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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - 10 Things I Liked in WWE This Week (09/18/17 - 09/24/17)
By Dave Fenichel
Sep 20, 2017 - 9:39:57 PM

Hi kids.

I’m back with another edition of “10 Things I Liked in Wrestling This Week”. Before I dive into my column, I’d be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the passing of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. I’ve been a wrestling fan for thirty years. The first wrestling event I ever saw was Wrestlemania III. I was five years old. Make no mistake about it. Hulk Hogan was obviously the number one on-screen reason that the WWE became as big as it is. Bobby Heenan was #2. When the WWE wanted a heel to ascend to the main event, he was paired with Bobby Heenan. Everything he touched turned to gold. He was without question the best manager of all time, and one of the best announcers of all time as well. He will be missed.


Question of the Day: Do you think the WWE is going in the right direction with Jason Jordan? Why or why not?

10. Jinder Makes the Marks Look Like Marks…Again.

I’m going to get this out of the way. Jinder Mahal’s comments didn’t cross a line. It’s kayfabe. We watch a fake product with made up storylines. It isn’t real life. In fact, Jinder Mahal’s comments aren’t racist at all. He’s feigning racism to point out the hypocrisy of today’s wrestling fan.

When it comes to a certain portion of our community, Jinder Mahal can’t win. If it was Shinsuke himself or another well-liked foreigner like Rusev, he’d be praised for going outside of the box to illicit the reaction he was looking for. The same people who criticized Jinder for cutting the same promo over and over again are now up in arms because he did something different. Face the facts people – Jinder Mahal is excelling in his role as champion.


9. Two Undercard Surprises on Raw.

There were two matches on Raw that I had absolutely no expectation for, and both delivered. First, Curt Hawkins and Apollo Crews put forth a stellar outing. Crews is really good in the ring. He has really innovative moves and he was allowed to shine. I’m into Curt Hawkins’ losing streak gimmick. It gives me a reason to care about him when I otherwise wouldn’t. This was a showcase match for Crews and his stock rose as a result.

Second, Neville and Gran Metalik put on my favorite match of the week. Metalik was one of my favorites from the Cruiserweight Classic, and I’m happy to see him get more airtime. He uses the ropes better than any other cruiserweight on the roster, and I’m a sucker for Mexican Luchadores #ceromiedo. Neville won and I’m ready for his match with Endo this Sunday. It’s the best story that the division can tell, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.


8. Roman in His Element.

I think Roman has done just fine during his entire feud with Cena. Going toe to toe with Cena on the microphone is never going to be an easy task for anyone, and face to face promos have never been his forte. Nonetheless, he held his own.

With all that said, Roman is much better suited for solo promos in the ring. That’s what we got on Monday. He continues to embrace an edgier persona, and it’s working for him. Roman v Cena is my Wrestlemania dream match, and I will have my eyes glued to my television on Sunday.


7. Orton Gets Machka’d.

A tremendous wrong has been rectified! I couldn’t stand sitting through Orton squashing Rusev in thirty seconds at Summerslam. Last week, Rusev’s promo hinted at a redemption story. This week, it came to fruition. Rusev got his heat back by squashing Orton in equal time.

It doesn’t mean that Rusev is going to skyrocket to the main event, but at least the ship has been righted. I think he’d be a good feud for either A.J. Styles post-Corbin or Nakamura when he’s done laying down for Jinder. Regardless, Rusev is finally going in the right direction. The Eternal Optimist is a happy man.


6. Smackdown Utilizes Its Roster.

Smackdown has often relied on its top talent so heavily that it has been a detriment to the show. This week, Smackdown put two seldom used wrestlers to good use. First, Aiden English. He’s a jobber and that’s ok. He has a fun gimmick. He sings opera and the fan base hates him for it. He did what he’s paid to do and laid down to Orton, but was also instrumental in Rusev’s victory. I enjoyed his insertion into their storyline.

Like Aiden English, Tye Dillinger hasn’t been utilized well since his debut. Like Aiden English, he did an excellent job this week playing third wheel to the Styles/Corbin feud. Corbin has attacked him several times over the past few weeks, so it made sense for Dillinger to get one back on him. By costing Corbin his opportunity at the U.S. Title, he furthered the Styles/Corbin storyline while giving himself purpose. That’s all you can ask for.


5. Finn and Bray Turn a Corner.

I’m really enjoying the progression of the Finn Balor/Bray Wyatt feud. I didn’t care about it at all when it started. The allure of the demon was there, but that’s about it. They went out and had a solid match at Summerslam, but I still didn’t have a reason to be hooked.

I really enjoyed the light in which they presented the rematch. It is being billed as “man v man”. It’s a nice piece of psychology. The Demon was too much for Bray to overcome. By billing the rematch as a battle between men, the WWE has painted it as more of a fair fight. I fully expect Bray to get his win back. This has been a much more enjoyable feud than I expected it to be, and it will make for a solid addition to an already-loaded No Mercy card.


4. The Right Way to Build Jason Jordan.

Speaking of excellent additions to the No Mercy Card, The Miz v Jason Jordan is a rock solid Intercontinental Title Match. Many have been critical of the way Jordan has been handled since it was revealed that he was Kurt Angle’s son. I’ll readily admit that pushing him as an unstoppable main eventer was probably not the best idea. Luckily, the shift in focus to a slower underdog build is working for him.

He’s lost plenty of matches and become a sympathetic figure. He finally had a breakthrough this week during the main event of Monday Night Raw. He overcame the odds and won a six pack challenge for the right to face The Miz. Even after a triumphant victory, he was beat down. I thought this was the right move. It further cemented the idea that Jordan has no chance to defeat the Miz. It is inevitable that he will ascend to the top of the card. This gradual build to get there will be far more effective than anything they have done before. Well done WWE.


3. Kevin Owens is the Star of the Show.

KO has proclaimed Smackdown to be The Kevin Owens’ show ever since he moved to the blue brand. His perception has become reality. The entire show is being built around him, and I love it. He’s being given the ball and he’s running with it.

Shane v KO is undoubtedly the main event of Hell in a Cell. It’s hard to imagine that after being given the ultimate rub by the McMahons, KO becomes anything other than the permanent focus of Smackdown going forward. With the best mic skills on the brand and a fantastic skillset in the ring, the sky is the limit.


2. The Smackdown Women Deliver in the Main Event.

Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Tamina and Naomi made the most out of the spotlight they were given. I really enjoyed their #1 contender’s fatal four way match. Charlotte and Naomi had particularly good chemistry together. They are two of the most athletic divas on the roster, and they showed a glimpse of what they are capable of together. I’d love to see a longer feud and Pay Per View match between the two.

Charlotte was the no-brainer pick for the winner. She is riding a big wave of sympathetic face momentum as a result of her dad’s illness. Charlotte v Natalya is a relatively big-time women’s title match. This seems like the perfect time to have Charlotte win the title, only to have Carmella ruin her feel good moment by cashing in her briefcase. I’m invested in the Smackdown women’s division. That is an impressive accomplishment for the ladies.


1. A Big Fight Feel.

The showdown between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowmann needed to be presented as a clash of the titans and a can’t miss battle. That’s exactly what we got. This week was the final step in an absolutely masterful build. I’m a sucker for the dual screen live backstage interviews. They remind me of Sportscenter when they are looking to hype a big fight.

I have no idea what’s going to happen on Sunday. My gut tells me that Lesnar wins, but I wouldn’t put it past the WWE to strap the rocket ship to Braun and see what he can do. Regardless of the outcome, this match has been presented as the biggest fight of the year. I can’t wait to see it go down.


That’s a wrap kids. Thank you for reading. Sound off below!

Facebook: David Fenichel

Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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