Stone Cold Stubble: July 7, 2017

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Summer of Enzo

Hello hello again follicle faces! Welcome back to Stone Cold Stubble, your WWE beard report for July 7, 2017. Last week, Roman Reigns met an ambulance, Jinder Mahal should put Randy Orton in an actual Punjabi Prison, and Elias Samson’s head looks great on the body of Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson.

If you’re new in town, Stone Cold Stubble is a place to discuss the ever-growing beard culture in today’s WWE. We’ll always start off with a power ranking of that week’s top 10 bearded superstars, before moving on into a little more in-depth beard-talk.

At the moment, the parameters for what defines a “beard” boil down to “prominent facial hair where the sideburns, mustache and goatee all connect.” This definition however, remains in a constant a state of flux, and is open to be expanded or constricted as needed.

I swear, it will all make sense. Now like Sami Zayn’s entrance music interrupting a Kanellis segment, Let’s Go!

Power Rankings (7/7)

1) Enzo Amore (last week: 2)

Well, here’s a day I never thought would come. Not only has Braun Strowman been dethroned from the top spot on Stone Cold Stubble, but he’s been dethroned by Enzo Amore. Enzo!? That guy who wanted to have sex with a plate of chicken?? ENZO!?!?

Yeah, Enzo. After cutting the promo of his life on last week’s Raw, Enzo somehow went out and cut the other promo of his life on this week’s Raw. Turns out Enzo is really good at talking, especially if you kick the absolute crap out of him. Because while Enzo may get kicked in the head, or thrown down the entrance ramp, or have his face melted off by the Ark of the Covenant, or get blown up aboard the Death Star, he always comes back for more. Enzo may get knocked down, but as the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Chumbawamba once said, he gets up again.

Not even the reveal of his new tattoo that looked like it was drawn on in permanent marker minutes before the show started was enough to keep Enzo from number one this week. Much like he did when he attacked Big Cass during his interview, Enzo has literally launched himself to the top of Stone Cold Stubble.

2) Braun Strowman (last week: 1)

If not for what noted culture scholars are now referring to as “The Summer of Enzo,” we’d be looking at another week of Braun Strowman dominance atop the bearded ranks of WWE. But alas, here we are, with Braun Strowman falling at an alarmingly rapid rate, all the way to number two.

Even with what happens to him by show’s end, Braun remains a top highlight of Raw. I mean, he punted Apollo Crews mid-moonsault! That was incredible. Sure, he made the crucial mistake of announcing that Roman Reigns wasn’t at the show that night, a surefire way to guarantee that Roman Reigns would definitely be at the show that night. And sure, the way Raw kept hyping up how he took out Roman last week, did make it seem like he’s totally going to lose at the pay-per-view. And yes, sure, he DID get speared off the stage to end the show. But, come on. MID. MOONSAULT. PUNT.

3) A.J. Styles (last week: unranked)

A week ago, Styles did little more than appear in a backstage segment asking to be given a shot at the United States Championship. (Or, as they seem to call asking to be given something on Smackdown! Live, completely earning a championship match through hard work and determination, HEYO!) Thankfully, Smackdown! Live makes up for that by having Styles compete in two matches this week.

First, Styles makes Chad Gable, who less than a month ago was missing and presumed dead, look like a million bucks in a loss. Then, he went over on pretty much the rest of the Smackdown! Live roster in the “Independence Day Battle Royal” earning a chance to wrestle Kevin Owens for his United States Championship. And to top things off, he got to kick Kevin Owens in the head to end the show. WHAT A PATRIOT!

4) Neville (last week: 8)

A return to form for the King of the Cruiserweights after Akira Tozawa’s suit pants roughed him up last week. Following some entertaining back-and-forth to start their match, Neville obliterated Mustafa Ali in a way that’s helping Neville to look like one of the scariest dudes in WWE. Why, just the other night, I had a nightmare where I was being chased down an endless hallway by Neville. Eventually he caught me, ripped my arms off, and threw me over the Grand Canyon, only it wasn’t actually the Grand Canyon, if you know what I mean. Man, dreams are weird. Anyway, it was severely traumatizing, and now I haven’t slept in four days and am starting to hallucinate some truly unsettling images. God damn, this guy is good at what he does.

Also, how the hell is WWE going to do Neville and Tozawa dirty, and put their match on the GRAYTE BAHLS OF FI-YA pre-show? Ridiculous.

5) Seth Rollins (last week: 4)

Seth gets a win against the inimitable Curt Hawkins, but still manages to fall down a spot for a couple of reasons. One reason is that his finishing move is still… let’s just say it needs work, it doesn’t sports entertain enough. The main reason however, is that Seth’s constant presence on Raw means the rest of us are subjected to more inane Bray Wyatt promos.

Oh, you know what… yeah, yep, I think I said that exact same thing last week. Wait a minute, is this feud between Seth and Bray completely uninteresting??? *LE GASP*

Maybe Bray should spend less time shooting B-Roll in the desert while yapping about cursed scorpions or whatever, and more time being a credible threat to Seth “I’m atoning for the sins that took my career to heights it hasn’t reached since” Rollins. (That linked video is literally called “Bray Wyatt issues a mystifying proclamation from the desert.” Good grief.)

6) The Usos (last week: unranked)

Coming in appropriately enough in last week’s Roman Reigns spot… it’s Paranoia! What’s that? Oh, sorry, no, it’s uhh, it’s The Usos.

Look, I don’t care what Wale said, The Usos won that “rap” battle with The New Day. They were robbed! And in their own Uso Penitentiary, no less!

7) Sami Zayn (last week: 5)

Is Sami Zayn the “The News” of Smackdown Live!, never getting the recognition he deserves while countless incarnations of Huey Lewis, guys who maybe have a more immediately noticeable “it factor” (your Baron Corbins, your Jinder Mahals) overshadow him? Sami’s in-ring work has a clear, crisp look, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the entire Smackdown! brand a big boost. Yet, here I am, still waiting for Sami to really come into his own, commercially and artistically.

8) Jinder Mahal (last week: 3)

Okay, so yes, Jinder Mahal cut his promo again, the very same one he’s cut every week since being catapulted from veiny also-ran to veiny main eventer. But regardless, it’s still more interesting than this “good guy” act Randy Orton is trying to force. Does Jinder Mahal really deserve to be “RKO’d back to India,” just because he’s a huge jackass? I mean, look who the fucking President is, being a huge jackass isn’t exactly a barrier for unearned success in this country.

Plus, it’s really only a matter of time before the freakishly, perpetually clean-shaven John Cena defeats Jinder for the title, and compromises his career to a permanent end. Let’s enjoy this ride with the modern day Maharajah as our bearded WWE Champion while we still can.

9) Finn Bálor (last week: unranked)

That moment when you realize Finn Bálor has actually had a Stone Cold Stubble qualifying beard this whole time. Finn is a genuine joy to watch in the ring, and the gravitas around his entrance can be electrifying.

The “problem” with Finn right now is that he’s feuding with Elias Samson, and I say “problem” only because I really don’t want either of them to lose right now! Still, Finn stands to lose a lot more if Samson goes over in this feud at… I guess Summerslam? (Do they really not have a match on the card at Great Balls of Fire?) I only hope it ends with Finn performing a Coup de Grâce on Elias Samson’s guitar. Perhaps even on Samson through his guitar???

10) Aiden English (last week: unranked)

The Mozart of Melody scores a DQ win over the Jordan of Jingoism Randy Orton. He had to eat some steel steps to get there, but hey, a win is a win, baby! Way to go Aiden! Way to pivot towards success, just like we talked about last week. And those pants are still money! Honestly, I wish Aiden English was on Raw to either 1) Start a legendary duo with Elias Samson, or 2) Join up with Titus Worldwide née Brand. I sincerely cannot imagine a better pairing of talents than the voice of Aiden English and the business savvy of Titus O’Neill. Let’s make this happen!

Negative ∞) Roman Reigns (last week: 6)

I was glad to include Roman Reigns on last week’s power rankings. With his pronounced goatee, and solid foundation of stubble, Roman was a prime candidate for the first expansion of the rules for inclusion on Stone Cold Stubble. Roman Reigns is a great wrestler who has a nice beard.

Sorry, was a great wrestler who had a nice beard.

Roman Reigns has shaved off everything but his goatee and will no longer be appearing on these rankings. Ugh, it’s this kind of stuff that made me hesitant to inlcude Roman in the first place! The wishy-washy, 50/50 booking of his commitment to the #BearditudeEra is patently ridiculous!

And now, an appreciation of Curtis Axel dressing like he’s going to dinner at a place that’s almost upscale:

Yup.

Last on the charts, numbers 8 through like 17 in our hearts

It was truly a big week for beards in WWE this week. Mustafa Ali, before getting annihilated by Neville and his level, looked great and deserves future Cruiserweight Championship matches. Heath Slater (he’s got kids, he needs this mention) had a good match for the Intercontinental Championship against The Miz, and he too deserves future title shots. Elias Samson distracted Finn Bálor with a single guitar chord, and is still looking real jacked, baby. Kevin Owens was great on guest commentary during the Independence Day Battle Royal. Goldust had a face paint neck beard. Even former drain-circler Dean Ambrose was enjoyable!

The person I really want to talk about this week though, is Curt Hawkins. Face the facts: Curt Hawkins is the best at what he does, and what does is get his ass kicked. Every time he steps into the ring (or rather is already in the ring after Raw comes back from commercial break,) you know he’s going to lose, but that doesn’t make each and every loss any less entertaining. His loss to future Stone Cold Stubble power ranking headliner Aleister Black on Main Event a few months ago is honestly one of the best squash matches I’ve ever seen.

Also, Hawkins’ gimmick is perfect. I’m really not sure why he has a lacrosse stick pole with him at all times, but Hawkins’ arrogance in the face of repeated examples that he is not a very good wrestler is honestly inspiring. I’d say he needs a run with the Intercontinental belt, but that would require him to actually win at least one match, thereby defeating the whole purpose of Curt Hawkins. Regardless, stay tuned in future editions of Stone Cold Stubble for our newest section, “Great moments in Curt Hawkins jobbing history.”

And now, an appreciation of Bo Dallas dressing like he’s going to Biker Prom with that white bandanna/one black leather glove combo:

YUP.

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