While there are always injuries on any active roster, this has been one of the worst stretches of injuries in a long time. People are dropping left and right with five former World Champions (not counting Sting) missing “Wrestlemania XXXI” this year alone. There’s almost no way around this, but the key to a good booker or company in general is being able to adapt to such problems.
However, that’s not exactly what WWE is doing at the moment. This week’s episode of “Monday Night Raw” featured at least three different instances that showed how screwed up the company has become at creating and protecting new stars. At this point, WWE needs to be all hands on deck at creating new stars for the biggest show of the year but instead they seem to be trying to keep everyone from charging ahead.
We’ll start with the Divas Title scene. Now it’s pretty clear that the Divas Revolution has been little more than a way to bring in some new talent to the division and it’s worked to a certain degree. However, given that we seem to be heading towards a triple threat for the title at “Wrestlemania XXXII” with Charlotte defending against Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, I have to question the logic in having the champion get pinned by such a low level name as Brie Bella.
Ignoring the entire story involving Nikki Bella and having sympathy for someone who would frequently jump from the most vile woman in the division to every girl’s heroine at the drop of a hat, having Brie Bella defeat Charlotte in under five minutes off a clean counter is a really questionable move as Charlotte isn’t the strongest champion in the first place.
Let’s take a quick look back at Charlotte’s wrestling career. She debuted down in NXT a few years back as the daughter of Ric Flair who had a gymnastics background. After winning the NXT Women’s Title in a big surprise, Charlotte moved up the ranks and became one of the Four Horsewomen. She was then part of the Divas Revolution and the first to capture gold by ending Nikki Bella’s Divas Title reign. Soon after this she turned heel and started requiring the help of her father to retain the title.
At the same time, we have Banks and Lynch as the potential long term challengers for the title. Lynch has already lost to Charlotte a few times and Banks hasn’t proven her abilities on the main roster as of yet. So where are we right now? We have Brie Bella on a hot streak with almost no chance of winning the title, Charlotte on a losing streak and only able to win with her dad’s help, Lynch looking like a choker, Banks unproven and Nikki Bella getting sympathy. Therefore, the two people who look the best in the division at the moment are the Bellas, or the two who seem to have no short term futures.
Moving on, we have Kevin Owens, who debuted on the main roster back in 2015, defeated John Cena in his debut, won the Intercontinental Title later in the year, had a strong performance at “Royal Rumble 2016” and has since split wins with Dolph Ziggler. Yes Ziggler, as in the guy who has floated around the midcard/upper midcard for years now with very little advancement. Ziggler is the definition of someone who seemingly has no upside and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So why have him trade wins with Owens, who hasn’t really had a shot near the top yet?
I know the theory is that this is a one off loss and Owens can go right back and win at the pay per view because WWE LOVES this nonsense about having a rubber match to make it best two out of three, but this isn’t the first time this has happened to Owens. Remember last month when he lost to Neville in twenty seconds? Or the times he’s lost to Ambrose? Owens got his win back over Neville but that wasn’t the case against Ambrose, at least yet.
Right now look at how many people are on the shelf. You think they might need someone like Owens, who has been successful everywhere he’s been, including on the main WWE roster, to fill in one of those spots? Maybe in an upper midcard spot against someone like the Undertaker?
I know the common response is “Owens can’t do that because he doesn’t look like a star”, but the whole issue boils down to one thing: WWE needs SOMEBODY right now and it’s really stupid to keep cutting someone like Owens off at the knees for the sake of a worthless best of three series against someone as stuck in his spot as Ziggler in a feud that is going to be forgotten the day after “Fastlane 2016.”
The problem with not making new stars can be seen at the end of this week’s “Monday Night Raw”. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are a semi-regular tag team and are both in the main event of “Fastlane 2016”. Since being the Intercontinental Champion and the most recent former WWE World Champion aren’t strong enough qualifications to be considered threats to Brock Lesnar these days (fair enough), it was decided that the push needed was a win over a big name tag team.
Due to Reigns and Ambrose defeating the forces of the League of Nations (or at least the members who aren’t out injured) more times than can be counted, it was decided that the best option was the reigning Tag Team Champions and one of the hottest acts in years: the New Day. Why New Day? Well simply put, who else is there?
That’s the thing: there’s no one else to put in there against Reigns and Ambrose because almost no one else has been allowed to be built up. The problem is Reigns and Ambrose have been built up and protected but the rest of the heels are just there. Why should I believe that any combination, including the Tag Team Champions, are going to be able to beat them?
Everyone is stuck running around in circles and winning then losing, which puts everyone on one level footing. Unfortunately then you have the people so far above them that they don’t have anyone to challenge them which makes the big names less interesting. In other words, without a strong midcard who occasionally moves up the ranks and isn’t beaten by the bigger names clean on TV, the main eventers aren’t going to be as strong.
The big story here is simple: WWE is in need of some fresh stars in the midcard and main event. For some reason though, they’ve decided to hand pick a few people and put them above everyone else and let the rest of the card flounder in whatever ways they can find. It’s a horrible way of doing things but that’s what we’re getting. The fact that “Wrestlemania XXXII” is falling apart as a result of the injuries and a lack of replacements should be all the proof they need but instead they seem to be doubling down on this philosophy for whatever reason. Or maybe I’m wrong and Ziggler will save us all.
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