June 26, 2010
Gary Mehaffy

The Winds of Change

A few weeks ago on NXT, Wade Barrett talked about how ‘the winds of change were blowing’. Obviously he was talking simply about himself in relation to WWE/NXT, but can a parallel be drawn to the greater body of the WWE itself?

I think that it can.

I’ve been thinking about it and I think that there are the green shoots of change that first showed up 6 months ago and have been growing ever since, up to and including this weeks TV.

Some of my reasons:

The elevation of Sheamus – Just before the New Year, on December 13th at the TLC PPV, he defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship. At the time, everyone was asking how and why, but in the ensuing six or seven months he has proved himself as a main event player, to the point where no-one really moans or complains that he is a main eventer (and two time champion, as of the Fatal-4-Way PPV). They took a chance and it paid off.

The demotion of Drew McIntyre – Don’t get me wrong, I had high hopes. I saw him working for promotions in the UK before he joined WWE and I saw that he had something to offer, if not necessarily at upper card level for WWE. He had a great chance this time when pushed as Mr. McMahon’s chosen one but it just didn’t work. In ring, yes, personality, no. It still shows that Vince will stop a push for the right reasons as well as the wrong ones, although Drew’s chance will come again.

The Miz continuing to develop as a heel – Admittedly, not as quickly as I’d hoped! His feud with Cena last summer was a huge waste, but he has used the time in between then and now to further hone his skills. Since the New Year, he has become a two time U.S. Champion, defeated DX/SES along with Big Show to win the tag titles, won the opening match at this year’s WM and was the most impressive pro on the first season of NXT (although that had a lot more to do with the booking than just him improving). His feud with Daniel Bryan could have been a success, but it was pulled long before Daniel was. As I said long before anyone else did, he will be a huge heel & then face in WWE for years to come.

Daniel Bryan – As much as his release is a disgrace, he has significantly upped his stock, especially with the chants at the Fatal-4-Way PPV & the subsequent Raw (Vince has taken note). He will be back and he will be pushed. And about time too.

NXT Season One Rookies – Not so much in the first season itself, but the subsequent angle. It has created the most intrigue on WWE TV in a long time, if a little rushed in the last week or so. I do feel that they still have a great chance to get this over in a really major way, but I’m sure Gabriel is hoping to not have to 450 splash Vince again anytime soon! The one thing I will say is this – what are they going to do with the season two rookies? Some people will assume they will all end up on TV at the end of the season and I really hope they don’t. If for no other reason than I don’t have to watch Eli Cottonwood again anytime soon.

Evan Bourne’s recent push – I don’t care whether it came around because of Orton’s injury, because of Cena pulling stroke or because Vince has decided smaller guys can make him money (ok, it’s not likely to be the third option lets be honest), the fact is it has happened and Evan has stepped up to the mark. He is undoubtedly a talented wrestler and hopefully he will work hard to keep himself further up the card by working on his personality. I also hope that the fans will accept him as he climbs the card to a degree and will act as an inspiration to other smaller wrestlers on the roster and in the industry as a whole that they, through hard work and determination, can also have their moment in the sun.

The re-emergence of the tag division – Every now and again the tag scene is given a push, although over the last couple of years it has been more in the way of using thrown together teams or main eventers working together. Now, however, we have the emergence of genuine tag teams (and we also would have had Carlito/Primo had the former not been released). We have the Usos, Harts, Croft/Barreta, Archer/Hawkins and, hopefully, Luke Gallows/Joey ‘Masked Man’ Mercury. Give them time & make the titles mean something and all being well the division will continue to thrive and develop/

DiBiase/Rhodes split – This might seem a little strange to include, but the WWE want them both to succeed. I see more of an upside in DiBiase than Rhodes to be honest, but as of this week’s SmackDown Cody is starting to push his new, cocky persona. It shows that sometimes WWE can still build a faction (in this case Legacy) to increase the profile of a few wrestlers to then go on and move them up the card. This is how it should be done.

Raw guest hosts down the can – Well, not on TV as often anyway. Hallelujah.

LayCool – Finally, Michelle McCool has a reason to be on the card other than because of who she is sleeping with! They are very entertaining, even if they are a more mainstream imitation of the Beautiful People. They aren’t exactly the most talented divas/female wrestlers we’ve ever seen (which may be stating the obvious) but they are playing a huge part in bringing more interest to the division, and the pairing with Kaval on NXT can work well if the writers don’t bury him too much like they started to do with the other internet darling, Bryan Danielson, oops, Daniel Bryan.

Michael Cole, heel announcer – I know he’s pulled back a little on NXT but he actually was pretty useful on the mic when he was mocking & giving hassle to Danielson over the weeks. Dear knows where the new anonymous Raw GM angle is going (and even the writers don’t know!) but it has given him a reason to be talked about in a positive light for the first time in, well, ever!

There are other things that every now and again play with the emotions – both in a positive and negative way. Whether it is a wrestler/diva being given a well earned push/win or someone getting pushed unduly over and over and over again they can still pull the fans strings. I am not as downbeat as some are, and I hope that over the summer we will see more interest generated in WWE which is good for the industry as a whole.

Well, that’s me for now. I haven’t been around in a while due in part to work but also that I’ve been building up to having a major hip operation, which thankfully I had in the last two weeks. I’m not quite sorted yet, but we’re almost there!

If you have any feedback or ideas of you own, feel free to drop me an email.


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