‘Sup, Lords of Pain? This week I’ve been stuck working at the British home of Scientology so I’ve been more John Travolta than John Cena. I did manage to catch Survivor Series but not much else. As such I shall be leaving you in the very capable and sweaty hands of Randall for this week’s column…
Week Ending 23rd November 2018
(Apologies in advance for how this may turn out as I’m hungover and having a hair of the dog to cure me).
10. The Spirit of Becky (On my Face)
I have the pleasure of choosing positions 10, 9 and 8. Drake Maverick is getting nowhere on this list for the piss poor attempt at humour during the Tag Title match and William Regal will be named dropped (hi ‘Bear) but will never secure a spot, so it felt natural to give it to The Man even though she was nowhere to be seen this week (for obvious reasons). Her presence was felt any time Nia was on screen (who was rightly booed out of the building) and it just makes the crowd want Becky more. That and we couldn’t break her consecutive streak now, could we?
9. Brock Lesnar (RAW)
This is probably the only time the lazy shite will be on this list but The Beast reminded us that he can have compelling matches when he isn’t going full Suplex City mode. Lesnar is an underrated seller thanks to recent times but he seems to go all out when fighting smaller opponents and Daniel Bryan was no different. Unfortunately that’ll probably be the last time we’ll see an entertaining match from him. Pity.
8. War Raiders, Ricochet & Pete Dunne (NXT)
After enjoying the War Games match last year, I had high hopes for this one and it did not disappoint. Undisputed are my favourite faction right now and they went up against crowd favourites in the Takeover match of the night. I’m still not on board with War Raiders (their entrance attire was great though) and Ricochet (talented as he is) but I can’t deny they’re popular, they’re just not on the level like Dunne is. Poor Raiders were an afterthought at the end with the cameras focused squarely on the other two but they held up their end of the bargain and I can see them getting the Tag Titles sooner than later. As for Dunne and Ricochet, who knows? Will Dunne get a shot at the North American title or will he fade off to focus on NXT UK? Ricochet can only go up (not sure if pun) but there’s no clear challenger in sight. For now.
7. Velveteen Dream (NXT)
WHATCHA GONNA DO, WHEN VELVETEEN RUNS WILD ON YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU?! The Hogan themed outfit by the Dream was on point and his outfits are becoming a regular thing I look forward to when he’s booked for a Takeover event. It gets beaten into the ground but it’s ridiculous that he’s only 23 yet so talented and it’s a general consensus that he can only get better from here. I never want him to leave NXT, selfish as it is, because he’ll be so misused it’ll be criminal. Happy that he was defeated by Ciampa because it’ll only fuel him on to better himself, while working his way up the ladder again to finally capture the big one. Where does he go from here? I’m not sure but I’m eager to find out.
6. Baron Corbin (Raw)
Corbin was made for his current role on RAW and I’m not surprised. I’ve been a fan of his since NXT (no idea why) and his finisher is eye catching (that’s probably why) but he was just….there. A trade to RAW, a loss of hair and a wardrobe change later and he’s in a prominent spot every week, entertaining the masses (hate or otherwise). With Strowman out of commission thanks to his actions, he looks to be in the clear to run RAW without having to look over his shoulder but sooner or later he’s gonna have to sleep in the bed he made and that bed may be a grave once Braun is done with him.
4. Johnny Gargano and 5. Aleister Black (NXT)
The two had a fantastic match at Takeover, ending with two brutal does of Black Mass. Thanks to ‘Plan once again, he types up a great paragraph about Mr. Wrestling.
The fall of Gargano is another beast entirely, a more fantastical but no less compelling take on a familiar storytelling concept. We are all the hero in our own story, but what happens when there is no happy ending and we fail to measure up? What happens when heroism is just a flight of fancy? Johnny Wrestling is proving to be a pro wrestling Darth Vader; a boy of great promise, who becomes a man warped with the frustrated experience of not being able to achieve what he may very well believe he is destined to achieve. His is a fable of 21st century entitlement and insecurity.
As for Black, I can’t see where he can go from here. He got his revenge and he has already been at the top of the NXT mountain, so does a main roster call up seem likely? Possible but he’ll be wasted there like every other prospect.
3. Dean Ambrose (Raw)
It’s refreshing to see Dean play minds games from the dark side this time. It has a more sinister feel to it and I’m all for it continuing for as long as possible. The one thing that hasn’t changed is Ambrose having the one up on Seth during any time they’ve feuded. I have a feeling when the chips are down, the results will be the same too with Rollins winning out in the end. There’s a larger story to be told here and I think TLC is only the beginning but I can see Ambrose winning the title and maybe dropping it back to Rollins at the Rumble.
2. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live)
The Queen rules over an inferior brand, if you’re to believe WWE and their selective bullcrap. I’m on the fence about this…….”turn” by Charlotte. I can’t stand her as it is (heel or face) but I did enjoy her losing the plot and going all out on Ronda at the Series. Twas a fun match too beforehand and the right decision to have it be a DQ finish but the subsequent treatment of the Iconics (not spelling it the silly way) on Smackdown was unnecessary and further adds to the confusion on whether she’s a face or heel. If they’re trying to go the route of a badass like Becky, it won’t end well. Stick her as the entitled heel or just fuck off altogether before she becomes the female Roman Reigns.
1. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live)
Nothing screams ‘bad guy’ like a unkempt (ex?) vegan wearing a garish grandfather fleece. I originally had something typed out but during a lunch break, I read the excellent column by Samuel ‘Plan (click here to have a read https://lordsofpain.net/just-business-wwes-heroes-are-dying/). This paragraph is fantastic and I felt the need to share it.
The fall of Bryan has only just begun but even now offers up a vision of desperation and, in some respects, even of a pro wrestling-form of post-traumatic stress. Bryan has proven himself to be a man not in his right mind, seemingly overcome with the emotional hangover of the most traumatic experience of his character’s life (his enforced early retirement) and, thus, losing the struggle to find the right tools with which to process those events properly – resulting in an act of self-flagellation last Sunday, it seems, and a growing delusion of how the world works. He is a mortal reminder that there is no such thing as a ‘super’ hero, only human ones.
To quote the late great Stan Lee, ‘nuff said.
Geez, I must be hungover, singing ‘Planuel’s praises. That’ll do for this week though. With TLC coming up, all roads lead to Wrestlemania season when all is said and done. Will Becky make it back next week? I’m not sure if I’ll be back as it all depends on Maz being freed from the closet (South Park Scientology joke for the win). Give the lad a follow on Twitter below anyway or sound off in the comments if you agree/disagree with the list.
Until next week, peace!