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A super-cool reveal, the impending WWE draft and behind-the-scenes reports surrounding the Money in the Bank briefcase dominate this week in sports-entertainment overreaction.
But is any of it warranted or are WWE fans, as they tend to do from time to time, jumping to conclusions and reacting instinctively rather than thinking of the long-term effects of the company’s short-term booking decisions?
Find out as we dive deeper into those topics.
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Pump the brakes on a Mustafa Ali super-push.
Though a massive push for the immensely talented would certainly be welcome amongst fans, the placement of Monday’s angle on the card is telling of just where WWE Creative sees this group and its place in the grand scheme of things.
For weeks, Retribution was the biggest storyline in WWE. The faction interacted with WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, created chaos on SmackDown and sparked social media buzz surrounding the leaders’ unfortunate names.
But Monday, in the biggest moment for the group to date, the revelation of its leader was so important it was…saved for the penultimate segment on the show. Not the main event. Not the opening segment. Not even the top of the 9:00 hour. It was wedged in between Seth Rollins whooping up on Murphy with a kendo stick and a rather bland Six-Man Tag Team main event.
Rather than saving the reveal that Ali was behind all of the mischief, beatdowns and destruction caused by this group across both brands, over the course of two months for the main event, it was deemed not as important as a Six-Man Tag Team Match that any eight-year-old with a couple of action figures could have booked.
By booking it where they did, WWE Creative announced to the world that any preconceptions you have about this equating to some main event push for Ali, or for Retribution as a whole, should be tempered immediately.
The group is feuding with The Hurt Business, not Orton and McIntyre, that much was made clear. Such a major angle, which should have sparked interest in the rest of the show, was executed a point in the broadcast where the audience has actively tuned out, burnt out by the excessive runtime.
It was sandwiched in almost as an afterthought rather than delicately placed in a position that would garner it the most attention.
That was not by accident.
This was a reveal that will help enhance Ali’s position on the card, and thankfully so. But it is not the start of some major main event push that will result in him getting the chance at the WWE Championship that injury prevented in 2019.
That’s just not realistic, and WWE told us as much by the way they handled the reveal.
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WrestleVotes tweeted Tuesday night that multiple storylines have been pitched regarding Otis losing the Money in the Bank briefcase but, since he is a personal favorite of Vince McMahon’s, it is a “no go” for now.
The responses ranged from “I like Otis but…” to “Otis can’t be taken seriously,” with the one constant being he never should have won the thing in the first place.
And he should not have.
Otis got over as a lovable midcard babyface who gyrated and did his Caterpillar finisher to roars from the crowd. Like Scotty 2 Hotty or Rikishi before him. And like we found out in 2000 when it came time to push Rikishi to the main event, it fell flat. Why? Because he was perfectly acceptable as a crowd-pleasing comedy act but lacked the tools to hang with the top stars on the show.
Does anyone believe that Otis stands a chance in hell against Roman Reigns? Does anyone thing for a second that he could stand toe-to-toe with The Fiend and win the Universal Championship? Braun Strowman? Those three characters are totally different beasts. Their credibility is so much higher than Otis’ that it’s almost inconceivable that he would believably share the ring with them, let alone cash in Money in the Bank for the title.
None of this is his fault.
It was, ironically enough, an overreaction from McMahon, who probably popped himself with Otis’ antics and romantic storyline with Mandy Rose, never once actually thinking about whether or not Otis was a legitimate main event-worthy star. You must be in order to turn that briefcase into gold and a successful run.
Otis is not and will not given the current landscape on SmackDown.
But must WWE take the briefcase away from him? No.
Otis could easily serve as a reminder of Reigns’ viciousness. Imagine The Tribal Chief unleashing a one-sided ass-kicking on Otis as he cashes in his briefcase? It would be a great way to further establish Reigns as a detestable bastard and the most ruthless champion the company has had in years.
Unfortunately for Otis, that’s kind of where he stands at this point.
Overreaction: Warranted, but not completely necessary
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There is an overwhelming sense of positivity and hope every time WWE announces another brand draft.
Every time, fans jump to the conclusion that this will be exactly what the product needs to rebound from questionable booking decisions and maybe live up to the potential and talent level within the company.
And every time, they are wrong.
Simply shuffling talent from show to show does not make up for the fact that there is something fundamentally wrong with WWE Creative. Its inability to build stars, its 50-50 style of booking and its serious reliance on repetition from show to show has long bred monotony and mediocrity.
No grand angle or ratings gimmick like a two-night draft special will make up for the major flaws that plague the show, regardless of who is on each roster.
Yes, SmackDown has been infinitely better than it was this time last year, but it will remain that way no matter who is on the show because WWE officials care about that brand and its placement on network television.
And Raw is a dumpster fire and will continue to be so because the writers never really figured out how to do three hours of television effectively.
That will not change just because Seth Rollins jumps to Friday nights or Braun Strowman moves to Mondays. It will only serve to shine a brighter light on the creative shortcomings within WWE, even if it does spark interest for a week or two thereafter.
Overreaction: 100 percent, and one that breeds disappointment and disenfranchisement