It’s Friday and I thought it would be a good time to write about three WWE topics on my mind for this week. A lot of times when I do columns here at The Comeback it’s about a singular subject, so this is a bit of a break from that.
Brock Lesnar’s appearance on Raw made SummerSlam a lot more interesting
Brock Lesnar, the often absent WWE Universal Champion, appeared on Raw this past Monday and I thought he was the best performer on the show along with his “advocate” Paul Heyman. It was Lesnar’s first time on any WWE show since the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia on April 27. The three month break upset a lot of fans with good reason, but performance-wise, I think he deserves praise.
There was a show long storyline with Lesnar sitting in his locker room reading hunting magazines and telling Heyman things like he doesn’t watch WWE’s show, he has no interest in appearing in front of the crowd, and he wasn’t Heyman’s friend. Lesnar spoke more in those backstage segments than he did during most of the last six years on WWE TV because Heyman usually did the talking for him.
The main event segment featured Kurt Angle in the ring with “Constable” Baron Corbin calling out Lesnar. Heyman showed up, said Lesnar wasn’t going to show up and Angle told Heyman he was going to be fired if that was the case.
Lesnar eventually showed up for the main event segment, Heyman smiled, and Lesnar moved into full badass mode. Lesnar got in Kurt Angle’s face, dared him to do anything, and hit him with an F5. Corbin backed out of the ring. Heyman laughed about what happened, but Lesnar grabbed him by the jaw and took him down to the mat to warn him not to mess with him. Could this mean the end of Heyman aligning himself with Lesnar? It’s possible, but this also could be a ruse to try to fool people.
Where was Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent, Roman Reigns? He was escorted out of the building per the orders of Stephanie McMahon, who is the Raw Commissioner that was not there. What was very interesting is that the fans in Miami were chanting “We Want Roman” after Lesnar’s F5 to Angle and while Lesnar was going after Heyman. That’s a chant that you don’t hear very often, but it is music to Vince McMahon’s ears because that’s the response that he wants. Does that mean the Brooklyn crowd will react the same way at SummerSlam on August 19? I doubt it very much, but at least WWE can say this story was a success.
Lesnar’s performance was a good reminder of how talented of a performer he can be when they let him loose as a heel. Having Lesnar say that he doesn’t watch the show is funny in a way because it seems ridiculous to have a guy say something like that on your TV, but it’s also effective in terms of making people hate him. This is how Lesnar should have been portrayed for years. Make him the villain that doesn’t even like WWE, but he’s there because he’s good at it and he wants to get paid. That will make it mean so much more when he loses. The problem is if it was anybody other than Reigns chasing him right now, the story would be hot, but the Reigns story is going on three plus years now. The Miami fans bought into it, but as I said, the Brooklyn fans are unlikely to do the same.
With all of this said, I don’t love the way WWE has booked Lesnar or the Universal Title. I think they should have stuck with the plan of having Reigns beat Lesnar at WrestleMania. Instead, we had an absentee champion for months. As I wrote here a few weeks ago, I want to see Braun Strowman cash in Money in the Bank and leave with the Universal Title because I think that’s the best course of action WWE can do.
Whenever I’m in the ring, I hear the noise.
It doesn’t shake me.
It doesn’t anger me.
I don’t run from the noise. I thrive in it. I hope Brooklyn’s ready to get loud because I’m ready to give them a show.
And take the #UniversalTitle. #SummerSlam
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) August 2, 2018
Whether it’s Reigns, Strowman, or perhaps Kevin Owens, I would be very surprised if Lesnar leaves SummerSlam with the Universal Title. I think we’ve reached the end point for his title reign while he turns his attention to a UFC return against Daniel Cormier in early 2019.
Is Mayor Kane (Glenn Jacobs) retired now?
There was some big news last night with Kane (real name Glenn Jacobs) becoming the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Jacobs was the Republican nominee in Knox County after winning his primary back in May. He’s actually more of a Libertarian, but he was a Republican for this race. Anyway, he won comfortably because the Knoxville area has historically had Republican mayors. I’m not going to go much further on that because this is a wrestling column.
The reason I bring it up is because now that the 50-year-old Kane is the mayor of a county with over 400,000 people under his jurisdiction, and you have to wonder what does that means for his wrestling career. It likely means that his in-ring career is over, aside from a few occasional appearances.
Kane’s career already slowed down in the last two years. He had stopped working a full time schedule and he was barely on television this year, even though he got a Universal Title shot against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. That was really just because WWE didn’t want Lesnar to pin Braun Strowman in a match, so they added Kane and he took the pin from Lesnar. Kane came back to team up with Daniel Bryan to form Team Hell No, but that didn’t lead to a positive result due to Kane suffering a foot injury.
Here’s a clip from his speech. pic.twitter.com/oeA85HefBp
— Travis Dorman (@travdorman) August 3, 2018
I doubt Kane is going to appear on Raw or Smackdown regularly. Could he show up on TV if they run Raw or Smackdown in Knoxville? Sure, that might happen. I just don’t expect him to be in any featured storylines the rest of his career. He might be on that Undertaker schedule where he pops up a few times per year.
With all of that said, I don’t expect Kane to formally retire from WWE. What I do expect is for Kane to be in WWE’s Hall of Fame at some point in the next decade. As a guy that worked for WWE in a key spot for over 20 years, he’s obviously a WWE Hall of Famer that could be the headline name for the class whenever he is inducted.
Congrats to Mayor Jacobs on his victory. Here’s hoping he doesn’t Tombstone anybody that pisses him off!
Charlotte Flair returning to Smackdown Live could lead to problems with Becky Lynch
There was a big return on Smackdown this week. Charlotte Flair is back in action after missing about six weeks of action. Following June’s Money in the Bank PPV, Charlotte had a procedure done to repair a ruptured breast implant. She explained to Maria Menounos that her first breast implant surgery was not done well, so she had to get them redone in addition to fixing them. If you saw Smackdown this week, they look better.
Charlotte returned in the opening segment when her best friend Becky Lynch was in the ring with Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella. After Carmella recited a fake speech about how humble she is, she attacked Lynch from behind and Charlotte made the save. Smackdown’s General Manager Paige put Carmella in a non-title match with Charlotte and if Charlotte won, she would be added to the Carmella vs. Lynch title match at SummerSlam.
The main event of Smackdown this week saw Charlotte predictably beat Carmella clean in about 14 minutes. It was a long main event match with an obvious outcome. I thought the match was pretty good with Carmella continuing to improve in the ring, while Charlotte is already one of the best women in WWE in terms of having quality matches. The result was no surprise.
The interesting part of the story is that Lynch was shown watching the match and not looking pleased about it. Lynch was the first Smackdown Women’s Champion from when the title debuted two years ago. She held it for about three months, and she hasn’t won it back since then. Over the past two months, while Charlotte was on the shelf, Lynch went on a winning streak to earn the title shot. Most people thought that Lynch was going to beat Carmella to win the title. Now with Charlotte back in the mix, is it going to happen? That’s where the twist comes in.
I like the idea of the triple threat because of what it can mean for Charlotte and Becky. There could be a situation where Becky slaps on her “Disarm-Her” armbar submission on Carmella, who is about to tap, then Charlotte breaks it up and Charlotte ends up beating Carmella to win the title. That would cause an issue with Lynch being jealous that Charlotte came back right at the time when Lynch was going to get her one on one title match. I could also see a situation where Charlotte and Becky bicker so much during the match that Carmella gets a cheap rollup or some lucky move to get the win to retain the title.
The #SDLive #WomensChampionship will be on the line in a #TripleThreat match at #SummerSlam when @CarmellaWWE defends against @BeckyLynchWWE AND @MsCharlotteWWE! https://t.co/appcbHOi8X pic.twitter.com/lHaqU1LDRi
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 1, 2018
I’m also thinking about the Women’s Evolution PPV on October 28. If Becky Lynch were to turn heel following a SummerSlam loss, they could set her up against Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title (if Charlotte wins it). It could also be a grudge match if neither woman is holding the title. I think Charlotte vs. Becky for 20 minutes at that PPV would be the match of the night no matter what else is on the card. They are great in-ring performers.
There’s also a chance that Charlotte is the one that goes heel because she is more natural in that role. She has enjoyed being a heel in the past. Plus, it’s more natural for her as a Flair since her daddy Ric Flair is arguably the greatest heel in the history of wrestling.
Some people don’t like that Charlotte has been added to the title match, but I’m cool with it because of the possibilities that exist. If Lynch doesn’t win the title, so what? Titles are just props that are part of the story. We watch for having intriguing storylines by strong characters and the great matches. The story of Lynch coming up short due to Charlotte would be a lot better of a story than Lynch beating Carmella to win the gold.
I don’t know what the plan is for SummerSlam in terms of who might leave with the title and who might turn heel between Charlotte and Becky. And you know what? I’m perfectly fine with it. Not knowing is part of the fun.
That’s all for now. Next week on Raw will be Ronda Rousey’s first match on WWE television against Alicia Fox. That should be an easy win for Rousey, who will get some momentum going into SummerSlam in a few weeks. Have a great weekend.