Wrestling is a funny place sometimes. On Sunday night, I was sure I knew what I was going to talk about here as Kofi Kingston had a career making performance, which is all the more impressive as he’s eleven years into a Hall of Fame career already. He had the crowd in Houston ready to see him win the title and while he came up short, you knew something special was happening and it’s not his last chance. That’s as easy of a column as you’re going to get…and then it was Monday.
This week on Monday Night Raw, and again on SmackDown Live, the NXT quartet of Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and Ricochet made their main roster debuts in what seems to be permanent moves. While I’m still not sure what this means for NXT, this certainly shook things up and made the big shows a little more interesting, at least for the time being. It was a big surprise and now I knew what to talk about….and then Kingston pinned Daniel Bryan again and became #1 contender.
So let’s talk about both of them.
We’ll start with Kingston, who at least got this whole thing started. I’ve been a big Kingston fan for a long time, mainly because he reminds me of one of my all time favorites: Tito Santana. While never a top star in his own right, Santana was one of the most versatile wrestlers on the roster and could have a good to great match with anyone. You could put him in a singles match and get a heck of a spectacle or put him in there with a partner and things would go well. If push came to shove, you could have him be a one off challenger for the World Title and fans would buy that a miracle could happen.
Tell me you couldn’t see Kingston doing this:
So that brings us to the big question: can Kingston win? In a word, yes. Now I don’t know if he actually will or if it’s going to be another version of what happened at Elimination Chamber where he got so very close but came up short in the end, but either way we’re in for what should be an instant classic. Kingston and Bryan can have a good match with anyone and they’ve shown they have the chemistry together.
Couple that with a white hot crowd and this could be an instant classic in the vein of Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero from No Way Out 2004 or Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton from Royal Rumble 2008. It’s a very simple yet hard to pull off story: can *insert underdog face name here* actually do it? That’s where WWE has you because it could go either way, and that’s how good booking works. You take two people and put them in a match where either is a strong possibility and convince the fans to put their money down to see what is going to happen. They’ve done it here and it could be great.
I’d say he’s got a shot:
With that out of the way, we also have the entire NXT situation, which came even more out of nowhere than Kingston’s rise to the top. It had next to no notice and then here come these four huge names, all of whom seem to have unfinished business left down in NXT. It’s not clear if these people are coming to the main roster full time, though their appearances on a second should would suggest that there is more to it than a one off time. That makes things all the more confusing.
These guys looked good to start:
However, there is some hope this time around as the quartet has already been treated as much bigger deals with a bunch of big wins with the four of them all looking like they’re more than capable of being big stars on the main roster. Now of course there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be the case, but at least they’re being treated better than those names who just appeared as a way to “fix” the problems that WWE was going through for several months.
The thing is though, it’s not exactly a secret that these four are there for the exact same reason. WWE’s television ratings are nothing short of a disaster right now and they need to do something to make things better. Are these four the solution? I’m not sure, but they certainly seem to be at least something new. There are major problems on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live (though they do tend to go together, even if SmackDown Live is miles better than Monday Night Raw at the moment) and while some fresh, talented names will help deal with that, it’s not the big solution the shows need. They could help though.
He kicked the man in the head:
Insane in more than one way:
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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