WWE Mid-Year Round Table: Who was Most Outstanding Wrestler?

WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /
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Now, let’s turn to the bad. There are many to choose from, unfortunately, but what did you choose as the Worst Story/Angle for WWE thus far?

KP: It’s the Jeff Hardy angle going on right now with Sheamus. And no, I don’t feel the need to expand on why. Folks, you know why.

DA: I think this pick is a pretty obvious one. It is never a good idea to use someone’s personal
struggles as a storyline, and using Jeff Hardy’s real-life struggles with alcoholism is an incredibly
insensitive move by the WWE. I understand that Hardy might have agreed to do the storyline, but
there are still millions, if not billions worldwide dealing with the same struggles, and this angle is
disrespectful and tries to lessen their pain.

SS: WWE has outdone itself in this category. There are three for me: the current Jeff Hardy angle, using Drake Maverick’s real firing as a storyline to get his job back, & the Lana/Lashley/Liv/Rusev angle.

CJ: Using Drake Maverick’s real-life release as storyline fodder. I don’t know which is worse: WWE building a storyline around Drake Maverick’s legitimate release, not booking him to win the Cruiserweight Championship Title tournament he was booked for prior to his release, or him cutting a promo that amounted to someone saying “BOOTSTRAPS” after basically getting handed a contract out of pity despite losing in the finals of said tournament? Even if you think this was a total work, it’s pretty crummy of WWE to run a storyline like this when so many people have lost jobs and businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then again, what else would you expect from this company?

JV: Goldberg winning the Universal Championship in Saudi Arabia from The Fiend. Yawn, Goldberg wins another World Title. He shows up two weeks before a show in Saudi Arabia, with very little background going into the title match. He comes out of semi-retirement and defeats the best character the WWE has had over the last 10 years. These booking decisions are (thankfully) few and far between, so hopefully we won’t see the 50+ year old Goldberg in the WWE title picture ever again.

With the coronavirus pandemic being the major story, what did you choose as the Biggest Non-COVID or COVID-Adjacent Story for WWE?

KP: The biggest non-COVID story is definitely #SpeakingOut. My heart goes out to the victims of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse in the wrestling industry. The bravery shown by the people who spoke out means that everything is out in the open and we can finally acknowledge just how deep the issue of sexual assault and abuse goes in wrestling. There is no hiding anymore, and everyone in the industry has learned they need to take steps going forward to make wrestling a much, much safer place than it has been for decades.

DA: This isn’t easy to write about, but then again the actual pain and humiliation endured by the
several courageous people who spoke out as part of June’s #SpeakingOut movement is
far worse than any discomfort I feel writing this. Several wrestlers were sexually harassed, gaslit, emotionally/psychologically/physically abused as well as taken advantage of by
members of this industry that a lot of us respected as fans. The movement has forced us
to reevaluate who we are as a community and to recognize that this whole industry needs a
massive overhaul if we are ever to move forward from these tragedies

SS: #SpeakingOut. WWE had some big names included and although a few were punished, Matt Riddle’s SmackDown debut went off as planned and they’re pushing him as if nothing happened.

CJ: Releasing/furloughing dozens of personnel during the pandemic. Honestly, the horde of #SpeakingOut allegations is a more disheartening story that exposes the lack of checks and balances within the industry, but that’s more of a whole-scale story. However, WWE choosing to unload over 50 wrestlers and producers to make their profit margins look slightly better specifically highlighted the company’s callous, profit-motivated values that come at the expense of the people who helped boost those revenues

JV: Becky Lynch’s pregnancy. A big congratulations to Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins on their first child. Lynch will be out of action for the foreseeable future, which will open up the women’s division in the WWE. The talent possessed on all brands has no shortage; it’s a matter of who grabs the proverbial “brass ring” while “The Man” is away. The only story that can overshadow The Undertaker and his potential retirement is WWE’s hottest star taking a leave of absence.