Goodbye WrestleMania! Hello to another edition of My Favorite Wrestler (This Week). These are our favorite wrestlers from WrestleMania week. Who's yours?
This week's panel --
- Alan4L (Dr. Keith Presents host and Figure Four Weekly writer)
- Alan Boon (Columnist)
- Mike DellaCamera (Columnist)
- Zach Dominello (Columnist)
- Paul Fontaine (UFC writer and ratings expert)
- Bryan Rose (NJPW and 205 Live writer)
By Bryan Rose
When I first heard Nakamura signed with WWE early last year, I was apprehensive about how he’d do -- after all, WWE is a place where 20 minute promos are a necessity for top guys. But after seeing his SmackDown debut, all those fears were put to rest.
He came out and quickly became one of the biggest babyfaces on the roster with an incredible entrance, complete with a live violin. The promos might still be a weakness for him, but if you’re as charismatic as he is, it might not be that big of a problem.
By Alan Boon
Although I may be the only one to submit a piece about him for this week’s column, I know I’m not the only one to consider Keith Lee to be my favorite wrestler this week. Lee had a barnstorming WrestleMania week, appearing on six shows, all streamed live on FloSlam, and coming very close to stealing the show every time he stepped through the ropes.
Like many others, Lee first came to my attention when he and Shane Taylor took their Pretty Boy Killers team to Ring of Honor and, although they were never known by that name in that promotion, killed their fair share of pretty boys (and a few ugly ones, besides). Taking nothing away from the impressive Taylor, it was clear even then that Lee was the star of the team, and a chance to break apart from that tag tandem (although they are still teaming in WrestleCircus, among other places) is a fresh start for both.
Lee has grabbed that chance with both hands, signing a contract with WWN which still allows him to work for the other headline-grabbing indies, as well as take tours overseas. While I usually retain my slot in this column for a wrestler who has made an impact on the UK scene in the past week, Lee has only been over once -- for PCW and Tidal last year -- and I can't wait to see him in a British ring in the near future.
His theme song may declare him “the man of the hour,” but if he continues his current 2017 he’ll be the man of the year, leading the pack of those who are competing to replace Chris Hero as the indie scene’s MVP. Get in on the first floor, if not the ground.
By Paul Fontaine
I’m going with a tag team as my favorite for this week and, of course, it’s The Revival. Their three-way NXT Tag Team Championship match against DIY and The Authors of Pain at TakeOver: Orlando was the best tag match in WWE since Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder faced DIY in Toronto last year.
The three-way was far better than it had any right to be and I give the lion’s share of the credit to The Revival. It looks to be their swan song in NXT as they earned a spot on Raw the night after WrestleMania. They looked really good in their debut there as well with a win over former champs The New Day.
By Mike DellaCamera
I wanted to put Goldberg as my favorite wrestler this week, just because he’s finally gone and I don’t have to watch everyone’s favorite dad concuss himself and get tired walking to the ring.
Instead I’ll go with his WrestleMania opponent, Brock Lesnar. This is the version of Brock that works best, and the one that WWE needs. The version where he is the unconquerable champion, the absolute dominant force on the flagship show. He gives the Universal title weight, and makes it more important.
Having someone beat him for the belt makes it feel like a true accomplishment, and immediately puts them over for, well, forever. Granted it’s just going to be Roman Reigns, who, for what it’s worth, is very good at this wrestling thing -- the Monday night crowd can go take a hike and get out of my life. But yeah, if you want to make someone, having them beat Brock is the way to do it.
After watching his Strong Heavyweight title loss to Hideki Suzuki which aired this week on Samurai TV, I’m once again reminded why Daisuke Sekimoto is not just my favorite wrestler this week, but just my favorite wrestler full stop.
It’s been that way since 2009, really. Daisuke is what pro wrestling is all about for me, and he’s the standard bearer for what a pro wrestler should represent. The storytelling of his match with Suzuki which played off their March 5th time limit draw was exceptional. They took a Big Japan crowd which is normally conditioned to either death matches or bruising heavyweight slugfests, and had them in a frenzy for an old style title match built around mat work and psychology.
Sekimoto is a master. He’s the pro wrestling son of Kenta Kobashi and Bret Hart. The perfect wrestler.
By Zach Dominello
My favorite wrestler this week isn’t actually a wrestler (My column, my rules. Deal with it). It’s Mauro Ranallo, whose story, which I’ve been following in the last couple of issues of the Observer, hit me kind of hard.
As has been reported, the reason Ranallo has been absent from his announcing duties on SmackDown is because of depression. An issue Ranallo has been openly dealing with for a long time. What really got me though was the cause of Ranallo’s latest bout with the illness, which is said to at least in part be bullying at the hands of fellow announcer JBL.
Now, I may just be a little overly sensitive at the moment because I watched every episode of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix over the past few days, or perhaps it’s my paternal instincts kicking in, but when I read this story, I just got so mad.
Recently, I’ve been struggling morally with being a fan of WWE. Between buying a position in Trump’s administration, the Jimmy Snuka tribute, the long history of its treatment of talent, and now this: allegedly bullying a man with a serious illness. Is this a company I really want to support with my money? Is seeing some of my favorite wrestlers in the world perform worth supporting such a morally dubious promotion?
But this isn’t really the place to get into my moral struggles. For now, my thoughts go out to Mauro Ranallo, whom I hope to see back in action soon and most importantly, healthy again.