by Victor Parenza (@ParenzaBooks)
1. It will be based exclusively for the listed month.
2. And on how much I enjoyed their promos, segments, and/or matches of that particular month.
3. It could also be purely speculative.
1. AJ Styles
Last month: 6
And all is right with the world again. Styles doesn’t have to be the champion 365 days a year, (although it would help) but as a mentioned last month he appeared to be on cruise control. His U.S. title reign majorly disappointed when you consider that he feuded with Owens almost the entire time, and nothing of note came of it. The Battleground match was downright bad, granted everything else on that show was too.
Depending on what you believe, the title was put on Styles because no one wanted to see Jinder vs. Brock. It’s pretty much a general consensus among fans that this a fact. No one wants to see Jinder do anything, other than go away forever. And just like the previous month when they needed someone to save the day when Bray went out with an illness, they plug in Styles to do the cleanup hitting.
No matter how long this reign ends up being, I’m thoroughly grateful for it. Smackdown has suffered tremendously this year in the main event scene, and even if this ends up being a temporary fix, it is a much needed break from the drudgery that we had been stuck with.
2. Samoa Joe
Last month: 9
It sure is nice to have big ole Joe back. He brings a great intensity that so few do. He also gets bonus points for choking out Roman. I like where this is headed.
3. Aleister Black
Last month: 5
Another Takeover special, another match of the night from Black. I’ll continue about him along with the next guy at number four.
4. Velveteen Dream
Last month: N/R
I was very skeptical of the Black vs. Dream feud. Velveteen had done nothing at that point, and just seemed like a lame Prince knockoff gimmick. As it rolled on, I really got into it. Part of the reason I’m sure is because the NXT story telling is so much better than anything else on either of the other two programs. Regardless, I was invested in this story and Dream didn’t seem out of his league when it was over, unlike when he started.
Up until their Takeover encounter, Velveteen Dream hadn’t been given a showcase in any fashion to show what he could truly do in the ring. But he delivered when he was called upon. The guys worked really well together, I’m interested to see where Dream goes from here. Was this a fluke for Velveteen? Or is he a major player now?
5. Drew Gulak
Last month: 8
Quick, tell me who the current MVP of 205 Live is? If you didn’t answer Drew Gulak you would be wrong; or you don’t know because you don’t watch the show. This Enzo experiment has been very controversial to say the least. Gulak however has seemed to benefit from it. He is a great bumbling sidekick, who theoretically has the potential to be a huge babyface when he turns on Enzo (or vice versa). It kind of reminds of a poor-man’s Miz and Mizdow situation. I just hope this one ends much better than that one did.
6. NXT Women’s Division Call-ups
Last month: N/R
I had no idea that any NXT women were being called up. I’d been hearing the rumblings of Paige coming back obviously, but wasn’t expecting her to start a stable. Then I was even more surprised to see three more on Smackdown the following night.
It is pretty hilarious how they are exactly the same though: the Goth leader, the pretty blonde girl, and the bad ass brunette. I think its fine though because the women’s division needed a little shakeup. Especially Smackdown since Naomi and Natalya weren’t exactly setting the world on fire as the champions of this year. Raw already had Asuka so naturally that makes them more much interesting for the time being, this however just gives them more tools to play with.
7. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Last month: Zayn 1 and Owens 2
The momentum has slowed a tad for the boys formerly known as “Steenerico.” The infamous “being sent home” during the European tour is the most likely reason. I think they will
regain their stride now. They still seem to be a focal point of Smackdown which no one is complaining about.
8. The Undisputed Era
Last month: 4
The Undisputed Era got the big win in the War Games match. I think that establishes them now firmly as the team to beat on NXT, so to me it seems time for ReDRagon to go after the tag titles (and win them), and Cole to enter the main event picture. I don’t think he needs the title yet, just get into a top-flight program.
9. The New Day
Last month: N/R
The New Day has had a really nice second half of the year. It’s mainly been feuding with the Usos in really good tag team matches. I was surprised however to see New Day so prominent on the siege on Raw, then it dawned on me that that would potentially lead to a feud with the Shield because of it.
Seeing the New Day being presented on the same level as the “golden boys” of the Shield was really refreshing. They’d been firmly entrenched in the mid-card for over two years now, and this seemed like a great way to up their stock. I was almost 100% sure the Shield would win, but what if one of the Shield guys turned on the others and cost them the win? What a monumental victory for a team that was primarily known as a comedy act? (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)
Naturally the Shield won and New Day seem to be back exactly where they were prior to this feud. I’m disappointed, but can’t say as I’m entirely surprised.
10. Pete Dunne
Last month: N/R
I love Pete Dunne. I want to see him on my TV every week. I get the same vibe from him that I got from Neville all this year. (Neville, sigh.) You know the whole, “I’m a bad ass and so much better than all these shmucks in my division.”
He’s delivered every time he’s been put on the big stage this year, and may have had the match of the year against Tyler Bate (More on this at the year end). I wish he could be on NXT more so we could see more of him. I’ve also decided that a match against Roderick Strong would be spectacular. I just looked it up, and they had a match during NXT’s tour of Europe in June. I’m sure it was fantastic. Let’s hope to see it again.
Falling out of the top 10:
I think I was fantasy booking him with Pete Dunne due to my dislike for his recent angles. The hodge-podge team with the AOP seemed way too forced for my taste. I think it took me out of the feud a little bit. I was also pissed because I wanted him to join the Undisputed Era. I really had my hopes up for that.
I’m still confused why they put the IC title on Roman. Seems unnecessary to me seeing as how we all know he is going to be facing Brock at WrestleMania. Oh shit, I hope it’s not a title for title situation. And naturally all this has made Miz a background character for the moment.
The Bludgeon Brothers
Still love the name, but I’m not keen on their attire. They’re still in the “destroy all lower card guys” mode, which for me personally gets old really fast. Once they get into a feud with say, the New Day for example, I think I will be reinvested.