RISING STAR & FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Neville, Nikki Bella, Mojo Rawley, Miz, Swann, Perkins, The Shield

By Dominic DeAngelo, PWTorch Specialist

Bella Twins (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)



Miz by no stretch has ever been a personal favorite of mine, but his work as a heel these past few months have been perfect.  The IC Title match with Apollo Crewes on Smackdown didn’t provide a whole lot to write home about, but his post-match interview with Renee Young did by going into worked shoot territory. Typically,  I’m sort of against that parlor trick as it can carry some Russo stink to it, but Miz’s interaction with Renee showed his ability to pull it off. Also, his “Participation Awards” are just bad guy gold. If you missed it like I’m sure many did, he gifted one to Crewes to hang on his wall in a Smackdown Fallout clip. It’s very much like Mortal Kombat’s Johnny Cage signing an 8 × 10 to a beheaded Scorpion. Salt to the wound.


Neville: Neville came back at Roadblock with a new mean streak and a little more mustard in his kicks and punches, putting him immediately as a new top heel in the cruiserweight division. His promo on Raw was nothing special as he decided to go the Dolph Ziggler screaming route in exchange for substance,  but it’s nice to see him in a new role. He’s also entering a division that suffers from depth at babyface, which is problematic. Jack Gallagher along with a sprinkle of Cedric Alexander (who I think has a ton of potential) are over, but that’s pretty much where the line ends.  Swann and Perkins only garner a reaction when they’re getting savate kicked and thrown into barricades  making them about as hot as New Day Version 1.0, which means they’re not hot whatsoever, and that’s a huge problem.

Mojo Rawley: If you’re an extrovert who’s over the top with your wrestling fandom you may want to sit down or hold onto something because I’m about to put words into print that may cause your gag reflex to act up, but here goes: Mojo Rawley’s backstage performance on Smackdown was more Jake Roberts low-key and cool than it was Dolph Ziggler screaming and blood vessel breaking (Ahhh….my fingers feel so tingly and strange typing that). Behind the eye black,  those bright colors, and Zumbas, the guy actually managed to add a layer to himself. And whether Ryan Philippe was using method acting to portray interested is still up for debate, but he sold me enough to be a good rooting buddy for Rawley. This bit showed promise for Mojo, giving him a little more depth than his one-note Ray Lewis-crazy side allows. I’m not full-out bro fist pumping by any means, but I’m cautiously hyped.


Wasn’t Natayla’s comments a little too on the nose this week? Hmm? The whole “failure in showbiz / crawling back to WWE” comment? “My cat has more personality than you”? It’s harshly accurate to not only her on-air persona, but to her off-air ventures too. Nikki already had a lot of work to do as she and Brie have been given the Big Show treatment when it comes to heel/face turns, but eesh. Good luck after that one.


Rich Swann & T.J. Perkins: These two are getting shoved in the same dishonorable mention because as top babyfaces in the cruiserweight division they have both been underwhelming in developing a presence on screen.  A few weeks ago I was impressed with Perkins’ time on “205 Live” commentary going as far to give him a “Rising Star” honorable mention,  but he hasn’t done anything of note to build upon that. “The Inescapable” Rich Swann has been generic as Dollar General so it’s totally understandable for the Roadblock crowd to cheer when he got his ass beat. I’m not fully checking out on T.J. Perkins as a top face in the division,  but both him and Swann have a lot of work to do if they want anyone to get behind them. Bring on the Gentleman Gallagher.

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns: Wow, WWE burned through those Shield teases faster than you can say “James Ellsworth”. After Roadblock, I don’t think a full-on Shield reunion will nearly pack as much as a punch as it once would have, and ironically, it’s all at the expense of attempting to get Reigns over, which it didn’t then. It won’t now. And probably won’t….forever. The only thing that will help Reigns is turning heel, and that isn’t a newsflash.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: RISING STAR & FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Sami Zayn, Mick Foley, Byron Saxton, Jack Gallagher, Dolph Ziggler, Anderson & Gallows

1 Comment on RISING STAR & FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Neville, Nikki Bella, Mojo Rawley, Miz, Swann, Perkins, The Shield

  1. Your so right this Rolling babyface turn has been BRUTAL, He`s really never turned full face i mean other calling Jericho “sparklecrotch” i guess Vince thought and thought WRONG{AGAIN!} having Seth rub with ROMAN {URGH}would get Roman over..HAHAHAHAHAHA {Vince it AIN`T GOING TO HAPPEN, IF THE ROCK CAN`T HIM OVER..NO ONE WILL, I was there that night in Philly it was deafing the BOOS, Roman is what he is. And i think putting Seth with Roman has really HURT Seth. I huess the whole getting “The band back together” thing was to get Roman OVER AGAIN…Vince sometimes you have to give up the ghost pal.

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