Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
Welcome to the seventh edition of This Week in Wrestling in 2017. Today, Craig talks about the Smackdown tag team division while Brian remembers George ‘The Animal’ Steele and shares some of the most interesting pictures and videos he’s stumbled upon over the last seven days.
The Smackdown Tag Team Division Needs a Shot in the Arm
Over the course of the last seven days, WWE Smackdown Live tag team champions The American Alpha have defeated every active tag team on the show including The Ascension twice.
Don’t get me wrong, it cements the duo’s dominant position on the show but it also highlights the lack of quality alternative within the show’s tag team division at the same time.
Going into last Sunday Elimination Chamber event – which, as an aside, was rather average bar the main event and the Orton vs. Harper match – it was clear that Chad Gable and Jason Jordan weren’t losing those tag titles. Why? Because, beyond them, the Smackdown tag team division is largely packed full of jobbers.
Sure, The Usos have recently turned heel, The Fashion Police are perhaps the amusing, in a good way, act on WWE TV and Heath Slater & Rhyno are entertaining enough but all three and The Ascension and The Vaudevillains are by and large jobbers. Why, you ask? Because the lose more often than they win. Sure, the Ascension grabbed the 12-man tag win the week before Smackdown Live but that was all about creating the impression they could win but even on the night, even after the Usos’ beatdown of the champs, we knew they couldn’t.
It leaves the team of Gable and Jordan in the unenviable position of both being an excellent tag team while also heading up an extremely weak tag team division.
Going back to Elimination Chamber, that booking was odd. Whilst I expected American Alpha to triumph on the night – as they should, they are Smackdown’s best tag team – I hadn’t expected them to ride as roughshod over the rest of the division as they had.
Heck, I could have even understood a win for The Usos which built towards a further showdown with Alpha. Instead, however, Jimmy and Jay were one of three teams dispatched on the night by the reigning champions.
The end product, you ask? Well, not just Gable and Jordan looking strong but also the rest of the division looking poor. Really, there is very little way for the rest to comeback from that. Perhaps one duo can be salvaged – through an equal destruction of that tag team division – but the prospect is bleak for a likely contender to look ready when stepping up to the plate.
The Smackdown Live tag team division has needed attention for several weeks. After all, the way that it has been booked has largely been to thrown all the teams into one match, if possible, and hope for the best. That, by virtually any measurement, is not a strategy. That’s just hoping for the beset. And, by and large, it’s not been anything like good enough.
Across the other divisions Smackdown Live has, in the most part, been hugely successful in building up superstars. Heck, at the start they even made the aforementioned Slater and Rhyno look like they deserved to be champions. However now that we have American Alpha carrying the gold, we do not have a team which looks like a credible threat. That, is the fault of the bookers.
One way to have dealt with this is, at Elimination Chamber, to have had another tag team come out at the end and either challenge, or beat, Gable and Jordan for the tag straps. That team? The Revival. There would have been enough fans there for that angle to get over whilst the two former NXT tag team champions would have had more than enough talent between them to engage in an entertaining programme.
Instead, though, we are left with American Alpha at the top of an unimpressive looking mountain as they cry out for meaningful opposition. It can’t be long until The Revival receive a long overdue call-up.
Remembering George ‘the Animal’ Steele
Yesterday (Friday, February 17th) the pro wrestling world lost a true legend in George ‘the Animal’ Steele. He died just a little shy of 2 months before his 80th birthday. What I remember about Steele was his wild antics in the 1980’s. A wrestler who specialized in eating turnbuckles and of course his infatuation with Miss Elizabeth. Growing up watching Steele, he was the lovable beast who you couldn’t help but root for. Little did I realize that years prior Steele was a vicious heel who challenged Bruno Sammartino on a few occasions for his world title.
Aside from his in ring antics…he was a highly intelligent man who taught academics. To supplement his teaching career…Jim Myers aka George Steele started moonlighting as a pro wrestler. He wore a mask and called himself ‘The Student’ so his students wouldn’t recognize him in the ring.Every wrestler who I know who’ve met Steele said they loved and respected him. Everything I’ve read about ‘the Animal’ talked about him glowingly. That to me speaks volumes more than anything else. Not so much the man beast who ate turnbuckles for a snack.
Not getting political at all but this pic is a bit surreal…
This is a pretty funny pic to go along with the above one…
Who knew? Wearing an nWo Wolfpack shirt has become fashionable again! Thanks to Kendall Jenner…
Someone still has an actual ticket to the XFL’s inaugural (and last) championship game…
Check out this epic Ultimate Warrior tattoo created by artist Steven Butcher from New Zealand.
Apparently, Puerto Rican legend Carlos Colon use to have his own line of vitamins!
Greatest movie ever!
Samoa Joe has some explaining to do! This pic was taken of a wrestler named SAMOAN JOE back in the 1980’s…Gimmick Infringement!
Now, this is a wedding party!
A sick looking lucha libre move…
A Royal Rumble commercial from 2005
Last Week on the Blog
In last week’s Sunday Sermon looked at the brand split six months on; we had pt.6 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘ on Monday; on Tuesday we had part 102 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘; on Wednesday we looked back at when Rick Rude appeared on WWF, WCW and ECW TV in a matter of a few days; Thursday’s Top Five looked at superstars who should be in the WWE Hall of Fame and we rounded off the week by reminiscing on the career of former valet Sunshine.
Next Week on the Blog
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.