Quite the 72 hours of Raaaaslin. WWE is off to a great start in their attempt to usher in a “New Era”. But is it really a new era? Or is that just more corporate buzz words with no actual significance?
The 3 day wrestling buffet started on Sunday live from the ‘Phone Booth’ better known as the Verizon Center. I was in attendance for what turned out to be a top shelf pay per view special, ‘Battleground’.
The event started with a roaring ovation for a woman wrestler. Bayley, a longtime prospect, made her surprise debut and was met with as loud of an ovation as anyone, male or female, on the roster. Her and teammate, Sasha Banks defeated Ric Flair’s daughter, and Women’s champion, Charlotte and her protégé, Dana Brooke.
A few matches later, we got possibly the best match thus far this year. Kevin Owens, the awesome fat guy who wrestles in hooping shorts, took on real life long-time friend turned foe, Sami Zayn, aka Skinny Seth Rogan. The two men pulled out all the stops in a fight between two men clearly attempting to seriously hurt one another. The passion in this match brought the crown to its feet awaiting a conclusion to the war that the match turned into. To put it bluntly, this was a sick match. Best that I’ve witnessed live.
In the Main event, the long awaited Shield triple threat match took place. Dean Ambrose, the Champion, took on former ‘brothers’ Seth Rollins and Romance Reigns. The match was well worth the two year wait. The three competitors exhibited why the future is bright for WWE as the trio are simple three of the best in the business. All three men shined in what turned into an all out brawl for the company’s top championship. In somewhat of a surprise, Dean Ambrose retained the title after planting Reigns with a DDT.
Monday was the first Monday Night Raw after the company split the roster in two. And boy oh boy did they start off with a bang. There is a new Star in WWE, and he was created in one night. Finn Balor was spotlighted in his debut night on the roster. First defeating three other competitors, followed by exposing of Roman Reigns cleanly in the main event. Balor will go on to Main Event SummerSlam next month vs Seth Rollins the the freshly minted ‘Universal Championship’.
The good didn’t stop there. In a woman’s title Match between aforementioned Sahsha Banks and Charlotte, Banks realized a childhood dream by becoming women’s champion. The match itself was sensational. Showing why the women in WWE should be taken seriously in the ring. They aren’t portrayed as simply models any more. Instead they’re portrayed simply as competitors as credible in the ring as any man on the roster.
WWE Raw included some old school squash matches, post match interviews, new camera angles, and an upgraded commentary team. It was the easiest Raw to watch since raw went to three hours. Plainly put, Raw was great!
Last up, Tuesday night brought us the first Smackdown Live. Smackdown wasn’t as good as Raw was, but it continued the narrative of a ‘New Era’ being ushered in.
Most noteworthy part of Smackdown was the main event. A match between in competitors to determine the number one contender. The surprising result was Dolph Ziggler, who has been a bit of a forgotten man, winning over the likes of John Cena, AJ Styles, and other more credibly portrayed wrestlers. The result provided an unpredictability that was quite a breath of fresh air. Showed that it won’t be the same ole guys taking up the prominent spots. The rest of Smackdown was good, not great. But as with Raw, a new presentation leads to plenty of reason for optimism going forward.
As a whole, it was as good of a three day run WWE has had since 2009, when I started back watching ‘rasslin’. I, personally, am optimistic that a new era could indeed be upon us. The company has to continue to show a commitment to creating new top guys. As well as the minute differences in the presentation. A more sports like feel will be greatly beneficial to the company. More emphasis on the thrill of victory, and agony of defeat could lead to an uptick in interest in the product. I’d recommend checking out the product for anyone who may have ‘hopped off of the boat’. While it remains to be seen if this is indeed a new era or not, my seat belt is strapped. I’m ready to enjoy the ride.