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  1. #1

    Taste My Rainbow ~ Heaven Owens, Hammy Zayn and Gorilla Yawnsoon

    Heaven Owens, Hammy Zayn and Gorilla Yawnsoon

    Welcome back to the column that can’t swear off expletives because it’s cursed with an obscene vocabulary - Taste My Rainbow.

    Holy calamity. Tuning into RAW is like watching reruns of old cartoons; only difference is the villains rarely ever get their comeuppance. Sure the women are steadily making strides but have we not backtracked a couple decades in the character building department? Elias is a modern day Honky Tonk Man, AOP are the Mild Samoans, Drake Maverick serves as a revamped Harvey Wippleman, Dolph’s a hipster parading around as Mr. Perfect and Lio Rush is something Slick spit out during a saliva-fueled tirade. Reigns unnaturally cosplayed as Hogan while Ambrose and Rollins continue to play pisspoor versions of Warrior and Savage; on-and-off again pals who aren’t quite held in the same regard. Wrestling’s so cyclical that it tends to make your head spin. You wanna know who were more than mere rinse and repeat caricatures of the ‘80s though? Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

    I speak in past tense because the company’s done next to nothing to keep their goodwill from NXT alive at the next level. Awhile back I began referring to KO as “Heaven Owens” and no not because his career is dead (besides, we both know the dude’s too much of a heel to avoid kayfabe hell). I saw fit to give Kevin said nickname because he’s a God in my eyes. No matter the storyline dilemma he’s faced with on the main roster, KO always makes the best of his situation. The summer feud with Strowman is a perfect example of taking a program that should’ve stunk and keeping it fresh despite being knocked offstage in a porta potty. WrestleCrap notwithstanding, I honestly thought Owens had a decent chance of upsetting Braun at SummerSlam and stealing his MITB briefcase. Instead the Monster Among Men dispatched of KO like a lowly jobber and the match was so uninspired, it had me feeling more sorry for Owens than a board game. Perhaps there’s more pieces on the table than Creative knows what to do with? Or is it simply a lack of competition from opponents?

    Owens seemingly started off on the right path but ever since Hunter handed him the Universal Championship, it’s been a car wreck; routinely taking a backseat to part-timers of the previous generation. From Jericho doing laps around his title reign to Goldberg running him over at Fastlane to a pothole riddled rivalry with Styles, it’s been a bumpy two years for KO. He’s at a crossroads so management will probably turn him face upon returning without a shred of creative direction. And I have no doubt Owens could make it work but what a colossal mistake that would be. KO’s a mean lookin’ motherfucker with size (I’ll take a C-cup over abs any day), agility, sound ring psychology and trash talk for every conceivable scenario. From punking John Cena on the mic to riling up crowds with Elias, Owens is as much a master manipulator as the Rated-R Canadian who made a living off of it. Above all else though, KO takes whatever shortcut necessary to connect with the audience; a bridge his best buddy has crossed far too infrequently since leaving Full Sail for leaner pastures.

    WWE took what was once a loveable underdog in Sami and wasted no time devolving him into an annoying, neurotic ginger. Once his beef with KO finally ended, management moved Zayn to the blue brand where he went unutilized for nearly half a year. Therefore when Zayn saved Owens at HIAC 2017 and joined the dark side, it felt sorely needed. Unfortunately, Creative dared the duo to sink or swim on SmackDown and then tied ankle weights around their heels. They couldn’t beat Styles, Shane or Bryan when it mattered and thus had zero leverage as top tier heels. So a run that should’ve pushed Owens closer towards the WWE Championship and pulled Zayn out of his doldrums sputtered to a stop within the first six months. As per stipulation, Sami and Kevin lost their jobs and were rehired by RAW where they kept tanking. The fiery babyface who swept NXT by storm four years prior was replaced with a cheesy midcard act that would’ve won Ham awards on a weekly basis had Laiman still been around. Sami’s one of the better storytellers between the ropes but you wouldn’t know it because he’s too preoccupied playing KO’s sidekick.

    It’s a damn shame when talents like Owens and Zayn need the aid of serious surgery to salvage their declining stock in the company. Odds are these last couple months would’ve been even more painful had they not gotten hurt. At least the lengthy layoff forces WWE to hit the reset button and make Kevin and Sami focal points once they return (well initially anyway). I still find it mind boggling how the main roster made Seth Rogen’s doppelganger so unlikeable when the dude had such an infectious spirit about him in NXT. RAW’s writing staff seriously dropped the ball with Zayn in 2016. He’d built a ton of momentum after beating Owens at Battleground and I really believed they should’ve rode that wave right into SummerSlam by having Sami face Seth for the Universal Championship. The skeptic in me feels like Vince tried to test out Hunter’s boy Balor and it backfired so the boss decided he couldn't depend on developmental call-ups in that sort of spot.

    That’s why I can’t help but wonder whether or not there’s any butting of heads between Vince and Triple H. Obviously they’re family and in this together but the ideologies of their respective programs couldn’t be any more different. The transition of NXT stars to the main roster is such a curious case that even Benjamin Button would struggle to find the logic behind it. You’d think Vince & Co. would play to their individual strengths but it’s almost as if VKM’s message is “what worked for you down there isn’t going to cut it up here”. In a lot of ways it feels like McMahon’s forcing them to start from scratch. For instance, he took an explosive high flyer in Lio Rush and - rather than letting him wrestle - turned the guy into Bobby Lashley’s mouthpiece. Are we still punishing the kid for that Asuka/Emma tweet? Or was he deemed too small to suspend disbelief? The Revival were gritty stalwarts clad in NXT gold and now they can hardly earn a title opportunity on RAW. I swear Creative are purposefully putting the Tag Titles on anybody but Dash & Dawson; whether it’s a fifth grader, The B-Team or a partnerless Seth Rollins. They dressed Neville up as Mighty Mouse, Finn can hardly generate a rub without wearing his Demon warpaint, Nakamura might be the most transparent US Champion to date and Asuka’s been largely invisible since The Queen humbled her at Mania. The roles that Corbin and Elias currently fill on RAW are textbook examples of where Vince’s priorities lie as the elder puppetmaster. It’s a goddamn horror show void of thrills, chills and cohesion.

    So in summation, the next crop of NXT stars should be in no fucking hurry to leave the comfy confines of Florida. Velveteen Dream will either be feuding with Goldust on kickoff shows or jobbing to The Hulkster in some agonizingly long and ludicrous segment. Meanwhile as Gargano and Ciampa are wrestling in the bottom corner of your TV screen, WWE will be airing a clip of whatever John Cena’s doing who by then has fully morphed into JBL and begun using the Clothesline from Helsinki as a finisher whilst filming/living in Finland.

    Yep the years of nonstop travel have finally caught up to the old codger. Vince now uses RAW to catch up on his sleep. He’s back there in gorilla snoozin’ away while his peril of monkeys fling shit at the wall. Hence why greased up primates like Drew and Lars are more likely to headline WrestleMania than the actual workhorses of Monday nights. RAW’s creative team are the foulest creatures of habit I’ve ever encountered and that includes the three apes chirping behind the announce booth. Heenan and Monsoon would be rolling over in their graves right now if they were within earshot of RAW’s commentary team. Could it be any more awkward or unrealistic than Michael Cole asking Renee for insight on her husband’s erratic behavior? What a garbage tactic for killing air time.

    The show is absolutely lifeliss. It’s like a deadpan comedy that’s written too poorly to be funny. Using Hulu to replay what happened during my hiatus has proven almost impossible because I can’t stop fast-forwarding through bullshit. Is Lucha Underground still streaming on Netflix? It might be high time to binge watch the last couple seasons... or finally subscribe to NJPW World. Unless Becky, Bryan and the occasional TakeOver event can sustain me, I’m gonna be shopping indie wrestling apps sooner rather than later. WWE’s Network might be a bargain but RAW’s not worth the burden.


  2. #2
    Forgotten Ponder
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Owens Prizefighter gimmick was his best stuff. He was a bad guy but he was providing for his family and it was a necessary evil. Then they turned him into a bitch. I'll always love him, even if he is treated like shit.

  3. #3
    Too true. Hey! This will make you feel better. Alexa Bliss is going to host a press conference in the top of the second hour and Heath Slater is a fucking referee. The sad part for me is that is seems pro wrestling is dying a slow death. As bad as WWE is, I find no enjoyment in the hipster forward indy scene where anyone not names Cody is rehashing old gimmicks

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    The same thing that cam be said of KO can be said of Rusev, considering the way they both went downhill after facing Cena. The only difference is that KO has so much charisma that he was at least able to remain relevant even when in dire feuds that had no right to be any good whatsoever. I think KO should count his lucky stars that he's good on the mic because if he was not it's quite possible he would have been a jobber by now. Although, with him always losing I wouldn't go heavy in his defense if someone were to call him a glorified jobber, though. And trust me when I say that it's a real shame.

    But I guess it all boils down to WWE not being able to carry a wrestler's momentum from NXT. The same can be said of Sami Zayn. Loveable underdog in NXT but when he came up to the main roster he lost some of what made him special in the first place. And if you think about it, it's quite contradictory because isn't the reason a wrestler gets promoted to the main roster from NXT because of how their character got over on the yellow brand?

    With regards to the commentary team, I quite like Renee Ambrose and Corey Graves. But still, I think it's a bit awkward when the announcers ask Young some info on Dean and she has nothing. They clearly must not have a very open marriage if they don't speak about their problems.

    Nevertheless, the whole NXT call hp thing is truly perplexing. To put it in laimans terms: that shit's fucked up.

  5. #5
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    This is true of so many NXT call ups.

    Vince being out of touch with the modern day has to be considered a major factor, but I believe fans of NXT are also to blame. No, blame isn't the right word. Let me explain...

    Wrestlers may be super-over in NXT, but the day they debut on the main roster that redefines their place on the card. No matter what NXT fans think of them, to the rest of the world they are a completely unknown entity. They need to be introduced to us as such. This leads to a dilemma. On the one hand, you have a small portion of the audience who have great expectations from someone, believing they should be instantly placed in the main event. On the other hand, you have the rest of the audience. An audience who doesn't know who this new guy is. An audience that needs to be introduced to a new character.

    When someone from NXT debuts on the main roster, to that large portion of the audience they are not over, so they don't get the reactions required of someone higher up on the card. When they don't get the required reactions, they are forced back down the card. NXT fans see this as a demotion.

    If someone from NXT debuts at the bottom of the card, it causes outrage to the NXT fans. To the rest of the audience, they watch with anticipation to see who this new character is. However, when that person doesn't get the same reaction they got in NXT (as should be expected), that anticipation dies. The fans from NXT have been lost, blaming poor booking and creative and everything except their own expectations.

    The expectations of NXT fans need to be realistic. They can become the vocal minority, and hopefully one day they will be heard, so their favourites can become the major stars they want them to be.

    Unfortunately, no matter how vocal the NXT fans can be, 73 year olds can be quite deaf and don't like hearing aids. They are creatures of habit, and if they want their dinner at 5 o'clock they will have their dinner at 5 o'clock, even though the people who pay for that dinner want to eat at 6.

  6. #6
    So damn happy to see you back again! Great stuff as always and I look forward to reading more columns from you for as long as you want to write them!

  7. #7
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Brilliant Skitz. This the exactly the kind of column we need more of on the main page....

    To the point though I cannot agree more that the ball was majorly dropped on both of these dudes. To me a lot of it goes back to Smackdown last year. Styles should have been in the main event with Owens ruling the midcard. Sami could have taken Jinder’s place against AJ and then moved back down to be the perfect rival for The Face of America. Oh well as you said at least they are both off tv now so they will get somewhat of a reset when they get back.

    Your conspiracy talk is very interesting to me because I can’t help but think that Triple H’s success with NXT while the main roster has struggled and seemingly been in decline couldn’t help but run the proud old man the wrong way. NOT THAT WAY YA SICKO. But since the failed Balor call up who has come up and ended up in the main events? Only Drew McIntyre who was the original Vince project and Shinsuke but he was never trusted with the belt. Guys like Roode, Almas, Balor, The Revival, American Alpha who are all extremely talented have just never had any kind of creative focus.


  8. #8
    Randall: They did turn him into a bitch but that's every modern day WWE heel. Nevertheless, KO has more personality than most of the locker room and thus he can make any segment interesting. Like when he and Nattie were slated to face Braun & Bliss in the Mixed Match Challenge, Owens said "I can't get away from this guy lately" in a hype promo for it. Then he berated Nattie for naming them Team Paws lol. Just little things like that make him awesome.

    LAW & Disorder: Man those open forum segments with Bayley and Sasha were fuckin' painful. I switched back from Monday Night football the other week to catch some dude in the crowd asking which superpower they'd prefer and turned right back to the game. As solid as Alexa is on the stick, WWE needs to realize that too much of a good thing will ruin its appeal.

    Don: I actually love Graves who's pretty much the only heel commentator in WWE at this point. The dynamic between him, Renee and Cole just doesn't do it for me. Renee will grow into the role over time I'm sure but a three-person booth has always felt crowded to me. Plus I get the sinking suspicion that Vince is prepping Young to be a regular onscreen character down the road. It's only a matter of time before they turn her into Ambrose's valet!

    Dyno: Great points. Wrestling fans are so gluttonous that I often just assume everyone who watches RAW and SmackDown must watch NXT as well. The sample size is so much smaller on the yellow brand that it allows for new stars to be properly introduced and established. Aside from a few lucky ones though, they're just kinda tossed in the spin cycle on the main roster and left to fend for themselves.

    Spinster: It's probably common knowledge by now that, anytime I come crawling out of hibernation, you aren't far behind. Let's see if we can get that collab of ours posted by New Year's!

    Samuel: The Main Page needs a lot more than just me haha. And besides, I've heard Doc say that creative columns are a niche and won't last so what business do my columns have being posted up there? Still, I wouldn't be that shocked if opportunity comes knocking down the road but eh... that path doesn't really appeal to me anymore. As for the NXT/main roster turnover, acts like American Alpha and The Revival aren't even recognizable on RAW. Crazy to think that Roode was the hottest heel in NXT 16 months ago.

  9. #9
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I've heard Doc say that creative columns are a niche and won't last so what business do my columns have being posted up there?
    I respect the hell out of Doc but will go to my writing grave fighting against that attitude. It may be a bit more niche than current event stuff but damn is it far more interesting and the crowd it does bring is full of way more interesting people too. Hell the whole reason I kept coming back to LOP when I first got into wrestling was the weird creative stuff by Monkey, Shinobi and yourself.

    We've spoken about it before so I know we are on the same page but still, keep flying the freak flag man, here, on the MP or wherever you end up.


  10. #10
    I personally like creative columns. But hell, who am I?..Good Shizzle, Skizzle

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