WWE makes its return to Milwaukee for the first time since April and the company couldn’t be more different than it was at the time.
Back in April, WWE brought SmackDown to Fiserv Forum for a show that was not well received by critics. Taking place just one week after WrestleMania, it was very much in that post-WrestleMania lull that has plagued WWE for years: an entire company stuck with a hangover from their biggest weekend of the year. The show only featured 21 minutes of in-ring action on television, along with a bonus dark match between Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair that went another five minutes. That’s not always a bad thing, but when the promo segments don’t deliver, it can make for a boring night.
Cagematch.net inmate eltetechori summed up the show best when they wrote “Possibly one of the worst SmackDown so far this year, boring without more, fights without foundation or without taste, the highlight, Ronda wants revenge on Charlotte, Gunther arrives with Ludwig? (in short… WWE), Lacey Evans is presented to the Main Roster, everything else very filler and too bad in the creative, quite infumable show if you see it live and with TV advertising.”
Uh, yeah? Exactly. Quite infumable.
However, that show would prove to be one of the final episodes of an era. A few months later, Vince McMahon would step down from his role atop WWE after his numerous sexual misconduct allegations came to light. As long as WWE has been a mainstream entity, it has been the brainchild of that one man. Others may have added their ideas, but he always had the final say. He can take credit for a lot of the good things over the years. He should also be held squarely responsible for the many years of bad storytelling and stagnation.
If there are decades where nothing happens, that was Vince McMahon’s WWE over the last however many years. If there are weeks where decades worth of action happen, that is the rejuvenation that WWE has undergone since Triple H took over as the head of creative.
Numerous questionable firings by McMahon’s regime were undone under Triple H, as stars like Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson returned to the company. NXT stalwarts like Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis finally got a fair shake on the main roster as well.
It hasn’t just been free agent signings either, as there has seemingly been a greater emphasis put on in-ring quality. Survivor Series, once an afterthought event, was extremely well received with the debut of WarGames on the main roster and great matches up and down the card.
The show also featured Becky Lynch’s return as The Man, which is the kind of simple and obvious move that has made Triple H’s run as head of creative so successful thus far. From 2018 to 2020, The Man was arguably the top star in all of professional wrestling. Lynch left the company to start a family and when she came back to the ring after a 15-month hiatus, she made her return as a heel character. To reiterate, one of the company’s most beloved characters had a baby and became a bad guy.
Professional wrestling is many things, but the one thing it definitely is not is complicated. That is something that Triple H seems to understand, and following that very simple rule has made WWE a much more watchable and enjoyable company.
There was a long time where if you wanted to catch a quality wrestling show in Milwaukee, you had to head to Turner Hall for NXT. That show was very much Triple H’s baby and he kept that baby well-fed with stars like Kevin Owens, Johnny Gargano, Matt Riddle, Bayley, the Street Profits, and Bianca Belair.
Now, that baby is all grown up and those stars are on Raw. For the first time in a long time, Milwaukee wrestling fans can reasonably expect a good show when WWE comes to town.