WWE success stories are in short supply these days.
The company has gone out of its way to bungle its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ratings are down across the board. They had to weather an onslaught of Speaking Out allegations. And they keep giving Bruce Prichard more jobs.
Still, WWE is capable of doing some things right. And yes, I’m filled with inner pain having written that sentence.
The fact is, there are a few glimmers of hope for Vinnie Mac’s House Of Smack.
Here’s our look at a handful of WWE success stories.
Drew McIntyre – ‘Roman’ Booking Done Right
You may be surprised, this being the internet and all, but WWE fans are a fickle bunch.
Roman Reigns was pushed to the moon for about four years straight. He beat everybody, and absolutely nobody could touch him. And WWE fans hated it. Hated the ever-loving crap out of it.
Fast forward to the present, and Drew McIntyre is thriving as WWE Champion. WWE put the proverbial rocket pack on the guy, and he’s bulldozed through all challengers.
And fans seem to be digging it.
McIntyre’s reign as WWE Champion should be one the history books are bound to forget. The same way whoever wins the World Series this year will always have an asterisk next to their name? That’s how Drew McIntyre’s title reign should feel. But it feels so much bigger.
Drew brings a gravitas and a presence that’s been sorely missing from the WWE Championship picture. Where WWE hoped the championship would “make” Roman Reigns, McIntyre has managed to “make” the championship. The result is one of a few WWE success stories.
Bayley And Sasha Banks – The Art Of The Slow Burn
Normally when we talk about slow burns, we’re talking about AEW storylines. But WWE can play that game, too. More often than not, they just decide not to.
Which makes it all the more surprising that the budding tensions between Bayley and Sasha Banks rank among WWE success stories.
As recently as WrestleMania 36, I remember wondering, “Why won’t they just pull the trigger on Sasha vs. Bayley already?!”
But part of that is because I knew to temper my expectations when it comes to WWE. Normally, WWE would hotshot an angle between Sasha and Bayley. Their restraint in not throwing the two together is admirable. And, as it turns out, they’d be up a creek if they’d hotshotted it.
WWE built its women’s division around Ronda Rousey for a year. She left. Then they built it around Becky Lynch for a year. Now she’s pregnant. Then they put Charlotte Flair on every WWE brand imaginable. Now she’s injured. The time is perfect for a prolonged program between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Here’s hoping they hold this out a little longer. And let it spawn more WWE success stories.
Bobby Lashley – Rebuilding
When Bobby Lashley returned to WWE in 2018, expectations were high.
Of course, expectations were high because wrestling fans put their optimism in all the wrong places. Also, we are exceedingly stupid.
A few months ago with the painful Lashley/Lana/Rusev storyline, there’s no way we could have included him on a list of WWE success stories. But in the aftermath of WrestleMania, WWE has been rebuilding Lashley.
At Backlash, The Almighty ditched Lana in favor of new manager MVP. And he gave a pretty good account of himself in his WWE Championship match against Drew McIntyre.
For all intents and purposes, the Lana feud should have completely tanked his career. And somehow, Lashley is on track to come out the other side stronger than ever.
Then again, WWE has wrecked Lashley’s credibility before. We shouldn’t get too excited about this one. But for now, it bears consideration among the WWE success stories.
Okay, so the list of WWE success stories is pretty short.
Even though we’re being optimistic and throwing WWE a pretty rare bone, the living nightmare that is WWE is only going to have so many bright spots.
But they’re bright spots the company can build around. WWE success stories have a history of giving us hope.
Here’s hoping that these rays of light won’t let us down this time. And let’s not regret giving the devil his due.
Images courtesy of WWE.