The “New Era” is in full effect! Wrestlemania 32 was a symbolic close of the “old” chapter while the Payback pay per view at the beginning of the month opened the “new” chapter of the WWE. Watching Raw in recent weeks has been refreshing with a plethora of new NXT wrestlers getting the call up to the big stage of the WWE. Two feuds in particular have set the stage of the new phase of professional wrestling. It’s been long overdue.
It’s purely coincidental that the change occurred when Shane McMahon took over Raw the day after Wrestlemania. Speaking of Shane, another symbolic change has been at the top of the organization. Vince McMahon’s announcement at Payback of Shane & Stephanie McMahon sharing the General Manager duties of Raw was another symbolic transfer of the torch to the next generation. How long Shane remains in the spotlight remains to be seen. Of course, we should expect HHH coming back and getting involved in some kind of family feud possibly leading to a Shane/HHH match as Summerslam. So far, I like the chemistry between the McMahon siblings.
Roman Reigns is still WWE Heavyweight champion regardless of crowd reaction. Doesn’t this sound similar to the love/hate John Cena reaction? And remember, Ric Flair had the same crowd reaction when he was champion in the NWA back in the 80’s. It’s good to see AJ Styles already in the heavyweight title mix. He’s injecting freshness as a title contender for Reigns rather than another rematch or two with HHH. HHH is playing it smart staying out of the picture in the ring and backstage since WrestleMania. Symbolically, he’s out of the picture so the new wrestlers can shine in the ring. The addition of Anderson and Gallows makes it more intriguing adding mystery to the Styles aura. Is he heel or face? Are Reigns and/or Styles good or bad. Let the crowd figure it out.
The other feud that’s making noise and standing out wonderfully is Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This is old school actual heel in Owens and old school crowd favorite in Zayn. Their matches have been outstanding. Their actions outside the ring have been just as entertaining and keeping us interested. These two guys have known each other for a long time and that’s great intangible when working a program together.
So far, I’m giving the bookers thumbs up for now. There’s still some room for improvement but the newcomers still have a lot to learn. They’re hungrier than the veterans but they need to reel in their energy before they go out of control with high risk moves and faster paced action. Mind you, I’m not ignoring the veterans or established wrestlers but when you have a wrestler like Baron Corbin who consistently has the upper hand on his feud with Dolph Ziggler, you see which direction this company is going. Each week is a stronger indication that we should be assured that there are superstars in the making. Most important is that they are gradually developing on their own and with no interference or assistance from a source.
Hopefully, the WWE bookers and management finally realized their mistakes that led to poor ratings but patience is essential in any facet of this business. The bookers themselves made their gradual climb to success had to take their gradual time to get to the top. It’s like that in any business.
The fun of being a wrestling fan since I was a little kid was era after era of wrestlers making names for themselves. They had their own personas that defined an era and then passed the torch to the next crop of wrestlers and so on. It’s up to the wrestlers themselves to carry the torch and move the WWE into the next era. It’s up to us to cheer or boo for them. That’s my hope for their future.