Welcome back to “3 Up 3 Down” our version of power rankings. Usually we here at inthefight.net save “3U3D” for the radio show or MMA but after the past week we need to start sprinkling some good ole fashion ‘rasslin’ into the mix!
Well, unless you’re living under a rock you’re fully aware that live crowds have retuned to pro wrestling over the past few weeks. It’s been refreshing to say the least. No more bland and boring ThunderDome or Daily’s Place. Live people!
So without further ado here’s my “3 Up 3 Down” pro wrestling edition!
WWE’s mismanagement of Tommy End FKA Alistair Black is AEW’s and the rest of pro wrestling’s gain. End debuted in AEW with a new cryptic character, Malakai Black, by literally kicking Arn Anderson in the face.
Black followed up his assault on Double A with a tremendous promo and brawl with Cody Rhodes on AEW Dynamite: Fyter Fest Night 1. Clearly we’re headed to a match at the sold out AEW Full Gear PPV in Chicago.
Let’s revisit the character for a second. According to Black, this “Malakai” character was originally pitched to WWE and was the direction they were going. Think Bray Wyatt with less “cartoonishness.” Oh yeah, BLACK IS SELLING THE EYE INJURY HE GOT FROM BUDDY MURPHY ON WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW!
There were some questions about how the WWE Universe would take to the “head of the table” now that fans are allowed back in the bulging. There was also an element of the fan base that wondered how Reigns would react to the live crowds when they returned.
How’d he do? He knocked it out of the park!
The head of the table sthick was one of the best, maybe the only, thing to come from the WWE ThunderDome era. Reigns has made the character even more hated now that crowds have returned.
It’s the best thing the WWE has going for it and now the Champ is on a collision course with the returning John Cena at WWE SummerSlam.
All Elite Wrestling
I was contemplating not putting in an individual promotion but AEW is absolutely on fire! They’re first two shows back on the road, Road Rager and Fyter Fest Night 1, was some of the best TV wrestling of the past few years.
They’ve created stars out of Jungle Boy, Orange Cassidy, and Darby Allin and reinvigorated the careers of Miro and the recently debuted Malaki Black.
AEW is making it fun to watch wrestling again. Oh yeah, they’ve essentially sold out their NYC debut in a venue that’s bigger than MSG. As of writing this they’ve sold out their allotment of 15,000-plus seats and added at least 2,000 more.
WWE is off to a hot start with fans in attendance. SmackDown was a terrific show and Money in the Bank was a fun, entertaining show outside of a match (more on that tomorrow) and a Peacock snafu.
Here’s the thing. SmackDown carried the company through the ThunderDome era so it shouldn’t be a surprise that last Friday’s show was excellent. Let’s see what happens with Monday Night Raw, a program that has been lackluster for about 2-years, before anointing that the WWE is “back.”
Big E winning the MITB briefcase was one of the highlights of the PPV and falls into the “about damn time” category. Let’s see if WWE creative can keep the momentum with Big E and give him, and the fans, the type of run he deserves.