WWE fans should be grateful for Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair, others «CBS Denver



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By Chuck Carroll

As we gather around our tables on Thursday, we must take stock of what we are truly grateful for. For wrestling fans, it has to be WWE. Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement. In fact, the promotion is something like a Thanksgiving dinner, in which he desperately wants to get along with everyone at the table, but inevitably someone does something stupid and infuriates him. This is how it has always been. But even though we could spend a whole day discussing the shortcomings of WWE, this is Thanksgiving. It is a time to give thanks for the positive things in life and in the ring.

One of those positive aspects is the beginning of the end for John Cena. The former "Doctor of Thuganomics" took what in many cases would have been another unsuccessful cartoon character trick and turned it into an empire. That protege of Marky Mark is now online to become a leading man in Hollywood. Like the character he expresses in his last film, Ferdinand is heading for greener pastures. But before riding fully into the sunset, he is taking the time to pbad the torch and build a prosperous future for the company that made him a millionaire many times. If you still believe in the blow that he buries other talents to keep himself at the top of the pile, you are sadly wrong at this point. His triumphant return in Survivor Series was forgettable. No to a large extent forgettable. No something forgettable. Fully forgettable. And that's because the torch has been approved. That flame is now being carried by another star that shares a relationship of love and hate with the WWE Universe.

Love him or hate him, Roman Reigns is someone for whom we should all be grateful. In fact, we should be truly grateful that he has returned to form. The once polarizing world champion has recaptured all the wrestling fans. Reigns was always popular, but mocking instead of cheering was the most frequent choice. The young superstar has already managed to do something Cena never could: recover the crowd. The meeting of The Shield has eliminated the chorus of boos that greeted him every time he came out of the curtain. The future is bright for this. It will be interesting to see if all the love continues if WWE continues with the plans informed for WrestleMania. Multiple points of sale have declared that the plan is to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title. Can you do it as a single act without drawing the anger of the fans? Like the turkey in the oven, that is something that should be watched.

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We must also thank the strength of the women's division. This has been the year of the goddess. Alexa Bliss is still a breath of fresh air. She is the quintessential heel and plays a T. She interprets it so well that it is impossible not to like it. Meanwhile, in SmackDown Charlotte Flair is still a torch bearer. On the other hand, honestly there is nothing for which a fan of the fight should be more grateful than the health of his father, Ric Flair, who managed to escape death despite the difficulties.

WWE's investment in its crop of female talent will not diminish any time soon with new faces arriving. We saw the debut of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville on RAW on Monday night. Less than 24 hours later, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riot and Liv Morgan made their first appearances on SmackDown . In both cases, the stars NXT were made to look like a demolition crew. Now it is up to them to continue to promote the women's revolution. The dollar can not stop with these five.

As we continue to watch this wrestling party, the next course is competition. Specifically, Ring of Honor, which has been consolidated as the second promotion in the country. Without it, WWE would not have many of its biggest stars. Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, CM Punk and many others fought under the honor code. And in the most recent wave of signings, WWE got the man who was possibly the face of ROH. Adam Cole already captivated the public NXT and it's only a matter of time before we hear his name followed by "bay bay" on the main list. It will have a main title in Raw or SmackDown within the next 18 months. Mark my word

Finally, we have AJ Styles. It took almost 20 years to get here, and we should all be grateful that the trip lasted as long as it did. He could have easily come to WWE years ago, but he would have been caught in the bury-then-push-then-bury-then-push-then-bury-cycle again that affects many WWE talents. In that case, it would never have been phenomenal. Instead, he took his time, weighed his options, and carved his own way to the top. It is his experience on the international stage that made him perhaps the best interpreter in the ring we have seen in more than a generation. If it had not been for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Bullet Club, it's possible that it has never become phenomenal. And their skill set extends beyond their own abilities. Styles has the rare ability to bring out the best in his opponents. His game against Brock Lesnar in Survivor Series is a good example. When was the last time you saw the Incarnate Beast fight so full of a match? The answer can never be.

For all the criticisms that WWE faces, many of them deserve, the good overcomes the bad for miles. It may point to the erosion of television audiences and live crowds, but that is part of a broader trend related to the changing habits of media consumption. So let's not hit WWE on this vacation. Leave us be grateful. You must be already, or you would not be reading this article.

Chuck Carroll is a former professional wrestling announcer and referee turned sports personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he introduced Robert Griffin III with a WWE belt in the Redskins locker room.

Follow on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC .

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