Welcome to the inaugural edition of Stone Cold Stubble: Your WWE Beard Report.
What is a “Beard Report?” Simply, it’s a place to discuss WWE and its rapidly growing beard culture. Bearded Superstar power rankings, beard reviews, beard predictions, maybe even a beard recipe. Beards!
The definition of a WWE “beard,” and therefore who exactly qualifies for discussion, is something that is still in flux. In this edition however, the rules for inclusion are going to be strict. We’ll only be talking about beards that fall into the mold of the Braun Strowmans, Sami Zayns, and to a lesser extent, Karl Andersons of the world. Defined beards. Voluminous beards. Beards where the sideburns, mustache and goatees all connect. That means no Samoa Joe, no Finn Bálor, and no Roman Reigns.
It’ll all make sense as we go along, I’m sure. Let’s get rolling!
Power Rankings (6/23)
1) Braun Strowman
What a damn treat. When I first had the idea to do this, I was heartbroken over the fact that Braun Strowman was reported to be out of action for six months. He is the gold standard when it comes to being bearded in the WWE. The length, the depth…you could keep a small chihuahua warm in that thing. Then there’s everything else about the guy: beating the hell out of everyone, yelling “I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOUUUU,” flipping ambulances for fun. Braun Strowman is sports entertainment, and as a result of his absence, Raw has been kind of stale as of late.
Yet, lo and behold, when it seemed like *yawn* Roman Reigns was about to win again, who emerged from the back of an ambulance like a goddamned super hero come to save the world, and beat the hell out of Roman Reigns because he still isn’t finished with him yet? Braun Strowman. Somehow, very amazing Braun Strowman segment outdoes the amazing segment that came before it. Monday Night Raw just got 385% more watchable.
2) Jinder Mahal
He’s unhindered, he’s veiny, he’s WWE Champion. More importantly though, on two straight Pay-Per-Views, Jinder Mahal has beaten Randy Orton. Randy Orton, a guy who couldn’t be bothered to grow a beard when he was pretending to be a part of The Wyatt Family. Like were we really supposed to buy that Randy was a part of this cult when he wouldn’t even grow a beard? Having a beard is like 90 percent of The Wyatt Family gimmick, Randy! Show some respect for the craft of infiltrating backwoods cults, man! Anyway, Jinder Mahal is doing well for himself. You see that new entrance? Cool stuff!
3) Seth Rollins
This was a big week for Seth Rollins. He was announced as the cover athlete for WWE 2K18, he looked like a total badass in the game’s trailer, and he’s going to win his current feud because it’s with Bray Wyatt!
Can we go over that WWE 2K18 trailer though? Because, all the property destruction and arson aside, I’m pretty sure Seth just straight up murders an innocent security guard in it. What’s up with that Seth? That guy probably had a family, maybe he was trying to support them while putting himself through business school, and that’s why he’s working this thankless night gig as a security guard at the WWE Archives. Dick move, Seth. At the same however, total bad-ass move, Seth! It’s that kind of dick-headed bad-assery that’s going to get you places.
I mean, Neville can never lost that Cruiserweight title, right?Unless he needs to drop the title to be set up for a run at the Universal Title, Neville needs to hold onto that Cruiserweight belt until WrestleMania at the least.
(Parenthetical Fantasy Booking of the Week: Promote Neville to the main event scene, have Neville lose the Cruiserweight title to Johnny Gargano, and then have Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, Gargano’s former best friend who so cravenly turned on him, feud over the title. Yeah, I know what’s happening in NXT too. This would be a dynamite feud that would set the WWE Universe on fire, not to mention all the great matches Gargano and Neville could have as well. This has been your Parenthetical Fantasy Booking of the Week.)
My favorite thing about Neville right now though, is how he shows up to random Cruiserweight matches he isn’t involved in, wearing wrestling gear, and stares angrily at the ring from the comfort of a comfy-looking leather desk chair.
5) Elias Samson
Somehow one of the dumbest gimmicks is working for me. Like really working for me. Elias Samson is essentially a grown-up version of that one douche bag you knew in high school who learned a few guitar chords, yet there I find myself on Monday night yelling to no one in particular, “LET THE MAN TUNE HIS GUITAR YOU MAGGOTS! FINN BÁLOR GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO HIM! I WANT TO TAKE A WALK WITH ELIAS!” Wrestling has ruined me.
6) Sami Zayn
Sami didn’t win the briefcase at Money in the Bank (booooooo!) but he did sunset flip powerbomb Dolph Ziggler off of a ladder (wooooooo!) He also starred in an amusing ad for Sonic with Tye Dillinger, helping put over various milkshakes (YEAHHHH!) But most importantly, because he didn’t wrestle on Smackdown! this week, HE DIDN’T LOSE! (achieves enlightenment and ascends to heaven!) Tune in next week for when Sami doesn’t make these rankings because he is totally going to get destroyed by Baron Corbin. Such is the consequence for becoming self-aware that you have Corbin’s number as of late.
7) Daniel Bryan
The Smackdown! Live General Manager’s beard is a far cry from its former glory, but from the looks of things, it is no less authoritative. Returning from paternity leave, Bryan takes a big stance on the controversial ending to the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank, stripping Carmella of the briefcase and scheduling… the, the second-ever Women’s Money in the Bank match for next week? Ah yes, the old re-do an historic match, only give it away for free this time. A classic power play. Unrelated, but kind of related: James Ellsworth is the top heel in the company, and I can’t wait for him to get his ass kicked by Becky Lynch at Summerslam.
8) Kevin Owens
Owens has trimmed down from what used to be a pretty ample beard, but he knows who he truly is. That stubble is growing in quite nicely again on the New Face of America’s… face. Sure, it didn’t help from him getting utterly destroyed in multiple spots throughout the men’s Money in the Bank match, but at least the “New Face of America Open Challenge” is fun! Chad Gable got to be on TV again! He lives in Dayton now! Haha, see? Look at how much fun we’re having!
9) AJ Styles
Can it be? It is! The bearded face that runs the bearded place! AJ Styles can make anyone look good in the ring, including himself with his current soccer mom haircut. Styles didn’t get up to much on Smackdown! this week, but he did have one of the more memorable spots in the men’s Money in the Bank match, hanging on to the briefcase in mid-air, before crashing down hard in the center of the ring. God, even when he’s losing he looks good!
The Phenomenal One also got to face off/hopefully tease a WrestleMania main event with the best non-bearded WWE Superstar (if ever it was possible to be clean shaven and respected as a talent) in Shinsuke Nakamura. Fingers crossed!
10) Luke Harper
Luke Harper hadn’t been on TV for weeks, and then this week he got to main event Smackdown! against the WWE Champion for no discernible reason! And he would have won the match too, if it weren’t for those meddling Singh Brothers! Go Luke! That beard of yours is almost longer than your hair! Keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing, not that we’d know anyway because you weren’t on TV for a month!
Baron Corbin Beard Watch
Here’s the portion of Stone Cold Stubble where we check in on Baron Corbin, and whether or not he is growing the full-on Eric Rowan beard he needs, in order to 1) Truly be a terrifying bad guy, and 2) Distract from the fact that he’s going bald. Can’t have a balding Mr. Money in the Bank! Ain’t nobody going to take that seriously!
No reason he can’t take a negative and turn it into a positive though. Forget about trying to salvage the thinning hair on top of your head; what’s gone is never coming back, no matter how long and greasy you go. Instead, focus on the bottom of your head, commonly known as your face, and grow out a big, scary beard! Hesitant? I understand, growing a beard can be a tortuously itchy process. Plus, you’ve already got the under-chin/sideburns combo working for you, just flesh that thing out. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at this image created using our proprietary beard enhancing technology:
Whoa, who is that intimidating man? Someone hold me, I’m terrified!! Haha, no I’m kidding, but I had you going there for a second didn’t I? All of this, and more, can be yours with one change to your face, Baron. It’s within reach!
Anyway, that’s just my two cents. As of today, the status of the Baron Corbin Beard Watch is as follows: No Baron-beard, still Baron-balding. This has been Baron Corbin Beard Watch.
Circling The Drain
Wherein we get to call out some bearded WWE Superstars for not pulling their weight. These clowns are bringing down the worldwide beard community as a whole, from people who don’t shave for religious reasons, to me, some internet writer who decided not to shave for a month because he was lazy. It’s time they be taken to task.
First up, we have Dean Ambrose: Former Intercontinental Champion, Lunatic Fringe, Bugs Bunny if he was a human and also drank a lot. Honestly, this boils down to the fact that it’s not a good look for a guy with a beard to get beaten by one of those filthy, vulgar, clean shaven wrestlers! BLUH! It makes my skin crawl!
As if it wasn’t enough for Dean to drop the Intercontinental Championship to The Miz a few weeks ago, he then went and got completely outsmarted by him on Raw this week! (Don’t even get me started on those traitors Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Aligning yourself with The Miz, where is your honor, sirs?) Get it together, Dean.
And then there’s Bray Wyatt. Look, I’ve only gotten back into wrestling semi-recently, but hell, even I’m already done with Bray Wyatt. He’s all cryptic promos, worm slide show projections, and houses of various horrors that lead absolutely nowhere.
By traditional measures, Bray Wyatt has one of the top three beards in WWE. I mean that thing is gorgeous. That’s why it’s so disheartening that all Bray Wyatt really is, is a very shitty wizard. This week he talks in circles and then proceeds to get taken out immediately after coming to the ring in the dark. MARONE! Dumbledore is rolling in his grave. Bray Wyatt, shape up.
And, that’s it! Join us again next week maybe? We’ll see. Though even if Stone Cold Stubble never returns, rest assured that the Bearditude Era is here in the WWE, and babies, it’s here to stay.