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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - 10 Things I Liked in WWE This Week (06-25/06-30)
By Dave Fenichel
Jun 30, 2017 - 6:44:01 AM

Hi kids.

I’m back with another edition of “10 Things I liked in WWE This Week”. I have to admit, this was not my favorite week in wrestling. I thought both Raw and Smackdown took steps backwards on several storylines that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Nonetheless, I managed to find plenty to like. Without further ado, off we go.

10. Smackdown Strengthens The Mid-Card.

For the past several weeks, I speculated that Smackdown would benefit from not having all of their best wrestlers in a multi-man main event storyline. This week certainly showed that to be the case.

I am pleased that Nakamura and Corbin are continuing their feud after Corbin’s attack on Shinsuke during MITB. Both men are clearly on the rise, and this feud will help both of them. A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens are arguably the two most over wrestlers on the Smackdown roster, and their rematch for the U.S. title could very well steal whatever show it ends up on. Lastly, the WWE planted the seeds for a Mike Kanellis v Sami Zayn match. It’s a great way to debut Mr. Kanellis and it’s exactly the type of midcard storyline that has been missing from Smackdown. As a result of increasing the strength of the midcard, Battleground is looking like the deepest Smackdown brand Pay Per View in a long time.

9. A Compelling Women’s Match to Close Raw.

I’m a sucker for gauntlet matches. I enjoy them all. It doesn’t matter the circumstances. The style of match allows for short bursts of offense without any rest holds. For a man with Attention Deficit Disorder such as myself, it’s perfect.

I was surprised at the outcome. I thought for sure that Nia Jaxx would win. Instead, she was made to look like a monster in defeat. I’m ok with that. If anyone needed a push back up the card, it was Sasha Banks. Sasha was floundering prior to this match, but she now has purpose again. Sasha v Alexa is an incredibly solid addition to a card that is quickly shaping up to be the Pay Per View of the year.

8. Another Strong Week of Booking For the Demon.

Last week, I touched on how I thought the WWE was starting to go in the right direction with their treatment of Finn Balor. Very few wanted to see him skyrocket to the main event. A slower push beginning with a mid-card feud with Elias Samson is exactly what the doctor ordered.

This week, the WWE took another smart step by pairing him with The Hardy Boys. The Hardy’s are incredibly over and Finn was cheered massively as a result. The six man tag match against Sheamus, Cesaro and Samson was excellent. It allowed Finn to do what he does best – shine in the ring.

7. The WWE Dusts Off a Relic.

Come on. Just admit it. You were clamoring for the return of the Punjabi Prison Match. No? Ok, that’s reasonable. The match has only had two renditions, and they were both terrible. Alas, allow me to tell you why I’m excited to see the gimmick return.

Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal had two matches that ended the same way. Jinder won the match with help from The Singh Brothers. The WWE can’t run a third Pay Per View match in a row without a gimmick attached to it. With the previous interference from the Singh’s, the gimmick needed to be one that prohibited them from interfering in the match. The options are limited. The WWE isn’t going to run a Hell in a Cell match at an off-brand PPV. The steel cage gimmick is overused and stale. The Punjabi Prison match works and it plays into JInder’s heritage. It was the right call. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they can pull off.

6. The Golden…Cameraman!

I wasn’t sure what to think when the WWE booked Goldust v R Truth on Raw this week. I thought that their backstage segments had been fantastic, and the feud worthy of a spot on the Great Balls of Fire card. When I saw that they were squaring off this week, it felt too soon.

Instead, the WWE gave us more comedic gold. Goldust showed up with a fat slob of a cameraman dressed in all gold, including camera. Said cameraman filmed Goldy’s attack on Mr. Kwik. I found the whole segment to be both engaging and hilarious. Whenever I laugh while watching, the WWE has done a good job. Goldust v R Truth looks like a lock for GBAF now, and I’m content.

5. A Chink in the Beast’s Armor?

Brock Lesnar has been booked to be an indestructible monster for as long as I can remember. While I have thoroughly enjoyed his dominance, I’m also enjoying the current change of pace. Samoa Joe has been booked to be his equal, and it’s refreshing.

This week on Raw, the WWE took an even bigger step in that direction. They gave Lesnar a vulnerability. He is now susceptible to the Cochita Clutch. Watching Joe choke Lesnar out this week was startling. It seemed surreal to me. The WWE has done a great job of crafting a plausible path of victory for Joe. Will Joe choke out Lesnar and win the title? No way – Lesnar will win. Nevertheless, this entire feud has made Joe look like a million bucks. Their Universal Title match at Great Balls of Fire is one of the most anticipated of the entire year.

4. A Hot Angle to Open Raw.

Roman Reigns and Braun Strowmann are creating magic. Every time they get together, the crowd erupts. Like it or not booger eaters, Roman has been “the guy” for a very long time. Because Braun has been booked on equal or higher footing than him in recent months, he is being elevated to Roman’s level.

The crowd was electric this week during their segment. They went crazy when Braun attacked Roman from behind. Braun launching Roman off the stage and into the side of the ambulance was nuts. The crowd cheers for Braun and boos Roman, and it doesn’t matter. I can’t wait for their Ambulance Match at Great Balls of Fire. I still expect it to end up being a #1 contender match, and Braun’s ticket to the Summerslam main event.

3. Who Trashed Breezango’s Office?

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, I’m a sucker for “Whodunit” angles. They provide intrigue and can be built up over a long period of time. Breezango are my no-brainer pick for “most improved” of 2017. The Fashion Files are must see television each and every week. I was instantly invested in the “who trashed their office” storyline.

I was extremely disappointed when the storyline was seemingly cut short. The “big reveal” was that The Ascension were the culprits, leading to a nonsense tag team match in the death spot of a PPV. Instead, the WWE revisited the storyline this week, making it apparent to all that it was NOT The Ascension who did the deed. My best guess is that American Alpha will turn heel and be revealed as the doers. No matter who ultimately ends up being behind it, I’m looking forward to the payoff.

2. Carmella is Everything I Never Thought She Could Be.

When an opportunity presents itself, you can either let it pass you by or grab the bull by the horns. Carmella didn’t just grab the bull by its horns. She ripped the horns off its head, ground them up into dust, drank them and spit them into the air like she was The Great Muta.

I never saw any potential in her. I was wrong. She’s quickly become the best character on Smackdown. Her promos are incredible. Together, she and Ellsworth are heat magnets. I absolutely LOVED that she STILL used cheat tactics to win the second MITB match this week. It was a foregone conclusion that she would win again, but they could have easily had her win clean this time around. Instead, more shady dealings magnified the already nuclear heel heat on her. I hope she wins the title immediately. The WWE has struck gold with Carmella.

1. Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice, This is Awesome!

Last week, Cass’s big heel turn materialized. He cut a tremendous promo that showed me something in him that I hadn’t previously seen before. I was curious as to how the WWE would follow up on this. I thought the entire in-ring segment between he and Enzo was the most compelling thing I’ve seen on WWE television in months.

Enzo’s promo was incredible. He conveyed emotion that you generally don’t see. When Cass apologized and they hugged it out, I felt like they could be hitting the reset button on the storyline. I loved how long it took for Cass to drop him. I’m glad that they waited until they were all the way up the ramp. It felt very much like the Kevin Owens turn on Sami Zayn in NXT several years back. Cass press slamming Enzo down the entrance ramp was an awesome spot. Cass is crazy over as a heel and Enzo is plenty over as a face. This angle is off to an amazing start.

That’s a wrap kids. Sound off below! Don’t forget, I recently dropped the first of my 15 part column series “Ranking The Summerslam Main Events”. I think that you will enjoy it. As always, I can be reached on Facebook at David Fenichel, or on Twitter @FFFightLeague. Thank you for reading.

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