SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
So leave it to me to miss last week’s “Rising Star, Fading Star” in favor to recap WWE’s annual un-notoriously noteworthy trip over the pond. Never understood the reasoning behind making these events so “par the course” as their UK crowds are just a minor step below their #RawAfterMania crowds as far as fan enthusiasm goes, but this is the sterile AF WWE we’re talking about. They aren’t known for making the most out of something (which this week’s dishonorable mentions would indicate), but it did yield some interesting inductions in the winner’s column for this week. Let’s take a gander, eh?
RISING STAR OF THE WEEK: Cesaro & Sheamus
I really (I mean really) wanted Cesaro to flourish in a successful top babyface run, and with how many tag teams has he been in a run with you’d think it was high time for him get a grip on that hypothetical, extremely greased up brass ring that Vince, Trips and all that administrative brass speaks so highly of. In any other promotion, Cesaro would have grabbed that ring a long time ago, and then used his Swiss Superman strength to yank down the chain that dumb-ass ring was hanging from, but alas, Vince is 71, out of touch, and King Lear power crazed, so he’s going to do what is best for himself first, whether it is for business or not. So here we are with Cesaro and Sheamus in another tag team run, but this time with a pretty cool heel polish that will appropriately contrast the (hopefully broken) beloved Hardys in what should be an excellent feud.
Goldust: Albeit lasting only two weeks and in an unsuccessful bid for a tag team title match, Goldust re-established his presence in the WWE. Since a lot of the fans have been trained to pick from the nostalgia apple tree, I keep thinking he still has a successful mid-card Intercontinental Title bid in him, but it’s just a matter of putting him on air in an appropriate manner. After all, they do have three hours.
Breezango: Sure they’re a comedy act and a WWE Smackdown tag team to boot, but they’ve been given more personality in a few weeks than American Alpha has been given since their Smackdown debut. In the grand scheme of things I think that the two are currently just there to further the Uso story, but we’ll see what happens.
FADING STAR OF THE WEEK: Braun Strowman
Call it the post-WrestleMania lull,call it lazy booking, call it injury, call it Roman Reigns (hell, call it all four), but trying to build Braun as a star with all these dreary factors seems like the incline to stardom just got a little steeper for him. I’d say if Braun is legit hurt, then just “suspend” him instead of having him play up that he’s having an injury because it is true that we are in a low point of the year right now, what’s the purpose of adding him on television if he might be shelved for a bit? You’re just hurting his character, who’s already very 1.5 dimensional. We’re by no means in a code red situation, but I’m starting to feel a little Ryback from him. Feed me less, please.
Jinder Mahal: Now this DM mostly reflects Smackdown’s main event choice rather than Jinder himself, and I only chose him as the name because currently, he’s got the most to lose out of the six guys involved, but is there anything more filler, more stagnant than a three-man tag match? It immediately spells out no plot development. Wouldn’t you benefit from having two quick single matches, one being a notable babyface midcard against Jinder and the other say, A.J. Styles versus like a Sin Cara with both title contenders winning cleanly? Sure, Jinder pinned Orton 1-2-3, but it’s with a backdrop that doesn’t highlight the moment. I mean, it’s a six-dude clustermess, who cares?
Shinsuke Nakamura: Alright, now before you throw me over the skewers, this Nakamura pick, even more than the Jinder DM, is a warning shot more than anything else. It’s wonderful that Ziggler’s a great worker and him and Naks (feel free to use) could certainly have a barn burner of a match, but it is Dolph Ziggler, who is without a doubt the poster boy for poor booking and missed opportunity. This contest should have ended two weeks after Shisuke’s debut, in no way should it be carrying on. You pair him up with a loser for weeks on end, guess what that’s going to do for his star power? By all rights he should be fighting Orton at Great Balls Of Fire or whatever the next Jerry Lee Lewis themed PPV we have going on.
NOW CHECK OUT A PRIOR COLUMN HERE: RISING STARS & FADING STARS: American Alpha, Tye Dillinger, Alexa Bliss, Cesaro, Jinder Mahal