Last night, the show of shows took place in Orlando, Florida at whatever corporate entity has the naming rights now for the revamped Citrus Bowl. (Writer’s Note: I have found that it’s apparently called Camping World Stadium. Ugh.) While Wrestlemania is always the show that even the most casual of fan will sometimes partake in, the night after is usually the wildest show of the year, dubbed by the fans as Smarkamania. Tonight will be a ton of fun, so you get yours truly along with Dustin for today’s player ratings.
Before we actually do the ratings, let me point out that we left out other organizations just because this is WWE’s time of the year. The Four Horsemen would be at the top of any stable list, and the NWO wouldn’t be far behind, but there have been a lot of WWE stables and it makes it easier on us to rank those that were only on Vince McMahon’s show.
One of the big reasons that WWE won the Monday Night Wars was the emergence of Degeneration X, which started off as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, and Ravishing Rick Rude. The group changed later on to include X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws, but remained one of the biggest attractions in the Attitude Era. They were entertaining as hell and I can still watch any of their promos.
Mousa Dembele: The Belgian was fantastic after being called upon to replace an injured Victor Wanyama. It’s hard to know what direction the match would have gone had he not come in, but he controlled the midfield as usual and provided all the support needed to break down Burnley.
The Shield came out of NXT just a few years ago and all three members have found more than enough success to be considered superstars. Together, they were a dangerous force that often cornered and destroyed their competition. The group was wildly over both as faces and heels before their breakup, and given that all three have been world champion at some point in their career only speaks volumes about how good they are.
Eric Dier: We’ve been a little hard on Dier at times in the back line this season. But he took an opportunity to move back up to defensive midfielder alongside Mousa Dembele and suddenly was the midfield beast we all remember from last season. Took his goal well, and had all day to do it. I have nothing against Victor Wanyama, but Dier needs to play in midfield more.
Vince McMahon took the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial moments in WWE’s history, and created his on-screen persona, Mr. McMahon. Over time that persona became a ring leader by creating a stable that included at one point or another The Rock, Ken Shamrock, the Big Boss Man, Test, and others. The quintessential heel stable, everyone loathed the group which made it easy to elevate babyfaces to new levels.
Christian Eriksen: One of Spurs’ more potent offensive weapons against Burnley, forcing Tom Heaton into a couple of good stops, and pulling strings all over midfield.
Janby Alderweirtonghen: Imperious at the back, especially when Spurs reverted to the 4-2-3-1. That reduced their ability to be adventuresome out of the back, but meant that Burnley never really got anything going offensively in the second half.
Son Heung-Min: His ability to cut in from the flanks served Spurs well in the second half as they quietly carved open Burnley after the first goal. Took his second goal very well.
Dele Alli: Had a nice assist to Son Heung-Min for Spurs’ second goal and was quietly effective buzzing around Burnley’s box.
I have such a soft spot for Right to Censor. In a time where wrestling was all about pushing the envelope and embracing the “sex sells” mentality, Right to Censor was created as a heel faction to abolish all of the things that made wrestling fans enjoy wrestling. It generated nuclear levels of heat, especially with the heel turns of popular characters The Godfather and Val Venis. They weren’t a top notch stable because of groups like DX and The Corporation, but if you watch some of their promos nowadays, it’s practically a how-to guide on how to be heels.
Hugo Lloris: Another match, another three-star performance but is only because he didn’t have a lot to do. Made a couple of easy saves in the first half, but was never troubled.
Harry Winks: For the amount that he was in the match, he did quite well. Doesn’t have the strength of Dembele, but he still looks the most likely candidate to be his replacement, long-term. Shame about the injury, and his absence will hurt.
Vincent Janssen: Again, his hold-up play was very good, and again he wasn’t getting the ball in dangerous positions. Notably, he looked a little better in the 4-2-3-1 than in the 3-4-3, and we should maybe give him a bit of a pass considering he had a chest infection two days prior.
Kieran Trippier: Trips’ defensive deficiencies are a known commodity, but he wasn’t abject against his former club, and he was able to give Kyle Walker a needed rest after England duty. I was disappointed with his delivery on crosses, though admittedly Burnley were packing men into the box.
Victor Wanyama: His usual midfield-destroying self up until his injury, though the progressive effectiveness of Dier in his place suggests that tactically he perhaps wasn’t a good fit for this match. Hopefully he’ll recover quickly.
Male cheerleaders aren’t exactly what one would expect when turning on WWE, but in the 2000s, the Spirit Squad was a thing. They weren’t bad, per se, but they were incredibly annoying and their feuds were disjointed until they got matched up against a reunited Degeneration X. I wasn’t big on The Spirit Squad, but they’ll take the 2 star spot simply because Dolph Ziggler found a lot of success post-Squad days. That counts for something.
Ben Davies: Not great, Bob. Had a number of bad passes, looked suspect defensively, and didn’t look like he was even trying to get forward. Hurry back, Danny Rose.
Moussa Sissoko: It’s times like this that requires a fair and balanced approach to analyzing Sissoko’s contributions to this Tottenham Hotspur team, and that approach is this: shoot him into the sun, post haste.
I remember when Pete Gas, Joey Abs, and Rodney all debuted as originally The Greenwich Posse, but they were quickly renamed as the Mean Street Posse, growing up on the “mean streets” of Greenwich, Connecticut. Gas and Rodney were actual friends of Shane McMahon, and bringing in Joey Abs as Shane’s personal entourage didn’t go over well with the fans. They weren’t bad workers, but given that there were far more popular stables out there, this is one that needed to be put to pasture sooner rather than later.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Mean Street Posse.