The annual build to Wrestlemania isn’t just ridiculously full of part-timers. It’s also ridiculously full of injuries.
In 2017 so far alone we’ve already had Seth Rollins reinjure his MCL, Rich Swann lose his Cruiserweight title shot because of a busted ankle, Tony Nese being taken off TV for hurting his foot, Nikki Bella reportedly experiencing numbness in one side of her body and Darren Young undergoing elbow surgery.
As revealed on Tuesday’s episode of Smackdown Live, Naomi has added her name to the li-I…I can’t make that joke right now – confirming she picked up an injury during her Women’s Championship win at Sunday’s Elimination Chamber. The exact nature of the injury wasn’t disclosed, but going by the knee brace she was wearing, it’s probably somewhere on her leg.
CageSideSeats are reporting that Naomi’s injury is indeed legitimate, so not a fake storyline angle, and it’s not significant enough to miss any time. Naomi had only returned to the ring last month after being out since late November with an ankle injury.
Raw General Manager Mick Foley is also dealing with considerable pain backstage. He’s been waiting to get hip replacement surgery for months, but it’s been delayed because of a mixture of health insurance problems and being on the road with WWE. The Wrestling Observer reported as far back as December last year that Foley’s “in excruciating pain traveling weekly to the shows”.
Foley announced on Facebook last week that he’s now cleared to have the surgery “whenever I have a break in my schedule…The good news is that the GM position doesn’t offer much in the way of long-term job security – so that break might present itself as a natural course of events.”
Going by his rather candid interview with Lilian Garcia on her Making Their Way to the Ring show, he already seems to be mentally preparing himself for leaving the role. Because if his answers were missiles, they’d be heat-seeking.
Foley started off explaining why he took the General Manager position, revealing that he does get “some say” in his creative direction, and that he “actually makes less money by being GM than I would if I was working for myself. But I believe this is an important job. I do. It has a chance to steer the way the show is seen.”
Unfortunately, the majority of reviews don’t think Foley’s presence has been a good thing, widely criticising both his weak-willed character and frequently botched promos. The hands-off approach on Smackdown of Commissioner Shane McMahon and GM Daniel Bryan, however, has been praised as one of the show’s best elements. Foley had his own reason for why Raw isn’t as beloved:
“Even though SmackDown has been kind of like the internet darling, I believe that if they had three hours instead of two they would find out that it’s tough to be a darling when you’ve got that massive three hour anchor around your neck.”
You very rarely hear current WWE employees, let alone onscreen General Managers, criticise the three-hour duration of Raw. But it’s a format many believe is responsible for Monday Night’s audience dropping by almost a third since 2012.
But Foley wasn’t done there. He also recalled an incident from a couple of weeks ago where Braun Strowman said he wanted a title shot during an in-ring promo. Foley, who was near Vince McMahon watching the monitor backstage, heard him say:
“‘Oh god, it’s not a title shot!’ I was thinking to myself, then what is it? That’s exactly what I would go to call it when I would go out there. You want a title shot? He’s like, ‘it’s a title match. It’s a match!’ So if you ever wonder what it’s like to see a six-foot-eight, three hundred pound behemoth get chewed out, you should’ve been there.”
What did you all think of Smackdown this week? Impersonate Kanye West and say, Imma let you finish, but Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho had one of the best Raw segments of all time in the comments below.