5 Up, 5 Down: This Week in Wrestling

5 Up

UpBayleyOn Monday, Bayley teamed with the New Day in what felt like a match made in heaven! Greeted by a sea of cheers typically reserved for long time wrestling vets, the NXT call-up is officially and undoubtedly a star. Her undeniable adorableness is second only to her incredible charisma. But don’t let the infectious smiles and “oh-my-gosh” unicorn horns fool you, Bayley is a premiere athlete with one goal: Win the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte may not like it, but there ain’t no stopping her now.

 

UpRhynoWhen the original ECW closed it’s doors over 15 years ago, Rhyno was both the ECW World Champion and ECW TV Champion. Following the closure, he signed with WWE. The Manbeast from Detroit, Michigan gored his way through the competition for 4 years before quietly disappearing from the WWE in 2005. A decade later, in move no one saw coming, Rhyno re-emerged in NXT. Now, thanks to the opportunities presented by the brand split, Rhyno is back on the main roster and just as dangerous as ever. On Smackdown last night, he quelled the Headbangers’ comeback effort singlehandedly with a vicious gore. The unlikely comeback kid now finds himself two wins away from capturing championship gold once again!

UpReneeFor 4 years, Renee Young has done everything that’s been asked of her. She’s worked as a backstage interviewer, a color commentator in NXT and starred on Total Divas. The host of Talking Smack, Unfiltered and nearly every WWE Pre-Show is officially solidifying herself as an integral part of the Smackdown brand. During her time on screen each week, she has the ability to propel storylines forward and bring out the best in whoever she’s working with. After The Miz’s outburst last week and Renee’s expert handling of the situation, Talking Smack is becoming required viewing. No doubt, Renee is on the rise!

 

UpTripleHHaving not been seen on Raw since Wrestlemania, the WWE’s COO has returned and in typical Game fashion, he made quite the impact. Triple H handed picked the next WWE Universal Champion. Were his actions fueled by his ongoing rivalry with Roman Reigns? Has he grown tired of his old protege’s failures? Or has Triple H decided that the future is now and only his NXT guys are fit to carry the torch in the new era? It could be all or none of the above. His answers will definitely dominate headlines after next Monday’s Raw.

 

UpOwensChampYou can’t bet against the prizefighter. Kevin Owens has reached the top of the mountain in WWE. While he had more than a helping hand, KO’s rise was inevitable. He’s a ruthless wrecking ball in the ring and a force to be reckoned with on the microphone. When you think of dream opponents for legends of the past or impending collision courses for the superstars of the future, Owens’ name is usually the first to come to mind. Owens vs Brock. Owens vs Nakamura. Owens vs Triple H. Owens vs The Rock. Owens vs Rollins. Owens vs The Undertaker. Owens vs The World. Mr. Wrestling is the champion of the universe and the future is bright for him and for fans.

 

5 Down

DownPrimeTimePlayersThe team formerly known as the Prime Time Players is in no man’s land. Both wrestlers (and their now-defunct-partnership) have been irrelevant for so long, the stakes are non-existent. Neither man has had much success as a singles wrestler, so a win holds no value. If Titus bests Darren Young, so what? If Darren Young conquers Titus, who cares? They did this feud back in 2014 and it had no meaning then. Two years later, the addition of Bob Backlund does nothing. Time for these two to move on.

 

DownFoley
Mick Foley has been doing a good job as Raw’s GM. Unfortunately, things started to fall apart on Monday. Triple H’s return could spell disaster for Mrs. Foley’s baby boy. There are two possible scenarios after Raw’s main event: Stephanie is in on Triple H’s plan and Foley is not or Triple H went rogue and is about to cause major problems for the Raw leadership. Either way, the hardcore legend is on the outside looking in and he’s losing his grip on the brand. Foley has to flex his muscle as the leader on Raw or he might find himself out of a job sooner rather than later.

 

DownNikkiBellaMaking an improbable return from injury at SummerSlam, Nikki Bella pinned Carmella after a TKO. Since SummerSlam however, it’s been Carmella that’s had the upperhand, viciously attacking Nikki three times. Heading into the six pack challenge at Backlash, Nikki will have to constantly look over her shoulder for her new, ruthless rival. Having a sworn enemy in a match like that will significantly hurt Bella’s chances of becoming the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion. Can she stop Carmella’s onslaught before then? We’ll see.

 

DownApolloCrewsClose only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. So while Crews had a decent showing against IC Champ The Miz at SummerSlam and #1 Contender AJ Styles on Smackdown, both losses have Crews’ stock plummeting. Where does he go from here? It’s hard to say. Most of the top guys on the Smackdown brand are actively involved in heated rivalries which means Crews probably won’t be wrestling in a meaningful match at Backlash. With NXT in reloading mode, a trip back to Full Sail for a few weeks or months might be the best option for athletic big man.

 

DownBo
Bo Dallas was arrested in an airport this week for an alcohol related disturbance that may or may not have involved singing Lion King songs boisterously. While that is a little comical to envision, this is sadly the second alcohol related arrest in Bo’s WWE career. Whether he has an ongoing issue or these are two isolated incidents, Bo doesn’t have enough value to the WWE for them to deal with these types of headaches. It’s time for the former NXT champion to get his act together and decide who he wants to be if he hopes to ever achieve any long term success in this business.

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