Triple Z discusses SmackDown moving to FOX, NXT making the jump to USA Network, AEW prepping for its first PPV in the TNT era, and some WWE Draft ideas to hype the product.
Well, ZWrestleTalk is six. That's really something because this site has gone through a lot of changes over the years but one thing remains the same. It will be the place for me and others to share their opinions on the fantastic and sometimes frustrating world of professional wrestling.
Last year I spent a lot of the anniversary post covering ZWrestleTalk. This year we are going to focus on some hot topics instead. It's simply been too long since I've written about wrestling and a lot has happened that I can't always get to in my monthly predictions!
SmackDown on FOX
I'm still super curious to see how this will work. We have heard numerous rumors about SmackDown on FOX. Even that FOX wanted "Attitude Era" WWE for SmackDown. The other rumor was that FOX wanted a sports presentation that felt more cinematic.
Eric Bischoff, the main guy behind WCW, is taking over SmackDown as Executive Director. What changes will Bischoff bring? That remains to be seen. Yet the roles of Heyman and Bischoff will wield more power than previous positions. Please, let's not kid ourselves Vince is doing this so he doesn't have to micromanage shows anymore. He still might but at least on paper he has the creatives who could very well handle their own shows. I honestly don't blame him. Vince doesn't need to do the hustle anymore.
I also have to assume Bischoff will be an on-screen character. He is too good not to use. I think utilizing mainstream talent will be the key for Bischoff's SmackDown. Similar to the SmackDown commercial that showcased a mix of legends and popular superstars. I wouldn't be surprised SmackDown be the home of the mainstream stars like Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair. Granted, these mainstream stars aren't as recognizable as John Cena, Undertaker, The Rock, Rey Mysterio, and Stone Cold but if they have any bit of mainstream pub I'm sure FOX will want them. I give FOX credit for at least attempting to make WWE more mainstream again.
This should also mean that WWE is calling Ronda Rousey to get her on that first SmackDown show. Rousey is still WWE's biggest female star. FOX needs the names. I wouldn't be surprised if they get Brock Lesnar too. WWE is going to need ratings help because the pressure of getting good ratings on FOX will be higher than it was on USA, SyFy, MyTV, etc. I can't imagine FOX cancelling SmackDown but I can see them moving it to FS1 if things ever went south.
The timeslot of the show is 8PM on Friday nights on the main FOX network. The show will remain at two hours and still be live. I like the move to Friday. I think Friday Night SmackDown just works. It will make WWE's television watching schedule more spread out (somewhat). RAW will be on Monday, NXT on Wednesday, and SmackDown on Friday.
SmackDown's success will remain on how different the show can be. The other task at hand. Which is very similar to Tony Khan's goal of AEW will be can the shows attract former fans of pro wrestling and create new fans of pro wrestling? It seems like FOX, USA, and TNT are all betting on WWE/AEW seeing if this turns out to be another wrestling renaissance like the nineties were.
Bigger question remains... Will the set be different? I'm expecting an old school look to compliment that old school hybrid logo.
NXT on USA
NXT moving to USA Network is a calculated move. Is it necessarily a smart move? Yes, obviously from a business perspective it is. From a fan standpoint? It could end up damaging NXT pretty bad. Now that we know the show will stay at Full Sail University. That raises my interest for NXT on USA. The roster right now is absolutely stacked. There is only one issue I see with it.
Will NXT still remain as a true developmental brand? Remember some of these talents aren't ready and it doesn't matter how many indie promotions they were at before. WWE likes their wrestlers to be ready and have the understanding of how WWE runs matches and its production. There is a good chance some people may be overexposed. NXT's roster is deep but how deep will it be once this show really gets rolling. The show has the blessing of keeping wrestlers like Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream, Io Shirai, Candice Lerae, Undisputed Era, and others. Those talents are ready for the likes of RAW and SmackDown so having them establish NXT will be good. The bigger worry will be when NXT goes through the transition periods. After WWE does a drain of the brand to reload its main shows. What will be left? It's obvious WWE will continue to lock up talent but will it matter if they aren't truly ready? Obviously, the only people appearing on NXT will be people that are ready similar to now but still it will be interesting to see how the brand remains fresh especially when it goes through an inevitable rebuild after WrestleMania 36.
Heck, I feel like the move is very uninspired on WWE's end. This would have been nerve-wracking even without AEW being on Wednesday nights. Why screw a good aspect of the WWE Network over? Why screw up a great aspect of WWE? It makes sense why they are going to USA Network but it does make the WWE Network less special. Even if WWE is pulling a Hulu-like deal with USA where episodes of NXT are available the next day on the network. I get Vince doesn't like competition but he just legitimatized AEW in a big way. WWE fans can twist it but at the end of the day this looks like a panic move from WWE.
Am I looking forward to the new two hour NXT? I mean of course but a part of me still wonders how this move to USA Network will affect NXT TakeOver's. If NXT starts losing its quality and they lose what made that brand special it will be an unforgivable mistake.
AEW Full Gear
AEW will be hosting another PPV event in November. This time it will be the first PPV during the TNT era. Full Gear is going to tell us a lot about AEW's production and its roster. This will be the first time AEW will have to do a go home show before a PPV. It will also mark the first time they get a chance to run a show a couple days after a big event. Something that Double or Nothing could've benefited from.
The one thing I don't understand in their build to Full Gear. Why announce Cody vs Jericho for the championship? This feud has some serious potential. Why just announce it randomly? This could've been built through the weeks of television. Of course, AEW (Cody) backpedaled and said that "the card could change." It very well could but that just creates another issue similar to All Out. Moxley/Omega was going to happen then it was pulled because of Moxley's injury. It would look even worse on AEW if Cody/Jericho is advertised and they pull it without good reason other then that they announced it way too early.
Then again this promotion is trying to be different. It seems like they may want to go the UFC route. Announce championship matches with the top talent. AEW may abandon the whole pro wrestling notion of doing true blue storylines and focus on the records of the talent. Which would take some getting use to but could pay off.
I'm excited for Moxley/Omega at Full Gear. That match has serious potential and we have been waiting for it since Double or Nothing ended. The rest of the card we don't know yet but I would assume we will be seeing The Young Bucks, SCU, newly-signed Santana and Ortiz, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Hangman Page, and PAC. I would also expect to see Shawn Spears and Tully Blanchard raising trouble again, and having MJF take on Spears at the event.
The only thing that AEW is going to run into will be how often will they be running these $50 PPV events. Even though having to pay $50 for a PPV makes it feel like a bigger deal than just flipping on the WWE Network. At the end of the day it is still $50! I wouldn't be surprised if we get a clearer understanding of AEW's PPV model in 2020 because I have a feeling that the current model won't last too long considering you are competing against WWE Network which only costs $9.99 a month. Maybe WarnerMedia digs AEW and puts them on HBO or even HBO Max. That could be intriguing for wrestling fans.
AEW on TNT on Wednesday nights doesn't have a name yet. I think we can all expect it to be called Wednesday Night Dynamite. That's what AEW trademarked even before they announced the company. Although the show will face stiff competition I'm hoping it puts up good ratings and gives us a true number two Wrestling company that we have desperately needed. Hopefully, it's a good enough alternative that it scares the 800 pound gorilla known as WWE.
WWE Draft Ideas
So, WWE is planning a draft to officially kick off the FOX era of SmackDown. The draft will start on SmackDown on October 11 and then it will conclude on the following RAW. WWE has abandoned the draft concept since its latest brand split. Instead they have done the "Superstar Shake Up" which was awful. Now it looks like WWE will be doing a real sports feel for its draft. Here are some simple ideas:
I'm all for WWE going through changes. As it feels like WWE as a whole outside of NXT has really been dragging. Even though WWE is doing well financially it just feels like the entire company hasn't been as entertaining as it should be. I'm hoping with Heyman/Bischoff, FOX, and AEW will help change the way WWE has been.
Well, the next time you'll be hearing from me will be for WWE Clash of Champions which is this Sunday. I'll probably also be back to discuss AEW's first couple weeks of TV. So, keep your eyes open for new posts to the site.
Thanks for reading!
Well, I didn't expect WWE to exactly retaliate against AEW. I mean the latter just started. Certainly, WWE was going to try right?
Nope, I was wrong. What a shame. The show is in a sad state. Yeah, Ricochet/Cesaro was okay but not memorable. Rollins/Zayn are an okay main event but the show as a whole seems bored. The "wild card" rule blurs the lines in a horrible way. "The Firefly Funhouse" is an attempt at doing something different. I personally think it's pretty bad but I know others admire it. The 24/7 Championship has massive potential but the lack of hardcore aspects and the same locations being used is disappointing.
Sami Zayn directly mentioned AEW tonight. Something that we didn't think was going to happen at all on WWE television. That was a shocking highlight. Yet that is a bad sign. When your competitor is mentioned it shouldn't be the most groundbreaking part of the show.
My writer Dom Bouchard has been tweeting up a storm. He's obviously disappointed in the state of the WWE. Here are two of his tweets that got some attention.
Both were liked by who Dom tagged. Dom brought up the point that Kalisto is no longer used as a wrestler and that the luchadors in general are used as cheap jokes. Dom's second tweet basically confirms Road Dogg is going to work in NXT. Which is fantastic news for Road Dogg, as he will be a valuable addition to NXT's creative and development team. If you look at these two tweets it is hard to ignore WWE has morale issues. More for Kalisto than Road Dogg. The locker room isn't feeling appreciated. That's not good especially with the looming threat of AEW.
Overall, RAW's Memorial Day episode was brutally boring. Hey at least we get Brock Lesnar jamming out pretending his briefcase is a boombox? I'm sure SmackDown tomorrow will just be more of the same. The "wild card" rule sucks out all the fun. It really does. I use to get excited to watch SmackDown to see The New Day, Daniel Bryan, Andrade, and others. Now that feeling is gone when you realize RAW stars along with Roman Reigns/Shane McMahon will take up majority of that screen time.
WWE has a lot of time to turn it around though. The FOX deal doesn't kick in until this fall. AEW doesn't start weekly TV until the fall. Will AEW affect WWE's viewership? Unlikely but still a new wrestling product could attract fans of old and new.
As I end this depressing RAW review blog. One question remains for WWE.
How can you make the product exciting and fun again?
It will be fascinating to see how this plays out.
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Dom Bouchard gives his top 25 tag teams of all time.
25. Killer Bees
A very underrated team and they were part of the golden era of tag teams.
24. Kendrick and London
The best team in the worst period for tag team wrestling in the WWE. They were fast and very good at double team moves. Lack of charisma killed their push.
23. Wild Samoans
The best heel team of the early years.Wild and aggressive and a very good gimmick.
22. Strike Force
Tito Santana and Rick Martel were a very underrated team. They were fast and coordinated even though they had limited offense. They were pure white meat babyfaces.
21. The Revival
No worries they will keep climbing, they are the absolutely a throwback to a bygone era of old school. They are better athletes than you imagine and they are very good heels.
20. The Bar
Same here, this team is only hitting its prime. Sheamus and Cesaro are also throwbacks and extremely strong and athletic. They are absolutely cool to boo.
19. Brain Busters
Arn and Tully had a very short run in the WWE but they are one of the best teams ever. Double teaming masters and good offense. Great heels all around.
18. Natural Disasters
Earthquake and Typhoon were the biggest team and they were extremely effective heels. Earthquake was a great wrestler.
17. Iron Sheik and Volkoff
Truer heels never existed. They were terrible in the ring but their gimmick back then was captivating enough to keep fans entertained for stories.
16. Tony Atlas and Ricky Johnson
Strong guys and good wrestlers they were very good together. They played their roles perfectly
15. Nasty Boys
Sags and Knobbs were brawlers with a great gimmick and they had a good run, and were really entertaining.
14. Money Inc.
The Million Dollar Man and IRS were very good mat wrestlers and meshed well together. They had a great run and were good heels.
13. Steiner Brothers
Even though they had a short WWE run this is one of the most athletic tag team ever. Scott was a beast, and he went on to have an impressive singles career which spanned from WCW, WWE, and TNA.
12. Dudley Boyz
The ECW team wasn't loaded with talent but they had a good badass look and cool personalities. Their hardcore style and usage of tables lead them to become one of the best tag teams. The Dudley Boyz also have one of the best tag team finishers in the game.
11. Legion of Doom
Sadly they were past their primes. The limited but legendary Road Warriors were not as dominant and intimidating as they were in smaller men territories.
10. The New Day
The most entertaining team of all time and all underrated wrestlers especially Xavier Woods, and they will go down as an all time elite team.
9. British Bulldogs
They came to the WWE and Dynamite Kid was already not as great as before. He was injury prone and the team suffered because of it. They had a good feud with the Hart Foundation then faded a little. They were innovative and exciting. The British Bulldogs were still able to be a top team.
8. Benjamin and Haas
Very good tag team, extremely athletic, and were not used to their full potential. That's why they are eighth on my list.
7. New Age Outlaws
As Brian James said on my podcast. "We never used tag team moves, we didn't dress the same, but still people loved us." They were successful with doing little but achieving a lot. The New Age Outlaws even proved their ageless abilities when they came back for another tag team run.
A badass team with more talent than being given credit for, and a very intimidating look and music.
5. The Hardy Boyz
Jeff at his peak was a wonderful athlete and could do amazing things in the ring. Matt was a solid mat wrestler and they were the best for a long time. Putting on countless classics.
4. Aleister Black and Ricochet
Even in their short period of time I'm convinced if they ever reunite these two singles stars could dominate the tag team division for years to come. They are already one of the best teams to ever do it. They are already on the list because talent wise they have more athleticism than everyone else on the list combined.
3. Hart Foundation
Legendary team and both guys brought something different to the table. They were great at double team moves.
2. Edge and Christian
Hey they could have been my number one but they were my all time favorite heel asshole tag team. Very talented and innovative and that's why they are number two on my list.
1. The Uso's
Jimmy and Jey are now the greatest tag team ever, and they earned it through hard work and flashy moves along with great character development. Since Day One-ish the twins have been awesome.
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Another WrestleMania in the books. The event started at 5PM on the east coast, and it finished early Monday morning. WrestleMania did go smoothly for the most part. Overall the card was really good despite being major predictable. I went 11-5 on my predictions, and that gives me a winning record. Yes, I have been watching wrestling for years so you would expect me to be on the money with predictions but still. It's crazy I had that good of a record.
Being predictable isn't always bad. Yet some of the execution fell flat. Like Brock Lesnar has been a mainstay for years. He lost in such an awkward fashion. Daniel Bryan's match with Lesnar was far better. Brock Lesnar shouldn't be wrestling for two minutes at WrestleMania. I know some fans are glowing that the man who has kept the title hostage is no longer champion. I disagree because that payoff was horrific. Honestly if you wanted a slay the beast angle you just give Finn Balor the title at Royal Rumble.The Lesnar match just was bad, and I do laugh at fans that actually think Lesnar is "sexist" and that he was *actually* mad he wasn't the main event. I feel like these fans try to act smart but then they forget the commentary team doesn't discuss real details. Lesnar could care less about not main eventing. He makes money either way.
The four kickoff matches delivered. Tony Nese winning is cool and 205 Live is becoming WWE's niche brand among the NXT's. Carmella winning the battle royal was a smart call. Still don't know why WWE treats Mickie James so bad. Hawkins and Ryder winning gold again is crazy. Then Braun is going to Braun. Still a lot of guys in that battle royal could've been used in better matches.
AJ Styles taking on Randy Orton was fine. It had potential to be match of the but it didn't quite get there. Orton can still give fantastic performances, and Styles still matches up well and gets the most out of anyone.
The fatal four way for the SmackDown tag team titles was exhilarating due to the amount of talent in that match. Considering most of the talent could've had their own WrestleMania singles matches. A lot of the players in this match will be in more significant roles at WrestleMania 36.
Shane McMahon taking on The Miz was a fun brawl. The Miz losing added an element of surprise. Falls Count Anywhere proves to be a well-done concept especially at WrestleMania. The IIconics won the tag team championships. Hopefully, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce hold the titles until next year. Make the new belts prestigious. This is where I do give WWE props from not putting the titles on Nia Jax and Tamina.
Kofi Kingston finally overcame Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. The match had all the close falls and emotional cues. Kofi Kingston winning the championship was probably the best moment overall at WrestleMania. Not to mention Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan put on the best overall match at the event. It was really one of the only moments where I thought to myself.
"This is something we will remember a couple years from now."
Most of the WrestleMania results were happy. Also, this year's Mania was really good. I wouldn't say it is anywhere near the best ever. Maybe the event will age better with time. Despite the odd predictability. The event did provide some shining moments. Like the Ron Simmons cameo along with the Scott Hall and Kevin Nash segment. Plus the Hall of Fame class was so good this year that segment was fun to watch.
Now back to the rest of the card. Samoa Joe put Rey Mysterio to sleep. Poor Rey didn't deserve that. WWE should've called an audible. Have Samoa Joe face off with someone else. Then we got Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre which was fine with the ten minutes it got. I think fans were still reeling from Kofi that these next two matches were going to be whatever either way.
Now the match of Batista and Triple H was fantastic. I get fans wanted it to go faster because there was a lot left on the card. I didn't care. This was a complete story. Batista came back and attacked Ric Flair. In the match they lived up to the "No Holds Barred" standard. Which is crazy to think that all the older guys do hardcore stuff (Shane, Batista, and HHH) and none of the younger guys do hardcore stuff. The match was a fantastic finale for Batista's epic career.
Baron Corbin beat Kurt Angle. Which ended Angle's illustrious career. I guess Kurt Angle follows the dumb "go out on your back" tradition that I hate. Corbin has gained a big win on his resumè.
Finn Balor taking on Bobby Lashley was truly whatever. It's sad to see the lack of care for The Demon character. It's also sad that match we have seen on RAW and countless pay-per-views was on the card at WrestleMania.
The Main Event
Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey were the main event of WrestleMania. Even though the ref got the punishment. They botched the ending of the match. It was just terrible psychology. If Becky was suppose to end the match with Rousey tapping out a la to Daniel Bryan tapping out Batista. They shouldn't of attempted that cover. The poor ref went too fast, and it ruined the big moment. The rest of the match was alright. It wasn't earth shattering by any means.
The match was alright. It could've been better. Overall it was a fun main event despite starting at midnight.
WrestleMania 35 was a charismatic event despite being way too long. It had few memorable moments. Overall, it was good event but on the scale of WrestleMania it feels smalls. Maybe WWE is over doing it and that's why WrestleMania felt less special. The matches were good. Some of the booking wasn't as smart and WWE has the most stacked roster in the world yet they aren't utilizing it to its full potential. My favorite matches were easily Kingston/Bryan, HHH/Batista, and Miz/Shane. The key point is that storylines matter. That's why Rollins/Lesnar wasn't as exciting because the story was non-existent. We can even make the same argument that the main event forgot what made it the main event.
WrestleMania 35 was a successful and grand watch despite being too long and forgetting what made WrestleMania special. Hopefully, WrestleMania 36 can continue the success of Mania but adjusting the overall approach. More storytelling and less matches would benefit the event. Make every match important and make every match feel like a dream match.
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Dom Bouchard ranks his current top 50 wrestlers within WWE's sprawling empire. Including NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live talent.
50. Trent Seven
As a member of Moustache Mountain with the amazing Tyler Bate. Seven is a great underrated, seasoned veteran with a flair for the babyface in peril that is lost on many of today's young stars.
49. TJP (TJ Perkins)
Even though TJP has been released from WWE. I felt the need of including him on my top 50. One of the best wrestler in the world in my opinion. A technical wizard that is also super fast. It is a shame he was never on NXT tearing it up with Ricochet and Johnny Gargano.
48. Chad Gable
Definitely one of the best pure athlete in the world, and Gable is a suplex master. He is able to fight from underneath and has great charisma.
47. The Miz
Yes, on the promo side he is top 5, but as a wrestler he is way better than some people say. He is safe, reliable, and has great timing. A guy you can count on to raise his game when it counts.
46. Braun Strowman
The big guy is getting better. He still has a limited move set, but he is so believable as a strong monster that it compensates for any shortcomings. He is way better than Big Show ever was.
45. Shinsuke Nakamura
The enigmatic Nak is a guy who could be so much better, but he has a very bad work ethic and his saving grace is his extraordinary charisma and theme song. The most limited move set I have seen in recent memory.
The dude has it all. Charisma, strength ,and talent. If he is taken seriously and used as more than just comic relief he has the potential to be a world champion. He has a very good move set and can be a heel or a face.
43. Cedric Alexander
One word to describe Cedric Alexander is spectacular. This kid has all the tools to become a main event babyface. A run on NXT would do wonders to help him get more recognition. He can fight, fly, and is an all around 5 star performer.
42. Jordan Devlin
Devlin is from NXT UK. This Irish bruiser has a chip on his shoulder and he is one of the most believable wrestler in the world. He has the ring savvy and the looks to become a very good upper mid carder.
41. Xavier Woods
A very underrated young athlete, Xavier can fly and is a strong man. He could be a 205 megastar or remain tag champ with Big E.
The Celtic Warrior is a Hall of Famer who gets better with age. His move set is unbelievable, and his strength is out of this world. His brogue kick is absolutely devastating He is also very cool and charismatic.
The big has all the tools to become WWE Champion. All he needs is the chance to prove it.
38. Dean Ambrose
The lunatic fringe is a great workhorse and he has to rediscover his passion. When he is on, only a few can match Ambrose's intensity.
The huge WALTER is a very impressive athlete that really has the talent to be the new monster in the WWE. He is agile and his chops are so stiff, it hurts just looking at them.
36. Brock Lesnar
A freak athlete who seems to still be on top of his game. Limited offense but he is so unique and every match is must see. His biggest strength is his selling. A future WWE Hall of Famer.
35. Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston is like wine he just gets better with age. He is the ultimate professional. Highly athletic and deceptively strong. He deserves a world title run and a main event push.
34. The Revival
Both these guys brought back old school tag team wrestling. They are surprisingly fast and their offense is awesome. They have the best tag team finisher. They are also strong promo guys. Top guys.
33. Matt Riddle
This guy is a future WWE world champion. His unique style and extraordinary mat skills are out of this world bro.
32. Kassius Ohno
The most underrated wrestler in the world. Kassius Ohno is absolutely amazing. His strikes are so believable. He can move well for such a big guy and can sell extremely well too.
31. Apollo Crews
Too easy. This man is so talented, and it is scary. He can fly and throw you into the tenth row. A freak athlete missing one key ingredient and that's charisma. Give him Lio Rush, and this man will soar to greater heights.
30. Adam Cole
Cole is a very good athlete. His biggest assets are his charisma and selling. Offense is a different story. If he wants to get to the top as a WWE champion. He will need to add to his superkicks.
29. Sami Zayn
The underdog is a wonderful wrestler. He is an artist. He can fight all styles and no one sells like he can. He has a very great arsenal of moves.
28. Bray Wyatt
The eater of worlds is a very good athlete. Deceptively fast and strong, He can move well for such a big man. His promo skills are amazing and he has all the tools to add a few more WWE title reigns to his resumè.
27. Randy Orton
The RKO and great facial expressions along with his all-time charisma levels. Randy is winding down a very good career but he is still able to perform at a high level. His WrestleMania match with AJ Styles may be one of his bests. As Orton faces another indie darling.
26. Bobby Lashley
This is a freak athlete that can be WWE champion.The strength he has is unbelievable and he is also very good at selling. Lio Rush covers his one weakness and that is charisma.
25. Roderick Strong
This man is the master of backbreakers and suplexes. Determined, fast, persistent, and a very underrated performer.Roddy will be a future NXT champion.
24. AJ Styles
AJ is still a world class wrestler but he is getting slower every match. He is still a unique talent who can fight any kind of opponents. His best days are behind but he can still go with the best of them.
The Swiss Superman is the best pure athlete along with Seth Rollins. He is strong ,fast, versatile, and can go at a fast pace without missing a step. Cesaro is the ultimate pro and he deserves so much more.
22. Kevin Owens
KO is the best promo guy in the WWE. He is even better than Paul Heyman. In the ring the big guy is unique and his frog splash and pop up power bomb are awesome finishers.He will thrive as a babyface.
21. Tony Nese
Okay some people will say what? But hear me out, this guy is the complete package. He has the physique, charisma, strength ,and he can fly like Kalisto. He can become an Intercontinental champion one day.
20. Big E
He is a future WWE champion. Big E is strong, fast, and charismatic. He will dominate for years.
19. Rey Mysterio
He is better than he ever was. This man is amazing. He is an ultimate pro, and he will go down as one of the greatest ever. He can still fly and wrestle as good as anyone.
18. Roman Reigns
He doesn't do much but what he does he does well. He is a strong athlete and all he needs is to add to his arsenal. It gets old after a while. Still can be a world champion. I still think he needs some improvements.
17. The Uso's
The twins are the best tag team ever and individually are two amazing athletes. They are strong, extremely fast, and can fly like cruiserweights.
16. Aleister Black
This man is so unique, and he will be a main event act for years to come. His unique offense and kicks are devastating. His fade to black kick is the new RKO.
15. Buddy Murphy
He was the best kept secret in WWE. Now the word is out and The Juggernaut is a force to be reckoned with. Murphy's finisher is out of this world, and he has scary good potential.
14. Tyler Bate
The big strong boi is an amazing athlete and is only 22 years old. There is no limit for Tyler. He can be the most dominant wrestler of the next 15 years.
13. Velveteen Dream
The kid is the future of the WWE. The most charismatic athlete since The Rock, he has skills. Promo skills and an aura that makes him unique. Watching him is an experience. If he rounds up his offense a little more, he will be the best in the world.
12. Samoa Joe
This big man has all the tools to dominate WWE. He is a master at promos and he can fight any style. He is the complete package.
11. Drew McIntyre
An absolute monster of a man. His offense is second to none, and he can dominate against all kinds of opponents.He will be WWE champion soon.
10. Kyle O'Reilly
This is a one of a kind athlete that can dominate for years. He is a striker and a master of submissions who can elevate his game if he goes solo. Future NXT champion.
9. Mustafa Ali
Sky is the limit for this young athlete. He is a tremendous high flyer with a wonderful arsenal of moves. His promo skills are getting better too. His selling is top notch.
The one and only is a once in a generation athlete. He is almost superhuman. If he adds more charisma and more mat wrestling he will be the most dominant WWE wrestler of the next 10 years.
7. Johnny Gargano
Johnny Wrestling is the best fight from underneath wrestler in the world, and he keeps adding to his already good repertoire of moves. He is a good promo guy too.
Yes he may have lost the name "Cien Almas" but he hasn't lost his world elite talents. He will be WWE champion many times. The man has everything.The look, talent, and the manager.He is next level.
5. Finn Balor
The extraordinary man is an extraordinary wrestler and he will be WWE champion soon. He has everything. He is so fast and his offense is crisp and awesome. He can sell his ass off and he has charisma.
4. Tommaso Ciampa
This man is NXT. He is the face that runs the place. The best heel in the business and a wonderful wrestler. His move set varies and he is also very quick.
3. Daniel Bryan
The evil vegan is a master of the ring. No one is as passionate as Daniel Bryan, no one.He can still perform at a high level. He is a mat technician and a skilled high flyer.
2. Pete Dunne
This kid is a next level athlete who has a unique look and the best offense of any wrestler in the world. He is a stiff striker and can fly with the cruiserweight's. The future is now with the bruiserweight. Dunne should be the first from NXT UK to be on the main roster.
1. Seth Rollins
The Kingslayer and future Beastslayer is without a doubt the man in the WWE. The best athlete, the best wrestler, reliable and he's a workhorse. He is a great babyface and can sell like a champ. He is the face of the WWE for the next few years.
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ZWrestleTalk columnist Amanda Vila examines Dean Ambrose.
The rumors surrounding Dean Ambrose are interesting, to say the least. For several weeks now the rumor mill (and WWE itself) indicated that Dean Ambrose would be gone from WWE after WrestleMania. The man was not renewing his contract, no matter how much money they'd throw at him, and that left him to be a free agent.
The prospect of this man moving to AEW was definitely something I was looking forward to. He's a unique character in that it's impossible to force a certain character trait to his name; much like Becky Lynch or Kevin Owens.
When they're allowed free reign is when they do their best work and become the most appealing version of themselves for the WWE audience.
Forcing the Lunatic Fringe angle on Dean post-SHIELD, and this new Bane-esque villainy did not do the man any favors. Personally I think it hindered him. He was best in the SHIELD and for some time after the breakup (plus his run as champion on SmackDown) when they weren't forcing him to be an absolute lunatic. When he just did what seemed to work best: a silly, sassy smart ass that really liked to hurt people, was more entertaining.
Now the rumors of Dean leaving are disappearing as a result of Roman's return.
As much as I'd miss Dean in the WWE and the prospect of a SHIELD reunion at any moment, I feel like this could be another downfall. Unless WWE were to give him a run that doesn't hinder his character and were to provide a compelling story, it would be okay. But now we'll miss out on all of the possible feuds and stories to take place in AEW.
Ultimately, I just want a good run for Ambrose.
And someday Cesaro as WWE Champion before he retires, but that's a conversation for another day.
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ZWrestleTalk writer Dom Bouchard gives 20 quick fixes for WWE.
20. Stop toilet humor
It wad outdated 20 years ago, it is way worse today. Vince's outdated and out of touch fetishes, needs to be put to rest like his grip on the company.
19. Rotation of top guys
We do not need to see AJ Styles on every ppv, but it would be fun to see Heath Slater or Tye Dillinger once in a while and have performers rotate at the top of men and women's division. Rusev having a main event run? Finn or Bray having a world title run? That would keep things fresh and keep people watching as you would never know what would happen week to week. Making wrestling must see TV.
18. Be creative with storylines
You can build feuds around championships but also around Twitter wars or personal vendettas or frustration. Having a guy like Mojo Rawley attack Seth Rollins out of frustration of not being on television and seeing Seth as a chosen one. Be creative, by keeping everyone relevant
17. Give Smackdown and Raw a makeover visually
Both shows have looked the same for 20 years. Freshen things up. New logos, new lights, and new entrance ramp. New layout of the ring entrance. Make it visually different.
16. Give tag team wrestling more exposure
Enough said. Gallows and Anderson, Sanity, Ascension and so many teams shouldn't have to do nothing. Use them and they will reward WWE by making the shows better.
15. Women tag team division
Read the above. Same goes for this division when it becomes a thing.
14. More managers
Performers like Apollo Crews, Naomi, and TJP could sure use it. Utilize Drew Gulak, Alicia Fox, Heath Slater and maximize their mic skills and use them to help those who don't have a lot of charisma.
13. Less talk
Well. A lot less talk, it is still called wrestling right?
12. No more authority figures
It kills the show, it kills ratings. Not to mention it can also kill careers. Just like Baron Corbin.
11. Keep using General Managers like Paige and William Regal
They are not overbearing, and they are good at what they do. They act fair, and it's believable.
10. More creative freedom
Best example is Becky Lynch on the positive side of being allowed to be yourself. Worst example is Ronda and Roman Reigns .Being over-scripted kills your ability to look authentic.
9. More interactions betweens shows
A good thing that happened lately is seeing Mustafa Ali on SmackDown. It was exciting and it gave him exposure. It helped Daniel Bryan make a new star in the process. WWE can do the same with Bianca Belair, TJP, and Keith Lee.
8. Use NXT UK stars
Guys like Wolfgang and The Coffey Brothers could be used to invade Raw or NXT.
7. Let Michael Cole and Tom Phillips talk like normal human beings
Not like scripted corporate robots. Cole can be really great when he's got freedom.
6. Incorporate social media posts on WWE
People like Rusev ,Becky Lynch,Kevin Owens ,Xavier Woods and Sheamus are so entertaining on Twitter and Instagram. Show everyone and it will increase their exposure and help them get more creative freedom and even help the creative team to find cool ideas to incorporate it into their feuds or programs.
5. More big fight feels to big matches
Present big matches as big deals and people will see it as big deals. Matches like Ronda vs Becky or Daniel Bryan vs AJ styles should be presented like money matches. See them prepare in the weeks leading up to the match.
4. Let the performers have fun
When wrestlers enjoy what they do we feel it. It makes the show feel genuine and exciting. Rusev by being able to be himself and use his charisma would make people love him even more. Same thing with New Day. Xavier is such a funny and charismatic man, let him use his wit and cool personality to shine through.
3. Let the creative team have more creative freedom
A lot of writers can come up with exciting and out of left field ideas. Don't be afraid to try new things.If one idea flops, it is not the end of the world.It beats repetition and boredom.
2. Make NXT available for main roster wrestlers..
Guys like Tyler Breeze going back to NXT ,or a veteran like Randy Orton going to NXT to teach those kids a lesson would make interesting television. Or a team like Ascension go back find themselves and make it a storyline. Where did it all go wrong kinda storyline?
1. Give wrestlers a few months off a year on rotation
That would keep everyone fresh and help with the injury problems. And with such a deep roster it is truly possible to do it. WWE does not rely on one guy anymore. It is a team effort.
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After ALL IN on September 1. The pro wrestling world realized there was enough talent on the indies to sell out a 10,000 seat arena and do a fair number in pay-per-view buys. The industry was shook. After the successful night. There is a rumored wrestling promotion start-up happening and it involves some pretty amazing characters.
WWE has been the top promotion since the demise of WCW. Others have tried to reinvigorate the wars that were fought in the nineties. This including TNA's attempt to restart the Monday Night Wars. Which they had potential but ultimately flopped.
Now a new wrestling promotion is on the horizon. Currently they have gone through a bunch of trademarks:
Now you may ask who is funding this venture?
Shahid Khan. Specifically his son Tony Khan. Also to let you know Shahid Khan has a net worth of $6.8 billion, he's the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars. Vince McMahon has a net worth of $2.8 billion, he's the sole owner of the rebooted XFL. Yes, money isn't everything in the wrestling business. At one time Ted Turner was the rich billionaire taking on Vince McMahon then he lost $8 billion in a merger...
I think the Khan's would be different. It just depends how they organize this promotion. At least they have deep pockets. They just have to make the right moves. That's they key to this entire promotion. Make the right moves!
They can't end up like Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling. It had potential to do something great and it failed. Here is the reason AEW may jump into that number two promotion in the world. First and foremost WWE is so dominant everything looks small in comparison. Ring of Honor still can't get good production value and they can't retain talent despite being able to sell out MSG. You'll always be small, if you play small. So that rules them out as the number two promotion in the world. Impact has been steered in the right direction by Don Callis. Yet I think so much damage has been done to the brand it's a matter of time before Don Callis or the talent get poached away. Lucha Underground is a revolutionary concept of mixing wrestling with an over-dramatic, artsy style TV show, and having it go by seasons. Still it will never reach that number two due to its network, and the format. Lucha Underground provides a great alternative. NJPW is awesome but it's kinda not really in competition with WWE. Which once again isn't a bad thing. NJPW owns a section of the market.
Tuesday Night Dynamite is one of the trademarks that should immediately jump out. The name sounds like an old-school WCW show. Maybe that's what they were going for? The biggest debate for AEW right now is if they will get on a traditional cable network. There is many cable networks that desperately need content. During ALL IN, WGN America hosted ALL IN: Zero Hour which acted as the pre-show. I'd assume WGN America would be interested in Tuesday Night Dynamite. They only show Cops reruns on Tuesdays nights. WGN America also had WWE Superstars in the past, and well we all know how that ended.
The other option that everyone is timid to mention is streaming. Why not Netflix? Why not Apple? Why not Amazon? Netflix it would help diversify their portfolio, and it could be another test for them in the LIVE sports entertainment arena. They are always looking to try something new because they know Disney and WarnerMedia are coming after them hard in 2019. Yes, Lucha Underground didn't work out on Netflix. There could be a million reasons why but AEW could be something better. Apple is another competitor. They haven't even revealed their streaming model yet but they could easily help kickstart a promotion. The third streaming option is Amazon. Which technically they could do some smooth operating. Amazon is interested in the Fox Sports regional networks. If their bid is successful that could be a secondary home for AEW. Also I could see AEW doing well on Prime.
The rumor started that The Elite, Chris Jericho, and Jim Ross were forming a new wrestling company with financial backing from the Khan family. Also the other rumor floating is that two WWE stars are going to leave in April to join the promotion. Which WWE is stacking and misusing talent all over the place.
That's a reason why WWE is signing people like ACH. Who has been in Ring of Honor forever. Same with Trevor Lee, who had a stint in Impact. All these wrestlers are all of sudden going to WWE. There were also reports that WWE offered Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and The Young Buck main event money to come to WWE.
It's starting to look like they didn't take that offer. Not to mention Cody Rhodes tweeting out to his followers asking what independent wrestlers are being overlooked. That is AEW scouting at its finest.
AEW could be a legitimate promotion. If you start with this core of:
I rather watch a roster of ELITE guys (pun fully intended) than forcing us to get to know some independent wrestler, who will probably go back to working smaller shows in some small town. That's what GFW did wrong. When you look at GFW Amped, the promotions main show that never aired until Impact bought GFW. They had Bobby Roode, Bollywood Boyz, Nick Aldis, Mickie James, KUSHIDA, TJ Perkins, Gallows & Anderson, Eric Young, and Shelton Benjamin. Now more than half of this list is now in WWE. Yet GFW filled the rest of the roster with TNA burnouts and AAA wannabes.
AEW will be daunting task but if they make the right moves it will only benefit the world of professional wrestling. AEW will only make NXT and WWE more competitive. Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks want something more. They don't want to simply just settle for Ring of Honor or NJPW. They don't want to have to due their own ALL IN pay-per-views. They want their own promotion. Something that could be successful.
So what will come of AEW? That remains to be seen but I believe that they are on the right track. One thing is for sure Vince McMahon hates competition. There is no denying that. He's probably going to snatch up more talent on the indies. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts to drain Impact and Luca Underground.
I have a feeling that with Jim Ross and Chris Jericho involved this will be legit. As long as they are actually involved. If they aren't involved then we will have to wait and see how legitimate the promotion becomes. I couldn't imagine Jericho and Ross burning a bridge with WWE for something minor league-ish.
No one thought they could pull of ALL IN. Now we have people saying AEW can't be a number two promotion. The Elite like proving people wrong.
If your a fan of pro wrestling your biggest hope is that Tony Khan and other investors will be All In.
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Triple Z discusses his thoughts regarding Survivor Series main event, and where it should go from here.
There is nothing like it when Brock Lesnar rises to the occasion. You instantly remember why he's the part-time superstar. The engaged Lesnar we saw on Sunday night was rare. Proving that Lesnar when he feels like it still has a passion for pro wrestling. It only took one opponent to get it out of him. Daniel Bryan.
We haven't seen a Brock Lesnar match that good in years. Yeah, his encounters with Goldberg were fine. But this was on a whole new level. At first we thought it was going to be a typical Brock Lesnar beatdown, and all of that quickly changed. Thanks to Daniel Bryan's heel persona.
Bryan brought out the very best in Lesnar. Even getting the beast to chant "Suplex City." Something we rarely see from Lesnar. The match made Brock Lesnar look like he barely survived. He was moments away from tapping out to the Yes! lock. And for a few moments the "smarks" who care about Lesnar only fighting people near his size were gasping.
Even though it is ridiculous to point out Brock Lesnar doing a bear hug it is necessary to point out. Lesnar rarely does different moves. Adding a bear hug or any move other than a F5 or suplex into his in-ring psychology is a rare sight.
This match should open the eyes to the people making the decisions in the back. Lesnar vs Bryan looked like something out of a NXT TakeOver event. There is ways to move this forward. It is time to reevaluate on how you use Brock Lesnar. The part-time star stock rises when he puts on a performance like that. Yet there is obviously a key to his epic performance. Lesnar has to care about his opponent.
It's blatantly obvious Brock Lesnar could care less for Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Braun Strowman. We don't know why he feels this way. Maybe he has a little bit more respect for Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins but who knows. If I'm WWE I would make sure every Lesnar match was with someone he respected and was willing to perform with. Daniel Bryan got it out of him, AJ Styles was able to get a little bit. Would Lesnar have a respectful match with Shinsuke Nakamura? Especially considering Lesnar's ties to NJPW. That could very well be Brock Lesnar's next good match. This also means no more finisher extravaganza's with Roman Reigns were they just do spear-F5-spear-F5. And no more Lesnar hitting five F5's to win a single match.
There is obviously some other opponents that I think could bring the most out of Brock. I could see Finn Balor getting Brock to work. Considering how he was on the indies forever and his NJPW ties. I would likened this match to Lesnar's fight with CM Punk. Then my other two options are legends. Kurt Angle, could probably bring out a lot in Brock Lesnar. Then the other legend would be The Rock. Another feud that we thought we were getting. It has been rumored to be the main event of multiple WrestleMania's. The rumor went all the way back to the night after WrestleMania 28.
Now it's once again rumored that we could see Brock Lesnar vs The Rock go down at WrestleMania 35. I'm all for that. The Rock will energize Brock Lesnar into performing well. If not WWE now has the sturdy backup plan of just having Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan again. Could you imagine a babyface Daniel Bryan defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the title? That would be quite the the scene and an iconic moment to close out the show.
So the matter of the story is that when Brock Lesnar is motivated he puts on an incredible, awe-inspiring match. When was the last time a main roster match truly told a story? It's funny because on Survivor Series you technically had two storytelling matches in Nakamura/Rollins and Lesnar/Bryan. Yet I think the path with Brock Lesnar is quite simple. It's time for him to agree to matches that will be good.
There is also another opponent that I think would be fascinating for Brock Lesnar. Matt Riddle down in NXT. The man who claims "he will retire" Lesnar. Riddle has a MMA/UFC background. It's now just a matter to if Brock Lesnar actually respects the guy.
So far Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar is my match of the year for WWE main roster.
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[Also known as: Daniel Bryan is a stupidly brave maniac]
Alright folks let's just get it out there: Survivor Series is scary.
There's a myriad of injuries on the roster, the card's been changing frequently and, as we know WWE likes to do, it can continue to change as the event goes on.
One rather curious change is the match between Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar, what was originally meant to be between Brock and AJ Styles.
It's an interesting switch, a dream match for many fans out there. Personally I feel as though I have to be cautious with this match, and try not to expect the world of it. First, I feel that Daniel Bryan at any point of his career, would best have this match against Brock Lesnar if it were the early 2000's, when the man was clearly at his wrestling prime and had more than two moves. Yes, Daniel Bryan has had to change his move set a bit to accommodate his prior injuries, but he's still got a loaded arsenal. Brock....well, he's got fewer moves than the Incredible Hulk.
Onto my second point, the one that has me more worried. Brock is an absolute brute, there's no doubt about that. The man is scary, not so much in the entertainment way, but in the 'I think this counts as involuntary manslaughter' sort of way. Him, against a man who most were certain would never wrestle again at some point, screams disaster to me. Bryan is very clearly willing to die in the ring because of his passion for it, and Brock typically does what Brock wants to do. It just feels like there's a lot of room here for devastating errors that should not even be allowed to be possible.
Considering we're missing out on what would have been show-closing match of the night Lynch vs. Rousey, I suppose watching the possibility of Daniel Bryan being murdered in the ring is almost as good.
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Creator of ZWrestleTalk. This page I give you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE product. I look back at the history of WWE. Sometimes even predict the future. If your lucky you get comedic articles too.