It’s easy to get bogged down in the negativity that exists online when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. Let’s put a pause on the bad stuff, all the complaints, criticisms, rants, and rundowns. Instead, let’s come up for a breath of fresh air, sift through the week that was, and accentuate the positives.
I sat out last week during Mania weekend but I’m back for the fallout. Here are your top 3 positives from the week (or so) that was:
1. Seth Rollins
Not a shocking choice here as Rollins winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was the most talked about moment coming out of the biggest show of the year. There was a lot of positives that stemmed from WrestleMania this year, and I could’ve written exclusively on that show this week, but I limited myself to just one story from the show. Rollins winning the title topped my list as it showed that WWE is not afraid to take chances with their main event scene which lends itself to a fresher and more interesting product. There have been stretches of time where WWE has “played it safe” and the result was less than engaging. Rollins’ title win opens the door to a multitude of new possibilities and it also puts the WWE Champ back on TV on a regular basis. Most importantly though, Rollins’ win was the culmination of a story that WWE started telling on June 2, 2014. Rollins ended The Shield, a group which had enjoyed unparalleled success since their debut, and became labeled “The Future” of WWE. His title win legitimized all of it and made the Shield breakup matter, made the Money in the Bank win matter, and made Seth’s devotion to The Authority matter. In short, it legitimized Rollins. This will the be the moment we look back on and say “that’s when Rollins ‘made it’ in the WWE” and that’s a total positive for the business.
2. WWE’s Mainstream Attention
Since I didn’t have an Accentuate the Positives piece for last week, this kind of goes back to last week as well as into this week. The go-home edition of Raw before Mania featured a plug for Jon Gruden analyzing the participants for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which was on WWE.com (and which was also amazing). From there we got a slew of coverage on ESPN (particularly from the SportsNation show) which kicked off with Brock Lesnar’s huge announcement that he was retiring from MMA and re-signed with WWE. The coverage was very well done and everyone treated the business with respect. A lot of that is thanks in part ESPN’s own Michelle Beadle being a superfan herself. The good exposure kept rolling all the way through to the morning after Mania where Seth Rollins made his first appearance as champion on the Today show. All of the positive main stream attention makes the business look good and it helps give the athletes who make the show what it is the respect and recognition they deserve. I cannot say enough good things about how SportsNation handled the WWE personalities during Mania week. As I said, Beadle is a fan and always a huge supporter of the WWE and pro wrestling in general (her interview with Jim Ross on his podcast is a must listen in my book), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give props to Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley for their good work as well. All of this main stream attention was nothing but positives for not just WWE but for all of pro wrestling.
3. AXS Renews NJPW’s TV Deal
AXS announced Thursday that they were renewing New Japan Pro Wrestling’s weekly Friday night show. The new batch of episodes will premiere May 22 with matches and highlights from the Best of the Super Juniors XXI from May and June of this past year. From there, AXS announced they will heavily feature matches and highlights from the 24th G1 Climax from last summer. This is great news for those looking for alternatives to the major US wrestling shows and for those who enjoy taking in wrestling from around the world. These highlight and recap shows are great and I would love to see the success they are having on AXS lead to a weekly episodic show similar to that of AAA’s Lucha Underground. An English language NJPW episodic show would be awesome but for now we have several hours of great matches and highlights to satiate that craving. The current season ends on April 10 and the new season will kick off May 22.
Well, that’s it for this week. Until next time, stay positive!