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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - The Good, The Good and The Good - No Mercy and Beyond
By Dave Fenichel
Oct 1, 2017 - 9:42:37 AM

Hi kids.

I’m back with another edition of “The Good, the Good and the Good”. This time around – I discuss everything that I liked about No Mercy and the rest of the past week in WWE.

No Mercy was a rock solid show with a pair of gigantic matches at the top of the card. It was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, and it didn’t disappoint. Both Raw and Smackdown are currently going in an interesting direction, and that direction was highlighted by the tone of both weekly shows.
Anyhow, onto the column:

Question of the Day: What do you think the WWE can do to build the next generation of child fans?

Jason Jordan’s Slow Burn Continues.

I continue to commend the WWE for recognizing the error of its ways when it comes to how they handled Jason Jordan. It was too much too fast. They have slowed his push down, and he is benefitting tremendously.

I thought the WWE would pull the trigger on an Intercontinental Title reign for him at No Mercy, but I’m glad they didn’t. By continuing to come up short, he is building up sympathy. At some point, the WWE universe will be clamoring for him to get over the hump. We aren’t there yet, and because of this, I’m glad that the WWE is holding out.

I really enjoyed the match. It was the perfect choice to kick off the show. It was well wrestled and had excellent crowd involvement. The Miz continues to be booked strongly, and Jordan continues to be booked in the manner that makes the most sense – as a strong but inexperienced wrestler.

A Stellar Outing for Finn and Bray.

For two wrestlers that do far less for me than they do for the IWC, I continue to be impressed with Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt. I could care less about the promos as I’m not at all invested in either character, but their in-ring chemistry is incredibly good.

They took a Summerslam match that I didn’t care about and made me care. They put forth an even better effort at No Mercy. I thought the match was compelling from beginning to end, and at no point did I have a good feel for who was going to win. In fact, I was fairly surprised to see Balor win for a second Pay Per View in a row. I thought for sure that Bray was going to get his heat back.

The fact that Finn was booked strongly for a second Pay Per View in a row and the fact that he alluded to trying to win back his Universal Championship, I can’t help but think that Finn is next for Brock Lesnar. I’ve been lukewarm on Balor, but I think he’s the perfect opponent for Lesnar. Lesnar has always excelled when he’s been in the ring with smaller athletic guys that he can toss around. Finn v Lesnar at Survivor Series makes a lot of sense. Make it happen WWE.

The Shield and The Bar Deliver Match of the Night.

On a night where expectations for almost every match on the card were sky high, it was the tag team title match that stole the show. The in-ring action was simply superb. This match and the reaction surrounding it are a perfect example of what tag team wrestling can do for a wrestler’s career.

Seth Rollins was floundering as a baby-face until reunited with Dean Ambrose. He was putting out stellar match after stellar match, but people just weren’t buying him as a face. Now, he’s getting main event level face pops every night. For Sheamus, the difference is even more extreme. He was completely irrelevant as a single’s competitor. He was being shoved down our throats and people were no longer paying attention. There was more of a question as to whether or not he’d still be with the WWE than whether or not he’d rise back to prominent status. Teaming with Cesaro has made all the difference for him. People are remembering that he’s actually a great in-ring wrestler, and they care about his matches again.

The success of this match and the resurgence tag team wrestling has done for both Rollins and Sheamus should serve as a blueprint for the WWE. A shift to a tag team for a stale wrestler isn’t the end of the world, but rather the beginning of a potential rebirth.

Two Strong Nights for the Women of Raw.

I really enjoyed the fatal five way at No Mercy. I thought the multi-person match allows for short bursts of wrestling that allow the WWE to hide the respective in-ring flaws of the women involved. I thought the inclusion of Emma absolutely made the match. Because she has been off TV for large chunks of time and because her booking hasn’t done her any favors, it’s easy to forget that she’s one of the best in-ring workers in the division. She really shined while being paired off with Bayley and Sasha, and brought a fresh element that was missing due to how often the other four had squared off against each other.

The next night on Raw was strong for the women for a completely different reason. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James absolutely set the world on fire with their in-ring promo. Mickie is an absolute legend but her mic skills haven’t been utilized much since her return. Last night was a shining example of what she can do.

Alexa is always great with a mic in hand, but rarely has a counterpart that can keep up with her. Mickie certainly can. I love the pairing and potential feud, even if it’s just for the short-term. Mickie and Alexa will provide something that the women’s division has lacked – compelling heat-drawing segments.

A New Direction for the Cruiserweights.

Enzo Amore won the Cruiserweight Title at No Mercy. Many of you are upset by this. You think he sucks in the ring and doesn’t represent what the cruiserweight division is all about. You’re wrong, and that’s ok. Enzo winning the title is the best thing that ever happened to the division.

The cruiserweight division that you want, a division full of great athletes and great matches, is currently used as PPV Preshow filler and met with chants for wrestlers that don’t work for the company anymore. The current model wasn’t working. Enzo won the title not through his wrestling prowess, but by kicking Neville in the junk. This is important because it signifies a shift from what the division was previously about to what the division is going to be about going forward.

Enzo is turning heel and his words rather than other’s actions are going to be what matters. Everything he said on Raw is absolutely true. He is a star. He sells more merchandise than every other cruiserweight combined. The cruiserweights weren’t sniffing the main event of Raw before Enzo was around. The idea of turning the entire division face against a snarky heat magnet is brilliant. The angle matters and people will care. The cruiserweight division is relevant for the first time since it began.

Roman v Lesnar Is a Good Thing.

I’ll be the first to admit. I wanted to see Lesnar v Strowmann and Reigns v Cena as the two top matches for Wrestlemania. We aren’t getting that, and many aren’t happy about it. I was wrong and so are they.

It’s not about what we want. We’re entrenched in the product and with very few exceptions will watch anything that is put on. We are lifelong fans. That’s the key. “Life long fans”. We were hooked as children. People don’t start watching wrestling in their twenties. Wrestling fans are groomed from an early age, get hooked and stay with the product for life.

With that in mind, the WWE is looking to build a new generation of children that will grow up to be lifelong wrestling fans. History has shown that the only way to do that is to create a larger than life hero that will cause them to tune in. Children don’t view the product the way that we do. They watch to cheer for one wrestler. My generation did it with Hulk Hogan. A younger generation did it with Steve Austin and The Rock. An even younger generation did it with John Cena.

This generation of kids will do it through Roman Reigns. The WWE isn’t booking Brock Lesnar to be the unstoppable monster of all unstoppable monsters because of us. They are doing it because in the eyes of children, every hero needs a villain to conquer. Brock Lesnar is that villain for Roman Reigns. When Roman does the “unthinkable” at Wrestlemania 34, we’ll all hate it, but he’ll be the superhero the WWE needs in the eyes of the children. With that in mind, the WWE is doing the right thing.

Stable Warfare on the Way.

It’s unlikely that we see Brock Lesnar much for the rest of 2017. He’s been on TV far more in 2017 than in the past couple of years. You have to imagine that his dates are running out. With that in mind, the WWE is going to need a marquee attraction to hold people’s interest.

Enter stable warfare. The promo on Raw between Roman Reigns and The Miz told me everything that I needed to know. The Shield v The Miztourage is coming. It’s a great idea. The MIz is a heat magnet unlike any other in the WWE. The fans have been clamoring for a full-on Shield reunion for a long time. Now is the perfect time to pull the trigger. The Shield v The Miztourage will be the kind of attraction that keeps people tuned in – the type of match that can main event a Pay Per View in Lesnar’s absence. A reunion of the Shield will do nothing but benefit Roman’s popularity. It’s a home run for everyone involved.

Jinder and Nakamura – Sneaking Up on Us?

The world title hasn’t been the focus on Smackdown since Summerslam. Other angles have taken center stage, and Nakamura v Jinder has been moved to the background. As a result, many people haven’t realized that they have quietly put together an excellent storyline.

The past two weeks have been particularly good. Last week, Jinder showed diversity on the microphone that he hadn’t previously shown. This week, they finally got physical. The pro-longed back and forth between the two showed a chemistry in the ring that was previously lacking. I think JInder has more than held his own as champion, and I believe that the lack of pressure to carry the Smackdown brand will allow for Mahal and Nakamura to be the pleasant surprise of Hell in a Cell. I wouldn’t be at all shocked if this proves to be Jinder’s best match to date.

Rusev Gets Machka’d.

Rusev is so underrated. He’s comedic gold on the microphone. His celebration on Smackdown was excellent television. Aiden English is being elevated as fodder to this storyline, and it allows Randy Orton to settle into the role best suited for him. Orton should no longer be a main event player on any kind of regular basis. Upper mid-card feuds with the likes of Rusev will benefit the Smackdown roster.

I had no problem with Rusev eating an RKO to end the segment. Each has squashed the other in record setting fashion. I am looking forward to their Hell in a Cell encounter. I believe that we will finally get the stellar competitive match that we were hoping for at Summerslam.

Weak Means Strong.

Charlotte beat Carmella in pretty convincing fashion this week on Smackdown. A match like this may seem like filler, but I think it represents something far more important. History has shown that the WWE looks to make the Money in the Bank winners look weak so that their cash-in comes as more of a surprise than it otherwise would. I believe that is exactly what is happening with Carmella.

Natalya is clearly a short term champion. Carmella is going to cash in on a face. Charlotte has a tremendous amount of face sympathy as a result of what happened to her father. The timing is perfect for Charlotte to have a feel good moment ruined by Carmella’s cash-in. I’ve been looking forward to Carmella’s eventual cash-in ever since she won the briefcase. She and Ellsworth have proven that they can draw main event level heat, and I think the sky is the limit. After months of waiting, I believe her moment comes at Hell in a Cell.

I’m Excited for a Dolph Ziggler Feud.

Often maligned by yours truly, Dolph has quickly found his niche. I’ve enjoyed his gimmick of impersonating other wrestlers and using their success to chastise the fan base. They’ve finally parlayed it into a reasonable feud, and I’m glad that it’s with Bobby Roode.

Dolph’s entire schtick is that he’s tired of flashy ring entrances overshadowing what he believes to be what “really matters”. Who has a flashier ring entrance than Roode? Storyline continuity is where it’s at, and we have it here. As for the match itself, I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will open the Pay Per View. Both men can go and it should ignite the crowd. Dolph did a good job of making Nakamura look strong upon his debut, and I suspect he’ll do the same for Roode. Smackdown is going to need main eventers and he’s the obvious choice to fit the bill.

HIAC Looks Like Smackdown’s Best Offering of the Year.

I’ve already detailed why I believe Jinder/Nakamura, Natalya/Charlotte, Rusev/Orton and Roode/Ziggler are strong additions to the show. Styles/Corbin is interesting because the outcome will tell us a lot about what the future holds for AJ Styles. While all five of those matches are going to bring something to the table, Hell in a Cell is looking like an A+ PPV because of its top two matches. This is a Pay Per View that has often struggled from the WWE needlessly inserting the gimmick into feuds that didn’t warrant it and wrestlers that couldn’t deliver the goods. Not this year.

First, we’ve got The New Day v The Usos. I cannot be more excited for this. In my eyes, this has been the tag team feud of the decade. They are unquestionably the two top tag teams of the last ten years, and their feud and matches have been straight fire. Hell in a Cell is the only logical gimmick for this feud to end, and I can’t wait. I’m expecting a match of the year caliber outing, and I strongly suspect that I won’t be disappointed.

Shane v Kevin Owens is equally suited for the cell. First, the feud has taken on an awfully personal tone. Second, Shane McMahon is a maniac who will take crazy risks someone of his stature normally wouldn’t need to take. His spot-heavy style lends itself perfectly for the gimmick. Last, and certainly not least, KO is the right dance partner. His brawling heavy, high impact move style are perfect for the Hell in a Cell gimmick. I’m expecting an absolute war between the two that is sure to main event the show. I have no idea how Shane can top jumping off the cell at Wrestlemania, but I suspect he’ll try his best.

I’m looking forward to both cell matches this year than I have to any cell match in recent memory. I can’t wait for the show.

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

Facebook: David Fenichel

Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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