So you wanna be a WWE superstar. Youâ€™ve done all the work. Done the pushups required to get a physique that Vince will notice. Practiced cutting promos that will get you over with the crowd. Youâ€™ve even picked out a song that you can stand to hear day after day, every single time you walk out to the ring. Now all we have to do is pick: What belt do you get to go for.
The general leveling of the WWE locker room is one that I would suspect most people are familiar with. Itâ€™s three basic levels where the top level is full of the main event guys. People like Cena and Orton who always go for the WWE or Heavyweight championship. Under them we have the bulk of the locker room, those who fill out the mid-card. Like top-level wresters they also have a belt that they can go after, US on Raw and Intercontinental on Smackdown. At the bottom of the pile we have the third rung of wrestlers, those who get banished to Internet shows and usually only appear on an actual television in the background of a hallway where Cena is walking to the ring for a super important match. The only time they would ever possibly get to actually go in the ring on one of the main shows would be to fill out the number of a 30-man battle royale or to be seriously squashed by whoever WWE is trying to get over at that exact moment. Yes these are the three levels, and to be a WWE superstar, means that unless something dramatic happens, youâ€™re stuck pretty firmly in one of these three levels. But thatâ€™s not really the case is it? More and more, the lines between wrestler levels are getting blurred.
Lets start by taking a look at the biggest line blur recently, who is of course, Mr. Zach Ryder. A few months ago, Ryder was little more than a blip for WWE. He only appeared in the occasional comedy bit, almost a poor manâ€™s Santino, and was clearly a member of the bottom level. Then he found the Internet and through it he found some fans. So where is Ryder now? Surely he is not still in the bottom. Heâ€™s on TV almost every week on one show or another. Of course most of those appearances are not in the ring, but rather comedy bits. But he does get some ring time. In fact just this past week, he was in the main event, in a match full of other main event wresters. Everyone else in the ring has been deemed worthy of sharing a ring with the Rock at Survivor Series, and Ryder was not only able be in a match with these guys but very much able to hold his own in the ring. Could he possibly be a main event guy already? But then he still seems to be going for the US Championship both at the last PPV and this one as well. So that would put him in the mid-card range.
Of course, its not just rises that can mess with clear lines. Plenty of people who have held a top-level belt are now floundering back in the mid-card level. Swagger was once the Heavyweight Champ. After he lost the belt, Sheamus dropped down to the bottom of the mid-card, and had to switch shows to get his momentum back. Miz also lost some of his status after losing the belt, and kind of floundered around the middle card, until this latest storyline. Poor Drew McIntyre was dubbed the chosen one and is now losing matches on the Internet.
But most recent stories of tragic falls, pale in comparison to John Morrisonâ€™s. Remember at the beginning of the year? He had a great title match with Miz. He lost because it was on the weekly show, but impressive nonetheless. Then he went on to have the most memorable spot in each of the first two PPVs of the year. It seemed as though he had finally broken into the big leagues. He was right on the cusp of being a main event guy. And then WrestleMania happened; Morrisonâ€™s star was gone. He went on to lose on a weekly basis to mid card after mid card. Three months of losses. No longer was Morrison a top card contender. Was he even a mid carder at this point? After all he was just there to job to other mid carders, something usually reserved for bottom tier people. Yes, this past week, Morrison did win his first match in a long time, so maybe the company does have something in mind for him. But no one is viewing him as a possible contender for the WWE champion spot anymore.
Not all of the guys are blurring the lines on WWE television. Cena is still safely at the top with no threat of being bumped anywhere near the mid-card, and I donâ€™t think weâ€™re going to get a Hornswaggle title run anytime son. Cody Rhodes had been feuding with Orton but his title is probably safe because Orton had grown beyond every competing for a mid-card belt. But for other guys, is just not always so easy to place them.
Somewhat related thought: Most weeks this last bit of the column is about something, while still pertaining to wrestling, not really relevant to the rest of the column. This week however, I wanted to briefly mention a few types of wrestler that donâ€™t fit at all into the three tiers that are mentioned above. First obviously are the divas that have their own division of two levels. First level is usually whoever has the belt and whoever wants the belt. (Sometimes these top two can bring their friends up as well) and the lower tier is the rest of the divas who never get on screen unless a heel needs to squash someone.
The other group of wresters that donâ€™t fit the three levels is the Legends. Those who are past their prime in ring years but still show up on old school night and get a major nostalgia pop. They usually wonâ€™t have any multi-week storyline, but itâ€™s nice to see them crush a mid-card heel and prove that theyâ€™ve still got it (even if some times we need a little more suspension of disbelief.)