3 of the Best & 3 of the Worst...of WWE 2016 | The Rob Report #3
Updated: Apr 11
WWE recently has been... hit and miss let's say. Compare it, if you will, to QPR in the English Premier League (the proper football for our American cousins), or to seasons of Dexter, or albums from Coldplay....oh no they....wait....ignore that last one...
Anyway, the last year has been seen almost universally as a huge improvement in WWE, some better writing and general (I cannot stress this point enough) better star usage (do not throw Sami Zayn into this argument, do not do that, I said general dammit!)
However, similar to eating far too much Nutella straight from the tub before spending the following morning throwing up violently into any container you can find, where there are good times, there are inevitably bad times. For every Harry Potter 1 there is a Harry Potter 3, for every Terminator 2 there is a Terminator Genisys and for every high point in the WWE in 2016 there has been a terrible low point and in this article, I'm going to list 3 of the best and 3 of the worst things to happen in the WWE in 2016.
3 of the Best...
As a huge lover of the Wyatt family, I can, hand on heart, say that I never thought a list headed The Best things in WWE in 2016, would have Braun Strowman even close to it, never mind breaching the top 3. A man who started as one of the 'Rose Buds' (Gahhhhhh) and who almost single-handedly turned me away from The Wyatt Family, has more than made up for this since the brand split. His roadkill haircut aside, the man can do no wrong and seems to be on a fast track to bigger and better things. The fact that he has improved his wrestling style has helped hugely and the fact he is no longer merely relying on that woeful submission hold has made me sit up and take notice. He had a fantastic showing at Survivor Series and this seems to be only the beginning for the big man. His feud with Sami Zayn should be fantastic and it's certainly one of the only reasons I'm tuning into RAW at the moment due to its seeming inferiority to its competitor SmackDown Live...speaking of which...
SmackDown is by far the superior brand thus far. The storylines, rivalries and general wrestling, coupled with the fact that it is only 2 hours long, makes it a far more watchable program. Plus it hasn't got Stephanie McMahon which is added bonus. Don't get me wrong, Shane is still ever present during the program, but at least he knows that he's a face, whereas Stephanie...Stephanie is...I mean what the hell is Stephanie??
This program has taken its (limited) roster and has slowly given them more exposure but also given them the storylines to rekindle what would otherwise be ailing careers; Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler and even Randy Orton have benefitted from this! Yes, you could argue that there are people that haven't been used to their fullest potential (see Apollo Crews) but I feel that the progression of SmackDown, as well as the fact Backlash blew us all out of the water means that the "B-Brand" of WWE gets a well-deserved place on this list.
Good grief I've enjoyed The Miz this year. This man has bought nuclear heat onto himself time after time and has embraced that heat, turning him into one of the most legitimate and well developed heels in WWE today. His reign with the Intercontinental championship is never anything short of entertaining and his feud with GM Daniel Bryan, starting with his now infamous, sensational outburst on Talking Smack, as well as his continuing beef with the show off Dolph Ziggler, which produced several matches that can be considered seriously as match of the year candidates. His promos have vastly improved and again, similar to Strowman on RAW, his wrestling style (though described by many as 'safe') is ever evolving. With Maryse by his side, his strike a triumphant figure, one who you love to hate, a figure who has had one of the years of his career, and one that has undoubtedly been one of the highs for WWE in 2016.
3 of the Worst...
The Cruiserweight Division
I loved the Cruiserweight Division during the attitude era (or the Light Heavyweight Championship as it was known then) and as the last champion was Hornswoggle before the belt was inexplicably retired, the entire WWE universe was clamouring for the belt to be re-instated. So imagine our joy and wonderment when the WWE announced the CWC! Imagine further the joy when it actually turned out to be good! We developed connections with the stars and the matches were incredible, full of incredible spots and, often, death defying feats of brilliance. The WWE seemed to agree, placing the entire division, complete with newly crowned champion, onto the flagship show, RAW. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, a lot as it transpires. WWE creative, especially the writers for RAW seem completely baffled on how to actually develop any characters save Brian Kendrick, to the point where the only time we see Cruiserweight nowadays is in countless bloody 6 man tag bouts, which I am fed up of seeing. Now the WWE seem to be trying to hit reset by giving them their own show -205 Live, but instead of allowing the division to go to SmackDown, where 205 will be recorded afterwards, they have left it on RAW, meaning the superstars must travel to both destinations in 2 days, to be continually pushed further down the pecking order on RAW, where they are currently less important than a piece of paper Chris Jericho is writing things in, to be then completely ignored after SmackDown. It doesn't look good for the Cruiserweights and I honestly fear for the which is a shame because the CWC was brilliant, but yet again, WWE seem unable to comprehend what isn't 6 foot and as muscly as Brock Lesnar.
This is just boring. It was funny for about a week and then it got tedious and annoying. It's a blight on an otherwise fairly impressive copybook for SmackDown. But I can't accept that this man, who cannot wrestle, I will make that plain now, he cannot wrestle, has now beaten AJ Styles, possibly the greatest wrestler in the world at the moment in any promotion, 3 times! I know Dean Ambrose has been a huge part of those defeats, but even so! It's a gimmick taken just a step too far which is an annoying habit I wish WWE would break. Just because we have found something funny before, does not mean we will find it repeatedly funny the more you shovel it unrelentingly into my mouth. He said on the last SmackDown that he wants a shot at the WWE Championship and I'm sorry if he gets that shot, over wrestlers who deserve it infinitely more, it is a travesty of justice. Already, he is currently getting more airtime than The Wyatts, American Alpha, Kane, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler and even the Miz, people who are good and deserve more screen time. Yes I will grant you that he played a good part in the Survivor Series match, but his constant presence on the show is both irritating and pointless. Sort it out WWE!
A contentious one to end possibly, but I do have my reasons so please don't send anything dangerous my way, and send any offensive emails or comments to email@example.com
The Brand Split itself has given us high points, absolutley, more airtime to some superstars, Mick Foley's jackets, Braun Strowman, the Women's main event at Hell in a Cell and the rise of SmackDown as its own show. But look at the facts, the rosters on each show, especially SmackDown is paper thin, to the point where we now have to endure James Ellsworth on our screen to fill 2 hours, whilst people like Apollo Crews sit twiddling their thumbs. We have now reverted back to 2 PPVs a month which is just two much wrestling and a lot of money for the average wrestling fan to shell out to watch them (although all of them are streamed on the WWE network for £9.99 a month - did you know?) which unfortunately means the inevitable return of utterly crap gimmick based shows (see Fatal 4 Way, TLC and Breaking Point - disclaimer - these are example, these specifically may not return, but you catch my meaning.)
On top of this, it has seen a rapid decline in RAW! It's rating have plummeted, the Cruiserweights are underused and frustrated, superstars like Sami Zayn have absolutely no direction at all, Stephanie McMahon turns face and heel so many times per show she's doing somersaults, all the while have more airtime than half the roster and we get the same matches with the same formulaic build-ups. Yes it is unfair to blame all of this on the Brand Split, and yes there are some obvious exceptions, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho is the one that immediately springs to mind, but maybe the Brand Split has highlighted all these problems that the WWE need to sort, and fast.