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WWE: What’s Hot, What’s Not




With the state of WWE always in question, it is easy to generalize and paint the entire company with the same brush. Examining it closer will show that WWE, in December 2014, contains elements that are trending in both directions. Here are those trends.

Trending Up

Dolph Ziggler: The ladder match with Luke Harper was the only thing that could be considered a response to the NXT REvolution special that aired days before TLC (I refuse to add the “and Stairs” bit). Dolph has the IC strap for the fourth time, and is arguably the #2 babyface in the entire company. His Slammy, for “Best Twitter Handle” might be the only Slammy winner that felt legitimate and deserved.

Chris Jericho: At age 45, he’s found another wheelhouse. He wears weird jackets and scarves, but he knows it and owns it. His ego isn’t big enough to get his ass handed to him by Brock Lesnar (even though he probably deserves better). He’s found a way to keep his corny humor a part of his character in 2014, and the WWE Universe sort of gives him a pass on it. After all, he’s Chris Jericho.

Brock Lesnar and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: How could he possibly be trending upward? The debate over whether the title is diminished due to Lesnar’s part-time schedule has raged on for months. The most prestigious title in the business is barely showing up on WWE programming, and many feel that is a huge problem. Hell, WWE hasn’t even used Paul Heyman much to keep interest in the belt. The debate is a fair one, by the way. Not having the title be a part of regular programming is something many younger WWE fans have never seen before; only those who were alive for the territories know this type of landscape. It can feel weird at times, in 2014, without the championship being dangled in front of our eyes on a weekly basis. No title? Is that right?

Surprisingly, all it took to press a huge pause button on this debate was Monday night. Lesnar was back, and it felt like a big deal. Whether you were surprised or not, the segment with Jericho, Heyman and Brock had the arena buzzing. Lesnar showing up in the main event with the belt hanging on his shoulder felt important. The lure of Lesnar is that he’s an attraction when he shows up. Not to anger Cena haters out there, but when you can actually say “The Champ is Here” with something behind it…that’s a good thing.

Kofi Kingston’s commentary: If you didn’t fast forward through the New Day match, you noticed Kofi on commentary chopping it up with JBL. This is what happens when you give a talented performer something to work with. Kofi was excellent on commentary, and gave some context to the whole New Day alliance. The group itself and its direction are a bit confusing, but Kofi did his best to throw some spice on it. Hopefully, the New Day is being set up for a big heel turn and don’t be surprised if Kofi is the standout.

Damien Mizdow: The stunt double is starting to show more personality, and teasing his enjoyment over being more popular than Miz. Hopefully Miz turns on him soon, and they strap the rocket to Mizdow. We Want Mizdow (clap, clap, clap, clap)!

Trending Down –

Erick Rowan:  As soon as they gave him the “Big Red” nickname, it’s been a downhill tumble. Rowan came out of Survivor Series smelling like a rose (metaphorically, obviously). He was in the main event, got new theme music and came out to challenge the whiny bully, The Big Show. An opportunity was wasted when they threw Rowan and Harper in a match together on RAW, with no build-up or anticipation. Rowan was then defeated by Show on RAW, and might be a midcarder without a feud right now.

Ho Ho Hogan: One of the greater tragedies in the history of Western Civilization is how WWE is using Hulk Hogan. He doesn’t have to be in the title hunt or even wrestling, but couldn’t he be more involved? He promotes the WWE Network, PPVs, and now is apparently going to play Santa Claus. If Santino sits on his lap, we’ll have a real crisis on our hands.

General Managers: Yes, the Anonymous GM is awful, but it doesn’t stop there. The whole Authority angle morphing into token guest GMs has made the role nearly irrelevant. Daniel Bryan, Santino, a laptop and Chris Jericho have all been given the authority (no pun intended) to run RAW and/or Smackdown. Who gave them the power? Why don’t they just give themselves title shots? Why are they only allowed to run RAW for a day? Why didn’t RAW fall apart after Chris Jericho was F5’d? Maybe these questions aren’t fair, but one is: Who cares?

Roman Reigns & scripted promos:  This is NOT Roman Reigns’ fault. It is WWE’s fault. Vince is probably backstage telling people to “write him a promo, damnit!” It should be a simple equation: scripted promos do not equal Roman Reigns. “Show, if you come to this ring, I’ll punch you in the mouth” DOES equal Roman Reigns.

Royal Rumble Notes –
With the Royal Rumble six weeks away, rumors will start swirling over surprise returns and debuts. The following superstars are said to be physically ready, or very close to being so: Rey Mysterio, Christian, and Bad News Barrett. Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho are the part-timers that are the most likely to make a cameo in the Rumble. Kane could always return to his “demon” gimmick for a cheap, and probably lackluster, pop. It’s unlikely we get Sting, although it wouldn’t be under WWE to tease it out, anyway. Fans hoping for a NXT presence in the Rumble might get one, but it won’t likely be Finn Balor, Hideo Itami or Kevin Owens. Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn or The Ascension are most likely.

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Photo credit: WWE

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