It’s funny how pro-wrestling and my life have run parallel for so many years. Hulk Hogan won his first WWF Championship a day after my first birthday, jump starting Hulkamania. I was in my freshman year of high school when Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 14 launching the “official” start of the Attitude Era. When I graduated college in 2005, I immediately went to work for the company itself, WWE. And went I fell into a deep depression, pro-wrestling was in a horrible lull and wrestling journalism loved pointing out all of the negatives and few of the positives. Wrestling journalism has never really recovered from the doomsday mentality when it comes to sports-entertainment.
It’s taken me a very long time to shift my outlook on life from doom and gloom to finding the positives in life and focusing on them. Now I want to bring that mentality to this site and in my own writing. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to write about wrestling as I felt it was too hard to find time to devote to it. But I’ve seen enough of the negatives written about the sport I love and it’s about time that some positivity was brought back to pro-wrestling (and I’m not talking about Positively Page). This column will look at the good happening in pro-wrestling and hopefully brighten your own outlook on the state of wrestling.
Now that’s out-of-the-way, let’s get onto RAW!
1. Dean Ambrose as Seth Rollins’ first real championship contender has worked out very well. I think it’s safe to say that no one really believes he’ll win the belt but at least he & Rollins have history. Plus, this program will also build Ambrose up for a future main event run. Hell, he’s already getting a good enough reaction.
2. I really like the dynamic between Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns. All too often, history is forgotten in pro-wrestling. But showing the friendship these two men have both on & off screen really strengthens both characters. It’s strange to see two guys who aren’t official tag team partners, fist bump, laugh and genuinely have fun with one another and it not be a part of a storyline.
3. Lana completely dismantled Rusev in their segment. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a Diva verbally destroy a heel without needing a babyface male by her side. Lana has a lot more screen experience outside of the WWE than most Diva hires and it’s beginning to show. I don’t know how she’ll lose the accent but I am looking forward to seeing how her career plays out.
4. The Green Arrow on RAW?! Sweet! I know a lot of people hate how the WWE incorporates celebrities onto their shows, especially when it comes to actors. But if that actor or celebrity is a TRUE longtime fan like Stephen Amell, it could make for some fun segments.
5. Seeing Zack Ryder on the last WWE show being held in the Nassau Coliseum was a nice moment. And Ryder really stepped up in his match with John Cena. Cena’s always been a fan of Ryder and it showed in their US Championship match. There wasn’t a chance of Ryder winning the title with Cena’s match with Owens already booked but the false finishes were fun to watch.
6. It’s interesting how they’re keeping Roman Reigns in the main event picture without having him constantly challenge for the title. And it feels like he’s earning back support of the WWE Universe. He’s not being overbooked. He’s not shilling out corny Superman lines. He’s being allowed to be the cool badass in black that hits the cool moves and gets the crowd fired up. If they stick with that formula, he may very well become the fan favorite the WWE wants.
7. I don’t see the harm in rehashing some of Stone Cold’s stunts for the Dean Ambrose character but Ambrose is different from Austin. He might be a rebellious blue-collared guy but he’s also supposed to be a lunatic. Let him get a little bit crazier and maybe people will stop comparing him to Stone Cold. All in all, it was a fun night of RAW and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much promotion for the Elimination Chamber event they were able to cram in. The WWE is in uncharted territory by having a PPV-event not on PPV but only on the WWE Network. Plus it’s only two weeks after their last big event, Payback! But they’re pulling it off. I’m really excited for the Chamber event and while I don’t expect it to be a ground-breaking show, it should be a stellar night of wrestling.
That’s it! Let me know what you think of this new featured post. I had fun writing it and it definitely made me watch RAW in a different way. Leave me your feedback here, on Twitter @mattharrak or email me at MattHarrak@HTCwrestling.com.