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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Bring It To The Pond: a broken Matt Hardy, a departing Jim Johnston and an ascending AJ Styles (plus more to come!)
By Samuel 'Plan
Dec 1, 2017 - 6:51:24 PM




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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!




Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Bring It To The Pond: a broken Matt Hardy, a departing Jim Johnston and an ascending AJ Styles (plus more to come!)


This week on The Right Side of the Pond (TRSOTP), exclusively available on Lords of Pain Radio every Friday, Maverick and I are on duty with another Bring It To The Pond (based on the now-cancelled WWE Network show Bring It To The Table!), sharing our thoughts on recent hot topics, including the sudden shunning of Finn Bálor, the sudden shifting of Roman Reigns, the poor quality of television and the future of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view! That’s in a couple of hours. Until then, I thought I’d get the conversation going with a brief look at some other topics to have emerged from the news week that was.

I’ll start with an item I expected more people to be talking about. Now I wonder whether everyone cares all that much that Broken Matt Hardy has woken in WWE after all. Maybe it’s simply a case of bad timing; a turn of events that’s taken rather too long to get to because of some unavoidable legal issues beyond the company’s power or, as the rumours would have it, interest. WWE these days are more bothered about mining nostalgia than building futures.

Is there a future for Broken Matt Hardy and his Brother Nero in WWE’s landscape? It’s difficult to tell. On Monday Night Raw (MNR) at least, the show’s already packed full of more talent than they seem to know what to do with. I guess there’s a certain appeal to the melodramatic personas of Bray Wyatt and Broken Matt meeting, and that seems to be the direction they’re heading. Honestly, though, it’s an idea that fills me with dread. Bray Wyatt being summarily dismissed by the far zanier Hardy would be perhaps the final blow to his fledgling presence in the higher echelons of the company, while Wyatt offing a Broken Matt I’m not sure would even serve as all that much a point of interest, let alone anything more. So you’ll have to chalk me up as a cynic on this one. I can’t imagine the arrival of a Broken Matt Hardy doing a great many things for WWE’s creative output.

I have been wrong before, though; I mean, seeing him against Brock Lesnar? Well, that would be a guilty pleasure if ever there was one, were I not so bitter about the predominance of veteran stars and part-timers in that main event scene already.

This week saw WWE come to terms with the release of a different kind of veteran altogether. Jim Johnston has left WWE after over thirty years of service. People rush to naming commentators as the voices of WWE – especially the vaunted JR – but for this fan, the real voice the company is the man who crafted so many iconic themes that, together, compile the essential soundtrack to my youth. In his own field, Johnston was the author of as many, if not more iconic tunes than the likes of John Williams or Hans Zimmer might be in their own chosen fields.

The entrance music of a pro wrestler has become an integral element of their character, especially in WWE. The gong and the Funeral March sounding every time The Undertaker appears in the ring, or the smash of glass and the raw ferocity of Austin’s “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” every time the Rattlesnake comes to raise hell, are akin to Superman’s March sounding with every on-screen arrival of the Man of Steel, or the rip-roaring adrenaline of Wonder Woman’s newly minted barn-storming theme blasting out as she readies to kick ass. Music is as much an emotional cue in WWE today as it is in cinema or television, and the company owes so much to Jim Johnston for that; and not just for its wrestlers, but for its library of immortal pre-match hype packages as well.

Vince McMahon named Bret Hart as the greatest storyteller in WWE history during the Hitman’s Hall of Fame induction. I sometimes wonder if Johnston might have beaten him to the honour, all things considered.

By comparison, and lucky for his legions of fans in WWE, AJ Styles has shot down rumours of his retirement in the last week, tweeting that he had no intentions of retiring any time soon.

Styles still carries the glimmer of the new kid on the block in the land of the giants, though his reputation has been earned the hard way even in the short period he’s been with the ‘E. It is easy to forget he’s now 40 years old, however, and perhaps entering the final chapter of his career. It remains to be seen how he will go down in WWE history, but simple physics demands he retire when many of the contemporary class of talents – the likes of The Shield in particular – will still have many years left in their own respective runs. Perhaps that’s why it’s so great to see him being so heavily invested in, and so unashamedly so, by an often reticent WWE.

They’re maximising the years they have Styles around as a full-time active member of the roster by maintaining his status as a top name, and if they have any sense they’ll avoid too many more 2017s for the man; essentially four feuds so far, none of which have inspired despite varying, at times excellent quality in the ring. After all, Styles is the here and now but he isn’t WWE’s tomorrow, so let’s not go wasting many more years, eh?

That’s more than likely a moot point, and one to be unconcerned with, mind. For now, Styles appears happy and at home in the house he built sitting pretty once again as WWE Champion, and with few apparent intentions of going anywhere else.

These are just some of the news items that broke these last few days and, as mentioned earlier, Mav and I will be going into greater depth with some other interesting stories of the last week too –Finn’s denial of a Universal Championship Match; the positive reactions to Reigns’ sudden Intercontinental Championship run; the future of a now cross-branded Money in the Bank pay-per-view; and the too-frequently lamentable quality of WWE’s weekly television output.

You can, of course, hear much more about it all later tonight on the next instalment of The Right Side of the Pond, set to air shortly on Lords of Pain Radio to kick your weekend off right! The Right Side of the Pond airs only on LOP Radio every Friday night, 9pm GMT / 5pm EST, or can be listened to on demand at any time via BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

In the meantime, sound off on how you feel about any of the issues I’ve mentioned in this column, or that we’ll discuss on the show later! You can do so in the comments below, over on social media or even by signing up to our own LOPForums, where TRSOTP and every other LOP Radio show has its very own discussion thread for you to throw some responses our way without the limitations of Twitter or Facebook; just click here to sign up!



Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!





Click here to add me on Facebook!


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