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This week in WWE programming saw a loaded Monday Night Raw along with three title matches and Vince McMahon being featured on Smackdown. Both shows were fantastic for the most part so this week will be much more positive. Sure there were missteps, but every once and a while we should just celebrate great performances. Let’s take a closer look at who really stood out.
RAW ALL-STAR: THE MIZ
The Miz has such an incredible ability to bring out the best in anyone he is in the ring with when it comes to promos. Often we see upstarts or newer superstars appear to bring out a more genuine and emotional side of the wrestler to further their character. In the scene we saw play out on Monday, Miz did quite the opposite for Enzo Amore and I am quite certain it was on purpose. Miz delivered a lengthy “shoot-style” promo on Enzo that sounded like it was written word for word by Vince McMahon himself. There was venom in every word uttered by The Miz who basically described the feelings of everyone backstage towards Amore. What was so brilliant about all of this was how Miz took all of those feelings and made them his own from a character standpoint. Instead of just burying Enzo and moving on he used the current situation to build on his character further, speaking to Enzo like he was the one person that could bring him out of this rut based on his experience and star power. All of this came off so well on television and is another shining example of why Miz is one of the best in the WWE today. Well done, and congrats on the pregnancy!
RAW NOTABLE ALL-STAR: BRAY WYATT
Whenever Bray Wyatt gets away from talking in riddles and makes something truly personal it is always much more entertaining and relatable. While on the surface it seemed like Bray and Finn Balor were partnered up to feud simply because the creative team had nothing else for them at the time, it has turned into quite the rivalry that continued this week. For once, Bray seemed genuinely concerned that he suffered a defeat and is now trying to justify his loss by claiming that Finn had to rely on his alter ego to find the strength to beat the New Face of Fear. While Wyatt prides himself on getting in the mind of his opponents, its seems like Bray is the one going crazy here. The match with Goldust this week set everything up perfectly. After disposing of his opponent in quick fashion, Bray followed up by viciously scrubbing the face paint off of Goldust while screaming that he was only a man. I almost always agree with Wade when he speaks about the community theatre feel Bray usually gives off, but this was much different. From a character development standpoint, this was the biggest step forward Wyatt has taken in years. He is now more human and as vulnerable as ever which could be when he inmost dangerous. I am extremely excited to see what happens with he and Finn at No Mercy.
SMACKDOWN ALL-STAR: VINCE MCMAHON
It was shocking to hear that Vince McMahon would be making an appearance on Smackdown given how much importance is put on Raw and its ratings. Nevertheless, Vince put on one of his best performances in years and really added fuel to the fire between his son Shane and Kevin Owens. Vince taking Owens’ comments from last week so personally brought out a side in the Chairman of the Board that we haven’t seen in quite some time, and his explanation of why he suspended Shane could not have been delivered or sold any better. There was great chemistry between McMahon and KO with Vince working really well with Owens’ sarcasm and whining about not getting fair treatment. McMahon was still able to assert his power statements that are so befitting of the character, like the one he made eluding to never losing in court, but directed them towards the heel actions of Owens which still kept him in the good graces of the fans. To put a cherry on top of a fantastic segment, a 72 year old McMahon takes a head butt which draws blood, a stiff kick to the ribs and a frog splash that made for a tremendous end of the show. There was genuine heat in this segment and it left fans wanting more. It will be very interesting to see how Shane responds here.
SMACKDOWN NOTABLE ALL-STAR: JINDER MAHAL
I had to go back and watch Jinder Mahal’s segment because I couldn’t believe that he broke the streak of going to the ring and cutting the same promo for what felt like 2-3 months. This was far more unconventional from Mahal, directing his words straight at towards Shinsuke Nakamura and even mocked him using some racial undertones and childish humor. Why this worked even better was because he eluded to his arrogance and the way he acted which is far more relatable, rather than telling the fans they don’t like him because of the way he looked and spoke. The Singh Brothers enhanced the segment quite a bit with how over the top they were being in selling everything Jinder was saying as they continued to be an asset on television. Even the presentation of Mahal was enhanced by the way he carried himself this week, and while many fans still do not understand why Mahal is still champion it is hard to deny that his confidence and mic work grows each and every week.
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NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE ALL-STARS & UNDERPERFORMERS: Big Show and Braun, Jason Jordan, Ambrose and Rollins, Sami, Orton and Nakamura