Brian Damage and Craig Wilsn
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 19, Brian talks about pushing Braun Strowman and shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week while Craig looks at the results of this week’s blog polls.
Braun Strowman has easily been one of the best things to watch on Raw and it is not a happy coincidence. You see, Strowman is exactly the type of wrestler that Vince McMahon craves to push in his WWE. While the smarks and internet generation demand guys like Sami Zayn and Finn Balor get the mega pushes, McMahon would still much rather push the towering, muscle-bound giants.
Vince always had a knack for developing and promoting “larger than life” characters. He has done so countless times in his history with the likes of Andre the Giant, the Undertaker, Batista, Kane and so on and so on. The big men play right into McMahon’s wheelhouse. He knows how to package them. He knows how to create that larger than life persona. That is why guys like Braun Strowman have ultimately succeeded in Vince’s global company.
I take nothing away from Strowman because he has played a big part in his dominant push to the top. Make no mistake, however, that Vince made his rise a lot easier because he knows how to present guys his size. On the other hand, uber-talented wrestlers like Zayn, Balor, Kalisto and others who are smaller, take a lot longer to really develop on the main roster. McMahon is more out of his element and it is apparent.
For McMahon to package smaller, more agile wrestlers seems to be more of a struggle for him. It isn’t his natural preference. That’s not to say smaller wrestlers never succeed in the WWE, they just take a bit longer to do so. Case in point, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Vince never saw those guys excel beyond mid card status. It took a practical revolution by fans to get guys like that the opportunities they normally wouldn’t get.
For the smaller wrestlers, they seem to be packaged more as small guys with big hearts and guts that go head to head with the much larger guys and get tossed around for the whole match. The bigger guys like Strowman are easier to create for because Vince McMahon knows exactly how to present them and package them effectively. Heck, he has been doing that since he took over the company well over 30 years ago.
Poll Results from this Week
This week on the blog we hosted polls to get readers thoughts on WWE Raw, Smackdown 205 Live and NXT:
Average – 40.74
Bad – 29.63
Good – 11.11
Awful – 11.11
Excellent – 7.41
Average – 40
Good – 33.33
Excellent – 13.33
Bad – 13.33
Awful – 0
Good – 33.33
Excellent – 22.22
Bad – 22.22
Average – 11.11
Awful – 11.11
Average – 50
Good – 20
Excellent – 10
Bad – 10
Awful – 10
NXT aside, this was a very bland week of TV from the WWE this week, writes Craig Wilson.
In reality, the blandness of the television product this week was to be expected. After all, it was a UK tour and while you can criticise the quality of the shows regularly, they are more likely to be phoned-in during the two periods of the year where they are filmed in the WWE.
Raw was particularly poor, I felt. Sure, they followed up on a couple of angles but largely it felt all filler and very little killer, tag turmoil and Reigns/Braun segment aside. Smackdown, though, was marginally better. We got a Jinder Mahal pinfall over Randy Orton, a fun ‘Fashion Police’ segment and the setting up of a programme between Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. I saw those two face off during the Smackdown house show in Glasgow last week and I was impressed, I look forward to these two hard-hitting big men face-off against each other down the line.
Over in the cruiserweight world of 205 Live, I felt it was a good show. I’ve never really been a huge fan of the storylines and angles on 205 Live, per se, and this week wasn’t really any different. However, the two matches we were treated to were strong and are leading to something pretty good in the future. I still can’t, however, shake-off the feeling that there is very little interest from the WWE, or indeed the fans, towards the show.
Finally, NXT very effectively used the hour of TV available to set up things for Takeover. We now have a UK title match booked for the show as well as knowing that it will be Hideo Itami who will challenge for Bobby Roode’s title. Plus, we have a tag team titles ladder match in store too.
This is a legit pic!
A very young Bo Dallas in a sweet pose with his sister but there is a young Bray Wyatt photo bombing the picture.
John Cena: You Can’t See Me!
Stevie Wonder: No Shit.
A pretty cool fan made poster for Backlash…
Here is a pic of Dean Ambrose looking over the matches he booked as guest General Manager for Raw this past Monday. You will notice that on the docket…it says Bray Wyatt versus Ambrose….despite The Miz supposedly randomly booking that match on the spot.
The “eyebrow referee” in the WWE was an independent wrestler before putting on the striped shirt for the WWE.
A cool pic of actress Salma Hayek hanging out with El Hijo Del Santo
Andre the Giant taking a snooze…
There is Shawn Michaels no selling everything again…typical!
A commercial that has a wrestling theme to it…
Last Week on the Blog
Last week’s Sunday Sermon asked if house of horrors was the silliest match ever; on Monday we had part 18 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; Tuesday had part 113 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘; on Wednesday we had part 7 of ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions revisited‘; Thursday’s Top Five looked at performers who failed to live up to the hype lost in the post-superstar shake-up shuffle and we rounded off the week by asking ‘Whatever Happened to‘ the Nitro Girls.
Next Week on the Blog
In tomorrow’s Sunday Sermon we look back to 1997 and the reformation of the Hart Foundation; we have the latest ‘Wrestling with Sin‘, the next instalment of ‘The History of the Intercontinental Title‘ and much, much more.
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.