SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RISING STAR OF THE WEEK: Xavier Woods
By all accounts, Xavier Woods should have been flying high on the “Fading Star” ship for weeks to come, but with a couple of seconds worth of awkward stares by his New Day compatriots, he and creative managed to turn an extremely embarrassing (and damaging) situation into a funny acknowledgement and dismissal. Not sure how this whole ordeal will help his star power (at least on Raw), but as far as I’m concerned he cruises out unscathed, and for what it could’ve been, that definitely deserves a win.
Samoa Joe: Joe is one of the distinguished few that has been booked nearly perfectly since his debut on Raw, and that’s something that is rare as WWE properly utilizing continuity. It truly sucks that Sami Zayn had to be apart of the process in a losing effort (in defense of a fired Foley nonetheless), but if someone comes out looking strong from it, I’d be happy if it was Joe.
FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Bayley
I know the titles really don’t matter anymore in WWE’s eyes, but nothing really hammers that point home more than having your champion lose clean two straight weeks in a row. The character of Bayley is such a simple one to get over, and it’s truly remarkable (even with WWE’s past track record of ruining a good thing) that McMahon and company managed to screw such a shoe-in of a money maker like her up, and “Fading Star” has been a pretty strong indicator of that. Bayley, without a doubt, has been on here the most, and I hate every bit of it. If booked properly, she could by all rights be main-eventing WrestleMania in a straight-up one-on-one match with Charlotte, but instead she’s mixed up within a muddied four-way that’ll be on the downturn of that six-hour Thrill Ride.
American Alpha: Chad Gable & Jason Jordan are the Bayleys of Tuesday nights. Coming in, they were the tag team to save all tag teams in what was a depleted and disappointing tag team roster (on both sides) – something that could’ve really distinguished the Smackdown brand from the Raw mothership, but nothing was capitalized on and America Alpha was booked like American Omicron; somewhere in the middle, but near the bottom. We’ll see you on the pre-show.
Stephanie McMahon: Now if we were going by “WWE Universe” rules, this column would be called “Stephanie McMahon & Everyone Else”. That opening Raw segment vomited on everything that was good about the closing segment the week before with Foley. Steph gets the last laugh in (with that trying-too-hard-to sound-like dad “you’re fired”), the last win in (Joe beating Zayn) and the last word in (hubby Trips saying “have a nice day!”) She remains the biggest obstacle in my mainstream wrestling enjoyment, and she doesn’t even wrestle.
Bray Wyatt: WWE Champion or over-the-top cult leader who’s really bad at pig latin? I’m leaning more towards the latter. His culminating feud with Randy Orton has been just awful – it reminds me of the poor build-up that they had between C.M. Punk and Taker for WrestleMania 29 (you know, where Punk had Paul Bearer’s ashes), only with less personality and more of me not caring. I will not follow any buzzards of any kind.
See you after the Thrill Ride for a “Rising Star Fading Star of WrestleMania” (remember to bring your dramamine).
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: RISING STAR & FALLING STAR: Mick Foley, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, American Alpha
Follow Dominic Twitter @DominicDeAngelo where he says he tries to keep kayfabe.