Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Russ Morgan
Following on from last weekend’s Sunday Sermon where we reviewed 2015 in the world of wrestling, it’s only natural that we turn our eyes this week to the year ahead. Whether it is in the world of one of the big USA promotions or closer to home, certainly for the UK based contributors to this blog. So without further ado…
Craig: It’s certainly fair to say that I have more enthusiasm now for the WWE – maybe it’s just the festive spirit? – than I did have a month or so ago.
As it stands, I genuinely have high hopes for the WWE in the next 12 months. For the first time in many years it doesn’t feel staggeringly obvious as to who the winner of next month’s Royal Rumble but still, a blank canvas isn’t always a bad thing. Mania is a bit further off and still up in the air but when you consider how obvious things have been in the last few years, and how much many fans including yours truly have grumbled about it, that too isn’t a bad thing.
Closer to home, I’m certainly intending on going to ICW’s show at the Hydro next December – a show that will break the biggest attendance record they set last year.
I’m optimistic. But am I the only one?
Brian: Right now, I am not as optimistic as you Craig. The stare down with John Cena tells me that John Cena will win the Royal Rumble and face Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. It makes sense because it will be Cena “passing the torch” to Reigns…something that needs to happen. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it…but that is my feeling. Does the Rock’s return to Wrestlemania get anybody that excited? He is great for a nice little promo and maybe a quick match…but honestly…it does nothing for me.
NXT on the other hand may be the promotion to keep your eyes on. I see some sure fire classic matches in the pipeline for them including Finn Balor Vs Sami Zayn….Bayley Vs Asuka…and Gable and Jordan Vs Dawson and Dash. Not to mention new talent like La sombra, the return of Hideo Itami, etc. Could be a great year for wrestling…I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.
Russ: Not too sure, but as I don’t watch TNA at all any more, I was thinking at going to the one in London. I just checked out Ticket Master and the cheapest available was £83! Since I have zero interest I think I might put that money towards something else…
With regards to WWE, this could be a make or break year. The ratings this year have been pretty low. I think it is time to cut the last hour from RAW as the endings are not worth the wait. Less scripted monologues and more wrestling would be a step forward to improving the product, but then again I’m no Vince or Triple H… Time to push Kevin Owens onto the top table, whether that means he will have to drop some weight I don’t know, but this could be his year. Give Reigns the title as early as possible if they are going to and I can see him having it the rest of the year. I really want to see Ambrose pushed to the upper tier.
I agree with Brian, NXT is still the place to be.
Craig: I wasn’t even minded with TNA live to be honest and am not at all bothered that they have cut short their usual UK tour and that it doesn’t feature a Scottish date this year. Given the prices you’ve raised, I certainly wouldn’t be going.
As to Raw, I still stand by fact that 3 hour isn’t too long if it’s a good show. Unfortunately, as it stands it’s a pretty poor 2 hour show stretched out an extra hour. On previous form – discarding the last few – even a two hour presentation of it would be below average. Heck, the one hour version of Raw shown on a Sunday in the UK is largely missable. Plus, shortening Raw isn’t in the gift of the WWE…yet.
I’d also like to see Owens pushed big time and I hope it doesn’t necessarily mean he has to lose weight. Ambrose is another one I’d like to see pushed this year. I think he’s got all the attributes to be a top star. I hope the WWE run with him. Obviously Cesaro is also on that list but we all know it’s whether or not the WWE put faith in him. Time will tell.
Concluding this intervention with an element of consensus, yup, NXT really is where it is at. Week in, week out NXT produces the best bit of WWE TV. Simple, effective booking featuring a series of matches you care about featuring performers you are in to and short, short interviews. It’s pretty easy, when you think about it, and NXT continue to nail it.
Brian: I for one am rooting for TNA to succeed. Wrestling needs more options and TNA can be that if they finally get themselves straight. The World title series was pretty well done and hopefully POP TV can back it like Spike TV and Destination America didn’t. I expect Lucha Underground to continue its slow rise to higher ratings and more fanfare. They truly deliver a unique product.
I really don’t know what to make of Global Force Wrestling…they desperately need a TV outlet. There is just no buzz about the show and that is a serious issue when you have no TV to promote it. Here’s hoping they finally get some sort of deal in 2016.
Craig: I was going to raise Global Force Wrestling sooner or later. Distinct lack of buzz and having a lot of difficulty differentiating themselves from anything else on the market. It can’t be an easy market to break that’s for sure. But I agree, competition is key. It improves every promotions product and I’m sure we can all agree us, as wrestling fans, would benefit from that!
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.