Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month. In other words, the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work, laying the foundation for what will hopefully, eventually be a permanent spot on the LOP Columns roster.
November’s winner Don Franc was our second first time Columnist of the Month winner in a row and once again it is a testament to this writer’s hard work, penning over 100 columns in his time in the Columns Forum so far. If you enjoy this piece then you can see his take on current events down in the Columns Forum and he is also just about to start a series watching and reviewing historical shows too starting at the original Wrestlemania.
If you would like to write for Lords of Pain, the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.
Column was originally published on the 20th of November 2018
Survivor Series Thoughts
– So Survivor Series has come and gone and overall I’d say it was a good show. There were some hiccups along the way but for me personally it was entertaining. I’m a bit surprised by RAW’s whitewash over Smackdown but it was bound to happen eventually. RAW completely owned Smackdown and the negative implications of this could be Stephanie McMahon annoyingly gloating for twenty minutes and Baron Corbin being made permanent General Manager of RAW. Sheesh. Anyway, here are my quick thoughts on the show:
– Before I speak about the matches, I have to make mention of how dead the crowd was for half of the night. During the first half of the show the crowd were almost non-existent and only picked up after Murphy/Ali. Very disappointing crowd, however, this could attribute to the structure of the show.
– The 5-on-5 Traditional Womens Elimination Match was underwhelming to say the least. It just felt clunky. Perhaps kicking the show off with this match was not a good idea. It only picked up towards the end when Asuka and Sasha went head to head. A couple things of note were how Nia Jax unsurprisingly had MAJOR heel heat due to here involvement in Becky’s injury and also how over Asuka still is. It could be possible that Asuka is the only face that can go up against Becky Lynch without getting boo’d. Also, Asuka and Sasha should definitely go one-on-one. I know they’ve wrestled on RAW before but I would love to see them wrestle at a major event in singles action.
– I was hoping Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura would tear the house down, but it was not to be. This match, to me, was a test for Shinsuke. If he couldn’t put on a clinic with Seth he wouldn’t be able to put on a clinic with anyone. I was a big fan of Nakamura when he debuted but my fandom has waned since then. I’ve enjoyed his work up until he lost to AJ at Wrestlemania and then he just kind of fizzled out. I’m not sure what went wrong but he was quite popular at one point in time. He’s matches aren’t as great as they once were either, which is why this match was a test to see if he could have a great match with a wrestler of Rollins’ caliber. It wasn’t meant to be as this match never seemed to get out of second gear. However, this is not a bad match by any stretch of the imagination and I’d still consider it good.
– Not much to say about AOP vs The Bar. It felt like a run of the mill TV bout. These teams could have done much better if given more time and perhaps a willingness to want to put on a great match. Not even Maverick pissing his pants could make this match memorable.
– Business began to pick up once Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali faced off. What a great match these two had with a number of memorable spots. It was quite obvious that the fans didn’t know much about these guys based off their lack of participation. However, once the fans saw how fantastic this match was they came around. It’s amazing how a great wrestling match can suck the crowd in, isn’t it? In my opinion, this is easily the match of the night.
– The men’s 5-on-5 Traditional Elimination Match was good, in my view. It was slightly shorter that what we’ve become accustomed to in recent times but I still enjoyed it. This match, however, was all about RAW. The Smackdown team felt like an afterthought. The RAW team members all had beef with each other and that created the drama with alot of in-fighting throughout the match. Drew Mcyntire was put in the spotlight in the first half of this match which just proves that WWE sees big things in his future. Strowman got four elimination under his belt to reinforce his monster status. Oh, and Corbin gave Strowman a cheap shot after the match. You see, all about RAW. The only memorable thing on the Smackdown end was Shane’s jumps and Samoa Joe getting eliminated very quickly to MAJOR heat from the fans. A “bullshit” chant even ensued, which cannot really be argued against. Overall, this was a very enjoyable match.
– Great, great match between Rousey and Flair. I enjoyed every second of this affair which was all about strikes and submissions. Rousey proves to be a quick study and Flair has helped her to her best match to date. I loved this match, but the ending was a bit confusing. Not that the ending wasn’t awesome, as it felt it fitting. It’s just that from what happened on RAW you’d think Becky would be getting the ‘Mania match against Ronda but after this match a case can now be made for Charlotte. We just have to hold out and see who gets to face Rousey at Wrestlemania, but it’s definitely Flair or Lynch, that’s for sure. One more thing of note is the reaction from the crowd afterward, who didn’t seem to bothered that Rousey got the shit kicked out of her. It looks like the side effects of facing off with Becky Lynch is rearing its ugly head.
– Through the first half of Lesnar/Bryan I was telling myself how I’m officially done with Brock and his annoying matches. I just can’t take watching this type of match from him anymore. And those first two German Suplexes legitimately made me cringe. Daniel sold it so well that I really thought he was injured. I kept getting flashbacks from the Cena/Lesnar encounter from Summerslam 2014 and how it was rumoured that Daniel was supposed to be in that match instead of Cena. I couldn’t help thinking that up to that point, this is what the Summerslam match would have looked like if Daniel faced off against Brock. Nevertheless, my perception of the match changed completely after the low blow. I just couldn’t stop myself from giving a wide grin. After the knee I thought this match was over. Well, it wasn’t. However, from that point Bryan made Lesnar look extremely vulnerable. It was as if the roles were reversed and Bryan was now making Lesnar his bitch. Some good false finishes in this match and I honestly thought Lesnar was going to tap to the Yes Lock. This match had me out of my seat, that’s for sure. Despite the slow start to this match it was great!
All in all I thought this show started out slow – still a few good moments in that timeframe – but things really started picking up once Murphy/Ali graced our scenes. From my viewpoint, this show was good and nothing less than worth a watch.
We all know the story of how Roman Reigns was jeered excessively. The fans could just not get behind the man. Recent events have proven that it was never personal, but due to his seemingly never-ending monster push fans have decried anything Reigns related. You cannot blame them either. WWE has become known for pushing a wrestler down our throats ad nauseam and Roman happened to be the guy that WWE forced down our throats above all others.
I have always argued in Roman’s favor, even though I was never the guy’s biggest fan. My argument was always that he did not choose to be in the position that he was in. He was forced into that position based off his look and Vince’s definition of what characterizes star power. Some of you might say that he should have spoken up and advised Vince to slow down his push for the betterment of the fans. Okay, so firstly, you do not argue with your boss. If he says something, you do it. Secondly, what normal human being wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to be at the top of their profession?
Besides, Roman Reigns wasn’t as bad as people made him out to be. I feel as though a lot of the negativity toward him has been unwarranted. The negativity should have been aimed at the WWE. They were the ones who put Reigns in the spotlight. Sure, they did aim their negativity toward WWE by constantly drowning out arenas with jeers every time Roman hit the stage, but that could have been a hindrance to the man’s career. Luckily, Roman was able to adapt and use that negative energy to fuel his pursuits even more.
If one forgets how hard Vince was for Roman, you’d come to realize that he was actually great. He had the look, which in WWE is important, but in the wrestling industry itself can go a long way. He was a good wrestler, despite what some would lead you to believe. He wasn’t the best on the mic but he could at least cut a promo and show intensity. He certainly had the ability to create that big-fight feel. Add to that his silent charisma and what you got was a pretty well-rounded main event player.
Therefore, I can understand why people showed apathy toward how WWE booked Roman Reigns, but I don’t agree with how overwhelmingly negative everyone made Roman out to be.
The reason why I’m bringing this worn-out topic up is because it ties directly into an important course of action that if followed, could have allowed Roman Reigns to potentially impact WWE the way they were hoping he would. We all know that in Vince’s mind Roman was going to be the next breakout star. But perhaps Vince went about this all wrong. Perhaps Vince should have let Roman Reigns follow the path of vengeance instead of glory.
Which is why I always ask myself…
What if Roman Reigns Went After Seth Rollins?
Would things be different? That is an extremely difficult question to answer, but one that needs to be delved a little deeper into. It’s quite possible that WWE dropped the ball on Roman’s push at that point. WWE decided to shoot him straight to the top but they were not looking at the bigger picture. They could have still let him work his way to the top but by letting him take a different route. It’s all about presentation and WWE did not present him in the most positive light.
You see, fans loved The Shield – still do – and when Rollins turned his back on his brothers everyone in the audience felt it. Everyone around the world felt it. Dean and Roman literally felt it. They were at their most popular as a unit at that moment and there was arguably no better time to split them up. But instead of Roman going after Seth, it was almost like he forgot about the betrayal and moved on like nothing happened. What. The. Fuck. After being practically brothers for the longest time you can’t tell me that Seth turning his back on The Shield had no effect on Reigns whatsoever.
I can understand that it is a little bit difficult to run a revenge angle with three people. It’s surely much easier to run said angle from a broken tag team than a broken stable. This is especially hard for the WWE’s creative team who has a creative deficiency. Nevertheless, it made no sense whatsoever to have Roman just move on like nothing happened.
The glaring omission in the question that I have posted is Dean Ambrose. As we are all well aware by now, Rollins and Ambrose put on a masterclass of a feud that included some great matches. Their feud is admittedly my favorite feud of all time and if Roman had to be involved the feud would not be what it had become. Dean and Seth are now this generations greatest rivals – in my opinion – and that really dampens any argument that Roman should have gone after Seth.
However, that does not excuse the fact that common sense and booking logic would dictate Roman also wanting a piece of Seth for his dastardly deed. As much as I loved the Dean/Seth feud I can only imagine the possibilities of all three members of The Shield feuding at once. The more I think about it the more I believe that WWE may have missed an opportunity at an intricately woven plotline that could have taken them from Seth’s betrayal all the way to the next Wrestlemania. I’d reckon that their triple threat match would have been perfect after a lengthy feud all stemming to Rollins’ betrayal.
I don’t want to dwell too much on fantasy booking, but picture this… Both Roman and Dean go after Seth to get revenge for him betraying them and aligning with The Authority. Seth could have used his goons to go after his former brothers as a way to avoid them. You would think that this would warrant a triple threat match as their first fight but there are ways to work around that. Of course, tensions would arise as Roman and Dean would both want to be the one that finishes Seth off. That then creates a match between Roman and Dean. Have Seth and his cohorts put one of his former stablemates on the shelf for some one-on-one feuding. This prevents them from having to get tangled up in a triple threat match. At the Royal Rumble these men would be in the final four but all three would get eliminated due to their disdain for Seth. All of this eventually leading to a triple threat match at Wrestlemania. I swear I could write an amazing story with some nice plot points but this isn’t a fantasy booking column, so I digress.
My point is that WWE could have created magic by having all three men face off against each other. But instead, Roman got chosen to go straight to the main event. WWE should have learnt from there past experience that this was not the correct approach to getting Roman over the way they wanted him to be. Instead of being adored by the fans based off data they got toward the end of Roman’s run with The Shield, he was rejected. This could have easily been avoided if he were to go after Seth. I’m not saying that Dean shouldn’t have gone after Seth, but they could have put Dean on the shelf while Roman feuded with Seth. It would have greatly benefited Reigns at the time, but WWE were too naive to realize it.
Roman was the badass of The Shield. In the world of WWE there is almost nothing more badass than going for revenge. Add to that the fact that payback is the best story wrestling can provide and Roman would be well on his way to capitalize on the popularity he already generated in The Shield. The fans were cheering Roman wildly in the last few months of The Shield and him wanting to get his hands on the traitor would have taken that popularity to the next level.
It would have showed the fans that even though Roman was the well-known chosen one, he would be allowed to organically rise to the top. That potential feud with Seth could have provided that launching pad to the top. But instead, WWE decided to blow their load prematurely, as they normally do.That feud could have also allowed Roman to have some great matches early on in his solo career against an established wrestler.
But as we now know, it was not meant to be. Look, we can “what if” all day long, but at the end of the day WWE made a costly error in not letting Roman go after Seth. Roman would have even been able to claim his generational rival akin to Rock/Austin. But instead that honor went to Dean Ambrose. And hey, there is nothing wrong with that because I would honestly have it no other way. In hindsight it would have been a crying shame if Roman went after Seth and in the process rob us of the masterclass that was Ambrose and Rollins’ feud.
If I was a conspiracy theorist I would even say that WWE wanted Dean to go after Seth for one reason and one reason only: to lose the feud. They had plans for Roman to become their next mega-star while they handpicked Seth as their top heel (you don’t join The Authority otherwise). There was no way they would let Seth lose the feud which could attribute to why Roman never went after him. They couldn’t put both Rollins and Reigns over if one of them had to lose the war. And that is where “Mr. Expendable” Dean Ambrose came in. In fact, now that the thought has crossed my mind I would honestly say that it is a viable theory. Dean was used as the fall guy in this one. It just goes to show how WWE really feels about the guy.
This subject can be very contradictory because you cannot do both here. You can only have one or the other. It’s either Ambrose goes after Rollins and we get a classic feud or Reigns goes after Rollins and gets over. As much as I appreciated Dean vs. Seth, it has to be said that the fact Roman never went after Seth had a ripple effect on his entire career. You could even say that he was doomed to fail from the start of his solo run because of it.
In essence – based off of WWE’s wont – having Roman Reigns vying for revenge against Seth Rollins would have been for the greater good.
And that does it for this edition of The New Event. No Bonus Match today as I’m starting work in little over an hour (10PM!). What did you think about Survivor Series? Do you think Roman would have been better off in the long run if he went after Seth? Please feel free to leave a comment in the black box below. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time, folks…
This is Don Franc signing out.