‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Well what do you know, I’ve made it to the second week. Who knows, this may just become a thing yet. While the wrestling world is riding the All In hype wave, I get to sift through 8 hours of WWE TV to bring you this list. But it’s not so bad though. There are plenty of positives right now. I certainly wouldn’t have subjected myself to this project a few months back. And with the second edition of the Mae Young Classic kicking off this week, I have a little extra to use. So anyway enough of the chit-chat, let’s get on with the new edition of…
The WWE Power 10
Week Ending 7th September 2018
=10. Shawn Michaels/The Undertaker (Retirement Home, Texas)
Let me start off by making something very clear. I have no interest in seeing either of these men wrestle ever again. I am a huge Triple H mark, however the thought of him going one-on-one with the Deadman once more doesn’t appeal to me. They can talk about it until they’re blue in the face and that isn’t going to change. However, they do get points for trying. I don’t usually have a great deal of time for either of these guys on the mic, but having seen my boy cut one of the worst promos of his career a couple of weeks ago, HBK and Taker deserve a lot of credit for bringing things back on track. Shawn showed emotion and intensity without going over the top with the ham, a trait he is so often guilty of. The Phenom followed his lead and delivered the cold verbal blows. I may not be a particularly interested consumer of what they are selling, but these legends make the list for still being able to pitch it really hard.
9. Meiko Satomura (MYCII)
Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that I am pretty much a WWE-exclusive fan. I will check out something from elsewhere now and then if it is getting a good buzz but in general I get more content than I can handle from my favourite promotion. At the end of 2015 I did a collaboration with fellow columnist mizfan where he gave me a his favourite matches of the year from other promotions to watch. An absolute standout for me was a 30 minute time limit draw between two Japanese ladies I had never heard of. The young upstart in that bout would head stateside last year and win the very first May Young Classic. Kairi Sane looked like the future in that match but I fell in love with the wily veteran across the ring from her. I’ve spent the last two and a half years waiting for her to pop up somewhere so you can imagine my excitement when I heard she was going to be in the second MYC. Sometimes you build someone up in your head to the point where disappointment is likely to follow. Fortunately this wasn’t the case with Meiko Satomura. Her short match with Killer Kelly reminded me straight away why I was so impressed on first sight. I labelled her a ring general in that 2015 column and it is very apt. She commands total respect and gets the job done. I am really hoping she can go deep into this tournament and go up against some of the top talent involved.
8. The Velveteen Dream (NXT)
Boy do we love this guy, right? It’s hard not to really. A young kid who loves wrestling as much as we do. He is absolutely killing it to pursue his dream. You can see all his influences shining through in his work and we love them too. He is growing into a megastar in front of our very eyes. Make no mistake, Patrick Clark is the future of the business. This week’s NXT main event gave us a huge glimpse of why. He got to flex his fantastic character against a frustrated Gargano. There is no question he would shine there but he also held his own against Johnny Wrestling in the ring too. I mean granted, a “this is awesome” chant in Full Sail is about as common as a Young Bucks superkick but it was certainly warranted this time around. He is improving at a rapid rate and I am looking forward to see him grow even further as the months go by.
7. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Live)
Ah Becky. I could have used a break from discussing the Lass Kicker to be honest. She has developed such a devoted fanbase recently and proof of that is her making the list once again. Just like last week, there was no match for Ms Lynch and this week there was no physical interaction either. Just a discussion with Charlotte. I think the big question is whether WWE have maybe softened their stance on her. She came across as less heelish this time out. Just as angry and frustrated but it didn’t feel they were pushing her as the baddy quite as much. That may just be me though. Actions do speak louder than words and as we are all very much aware, Charlotte doesn’t come across as particularly likeable at the best of times. With at least two big matches between the former tea-drinking besties on the horizon, we shall see how things progress. I do urge WWE not to drop the ball on this one however. They have stumbled into an immensely popular act with Lynch and it’s a fine line between feeding that popularity and turning fans off completely.
6. Andrade Cien Almas (SmackDown Live)
I told you that there was a good chance Almas would be featured on this thing a lot. That’s 2 for 2 now and he remains as a secondary character in a larger feud. That’s pretty impressive. It was more of the same for El Idolo this week. It started out with him getting What’d out the building though. It’s tough out there for anyone who pauses during promos but when it sounds like your English teacher was the Great Khali, you’re going to be on a hiding to nothing. I mean dude’s English is way better than my Spanish but I’m not speaking Spanish on a Spanish TV show. Fact is he has Zelina Vega there to cover that up so it’s probably best he sticks to a word or a phrase here and there. Where Andrade really does his talking is in the ring and once again he got to show off his exceptional talent with one of the best to ever do it. I said last week that I hope to see a higher profile battle between Bryan and Almas down the line, but in the short term I’d be content with a TV match every week. He and Vega have been great in their role as surrogates for The Miz and Maryse in this build and let’s hope it leads on to bigger and better things.
5. R-Truth (SmackDown Live)
Ron Killings really is a strange one. He’s been around forever at this point (and doesn’t look a day older than he was whilst getting rowdy with the Road Dogg). His ring work is pretty basic and not much more. His theme tune gets stuck in your head and makes you want to jump out a window even more than baby sharks do (do do do do do do). All in all, he is the very definition of a lower midcarder who is great on the house show circuit as he has a well established schtick that works for the kids. The thing is, R-Truth can also play crazy. Not just in that “pro-wrestler is clearly acting” kind of way either. When he does his crazy schtick, I legitimately buy into the fact that he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. His recent backstage feud with Carmella has defied all logic and been nothing short of hilarious with every segment. I love the fact that it has led to a pairing between the two for the next Mixed Match Challenge as well as the Princess of Staten Island seconding Truth in a SDL main event this week. His match with former running buddy Miz was nothing to write home about. However as we don’t get to see him in action that often these days, and with all the other factors surrounding it, it was a very fun way to end the show and capped a great night for Mr Killings. The oddball pairing with Carmella (not to be confused with the other Carmella) could be a nice bit of comic relief in the coming weeks on a show that has some pretty intense rivalries going on.
4. The Shield (Raw)
I believe in a lot of things. I believe in the Tooth Fairy. I believe in the Easter Bunny. I believe in Santa. But most of all, I believe in the Shield. The group have captivated me since their debut almost six years ago now. Individually I am a fan of them all, and yes that includes Roman (poor creative and inconsistent character aside). As a faction though, they are one of the few acts who make me feel like a kid again when watching wrestling. That isn’t something that happens very often as I approach the big 4-0. So while plenty aren’t particularly feeling this reunion, I am all over it like wrestling feminist twitter on Dave Meltzer. It appears I have some fellow columnists onside too as Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose make this week’s list for getting nicked and then taking a good old fashioned passionate ass-whooping at either end of the show. The thing is they do that really well too. The brawl to kick Raw off was definitely a lot of fun and they took their beatdown at the end admirably. The main event scene on Monday nights is hot right now but more on that later in this column.
3. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live)
Daniel Bryan didn’t get any love on the first edition of this column, despite going up against a guy who did make this list. He would have a rematch with Almas this week and we sure as hell couldn’t ignore him again. We’ve already established that the pair wrestled a very strong TV match for the second week on the trot but the GOAT face had a bigger night that last week. His interactions chasing Miz and Maryse around Detroit gave a bit more pep to a feud which has felt a little stagnant since SummerSlam. I honestly think they may have been best going their separate ways for a bit before coming together a month or two down the line. Mixed tag is the direction we are going and a shoutout to Brie who did actually get a vote alongside her husband but not enough to get her on the list. It was certainly a better Tuesday night for Mrs Danielson than Monday, where she managed to totally botch a suicide dive on two separate occasions and was probably a tad lucky to avoid serious injury. The couple finished the night off tapping out Almas and Vega as their Hell in a Cell opponents looked on. Here’s hoping they can capture some full fire once we get to the PPV.
2. Braun Strowman (Raw)
Questions still remain surrounding where the Monster Among Men stands right now. We could still just be looking at a soft heel turn in the short term but this week he very much embraced his role. In last week’s column I mentioned that there was a huge Brock-shaped hole to fill as Raw’s top heel and Strowman jumped right in this week. He wasn’t just a dominant monster this week. He was a calculating heel and faction leader. He had a plan and he had the sheer beastitude and team surrounding him to back it up. As a group, The Shield have always seemed on an entirely different plane. It’s one of the problems in giving them a reunion. They are booked so strongly as a group and have such great chemistry, it’s tough to give them opponents who look a serious threat. We are quick to jump on them when they poop the bed, so I have to give it up to WWE creative for actually managing to give them credible opponents in just one week here. Strowman, McIntyre and Ziggler look ready to tangle with the group I would call the greatest faction in WWE history. With Braun as the ring leader, they took it to Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose, got them arrested and then handed their butts to them to close the show. While I have no doubt the clapback will be coming next week, he is looking like a legitimate threat heading to Hell in a Cell. I just hope that whatever happens inside the steal, the company keep him true to his badass self as that should be a constant whether he is heel or face.
1. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (Raw)
“If it wasn’t for my love for the Revival, I’d be heavily backing Dolph and Drew to end this B Team comedy run with the tag belts” – Mazza, Last Week
I’d like to send a personal apology to the Top Guys if in anyway I am responsible here. But look at things this way. If Revival had won the tag titles this week, it wouldn’t have been a great victory. They would have beaten a comedy act and would have remained Raw filler. A victory for Ziggler and McIntyre has immediately raised the value of those titles. They are going to be extremely visible at the top of the show. If Dash and Dawson to get their hands on them down the line, they should be in a much better place. But this isn’t about the Revival. This is about Dolph and Drew having an absolutely stellar week. While they may be in the sidekick role, they are more than holding their own. Getting the number one spot this week over Braun is proof of that. They were key in the brawl and beatdown of the Shield to bookend the show. Their brutal attack on the Revival was a fine piece of booking and they went on to have a strong match with the B Team. I think it was a good move which give the team some extra momentum going into a huge match with Ambrose and Rollins, who were delivering big time with those same belts just before Dean went down with his injury.
What do you know, we’ve made it all the way through week 2. The new Raw tag team champions take the top spot with their running buddy just behind. With their rivals also getting some love, the Raw main event scene boasts 6 guys in the top 4 spots this week. As we head to the go home shows for Hell in a Cell, I would expect some of the SmackDown Live stars to have more of an impact next week. Hopefully we will see the first appearance of the WWE Champion, who you’d expect to be a big time player on the list. Any thoughts on this week’s list, feel free to hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter.
You can also check out the latest episode of The Right Side of the Pond, where Plan, Maverick and myself look at some rivalries over the years that should have culminated inside Hell in a Cell.
Until next week, peace!