YAWWWWWWWWWWWWN! Whoa, what… what happened? How long have I been out? And why do I smell like creamed corn? Last I remember, Randy Orton about to escape the Punjabi Prison at Battleground, and then… Ohhh, that’s right! The Great Khali came back! Yeah, and then I must have blacked out and slipped into a coma over how patently ridiculous and absurd that was! It’s all coming together now.
Okay, well good news: It appears I was not captured as a part of a plot by Big Shaving Cream. Bad news: I have zero idea what the state of the beard culture in WWE has been since my last post over three months ago.
So please, allow me a few seconds to catch myself up…
…Wow, Jinder Mahal is really still WWE Champion?
Alright, if you’re joining us here for the first time, Stone Cold Stubble is a fairly simple premise, as should be abundantly clear from those opening paragraphs, which weren’t confusing, nor at all self-serving.
Basically, it seems like anybody who is anybody in the WWE these days has got a beard to write home about, yet no one is actually writing anywhere (let alone home) about them. Stone Cold Stubble is here to fill that void. Each edition starts off with a power ranking of the current top 10 bearded superstars, before diving into other, somehow even more niche, beard-centric topics of discussion.
*Note: Currently, the parameters for what is considered a “beard” are, “prominent facial hair where the sideburns, mustache and goatee all connect.” This definition however, can be re-interpreted and stretched as needed.
It’ll all make sense, I promise. Let’s get to it!
Power Rankings (11/3)
Stone Cold Stubble is back and who better to get us started than perennial number-one Braun Strowman? In our very first edition, Strowman surprisingly returned from an injury to beat the hell out of people. Now, on our return edition, Strowman surprisingly returned from having been thrown into a trash compactor and murdered, to beat the hell out of people. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems like every new thing Braun Strowman does sets the bar for entertainment.
This week, it was being reborn from garbage to power slam Curtis Axel five times. But before that, it was slamming The Big Show through a steel cage, or flipping an announce table over onto Brock Lesnar, or surviving a high-speed ambulance crash, or flipping a separate ambulance over with nothing but bare hands and numerous muscles. Put a championship around Braun Strowman’s waist already, this monster among men is the only star who matters.
2) Jinder Mahal
At Survivor Series, Jinder Mahal has his sights set on his RAW counterpart, human tomato Brock Lesnar. Honestly, am I crazy, or is Jinder going to win this? Having already defeated “The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Artist” Shinsuke Nakamura, what’s to stop Jinder “The Mongoose Museum Curator” Mahal from taking down “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar and becoming the greatest champion in all of WWE? Brock is going to be too preoccupied catapulting one of the Singh brothers into orbit, and that’s when Jinder is going to strike. Mark my words, come the end of Survivor Series, we’ll be calling Jinder Mahal, “The Beast Incarnate’s Cooler Older Brother Who Smokes Pot and Introduced Him to The Replacements.” Mark my words.
So this happened: Once upon a summer’s night, two consenting men decided to stick their fists together and become partners again. Thus began a run that set two once-spiraling characters on a path towards being actually entertaining again. Soon the pair were cracking wise, winning the tag team titles, and knocking Cesaro’s teeth up into his gums, something few probably knew was even physically possible. But, they still hadn’t achieved their final form. They still weren’t The Shield.
Until they were… aaaaand then weren’t again when Roman Reigns came down with a mysterious “viral infection.” Back to a gruesome twosome (after Kurt Angle became honorary Roman Reigns for a night,) both Rollins and Ambrose most recently ended up getting tombstoned by Kane, who is back, is for some reason being pushed as better than all of WWE’s best young stars, and is currently running for mayor in Knox County, Tennessee. You win some, you lose some, I guess. Idk. Seth and Dean are friends again. They wrestle in bullet proof vests now. It’s fun.
4) A.J. Styles
Styles lost his United States Championship to Baron Corbin, but let’s be real: as cool as it was to see Styles hold and try to elevate that title, he was always above it. He is far-and-away the top talent in WWE and deserves to be competing on the highest level. I look forward to seeing him lose a WWE Championship match to Jinder Mahal following a distraction from the Singh Brothers in the near future.
5) Enzo Amore
Don’t look now, but Enzo is a champion now! A two-time champion actually! Huh, looks like Big Cass was holding him back after all…
We’re going to lump Kevin and Sami together this time because FRIENDSHIP! Friendship was gone, but BABY IS IT BACK. Nothing unites people like raging against the machine, and these two are fed up with Shane McMahon and his ersatz declaration that SmackDown! is “The Land of Opportunity.” If that were true, how come Sami was stuck going nowhere with zero opportunities. If that were true, how come Shane was going to jump off of a 2o-foot cell, onto Kevin, through a table? I mean sure, they were having a match literally called “Hell in a Cell,” but that’s no reason to try and potentially end the career of one of your employees. Thankfully, Sami was on-hand to pull Kevin to safety, ushering in a new era of true friendship.
Now, Sami, who was losing matches to guys like Mike “Isn’t on TV at the moment” Kanellis, is pinning guys like Randy Orton and… well, just Orton… and also just that one time. He actually lost to Orton the following week. And then Kevin…well he lost to Shinsuke Nakamura… Regardless, it warms my heart to see these two beautiful bearded brothers together. May they forever hug each other and hold each other tight!
Negative: Rusev lost his feuds to John Cena and Randy Orton, and now has to suffer the indignity of not only teaming up with Randy Orton, but teaming up with Randy Orton on a Survivor Series team captained by that entitled lunatic Shane McMahon.
Positive: Iiiiiiiiit’s Rusev Daaaayyyyyyyyyy. Happy Rusev Day, everyone!
Even when the vapid, clean-shaven Jason Jordan is throwing produce at him for some reason, Elias is still the most money gimmick in all of WWE. Frankly if him and Aiden English (the second-most money gimmick in all of WWE) don’t do a collaborative performance at Survivor Series, WWE Network subscribers should ask for their money back.
9) Bobby Roode
Hey look, Bobby Roode got called up to the main roster. God damn, what an *insert synonym for glorious* character he was on NXT. Great entrance, great charisma, perfect villain. Let’s see what he’s up to…
What, wha wha why is he now acting like a good guy? What was the character development that led to this? HOW LONG WAS I OUT FOR? How’s that?… Oh, there was no character development, he’s just inexplicably a nice guy now? Yeah that sounds about right. At least he beat Dolph Ziggler and got to tip over a TV monitor when SmackDown! invaded RAW. Maybe that will set him up to spiral down a dark path towards evil again. (It won’t.)
10) Finn Bálor
Wow, the RAW announce team was really trying to hammer home this week that Finn Bálor is “an extraordinary man who can do extraordinary things.” I say that doesn’t go far enough. He’s anything but extraordinary. No, he’s extra-extraordinary and doing extra-extra-extraordinary things. Focus on his demon body paint, and his match with A.J. Styles at TLC, and his extra (etc.) ordinary abs.
Just gloss over the fact that he’s recently been getting his ass handed to him by a mayoral candidate wearing a leather mask with a wig sewn into it. Also please conveniently forget that, but for the grace of a viral infection, he almost had to paint himself like a pumpkin to wrestle “Sister Abigail,” AKA Bray Wyatt with a sheet over his head. That was almost a real thing! Yep, when you ignore everything going wrong with Finn Bálor, there’s no denying it: he is truly an extra-extra-extra-extraordinary man doing extra-extra-extra-extra-extraordinary things.
Now let’s check in with two side-characters who got cut out of the first season of True Detective, The Bludgeon Brothers
Baron Corbin Beard Watch
This was a section that debuted in the very first edition of Stone Cold Stubble. It’s purpose: tracking Baron Corbin’s beard growth, because he desperately needed a giant beard to both become a legitimately terrifying bad guy, and distract from his rapidly deteriorating hair line.
Baron has actually been up to quite a bit since we last checked in. He cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and failed, lost decidedly to John Cena, seemed like he might be on his way out of the company, actually wasn’t on his way out, and ended up winning the United States Championship from A.J. Styles.
In recent weeks though, Corbin has lost twice to Sin Cara of all people (once by count-out, once by disqualification.) On this past SmackDown!, he got his ass handed to him by, again, Sin Cara of all people. There’s no way to tell where this is exactly going, but all I know is that if you’re getting worked over by a guy who wasn’t even on television for the last five-ish months, you need to reevaluate things. Grow the beard, Baron. Grow the beard.
Real talk: Now that it’s back, from here on out Stone Cold Stubble is going to be a monthly column, instead of a weekly followed by an extended hiatus column. I think I burned out my brain from rigorously cataloging all the beards in WWE from week-to-week. Hopefully the move to monthly will allow me to stay sane, and allow the overall quality of SCS to only improve. Staying up until one in the morning every Thursday stressing over wise-cracks to make about Bo Dallas’ fashion choices (he’s still killing it by the way) isn’t doing anybody any favors.
Until next month, true beardlievers!