It’s been 8 long months, so first let me explain the absence. The workload for me at university got stupidly high, and I wasn’t coping with that as it was, never mind attempting to blog on top of that. But there was also the issue that for a long time WWE just wasn’t that exciting last year. There were too many people being featured prominently that I just didn’t care about, and the potential matchups didn’t interest me at all.
So what changed? Why am I back now?
In terms of WWE, I can pretty much narrow it down to three names. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Shane McMahon.
When rumours started swirling about the New Japan four making the jump to WWE, that was massive. There was the potential for so many dream matches that just a couple of years earlier had seemed impossible when WWE apparently offered Styles a lowball deal. And handily, I really didn’t expect him to enter the Royal Rumble as early as he did. I was waiting for some unfamiliar music to hit, but I didn’t think it would happen that quickly.
I was excited for the Rumble, but in all honesty mainly for AJ. The title picture still didn’t appeal to me. So massively though I reacted when AJ made his entrance, I still wouldn’t have said I was back in super-fandom mode. Then we had the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Of Excellence Award presentation.
I. Went. Mental. I was jumping around the room, because for years I have been amongst a group of wrestling fans who were calling for Shane McMahon’s return to the WWE. But it really wasn’t something I expected to happen anytime soon, and certainly not as a surprise return like it was. It really reinforced the idea that anything can happen on Raw, and it made for a great moment that I’ll never forget.
So when it came to Wrestlemania weekend, I was very excited. The title picture still didn’t excite me, but the rest of the card looked good, and you could now throw Sami Zayn into the main roster mix. But he still had to say goodbye to NXT, which would come in the form of what was my match of the year so far against Nakamura.
It was the perfect way for Zayn to bid farewell to the yellow brand, and the perfect introduction to show fans who hadn’t seen Nakamura before what he was capable of. I have never heard a “wrestle forever” chant or anything of the like in my life before. It was a showcase of pure wrestling, and proved how great it can be.
Outside of WWE though, I got a reminder of what I loved about wrestling when I went to my first ever live event. The same night as Zayn vs Nakamura, I went to a World Wide Wrestling League (W3L) show which was so much fun. While it was a tad cartoonish, and obviously the level of competition was nowhere near that of WWE’s competitors, it was extremely entertaining. Seeing wrestling at that level, and seeing similarities between what the performers on that show were doing and what I was watching every week on Raw was really heartening.
But on a personal level, I suppose part of the reason I’m back is because I have a newfound appreciation for the art. When I was uber-stressed with university work, or when I was having a bad day, I turned to wrestling. I happily watched five or six hours of wrestling a day because it allowed me to forget about what was getting me down in everyday life, if only briefly.
Even if I was in a really bad mood and didn’t really want to talk to anyone, I would talk about wrestling if someone asked. It was my escape. It was a release. That to me is what wrestling should be, and I think I appreciate that far more than I used to.
So I’m back. And I’m the most excited I’ve been about WWE for a long time. This is the best roster they’ve ever had in my opinion, and Raw has generally been really good since Wrestlemania. I think there are bright things ahead, and I’m going along for the ride.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a new piece about possible outcomes of the AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns match at Payback, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll be talking about the Bullet Club and heel turns, so it should be a good one!