Each week, we break down the world of professional wrestling and examine two of the polar opposite ends of the spectrum: one thing that was by far the worst thing (Cheap Heat) and the best thing (Cheap Pop) to happen over the past 7 days in sports entertainment. So, what went down this week that we loved and hated about the business?
My pop choice of the week must go to the promos delivered by Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose on Monday Night Raw. It more than made up for last week's disappointing SmackDown, where Seth's only answer to the betrayal was that he did not have to give an answer about the betrayal.
Ambrose was captivating with his delivery, intense anger and unhinged nature pumping at full force. Watching him made me realise just how good he could be as WWE champion. There is no doubt in my mind he has what it takes to do it. In mere seconds, he managed to convince me that this rivalry will be a storyline worth watching. His belief in The Shield may have been misplaced, but the belief in himself is anything but.
After his speech, he passed the microphone to Reigns. Reigns's initial deliverance came across a little awkward. There was a noticeable gap after his opening line, as if trying to remember what he wanted to say. But once he got past this little hiccup, he seemed to warm up nicely and really got into it. While Ambrose is clearly the talker of the two, Reigns was no slouch. The crowd really bought into his blasting of Orton as the "face of WWE", proclaiming he was going to make him into the ass of WWE.
We now turn to the turncoat, Seth Rollins, who by this point had exchanged his Shield signature body armour for a more Authority-appropriate scrubbed up look. His speech was easily on par with Ambrose's. He was confident, cocky and engaging as he explained the reasoning behind turning against his Shield brethren.
Two weeks ago, it seemed almost impossible that Rollins could do this. But seeing him acting and looking like he does now, it really couldn't be more fitting he was the one to turn. How did we not see it coming!?
An obvious choice for heat of the week would have been the stripping of Bryan's title. Do not get me wrong, I contemplated it being my topic of choice. Bryan is easily one of my favourite wrestlers in the WWE today, but as Triple H pointed out, this is not the Daniel Bryan fan club—it's the WWE, and it's a business. I have to agree with him. Bryan won't be competing for some time. To not have a fighting champion for 5-6 months was a very unlikely outcome. The stripping had to happen and I accept that. It also gives Bryan an instant story line upon return—he was never beaten for the title. Once again, the underdog will have to chase it, and being dog-determined is where Bryan shines best.
So no, this was not the worst thing to happen this week. What I am more concerned about is the state of the WWE United States Championship—again. It lost prestige by being on Ambrose too long. His lack of title defences—though no fault of his own—became something of a running joke. When he eventually lost the title to Sheamus during a Battle Royal, it really looked like the title was being utilized again.
For a time, this was the case. In my eyes Sheamus has certainly been a fighting champion. He has given the title a little more attention and meaning. But now, he is actively pursuing the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It once again feels the title is being lost in the storyline. In his post match interview on Monday Night Raw, he said that although he was proud to be the U.S champion, he was going after the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While logical in the sense that, of course he would want to do that, it does make the U.S title seem little more than a consolation prize.
Sheamus's involvement in the MITB match also means there will be no U.S title defense at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view. Should he actually become the WWE World Heavyweight champion, again, he is unlikely to defend the U.S title often—especially not on pay-per-view in lieu of the heavyweight title. So once again, we would be left with the same problem that surrounded the Ambrose reign.
Just to add insult to injury to the title, last week WWE released a video on YouTube where The Miz accounts his career and life accolades. The WWE Championship, 2 Intercontinental Championships, 4 Tag Team Championships — but no mention of his United States title reign! Really Miz? Really? You chose to mention you were editor of a college magazine instead of this?
Let's not forget, this tertiary title has an illustrious lineage dating back to 1975. I believe it still has it's place in the WWE for the lower-mid cards, it deserves better than this.
So there you have it, my two choices for the week. What do YOU think are the Cheap Pop and Cheap Heat this week in professional wrestling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!