If you haven't noticed, the Intercontinental Championship is now officially serving as the interim main event. With the Universal Championship on leave, WWE made the easy decision to elevate its typically secondary storylines to the opening and closing segments of RAW.
With this new platform, The Miz, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and Finn Balor find themselves in a headlining proving ground. Is it too hard to imagine WWE keeping a close eye on the inner workings of this scene? Surely one of these men will use this as an opportunity to slingshot themselves into a more permanent main event fixture.
Surprisingly, it doesn't seem like WWE is leaning towards any particular superstar. Instead, they have placed these men in an incubator of competition, hoping that one will emerge as someone who can be a feature image on a WrestleMania poster. It's not a tournament, but it might as well be.
Each of these competitors have appealing strengths, which project well, but they all have their warts to go along. A serendipitous arena like this are where stars are made. The Beast Incarnate is gone and WWE is begging for one of these men to organically propel themselves. A case can be made for all of these guys, but there's one in particular that will reach the top of the industry.
In the nicest way possible, Dean WWE's best mid card act. But for my rupees, that's where he'll remain. For eternity.
Dean owns a complexing relationship with the crowd. Upon his entrance, we all fill will excitement - Ambrose is a lunatic, he's whacko, and should definitely be on a strict regiment of prescription pills.
So we're told.
But the more Dean Ambrose is on camera, this promise of spontaneity dissipates. For being such a crazy dude, he's kind of boring. He'll hit on a promo here and there, but it's always humor based. When the bell rings, the guy that gnashes his teeth and beats his chest during his entrance turns into a formulaic, pedestrian performer. Why the disconnect, Dean?
I feel safe in saying that Dean Ambrose won't ever be Universal Champion. And that's OK. He'll have a long career, filled with backstage gags and an occasional good moment in the ring. For him to change his destiny, he'll need to learn how to appeal to a broader base than 12-year-olds who smoke cigarettes.prevnext
WWE is clearly interested in Bray Wyatt. For all of his losses, WWE makes sure that he only will slide so far. After a demoralizing loss at WrestleMania 33, Bray found himself immediately re-branded to RAW. And as horrible as it was, he did get his own special House of Horrors match. He also found himself rubbing shoulders with Kurt and getting the main even spot on RAW.
WWE seems committed to maintaining his character's integrity, but that's not the issue. The biggest question facing Bray Wyatt is: Do we still care?
Instead of raising eyebrows his promos now roll eyes. His witchcraft is void of its original razzmatazz. Bray Wyatt now feels like a bizarro Santa Clause; a guy we used to believe in, but as time passes, it's become our best interest not to take him seriously.
It's no so much that Bray has fallen, it's that he's stayed in place.
Bray will always remain relevant. However, it's in the name of him being an upper card gate-keeper. He stays strong just so it looks better for the guy that beats him. Sadly, Bray will not be Universal Champion anytime soon. And it's possible that it never happens.prevnext
Light your torches, sharpen your pitchforks and line up your most incendiary language because I'd like to be frank:
I'm not into Finn Balor. And I know there's more people like me out there. But I'm ok to be this movement's martyr. If you're interested, I'll be handing out pamphlets in front of Red Lobster next week.
Is Finn Balor talented? Yes. Handsome? Yes. Does he have impeccable abs? Absolutely. Is he charismatic? Well, let's talk.
I think we jumped to an NXT fallacy. That because he was so compelling in NXT that he automatically will translate to the main roster. His character now is pretty thin (a cold, and subjectively cool kind of guy). I also think it's a little early for me to proclaim that, but I believe it. I think WWE did him a disservice by pitting him against Seth Rollins so early. I think the demon thing needs some tweaking. I think WWE is booking Shinsuke Nakamura differently because of how little Balor has done. I also think that WWE thinks that Balor is injury prone. And lastly, I think Finn Balor is the same size as the cruiserweights. I think that that is a bad thing.
The names circulating the Universal Title are big ones. Literally, these men are massive. Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns are some of WWE's largest employees. Finn pinning Rollins is a logical jump we can all make. But Finn Balor pinning Strowman? C'mon.
Will Finn be a Universal Champion again? I think so.
But it's going to be a while. At least until the top of the division shrinks in stature.prevnext
If it's not already, a win next Monday will officially make this the Miz Era of the Intercontinental Championship. Somehow, in today's post-modern environment, The Miz manages to be hated. This accomplishment needs to be underlined: The Miz is the only true heel on WWE's roster. I'd applaud him further, but I wouldn't dare start a grassroots movement in support of the man. So to counteract any goodwill; Miz I hate you.
After his fateful promo on an early Talking Smack, Miz and the IC belt enjoyed a symbiotic resurgence. Really, they've become synonymous.
But is there more?
I mean, he is the only person on this list to headline a WrestleMania. I'd like to think that holds clout among WWE decision makers. Surely Miz's renaissance has WWE's inner circle considering placing him at the top once more. His heel-dom is unparalleled and at this point, there's no use doubting if he could maintain the audience's interest. I say this with zero hyperbole: The Miz single-handedly made promos relevant again.
This guy knows how to needle us. Today it seems like heels maintain a level of coolness, which makes them attractive to the smarky demographic. But the Miz isn't cool. As he basks in his own aura and seeps with entitlement, we have no choice but to dislike him. From our seats, we can only wish someone slap him for us, or even better, that someone pins him.
Watching Miz lose a Universal Title match would bring smiles to a lot of peoples faces. Could he be the guy that finally gets fans to side with Roman Reigns? Or to get Braun over as a babyface champion?
Miz offers the ancient psychology that wrestling is founded upon. He's an unconditional bad guy. And when those guys lose matches, money gets made. If anyone in this group gets the Universal belt, it will be him - just don't chant "you deserve it" after it happens.0comments
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