The TJR News posts are back with a focus on World Wrestling Entertainment content. I’ll get into the reasons at the end of this post as well as an explanation about what you can expect from these posts, but first let’s get to some WWE news.

Dolph Ziggler appeared on the latest episode of the Edge and Christian Podcast, which usually gets posted on Fridays and you can listen to here. I listened to it over the weekend because the E&C podcast is a lot of fun and the wrestlers they have on as guests really open up to them because they are friends with E&C most of the time.

Here’s how Ziggler feels about his current spot in WWE as a midcarder on the Smackdown brand with thanks to popculture.com for transcribing the quotes.

“I hate it. But also I’m someone who, I hate that I’m not the champion. I hate that the show is not about me because that that’s the mentality you should have if you’re in the business. If you’re the ‘Hey I want to be the opening guy who works for 10 years and saves a bunch of money,’ (guy) that’s great. But there’s a thousand other guys sitting in the back that say, ‘I want to be the best. I want to main event WrestleMania, I want the show to be about me.’ So you have to have that mentality. But also I’ve been around enough to know the score, to know what’s going on. So I hate being in that position. I think I should be a bigger part of the show. But so does everybody else.”

Ziggler also talked about losing as much as he does and how difficult it is to be seen as a star in people’s eyes when that happens.

“You get passed over a handful of times for a couple of years, then you start to have more of a cult following and it gets hot. But after a couple of years of not having the trigger pulled and the eight-year-old kids now know that you’re in that role, I noticed in the last two years that even my live event matches are a little hard for me to do my job. Because when I come out and a 10-year-old kid goes, ‘I know you’re losing,’ we go, ‘Aww, crap.’

“I’ve said this to the boss on several occasions, I’ve made a career out of almost never winning, which is awesome. But at some point I have to be seen as somebody who could win without pulling a needle out of a haystack or a lottery ball out… because that loses all of that luster.”

The most interesting comments were when Ziggler spoke about possibly needing to move on from WWE.

“I feel a lot of my cries are falling on deaf ears to have a change. Two years ago when my contract was up, I told them I was ‘out.’ But they convinced me to sign a new deal. After they told me to stay and help out. I mean I love WWE. They treat me well and pay me well. I travel around the world and it’s great. It’s great at live events. I get the time and do whatever hell I want and tear the house down. But something is telling me again when this contract is up that I need to go away. I hate that I might have to go away but I have to.”

TJR’s Take: I don’t think Ziggler hates being in WWE right now. He just wants to be in a better position, but so does nearly every wrestler on the show aside from a handful of top guys. If you don’t want to be at the top, why are you there? I don’t blame him for thinking that way. In fact, I respect him for it. You can also tell how much Edge and Christian respect Ziggler for delivering at a high level for so long in his career, which Ziggler should be complimented for. Lasting 12 years in WWE is impressive and nobody should question Ziggler for it.

The contract Ziggler referred to was signed in 2015 I believe and was likely a three-year deal, so perhaps at this time next year he’ll be somewhere else. Ziggler has only been a pro wrestler in WWE because he was signed out of college after a tryout camp, so he’s not some indie darling or a guy that knows what it is like to be in the indies. Ziggler is also 37 years old, so it’s not like he has ten more years as a full-time wrestler. He might have five more years, which means if he leaves WWE for a year or two he may come back when he’s in his 40s. It’s all up to him, I guess.

Is it likely that Ziggler is going to ever get a push to the main event in WWE again? I really doubt it. I like him as a performer, but it’s hard to believe WWE would push him when they have younger talent that they want to get over. Then again, he’s such a talented guy that something may happen to help him get to that level. You never know. The future of Ziggler in 2018 will be an interesting story to watch next year.

Once again, you can listen to the Edge & Christian podcast with Dolph Ziggler full of laughs and lot of honesty from Ziggler as well.

WWE Monday Night Raw Tonight

WWE.com

WWE.com

WWE Raw takes place in Los Angeles, California tonight during a time of year where they don’t have a major PPV to promote because the next time Raw talent is on a PPV is the end of January at the Royal Rumble.

As of this writing, here are the announced matches with some quick predictions on each.

Raw Tag Team Championships: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins – I don’t know how many times these teams have wrestled on television in the last few months, but we are seeing it again. I think there will be a title change. Having Ambrose and Rollins win back the Tag Titles while their Shield buddy Roman Reigns is Intercontinental Champion makes a lot of sense. Plus, WWE loves title changes lately.

Sasha Banks vs. Paige – This was announced on Saturday. Paige is leading the new heel group Absolution with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, so those two should be involved too. I think we’ll see something where Bayley and Mickie James (both women were attacked backstage by Absolution last week) will be in Banks’ corner, but I expect Paige to do the heel thing of cheating to win. This is Paige’s first match on WWE TV since August 2016, so I don’t think she should lose.

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese – It’s a four-way cruiserweight match where the winner of this match faces Rich Swann, who won a match last week on Raw, with the winner of that getting a Cruiserweight Title shot against Enzo Amore. I’m going with Alexander for the win to set up a match versus his fellow face buddy Swann next week. If WWE goes the heel route then Gulak is a good choice. Ali isn’t a bad option either as a face winner, but I think it’s time for Alexander to get elevated a bit.

There may also be a match with Jason Jordan challenging Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental Championship. Here’s a clip of Jordan issuing the challenge.

If it happens, look for Jordan to sell that knee injury of his that will likely continue for weeks until he does his heel turn officially. It’s definitely helping Jordan in terms of adding some heat to his character and helping him get some reactions. Also, Reigns was attacked by Samoa Joe on the stage last week on Raw, so that story should continue too.

I’ll have my WWE Raw Deal review up on Tuesday morning. Starting in January, I will write that review live most weeks.

In Other News

– Matt Hardy’s character is undergoing a transformation these days. Last week we wrote about how he’s likely going to be “WOKEN” Matt Hardy rather than “BROKEN” Matt like he was in 2016 in Impact Wrestling. They started the transformation on last week’s Raw leading to Matt doing his crazy laugh, funny voice and yelling “DELETE” repeatedly. During a house show in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Matt did his ranting again and WWE posted a video about it.

– Following this week’s Raw, WWE Network will be airing a new interview with Roman Reigns hosted by announcer Corey Graves on a show called “Straight to the Source.” It’s another interview show on WWE Network similar to others they have had in the past. Here’s a preview clip with Reigns talking about the Shield reunion while making fun of some of Ambrose’s flexing during their match at Survivor Series a few weeks ago.

– Harper, who we used to call Luke Harper, left WWE’s Smackdown live events early because he had to rush home to be with his wife since she gave birth to their son early. Harper isn’t the kind of guy to talk about his personal life publicly, but it’s great news for his family. We hope Harper’s wife and newborn son are doing well. (PWInsider)

– In sad news, Kyle O’Reilly’s mother passed away due to cancer. Kyle posted this photo of him and his mom on Instagram.

Very sad to see that. Condolences to Kyle and his family during this difficult time.

– Braun Strowman posted on Instagram about how he tried out for WWE five years ago to the day and now he’s doing what he loves by traveling the world for the company. He had no experience wrestling prior to that tryout, yet he’s been one of the company’s best performers this year. It’s been a great run for him already with many years to come.

Here’s the “secret” handshake used by Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss. It’s pretty clever.

The Video Section

Every Saturday, WWE posts a Top 10 video about a topic. In this video, their topic is when a wrestler hit a big move onto two wrestlers at the same time. I think they made some great choices here with #1 standing out as a memorable moment.

Here’s The Miz playing against Curtis Axel in NFL Madden  ’18 on the UpUpDownDown channel run by Xavier Woods. It’s part of a Raw vs. Smackdown tournament they have going. I won’t give away the winner, but kudos to The Miz for using the lowly Cleveland Browns, who are 0-12 during this NFL season. Gotta support the team!

Charlotte Flair, the current WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, is on “Psych: The Movie” this Thursday on USA Network. WWE posted a behind the scenes clip of her kicking ass during some of the fight scenes.

In Case You Missed It

– WWE added three title matches to the Clash of Champions card including two triple threat matches because…well…WWE really loves triple threat matches! Yeah. That must be it.

– Mike Sanchez wrote a random thoughts article about how he likes Eli Drake and Roman Reigns among others while also sharing some (other?) unpopular opinions.

– Check out Marc Madison’s look at the Strange Things in Wrestling for the month of November. I’m with him when it comes to Starrcade being just a house show. It should have been much more than that.

– My latest retro PPV review column is a review of WWE Taboo Tuesday 2004, which was a boring show featuring the Raw brand and also had some ridiculous moments too.

– Here is Max’s preview of the WWE Week ahead including his thoughts on the breakup of the Hype Bros duo of Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, which hopefully leads to good things for them.

In Closing

You may recall that we used to do TJRWrestling News Updates with different writers taking on the task of writing that day’s headlines. The difference now is that it will be just me and as you can see in the title, it will focus on WWE. I know other wrestling companies exist and from time to time I will write about them, but putting WWE in the title lets the reader know what I’m going to focus on. I’m a WWE writer that has been doing this for nearly two decades. I don’t know if I’m an expert, but I follow the business closely and have done so my entire life, so I feel comfortable writing about WWE in depth like I do.

I will try to post these from Monday to Friday before 12pmET every day. Most likely it will be around 10amET, but some days will be closer to noon just because I may have other writing to do in the morning. It won’t be a massive piece of writing that will take a long time to do. This one is over 2,000 words because it’s a Monday and I’m trying to introduce something new, but some days will be much shorter.

I feel like there’s so much content out there and things I can comment on that I normally do on Twitter or Facebook, but I’d rather do it here on TJRWrestling, the site I own, pay for and care about so much. On a Monday, for example, I can talk about what’s advertised for Raw and offer up some thoughts on what might happen. Tuesday has SD. Wed has NXT. And so on. For weekend content I’ll still produce material by doing retro PPV reviews, Q&As or current PPV content.

We don’t do as many news posts as I would like on TJRWrestling (there may be a writer search in the new year to help with that), so it’s a way for me to post news and also comment on things happening in wrestling, but mostly WWE. I can also link to the news stories I do for UPROXX’s With Spandex and articles I write at The Comeback, so it’s good in that sense too.

With all the social media stuff out there on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the YouTube vids WWE posts all the time, interviews that wrestlers do all the time, plus all the news/rumors/gossip that exists and everything else it’s easy to find content.

I am happy with TJRWrestling, but I want it to grow. I like what I do and sometimes I have to push myself to do more because if I’ve learned anything it’s if you want to be successful at something you have to put in the work. Don’t wait for somebody to do it for you. I want you guys that support this site to know you can come to TJRWrestling every weekday from now on and get some news about the wrestling business with my thoughts on it all. I know the reviews I write helped build the site, but for us to get bigger we need to do more and that’s what I’m going to do.

Side note: The closing section won’t be this long normally. Just this one time, I promise.

I’ll leave you with this clip of one of my favorite Rock promos ever that took place on this day 17 years ago. The imitations are hilarious.

Thanks for reading. Shoot me a message on Twitter @johnreport with any thoughts/comments on this and any ideas you may have for it. Back tomorrow for more.