|Always at war, always in my heart|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn - They're destined to do this forever, and honestly, I hope it never ends. Even as they're on their retired legs, being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame far down the line, I want them to be at each other's throats, razzing each other with their induction speeches. Zayn spent a good chunk of the year on the shelf, and Owens had an ascendant year in his stead. But they were never too far from each other's narratives. Owens, after all, "put Zayn on the shelf" with their second of two Takeover main events. But even as Owens made the RAW roster his own, the lack of Zayn in NXT helped create an uneasy atmosphere that in a way helped the women have the year they had. Still, no matter what they do, I will tune into what their story is, and that goes double for when they're entangled together.
Dalton Castle - My only beef with Castle is that he became such a wildfire hit for Ring of Honor that the world was deprived of "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington. Alas, for as good as Remington was in his limited Chikara run, the Party Peacock in ROH more than makes up for the loss. On one hand, Castle's bombastic flamboyance played kinda awkwardly in ROH's hypermasculine, regressive atmosphere, but then again, it forced nominal babyface characters to react in interesting and sometimes amusing ways. His theme song suggests that the office wants you to think Castle is like Freddie Mercury, which is a roundabout comparison. Mainly because Mercury, while flamboyantly charismatic, never seemed as coked out of his mind like Castle does (note, he seems like he is, not saying he does coke). He's one of a kind, and in wrestling, that sort of thing needs to be cherished.
Jervis Cottonbelly - Imagine one of the most popular wrestlers in not one, but two promotions being a time-displaced gentleman with the moniker "The World's Sweetest Man." Jervis Cottonbelly is a reality, and I'm so glad that he's here to cut through the testosterone, and not only provide a babyface who shows diversity, but one who does it so well. He's endearing and warm and his nice guy act doesn't ring hollow in the least. And to back it all up, he's a phenomenal wrestler when he gets the chance to let loose.
Sasha Banks - When someone is as good at their job as Banks is, the reactions to their performances can go in one of two directions, extreme resentment or sincere admiration. Those in the former camp crawled out of the woodwork to say her achievements weren't impressive because she had a chance to rehearse her matches, or because she had "bad" matches when called to RAW. The former accusation pretends that wrestlers haven't been meticulously scripting and practicing matches since the days of repetitive house shows leading to Madison Square Garden, and the latter is a a wholly subjective (and in my opinion, inaccurate) view. I, obviously, am part of the latter group. No wrestler in 2015 has been appointment viewing like Banks has. Whether it was at Takeover, on weekly NXT television, or at the house show, she was the main attraction. She went to RAW and did the best with the shit the writers gave her. And she did all of it with not confidence, but swagger. Sasha Banks is a legit boss, and if you don't agree, don't @ me.