Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope y’all enjoyed whatever way you rang in 2016 – and aren’t currently nursing too nasty of a hangover. While trying to prep myself for returning to work next week, I found myself trying to skirt a mountain of laundry by scrolling through my twitter feed. That’s where I stumbled across this post from Cageside Seats’ Geno Mrosko talking about his current favorite wrestler – Becky Lynch. It got my own gears turning, as Wednesday’s post makes it seem I have forsaken my go-to favorite Dean Ambrose.
While I am inclined to agree with Geno on first glance, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overlooking someone just to support my favorite female wrestler currently on the main roster. I mean that, too – I am not as big of a Sasha Banks fan as others, though I always enjoy her when she appears on my TV (or my Tumblr feed.) For me, what is holding back Becky from being my favorite is that we haven’t seen her shine yet on the main roster. I am certain she will rise to the top when the moment is right, but the moment hasn’t yet come for her. And any good wrestler needs an equally gifted opponent, so I’m sure when it’s Becky’s time it will somehow also be Sasha’s. I expect big things from both of these ladies, especially when they are given the chance to develop a solid feud and eagerly anticipate that time.
If we’re talking about wrestlers who you love despite the lack of push from WWE creative, I’m going to have to go with Wade Barrett. I love to watch Barrett wrestle, and I absolute adore everything he’s done in terms of promos. He is terribly injury-prone, though, and that has put quite the damper on the past year for him. Every time he heals up and reappears in the ring, I am thrilled. There was a short period of time earlier in the year where it seemed he would be getting a storyline with Dean Ambrose and my mind ran wild at the thought of those promos. But injuries sidelined that concept and things moved on while Barrett was gone. Now he is the occasionally-snarky, non-active member of the League of Nations. I am waiting for the day when Barrett gets the chance to get into a really solid promo-battle with someone who plays on his level – there aren’t many.
Of course my favorite promo in WWE at the moment is Paul Heyman – will always be Paul Heyman. No one is better than Heyman, and together with Brock Lesnar they create a monster of epic proportions. Lesnar’s cold attitude and looming presence in the ring makes him neigh untouchable, and certainly nobody can touch his advocate on the mic. It is a perfect marriage. However, history proves that the machine only functions when both parts are in unison – Paul Heyman doesn’t advocate as strongly for anyone (save perhaps CM Punk) as he does for Lesnar, and Lesnar is missing a limb without Paul as his voice.
I think a favorite would have to be someone who you think is supremely gifted, both in character and wrestling ability, and is being booked appropriately for both. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one person in all of WWE who is precisely where they belong – at the exact intersection of those three things – and that’s Luke Harper.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Harper wrestle live several times now, and he never disappoints. He’s fast for a big guy, and does it all. It’s not just well-produced television either, boys and girls, this dude can move. I will never, ever forget his match against John Cena at a RAW in Brooklyn almost two years ago. It was a PPV-level match, and I kept looking around at my fellow audience members. We were all shocked by what we were seeing.
We haven’t seen much in the way of promos from Harper – maybe that’s because he’s not so great at them, I don’t know – but his Wyatt Family character is chilling. The way he looks out into the audience with his wide eyes is jarring, and trouble is always sure to follow. Even when he and Rowan broke away from Bray Wyatt late in 2014, he held his own. I was so shocked when he won the Intercontinental title that fall, but his involvement with that title led to a fun series of matches between him and Dean Ambrose in the late spring. He has always stayed true to his character, too – a big creepy dude who is going to shock the crap out of you with what he can do.
Even now that the Wyatt Family is back together, he is really the glue that holds it all together. Bray’s job is to talk, Braun Strowman’s job is to be big and scary. Harper’s job is to keep it all moving, and he does so effortlessly. If he has any talent on the mic, I think he would be a natural to eventually turn on Bray one day (a thing I didn’t even know I wanted until just now.) I’m not worried about Harper getting “buried,” or disappearing either. He’s just too good to stay off my TV for too long.
So there you have it, readers. Lady J’s favorite wrestler for now is Luke Harper. I wonder what 2016 will bring for him – and for me. Stay tuned!