The wrestling landscape has changed over the past several years, but for WWE their entire existence has been rewritten. After being sold and rebranded under the “TKO” brand with UFC, most WWE fans got their wish. Paul “Triple H” Levesque is now officially the head of creative, with reports stating Vince McMahon is officially out of the creative picture for the first time in many younger wrestling fans’ lives. Many have regarded the changes in a positive light. Some noticed a change in the product’s tone, but some fans have also noticed alarming issues. It’s difficult to get every character’s booking right. The PLE prediction staff have created their own report card to WWE. Watch the video below for the discussion involving Isaiah, Scopey and Roke on the matter.
Isaiah: Gunther. His booking has been superb ever since he’s gotten to the main roster. Many fans worried about the future of the Austrian after he was stripped of his previous identity “Walter.” However, Gunther has broken the curse of great NXT talent being booked poorly that affected talents such as Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, and others. Gunther hasn’t been booked as the stereotypical cheating, squirmy heel. He’s simply been booked as a dominant ring general. In the process of giving Gunther huge wins over big names, he has become a main event caliber talent. Bronson Reed felt like a star the week after his loss to Gunther. This is a good sign of a great job being done.
Scopey: Seth “Freakin” Rollins. After elevating stars over the past few years and being without a world title for 4 years, Rollins has been booked as a fighting champion. Deservingly so. He has a nice long-term storyline with his alleged back injury and his reign was able to get the best out of Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor. It will be interesting to see where it ends, but he’s made the World Championship feel legit.
Roke: Chad Gable. It’s been a rollercoaster for Coach Gable. From being part of a talented tag team in American Alpha with Kurt Angle’s son Jason Jordan to being Shorty G to being the leader of Alpha Academy with Otis. Gable’s hard work in perfecting his craft as a character has finally risen and rivaled his already superb in-ring skills.
Jacob: Ilja Dragunov. The way Ilja has been portrayed on NXT has been fun to watch. There is depth to his character that uniquely is displayed during his matches. He has made adjustments to his move-set during rematches following a loss. This is a breath of fresh air, as while he cuts decent promos, his character development is shown during his matches.
Isaiah: Johnny Gargano. Johnny Wrestling received a nice pop in his return to wrestling after a year-long absence following his release. It felt like Gargano was going to be at least a regular for the company’s midcard. He’s a likable character and has a cool theme song. His booking went from bad to at least mid with the return of DIY. We will see what will come of it, but WWE killed a lot of his momentum. He has the talent to build himself back up and hopefully, Triple H does one of his mentees justice.
Scopey: Rhea Ripley. She isn’t in the worst position booking-wise, but Mami hasn’t always been on top in this aspect. She’s been part of some captivating TV with the Judgment Day, but her run as a champion has been more of a jog. No one has been built up as a serious threat until recently. She had a nice match with Zelina Vega which no one thought she would lose. That match felt as if it was supposed to be the beginning of something, but it just hasn’t been. Until her match with Raquel Rodriguez, she participated in a good match with Natalya in Saudi Arabia in a forgettable storyline. Seriously, does anyone remember why the match took place? It will be interesting to see what comes of the aftermath of her fatal 5 way at Crown Jewel.
Roke: Dominik Mysterio. Dirty Dom has been one of the top heels in the WWE since he turned on his father, Rey Mysterio. Joining the Judgment Day was the perfect move and it’s worked pretty well so far. So what’s the problem? Eventually, that heat is going to wear off. Eventually, Judgment Day will no longer be a thing. Then what?
His booking may have been entertaining, but there is still character development to be desired when it pertains to Dirty Dom. Particularly in the ring. He has the potential to be a star for years to come, but not as is. He needs more ring time, more story, and needs to eventually be able to hold his own in the ring, kayfabe-wise. He’s constantly upped his craft, so hopefully, his character on TV begins to reflect that.
Jacob: Bobby Lashley. Lashley has been one of WWE’s premier stars for the past several years. He’s been over with the fans and seems to only be getting better with age. However, since he’s been moved to Smackdown, fans have been waiting for his impact.
His alliance with the Street Profits appears to be promising, but fans have been waiting for weeks to simply figure out what is next. Lashley hasn’t done a ton except be in the corner of the Profits, almost reminiscent of what MVP was to him. It’s time to figure out what’s next with this group. Everything feels stagnant for now.
Isaiah: Jimmy Uso. The Bloodline storyline has been arguably the greatest storyline in wrestling history. It probably hit its peak when the Usos finally rose against Roman Reigns. The superkick heard around the world from Jey Uso when he sided with.. JIMMY USO in his rebellion against Roman Reigns. Only for… Jimmy Uso to the side against Jey? Except, it wasn’t for Roman. It was for Jey. That was until Jimmy wanted to join the Bloodline again. As he’s trying to fight his way back in, he is once again trying to take control of the Bloodline. He laughs a lot now too.
The paragraph above makes no sense. That’s about as much sense as Jimmy’s booking has been since he turned on Jey Uso. I understand WWE is probably trying to stretch this storyline until Wrestlemania, but they find themselves in a position where Jimmy needs some serious character repairing. It’s a mess.
Scopey: Io Sky. What happened? Io was red hot after her Money in the Bank win. The London crowd gave her a thunderous reception, which would only carry over to Summerslam when she cashed in her briefcase for the Women’s Champion. Michael Cole illustrated the moment as the beginning of the Io Sky era, but it’s been the “everybody, but Io era.” WWE took her momentum and smeared it on the ground for Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka. All three talents are great, but their names are established.
Io’s run has been highlighted by victories with the help of Bailey, despite Sky’s wishes to do business on her own. Bailey’s disobedience hasn’t been opposed by Io. The creative has been lackluster and it’s a shame. She’s just 33 years old, so she at least has time on her side.
Roke: Bailey. If we’re being honest, Bailey has been booked mid pretty much her entire career. It’s understood that injuries have gotten in the way here and there. While she’s had a good career, she simply hasn’t had that breakout moment. She’s been steady, but that’s pretty much it. As mentioned on the show, this storyline with Damage CTRL has been all over the place. At the very least, she should be seeking some tag team title gold. It’s a shame to see one of the all-time top wrestlers in the women’s division be wasted away.
Jacob: Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser. There is no reason why Gunther’s Imperium hasn’t held tag team gold by now. Perhaps WWE shot themselves in the foot by uniting both Raw and Smackdown’s championships. Imperium joins a long list of tag teams that deserve gold by now, but it has been occupied for a few years now by wrestlers at the top of the card.
Aside from a bit here and there, they’ve primarily been used as fall guys for whoever Gunther is feuding with. Imperium should be dominating as much as Gunther himself has.