One of the best things about tapping into wrestling history is that there’s so much of it. For better or for worse, the legacy of today is shaped in the past; whether it be a long time ago or much more recent. Every day we’re finding and sharing new stories across our Facebook and Twitter account, so to keep fully up to date make sure you’re checking those out. But some stories require a little more, so each week we’re going to bring to you a few either important or our favourite moments in time and delve a little deeper.
January 30th 2005 – Eddie Gets Flairs Number
It’s often been said that little things make a big difference. In the right hands a small and seemingly insignificant part can become something rather special. Eddie Guerrero was that and so much more, so when you add an all time great like Ric Flair into a segment then the end result is always going to be good. If it’s even possible, both Flair and Eddie are a little low key, which makes sense given this is supposed to be nothing more than admin that the cameras wouldn’t normally catch up on. Flair’s mini celebration at his number with Eddie giving the camera a sour glance sets the scene. They’re not telling us verbally but we know exactly what’s happened. A feigned show of sportsmanship from Eddie is all he needs to enact his plan, before Ric shows his number to everyone else in the room. By then it’s too late and the sudden change in Flair’s demeanour sells the spot for what it is. Great character work doesn’t have to be that complicated, it underlines what we already know about both men; Flair gets too cocky and Eddie gets crafty.
January 29th 2019 – Eco Not So Friendly
While it may have been something that dates back much longer than the modern era, there haven’t been many personalized belt reveals over the years that have been for a good reason to advance the story or even fulfilled the most basic of criteria in looking good. While it can be said that this particular incarnation wasn’t imperative to D-Bry’s character at the time it was certainly a lot more meaningful than simply adding a spinning aspect to a belt for example. The only downside of this particular title is arguably how short of a time it was in play. Bryan was putting out some of the best promo work of his WWE career in a role that really shouldn’t have worked. How can you boo a man that wants to save the planet? Daniel Bryan showed us how it was possible. The design of the belt was as refreshing as the character change but only lasting two months isn’t likely to remain in the immediate conscious of those watching that aren’t able to immediately recall everything he does with such fondness. It seems unlikely given the ever constant speculation regarding how long Bryan has left but maybe we’ll see it again one day.
January 27th 2014 – Punk’s Breaking Point
There’s been so much written about this moment and how it transpired over the course of months leading up to it for anyone to not know the full ins and outs that doesn’t want to already. The abridged version is, Punk had carried the title for a long time and was very banged up as a result. He felt like he wasn’t quite getting the recognition for this and had essentially reached a place in his mind whereby they could no longer convince him to put his health on the backburner. Sure it’s a great shame all the matches we could have seen with a plethora of superstars that were just about to reach main event status or would come along in the future. If the guy doesn’t want to put his body through it anymore however, none of it matters. He once represented – whether he meant to or not – a generation of indie stars that would veer away from Vince’s idea of superstars were more important than wrestlers. As a result of his departure (he was tentatively pencilled in to fight HHH at Wrestlemania), pieces would be moved around that then eventually led to Daniel Bryan’s epic victory. That being said, there is still a Punk shaped hole in wrestling and he would be welcomed back with open arms when he decides that’s what he wants to do.
January 29th 2012 – Vince’s Sheamus Surprise
It would be wrong to call it petulance – or imply it the reaction of a child – for the sheer fact that we don’t really know how valid this is. But at least on face value not only is it easy to comprehend we also have the evidence that Vince loves to shake things up. Mostly it’s down to pulling the rug on a obvious ending – even if it’s the right one – or leaked storylines that don’t exactly set the pulses racing. The 2012 Royal Rumble was not exactly all about Chris Jericho but he was in the drivers seat. A intriguing return with him trolling the crowd all January, coupled with a potential feud with CM Punk that was one to surely get the attention from the so called “purists” – it was an absolute no brainer on the WWE’s part. That being said, the call was made somewhat late on to go with Sheamus to win the Royal Rumble, which wouldn’t disturb any plans as he was getting great reactions on at house shows as a babyface and would be a great foil for Daniel Bryan’s cocky heel champion. That is, so long as they don’t do anything stupid and book the fighting Irishman to go over an indie favourite like Bryan in less than thirty seconds…
January 29th 2019 – Dean Departs The Fed
Working for Vince McMahon isn’t for everyone, that we’ve already established. The frustration that must come from achieving so much and yet being held back creatively is exactly the kind of motivation someone would need to move on to pastures new. In Ambrose’s case, there were an ever growing number of questionable choices being made by people directly affecting his performance. His match with Brock Lesnar at the Wrestlemania prior drew criticism for the contrast between it’s build which implied a more hardcore element than it delivered. Additionally, there was the questionable heel turn and tasteless promo regarding Roman Reigns health that Ambrose himself had to draw a line and in his words: “I’m not even going to say it on air – that’s how bad it was. It would have been a thing where somebody would’ve had to get fired“. Ambrose’s eventual release would go on to be a protracted on as the WWE tried to milk as much as much money out of The Shield before he left. There were moments, rumours and even a legitimate possibility it seemed that Ambrose would still resign long after this tweet was posted given the return of Reigns and the awful gas mask heel run aborted but it wasn’t meant to be.
For most people, leaving the WWE is all about being able to build enough momentum to return. The former Dean Ambrose now Jon Moxley very much sits outside of that, if for nothing else than he is his own man. Joining up with All Elite Wrestling not too long after his departure wasn’t perhaps the inevitability it seems now, for he really could have done anything he wanted. From minute one of arriving however, he was billed as very much a big deal and has delivered on multiple occasions during his time as AEW champion. It’s unlikely to serve as a reminder to Vince McMahon to take better care of some of his talent but it is ultimately a story that shows how much more opportunity there is for those with the talent to showcase it nowadays.