Before This Weekendís Pay Per Views
1. WWE should be ashamed of themselves.
I have been drifting away from WWE for quite awhile, as some of you may know, and I never thought what would get me to the point of completely shutting them off would be two of my ďindie darlingsĒ being their World Champions, but though I am glad to live in a world where Kevin Steen and AJ Styles have risen to the level they have, I loathe the way they are booked with those straps. Steen canít win a single match without help, despite being a bruising badass, and Styles? Well Styles just loses every week to James fucking Ellsworth. Sure, itís arguable none of that has made AJ look weak, but I think heís their weakest World Champion since Rey Mysterio with all of this bullshit. If he doesnít beat Ambrose this weekend, his entire title reign can be chalked up as a joke. That may be all it takes to get me taking a full-on break from WWE. Iím close anyway thanks to their treatment of Cody Rhodes. Itís beyond fucking bullshit they wonít let him use that name. They didnít create the Rhodes name, his daddy did. They pay all this lip service to how much they respect Dusty while making his namesake tag tournament mean shit this year and then not letting his son use a name they havenít used in over two years. Theyíre supposedly the best wrestling organization in the world, right? How about they show a little class?
2. Ring of Honor is going to kick WWEís ass for the second weekend this year.
Back in August, I said that Death Before Dishonor was one of the top three pay per views of the year and was the best wrestling card in a weekend that included itself, Takeover: Back 2 Brooklyn, and SummerSlam. I stand by those statements. Now, this weekend, Final Battle is poised to be miles better than TLC. Oh, I have no doubt that Styles vs Ambrose is going to be great (especially if that land walrus Ellsworth doesnít make an appearance) and that Miz and Ziggler will have another strong outing, but just look at the rest of the card! Two womenís matches, a tag title match featuring two thrown together tag teams, and Corbin vs Kalisto in perhaps the oddball match of the year. Meanwhile, ROH has a card that is worthy of best card of the year potential the way Final Battle tends to be. Unlike WWE who end their year in late March/early April, ROH went the route NWA/WCW tried to go initially with Starrcade and this year is no exception. ROH has put together a supercard; WWE has put together a gimmick heavy episode of Smackdown.
3. Silas Young needs to defeat Jushin ďThunderĒ Liger.
I have tremendous respect for Liger. I always thought he was great from the times I saw him wrestle for WCW. After the series Degenerate and I started (and hopefully will continue some day,) my esteem for him has grown even stronger. The guy could do it all; even wearing a mask he could express every emotion. He truly belongs in the GOAT discussion. However, it is 2016 and the couple of appearances he provided last year for nXt where he still got the duke while giving a little rub just arenít going to be good enough this time. Young has been outstanding lately, and has had a great character year, as well. He was put on the backburner a bit at the last major ROH event as part of a 4-corner tag team #1 contenderís match, but before that he had a great showing against Katsuyori Shibata at DBD and since he has had matches where he came within an inch of beating the two guys who are wrestling for the World Title at Final Battle. He is on the precipice of greatness and he needs the victory here to take that next step.
4. The Miz needs to lose the Intercontinental Title at TLC.
I have said repeatedly, and stand by the fact, that this canít truly be a new era for WWE with Miz holding the Intercontinental Title, but that isnít why he should lose here. Ziggler holding the I-C Title isnít exactly that much better and thanks to the stupid brand split, it isnít exactly like there are a ton of choices to hold that strap. No, Miz should lose the Intercontinental Title because he doesnít need it. He is a main eventer waiting to happen. ĎPlan, Maverick, and The Doc all think he could be in the main event scene just after Wrestlemania, and I agree, but folks, Wrestlemania is like 5 months away. Miz could do plenty building himself up in feuds just-under-main event level without holding that classic belt. Against who? Well, thatís the real problem, isnít it? Thereís no goddamn roster. I really, really hated the idea of a brand split and I still hate the way it was implemented. RAW just has too much of the roster. Still, there is a big name out there that could prep Miz for the rise to the main event level and itís the same guy heís already had a main-event program with--John Cena. I think heíll be back soon and I think that feud should happen as soon as he is. A feud against Cena is no longer the career killer it once was, and a great reward for a guy who has been killing it for 30 months now.
5. Ring of Honor is giving us their most marquee tag title match possible.
I promise, this will be the last time in this column I bash WWE, but címon, the joke team of Beauty and the Man-Beast taking on the brand new version of the Wyatt Family while the two clearly best teams on the Smackdown roster donít even appear on the show? Thatís beyond ridiculous and the way American Alpha is being treated is very nearly criminal at this point. Letís contrast that to what ROH is presenting. The best tag team in the world is facing off against the greatest Ring of Honor tag team of all time. The Young Bucks vs. The Briscoes has already happened multiple times this year, yes, but itís still--all apologies to The Addiction--the biggest (two on two) tag team title match Ring of Honor can offer and they are putting it in prime position on their biggest show of the year. Thatís awesome and something I appreciate, even if the Briscoes have never been my cuppa. This will not be the best match of the show; it wonít even be the best match the Young Bucks have had this year; but it will still be great and Iím willing to bet will be the best tag match this weekend. It will also rival what DIY and The Revival did two weeks ago.
6. Adam Page should be wrestling at Final Battle.
Not only that, but he should be challenging Bobby Fish for the World Television Title. The fact that neither of these things are true makes me feel like an idiot for praising the way ROH used both their veterans and other up-and-comers to elevate these two guys. Page won an outstanding Anything Goes match against Jay Briscoe at Death Before Dishonor and looked good losing to Kyle OíReilly on purpose in order to injure him at the bequest of his leader, Adam Cole, at All-Star Extravaganza. Meanwhile Fish beat Mark Briscoe at DBD and a very game Donovan Dijak at ASE before starting a program against Page on television that apparently was only for television, as now Fish doesnít even have the fucking strap. He lost it to Will OíSpreay on November 18 who, in turn, lost it to somebody named Marty Scurrl two days later, so now what should be a good old fashioned title grudge match between Fish and Page is a Four Corner Survival match featuring OíSpreay, Scurrl, Fish, and Dragon Lee. If Fish doesnít come out of this as a 2-time champ and defend against Page at the anniversary show, the whole thing will have been a waste. What a mess!
7. The Hybrid should leave the Hammerstein Ballroom as World Champion.
Now, of course, if both these last two things happen, it will set up something of an Eddie Guerrero/Chris Benoit Wrestlemania XX situation, as both members of reDRagon would be leaving with the top two title belts in the company, and would be pretty cool to see, but this is about a different tag team. This is about Future Shock and all the twists and turns Kyle OíReilly and Adam Cole have had in their story together. These two guys are inextricably linked in ROH and this would be the culmination in the latest chapter of their rivalry. It would be the ultimate revenge for OíReilly after Cole betrayed him at ASE last year, costing him the championship in a match against Jay Lethal. It would be a great crowning moment for the man I believe is the future of professional wrestling. Heís called The Hybrid for a reason; as he is a great all-around threat--a technical expert, a suplex master, a submission specialist, and a striker. His time has come, and it would also be a perfect surprise, as it would mean Coleís title reign would have only lasted about 3 months in a company that tends towards year + long reigns. This title change needs to happen because it would be for the best for both guys.Usually professional wrestling is best when the hot babyface is chasing the heel, but I donít think it works that way in this case. Adam Cole is a great champion, donít get me wrong, but when he is demonically obsessed with obtaining the championship is when he is special. Think how much more intense that will be when itís OíReilly holding the strap because Cole lost it to him! What is already one of the best rivalries in ROH history will be raised to an even higher level; this has to happen.
I hope to be back the middle of next week with my thoughts about what actually occurred over the weekend. Until then,
Long days, pleasant nights