Monday, July 16, 2012

Could You Imagine THIS Guy Main Eventing Wrestlemania? (Part 2)

A few days ago, we took a look at a few current WWE Superstars and his potential to one day become a permament fixture amongst the chandelier that is the professional wrestling main event card.
Contrary to all the haters out there, World Wrestling Entertainment has the same hierarchy that the NBA, MLB, NHL or NFL does; there are your elite performers, steady vets and of course, rising stars. Here, we take a second look at a few wrestlers in that last category, analyze their qualifications and if indeed they have the chance to main event the superbowl of wrestling, Wrestlemania, any time soon.

The Miz
Qualifications: 1x WWE champion. 3x WWE tag team champion, 2x United States champion, 2x World tag team champion, 2010 Money in the Bank winner, #1 PWI top 500 singles wrestler in 2011

TRL: I am well aware of the fact that the Miz main evented Wrestlemania 28 against John Cena AND won. Yet, his retaining his title was merely a subplot in the Rock/Cena hierarchy , and his standing in the company hasn't been the same since. More accurately, over the past few months, the Miz has become a laughing stock in the wrestling community. Ever since he
failed to catch R-truth on RAW back in February, I don’t think he has won one match since. By comparison, Brie Bella has more victories in that span and the Bella Twins aren’t even in the company anymore.
However, there are some positives for the Miz. He was valued highly enough by Mr. McMahon to be the lead in the WWE’s film The Marine 3. His mic skills and wrestling ability have greatly improved since his debut. I think it’s going to take some time, but I could see The Miz back in the main event scene in the future. I personally do not think he deserves to be there, but it appears somebody backstage thinks highly of him...but maybe not as much as I do. The Miz went from being a hardcore wrestling fanatic, to WWE champion. I’m only 27, so quitting my day job, giving my money to Lance Storm's Wrestling Academy, Shawn Michaels' Wrestling School (or begging Bret to reopen The Dungeon), and hoping for the best isn't out of the question. Thanks for the potential inspiration dude!

KOBEsh: I'm echoing a lot of the sentiments that TRL stated; it's not so much that the Miz main evented Mania last year - it's that he looks like he'll never even sniff that type of success ever again. His strengths are obvious: he is a tremendous speaker, perhaps one of the best in the company, or even in the business. He's a bit more than competant in the ring, but his mat acumen is even more impressive if you watched him develop from the stiff wrestling novice he was several years ago. However, what the Miz truly lacks of twofold.

1) Depth of character: Yes, he is the Miz and at times, he's awesome. He's an arrogant braggart who's defeated John Cena at Wrestlemania and represents supposedly "must-see" WWE television. But...what else? What's his mission? To be must-see, to prove the haters wrong, or to win the WWE title? Does he aspire to be one of the greatest of all-time, or merely just a guy who spikes ratings for a week? The problem with the Miz is that I don't know which one of these guys he is, if any. I've never known why he's fueding with anyone, nor have I found any of his motivations particularly compelling. There's a lot to work with here; perpetual underdog, who is constantly fighting for his skill set and accomplishments to rise to the level of his arrogance. He wants to prove that he's the best because he needs it. He craves that respect. It's what drives him every day. That's easy to write out. But obviously, much harder to convey over two hours of television.

2) In-ring storytelling: Again, the Miz is slightly more than competent, but that type of mediocrity isn't what I want out of the guy dictating the fortunes of the company. He's certainly capable of telling a story within the matches he wrestles, but over an elongated match he's been exposed as much more two-dimensional than he appears. Quite simply, his bouts leave you somewhat unsatisfied, like there was a lot left on the table. The falls aren't close, his moveset, save for his finisher, don't really move along the match, and he isn't athletic enough to truly astound the audience. I suppose that's really what the core of my lack of faith in the Miz; on the surface, he looks like he should be at the top of the card every month. But digging a bit deeper, there's a lot to be desired. He's got the tools, but it's taken longer than you'd think to acess them.
Verdict: 70% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Zack Ryder
Qualifications: 1x WWE tag team champion, 1x United States champion, #117 PWI top 500 singles wrestler 2010

TRL: In my opinion, Zack Ryder has already reached his ceiling in the WWE as United States champion. And I think he overachieved in winning that belt. I like “The Long Island Iced Z” as much as the next guy, but his in ring ability is severely lacking. Even when he was supposed to be emotionally distressed, he was still more concerned with spouting off catchphrases and creating new t-shirts. He’s a one dimensional character, without great wrestling ability, who is viewed as comic relief. I do not see him going any higher than mid-card status and even that is a stretch. Woo woo woo, don’t count on it.

KOBEsh: I want more for Zack Ryder, but unfortuantely, I have to agree with TRL. I believe that as currently constructed, his character won't allow him to ascend much higher than a second-tier title like the US Title. However, there are a couple facets to Ryder's game that could help him in the future. The guy is extremely athletic. Say what you want about how silly moveset and how lame his head scissor take down finisher is, the fact is that he has to jump up to a guy's shoulders to take him down. Pretty impressive. Also, Zack's success has all been predicated on his persistence to rise above just another nameless WWE roster cut. These skills aren't necessarily the keys to a WM main event spot, but at the very least, Ryder's able to wrestle a bit, talk on the microphone and is extremely driven to succeed. With a gimmick change, I could see him having a bit better chance, but not much more than that.
Verdict: 10% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Alberto Del Rio
Qualifications: 2x WWE champion, #6 in PWI top 500 singles wrestlers in 2011

TRL: Clearly Vince McMahon is very enamored with him, to a fault. Vince took the belt off of CM Punk last summer and put it on Del Rio, throwing all of the momentum Punk gained to a screeching halt. Del Rio’s reign wasn’t received well, and it put CM Punk in a stagnant feud with Kevin Nash and HHH before Vince righted his wrong. That is not a knock on Del Rio, it just wasn’t his time. He certainly has the look and the wrestling ability to main event. He is difficult to understand on the mic, but he is improving.

Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion in his most recent match against the Great Khali, delaying his title match against Sheamus for a month. I think that as long as Del Rio remains healthy, he will be involved in the main event scene for the foreseeable future. I don’t like him as the guy to end Wrestlemania, but I would be fine with him as one of the “top guys.”

KOBEsh: Del Rio did main event Mania over a year ago, in what turned out to be Edge's last match before his medically-induced retirement. However, he hasn't been able to continue or capitalize on his success since then. TRL touched on two very important stumbling blocks in front of Del Rio's stagnancy the past two years. The first and foremost has been his snakebitten injury history. Like Orton or Batista before him, Del Rio always seems to get hurt at the most inopportune moment possible. Some of them seem to be fluke injuries, although some more chronic problems like a troublesome hip might be a big obstacle going forward. However, injuries are just a part of the industry. What's a bigger problem in my eyes, is Del Rio's one-dimensional microphone work. The fact is that Del Rio is speaking every week to millions of people in his second language. Looking at the careers of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko who couldn't talk on the microphone in their own native tongues, what Alberto is doing is even more impressive. But the Mexican superstars expatriate nature was uncovered in last year's feud with CM Punk.

Punk is, without a doubt, one of the very best spitting out acidic promos and lightning-fast barbs in the middle of the squared circle. His quick wit can distress anyone that has to verbally tangle with him, and can really expose an opposing talker if he or she isn't quite ready to go word for word with the best in the business. Del Rio unfortunately, couldn't keep up. After giving his usual summary of how it was his "destiny" to win the WWE title, Punk retorted, asking "why is it YOUR destiny? You keep on talking about this DESTINY, and all I see is me with the WWE title!". To which, Del Rio responded..."because it's my DESTINY". Until that moment, I thought Del Rio would be a main event fixture for years to come. However, the language barrier could be his glass ceiling in regards to being a bonifide Wrestlemania top card guy.

Verdict: 85% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Wade Barrett
Qualifications: 1x Intercontinental champion, season 1 NXT winner, #19 in PWI top 500 in 2011

TRL: Management is so high on Wade Barrett that the Money in the Bank ladder match at this past Wrestlemania was cancelled because he got injured. That's pretty high. Rather than re-book the winner, the match was just cancelled all together.
However, even when he was healthy, his feud against Randy Orton made me want to *click, *click, *click the remote to another channel. I don’t get the love for Barrett. He is proficient in the ring, nothing special, and he has a monotone voice. Personally, count me out on Barrett. Unfortunately, I think the WWE views him as a future main eventer. I see him getting a monster push when he returns from injury. He will be in a Wrestlemania main event in the next few years, but I don’t agree with the decision.
KOBEsh: I'm not as bullish on Barrett as my colleague here. Wade isn't just a decent talker - he's a genuinely hateable in-ring heel because of it. Standing there at a full 6'6", Barret doesn't just talk the part of an ass-kicker; he looks like he could destroy any comer.

My biggest criticism of him is that he never truly uses his size to make himself look like a monster when wrestling. He'll need to incorporate more moves that accentuate his size if he wants to start climbing up the WWE ladder. However, looking at Batista and even the Undertaker when they started main eventing, these are all parts of the Wade Barret package that I'm sure Vince McMahon will allow him to learn while sitting at the top of the card. I agree with TRL that Wade will be main eventing before he's ready, but I think he has the tools to get there.

Verdict: 85% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Jack Swagger
Qualifications: 1x ECW(WWE) champion, 1x World Heavyweight champion, 1x United States champion, 2010 Money in the Bank winner, #18 in PWI top 500 singles wrestler in 2009

TRL: Every now and then management will put the belt on someone thinking that the belt will put them over a la Randy Orton at the age of 24 (ignore the other wrestler in the ring with Orton, he never existed). This is the exact opposite philosophy that the company should have. The better quality wrestler, the longer the title reign, the better quality the matches, the more prestigious the belt becomes. Jack Swagger was set-up in this manner a few years ago with a surprising World Heavyweight Title run. However, the WWE’s desperate attempt at a new Kurt Angle has been appalling. He was clearly not ready for the title when they put it on him and I doubt he ever will be.
Swagger isn't just a poor imitation of Angle: he's the homeless man’s Kurt Angle. He is an average wrestler that the fans do not care about, and the only way for him to get heat is to pair him up with Vicky Guerrero. I would be fine with giving him an extended run with the United States championship, but that should be his ceiling.

KOBEsh: Can't say I disagree at all. Swagger is a below average talker whose best attribute seems to be his size and athleticism. For a man billed as a fantastic NCAA wrestler, he hasn't translated his skill efficiently to the pro wrestling ring. There's very little that impresses me about him.

Verdict: 20% he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Santino Marella
Qualifications: 2x Intercontinental champion, 1x WWE tag team champion, 1x United States champion, #91 PWI top 500 singles wrestler in 2008

TRL: Unless his current gimmick changes, I don’t see Santino looked at as anything other than a comedy act by management. It’s a shame because...the man does have talent. Yes, seriously. Before anyone discredits Santino’s wrestling ability, I beg of you to watch the 2012
World Championship Elimination Chamber match. When it gets down to just Santino and Daniel Bryan, they put on a wrestling clinic. Not only that, but the crowd was 100% behind Santino. With a slight alteration to his gimmick, he could be a main eventer. If not, he’ll be forever doomed to the sophomoric fart jokes that Mr. McMahon loves.

KOBEsh: In nearly 30 years of Wrestlemania history, there's never been a character used almost strictly for comedy like Santo has that's broken past such a gmicck to become a legitimate main eventer. Ever. I do think that Santino is underrated in regards to his wrestling ability, but I find it hard to believe he'll ever be able to shake the crowd sitgma attached with his five plus years of being a WWE joke.

Verdict: 25% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 years.

Ted DiBiase Jr.
Qualifications: 1x Million Dollar Championship, 2x World tag team championship, #34 PWI top 500 singles wrestlers in 2010

TRL: There's not a whole lot to like about DiBiase's accomplishments in WWE. Let's name a few:
  • Not much championship experience here, as the Million Dollar belt is pretty much meaningless. As cool as the belt might look to a novice wrestling fan, it has no prestige (t’s the same as Taz’s FTW Championship).
  • For a while, Ted DiBiase Jr. needed a woman to help get him over. And while I had absolutely no problem with Maryse Oulettegetting more screen time, it was not a good sign for Ted.
  • Like the Miz, DiBiase was chosen to be the lead actor in The Marine 2. I have not seen any of the movies in the Marine franchise, but I am going to go ahead and assume that they are terrible.
The good news for Ted DiBiase Jr. is he’s: still young, a second generation wrestler, has a good gimmick, excellent lineage. For the most part the WWE treats their 2nd generation wrestlers very well (not counting Manu and the Uso twins). I see Ted DiBiase receiving another push when he returns (he had won 8 matches in a row before he got hurt), hopefully getting a rub from Cody Rhodes’ newfound main event status.

KOBEsh: I'm not as hopeful as my blog brother here. the younger DiBiase, at one point seemed to be the next in the strong lineage of Triple H and Randy Orton. However, after watching Ted flounder for the past two or three years, I'm not sure what the WWE sees in him. He's a great athelte that knows how to wrstle, but I'm just not sure that he knows what direction he wants to take his character in. More importantly, I don't think the WWE does either. He was looking completely lost before his injury, but I don't think that necessarily precludes him from one day climbing the corporate ladder. I'm making my prediction purely on potential, because he certainly hasn't shown very much on television since 2010.

Verdict: 70% chance he main events a WM in the next 5 year

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