Anyway, I think having Lashley look like a beast with all the belts is a great way to make him look strong as possible heading into TNA’s biggest show of the year. No disrespect to James Storm, but the main event of Bound for Glory needs to be Lashley vs. EC3.
– Dusty Rhodes was honored Friday night during the Hall of Legends Induction Ceremony at the NWA Legends Fanfest held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The American Dream will be inducted by his friend Magnum TA. Jim Ross wrote an excellent piece about the ceremony, which you can read right here.
– It was announced that Cody Rhodes will face Kurt Angle on October 8, for WCPW. I’m glad to see Cody’s “After 8/19” list is taking shape.
– This week’s Ross Report podcast featured an interview with current ROH World Champion, Jay Lethal. You should definitely check out this interview as we quickly approach Death Before Dishonor on the 19th of this month. Listen to it here.
– The opening to Raw was really fun this week. I’m becoming a bigger mark for Enzo as the days go by. Also, Chris Jericho is the master of reinvention and his latest character change over the past few months has been so enjoyable to watch, especially when he encounters stupid idiots.
Well, that’s it for this week. Feel free to give me a follow on twitter. Until next time, stay positive!