It’s Wednesday evening, but I’m going to miss NXT tonight due to prior obligations. I’ll catch up on it tomorrow and save that blog post for Thursday evening. In the meantime, I was daydreaming about numbers, so I was thinking we’d do a math lesson and I’d let you all inside the mind of The Lady J.
First of all, I saw a tweet a little while ago reminding us that the Shield debuted on the main roster three years ago today. I’m going to light a candle and try to remember the happier times when the story went that Paul Heyman paid the Shield to protect CM Punk. (Shut up, YOU’RE crying.) This is what was going on when I returned to wrestling. It didn’t take long at ALL for me to fall madly in love with the Shield as a faction, and watch them go from heel stable to über-over babyfaces. They were perfect as a trio: Reigns the pretty face, Ambrose the loud mouth, Rollins the in-ring show-off. A perfect trifecta. Now they are all the worse for wear not having their brothers and their brothers’ gifts to protect them.
We are currently one ex-Shield member down on TV as Seth Rollins recovers from his knee surgery. In his absence, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have found themselves both as contenders in a tournament for the now-vacant WWE World Heavyweight championship. Dean Ambrose has become a sillier and less relevant version of his post-break-up self, and we’re all trying to push back as Vince forces a babyface Roman Reigns championship run on us. In the middle of all this nonsense, I’m trying to recall what it felt like to even BE a Shield fan, caught up in the moments leading up to Payback in 2014 and the following night’s episode of RAW. I’m trying to remember what it was like watching Roman Reigns go over the top rope in the Royal Rumble earlier that year, and how hard I booed Batista when he pointed to the Wrestlemania sign. Where did all of that love go? When did we decide he was being pushed too fast?
While I’m taking this emotional trip down memory lane, I am interrupted by a message asking me my thoughts on a report that the internal favorite to win the title is actually Dean Ambrose and not Roman Reigns. This is like asking me if I’d rather be shot and killed or stabbed to death. Either way, the end result is not good. Because regardless of who walks away with the title at the end of the night, there’s still the matter of Sheamus and the Money in the Bank briefcase. Do I think Sheamus will cash in on Sunday? I really have no idea. I just can’t see how any of these options play out well. If you put the title on Reigns, and Sheamus cashes in and loses, you’ve buried Sheamus even further, and what kind of champ do you have? A babyface that the people hate. And, no offense to Roman Reigns, but The Rock is not. His promos are not going to magically save him – they’re going to make matters worse. If Ambrose wins (and keeps the title away from Sheamus) what kind of champion will he be? He’d probably routinely lose the title, leaving it in airport bathrooms and on a booth seat in a Denny’s. He’s not a strong enough in-ring competitor to create the kind of caliber matches we’re used to seeing from the champion (especially after Rollins’ run). And if Sheamus successfully cashes in on ANYONE – oh, Odin Father, save us all from that fiery hell.
Besides, here’s a fact for you. Since the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight championships, we’ve had five champions: heel Randy Orton, baby faces Daniel Bryan and John Cena, and heels Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins. It’s time for another babyface run, but perhaps someone who’s ACTUALLY OVER.
And speaking of statistics, the WWE is bleeding right now. Two of their biggest stars are out for the rest of the year (Lesnar & Cena). Plus currently out injured/not cleared to perform are: Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Rusev, Lana, Sting, Tyson Kidd and Rosa Mendes (who is, in fact, pregnant). So out of the 74 individuals listed as current full- or part-time performers, 11 of them are missing. That’s a lot. That’s one in seven. When you consider how many of those 74 individuals are only part-timers to begin with, that number gets worse. So between this information, and what is currently happening in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, the third thing that came through my Twitter feed today wasn’t surprising at all. That was a picture of a basically-vacant arena in Knoxville where last night’s SmackDown taping took place. Reports were coming in that the arena, which is a 21,000 seat capacity building, had around 3,000 fans in attendance.
So here’s Lady J math for you: 3 members of the shield create 1 great storyline when they are 1 unit. But 1 boring championship tournament with 2 members of the Shield and 3 sorry options for an outcome, plus 1 out 7 members of your staff suddenly MIA means 1 out of every 7 fan is taking a pass on your product.
I would try and come up with a solution for this very, very bad problem, but there’s so much blood at this point I don’t even know where it’s coming from anymore. And I’m not sure WWE does either.