This week saw the beginning of Lent, which in the Christian tradition is the forty days in preparation for Easter. Many practicing Christians will give something up for the Lent period, denying themselves something they enjoy to replicate the forty days Jesus fasted in the desert (for more information on this subject, please consult a Bible). The point being that people willingly endure some small hardship to bring themselves spiritually closer to a divine being, deliberately put themselves through some form of penance or difficulty to feel closer to the heavens. By enduring the Super Showdown (read the John Canton review here), many WWE fans may have put themselves through more than most in the space of a few hours.
I won’t repeat what many people have already said and break down the terrible ‘high-profile’ matches that were on display because I fully agree that this show was anything but ‘Super’. Most of it was garbage. WWE seems to be insistent on putting out terrible events like this in favor of making money. Look, I get it that the show should be spectacular and the big names are paid huge amounts to show up, but please WWE, why not do something different? I get that the crowd wants to see the big names, but to sacrifice the full-time talent who have worked hard to get up the card is disrespecting the talent themselves and the millions of WWE fans around the globe.
I started this piece by mentioning penance and for my sins, and to make this Lent period all the more difficult for myself, I’ll try to take some positives from the show – no matter how difficult it may be. Bear with me here, because though I’m in agreement with you all that the majority of the show was nothing to write home about, I’m a glass half full kind of guy, so I will try to glean some good points from an otherwise dire offering. I may not be able to polish a turd, but I’ll have a good try.
Most of the anger from fans has been directed (rightly) to the debacle that was Goldberg vs. The Fiend. Again, I won’t go over the match itself too much, but it is safe to say the hard work done to build The Fiend up into a champion has been forgotten about. All the Firefly Funhouse vignettes, all the split personalities, the puppets, the sets, the music, all gone in one sloppy Jackhammer. Perhaps the minuscule silver lining to take from this is that the Fiend’s invincibility has now gone, and he’s proven to be beatable. It can be detrimental to the longevity of a character to have them appear invincible all the time. It’s vulnerabilities that make storylines and characters themselves more appealing and relatable to audiences. Not just in WWE, but in movies, TV shows or fiction. It’s the weaknesses, the flaws in people that make them more realistic, more empathetic and more human. Perhaps, just perhaps, the loss the Fiend suffered may bring his character down from that invincible pedestal and back into the gritty, real world where no amount of red lights or creepy music will help in a wrestling ring. Perhaps The Fiend can be altered or reborn again into something that resonates more with audiences.
Along the same lines, many gripes were said about The Undertaker’s interaction with the “Phenomenal” AJ Styles. Personally, I think it’s unfair to tar these two guys with the Goldberg brush as this interaction could have potential. Could the moment have been done better? Of course. Undertaker dispatched Styles while still wearing his hat and coat – something many people are weirdly obsessing out, but who really cares? The fact Taker didn’t de-robe for the Chokeslam is a trivial point. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. I do agree that one Chokeslam to an almost-fresh Styles was too little to win the match, but again, it’s a small complaint. This was about the bigger picture and starting a feud that will culminate in Undertaker vs. AJ Styles at Wrestlemania. Do I think Styles will win? No chance, but Undertaker has been vocal about not being happy with some of his matches in recent years, so he would look to put that right. Styles is someone who I really believe can work well with Taker and I think they’ll have an above-average match. Hopefully it won’t be a thirty-second squash.
The show wasn’t all bad though, and there were some positives to take from it. The Tag Team divisions are looking healthy and that’s always a good thing. I’ve never liked two random guys being thrown together as a makeshift team just to fill spots and it looks like WWE is putting some serious thought into an area that has been sketchy at times. The Miz & Morrison duo are looking like the pairing of old and both men gel so well together. I really wanted Morrison’s return to WWE to have a positive impact on Miz as I believe he’s been criminally underused for too long. Perhaps the top championships will elude him for a while longer, but there’s no doubt he’s a terrific partner for Morrison. Their attitudes, styles and chemistry work really well together and with them capturing the Smackdown Tag Titles this week, hopefully they can be a force going forward once again.
Over on Raw, Seth Rollins continues his Tag Title reign with the impressive Buddy Murphy. What I liked about this was that The Street Profits continued to hold their own against two really good wrestlers and they look the part on the main roster. I liked their NXT work and thought they’d been brought up perhaps a little too early, but with the injury to Akam of the Authors of Pain, there was a spot in the Tag Team division that needed filling and I think the Street Profits have done a very good job so far. Although the division is spread across two brands, the Street Profits should find themselves in good company alongside established, proper tag teams such as; AOP, the New Day, Gallows and Anderson, The Viking Raiders, the Usos, the Revival and Heavy Machinery.
I suppose the take from this, and from all of WWE’s programming I suppose, is to not take things too seriously. Yes, I agree that the Goldberg win was farcical. Yes, I agree that Ricochet should’ve got at least some offense in against Brock Lesnar, but don’t sweat it, people. For all the bad there was, we have to be honest and say there were some good moments.
The road to Wrestlemania is long, and there will no doubt be bumps on the road. This was just a rather large one. Who knows, perhaps in a month’s time we’ll be hailing a Raw or Smackdown as a great show and the excitement for Mania will be at an all-time high? Wrestling is a strange beast and opinions of it change like the wind. Here’s hoping for some good days ahead.