Braun Strowman Buries the Opposition

Bottom line: I watch wrestling for the moments when something truly insane happens. Crazy feats of athleticism, ridiculous actions, or something so over the top that no respectable form of entertainment would do it. As I said last week, NPJW’s Chris Jericho/Kenny Omega had me when Jericho put the referee’s son in the Walls of Jericho. I’ll put up with a lot of soap opera to get to a “Holy shit!” moment. On Monday, the WWE manufactured one of those moments when Braun Strowman pulled a wall of scaffolding down backstage on Brock Lesnar and Kane.

A.J. Styles Wins 2017

[Updated] The winner of 2017 was A.J. Styles. He consistently gave good matches and put his opponents over. He gave Jinder Mahal his best televised match of the year and made him compelling—something few other wrestlers did. He started the year as a heel and was a convincing heel, but once he turned face, he was a clear, convincing face. He took shortcuts when he was a bad guy and stayed on the straight and narrow as a face.

Is Shane Turning Heel? No, He's Just the Boss

The WWE has got a lot of mileage out of the McMahon family as the onscreen bosses. Vince—Mr. McMahon in the ring—as Stone Cold Steve Austin’s greatest enemy, and Stephanie McMahon with husband/WWE C.O.O. Triple H manipulated Raw to stack the deck against Daniel Bryan and countless others. Now, Shane McMahon is running the same game, plotting the humiliation, punishment and sacking of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Smackdown Live. The tricky part of that he’s plays a faces, and those are all shitty things to do.

WWE Brings in New Women Rather than Write for the Ones it Has

Last week, two teams of newcomers shook up up the Raw and Smackdown Live women’s divisions. Monday night on Raw, Paige returned and brought with her Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The next night, Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan interrupted a Smackdown Live Women’s Championship rematch between Charlotte Flair and Natalya. The impact of Riot, Morgan and Logan’s move from NXT to the WWE main roster was muted by doing the same thing that Paige, Rose and Deville did the night before—shitkick the other women on the roster.

Triple H Reasserts What Matters in WWE at "Survivor Series"

It was a depressing moment when Triple H announced himself to be the final member of Raw’s Survivor Series team. The COO of the WWE doesn’t return to television to play a peripheral role, so you knew he would be crucial to the conclusion of the Survivor Series match against Team Smackdown Live and likely episodes of Raw to follow.

The Beat Downs Go On Forever

A basic rule in the WWE playbook is that if you want to build heat on a character or in a feud, go for a beat down. Time and again, heels have taken the last 10 minutes of Raw to waffle someone with a folding chair again and again, usually in a two- or three-on-one situation, just to amplify the cruel unfairness. A week ago, The Miz and the Miztourage pounded on Roman Reigns well after he’d stopped moving, going so far as starting to leave the ring and come back down the ramp to beat on Reigns’ prone body some more.

Did Jinder Mahal, WWE Go "Too Far"?

The WWE’s efforts to build Jinder Mahal look remarkably like flying a plane into the side of a mountain. I keep waiting for the company to treat its champion like a champion, but the top story on Smackdown Live is Kevin Owens versus Shane McMahon, where no titles are on the line. Mahal currently holds the most prestigious belt on the show, but he remains mired in angles that are unconvincing if not demeaning. Tuesday, he cut a promo on Shinsuke Nakamura that was too complicated as well as racially problematic.

Raw, Smackdown Take the Week Off

WWE "superstars" all stress that wrestling is storytelling, and that a good match tells a good story. This week, little storytelling took place in the ring on Raw. Samoa Joe’s unmotivated feud with Brock Lesnar took place on the mic and the entrance ramp, where Joe put his Coquina Clutch on Lesnar and almost choked him out before officials from the back could separate the two.

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