Favourite Five

Reasons To Be Cheerful | Ali, NWA & WWE 2K20

Shaun Pond rounds off this wrestling week by giving you five reasons to be cheerful.

This week has not been a kind one to us wrestling fans. It would be easy to dwell on the overwhelming negative that was the main event of Hell in a Cell or indeed in the disappointing Raw that followed it.

People who are doing just that can be forgiven as it seems that the WWE is laughing in fan’s faces right now. Let’s not forget though that despite these unfortunate events, there are still plenty of positives to be found in our favourite pastime. 

Be it in AEW, WWE, or any of the other of the legion companies out there, good things are happening. Here are just a handful of them to bring a smile or two to those of us who need it. 

5. Interesting Cross-Sport Angles

Wrestling has a mixed history when it comes to bringing in stars from other sports. For every Mike Tyson there is a Tito Ortiz but when the stars align, and it all comes together these cameos can produce magic. Somehow, the WWE have two such situations right now. 

Over on Smackdown Cain Velasquez has shown up far sooner than anyone thought he was going to be able to and has immediately declared war on Brock Lesnar, ostensibly in defence of Rey Mysterio. With this pairing you have the benefit of a legitimate history stemming from their previous fight in UFC. This will be invaluable to building a heated story that people will pay to see conclude down the line. On top of that you have the fact that Brock Lesnar is a fantastic wrestler when he’s of a mind to be and Velasquez has shown early signs of promise in his own match in AAA. It is easy to be cynical over Brock winning the WWE Championship in such quick fashion but if the payoff is this blockbuster encounter then it should serve to lessen the blow somewhat. 

On the Raw side of things, you have the more ”out of nowhere” feud between Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury. Anyone who said that they saw this one coming is an out and out liar as it is, on the surface, a nonsensical pairing. The most they have in common is that Fury is a World Championship winning boxer and Strowman likes to invite people to “Get these hands”. It’s not much to build a feud off of but Tyson’s innate charisma coupled with Braun’s over the top character could well make for a sensational bout. There’s plenty of cynicism surrounding this but let’s be optimistic for once and look forward to something a little different. 

4. Ali is the Best Human

So, this entry doesn’t entirely relate to anything happening on either brand at the moment, but rather it serves to highlight just how much of a role model Ali truly is. In fact, he is the man who inspired me to produce this weekly list of positivity. 

The man is so kind hearted that it is inspiring to see his interactions with his fans. One such exchange on Twitter recently saw a fan (Detective Chimp @dirk_fn_anger on Twitter) of Ali’s mention to his other half that he’d love to meet the Superstar at an upcoming show but was not able to afford to do so. Most wrestlers would not have responded to the tweet, much less do what Ali did which was to tell the fan that he would try to sort it so that he could come along anyway. 

There are so many examples of Ali interacting with people via social media and in real life, spreading love and compassion at every turn. The world needs more people like this and I for one hope that he is given more screen time each week in order to not only wow the crowd with his unbelievable athleticism but also to spread his message as it is definitely one that the world needs to hear right. He’s a good person who does what he does not for recognition or acclaim but instead to help people. Certain world leaders could take note of that. 

3. With A Flake, Please.

For those of you not in the know when it comes to the UK wrestling scene, Progress are the premier promotion in the country. Each chapter they present tends to be stacked to the rafters with the very best talent available and Chapter 99 looks to be no different. 

Whilst this show is not being held until December 15th the hype has already started as Kassius Ohno vs. Timothy Thatcher has been added to the card. This is sure to be hard hitting affair and a rare chance for the non-NXT crowd to watch the severely underutilised Ohno in action. 

Expect the card to slowly be revealed en route to the event and for many more mouth-watering collisions to be announced. Eddie Dennis is sure to be central figure on the card and you won’t want to miss his potential comeuppance for what he did to your favourite wrestler’s favourite wrestler, David Starr.

2. NWA Powerrr

In what might seem like a headline from the mid-eighties, the NWA are back on television! Sort of. 

The long since relevant group have seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few years with Billy Corgan at the helm and an influx of new talent working tirelessly on each card. Now they are producing weekly content via their social media streams and it has a delightfully old school feel to it. 

If you’re a fan of Jim Cornette and, like him, yearn for a time when wrestling made a bit more sense then this is the show for you. That’s not to say it’s stuck in the past, it certainly embraces certain elements of the modern day, but so to does it revel in what made the NWA such a force to be reckoned with in the first place. 

Nick Aldis finally looks the part as their face of the company and the roster around him has such a different vibe to that of any other company out there right now. If you get the chance, then you should absolutely check out this debut episode just to see what else wrestling can offer outside of the current big two. 

1. WWE 2K20’s My Career is Inclusive

Long overdue isn’t even the word to describe this move from 2K and Yukes. For the entirety of the series, stretching back to the halcyon days of THQ, it has been a male focused affair that only ever offers a little taste of women’s wrestling. Finally, though that is set to change as 2K have revealed that in this year’s game you will be able to play as both a male and female character in My Career Mode. 

WWE 2K20 may not look to have changed much from last years instalment, as is always the way with these games, but this is something that should excite long time fans. The call for a female focused career mode has gathered steam ever since the dawn of the women’s revolution and now it is a reality. 

The fact that you will split your time between a female and male wrestler is, in itself, a breath of fresh air as no longer will players find themselves stuck trudging through the same match over and over hitting the same few moves in order to advance a tepid storyline. Now there will be variety and that will keep people playing for far longer. 

I truly hope that looking through these has given you at least some joy or pointed you in the direction of where you can find some. If you are having a hard time, then keep your chin up and know that there’s a whole wrestling community here for you to reach out to should you ever need it.

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You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Impers0nalJesus. Thanks for reading!

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