If Jim Ross were on the call for both Raw and SmackDown Live from this week he would have something to say about the events after Elimination Chamber that has the wrestling world abuzz with excitement.
Business has certainly picked up.
After watching Bray Wyatt capture the WWE World Title in the Elimination Chamber match and then tuning in on Monday night to see Kevin Owens turn on his BFF, Chris Jericho to set up an epic match at WrestleMania 33, many weren’t sure if the events of Sunday and Monday could be topped. But in the latest “Hold my beer moment,” Daniel Bryan has once again orchestrated a swerve that has us all talking.
Wyatt is still the WWE World Champion after Tuesday night, Randy Orton doesn’t want to face his mentor in Orlando and now there will be a battle royal next week to determine the top contender for the blue team’s belt.
I swear I thought this was 1990s professional wrestling all over again.
OK, maybe I outkicked the coverage on that one. But wrestling is right where it needs to be all of the sudden. If 2016 was the beginning of a new novel written by this company, then 2017 appears to be the rising action and the meat of the story. If anything, WWE is a position it has not been in some time – one of control. The lack of depth on both sides of the brand is beginning to take care of itself. There is plenty of optimism with the move of both Samoa Joe and Mickie James to the main roster. Braun Strowman is becoming the immovable object the McMahon’s envisioned for him. Goldberg appears to be a steadfast commodity should he win the Universal Title at Backlash. New women’s champions in Bayley and Naomi make the divisions even deeper with the nod going to the blue team. And of course, more is on the horizon.
Forgive the use car salesman approach here. For the first time in years I am excited about WrestleMania 33 and think there is a chance for this promotion to move back toward a time when wrestling mattered because it gave the fans what it wanted. Wyatt’s title win was the first step. Now, we can sit back and watch what else happens before April.
Six weeks and counting, in case you were wondering.
WWE must continue to find a balance between solid booking (Strowman, Wyatt and Bayley) and the perfect storm (Jericho and Owens, Samoa Joe’s dominance). The product is only good because of the sum of its parts. You can see the wheels in motion. Charlotte is still the best in the women’s division. Styles is still the best the blue team has to offer. I never thought I would call John Cena a transitional champion, but his two-week run for his 16th world title makes so much sense now. I must wonder why it took so long for the creative team to get it right.
The recent success of the company doesn’t come without questions – most notably in how the Usos are being booked and whether New Day should disband. Enzo and Cass may be more successful as singles stars (Enzo and Xavier Woods belong in 205 in my opinion). At some point soon, Dash and Dawson have to make their main roster debut.
Yes, it’s all falling into place. It may have been a bit slow for my taste, but the flavor right now is undeniable. WWE is onto something with this new recipe. The slow simmer is finally heating up, and just in time. Like the changing seasons, the company is changing strategy. It’s a good time to be a wrestling fan. The novel is not yet complete, but the plot and the subplot are perfect for the winds of change.
A change that was a long time coming.