Welcome everybody to the newest feature on Pro Wrestling Transcriptions, Sound Off!! I don’t know how long this series will last, but I’m willing to give this a shot. The original goal for this website was to be a reference sheet for any wrestling fans around the world who couldn’t watch the shows live. The back bone of this website are the play by play articles and that will never change. However, being an ACTUAL media member, I know it’s important to take risks with your product. You’ll never see any dirt-sheet style articles on this website because at the end day we can be honest and say that wrestling journalism is not real journalism.
This series will provide me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and talk about things I usually don’t talk about on my podcast. I’m going to talk about a bevy of topics that’s been thrusted around the wrestling bubble on social media. From there, I’m just going to give you my honest opinion on those said narratives that are spun from the spin doctors in the wrestling media.
The opinions in this series are mine and mine alone. There’s no agenda to serve here. This is an opportunity to provide an outlet for rational conversation. For those who listen to my podcast knows that I don’t subscribe to the common narratives and themes that comes from the “Wrestling Media”. Today we’ll be talking about three things. The NJPW vs WWE Booking Debate, My assessment on the current HOT TAKE culture in the wrestling media and I’ll give my thoughts about Roman Reigns and whether or not this “experiment” is over.
So I hope you guys and girls enjoy this series for what it is. I’m open to discussion, leave your comments in the comment section down below.
NJPW vs. WWE’s Booking
My thoughts on this topic can go in many different directions. I want to be upfront with you guys and just say that in general, I don’t care about professional wrestling booking. Now I’m not dumb, any wrestling fan that’s been watching the product for over 20-30 years has some type of knowledge of backstage wrestling lingo. For me, I’ve never looked at professional wrestling/sports entertainment as a sport. Maybe that makes me a bad person, I don’t know. My enjoyment from the product has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the behind the scenes of the business. I never kept track of wins and loss records that stuff doesn’t matter to me. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why are you transcribing wrestling matches then?” It’s pretty simple, I always wanted to be a wrestling commentator.
Booking is actually my least favorite thing to talk about in any of the podcast/video shows that I’ve been a part of over the last 5 years. While people rant and lose their mind over subjective booking decisions on social media and their podcasts, I just move on to the next show. I think it’s important in entertainment that you learn something new with every show you watch. I don’t go into Empire each week thinking about how they could’ve presented Hakeem better in this scene. I think it’s silly and it takes away from the fun of being a fan. I always got a kick out of people in the wrestling bubble complaining about the lack of surprises in the business today, while they are currently trying to either
A.) Predict the outcomes for the next PPV
B.) Fantasy Book the following year’s WrestleMania
C.) Pontificating on who’s turning babyface or heel
Now i’m not telling you how to be a fan, but this how I personally feel about booking in the wrestling world. I always subscribed to this theory in life. Vent only if it’s a hill you want to die on. I’m generally an optimistic person in nature. In today’s society, there’s a lot of people who act like they wrote the book on “Proper Booking In The Wrestling World”. You don’t like an angle on a wrestling show? Fine, that’s your propagative. What makes me look the other way is when we start talking about booking. It’s just not my thing. I never did it. I don’t know the true basis behind why certain characters are pushed or not pushed. When it comes to booking, it’s just not my hill to die on.
On social media currently there’s a running debate about which company provides better booking. WWE or New Japan Pro Wrestling? Now for those wondering why I didn’t mention NXT in this topic it’s because NXT is part of WWE. As a consumer of this business, I look at multiple wrestling companies for what they market to. Lucha Underground is a television series with wrestling as a back drop. They worry about their universe and no one else. I enjoy Ring of Honor cause they are about pure in-ring competition. I also enjoy New Japan Pro Wrestling because they provide a sporting feel hence their slogan, “KING OF SPORTS”. I started watching WWE in 1998 and from there I knew that this was the entertainment company. I don’t know why that’s a problem for certain fans in the wrestling bubble? We talk about a lack of competition and companies resting on their laurels, yet you listen to a podcast and certain hosts want WWE to book their ENTERTAINMENT show in a similar faction to a wrestling heavy product like New Japan. That doesn’t make sense to me.
I think all these wrestling companies has something different to provide for all types of wrestling fans. That’s why I always laugh at nimrods like Vince Russo, Disco Inferno and Jim Cornette who constantly say that the wrestling business is at an all-time low. It’s not, there’s way more variety than ever before and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t want to see WWE’s version of New Japan, that’s why sometimes I’m indifferent to NXT because they try too hard to placate to the wrestling bubble in their TakeOver Specials. Remember, wrestling is subjective. It’s not a sport, it’s entertainment. You may be disagreeing with everything i’m saying right now and that’s fine.
When I watch New Japan I know i’m in for a long show with a lot of tag team matches. In New Japan’s Universe, there’s four factions (Chaos, Bullet Club, LIJ, and Suzuki Gun). In WWE, we just have The Undisputed Era. Now to say WWE is the only company that does “short sighted or 50/50 booking is BS and I have these articles/evidence to prove it. I think it’s easy to say because there’s an over consumption of narratives that comes with the WWE Product. I know that Okada has been the longest active champion in any wrestling company right now and that’s awesome. Okada is a great wrestler and I enjoy his work. I just don’t understand why we apply double standards when it comes to these two companies. You never see passionate conversations on social media about NJPW’s Booking Team. Now that doesn’t mean that their booking team is better than WWE’s. It’s all subjective.
I always see the arguments about hot shot booking. After WrestleKingdom 12, the main plot device in the product besides the Omega/Cody rivalry was the fact that Jay White was joining The Chaos faction and he had his eyes on The IWGP World Title. He even mentioned it in his press conference. Where is Jay White? Why is he stuck in these mid-card matches. Why is he not fighting Okada at Dominion? Don’t get me wrong, Omega/Okada matches are amazing, but does this upcoming match feel a little bit random and out of the blue? We have nothing for Okada, so hey here we go Omega/Okada Two Out Of Three Falls, Boom! In my opinion, Omega should be fighting Cody at this show, but we’ll wait for The Cow Palace Show. Remember, not a hill to die on.
It’s hard to have rational conversations about NJPW vs WWE Booking because unfortunately certain talking heads have an agenda. You point every little minute flaw in WWE’s subjective booking and I can notice similar trends in other wrestling companies, including New Japan. So I’ll say this, enjoy both companies for what they are. You don’t like WWE and their booking? Stop watching. I covered over 500 Televised WWE Shows in the last two years and I don’t know the W/L Record for any of these superstars, nor do I care. WWE books to a casual mainstream audience 52 weeks out of the year. New Japan provides maybe 2-3 specials in a month if you get lucky. It’s apples and oranges. Of course you would hope NJPW second biggest show of the year is a better than a random Raw or SmackDown Episode in June hahaha.
HOT TAKES !!!
I thought we had an over consumption of hot takes from the sports media culture, but I was wrong. There’s more hot takes on the reg every single week in the wrestling bubble. Sometimes when I’m scrolling down my twitter timeline I just shake my head because I have a good bullshit meter. I can tell when someone is basically reiterating a hot take from a former wrestler or writer just so they can get more likes, retweets, patreon subscribers. I think my biggest issues with The Wrestling Media is the lack of transparency from the people who have the biggest followings in the social media bubble.
Just because Stone Cold Steve Austin says that Roman Reigns should turn heel doesn’t mean I have to agree with him. I respect Stone Cold and I respect every single person that’s stepped foot in the wrestling business. Sadly the former wrestlers and bookers are dishing out more hot takes than the talking heads from these podcasts. I don’t know what or who to believe in. Now I shouldn’t be surprised because wrestlers have an agenda too. I mean look at all the wrestlers who are on Sirius XM, CBS, etc. As someone who’s part of the actual media it’s hard take wrestling media seriously. There’s great podcasts out there that I listen to and I get great enjoyment out of like (The Jim Ross Report, Rant With ANT, Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, Who Got NeXT, Cheap Heat and Keeping it 100).
There will be times where I disagree with comments from those particular shows, but the reason why I’m subscribed to them it’s because I like the people on those shows and I know that I’m getting their genuine opinions. It’s not fabricated. That’s all I want at the end of the day.
The Roman Reigns Experiment:
I think this picture is very apropos coming off the heels of last Sunday’s Backlash PPV. This topic may get me in trouble, but I don’t care at this point. I think what’s lost in all of this Roman Reigns hoopla/bitchfest for me is that he’s not even my favorite guy in the company. I’m a fan of his and i’m not ashamed of it. If you want to unfollow me over that, go ahead. I’m in the minority in saying that there’s alot of cool things that are going on right now in the WWE including the NXT and 205 Live Brands. Yet somehow, Joe Anoai is supposedly the cancer for certain portions of the wrestling bubble. I don’t have the solution for the Roman Reigns problem. I don’t think he needs to be saved or his career going down tubes.
I like Roman Reigns for the person he is, his wrestling skills and I will always back a performer who has to deal with detractors. I kinda relate to him in that way. Roman Reigns can’t sit with the “cool kids” at the wrestling bubble table. Like I mentioned earlier, don’t like a performer or angle, that’s your prerogative. On Tuesday, I had a rational back and forth conversation with a guy on twitter about this topic. If Roman Reigns is Vince McMahon or Kevin Dunn’s guy? Cool, I don’t care. Can he wrestle? Yes! Can he talk? Yes! Can he spark emotion? Well the majority of wrestling podcasts spend 80 to 90 percent of their shows talking or lamenting about him, so yea he can.
The shove down my throat narrative is so ridiculous because for me personally I felt that Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar were shoved down my throats over the last four years. All the time we see this running narrative about Roman Reigns getting this coronation at WrestleMania where he’s the top babyface and everybody loves him. I don’t have the answer to why wrestling fans are stuck up like 15 year old girls these days?
Out of the four main events, which Mania was truly about him? WrestleMania 32. Taking down The Authority and becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
31: His match was interrupted by Seth Rollins who created the greatest Money in the Bank Moment of all-time in my personal opinion.
33: Yea he defeated The Undertaker and talked about the ring being his yard, but was that show really about him? It was about the uncertainty the came with the future of The Undertaker.
34: Got basically squashed by Brock Lesnar. Further cementing this uber long Universal Title Reign for The Beast. The SuperDome becoming The Lesnar Dome.
Is Roman Reigns a failure? To me he’s not. There’s alot of people who want him to fail which is sad and just ignorant to be honest with you. For a guy who’s perceived as the face of the company. Roman Reigns has taken more L’s on the big stage than Hogan, Austin, Rock, and Cena. The guy that’s “jammed down everybody’s throats” hasn’t been a World Champion since Money in the Bank 2016.
Y’all can be petty about him being in the spot that you want your favorite superstars to be in. Is it Roman Reigns fault that WWE wanted to have Brock Lesnar as a World Champion for 600 days? Want him to quit? Want him to turn heel and all problems will just poof in the air?
I don’t have the solution for Roman Reigns that’s interesting thing that comes with the direction of his character. I know when I see Joe Anoai on my television screen I’m going to see a good wrestler get verbally insulted by people who are just jealous of the guy. We’ll see what happens. I’m kinda tired of talking about this topic on my show because no one is above the WWE. I watch wrestling to have fun and this running topic on social media is taking that fun away from me. Is this Roman Reigns experiment that much of a hill to die on? If so, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Talented and good hearted people thrive at the end of the day and I see that with Roman Reigns.
Anyways this concludes Sound Off #1 ! Let me know what you think in the comment section down below.
You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NotoriousJoshie
Check Out Episode 105 of The Josh Lopez Wrestling Podcast