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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - 10 Things I Liked in WWE This Week (08/28/17 - 09/03/17)
By Dave Fenichel
Sep 3, 2017 - 8:57:25 AM

Hi kids.

I’m back with another edition of “10 Things I liked in WWE This Week”. Before I delve into that, I want to talk about something a little more serious.

One of the writers in the LOP Forum and a buddy of mine got some bad news this week. His mother lost her house due to Hurricane Harvey. I cannot imagine what he and his family are going through. It’s the kind of event that you never really recover from. I wanted to do something to help. With that in mind, I started a “GoFundMe” page. I am hoping that our community can band together to help out one of our own. If you are interested in making a donation, shoot me an email at david.fenichel@gmail.com and I’ll send you the details. Every little bit helps, and I hope that we can help make their recovery a little bit easier.

Moving on to the reason that you’re here – my positive outlook on WWE. Here’s the top ten things I enjoyed about wrestling this week.

10. The Mae Young Classic Begins.

I’d be lying if I told you that I was looking forward to The Mae Young Classic as much as I did the CWC or the European Tournament. The quality of wrestling just isn’t going to be on that level. Here’s the thing though. It doesn’t matter. This tournament is the best thing that could happen for the WWE women.

The biggest problem that the women’s division has is a lack of competent bodies to fill the positions. As a result, Charlotte and Sasha Banks have more or less been exhausted to the point where it’s difficult to find anything new and fresh to do with them. That will all change with this tournament.

I could EASILY see the WWE using this tournament to provide a tremendous influx of female wrestlers onto the roster. Even if there aren’t a ton of “A” players, injecting a dozen or more “B” level wrestlers will be great for the depth of the division. It will allow for longer and better reigns as champion, as said champion can have a lot more fresh faces to feud with. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this tournament does for women’s wrestling in the WWE.

9. KO Shines.

One of the biggest struggles for Smackdown since the roster shakeup has been a lack of strong mic work. They lost Dean Ambrose, The Miz and Bray Wyatt, arguably their three most interesting characters.

Kevin Owens is really the only person on the entire brand with A+ mic skills. This week, he was allowed to use them. I thought his commentary work during the Styles/Dillinger match was top notch, and I love how they are setting up his feud with Shane McMahon.

Many of you may not think so, but a storyline with Shane is a huge spot for KO. It shows that the WWE values him highly and wants to put him in a position to be successful. I think that they will work well together from a stylistic standpoint, and can’t wait to see their eventual showdown.

8. A Fresh Opponent for The Miz.

The Miz needed a new opponent in the worst way. He had a phenomenal feud with Dean Ambrose but was relegated to the first match of the Summerslam preshow in front of roughly 1,000 fans. He has built so much momentum over the last year that it would be a shame to see it be squandered.

I was thrilled to see the WWE make an impromptu battle royal for an IC title shot on Raw next week. I’m a sucker for battle royals in general, and this one was particularly solid. I was surprised but excited to see Jeff Hardy emerge victorious. The Hardy Boyz have had a fantastic tag run since returning to the WWE at Wrestlemania, but it’s time for them to go their separate ways. Both have a tremendous amount of runway as singles competitors, and I’m happy to see the WWE decide to capitalize.

Jeff Hardy is a perfect opponent for The Miz. He’s incredibly popular and their match on Raw will be heavily anticipated. He’s more than a credible threat to win, and that brings with it high drama. Most important of all, he’s a fresh face and feud to help rebuild the momentum that The Miz has lost over the past month.

7. Mr. Zigglesworth Surprises Me.

I won’t pull any punches. Anyone who has listened to me on Chad’s podcast knows exactly how I feel about Dolph Ziggler. He’s my least favorite wrestler on the roster. With that said, he absolutely knocked one out of the park with his promo on Smackdown.

He was able to convey the kind of raw emotion that has been missing from his promos of recent past. When he spoke about how others were thriving and he had nothing to show for his career, you really felt his pain. When he promised over the top theatrics for next week on Smackdown, he had me hooked.

I have no idea what Dolph is going to do. Knowing him, it will probably bomb out in spectacular fashion. Nonetheless, I can’t remember the last time that I was interested in seeing what Dolph would bring to the upcoming episode of Smackdown. For that, I applaud him.

6. Two Solid Matches Help Raw Fill The Gaps.

One of the WWE’s biggest challenges on a weekly basis is to provide three hours of content every Monday night on Raw. There’s only so many matches and so many promos that can be done, and the WWE can easily fall into a trap of being repetitive.

Sometimes, a less is more philosophy goes a long way. Such was the case this past Monday. The WWE filled an entire hour with back to back singles matches between The Shield and The Bar. Both Rollins v Cesaro and Ambrose v Sheamus were excellent. I found myself entertained, and that hour flew by.

The WWE doesn’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Simple, solid wrestling such as what we saw on Monday between The Shield and The Bar will do the trick.

5. Jinder Booked Strongly.

The runaway freight train known as Jinder Mahal continues to roll along. It’s become apparent that he’s going to be champion for a while. I am thrilled. Some of you are with me. The rest of you eat your boogers and live with your parents. I’m not here to judge.

If you’re going to keep Jinder as champ for a while, making him look strong isn’t the worst idea ever. Such was the case on Smackdown this week. The Singh Brothers were their usual punching bags, distracting Nakamura and allowing Jinder to leave him laying.

Get used to it people. India #1.

4. Orton Turns a Corner.

I really enjoyed the interaction between Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura this week. Orton has been a terrible baby-face and even The Eternal Optimist finds it hard to argue against the notion that Smackdown took a nosedive that minute he became involved in the world title picture.

Orton took a major step towards being more interesting this week on Smackdown. After he and Nakamura reigned victorious, he dropped him with an RKO. This is the Randy Orton I want to see. He doesn’t have to be a full-fledged heel. He just needs to be a guy with an edge – a guy who does what he wants regardless of whether it’s against a good guy or bad.

Orton v Nakamura makes this week’s Smackdown “must see TV” in the same manner that Nakamura v Cena did a few weeks ago. I suspect that this will lead to a triple threat match at the next Smackdown PPV, and I’m on board. You’ll have the traditional heel in Jinder Mahal, the traditional face in Shinsuke Nakamura, and an interesting tweener in Randy Orton. This worked for me.

3. The Women’s Feud I Want is Here.

I advocated strongly for Alexa Bliss v Nia Jaxx to be the Raw Women’s Title feud for Summerslam. I thought it was the best story that could be told and was disappointed when we didn’t get it.

This storyline seemingly disappeared when Sasha beat Alexa for the title at Summerslam. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when the WWE pulled the trigger on a Nia Jaxx face turn after Alexa regained her title from Banks on Raw.

Nia is a legit monster and offers something completely different than any other woman on the roster. A cowardly Alexa running for cover while a wrecking ball comes her way is compelling television. I am ecstatic that this is the path the WWE chose to go down.

2. One of My Favorite Segments Ever.

Considering that Reigns v Cena is my #1 dream match that can be put on WWE television, I hold them to an incredibly high standard now that the match is here. Their segment on Raw this week more than met my expectations.

It was fascinating to see them just tear into each other. It’s all scripted, but they really gave you the feeling that they just don’t like each other. Many feel that Cena obliterated Reigns during this segment, but I think that’s nonsense. Cena was his usual great self, and Roman more than did his part.

I was a little hesitant on this match taking place now, but this segment solidified what I have always felt about their eventual showdown. They produced can’t miss TV, and I can’t wait for them to get it on.

1. Wrestlemania Comes Early.

For a while now, my two choices for the Wrestlemania main events have been Braun Strowmann v Brock Lesnar and John Cena v Roman Reigns. The fact that they are happening at No Mercy in a couple weeks has me beyond excited about the show.

Add a women’s title match that I’ve been asking for in Alexa v Nia and a rematch of the tag title match that I loved at Summerslam and you have the unquestioned PPV of the year. Some may argue that it isn’t good business for the WWE to be giving these matches away on an off-brand PPV, but I disagree. The NFL season is here and what better way to keep the interest of the fans than by having a Wrestlemania quality show in September?

I suspect that both matches are just a taste and will ultimately lead to bigger and better things. Regardless of the outcomes, I will be glued to my television set for No Mercy.

That’s a wrap kids. What are your thoughts on wrestling this week? Sound off below!

Gmail: david.fenichel@gmail.com

Facebook: David Fenichel

Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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