Some facts and opinions on current events in the world of pro wrestling:
Fact: WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman, and John Cena vs. Roman Reigns are signed for the No Mercy pay-per-view Sept. 24.
Opinion: The calendar says Aug. 30, but it sure feels like March in the WWE Universe. These are two of the biggest first-time-ever matches WWE can do, and it's shocking they're taking place at one of WWE's secondary pay-per-views rather than WrestleMania. From a business standpoint, however, I can understand WWE's thinking. WrestleMania has truly become the Super Bowl of pro wrestling and will fill the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans April 8 regardless of what the matches are, while No Mercy just became a can't-miss show. I can't imagine any fan who signed up for a 30-day free trial of the WWE Network just to see SummerSlam Aug. 20 won't pay the $9.99 to stick around for No Mercy.
Opinion: I wouldn't want to see it done every week, but WWE needs to break the fourth wall like this on occasion to get fans talking and speculating as to what was and wasn't scripted. I hate to shatter anyone's illusions, but I feel quite confident in saying there's no legit heat between Cena and Reigns. Sure, Cena ad-libbed some sick burns when Reigns momentarily got lost, but I have no doubt Cena and Reigns sat down with a WWE writer beforehand and discussed what was going to be said, with Vince McMahon having final approval, of course. As far as the suggestion that Reigns was damaged by this promo, I disagree. It was easily the most memorable segment on WWE TV this week, and Reigns held his own against one of the greatest talkers of all time.
Sexy Star, the Reina de Reinas Champion in Mexico's AAA promotion, has lost at least one booking (with more likely to follow) and is getting ripped by her peers on social media after she legitimately injured GFW star Rosemary with an armbar submission move during a match at
Triplemania in Mexico City
Aug. 26. Rosemary subsequently issued a statement accusing Sexy Star of intentionally injuring her.
Opinion: I hate to see anyone's career ruined by one mistake and I'm a firm believer in second chances, but taking liberties on one's opponent has no place in the business. Wrestlers literally give their bodies to one another during a match, and there is nothing more unprofessional or abhorrent than violating that trust. If Sexy Star did indeed "shoot" on Rosemary, she deserves to suffer the consequences. Hopefully, no promoter will attempt to cash in on Sexy Star's notoriety by booking her in an angle playing off the incident.
Fact: Sasha Banks lost the Raw Women's Title back to Alexa Bliss on "Raw."
Opinion: I didn't see that one coming. It's odd how WWE repeatedly books Banks to lose the title in her first defense. I thought for sure the reason Banks won the championship from Bliss at SummerSlam was to set up a title program between Banks and her best pal Bayley. I suppose that can still happen down the line. In the meantime, a title program between Bliss and Nia Jax should be interesting. Is WWE pulling the trigger on Bliss' inevitable babyface turn?
Fact: Eli Drake won the vacant GFW Global Title on the Aug. 24 episode of "Impact."
Opinion: Drake is an excellent choice to hold GFW's top title. I've been high on Drake ever since he debuted in TNA in 2015 as a member of Drew Galloway's faction. The native of Hagerstown, Md., is outstanding on the mic, solid in the ring and has a good look. Moreover, Drake as champion is a breath of fresh air after the stale reign of Alberto El Patron (aka Alberto Del Rio).
Fact: Curt Hawkins has lost 111 consecutive matches. His last win was against Apollo Crews on "SmackDown Live" Nov. 8, 2016.
Opinion: Hawkins is actually a talented in-ring performer, and he deserves better than to be WWE's version of the Washington Generals. That said, Hawkins works for the No. 1 wrestling company in the world, and there is no shortage of wrestlers on the independent circuit who would love to be in his position, even if that position is flat on his back looking up at the lights at the end of every match.. The fact is not everyone is going to be booked as a "top guy," and skilled workers such as Hawkins whose job is to make their opponents look good are valuable members of the roster. Hawkins may always "do the job," but he does his job very well.
Fact: Speaking of losing streaks, Emma scored a rare victory when she defeated Mickie James on "Raw" Aug. 28. It was just her third win in 2017.
Opinion: I was happy to see the severely underused Emma win a match, but it's a shame it had to come at the expense of James, who also is deserving of a higher spot on the card. WWE has really dropped the ball with James, who has been used as a glorified enhancement talent since returning to WWE earlier this year. But, like Hawkins, James undoubtedly is happy to have any spot in WWE.
Fact: Among the participants in the Mae Young Classic, a women's tournament airing on the WWE network in August and September, are former MCW Pro Wrestling Women's Champions Abbey Laith (fka Kimber Lee) and Renee Michelle, as well as Mia Yim (fka Jade) and Tessa Blanchard, who both have had several matches in MCW, which is based in Joppa, Md. In addition, Mae Young Classic referee Jessika Carr is a Baltimore native who wrestled sporadically for MCW from 2011-2017.
It wouldn't surprise me if all of these women ended up on "Raw" or "SmackDown" at some point. Laith is already a member of the NXT roster, as is Carr, who is billed as
WWE's first full-time female referee
. Yim, a former TNA Knockouts Champion and an eight-year veteran, has the skills and experience to be on one of WWE's main rosters right now. Michelle is an athletic performer with a good look who has come a long way in four years. Blanchard, a 22-year-old, third-generation wrestler, has the pedigree as well as the talent to be a future champion in WWE. Blanchard vs. Charlotte Flair is a main event waiting to happen.