What sounds better: ‘You deserve it’ or ‘you’ve earned it’? Personally I think ‘earned’ is the stronger word and more apt to describe someone who has been given a new opportunity, regardless of what it is.
I’m not dismissing the chant many of the WWE Universe say to the superstars, but I’d rather be told I’d earned something that had been given to me, rather than because it was deemed I deserved it. Earned gives the impression that you worked hard, went above and beyond, did your best and achieved what you set out to do. Deserved means someone gave you something because of what you did. Both are similar, but convey different meanings. Indeed, earned is often referred to in monetary terms as in you earn your wages rather than deserve your wages. Deserve can also have negative connotations as in you get what you deserve, whereas earn always seems a positive notion.
So what does this have to do with wrestling? Well, recently on Smackdown, WWE has gone ahead with singles run for Big E, long-time WWE employee who for the past decade has yet to break through into the top tier of the company. The Miz & Morrison ridiculed the idea at the top of the show, but is it so ridiculous? If you’d have asked me (in a pre-Kofi Kingston 2019 singles run era) who in the New Day trio would be most likely to have success as a singles competitor, I’d have gone with Big E. Nothing against Kofi, but his past success only means Big E’s is that more likely.
Does this mean that Big E ‘deserves’ a singles run, or has he done enough to ‘earn’ one? Firstly, I am in no position to say who deserves what or who has earned what in WWE. I’m not Vince McMahaon, nor a writer on the show, so my opinion is mine and mine alone. That being said, I don’t think Big E hanging around for over 10 years means he should be automatically considered for a singles run and entered into matches to be Universal or WWE Heavyweight Champion. If longevity was the sole reason for stars having title runs or success, Zack Ryder would have been headlining Wrestlemania for the past five years. No, success is earned in my opinion and Big E has certainly done enough to warrant a push. He’s been fortunate to be alongside two great talents in Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, but I don’t think we should diminish his own efforts.
Big E has been part of one of, if not the, most popular and long-lasting factions in professional wrestling. That’s some achievement, considering the fickle nature of the wrasslin’ biz. Big E has played his part well and each member of the group have excelled over the years, capturing multiple tag titles along the way and cementing themselves as one of the most successful stables in history. Most stables fracture at some point, but I see no need to do that for the New Day. The New Day can be different in that they actively support one another’s achievements and stick together to support each member and push them to the best of their ability. Big E is still in the peak years of his career (he’s only 34, one year older than Woods), so I firmly believe he will make that next step (besides, that submission finisher he put on the Miz was superb). Will it come at a cost that means the breakup of the New Day? Hopefully not. The New Day don’t need to break up. They’re friends inside and outside of the ring and a shining light in troubling times of what anyone who works hard enough can achieve. Big E will be a Big Star. Big E will be a top champion.
The Future of Alexa Bliss
Sticking with Smackdown, and what a strange ending to the show two weeks ago. For those who didn’t see that episode, (spoiler alert) the end of that episode of Smackdown saw a dejected Alexa Bliss alone in the ring after Nikki Cross shoved her away in disappointment (after Cross lost her title match against Bayley). The lights went out and then the Fiend appeared bathed in his red glow. He then attacked Bliss with the Mandible Claw. Bliss flopped to the canvas and that was that. This, of course, harks back to the Swamp Fight that The Fiend had with Braun Strowman, where Alexa Bliss briefly appeared dressed in a veil to much confusion. Many of us are guessing Alexa will be revealed as Sister Abigail (a character alluded to during Bray Wyatt’s initial run, although never fully revealed) or perhaps something completely different. I think this could be a winner all round and interesting development for Bliss who has been side-lined in recent months for one reason or another.
Regular readers of my work on here will know how much I support the Women’s Division in WWE and always want to see them succeed. The same is true of Alexa Bliss, however I feel the Women’s Division is in a difficult spot at the moment. All the titles are held by two exceptional talents in Bayley and Sasha Banks, but their dominance and ability means the list of credible challengers is short. Asuka is phenomenal as is Charlotte Flair, but then there’s a gap to the tier below who just need that extra push to get onto the next level (much like Big E). That list is lengthy, and the limited amount of titles in comparison to the men’s division, makes it even harder for the talent and some can get lost in the pack as and when WWE decides to try and push some of the women to the next level.
The current beneficiaries of pushes on the Women’s Division appear to be Nikki Cross and perhaps Nia Jax who had a farcical match on Monday Night Raw two weeks ago. I’m glad to see Sonya Deville getting some screen time too. The point being that there are only two stars carrying belts which means most of the roster won’t be able to interact with them. Rather than wait on the sidelines, WWE has decided to have Bliss interact with The Fiend and this is an interesting move. I really like this twist as it intrigues me as to what they will do with Bliss. Her character has been successful, but perhaps a change is needed. A walk on the dark side could be a huge boost to her character and also aligns her with a top tier talent who is in or around the title scene himself.
There aren’t many parings or factions in WWE right now that have mixed genders, aside from Zelina Vega who is in more of a valet/manager role, so this is new and fresh which is always good. What I also like is that WWE clearly is patient with The Fiend and don’t see any reason to rush his angles or push needless feuds. He can be away from TV for weeks at a time, but we’re reminded of his presence through the Firefly Funhouse vignettes, which I’m hoping Bliss will be a part of too. Can you imagine her as a wholesome, smiling co-host for Bray Wyatt? Giving cheery snippets of advice to children whilst staring maniacally at the camera with a sickly sweet smile. I think she’ll be amazing at the role if given a chance. If Bliss’s character needs a shot in the arm, being part of Bray Wyatt’s team will do wonders for her.
So there are two stars who should be talking points in the coming months. I really hope both succeed in their new challenges as we need fresh developments and change in WWE. It hasn’t gone stale by any means, but shaking things up, even just a little, provides the audience with a reason to tune in. I hope both excel in the future. They’ve earned it.