SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RISING STAR OF THE WEEK: Braun Strowman
This may be the first time since writing that a wrestler gets a “Rising Star” because he completely obliterated the previous week’s “Rising Star” winner. This whole segment provided everything: the core audience seeing the chosen one getting the beat-down of a lifetime, ridiculous out-of-this-world strength that only makes sense in a pro wrestling landscape, and (most likely) unintentional comedy of the Naked Gun sorts. When would the ridiculous assault stop? Was it after the equipment head smash? Perhaps the gurney push off the loading dock will do the trick? Nah, flip that damn ambulance over. The only way to stop Braun from getting a babyface pop this Monday is if he came out wearing post-Easter bunny ears (on second thought…)
Kevin Owens: It’s not like Kevin Owens absolutely needed a click of the refresh button, but his move to Smackdown should be considered an upward transition rather than a lateral one. New talent such as him getting paired up with newer talent in the likes of Styles and Nakamura will build upon KO’s already strong heel persona with such credible babyface counterparts in which the likes of Raw aren’t as capable (looking at Rollins and Reigns, in particular).
Aiden English: Besides getting the proverbial “boot to ass” out of Stanford, the now lone Vaudevillain has really only one way to go, and a short-lived musical number (then getting jobbed) on Smackdown was just enough of a step up to get him an honorable mention. English I’m sure won Vince over with his physique, but his talents as a low-to-midcard comedy act can be pretty undeniable. This might be the last time we see Aiden on either list, so enjoy his time in the spotlight.
FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: JBL
We always like seeing a bully get what’s coming to him, and it’s about time JBL has had his tighty whities, pulled taught over his ten gallon hat. The Smackdown commentary was so enjoyable to watch from the perspective that JBL had to play “friend to everyone” as he avoided any mean-spirited barbs thrown at his typical victims. I agree with the majority that his balls being clipped is only a short-term sign of putting a band-aid on an ongoing infection, but any sign of WWE’s primitive and hypocritical feathers getting ruffled is thoroughly enjoyable to watch. I believe it was the Purple poet, Randy Moss, who once said “get yo’ popcorn ready.”
American Alpha: Talk about a sterilized act, American Alpha has been put through the wash/rinse cycle on so many occasions that their star power may have gotten all but bleached out, and their story, just like many before and I’m sure many after, have suffered because of another negative aspect of the WWE culture: it’s booking structure. With Angle returning, you would have thought that pairing Jordan & Gable could have been a slam dunk of an opportunity to enhance the team’s notoriety, but alas, they begin a feud with glorified travel agents.
Bayley: Bayley getting boos? A damn shame. A damn, completely stupid shame. To keep with the hoop alliterations, Bayley was about as definite as an open lane Michael Jordan lay-up, but WWE decided to lacquer their basketball court with hot coals, so what do you get? An injured star that might not get her step back.
Follow Dominic Twitter @DominicDeAngelo where he says he tries to keep kayfabe.