August 27, 2009
The Top of the Card
Hey everyone. I hadn’t intended to write anything this soon after my last column, but you know how it is; you hear something and the brain gets thinking and before you know it you’re in the middle of typing this!
SummerSlam has been and gone and it got me thinking – it’s 5 years since Randy Orton beat Chris Benoit for his first run with the world heavyweight title (even if it didn’t last too long – and notice they didn’t say who Orton beat at that PPV when they mentioned on commentary at SS this year – funny that! I wonder if Benoit is mentioned on the WCW DVD? I’m sure he’s not, but he should be. Let me know if you’ve seen it.).
Sorry for that slight deviation!
In the 5 years since, it seems like the same set of half a dozen or so wrestlers have been main eventing WWE’s PPV’s and staleness has most definitely set in at the top of the card. They have tried to elevate some wrestlers to main event level, with some success as well as some failures, and in some instances haven’t elevated people who should have been. With that being said, I want to mention some wrestlers who, since Orton’s rise to champion 5 years ago, should have been long term main eventers (you’ll see why I say that later) and those currently on the roster who I think could, or should, be main eventing pay-per-views by the time SummerSlam 2010 comes around. I’ll also look at who I think outside of WWE (including FCW) could come to Stamford and main event (short term or long term).
Should have beens:
When he came back to WWE after leaving when Lita had taken up in real life with Edge, WWE should have capitalised on his momentum much better. Instead, they gave him a half real life-half WWE storyline interview on his return and he lost some of the crowd. His feud with Edge didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and he was sent packing to SmackDown. Over the years they’ve thought about elevating him on a major basis but never quite have. Why? To be honest, I don’t know. He has the ability and the crowds always react to him. He’s a proven team player – as was seen during the Edge programme and his recent feud with Jeff after he turned heel. Maybe they just need to stick with him as a face. He deserves to be higher up the card, moreso than some people who have been elevated in the past (yes, I’m talking about you, JBL). Maybe soon.
He has shone for me in the last year or two. His feud with Matt Hardy was tremendous over the U.S. Title and it stood him in good stead for another step up the ladder. In my opinion, the mistake they made with him was turning him face. For me he was much better as an arrogant heel. He is a student of wrestling and spent a lot of time improving his abilities in the ring. He, like others before him, has towed he company line when needed and has shown himself to be both reliable in the ring and in carrying his side of a feud. I guess he shouldn’t mock the drug testers. Maybe he has written them a letter of apology or sent them some cookies because he seems to be getting a little push again. Well, if teaming with Mark Henry counts as a promotion.
This was a sure fire hit. Surely he couldn’t not be a main eventer? He had the personality, the look, the in ring ability, the promo work – in fact, what didn’t he have? Oh, wait, I know – a WrestleMania match with Ric Flair. Yes, the rug was pulled out from under his feet (and who really knows why) but the thing is this – if he had knuckled down with an ‘I’ll show them’ type of attitude then things could have been so, so different. But instead, he sulked, and has seen his stock fall further than Vince’s own. This one, and I don’t care what anybody says, is his own fault. And that’s definitely not cool.
Yes, he of the 8 second match at this year’s SummerSlam. When he left WWE for TNA a few years ago, it was through frustration as much as anything else. The WWE fans had really gotten behind him (just watching the Raw from England when he faced Batista was amazing) and they would have gladly accepted him at the top of the card. Here was someone who through hard work and dedication was making their way to the top as the fans grew to appreciate him (are you reading this Carlito?) but Vince wouldn’t pull the trigger on him. The same thing happened with Jeff Hardy recently and they eventually did run with him, and what happened? He’s arguably the most popular wrestler on the roster. Could this have happened with Christian? Quite possibly, yes. But as with Matt Hardy, maybe we’ll find out soon. Surely he can’t be too long for ECW.
The Great Khali
Rob Van Dam
OK, I know that he flirted with the main event and then was given two world titles before he was pulled by the cops, but he should have been there long before that. He was another wrestler who the fans took to. He was brash, he was cocky, but boy could he back it up. He had the ‘sloppy’ tag, though, and that worked against him – especially when it’s HHH you injure! Overall, I think WWE missed a trick with him as he could have been a heavyweight champion of a few occasions and had some sterling feuds, but it wasn’t to be at the time. Watch this space, though……..
Marcus Cor Von/Monty Brown
Yes, I’m serious. Maybe it was just me, but I saw great potential with him when he left TNA (where he had been champion) and came to WWE. He had charisma and a great all round act. Sadly, the WWE never capitalised on it before he left to take care of his family (which showed how truly awesome he is in real life too). I doubt he’ll ever be back, but the door is open.
Oops, oops and oops again. I’m not saying he would have been a champion (well he might have been had they kept him with a talker like Armando) but he would have been the guy to beat before you went for the title. But it wasn’t to be, and, again, he has nobody to blame but himself.
Honourable mentions: Mr. Kennedy (almost but not quite), Finlay (man I would love that), Shelton Benjamin (if only he could find a personality……), Regal (like Kennedy, he almost got there in the last couple of years) and Elijah Burke (just a personal choice, but I always had high hopes for him in WWE).
Should/could be by SummerSlam 2010:
MVP – I think his time will come, but for me he needs to turn back heel and have the blow up tunnel entrance again.
The Miz – yes, I’ve been championing his cause for a good year or so, and as such I won’t spend too long talking about him now, but I think he has the potential to be a truly top class heel. After WrestleMania next year I expect his star to shine brightly.
Dolph Ziggler – it’s obvious that the company are getting behind him at the moment and based on how he has been in the last few months they’re just right to do so. He should eventually beat Mysterio for the title and if he carries himself well as champion we could see him evolve into a top line player. It might take a little while after next summer, but time will tell.
Matt Hardy – his day will finally arrive in the next 6 months or so, or at least he will have the chance to prove he should be at the top of the card. It’s now in his hands.
Christian – need I say anymore?
Gail Kim – hey, she deserves to be higher up the card! Too many women = too little interest. Here’s a novel approach, how about hiring on talent first, looks second? Maybe when Vince hands over the reigns it will happen, but not before. Or after probably to be honest.
Ted DiBiase – ok, so I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out this one, but it looks like he’ll be given the ball and to see how far he can run. The question is, can he run with it as a face? He’s got more chance to succeed at the top of the card than Cody (sorry but it’s true) and it will be interesting to see how he goes. His should feud through Brett, then Cody, finally getting his hands on Orton around WM. Personally, I can’t see anything other than success for him as long as Randy decides to make him look like a star when the time comes.
Honourable mentions – R-Truth (if they ever decide to get behind him properly), Mike Knox (whether we want it or not he’ll get his chance eventually), Santino (I wish!), Kofi Kingston (maybe, maybe not), Evan Bourne (if he wasn’t presented as such a geek or they cared about their cruiserweights) and, as an outside bet, Zach Ryder (I guess he’ll be thanking Colt Cabana if he does).
WWE possible main eventers from outside the current main roster:
Kaval/Low Ki – there was talk he was signed to feud with Rey. If that’s true then it won’t be too long after he returns from injury until he’s called up. He has all the tools to succeed but may be ultimately too small to make headway in the land of the giants.
Bryan Danielson – it’s true he isn’t the most charismatic, but neither was Chris Benoit and they went all the way with some (with some success). It’s true he isn’t the biggest, but neither is one of his original trainers, Shawn Michaels (and he’s done alright for himself). He’s a superb technician n the ring (as was Benoit, as is Michaels, as is Y2J…….) Can you notice a pattern here? Bottom line, if they decide to help him get over, he will; unless certain egos feel the need to prove that his reputation in the indies isn’t warranted. If that does happen then he should look no further than his old ROH colleague CM Punk.
Brent Albright – he might get another chance in Stamford. Then again, maybe he won’t. Anyone remember Gunner Scott with any fondness? Thought not.
Nigel McGuinness – again, I wish!
Tyler Black – the jury’s out as to whether WWE right now would be the best move; just ask Colt Cabana. Speaking of whom…..
Colt Cabana – they missed a trick with him. He’s perfectly suited for the SmackDown mid card and from there who knows!
Dawson Alexander – hey, he’s just had a baby with Jennifer Hudson. Are you telling me Vince won’t exploit that?
Giant Bernard/A Train – stranger things have happened……
Takeshi Morishima – he was on their horizon, but unless he’s going to cut the weight they want it’s an outside shot at best.
Claudio Castagnoli – worth another shot? Your guess is as good as mine.
X-Pac – I’d assume not, but you never know what HHH will want in the future as far as DX goes.
Kurt Angle – not worth the risk nowadays.
Matt Morgan – if his push works in TNA then Vince could be persuaded to take him on again, until he gets bored of him and gives him a different gimmick. I know a good one – he could develop this stutter…..
Robert Roode – he’ll wind up in WWE eventually.
Rob Van Dam – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!
Lance Hoyt, Ryan Reeves, Wade Barrett and any other FCW wrestler who s built like the proverbial tank. Remember kids, in WWE (more often than not) they feel that muscles = money. Or, if you like, mean = green. (Sorry, that was a really bad joke but I couldn’t resist)
And last, and by no means least, Sting – I really can see one match at either WM 2010 or 2011 (preferably 2010) alongside a Hall of Fame nomination. It just depends how he wants his career to end, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
Well, I’ve no doubt that a lot of you will think I’ve lost my marbles (assuming I had them to lose!) it’s just blindingly obvious that WWE needs fresh main eventers, and Vince isn’t stupid. They sorely need to develop some new top line talent – some will work, some won’t. But if we don’t try then we’ll never know!
Feel free to drop me a line – email@example.com – and either tell me how stupid I am or let me know who you think deserves to be pushed, or maybe thrown, through the glass ceiling.