We’re 22 weeks into Shoot Talk, and 1 Pay Per View away from Wrestlemania which you kind of acknowledge as the end of a season Pay Per View (Well I do). Most storylines should come to their dramatic ends, title’s change, new stars are born and we hopefully get new call ups to the main roster. Wrestlemania is known as the Superbowl of wrestling due to the spectacle of it, but I regard it as the season closing PPV with the new season kicking off on RAW the next night. I’ve enjoyed doing this weekly (sometimes fortnightly) feature and had been wanting to spruce it up a little bit, perhaps change the format, stick to a template and such. I was thinking of holding fire till the ‘New WWE Season’ after Wrestlemania, but changed my mind and thought i’d roll out the new look Shoot Talk early. I don’t get too many hits, but thank you to those of you that do read my thoughts and contribute to the comments. It’s all appreciated, here’s hoping Shoot Talk takes off and can net me some BOLA ringside tickets in the future.
Smackdown Live Battle Royal: This Battle Royal was a pretty important one in more ways than one. While the end goal of determining Bray Wyatt’s Wrestlemania opponent didn’t materialize due to the ending moments, it enhanced ongoing feuds that are already under way on Smackdown and helped to progress the rivalries in the buildup to the main show. The Miz and John Cena continue building towards their rumoured mixed tag match with Cena eliminating The Miz from the battle, only for Miz to exact revenge and take Cena out of the match. Corbin was eliminated by Ambrose who look like they’ll be feuding at Mania and possibly after that. And Ziggler’s recent change of persona was on show again with his continued pinpointing of Apollo and Kalisto for his attacks. The end was either a tremendously bad botch, or tremendously clever ploy to get you to watch Smackdown next week. With AJ and Harper simultaneously hitting the floor at the same time (Spoiler, they didn’t AJ hit first) GM Daniel Bryan scheduled a 1 vs 1 match between the 2 for next week to determine Bray’s Mania opponent. The final say on Smackdown is that 2 weeks in a row they’ve produced Pay Per View main event worthy matches.
The Big Show vs Braun Strowman: No you’ve not skipped down the page. Big Show is featuring in “This is Awesome”. Firstly absolutely massive props to the guy for his recent transformation. He’s looking in incredible shape and you can’t praise him enough for getting into this current shape. He looks great! Secondly, Braun Strowman’s taken huge strides since the draft split. His squash matches against jobbers (Eventually ending up being Smackdown talent Ellsworth) while initially were mocked, really helped build his monster persona. His intensity in his matches is terrifying and his growth to becoming a major force in RAW has not been rushed, but gives RAW the option for a credible main event star going forward. This match was by no means a classic, but it was still a very interesting and entertaining battle of the big men. Braun picking up the win clean over Big Show should be treated as a major milestone and further build his credentials up as a future main event tier wrestler for RAW.
Kassius Ohno returns to NXT: Bobby Roode took on No Way Jose in a great NXT main event, but the scenes that would follow were legitimately awesome. Chris Hero, I mean Kassius Ohno returned to NXT and made his intentions very clear that he was back to get the NXT Championship. Bobby Roode has shown time and time again how good he is on the mic, and this was no exception as he mocked Ohno and responded with a great sarcastic heel manner. The brawl that followed with Roode claiming he is a fighting champion built up excitement and with Ohno ending NXT standing tall it instantly gives him the credibility that he is a title contender. It’s no secret that his run on the independent circuit has done him wonders and he’s one of wrestling’s hottest talents as of now. Its a great acquisition for NXT in rebuilding the brand to those glory days of a few years back. Another pivotal piece in getting NXT back to it’s best.
Roman Reigns vs The Club II: Stop, Just stop please. Putting Roman in matches like this is not going to suddenly get him over and stop the boos. It’s also making a mockery of the RAW Tag team division. Gallows and Anderson are deservingly Tag Team Champions, it took them a while to get there and they had to endure some ridiculous moments such as collecting balls, but they did it. Their debut was storming and the aggression they showed and the beating they bestowed on the Uso’s back then is exactly what these guys are meant to be like. Roman should not beat these guys in a handicap match. Yes technically Gallows and Anderson won via DQ, but that is bullshit. I say it over and over, I do not mind Reigns, I don’t mind him winning championships, but please stop putting him in situations that are not going to help him. At this point I feel sorry for the way he’s booked. Just let him take a beating sometimes like the rest of them, he doesn’t have to be built as superman every week. The superman booking is what’s garnered the negative crowd reaction he’s getting. And as for Gallows and Anderson, have them absolutely obliterate the tag team division for a while. They should bulldoze Enzo and Cass, Shining Stars and such.
The New Day vs Rusev & Jinder: How the mighty have fallen. We should be thankful that New Day are hosting Wrestlemania this year. It at least ensures that they are involved in some way at the event. The fact that they are being tasked as hosts shows how far they’ve dropped off the radar since dropping the tag belts, and how little creative have got for them at the moment. And having to square off with Rusev and Jinder on RAW, oh deary deary me. Least it’s an upgrade over Shining Stars thanks to hansom Rusev. But it feels like New Day are going to be very sparsely used for a while to come as they give the tag title picture some new teams.
Austin Aries – 205 Live 21/02/2017: On 205 Live Cory Graves was about announce 205’s newest roster member, when Austin Aries interrupted and demanded make the announcement. He then went on to introduce himself as the latest addition to the 205 Live roster following a hype video. The crowd began chanting Aries after the package had finished. Aries played it up and made it a big deal he’d be in that ring soon. A great addition to an already incredibly talented roster. I’m loving 205 Live and this roster continues to improve each week.
Bobby Roode – NXT 22/02/2017: Just a little silly highlight from Roode. He’s already impressed with his heel tactics in matches, and already impressed with his promos. This week when in the main event with No Way Jose (who looked great here), Jose would do his usual dance in the ring, but Roode would also feel the groove and get carried away with Jose’s antics. It looked glorious.
Kevin Owens: KO has returned to the sort of intense, aggressive and intimidating star he was in NXT. Shrugs off Jericho as if he meant nothing and fully focused on Goldberg, and excellent segment and one of his best promos as Universal Champion.
Battle Royal for Mania Main Event: Feuds between individual competitors intensified. Great to see Harper getting a push alongside his old master Bray Wyatt. AJ Styles continues to be phenomenal.
Dunne vs Mark Andrews: They light up the British Championship and showed the Full Sail crowd just what they’re capable of. Get Andrews in 205 Live or full time on NXT ASAP.
Tozawa vs Brian Kendrick: A great heel victory for Kendrick tying Tozawa up to win via count out. Both looked guys ended the match without anyone looking weak, should make for a good ongoing feud.
This section of Shoot Talk is more so about opinions of things going on in the world of wrestling, not just WWE related. It’s also the section where opinions of storylines, wrestlers and predicting week to week events take place. Basically its not the good stuff, it’s not the bad stuff, it’s the stuff! And It doesn’t matter what you think, it’s my thoughts!
Naomi Relinquishes Her Championship: This was so unfortunate. As I’ve touched upon in previous editions of Shoot Talk, The brand split has proved to be very successful for the majority of the Smackdown side of the roster, and Naomi was another example of this. No disrespect to her, but had the brand split not happened, Naomi would be nowhere near sniffing a title opportunity with the combined roster of women together. So her rise through Smackdown has been a pleasant surprise. Her “Glow” theme and change seemed to go over very well with the fans. Her in ring ability has also improved with her performance at Royal Rumble a showcase of this. I know the “you deserve it” chant can get misused on occasions, but Naomi stuck with the less desirable gimmicks and proved a worthy candidate to fight along side the ‘Women’s revolution’ and NXT Women call-ups. So it was a shame to see her have to hand the title back to Daniel Bryan of all people a month away from her home town Wrestlemania.
British Strong Style: Pete Dunne recently tweeted a pretty incredible picture of himself, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven holding their combined title haul. These guys are good, and have the gold to back this. It’s pretty incredible to see these guys doing what they do best still in the indies and also feature on NXT. It’s almost a certainty that they will eventually become exclusive WWE property, which will cast a huge dent in PROGRESS wrestling roster, but it could be a damn dominant stable in NXT and possibly 205 Live. The ultimate obstacle of this stable potentially running riot in NXT is that it looks like Bate is going to be sold as the baby face role. Which is leaps and bounds different from his British Strong Style run with Dunne and Trent. All things for WWE to ponder in the future, but it’s exciting to have such a successful British contingent within the WWE getting great exposure on NXT.