This is an odd time in wrestling. We’re approaching “Money in the Bank 2015”, “Ring of Honor” just debuted on Destination America, NXT continues to crawl up to the main WWE roster and a host of other things. This week, instead of focusing on one topic, I’m going to jump around and take quick looks at some of the stories going on in the world of wrestling, some of which are bigger than others.
These are in no particular order.
It has been announced that the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) will be launching their own video streaming service starting on July 4, with matches ranging from the 1960s to the early 1980s. This is something very interesting for old school wrestling fans and something that could offer some very rare and valuable material.
The NWA used to be the gold standard for professional wrestling but it’s hard to find a lot of stuff from their glory days. This new service offers a fresh look at a long forgotten era in wrestling. You get the occasional old school show on the WWE Network, but it would be interesting to see something exclusive from this era. No word has been given yet on the price but if it’s something cheap, I might take a look at what they have.
Speaking of the WWE Network, this coming Sunday they’ll be airing “Money in the Bank 2015”. The show features a seven man ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase, meaning we’ve been treated to a variety of matches with the ladder match participants facing off in various combinations. These matches haven’t been the most interesting in the world, but they’ve shown us one thing: Kofi Kingston can still go with the best of them.
It’s been overlooked in recent years but Kingston continues to be one of the most valuable things you can have on a roster: the entertaining performer who can work well against anyone and puts on good to very good matches every time he gets in the ring. I know a lot of people have forgotten about his skills because he’s been in New Day as a comedy act after years of spinning his wheels, but Kingston is still a very valuable member of the roster.
At this point, Kingston is a midcard version of what Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle were in the latter parts of their WWE runs: someone you could throw in to fill a spot with very little hope of winning, but enough credibility to validate their position in the match. Kingston has won so many midcard titles that he’s going to have a midcard role for as long as he wants and his athleticism is enough to keep fans paying attention to him. It’s nice to see him being able to show people he can still go.
Speaking of things that can still go, “Ring of Honor Wrestling” debuted last week, airing before “Impact Wrestling” as part of a three hour block on Destination America. The debut episode wasn’t meant to be a debut episode and therefore it didn’t quite come off like some people were expecting. Instead of a big welcome to the new product, we saw part of a special show featuring Ring of Honor wrestlers facing off against New Japan talent.
As different as this was, it’s actually a better option for ROH. The point of this promotion and television show is an alternative to the standard professional wrestling show. What better way to open than with an act like the Briscoe Brothers and then show the regular roster facing off with wrestlers from a different promotion? It felt different instead of just doing a weaker version of whatever WWE is doing at the moment. In other words, it was exactly what it was supposed to be.
Also that night we FINALLY saw the rise of Ethan Carter III to the main event scene in TNA. Carter has been one of the best heels in recent memory and it’s very nice to finally see him getting up to the top of the card. There’s something so unlikeable about him that it’s easy to hate the guy and the fact that he hasn’t actually lost yet makes things even better.
It’s high time for Carter to take over the company so someone can beat him to take the title in a big moment. Thankfully it’s going to be a big moment when Carter wins the title and gets to give the greatest victory celebration in the history of victory celebrations. I mean, just being named #1 contender involved a barbershop quintet singing his theme song, including lines about kicking it with the Kardashians and how, and I quote, “like the Biebs, I love my life.” There is no way this guy cannot be awesome.
Sheamus is likely playing Rocksteady in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. There is no way this will not be awesome. That’s really all I’ve got to say about this one. I love WWE and I love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m not sure it’s going to top Kevin Nash as Super Shredder in the classic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze”, but it’s going to be entertaining.
That brings us to one of my recurring themes: the Divas and Nikki Bella in particular. The other day I heard someone suggest that WWE is keeping the title on her this long so she can break AJ Lee’s reign as longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. As much as another three months of Bella as champion makes me cringe, the more I think of this, the stronger the possibility becomes. WWE sees her as a major star because she and Brie are the focal points of “Total Divas” so why not give her the record for the longest reign?
The record would come just before “Night of Champions 2015” so maybe she retains until then and drops the title to someone (anyone) at the pay per view. Maybe even one of the NXT Divas who are FINALLY called up to breathe some life into the main roster division? I could go for the title changing hands before then as I’m sick of the Bellas in general, but I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing them on top of the division for a few more months yet, or at least until this season of “Total Divas” wraps, because that’s the entire point of the Divas division these days.
Finally, we’re getting closer to the first season finale of “Lucha Underground”. I won’t go into spoilers for the show or the matches which were taped back in April, but I’m digging the idea of a wrestling show being broken down into seasons. I know it wouldn’t work for a promotion like WWE or any other major show, but it’s something unique enough to make a smaller company like Lucha Underground work. The fact that it’s been built up for months and is the first major show for the promotion makes it even better.
We’re in an interesting time in wrestling and there’s a lot more going on than just what is happening at the latest WWE pay per view. I know that’s usually the top story in the wrestling world and for good reason, but keep looking around and see what else there is out there if you ever get bored. I can assure you: there’s a lot of fun stuff to see.
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