Brian Damage and Craig Wilson
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 21, Brian looks at the potential return of the old Goldust character and shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week while Craig talks about this week’s WWE produt and the results of the polls.
I am not sure if anybody was paying attention on Monday, what with the whole Jinder Mahal title win and all, but something pretty intriguing to me is happening on Raw.
Two weeks ago, Goldust ended the comedic tag team of the Golden Truth when he attacked his partner R-Truth in a surprise heel turn. What makes the turn all the more interesting, is the fact that Goldust is seemingly returning to his original gimmick.
Now I can’t tell you how long it has been since Goldust did his whole androgynous movie shtick, but it is certainly a welcome sight. Take nothing away from R-Truth, but Goldust, aka Dustin Runnels, is multi-talented. We have seen his comedic side for too long now. While Goldust can pull off comedy with the best of them, he has been wasted in tag teams for way too long.
Seeing the vignette of Goldust returning to his original roots with the character is a welcome sight. As good as he was with comedy, he is that much better as the bizarre heel. Let’s face it, Dustin Runnels has reached the twilight of his career. While he will probably never become a world champion, he could still revitalize his gimmick and career with one last push as the demented, bizarre and truly fascinating Goldust circa 1995.
As ever, the WWE went for quantity over quality when it came to the product this week. And boy was there a lot of wrestling to watch.
We kicked off last Saturday with NXT TakeOver:Chicago which turned out to be one of the best in a long time. This was, in reality, as close to a 10 out of 10 show you will see in the WWE. The match of the evening saw Pete Dunne defeat Tyler Bate to win the WWE UK Championship. This match had everything. Two excellent, excellent workers just going at it. Asuka also continued her dominance over the women’s division defeating excellent Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross in a triple threat bout. It’s tough to really work out who will end Asuka’s now 419-day reign with the title. In the opening match, Roderick Strong overcame the number game to defeat Eric Young. It had seemed that the numbers would have proved insurmountable for Storng but triumph he did. Hideo Itami was unable to best Bobby Roode for the NXT title, caught out after going for GTS a second time. And in the main event, Authors of Pain retained in a fantastic ladder match over DIY, who ended the evening splitting up when Ciampa turned on Gargano, throwing him into the Titantron then hitting the air raid crash off the announce table onto the floor below.
While ‘TakeOver: Chicago’ was all sorts of excellent, the same cannot be said for the following evening’s Smackdown exclusive ‘Backlash’ event. Unless you live under a rock, you’ll have seen that the WWE title reign of Jinder Mahal has begun – but we’ll talk about that in more detail in tomorrow’s Sunday Sermon. In reality, that was all that was even remotely interesting storyline wise on an ‘all filler, no killer’ show. However, I would urge everyone to go back and watch the stunning match between Kevin Owens and AJ Styes. But then turn the show off.
Contrary to the roll ratings below, which saw almost half of readers give Raw an average rating, I thought it was a good show building several storylines. However, regardless of what I think, it raised more ratings woes for the company. For the third time in four weeks, the third time in four weeks, the show set another third non-football and non-holiday record low. In fact, it did fewer viewers than the taped London show from two weeks previously. On Monday there’s a strong chance Raw will be unopposed by basketball. That will be a true test of where the current product is.
Tuesday’s episode of Smackdown received a post-PPV boost with a 7% increase in viewers, averaging 2.328 million. Bear in mind that Raw had 2.61 million viewers on average the night before. When you consider that all that was advertised for the show was Jinder Mahal’s Punjabi title celebration, there are a lot of interesting takeaways from this number.
Also on Tuesday was ‘205 Live’, which has quickly become one of the more consistent shows on WWE TV and this week was no different. Viewers got the return of Cedric Alexander, an excellent interview segment featuring Neville and Austin Aries – which has everything to be a very good feud – and a fantastic main event pitting The Brian Kendrick against Akira Tozawa.
Wednesday’s NXT was the typically skippable post-Takeover edition featuring the matches recorded on the night before the show started. The big takeaways are the continued momentum of both Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black. In that respect, job done.
Things to look out for next week:
- Can Raw ratings improve?
- Will Smackdown see a drop?
- What will the next set of NXT tapings deliver?
Poll Results from this Week
This week on the blog we hosted polls to get readers thoughts on WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago and that show’s best match, WWE Backlash 2017, and its best match, WWE Raw, Smackdown 205 Live and NXT:
NXT TakeOver: Chicago:
Excellent – 50
Good – 30.56
Awful – 16.67
Average – 2.77
Bad – 0
NXT TakeOver: Chicago best match
Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne – 48.57
Asuka vs Ruby Riot vs Nikki Cross – 14.29
Bobby Roode s Hideo Itami – 14.29
Roderick Strong vs Eric Young – 11.43
Authors of Pain vs DIY – 11.42
WWE Backlash 2017
Average – 40
Good – 23.33
Awful – 23.33
Bad – 10
Excellent – 3.33
WWE Backlash 2017 best match
Owens vs AJ – 63.33
Orton vs Maha – 20
Nakamura vs Ziggler – 6.67
Zayn vs Corbin – 3.33
Six-women’s tag – 3.33
Harper vs Rowan – 3.33
Usos vs Fashion Police – 0
Average – 47.37
Bad – 21.05
Awful – 21.05
Good – 10.53
Excellent – 0
Good – 63.64
Average – 27.27
Excellent – 9.09
Bad – 0
Awful – 0
Good – 37.5
Average – 25
Bad – 25
Awful – 12.5
Excellent – 0
Good – 50
Average – 25
Excellent – 12.5
Awful – 12.5
Bad – 0
There is a famous rock n roll club in Asbury Park, New Jersey that has a section dedicated to their hometown hero: the late, great, Bam Bam Bigelow.
Way back when Steve Austin was simply Stunning, there were signs of the man he would later become.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has come full circle…
Then and Now:
The two “Aces” of the WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling
John Cena and Hiroshi Tanahashi
This week marked the 40th anniversary of the movie Star Wars. Leave it to Japanese wrestling to capitalize on that phenomenon in 1979…
If you look carefully, you will see the door wasn’t attached at all! I know, I know, I’m exposing the business.
A Hulk Hogan MTV spot
Last Week on the Blog
Last Sunday we predicted WWE Backlash 2017; on Monday we had part 20 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; Tuesday featured part 115 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘; on Wednesday we had part 9 of ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions revisited‘; Thursday’s Top Five looked at underrated PPVs and we rounded off the week by looking at superstars who perhaps achieved success too early.
Next Week on the Blog
Tomorrow’s Sunday Sermon looks at JinderMania; we have the latest ‘Wrestling with Sin‘, a throwback ECW piece and more.
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.