JC’s Top Rope Report: The WWE Is Trying To Put Lipstick On A Pig
Pretty much every WWE fan was surprised to see NXT stars Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black show up on RAW this past Monday. Apparently there were a good amount of people in the WWE who were surprised to see them last week as well. The decision to call up these four was a Vince McMahon call to get some better in ring workers on the main roster. If it is a permanent move, it also leaves a dent in the NXT roster. But we aren’t sure of the direction yet.
Now I am not going to complain about these guys showing up on the main roster and getting national exposure. If you are reading this then you probably watch NXT as well. But there is a good majority of WWE fans that do not watch NXT on a regular basis. So RAW was more than likely their first exposure to these new stars. Of course the crowd in Lafayette could not have cared less. I usually hate smarky crowds, but crowds that are completely silent suck as well. While RAW last week was not great, they should have at least given these new stars a better reaction. Thankfully the Smackdown crowd made up for that on Tuesday.
While I’m sure all four of these NXT call-ups will get good exposure over the next month or so, we have to go into this situation with caution. One of the reasons Vince McMahon reportedly decided to call these guys up is because he sees a lack of current stars on the main roster. While that is true, Vince also needs to realize that he is the main reason that there is a lack of stars on the current main roster. And that is one of the main reasons why I’m hesitant with these four on the main roster.
I would not have called up Gargano and Ciampa for starters. Yes they are great workers and both of their matches from last week were entertaining. But they are also in the middle of their year long storyline arc that is about to come full circle at NXT Takeover Brooklyn. Maybe they will let that storyline play out on Smackdown this week. But I don’t have enough faith in Vince McMahon to let that happen. If I was Triple H I would have fought tooth and nail to stop those two from coming up, unless they talk about the breakup on TV when it finally happens in NXT.
Black is a different story. His NXT story was finished and it was time for him to move up to the main roster. I’m torn on Ricochet. I think he had a NXT Title run in him. But you still have guys like Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle and Keith Lee down there that can come up and take the top face role. I’m convinced Ricochet can be a star on the main roster and I really want him to fight Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania.
But the success of these four on the main roster is going to come down to one man: Vince McMahon. Sure Triple H can protect these guys to a point, but he does not have veto power over Vince. And at this point, Vince McMahon is causing more harm to his own company than good. If Vince McMahon wants to make new stars, he needs to invest more into his long term product. Sure these guys showing up was a great one time impact. But what is their story going to be going forward? Apparently this was a last minute Vince decision and RAW was completely re-written to accommodate this decision. We are in Wrestlemania season and Vince is only thinking about the short term. That is unbelievable considering where we are in the WWE year. But the fact that the Wrestlemania card isn’t even set yet should have told us that Vince still has no long term plan.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the WWE’s current product is not good. They cannot tell a consistent story if their life depended on it. Plus we live in the 50/50 booking era where one guy wins and then the other guys gets the win back in the next match. Just look at what happened with Dean Ambrose and EC3 on RAW, or Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin at Elimination Chamber and RAW the next night. If the WWE wants to get behind these guys they cannot let them succumb to this type of booking. They can also not let Vince get tired of these guys and stop their push. Has Mojo even had a segment on RAW the last couple weeks after starting those looking in the mirror promos? What about EC3? I’m not saying that these guys are the next top stars. But fans can’t get behind these guys if Vince decides to stop pushing them once he gets tired of them.
Until the WWE changes their booking thought process, we can’t get too excited about these guys. I don’t mean to put a damper on everyone’s hopes but that is what you should expect. They can go out there and win matches every week but until they get an actual storyline to dig into it won’t matter. That is why I did not want to see these call-ups happen this close to Wrestlemania season. What kind of good story are you going to give these four with just over a month until the biggest show of the year. Anything they do is going to be rushed. Plus the way they introduced these NXT stars with those corny promo packages with Michael Cole voicing them over is not a good start.
The WWE is set financially, so it is a matter of how much Vince McMahon cares about his actual product. Yes they are getting a lot of money from FOX to have Smackdown on Friday nights live. But if the ratings are not good out of the gate, it is going to be a bad sign for the WWE going forward. If FOX pushes them to FS1 all that money the WWE got from their stock price going up is going to disappear. If Vince really is taking AEW as a serious threat then he should care about the long term vision of his product. There are now other options out there for frustrated wrestlers to go to. Hell, even Ring of Honor is throwing around money for talent nowadays. So if Vince McMahon continues to get stuck in his old booking ways then he could have a real problem on his hands if talent decides to leave when their contracts are up.
Just calling up top level talent to the main roster is not good enough. You could have Okada, Naito, Kenny Omega etc., if their isn’t a good enough story there for them then what is the point in the eyes of the fans? If they are subject to 50/50 booking WWE fans would not see them at stars. I can’t find myself getting excited for these four stars until the WWE shows that they will fully commit to getting these guys over. But if Ricochet loses to Lashley this week on RAW it is just going to show you that Vince McMahon still has no idea how to make new stars, which in the long run is for the betterment of his company.
Until Next Time,
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