Plus, Undertaker’s exciting announcement, HBK’s not so exciting announcement, the Wyatts fumble again, and more.
By Matt Fowler
Before I get into Jericho winning the U.S. title on RAW this week, I wanted to bring up the fact that wrestlers used to bleed a lot. Like, a concerning amount. It was a savage, cool-looking and dramatically unhealthy element of pro-wrestling that helped sell its “realness” while also adding intensity to feuds and storylines. It would occasionally happen in the old ’80s WWF — usually at a WrestleMania or a similarly pivotal moment — but elsewhere, in the NWA and other promotions, it was rampant. Wrestling magazines used to have bloody faces right on the cover.
Jericho got busted open during his main even handicap match this week. It happens nowadays, sure, but it’s accidental. Unless it’s Brock purposefully elbowing someone’s brow open, guys occasionally get walloped a bit too hard, as a mistake, and start bleeding. Sometimes stitches are needed. Images of these mishaps are then usually Instagram’d backstage for posterity.
All I’m trying to say here is that this made me laugh forever…
Yes, we’ve come a long way from the crimson masks of Dusty, Billy Graham and The Sheik gracing the cover of Inside Wrestling. Granted, I could be missing the intentional humor here. Maybe Daivari’s playing into his heel gimmick by shining such a massive spotlight on his meager nose boo boo.
Oh, and I did not care for this at all…
It only took two quick weeks for WWE to turn Jack Gallagher into a regular old “first strike” babyface. I understand that his extraordinary gentleman gimmick works best as a heel, but he should be able to keep his cool when someone tosses his umbrella. His pride should be wrapped up in the ring, not out of it. Even if he’s given his umbrella a name. Which is William. But should have been Roman Rains.
That being said, Jack’s already gotten two big in-ring segments on 205 (including a contract signing – this early!) and I’m a huge fan. I just don’t want him to have to ditch too much of his wonderful ridiculousness in order to become a bitter “put up or shut up” brawler like everyone else.
Now, back to List Jericho, who managed to capture the U.S. belt in a controversial, yet WILDLY satisfying, fashion…
There are two ways to come at this. One is, you can hate it because, by the super scientific laws of opposite momentum, this surely spells doom for Kevin Owens at the Rumble. Jericho winning now, stripping Reigns of his title, means Roman is now free and clear for the title win in two weeks. Yes, that’s what this means. And if it undercuts the deliciousness of Jericho’s win, then I’m sorry.
But the other way to see this is — well — already accepting that Roman is likely going to beat Owens. There’s no way Owens was heading into ‘Mania season as champ. Same goes for Styles too, unfortunately. But especially Owens. Roman and Cena are going to go into ‘Mania as the brand champs, so they can take on Taker and… maybe Braun? We’ll see. But Owens is losing. So we need to enjoy THIS win now, this defeat of Roman, because of what’s coming. Imagine if Jericho didn’t get the belt. Or Roman didn’t suffer a big loss before he topples Owens. That’s a much worse world to live in.
Also, we want to see Jericho get rewarded for his stupendous work this year. Yes, there’s an argument to be made about him overshadowing Owens’ title Reign and how the entire Best Friends storyline has sort of marred Kevin’s run. But Jericho is killing it. Both in the ring and out. He can still put on criminally great matches while also re-inventing his persona and getting over asinine things like lists and scarfs and pronouns like “it.” This is WCW-era ARMBAR Jericho and it’s fantastic. Jericho was never going to win the Universal belt, even though they briefly teased him challenging Kevin for it, but the U.S. title was his for the taking.
I have to say, even though it pains me a bit, RAW and SmackDown were sort of neck and neck this week. Mostly because SmackDown didn’t quite offer up anything new and RAW freakin’ cheated by having SMACKDOWN superstar The Undertaker on to make his big announcement about the Rumble. That was out of bounds, to quote Guy Fieri after he does anything. Eat, poop, have sex – literally anything.
Continue on for more RAW and SmackDown…