Over the case of the last thirty days, a number of different stories, angles, and storylines caught the wrestling community’s attention. Which one’s stood out and made the list?
Over the course of September, numerous stories have broken in the wrestling world. Some took place inside the ring, some took place outside it, but only a few created widespread commentary and speculation in the wrestling world. The news for this month, in particular, had a heavy focus on the world of WWE, as four out of the five most talked about moments in wrestling were all tied to World Wrestling Entertainment. In what we intend to have as a monthly feature, we will explore the 5 biggest stories of the month to break-in wrestling.
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Several of these stories initially created a buzz on social media, and then built traction after that. In the past, the unfortunate passing of wrestlers may have been the most significant story, this month has the subtitle ‘the internet wrestling community collectively smiled.’ September brought with it several items that filled newswires across the internet. We have the success of two particular wrestlers, a revitalized promotion based on a particular storyline, and the culmination of the tournament among those highlighted in this collection.
Just what made the collective IWC breathe a sigh of relief this past month? Five separate stories with the commonality that what fans of independent wrestling had wanted to see for the longest time finally came to be, and we are all better for it.
The collective wrestling internet fanbase exploded at the support that Triple H gave to Kevin Owens, and the outpouring of adulation for Owens has been incredible. When Kevin Steen was first reported as coming to WWE, starting with their NXT brand, fans were ecstatic. Starting with the fanfare for his debut and immediate betrayal of SamiZayn, Owens has worked programs with a number of talent on the roster.
While there was certainly concern over the fact that he lost to John Cena, that followed a win over Cena, and it did not impede his climb up the ranks of the WWE roster. Whether it was the Intercontinental championship runs or being included in the fatal four-way for the WWE Universal title, it is clear that the company has faith in what he can do. Would he have earned the title had Finn Balornot have been injured? Possibly down the road, but not immediately. Regardless, this achievement is certainly a highlight of the month.
Styles took the WWE by storm with his debut at the Royal Rumble this past January. From the moment the words ‘I am Phenomenal‘ flashed upon the jumbotron, fans knew that AJ Styles was finally in the WWE. His journey to get here says a lot about him. At 39 years of age, it would be easy to think that he wouldn’t embrace change, but it seems that change motivated him to achieve. He could have easily remained in Japan and toured, but it wasn’t as beneficial for him on a financial and family basis, not to mention, while he may not state it, his legacy.
When he defeated Dean Ambrose at Backlash, fans finally witnessed what they had always hoped would happen for the Phenomenal One, AJ Styles is the WWE World Heavyweight champion. It is no longer a dream, but a reality made possible by his hard work since his arrival. Often success is measured by what you did. In Styles’ case, success is measured by what he continues to do.
One of the most interesting things to come out of TNA recently has been the development and emergence of the Broken Matt Hardy character. That emergence has led to the production of short videos that have gained a great deal of traction. The initial one, named Final Deletion, was about Broken Matt Hardy trying to break his brother Jeff Hardy, who he referred to as Brother Nero, and get Jeff to join him. The younger Hardy succumbed, and in doing so the cult-like following for this video spawned something different and new. Meanwhile, a rival group that has grown in popularity is The Decay.
For those unaware, it is a group consisting of Abyss, Crazzy Steve, and Rosemary. With the Hardys being number one contenders for Decay’s tag team championship, the groups were headed for a showdown, and the ultimate showdown was titled #DeleteOrDecay. It was a social media craze, as the hashtag enticed even the most novice of TNA followers to watch. Whether fans were supportive or not of the video, there is no denying that the angle they put together will undoubtedly bring in new fans to TNA.
2. Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals
The month of September was ablaze with the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals of the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic. During this time, we saw incredible matchups, nonstop action, and a high-octane talent blitz during the competition. With the semifinals and finals taking place on September 14th, this writer made his predictions as to whom he believed would have come out victorious. Fans all over the world were treated to an incredible final four consisting of Gran Metalik,Zack Sabre Jr, KotaIbushi and TJ Perkins.
The winners of the semifinals matches were Gran Metalik and TJ Perkins, and as their finals match was set to begin, Triple H walked out and informed the crowd that the winner would not only be the Cruiserweight Classic champion, but the NEW WWECruiserweight champion. After a nearly 20 minute affair, Perkins was able to make Metalik tap out to his kneebar hold. Perkins was able to not only lock in the move, but wrench it in at a point where Metalik had no other option but to quit.
Jan 2, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Former WWE star Phil CM Punk Brooks is the featured guest for the UFC 182 Q&A session Friday evening before the start of the weigh-ins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
1. CM Punk UFC Debut
On the eve of WWE’s Backlash pay per view, the UFC had their own pay per view, UFC 203. While UFC shows will vary in prestige, on this particular night a first took place. After nearly two years of preparation, injury and recovery, CM Punk became the latest WWE alumni to step into the octagon. Despite putting in a gallant effort, Punk lost in less than 3 minutes of the first round to Mickey Gall. To those that wanted to see him fail, they didn’t necessarily receive their wish.
Punk demonstrated humility and didn’t say that this was the end for him. It was a rather inspiring story that Punk had told by walking into the Ultimate Fighting Championship and attempting to win. While there is no timeframe as to when Punk will compete again, he has promised that he will be back. Punk has received praise for his performance from both wrestling fans and UFC fighters alike.