I spend a lot of time moaning about WWE. However, when that sign goes up and we all start pointing at it, I get excited. Part of that is down to the many great shows going on around the big one, but let’s not pretend I don’t love WrestleMania. Even as it trickles into its seventh hour and pisses me off for the sixth time, there are few things I’d rather be doing. It’s ‘Mania! Let’s have fun.
It’s the most listicle time of the year. The end of the year wouldn’t be the end of the year if people like me didn’t tell you about all the things that we love. Over the next few days, I’ll be running down my films, albums, matches and wrestler of the year. I think that’s it, although there’s every chance I’ll come up with something else. I love me a list.
Today we’re heading to the cinema. For what was, in my opinion, an outstanding year. It took me ages to narrow this list down to ten, and the first draft was closer to the fifty mark. There are still a few films that I wish could be on here, sadly I just ain’t got the room.
As usual, this is purely personal opinion, so don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. I’m also going by UK’s release dates, hence the inclusion of some things that came out last year in other parts of the world. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
The Brand Split version of Survivor Series is a weird beast. It causes people who spend the rest of the year hating each other’s guts to team up because they suddenly care about the name of their TV show. On top of that, it’s WWE openly telling you that one brand is better than the other. Does that mean we should now all give up on SmackDown? Or maybe, I should stop overthinking this stuff. Let’s dish out some stars.
No Mercy has, for the longest time, been a nothing PPV. One that is purely there to fill a gap. Then, this year, WWE got a bit excited, and we suddenly had a card headed up by two potential WrestleMania main events. It was a strange move, and the fact that the show wasn’t sold out a few days beforehand spoke volumes as to how successful it was (WWE reported it as a sellout on the day, but who knows if that was true). No Mercy felt like it had been given the chance to shine, and it was floundering. All of that would, however, be forgiven if it delivered in the ring. Let’s dish out those stars.
Two years ago today, Charlotte Flair defeated Nikki Bella to win the Diva’s Championship. While it wouldn’t become the Women’s Title till WrestleMania the next year, this was Charlotte’s first reign and was the symbolic end of the Divas. Since then, Charlotte has gone on to become a four-time Raw Women’s Champion and it’s safe to say that on the whole, women’s wrestling in WWE is much better off, but how much better off is it?
WWE has released this news into the wild already, but, if you want absolutely no spoilers from the most recent NXT tapings, stop reading now. You stopped? Good. After over 500 days and an undefeated streak that must be around the 200 match mark, The Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka, has relinquished her NXT title. The news came at a time when she is believed to have suffered a collarbone injury, but WWE is treating it as being the set-up for her move to the main roster. Where, if they have any sense, she will do it all again.
At the start of this year, I made a decision. A decision to no longer spend at least five hours of my week plugging myself into the WWE Universe. While I would still catch every PPV, (I’m not going completely cold turkey) Raw and SmackDown were consigned to the bin, because life is quite frankly too fucking short.
Raw has a tendency to fall a bit flat. On the weekly TV show, I tend to put that down to its mammoth runtime which has both the crowd in the arena and those sitting at home feeling exhausted by the time the main event comes around. It’s just too much wrestling to watch every week, especially when a lot of it is filler. However, on Sunday night that feeling transferred over to Clash of Champions, despite it being a show that had none of that filler.
If you listen to any of the old-timer’s WWE podcasts, then the odds are you have heard someone lament the death of the heel. How in 2016 no one goes for heat and the current crop of talent are too focused on being cool. It’s a view that in some ways is true but falls down when you present WWE’s new Universal Champion, Kevin Owens.
It’s the New Era that is part of the New Era… if you know what I mean. Battleground is over, and we are heading into a whole new style of Raw. Before we get there, however, I am going to give a quick rundown of my thoughts on said show. Don’t worry if you’re a SmackDown person; I’ll be doing that tomorrow.