I haven’t done a rasslin’ post in a while, so I want to give my take on the current state of the bizniss.
I think the WWE is in a position to have a renaissance in the quality of matches and personalities on the roster. I think it’s an encouraging sign that they are looking to bring in more stars of the independent scene. I always likened this period to the fledgling days of Vince’s vision, when the old WWF would recruit the top stars from the territories to enter the national stage via the WWF and its lucrative Television deal. You got noticed by proving yourself and making a name for yourself in the smaller levels. The days of getting signed and pushed just because you “look” like a wrestler or you got a famous wrestling parent or you were some kind of athlete in college so maybe you can make it as a wrestler, are hopefully done.
It’s nice to see the guys that we say never get a fair shake actually get to shine in the spotlight. Ziggler’s Championship run has been something the IWC has been anticipating for quite some time now (now let’s see how long it takes us to get sick of him and clamor for someone else to get the spotlight. My over-under is 3 months). The Wrestling elite might not want to admit it, but (at least at the upper midcard and main event level) WWE has a roster full of solid, proven talent that can carry an entertaining program if given the right direction, with more in the pipeline waiting for their moment to break through.
Of course, this may spell bad new for you ROH fans, as most of WWE’s next crop of talent will be coming directly from that promotion. But if you truly support these guys, then you really shouldn’t have a problem with them getting their hard-earned and well deserved shot at the big time, and on top of that, it clears more space for ROH to bring in more new talent to develop. So You still win out.
It looks like we won’t be seeing The Rock in a WWE ring anytime soon, which is fine by me. I’ve always been a fan of Dwayne, but I’m not a big fan of “part time” wrestlers getting a main event push (I know I’m a hypocrite because I will ALWAYS support Chris Jericho. But there’s a Huge difference), especially if they’re not putting over the up-and-coming talent (which Jericho does, and there’s the difference). So seeing Brock Lesnar feud with Triple H represents not one but two missed opportunities to me.
I didn’t know there was a such thing as “main event limbo,” but if it exists, then I believe Randy Orton is stuck in it. The guy who was at one time hailed as the best in the business has been languishing in lesser main events and feuds, going head up against the likes of Kane, The Shield and Big Show in feuds that have had little impact. His lack of direction has resulted in him losing a lot of the edge that made his initial main event push EPIC. I know he really wants to be a heel again, but I think the hallmark of a great wrestler is the ability to tell a compelling story as either a heel or a face, and Orton hasn’t figured out how to do the face thing successfully. But with CM Punk taking a break, the “top heel” spot is now up for grabs, so let’s see how Randy develops. And I think this speaks to a greater issue, which is the logjam at the main event level. There are a lot of guys who are former champions fighting for those top spots, not to mention the midcard guys trying to break through. I hope this creates an atmosphere where dudes step up their game to make their mark, like they did back in the late 1990s (I refuse to say Attitude Era because that phrase has been used ad nauseum).
Over on the TNA side, the Aces & Eights storyline lost some momentum for a minute, but bringing Bully Ray along as its leader and TNA champion was a brilliant move to get that storyline back on track. What needs to happen now is for the members of that group to truly establish themselves as a dominant faction by winning more titles and featuring more prominently in other storylines. We need to see more than just Bully Ray flourish: we need to see D’Lo Brown, Mike Knox, Snitsky, Mr. Anderson and D-von do more than just be Bully Ray’s backup. I like them pushing Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, seeing as these two guys are clearly the best TNA has to offer in terms of talent and upside. But I’m saddened to see the guys they were looking to push and market pre-Hogan/Bischoff (Matt Morgan, A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Hernandez) not really get to that main event level.