What is currently happening in the wrestling world isn’t a normal occurrence.
WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world, and it should house the best performers in the world because of that. Not until the past couple of years have they clearly tried to gain the best in the world.
With the seemingly inevitable signings of Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Shinsuke Nakamura and A.J. Styles, WWE has added to its already impressive roster. It also continues a trend started in 2014.
A decade or two ago, this wouldn’t be possible, especially the signings of Hideo Itami and Nakamura. Fortunately for fans, the WWE Network recently became available in Japan. The duo, along with Asuka, are set to be the faces of the company in the Far East. Not a bad trio. La Sombra has become an under-the-radar signing, as well, but he will no doubt aid the company’s Mexican presence.
WWE’s presence around the world is now larger than ever. When healthy, the company’s top superstars hail from the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, Bulgaria and Switzerland, while the roster also features stars from South Africa, Puerto Rico, and even Dudleyville. (No word on if the WWE Network is available for Big Daddy Dudley to watch his sons.)
The company’s talent pool is now larger than ever. With everyone healthy, I dare you to try to make a dream WrestleMania card that features everyone. It’s simply not possible. Performers are going to be disappointed, even moreso now with Nakamura and Styles’ inevitable inclusions.
While Nakamura’s signing is aided by his popularity in Japan, it is encouraging that WWE has made it clear they want the best performers in the world. In the past two years, WWE will have signed Finn Balor, Itami, Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Styles. Those are five of the best performers in the world, three of which have already made a big impact on WWE’s overall brand. The other two appear likely to be made priorities upon arrival.
For Nakamura and Styles, the prospect of performing with WWE should create a lot of excitement. There really is no recent comparison for their signings, as well. Potentially, they will be the first performers in years to skip the developmental process and go straight to WWE programming, as they should. Nakamura’s character oozes charisma and can connect with any audience, while Styles might just be the best wrestler on God’s green earth, as Anderson would say.
Fans of Nakamura and Styles shouldn’t be worried about their characters being “ruined” or WWE misusing them. They should dream. They are two of the best in the world being thrown into foreign territory. Both should thrive in the ring and provide great matches and moments for the next couple years. Neither are spring chickens, so enjoy the run while it lasts.
I’m excited for Anderson and Gallows, as well. I’m very interested to see what they do in WWE and who it’s with. Anderson will get his run in WWE, while Gallows will hopefully get to show what he’s capable of in his second stint with the company.
This is a big period for WWE, which means it’s an important time for wrestling around the world. Let’s enjoy it and see where it takes us.
Match of the year will be tough to beat: Some people, including many that write for this site, were picky enough to criticize how Okada sold Tanahashi’s attacks on his leg. That took nothing away from the match for me. I’d be surprised if there is going to be a better match than that in 2016. Performance art at its finest.
WrestleMania season brings injury season, apparently: WWE appears likely to be without the following at WrestleMania due to injury: Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Cesaro, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Sting. I think it’s fair to say at least four of those six, and potentially all six, would have had one-on-one matches at the big show if healthy. It’s a bummer for fans, and an interesting situation for WWE. I expect Chris Jericho to be involved with Mania, especially with all the injuries, and Lesnar and Undertaker are sure to also feature.
Outside of that, there are spots on the card to be had. Unfortunately, there may not be much time to earn them. With Mania right around the corner, I suspect the card has been cemented and, barring a Bryan-like sensation, will remain as it currently stands.
TNA came back: I did not watch TNA this past week, but based on the results and feedback the show received (including from our own Garrett Kidney) it doesn’t look like much changed. TNA from 10 years ago is a promotion people want to watch. It’s different, unique and makes you stop flipping through channels. Now, though, it’s WWE Lite. I hope something changes.
Prediction for the next week: Curtis Axel wins a match on the Jan. 11 episode of Raw. YOU HEARD ME.
Match of the week: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels – Royal Rumble 2004
I’m going to have a match posted here every week. There’s a good chance it’ll be related to WWE since it’s the most accessible, and that it won’t be from the actual last week. I’m going to try to keep them from being 30-minute classics so people can actually watch them, and also try to make them somewhat relevant. Anyway, here’s a fun one (for better quality seek out on the WWE Network).