Although it’s a JMS staple to shit on Dolph Ziggler – metaphorically speaking, though we aren’t here to kinkshame anyone – as conduit for a Drew McIntyre main event roster return has made him feel vibrant in ways he hasn’t since the Team Rocket days. Ziggler needs other people to prop up his bullshit, helping him cut the corners to be half as good as he says he is and a quarter as good as he thinks he is. Without that, his inability to actually come through when it matters leads to rapidly diminishing returns any time he isn’t being treated like the second coming of Shawn Michaels.
McIntyre shares a lot in common with the star of (the first half of) the next segment, Roman Reigns. While it’s almost cliché to bring up Drew’s run as Vince’s “chosen one,” the run marked a change in the way that fans engaged with not just the product, but the control over our own enjoyment we can have with the product. Whether or not Drew was entertaining – he was always totally serviceable, usually good and occasionally great – never had a chance to be the question, because being “Vince’s boy” means less that you represent a style of performance than that you represent Vince’s supposed distaste for the crowd.
Which is why Samoa Joe – who made his name literally everywhere else – may end up as Samoan Joseph’s best (if not most prolific) rivalry. He is the avatar for the changing of the WWE formula away from the Grecian ideals of The Shield (which are good in their own ways) to a function over form approach, and not just because he’s kind of chunky. He’s violent and methodical in a hyperrealistic way, but isn’t required to wear that as his character. He, as they say, contains multitudes.