wrestling / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Wrestling: Has Owens’ Title Run Been a Disappointment?

December 23, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Kevin Owens - Superstars

Welcome back to the latest edition of 411 Fact or Fiction, Wrestling Edition! Stuff happened, people loved/hated it and let everyone else know. I pick through the interesting/not so interesting tidbits and then make 411 staff members discuss them for your pleasure. Battling this week are 411’s Mitch Nickelson and Len Archibald!

  • Questions were sent out Monday.
  • Participants were told to expect wrestling-related content, as well as possible statements on quantum physics, homemade pharmaceuticals, the Turtle Total Trip Theorem, pizza and hydroponics.

    1. Kevin Owens’ run as Universal Champion has been a disappointment.

    Mitch Nickelson: FICTION – I’ve enjoyed Owens’ run. It hasn’t produced the same level of in-ring offerings as A.J. Styles on SmackDown but he’s still found plenty of ways to entertain. The Owens/Jericho best friends shtick has been one of the better parts of Raw for many months. Even when his matches aren’t the best he at least has a few minutes of chinlock banter somewhere in the middle of the action and that’s always great. Kevin Owens’ (technically record-breaking) reign as Universal Champion has been far from disappointing.

    Len Archibald: FICTIOB – Unpopular opinion, I know – but the truth is I have really enjoyed KOs run as universal champion, chickenshit heel booking not withstanding. I have adopted a philosophy to criticize based on the performer and not the creative decisions given to that performer. With that in mind, I feel Kevin Owens title run has been mildly successful. His matches as champion has not set the world on fire, but my fellow Canuck is making up for it with character work. Owens has added another layer to his Prizefighter character: he has ALWAYS done what it takes to win matches; he was doing it on his own in NXT and upon his RAW debut – Owens has evolved to show that he is also willing to take shortcuts and take advantage of favoritism (Triple H handing him the Universal Title) and alliances (Jericho) to keep the belt on him. The slow burn between he and Jericho has been compelling for me, simply because I know when Y2J is motivated, he will go all out to put over a talent (sigh, Fandango.) But, point still stands: for his run, it is more feasible in my eyes that Owens has proven that he is able to run with the ball as a Main Event player.

    2. WWE needs to keep Charlotte and Sasha Banks separated for a long time.

    Mitch Nickelson: FACT – Yes, they need to let these two move on to new feuds, which looks to be the case. I’m reminded of the last singles match on PPV between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens earlier this year that was billed like it was the last one in their feud. However, they’d still wrestle each other in random Raw matches in the following months. It’s silly to not give these wrestlers breaks so when they inevitably lock up again the fans might actually be ready to receive it. Plus, moving on from each other in this case means that Bayley and Nia Jax get actual feuds. It’s nice to see them getting to do stuff.

    Len Archibald: FACT – Yeah, it’s time to put this rivalry on the shelf for the foreseeable future. Banks and Charlotte has been the meat and potatoes of the “Women’s Evolution” along with the WWE RAW Women’s Title. They have been going back and forth as partners, friends and rivals for nearly three years, now. Now that the feud is over for now, looking back I think what was done with the ladies was sort of brilliant: an unspoken Best of 7 series between the women that ended with Charlotte on top four wins to three. I know some do not like the hot potato of the RAW Women’s Title, but in its current incarnation, only two women have held it and they fought tooth and nail to keep it from their rival. It is my favorite feud of 2016 (ducks), but it is time to end it. Even Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat took some time off away from each other.

    3. What is your level of excitement regarding the WWE United Kingdom Championship title & tournament.

    Mitch Nickelson: 8 out of 10 – Being an American, I only catch bits and pieces of what’s going on in the British Wrestling scene. I understand the boom and other writing gigs keep me informed on a decent amount of it. I’m aware of Joseph Connors and the Moustache Mountain guy and maybe one or two more, but that’s about it. Even though I probably don’t know at least half of the competitors that really doesn’t matter because the crowds across the pond will help create an atmosphere that’ll be easy to get sucked in on. More wrestling is always a good thing. More wrestling from a region that’s super hot for wrestling is a much better thing.

    Len Archibald: 7 out of 10 – If this is treated like the CWC where the endgame is a U.K. Talent-Only show, I am on board. They had me at Nigel McGuinness. It is always awesome when audiences are exposed to other facets of pro wrestling culture and the United Kingdom boasts some of the most passionate of the fanbase and UK wrestling itself has a storied history. Now, of the WWE UK Title ends up as an afterthought on RAW like the Cruiserweight Title, I will be very disappointed. There is a niche fanbase WWE can capitalize on and it only makes sense to put their best foot forward. I am cautiously optimistic. At the same time, I wonder what Bad News Barrett thinks of this.


    4. Total Nonstop Deletion was an amazing episode of Impact.

    Len Archibald: FICTION – Total Nonstop Deletion was a very good, fun and engaging bit of television – a successful evolution of The Final Deletion. I hold my reservations for “amazing” to something that grabs me by the balls like the stiffest YouPorn Plex. Matches like Hart vs. Austin, Banks vs. Bailey or moments like Hall showing up on Nitro declaring war on WCW. Eddie Edwards and Lashey had a great match with a non-ending. We got a taser, a ref bump in a women’s match that didn’t last four minutes and a filler match between Ichweed and Chet Sterling. Tag Team APOCALYPTO…that had moments that was certainly inspired, but it is only part of the show. For me to call it “amazing” this episode needed to reach heights of some of the best of pro wrestling television cover to cover in history. It made a great effort, but did not quite reach it. If the entire episode was the Tag Team APOCALYPTO and delivered, this would have been an easy FACT from me.

    Mitch Nickelson: FACT – I can understand why a full 2 hours of the Broken Hardy hijinx might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I loved it. Even the undercard stuff with Itchweeed and baby Hardy getting a win fit in perfectly with the evening of nonsense. The oddest part of the whole show was when Eddie Edwards and Bobby Lashley attempted an actual normal wrestling match, but at least they battled it out into the North Carolina wilderness, presumably to continue wrestling for several days afterward. The Apacolypto itself was a worthy entry into the Final Deletion saga as well, filled with murders, classic cameos, and even a pregnancy announcement. I look forward to whatever those crazy Hardy’s plan to do next.

    5. Cody Rhodes, especially compared to the Ryback, designed the perfect way o exit WWE and market himself to the independent scene.

    Len Archibald: FICTION – Is “The Ryback” still a thing? As much as I love Cody Rhodes, he is not the most successful template of marketing himself after a WWE exit to the indies: it’s Daniel Bryan. Remember when he choked out poor Justin Roberts, got controversially released and just went town to town on an indie “Farewell Tour”? He was red-hot and fans were passionate to follow his every move to see if somehow, someway AMDrag would return to the bright lights of Vince McMahon’s sandbox. I went on a tangent, but, no – even compared to Ryback (who really has not done anything of note himself since leaving WWE) has Cody designed a “perfect” way to market. It is a fun time and it is commendable that Rhodes is looking to strike on his own, but he needs more time on the indies and be part of something akin to Smark water cooler talk. When that moment happens, my opinion may change.

    Mitch Nickelson: FACT – Cody Rhodes is having a better indie run than most ex-WWE guys, I’m not really sure why The Big Guy is the one we’re singling out here because Ryback’s not doing terrible for himself. His podcast is keeping him in the public eye but it doesn’t sound like he’s getting anywhere near the bookings of his peers. I’ve caught Cody’s TNA and WCPW stuff since his WWE exit and I think he’s riding his buzz very well. Now that he’s getting plugged into New Japan’s Bullet Club he’s finally in a position to make his reinvention more of a reality. If this leads to a Rhodes vs. Omega match down the line, that’ll be huge for him.

    6. Tye Dillinger should make his main roster debt in the Royal Rumble, at #10.

    Len Archibald: FACT – Only for the crowd reaction. I like Tye Dillinger a lot as a performer. He was super bland when he returned to WWE from his barely there initial run, but his “Perfect 10” persona is a nice, larger than life character that can evolve over the years. Dillinger has busted his ass to get over at Full Sail and has an easy hook for the fanbase to rally around (chanting “TEN!” could end up being the new “YES!” or “WHAT?”) Dillinger being placed in the 10th spot for the Royal Rumble would be fun, memorable for his fans and could open the door to a nice feud come WrestleMania season if his moment is ruined by a rival (I’m looking at you, Baron Corbin, ruiner of all that is fun and favored by the fanbase.) BOOK IT!

    Mitch Nickelson: FACT – Even if WWE has no intentions of giving him a main roster run in the near future, this HAS TO HAPPEN. It’s a guarantee that the crowd will boo whoever is not Tye Dillinger in this spot so why not please the audience? I guess they could place a heel in here who will come out and mock the “10” chants. That could be a good opportunity for heat. Or they could resign Rey Mysterio just to screw with him again in the Rumble like the year he came out as Number 30 and happened to be not Daniel Bryan.

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