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?
Fifteen and BO! Fifteen and BO Maguel! Fifteen and BO!
Two months ago, I wrote about my excitement over the WWE debut of Bo Dallas. From his first main roster match, it was clear he had the makings of being someone special—fluid in the ring, an epic entrance theme, and an obvious aptitude for the microphone. He has continued to grow as a performer ever since, and as of late, he has been on what JBL calls "the greatest streak in sports entertainment history."
Every win is like a world championship win. The customary victory lap of ringside, the condensing motivational life coach speech to his fallen opponent, and of course, the proud declaration "I'm winning!" is so entertaining to watch. He is a classic deluded heel, but you cannot but help be endeared by him.
On last week's Friday Night SmackDown, Bo won a handicap match against El Torito and Diego. It was here his heel attitude really shined. Bo appeared mixed up about fighting little Torito, he was bodyslamming him one minute, then expressing concern for his wellbeing the next. All before he promptly dispatched of him via the Running Bo-Dog.
Bo did not stop his Bo-llying there, though. During the victory lap of ringside, he blindly ran straight into Torito, knocking him down to the ringside floor. This should have been booed, but it was in fact cheered. It was just too funny not to. The idea of a WWE superstar not being vilified for being so brutal to a kids favourite is rare, but it is testament to his growing popularity.
Beyond what was a truly comical moment, it is fun to imagine what might happen should Dallas reach 21 and BO? Will he bolieve himself better than the Undertaker? Some have speculated it might spark a feud with The Phenom, or even a returning Brock Lesnar. While neither are very likely, it would be unboleievable for WWE to pass such a score without doing something special to acknowledge it.
Big Gold has gone. Fittingly, it has passed from the shoulders of Cena—or neck, as he oddly wore it—to Ric Flair, the man most heavily associated with its origins.
The giant gold belt—or title I should state— is a curious and fascinating piece of wrestling lore. The roots of the titles lineage date back over 100 years, back from a time where everything was territory based, but with a singular undisputed world champion, travelling from region to region to defend the title.
But the incarnation we are focusing on here, is "Big Gold". First introduced as part of the NWA in 1985, it went on to transcend organizations. It was unified in 2001, reborn to new lineage in 2002, and unified once again in 2013. Its last months of service were as 1 of the 2 belts making up the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Big Gold is remarkably a design has been preserved inviolate. Typically, belts last 5-6 years before a redesign. During the Smackdown/Raw brand split, many saw it as the lesser championship accolade, but at least it looked a great deal more authentic than the awful spin belt championship—which brings me to my "Heat" reason.
Eventually, it was inevitable the WWE Heavyweight Championship would not consist of two belts. One had to go sooner or later. But it is just a shame that I am not really sold on the black WWE logo belt. Is this really the best design to represent it? While it is miles better than the Cena-inspired bling belt, I still am not that fond of it.
The best championship for me will always be the winged eagle designs of the nineties to early noughties. Possibly it is nostalgic attachment, for these are the belts that the likes of HBK, Bret Hart, Austin and The Rock wore. But I know I am not alone in thinking these were beautiful belts. As majestic as the eagle that adorned them, you respected these titles on looks alone.
WWE brought the classic white I.C strap back, so why not the winged eagle? Wishful thinking I know. Since we are likely to have the big black logo belt for some time.
But all this talk of gold has brought one of my favourite WWE PPV tag-lines to mind. "He who holds the power holds the gold, he who holds the gold, holds the power" (Backlash 2001 - 2 Man Power Trip vs Brothers Of Destruction).
He who holds the black doesn't sound quite the same, does it?
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!