When the “Finger Poke of Doom” occurred in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) it was viewed as one of the lowest moments in wrestling. It certainly was a sad moment for fans, I should know, I was a fan when this happened and for some reason, I am still a fan. I figured that that sad event that starred Kevin Nash and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan would never be topped or have anything come close to it in stupidity on the part of a wrestling company. WWE just proved me wrong on Smackdown Live from October 11th though. They devalued their #1 title, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Unlike most of my articles about WWE, there are some major spoilers in this article so please read on knowing this.
The match was setup to be rather interesting. Well, once we got past the fact that it was going to be James Ellsworth versus AJ Styles. James is an unknown wrestler to me, other than his brief appearances on Smackdown Live recently. AJ was obviously setting up a squash match for himself to celebrate his successful defense of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the, rather weak in general, No Mercy Pay Per View this last Sunday.
Dean Ambrose interjects himself prior to James Ellsworth being revealed as the opponent that AJ Styles was intending to face. Daniel Bryan agrees that Dean Ambrose should get special treatment in this match so he makes Ambrose the special guest referee. This sets up what should be a rather interesting, if not punishing for Ellsworth, match setting up Ambrose and Styles for a match later.
After a little bit of back and forth with the majority of the match leaning in Styles’ favor, we see Ambrose interjecting himself more. Interfering with the match to the point of giving a Dirty Deeds move (twice) to AJ Styles, Ambrose pulls Ellsworth over onto Styles and counts a rather quick three count. The first Dirty Deeds pin saw a fairly decent speed three count and Styles kicked out.
Now let’s go back in time to that match with Kevin Nash and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, just for a minute. After the match the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt lost a lot of luster. Almost as much as it did when David Arquette won WCW’s top belt a few years before they folded. WCW never really recovered from the “Finger Poke of Doom” event. It turned off a lot of fans and it pissed off those that stayed. There was no rhyme or reason for the title to change hands like it did. It simply devalued the title. WWE repeated that mistake tonight when Dean Ambrose pulled James Ellsworth over to pin AJ Styles a second, successful, time.
Now, remember when WCW did it, there was WWE as a major competing force. Wrestling fans that were just sick of the crap probably moved over to WWE and stayed in the realm of sports entertainment. Where will fans today go? Simply find something else on Tuesday nights to watch rather than Smackdown Live? Reschedule their lives, and possibly cable packages, to watch TNA Impact Wrestling? Probably not going to happen. What WWE have done is not only devalue their #1 title but also probably turned off untold numbers of wrestling fans that tuned into WWE Smackdown Live Tuesday night and later on Hulu (what about the ones that only have the WWE Network so they watch 30 days later?). This is a move that will have some serious repercussions that WWE probably feel they are above and able to weather.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana.