Ah, Valentine's Day, the most coveted of Hallmark holidays when wrestling podcasters go over our favorite (and least favorite) power couples!
THE HIGH MARKS
5. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae
These two were couples goals well before they ever reported to the WWE performance center. While casual or newer fans may only know of these two from their work in NXT, Johnny and Candice spent years working together (and separately) in the independent circuit, and their work is the stuff of legend. They are wrestling love personified, and we are here for it.
4. Mike and Maria Kanellis
The Kanelli, as we call them, are adorable. Just adorable. Their newest theme song in the WWE says it all...here's to the greatest love! We think they are straight fire, and their love burns forever. Couples goals!!!
3. Naomi and Jimmy Uso
If you haven't experienced the joy of watching these two perform one another's entrances, you have not lived. Aside from being obviously smitten with one another, they have a sense of humor and comfortable ease in their relationship and ring work together, right down to the snarky comments and subtle dry jokes. Their relationship is GLOWING.
2. Miz and Maryse
The Miz and Mrs. stars are a great heel couple, but even better, they are a great couple PERIOD. These two are so cute that they're almost barf-inducing sometimes, but that's what we love about them. Their new reality show somehow only added to the charm, showing off Miz's 'peak dad' abilities well before their adorable little bundle was even born. They're the it couple, and it shows. As Karen Peterson said on our episode this week, 'The Miz is one of our favorite Total Divas." We can't argue, Karen!
1. Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth
Come on, they are THE ultimate power couple. Better than Steph and Trips. Better than Cody and Brandi. Seriously, they DEFINED power couple back in the day. The Mega-Powers story line is still considered one of the greatest stories in the history of professional wrestling. And love or hate the third wheel in this equation, you've got to love a classic love story. Oooooh yeeeeah!
THE LOW MARKS
5. The Alicia Fox/Noam Dar/Cedric Alexander Love Triangle
This was one of the worst couples stories in the history of the company, and not just because it's a tired rhetoric. The WWE brought this story up at a time when not only was the Women's Revolution supposed to be in full swing, but the 205 roster was suffering from lack of viewership and cohesive storytelling. We're glad that they shelved this...205 didn't need this kind of storytelling and it ultimately did more harm than good. Plus, Foxy is WAY better than all of this.
4. Lita and Kane
Everything about this story was...awkward. Clunky. Weird. It was the epitome of disjointed stories, and it was never even believable. Lita was thrown into more than one crappy love angle (we'll get to that in a minute), but she never deserved any of it. The only thing more depressing than remembering this story line is googling it for research...some of the google results are terrifying.
3. Lana and Anyone BUT Rusev
Lana was the ultimate valet when she arrived with Rusev. She was commanding, powerful, and controlling of the Bulgarian Brute. It was the perfect angle, and eventually learning they were a couple made it even cooler. We loved Lana, even as a valet, because she wasn't (as Karen said on this week's episode) just another belt for the men to fight over. Sticking her in weird love angles with the likes of Enzo was a TERRIBLE choice. We would argue that her character still hasn't recovered, and that's a damn shame. We hope they can have a happy Rusev Day soon with a cohesive story that builds this power couple back up.
2. Billy and Chuck
We've talked at length on the podcast about why this was one of the worst ideas in the history of wrestling, and it was a challenge not giving this the #1 spot for our low marks. When the WWE made this storyline a farce, mocked it, and presented it from a 'humorous' lens, it ultimately did enough harm that we are still feeling the effects of it today in professional wrestling. The WWE had an opportunity to be progressive with this story but chose to make a gay relationship something funny, something to mock, setting a dangerous precedent with the fanbase of the attitude era. We can only hope that some day the WWE will right this wrong, but only time will tell.
1. The Matt/Lita/Edge Triangle
When professional wrestling kayfabe stories bleed into personal issues and lives, it's always a controversial thing. But in the instance of the Matt Hardy, Lita, and Edge love triangle story, things got ugly. FAST. A sordid affair and public breakup may sound like juicy gossip, but this 'story' had some seriously blurred lines that left the talent raw and uncomfortable. Edge talked at length about the situation on the Sam Robert's Podcast, stating that often the promos he was cutting at that time were very real and hard to get through. It is cringe inducing to watch now, and it raises serious questions about the safety of bringing personal relationships into stories in the ring.
Whew! There were some great things this past week in Professional Wrestling, and some not-so-great things. Let's unpack the details,
HIGH MARK: HUMBERTO CARRILLO
If you aren't familiar with Humberto Carrillo yet, you should be. He's so damn good that he's not only had a call-up to 205 Live, but it appears to be a permanent part of the 205 roster...without a lengthy TV run in NXT! Quite the feat. We've had the pleasure of seeing him live in a match against Kona Reeves at NXT Minneapolis. The crowd fully expected a jobber match but by the end of it, we were all chanting his name. Kudos to your high-flying ascension, Humberto! We can't wait to see where you go from here.
LOW MARK: FLIP GORDON INJURED
Sad news for Ring of Honor fans who love them some Flip. At a recent Ring of Honor show, both Flip Gordon and Chris Sabin suffered knee injuries. Flip's injury happened during a match against Tracy Williams, Ring of Honor confirmed as reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet earlier this week. Get well soon, Flip!
HIGH MARK: BECKY LYNCH
The Man continues her insanely huge run in the WWE. Great backstage promos, epic in-ring action, and a continued streak of popularity have made her arguably the biggest star in the WWE right now. Everything about this run is giving us LIFE. Keep up the great work, Becks!
LOW MARK: LARS SULLIVAN RUMORS
Rumors have surfaced that Lars Sullivan suffered an anxiety or panic attack before last week's RAW, and he has also not yet appeared on WWE television this week despite being advertised. A cursory google search will bring up LOTS of rumors around this, but our low mark is not for LARS...it's for the panic and anxiety that is keeping him at bay. While we have become less than enamored of this talent of late, we wish him all the best in finding help if needed. Panic and Anxiety disorders are very real things, and as anxiety sufferers ourselves we know how difficult this can be. Get well soon, Lars! (visit NAMI.org for help and information on mental health and ways you can help someone close to you with anxiety)
HIGH MARK: FINN BALOR GETS UNIVERSAL TITLE SHOT
Vince finally figured out that the power of the hog is TOO REAL! In all seriousness, Finn Balor had an epically wonderful segment on this week's Monday Night RAW where he came face to face with Vinny Mac himself (in an oddly appropriate and interestingly worded segment!). After a fatal four-way match, Finn earned the right to take on Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble to try and win back the Universal Title. We're firmly team Finn at Smark HQ...duh. The big question is do we get Finn, or is the Demon coming out to play at Rumble?
LOW MARK: ATTITUDE ERA STYLE SEGMENTS
The WWE aired not one but two hard to watch segments this week involving Alexa Bliss and Mandy Rose. Bliss was caught in a half-undressed segment where a backstage personality barged in on her while changing while Mandy Rose was written into another 'affair attempt' segment involving Naomi and her husband Jimmy Uso. These segments feel like a massive misstep and a huge contradiction to the 'women's revolution' that the company has spent 2 years touting. Two steps forward, nine back...