Maybe you have noticed that I haven’t written about the latest two Smackdown episodes. I haven’t forgotten about it. And I certainly have had time to do that. I just refused to write anything about it because I didn’t really care. Not just because The Shield was hardly part of it; I have other wrestlers I enjoy to watch, most notably Cesaro, and Wade Barrett. But even these two weren’t enough for me to make these two Smackdown episodes a permanent memory for me in here.
But at least I have some words to say about the latest episode: The Shield wasn’t innit at all, just mentioned in a promo by Triple H inside the ring. The Shield had some kind of an ultimatum to fulfill until Smackdown, i.e. come back to Triple H crawling and kissing his feet, promising not to turn their backs on him ever again. They obviously didn’t but Triple H just received this text message by Reigns:
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) April 9, 2014
Sure, Reigns needed to play the big man out of The Shield again. Since Dean Ambrose doesn’t use Twitter any more, and Seth Rollins is now the nice guy of the trio, Reigns just was the only remaining Shield member to write this tweet. And these obviously aren’t his own words.
But this leads me straight away to the United States Championship reign of Dean Ambrose that as of today is running for 335 days. It’s some kind of a running gag now that fans and announcers / commentators continue to state that he only holds his title for such a long time because he wouldn’t defend it. That he just recently defended it against Mark Henry in a televised match obviously is ignored. Maybe because it took place on Main Event. And to regain his title at live events doesn’t count at all as it seems. Bad luck for the WWE that the internet, the work of the devil, does indeed exist.
So, some weeks ago I collected all of his defenses for an article you can read here. The basic facts about this list is that he is almost always struggling and in need of his Shield mates at televised matches; but in live events he always gets a clean win. Like it was the case once again in his latest title defense match yesterday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a Fatal-4-Way match against Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, and Kofi Kingston, plus that was his 26th title defense. That’s more than two defenses per month which seems pretty decent to me. I haven’t done that kind of statistics for other title holders but something tells me that these lists won’t differ much from the here mentioned.
To celebrate his win and to spread the word I’ve posted the following on my Tumblr page:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Dean Ambrose just defended his United States Championship title against Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal-4-Way match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
For the 26th time. Thank you for your attention.”
Afterwards I got quite some likes and retweets for it, and these came mostly from Ambrose fans. But one comment by icouldbeblank sums up the probably common feeling about DA’s title defenses:
DO THIS ON TV OR PPV! THIS IS TOO MUCH AWESOME FOR IT TO JUST BE AT A LIVE EVENT.”
It’s not just about this title defense subject at all. It’s also about variation and creativity. But instead of some meaningful matches like this one we’re getting stupid photos of Bray Wyatt’s “family” presented by John Cena, which was bullying at its worst best on TV.
I think DA’s title reign is still made weak and unimportant because the WWE don’t want DA being bigger than Reigns within the eyes of the WWE Universe. And WWE can make him look weak with narrow title defenses on TV and most of the time no title defenses at all. Plus: speaking about the title as never defended. I’ve stated this before but I’d like to repeat myself because I still think that it’s right: stripping DA from his title would mean for the WWE to strip themselves from an argument that DA is weaker than Reigns. Many people expect DA would going mad when losing the title which would certainly be the case for his character. That would cause even more attention to him, so moaning about a so-called weak champion is the only option for WWE to make Reigns appear stronger.
Thirty days are left for the full year of being the United States Champion and I bet that JBL especially on this day will talk a lot of nonsense about DA’s reign.
And now for something slightly different: Listening to William Regal on commentary at NXT once again made my heart bleed that he isn’t a permanent fixture for RAW, Smackdown, Main Event, and all other WWE shows. Certainly I know why he’s ‘just’ doing NXT. Or: I think I know why. In my opinion – and you only need to listen and compare JBL / Michael Cole / Jerry Lawler with William Regal – Regal’s main talking points are the wrestlers, their moves, his comparisons with other wrestlers, their moves, and stories from his own past. The main talking points of JBL / Cole / Lawler are WWE, The Network, The App, and that Dean Ambrose never defends his title. So, Regal basically promotes the good talent while JBL / Cole / Lawler promote the company. And this is why we won’t ever see William Regal on RAW or Smackdown on commentary, at least not on a permanent basis. But as for me I can really live with that because 45 minutes of NXT with Regal simply outshine three hours of RAW with JBL / Cole / Lawler babbling.
If you haven’t watched NXT so far: do it! There are some great guys there and the Divas matches are indeed matches with far more meaning than at RAW or Smackdown (but this isn’t very hard).