Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Unpopular Opinions
Jun 9, 2013 - 5:54:46 AM
"Not thinking the same things as you.."
When you read someone's column, no matter the subject matter, you're looking for their opinions on things, more often than not. With wrestling columns, you want to see what so-and-so thought about Raw, or what they think about this person's push, or who they think are the 39 best wrestlers of all-time to have the letter "J" in their last names.
A lot of the time, you'll read those opinions, and the first thing that comes to your mind is "those are my thoughts exactly". That's great and all, but that isn't what this column is about. This column is for the flip side to that coin. As you should have been able to figure out by the title, this column is about the unpopular opinions that I have, as a member of the Internet Wrestling Community. If you know anything about me, you're immediately thinking "you're a John Cena fan, and that's quite the unpopular opinion". You're right. You're 100% right. I am a John Cena fan, and that is an unpopular opinion within the IWC. However, I felt that was too easy, so I won't be including it here. Lord knows I've stated my Cena fandom enough times, and Lord knows I've heard all the positives and negatives from everyone out there in ReaderLand about said Cena fandom. No need to rehash all of that. This column will feature four opinions that I have. Four (because I wanted to be different) opinions that many/most of you won't agree with. Maybe you'll think I'm crazy for thinking that way. Maybe it's just something you've never thought about before.
No more wasting time. Time to go through these five opinions, in no particular order. Let's roll..
Seth Rollins Is My Favorite Member Of The Shield
When The Shield first made their debut, you had the section of the IWC who was familiar with the bodies of work of at least Tyler Black (Rollins) and Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose), and maybe who had at least heard about Leakee (Roman Reigns), but you also had the majority of the IWC who had only heard of these guys, and had, to be frank, started to grow sick of the "hype" that they were receiving. If you talked to those who were at least vaguely with the work of these three men, most of them would tell you that Moxley was their favorite. People that watched him perform, and that saw his promos, absolutely fell in love with his Heath Ledger Joker-esque character, and for good reason. After their debut, as more people got to watch them work, there were more and more people who were becoming fans of the man now known as Dean Ambrose. The promos stood out, of course, but it was overall mannerisms that were winning people over. Whether he was in the ring on offense, in the ring on defense, standing on the apron, or at ringside, he was always doing something to make people pay attention to him. Maybe it was facial expressions. Maybe it was the way he walked. People were drawn to him right away.
Call me slightly biased, considering the fact that I've interviewed the man twice, but it's Rollins that is my favorite of the group. I have no issues at all with Ambrose or Reigns, and I think both men will have amazing futures with the company, but Rollins.. it's Rollins that I defend to people. There isn't anything he can't do in the ring, and that versatility is what first made me a fan. He's not the largest wrestler in the world, but he can brawl when brawling is necessary. He can take it to the top rope. He can take it to the mat. He works well with smaller opponents, as well as bigger opponents. His main trait is something that is even catching me off-guard a bit, though. He.. bumps.. his ass off. Go back to the group's match at TLC. Watch some of their random matches since then. There doesn't seem to be a bump that scares the man. He's willing to do whatever it takes to tell the story that he's trying to tell, and that's admirable. When you have someone in the ring who is willing to bump like a pinball in an attempt to tell a story and make his opponent look like a million bucks, he ends up getting the spotlight more often than not, and you need to look no further than Dolph Ziggler for proof of that. If we ever got a Ziggler VS Rollins match, I think both men are skilled enough when it comes to selling that they might trick some people into calling it a five-star match, no matter what it actually turned out to be.
Of course, the main "negative" that people bring up when it comes to Rollins is his mic work. I'll be the first to say that his work on the mic isn't quite up to par with his work in the ring, but I think he's underrated in the promo department. Yeah, I said it. It isn't his promos that I have a problem with. It's the voice he has to cut those promos with that I have a problem with. He doesn't exactly have a Barry White-style bass voice to begin with, but when you throw him in a group with a deep-voiced yeller like Reigns and a uniquely gravelly Ambrose, it only accentuates the issue. The next time you listen to a Shield promo, I want you all to do something. As difficult as it might be, I want you to pay attention to the words being said, and not to the voice saying them. Just do it. Listen to what the man is saying. Go back and follow along with every word. He tells good stories on the mic. He always has. People just let their opinions of his voice cloud their thinking.
Remember, this is just for my favorite member of the group. If you want to play Smarks Court and talk about who is the best or who has the brightest future, then I don't think Rollins fits the bill. Ambrose is the best overall, when it comes to everything that makes a professional wrestler, and I think his "ceiling" is WWE/World Champion one day. With a little more seasoning, I absolutely, positively see WWE/World Champion as the "ceiling" for Reigns as a monster heel. Rollins has more of a John Morrison "ceiling", in my eyes. Morrison, if you recall, was a solid tag team worker, and he had a lot of potential as a singles wrestler. He was really good in the midcard, winning the Intercontinental Title three times, and he had a *Randy Savage voice* cup of coffee with the main event, but never getting to the top of the mountain. That's the most likely outcome for Rollins and his time with WWE. He's already a solid tag team wrestler, and within a year or two, look for him to be contending for the Intercontinental or United States Title, if not already having a reign or two. From there, it really depends on him and the work he puts in. He could reach the main event scene, or he could be "midcard for life" and rack up a bunch of midcard title reigns. I'd prefer that he not end up as John Morrison aka White Kofi Kingston, but I also have to keep it real. Anyway, I'm going off-track a bit. Rollins is my favorite member of The Shield. Simple as that.
Chris Jericho Is Overrated
This is one that long-time readers of mine have heard before. To those that haven't heard it before, allow me to preface everything by saying I don't think Chris Jericho is bad. Not even close. I just don't place him on the same pedestal as the average IWC member. He's been a really good worker, going all the way back to the first time I saw him wrestle, back in 1996. However, when you look at the list of names that you often associate with Jericho.. names like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, etc.. an argument can be made that they're all better workers than Jericho, if you're going prime for prime. Mysterio has fallen off recently, and that has affected his overall body of work, but in his prime, I'd put him ahead of Jericho.
On the mic, Jericho has always let his natural charisma carry him. He's one of the most charismatic pro wrestlers of all-time, without a doubt, but his mic skills themselves? Overrated. Look at the two "phases" of Chris Jericho's character. You have the silly, goofball "Ayatollah Of Rock-N-Rolla" Jericho, and you have the "Best In The World At What I Do" Jericho. I want you all to put your bias aside for a moment. Picture this in your head..
- Picture John Cena cutting promos, calling people "Junior"
- Picture Cena saying "never, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever" and "a-gain" in his promos
Picture Cena (or any non-favorite in the IWC) saying the types of things that silly Jericho says in his promos. Now picture the reactions that Cena would get from the IWC. They'd talk about how "corny" he is. They'd talk about how he "tries too hard" to be funny. They'd call him "lame". I wouldn't even argue. However, because Jericho says those things, and the IWC likes Jericho, nobody says a thing. His heel work in recent years was better, as an overall promo is concerned, but even then, he relied too heavily on the "Scrabble high score" words. To you younger bastards out there that are now lost, Scrabble is the board game that turned into what Words With Friends is today.
A heavy reliance on silly words and catchphrases or words with four or more syllables? Overly sloppy work (especially in his ECW/WCW/early WWF days, when those ridiculous lifts in his boots were really hurting his balance)? I don't know, ladies and gentlemen.. I just think Jericho is overrated, but only to the point that I'd rate his work a seven if the average IWC rating was a nine. That still counts.
Lita Wasn't Attractive*
I would like to direct your attention to the asterisk there, but I'll get to that in a moment.
I was never a fan of Lita's look. I don't hate redheads, natural or artificial, but they just aren't my "type". I'm also not always a fan when women cake on what seems like several layers of makeup. When it comes to tattoos, I think some can be sexy on women, but that monstrosity on Lita's arm scared me. In an era where we got to see women like Stephanie McMahon, Trish Stratus, Victoria, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Kiebler, Sable, etc, Lita just didn't do it for me.
So.. uh.. remember the asterisk? Yeah.. Lita is hot now. Since her wrestling career ended, she has toned down on the wild amounts of makeup, and has gone to a more natural hair color. It has improved the way she looks tenfold. At 38, she is 100 times more attractive than she was at 28. The asterisk is because I'm referring to her during her in-ring career, when males would drool all over her and the way she looked, but I just never saw it. If I have to give her some sort of props for her time in TitanLand, I'll gladly admit that she was much hotter during her time with Edge than she was during her time with the Hardy Boyz.
Samoa Joe VS CM Punk Is The Best Match Trilogy I've Ever Seen
Various beverages have just been spit all over cell phone screens and computer monitors, I know, but I stand by my opinion.
When it comes to wrestling match trilogies, people always point to three different ones..
- Ric Flair VS Ricky Steamboat for the NWA World Title in 1989
- Steve Austin VS The Rock at WrestleMania 15, 17 & 19
- Samoa Joe VS CM Punk for the Ring Of Honor World Title in 2004 & 2005
One for "younger" fans, one for "older" fans, and one for "even older" fans. Everyone gets something!
First off, I want to start with Austin VS Rock. I'm on record in saying that their match at WrestleMania 17 might very well be my second-favorite match of all-time. It was fantastic. Very well put together. The crowd and the overall atmosphere only made it better. A historic heel turn that was created at the worst possible time only takes away from the match slightly. That match was bookended by two far lesser matches, though. WrestleMania 15 saw them have a good match, probably in the three-star range, but I've never seen it as anything super special. They've had much better matches against each other, both at Mania or elsewhere. WrestleMania 19 was great for the story that it told, but the match itself wasn't anything special. Of course, the final match gets a pass, as it was Austin's last match, and the man was less than 24 hours removed from being rushed to the emergency room for "dizziness", at a time where he's on record saying he thought he was going to die. Don't get me wrong.. it's a fun trilogy. A few months back, I actually watched the trilogy in one sitting, and I enjoyed it. I just don't rank it at the top because it features one match strongly carrying the other two.
Flair VS Steamboat is still something special. It's way ahead of Austin VS Rock, and for good reason. At the time, you would have been hard pressed to find two better wrestlers on the planet than "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. It's difficult for most anyone to come up with a single thing.. anything.. bad about the trilogy. After watching the entire trilogy again and again and again, I can only come up with one thing, and technically, it isn't even bad, and I shouldn't hold it against them.. but I have to base my opinions on something, don't I? My "problem" with the trilogy was that, because everyone knew both men were at the top of their games, we expected greatness from them.
Think about it, ladies and gentlemen.. if you tuned into Raw, and you got two matches that lasted 15-20 minutes and ended up being Television Match Of The Year Candidates, which of these two bouts would have you talking more..
- Daniel Bryan VS Chris Jericho
- Brodus Clay VS Titus O'Neil
With Bryan and Jericho, you know to expect fantastic things from them. Putting them in a match together only amplifies that. However, if we got a 15-20 minute match with Brodus and Titus, you'd all be blown away. Coming out of the show, it's what you would be talking about.
Is it fair that I'm essentially "punishing" Flair and Steamboat for their greatness? No. I'll be the first to admit that. However, as I said, I do have to base my opinions on something, and in this instance, this is that something.
When it comes to the Joe VS Punk trilogy, you have two names who, at the time, were very small ripples in the gigantic pond that is the world of professional wrestling. Joe had yet to show up as an unstoppable monster in TNA. Punk was certainly yet to drop "pipe bombs" on WWE television. People who were watching Ring Of Honor at the time were fans of the guys, but even those fans had no idea that Joe and Punk were capable of the matches they delivered. The trilogy featured a unique story, with Joe being the RoH World Champion that had beaten everyone, and Punk as something like the "People's Champion", although his win/loss record didn't necessarily indicate he should be competing for the title. The first match saw them go 60 minutes, and it changed the way people viewed Punk forever. He came across as a "Cerebral Assassin", for lack of a better term, and seemed like he had done his homework as he tried to accomplish what many others were unable to. In the second match, they went 60 minutes again, but the vibe was totally different in this one. Many felt Joe was the underdog here, and that was a position he hadn't been in during his entire time with the company. Punk had his hometown crowd of Chicago behind him, and by now, we've all seen how deep Punk can dig when he's wrestling in his hometown. With both matches.. spoiler alert.. going to time-limit draws, the only thing to do for the third match was to remove time limits altogether. The two men would compete until there was a winner, even if it took all night. This was it. Punk had pushed Joe to the limit twice, but ran out of time just as he was about to become the new champion. Without a time limit, he was going to win the title.
Ironically enough, it was Ricky Steamboat (who was working with RoH at the time, making appearances for them) that pulled Joe and Punk aside backstage as they were putting their match together, and convinced them to switch the formula up. Everyone and their mothers expected the third match to be long. People thought it would go at least 60 minutes. It didn't. It only went half that time. Steamboat's idea was to shock the crowd, who would not be expecting the ending of the match. You want to keep wrestling fans guessing. Making things too predictable isn't a good thing, whether you're the indy-est of the indies or you're main eventing WrestleMania.
I love the stories told in each match. As the trilogy went on, Joe went from confident champion to someone who was having to resort to underhanded tactics to try to win, panicking because he couldn't put Punk away. Punk became a legit star because of the trilogy. I fully believe that Punk never would have been signed by WWE if not for this trilogy, as it was these matches that caught the attention of Mick Foley (also working with RoH off-and-on during this time), who famously went to Vince McMahon and put Joe and Punk on his radar for the first time. Punk really was put on the map with this feud, even though he had been involved in some of RoH's best matches pre-trilogy, and this is what turned people's thoughts from "Punk should be a World Champion one day" to "Punk will be a World Champion one day". The storytelling. The drama. The comedy (specifically a moment in the first match that shows how big of an asshole Punk really is, but I won't spoil it for those that have not seen it). The star-making. This was my favorite wrestling trilogy, and I just don't see anything taking its place, especially with how often you see people facing each other these days.
Unpopular opinions. Everyone has some. Some have more than others. You have now been introduced to some of mine.
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