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Rising Star of The Week: Sami Zayn
Braun Strowman has been scooping Zayn’s heat for weeks now, which is why I was absolutely ready to put him as “The Rising Star” when I heard the word “trade” come out of Mick Foley’s mouth. Yes, Mick, get Sami away from this monster as quick and as soon as possible – forget his physical well-being, think of his creative well-being! If they aren’t going to treat him as a credible opponent, then why not have Braun just “tussle” with Titus (“Tussling With Titus” sounds like a sitcom that would appear right before “Home Improvement”) . Using him as cannon fodder for McMahon’s bearded love Frankenstein would just further shove him into the pit of mid-card main-stays, and Sami deserves way better than that. Then, WWE did the most creative thing this side of Goldberg and had Mick pull a fast one on the ol’ “Underdog From The Underground” (a mouthful of a nickname), by presenting him with a blank sheet of confidence. Mick always believed in your talents, Sami! Well, at least ten minutes worth, and hey, that’s a good enough scapegoat for me.
Mick Foley: Since Mick’s tenure as Raw GM, we’ve seen many faces of Foley, and at least half of them haven’t been pretty. With the tantrum-throwing Stephanie always looming and always chumming it up with the Hardcore Legend, Foley’s character has become more of a “yes” man with your typical negative connotations rather than the “yes” man of the Daniel Bryan breed that we’ve all come to admire. I know you’re trapped in three-hour purgatory that has a 70-year-old madman steering it’s sails, Mick, but show some consistent testicular fortitude for once. Considering the man’s writing talents, it’s ironic he’s remedied that ideal with a blank sheet of paper this past Monday. So creative, and so vintage Foley. An action like that stays true to the character that made us root for Mick in the first place.
Jack Gallagher: Gentleman Jack showed up on “Rising Star” last week due to his unique ring style, but this time he makes the cut because of his “gentlemanly” interference of the Daivari / Dorado match on Raw. Not only was he polite with his interruption, but he made clear of his intentions in the most babyface way possible: giving Daivari fair warning to prepare himself for a round of fisticuffs, and that’s something his character would do. This might be the closet thing we’ll see to “keeping kayfabe” in awhile, so live it up, folks.
Fading Star of The Week: Byron Saxton
I know, there’s so many things wrong with this pick. Who in God’s name would consider Saxton a “star” by any account? I certainly don’t, but how many people consider, I don’t know, Jack Swagger a “WWE Superstar” in the literal sense? Not even Jack Swagger does, I bet. Maybe his parents do, but Jack knows where he stands in hierarchy. However, I feel that for the sake of interviewers everywhere Saxton needs to be shamed on this list. Let’s do our best to forget the haunting image of him in duck pajamas during Halloween or even the idea that he’s considered the commentator whose ideals we’re supposed to sympathize with, but try to focus on the fact that he “apologized” to Braun Strohman in a post-match interview because he was in fear of his well-being. Sure, WWE hasn’t exactly made it’s landscape a safe-haven for it’s non-wrestling on-air personalities, but could you imagine “Mean” Gene quivering in fear when in the ring with the unpredictable lowlifes of the New World Order? Or to be more current, Renee Young cowing down to Charlotte? It makes no sense. I have no respect for Saxton. What kind of credibility does his character bring to the table? What makes him know more about WWE than say, the drunk guy in the Randy Savage costume in the third row? Absolutely nothing.
Dolph Ziggler: Dolph Ziggler is the James Dean of mid-card mainstays. A true legend in the craft of mediocrity and acceptance. This week’s Smackdown furthers that legend. Dolph comes in hot at the beginning of the show with some verbal fire to spit at Miz’s clever cowardice, but rather than putting an exclamation point on those burns with a Zig Zag or an over-used superkick, his “show” gets “stopped” by a Skull Crushing Finale. Perhaps booking was justifying that by having him become number one contender with the help of a heel? (I know, makes no sense whatsoever). This mid-carder still without a cause and I’m still without interest.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson: New Day advances into the WWE history books this week after successfully defending the tag titles two times on Raw, but it’s at the expense of other tag teams and story lines, and the two that were most forgettable were Gallows and Anderson. Think about it, New Day faced a total of four different tag teams on Monday. Two of those teams focused on the main events for “Road Block: End Of The Line” and one (Cesaro & Sheamus) at least got a chance to shine in a major flurry of cool spots in succession (I’m speaking of Cesaro’s obstacle course of spinning uppercuts, stomps and swings), but what did the tough tag team from Japan do? All I remember is the Boot of Doom. It’s tough to make a memorable mark in Raw’s weekly three-hour marathon, Gallows & Anderson have all of the ability to make that mark, but so much talent today suffers from tunnel vision and last-minute booking.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: RISING STAR & FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Ellsworth, Corbin, Jericho, Enzo, Gallagher, Perkins