Cena/Bryan Update – More reports are coming out about John Cena and Daniel Bryan’s desire to skip the Saudi Arabia event, Crown Jewel. According to The Observer and Dave Meltzer, John Cena skipping the event has absolutely everything to do with the bad publicity that he may have to deal with, as I pondered earlier.
As for Bryan, his decision came before that. According to Meltzer, Bryan had opted not to travel to Saudi Arabia before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi even happened. Bryan is steadfast against the Saudi Government’s treatment of gay people, and elected not to go on that basis. He also found their desire to ban Sami Zayn, who’s half Syrian, to be racist. Meltzer goes on to state that Bryan even wanted to lose the bout against Miz at the Super Show-down from Australia, so he wouldn’t have to go and challenge Styles in Saudi Arabia.
Eli Drake Hates Flippy Shit – Eli Drake has long discussed his issues in pro wrestling today, and has even stated that he’s contemplated leaving the business due to how he feels about where the product is going. However Drake is still here, and he spoke to Alicia Atout’s A Music Blog, Yea? (AMBY) and spoke even more candidly about his growing disgust with the “flippy shit”, saying;
I hate that (flippy) stuff. It’s made me start hating the business. The business that I fell in love with was big characters, strong masculine men who looked like they were fighting and they had characters. Even the worst promo guys were good. Now, holy shit, good luck at anybody being able to handle (a mic). Everybody relies on Goddamn flips and cirque du soleil spots and all that shit. I kinda hate what it became. There’s my pet peeve. I hate it. It caters to the niche audience of “nerd wrestling fans.” I love all wrestling fans. But there’s a very small niche audience that that’s going to cater to. Where, let’s say there’s a fan who hasn’t checked in since 2001. They’re going to turn on today’s product and go, ‘What the fuck is this?’ The casual audience was never turned on by crazy moves, they were turned on by crazy characters. That’s why you had the big swell in the ’90s with Rock, Austin, NWO. Character has been devoid for the last 10 years. You have to talk people into the match. People are going to remember moments. This whole business is telling a story and we’ve gotten lost somewhere and it’s showing.
…People are saying, ‘Well the Indies are bigger than ever.’ Yes, they are. That’s a niche audience. But is the WWE product bigger than ever? Is IMPACT product bigger than ever? I’d say no. Sure, WWE is more global, but if you look at television audiences, they’re having a tough time filling seats. IMPACT is having a tough time filling seats. It’s a direct response from the fans. They want to see big characters and storylines. Moves are cool, but that’s a supplemental thing, not something that brings the casual audience in.
I think there’s room to the center from Drake’s position but I don’t think he’s wrong. That being said, I think a feud pitting Eli Drake against the X-Division where Drake wins the title and goes on a tear would be amazing.
Quick Hits – Hangman Page has apparently turned down a new ROH contract according to Dave Meltzer.
In a bit of comical bullshit, Pro Wrestling Illustrated has selected Ronda Rousey to be their #1 Female Wrestler, despite the year that Charlotte, Alexa Bliss and Tessa Blanchard had. While PWI reflects kayfabe booking, it’s also no secret they’ve struggled in sales for years; and this could easily be a cheap tactic to draw people into buying their magazine with Rousey on the over.
Shawn Michaels has expressed that his return to the ring at Crown Jewel is nothing more than a lifestyle “cheat day”, and that he has no pressure to be the Showstopper like he once was. Phoning it in, what every fan wants from a beloved icon.