5 Things the WWE Is Doing Right
I am the kind of wrestling fan that looks at things in a positive light. Believe me when I tell you that if I disliked things in WWE I would stop watching. I wouldn't write about it either. I guess you could say I'm a lifer that has the wrestling business engrained in me.
With that in mind, there are five things currently happening in WWE that have my interest.
I'm not saying that there are "only" five things that I like in WWE right now. There are several things that are not in this column that I would consider to be good. However, I'm limiting myself to five for the sake of this piece.
One of those things is the Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara pairing that I love, but I already covered that on the weekend, so this will be about five different things.
Sorry Triple H. This isn't about your hair. It's a nice look, though. Really. It's all about the hair and you cut it.
Let's get to it.
5. Seth Rollins Is Becoming the Star of WWE NXT
I know this is something that not everybody can relate to, because, for whatever reason, NXT continue to not be shown on U.S. television. We get it here in Canada where I live, though, and it's usually a fun-filled wrestling show; key word being "wrestling".
What I like most about NXT is that it concentrates mostly on the in-ring action. Of course they have promos, character developments and even a few backstage segments, but there's more of a concentration on in-ring action compared to what you see on a regular episode of Raw or Smackdown.
A couple of weeks back, Rollins became the first ever WWE NXT Champion by beating Jinder Mahal in the finals of a tournament featuring other talents that regularly appear on NXT. It was a very entertaining match that Rollins won despite the battle put forth by Mahal. It was probably the best match I've ever seen Mahal have, although admittedly I didn't watch much of him before he was on Raw/Smackdown regularly.
Do I think Rollins should still be in NXT (formerly named FCW)? No. I don't. He's been there for two years now. He was ready to be called up a year ago, quite frankly. I think it's a shame that "creative has nothing for him" on the main roster because he's somebody that can electrify the audience as a young babyface that WWE sorely needs right now.
For now, though, I'm content with watching Rollins on NXT. He's the right guy to build the NXT brand around…if it was actually being built in the US outside of the Florida area.
I believe Seth Rollins will be one of the top five performers in WWE within three years. It might be even sooner if he gets the opportunity.
4. The Dynamic Between Daniel Bryan & Kane Is Special
When the "anger management" classes were hyped by WWE prior to airing on television, I had my doubts about them. Sometimes WWE does comedy angles that work, but just as often they do awful comedy angles that fail to deliver the goods. In this case, it was pretty good.
Out of the six scenes that aired in total over the past two weeks, the best segment was the third one on the August 27 edition of Raw when Kane told his life story while bringing up his ex-girlfriend Katie, locking his dad in a freezer and tormenting Pete Rose among other things.
On this past Monday's edition of Raw I thought the segments were done as a way to possibly turn Daniel Bryan babyface because it seemed like he was getting along better with the man known as the "Big Red Monster." That led to the "hug it out" segment on Raw where it took them nearly five minutes to embrace in a hug before things unraveled to where they were brawling around the ring. Kane won that battle, of course.
I think what this feud is showing is that Kane is still a character deserving of all the TV time he gets, which is a testament to his talent as a performer because he's been a TV regular for 15 years (as Kane at least) and there's still some freshness to him.
What this feud is also doing is proving just how talented Daniel Bryan is. Anybody that has watched him in WWE and even before he was in WWE knows he's a gifted in-ring performer. However, he's also a skilled character capable of playing many different roles. He pulls off the serious submission wrestler role well and he can be very funny too. Like Homer Simpson once said about donuts, "Is there anything he can't do?"
I'm not sure what the long term goal of this feud is or if there even is one, but I care more about it after those goofy "anger management" skits.
To me, that's a job well done.
3. Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton Is an Entertaining Rivalry
Last week on Smackdown, Randy Orton beat Dolph Ziggler. This week on Raw, Ziggler got his win back thanks to the always classy "pulling the tights" maneuver. It's very likely that the third match in this series will take place on Sunday, September 16, at Night of Champions.
Who will win that match? I hope it's Dolph Ziggler.
As has been reported previously, Randy Orton will be filming the movie "12 Rounds 2" at the end of this month. It will keep him out of the ring until the end of October most likely.
It's the second consecutive PPV where Ziggler will face somebody who is on his way out, at least for a while, since he just defeated Chris Jericho the night after Summerslam in August. We don't know when Jericho will be back. In Orton's case, his return is likely for November.
I could see a scenario where Orton beats Ziggler at Night of Champions, Ziggler cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase either at NOC or at some point in October, and then when Orton returns in November they can have a high profile match at Survivor Series. It would be a nice way to set things up.
Most importantly, the matches between Orton and Ziggler have been good so far. I'm waiting for the PPV match because I think if they get 15-20 minutes they could have a classic. The chemistry is there. They have impeccable timing in the ring. If you add a hot story to the feud, then the end result could be one of the better matches of the year.
The potential is definitely there for Ziggler vs. Orton to be a memorable feud. It's just a matter of capitalizing on it.
2. Bret Hart in Montreal for Monday's Raw Is a Great Idea
November 9, 1997. Sounds familiar? That was the day of the event known as the "Montreal Screwjob" that took place at Survivor Series that year. It is arguably the most famous match in the history of wrestling for all of the wrong reasons. I did say arguably and I don't want to get into a debate about it, but there's no denying how huge it was.
Earlier on Thursday in a video on WWE.com, Raw GM AJ Lee revealed that Hart would be on Monday's Raw in Montreal, which confirmed the big rumor that has been floating around in internet land for weeks now.
On his Twitter account, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart also chimed in on the subject, "Yes, I was asked by WWE to be in Montreal this Monday and I'll be there. That's one off the bucket list."
By referencing the "bucket list," the Hitman is obviously referring to something he wanted to do one more time before he died. After having watched the outstanding Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels WWE produced DVD, it's great to know that the two have buried the hatchet.
After reading his autobiography (in my opinion the best wrestling book ever) and hearing him talk in interviews over the years, I'm sure that Hart wants to be able to address his fans in Montreal one more time. I'm glad that on Monday he'll get that chance.
In case you're wondering, no Shawn Michaels on Raw in Montreal. He'll be chasing elk that day, according to his Twitter. I believe him.
As a Canadian I can assure you that Bret Hart is the most beloved wrestler up here. It's likely that he always will be too. He went about his business the right way and he represented all of us while he did it.
Bret Hart is a returning hero making a triumphant return to the scene of the most famous "crime" in wrestling history. All he needs is the perfect antagonist or two in order to push the right buttons. Hmmm, I wonder who that can be.
1. The CM Punk Alliance with Paul Heyman Has Incredible Potential
There are so many words I could use to describe the unholy alliance between CM Punk and Paul Heyman, which was revealed on Monday's Raw. The one word to me that sticks out the most is a short one: epic.
Does CM Punk "need" a manager? No he does not. It's not about need. It's about an addition to the man that is the best in the world at what he does. That's CM Punk—the best pro wrestler in the world.
With Paul Heyman by his side, CM Punk could be an even bigger star than he already is. That's what makes it the right move. Heyman is the kind of manager in wrestling that's similar to what Bobby Heenan did over 20 years ago. Heenan didn't need to manage a guy like Mr. Perfect, who could do everything, but his work at ringside added to Perfect's matches. The same can be said when Perfect was managing Flair. Not needed, but a great addition.
The other point is that when CM Punk talks, a lot of fans like it. Even when he cuts heel promos he still gets cheered. When Paul Heyman talks? Instant heat. This could be a way to increase the heat on Punk by not having him talk as much he used to and by making Heyman his mouthpiece as a way to keep fans hating Punk.
Can you imagine the reaction to CM Punk walking out with Paul Heyman on Monday's Raw while Bret Hart is in a WWE ring in Montreal for the first time in 15 years? They would get a ridiculous amount of heel heat. It will be the kind of atmosphere wrestling promoters, wrestlers and fans dream about because you can't just make that kind of thing up. They could play off of Hart's real history in that city and use the top heel in the company to get heat for it.
In 1997, Punk was a 19 year old that was likely watching Survivor Series and being amazed by what he saw, just like the majority of us. Now he's the top heel that can benefit from something that happened 15 years ago. Funny how the wrestling business works, right?
Let's go back a few weeks. Do you think CM Punk wore Bret Hart's colors at SummerSlam merely as a tribute or was it because they knew Hart would be at Raw in Montreal? I doubt it was a coincidence.
They could use Monday's Raw as a way to book John Cena as a bigger hero than they already do. In the past they've used Hart as a sympathetic figure because he can't take a bump anymore due to the stroke he suffered over a decade ago, and Cena has usually been the guy to save him from whoever targets him.
It's a smart move, especially in Montreal, which is a city where Hart would get more sympathy heat than anywhere except his home in Calgary.
Monday night's Raw could be one of those special nights we remember for a long time.
The pessimist in me says they might drop the ball.
The optimistic in me is stronger, though, and I'm confident that "something big is about to go down" in Montreal.
CM Punk in the ring with Paul Heyman by his side as they go face to face with Bret Hart in Montreal could be magic.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. He also writes a lot about the NFL at TJRSports.com too, so check him out there as well! You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport too.