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Were Flair's Balor Comments Off?, Why Ziggler Is Being Criticized, Move On From Goldberg, Upcoming Returns

Finn Balor & Ric Flair

What is your take on Ric Flair’s controversial comments about Finn Balor?

Rio Flair set off a firestorm amongst the IWC and within WWE when he made comments about Finn Balor last week on his podcast. For those that missed the comments, I’ll re-run the quote and then respond:

“If I'm looking at what's going to draw money, what I would pay to see, I would pay to see Dolph against Ambrose before I'd pay to see Finn Bálor against Seth Rollins, so I think it's phenomenal. I think Finn Bálor is great too. I just think you've got a legitimate heavyweight in Seth Rollins, a legitimate heavyweight in Roman Reigns, and I don't think we'll ever see the day, and I could be totally wrong, that a cruiserweight will ever main event a WrestleMania. And that's what you have to look at, I think, in the total picture of the [professional wrestling] business. He's of that [cruiserweight] size. I mean, if you look at the two of them side by side, he [has] got a great physique, gosh, but he's smaller. Yeah, I don't think he weighs 200 pounds.”

I’ll open by saying I’m not going to disrespect Ric Flair. Yeah, he left himself open for a ton of jokes, criticism and ridicule but I don’t mock legends. That’s just not something that I do. This business has given me too much for me to sit here at my computer and diss one of the greatest of all-time. Ric is allowed to have an opinion, even if it is an unpopular one. We covered the WWE reaction in our Members content and as you can probably imagine, they aren’t pleased. But aside from all of this, I believe Flair’s comments reflect a philosophical difference of opinion between the old generation versus the new generation.

Size and “look” used to mean everything in professional wrestling. It wasn’t just the perfect bodybuilder physique but having a “look” meant a whole lot more than it does today. There are a lot of reasons for this but a lot of it has to do with kayfabe. In 2016, professional wrestling is more than a storyline of good versus evil or the underdog story of David versus Goliath. Today’s wrestling fans are the smartest wrestling fans there have ever been and over the last five years we’ve seen a major shift in the attitudes of fans. They want the most talented to succeed and are caring less and less about how a worker looks. I’ll give an example and you can decide for yourself.

Dave Batista is one of the most accomplished WWE Superstars of all-time, he has the stereotypical look that Vince McMahon loves but when Vince brought him back, the fans rejected him in favor of Daniel Bryan. Now, that wasn’t a black and white issue and creative certainly didn’t do Dave any favors, but I can just see Vince McMahon throwing his face in his hands and wondering why the fans were burying this accomplished Superstar in favor of the indie guy from Aberdeen, Washington.

This is why you will see a lot of fans accuse that Vince is just out of touch. And that may be true. But I believe Ric just has more of an old school mentality where guys like Finn Balor haven’t convinced him. I am convinced Balor can evolve into the face of WWE. I think Daniel Bryan was about there and CM Punk was too. It will continue take time for some of the more “old school” guys to buy in but the business is changing. And while we can all accuse Ric of being out of touch or operating under an “old school” mentality, it’s important that we do so with respect. Ric deserves that.

Dolph Ziggler tweeted this: “#TFW they wish you got a shot, then they complain that you got it.” What do you think about criticism directed towards him?

Dolph Ziggler is one of the most deserving workers on the WWE roster. What makes him deserving? He’s had phenomenal matches, carries a tremendous look, is loaded with charisma and seems to be one well-written push from breaking out as a legitimate top superstar. For years, I’ve criticized WWE’s misuse of him and others like him and I’m thrilled to see him in the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam. But as for the criticism, it’s not completely unwarranted.

I understand the IWC is a fickle bunch full of criticism and I often push back. And I will push back here, they need to have some patience. But I don’t think the criticism is that Ziggler is getting a push or that Ambrose vs. Ziggler for the WWE Championship is one of the main events at SummerSlam. I think the criticism is how it came out of nowhere. The IWC isn’t anything if they aren’t skeptical and at this point it’s hard to not be skeptical when it comes to Ziggler.

Is this finally the opportunity so many of us have waited for or is Ziggler just someone they can use as a stopgap to build credibility to Dean Ambrose’s title reign? Or do they just not have anyone else to work the program? I’m on board. Ziggler vs. Ambrose has a ton of potential and both could be major stars but I get the skepticism and I am not as optimistic as I would have been a few years ago. WWE has played the fans a lot over the years and as a result, many of us have a hard time trusting their intentions.

Would you like to see Goldberg return given his lackluster first run in WWE?

Bill Goldberg had one memorable moment in WWE for me and that was when he drank beer in the ring with Steve Austin. Other than that, it was lackluster and nothing near what he had established in WCW. He’ll be 50 years old in December and hasn’t been in the mainstream spotlight for over a decade. WWE is loaded with new talent that is ready to break out, I have no interest in a Goldberg return. However, this goes back to the point I was just making. WWE has teased us before they are going to push their up and comers, only to load Wrestlemania down with part-time talent. It’s time to move on and see what this roster is made of!

Since Shelton Benjamin is returning to WWE, is there any truth to MVP returning as well?

Teddy Long told Steve Gerweck that Shelton Benjamin and MVP were returning to WWE pending medical clearance and it was later announced Benjamin would in fact be returning on Smackdown. MVP said it wasn’t true so we’ll see what happens.

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