Hello again. I didn’t watch Over the Limit, but I did have a couple of thoughts based on what I read about it. One, is how does the WWE justify putting Cena/Big Johnny on the top of the card? I can’t imagine a scenario in which that match was the reason someone purchased that pay-per-view. Two, I’m not saying anyone from the WWE reads my column, but having a battle royal/mini-tournament/gimmick match with the winner receiving a title match the same night is something I specifically suggested to fill minor pay-per-views a few weeks ago, so I was glad to see it actually happen, although if the I-C title switch wasn’t done to either a) kick off a series of quality matches between Christian and Cody or b) the impetus of pushing Rhodes into a title feud with Sheamus, I will be disappointed.
Last week I did a little today vs. yesterday character comparison deal. I’d like to continue down that road, with a little armchair booking that we all like to do from time to time. Obviously all of this is just speculation/wishful thinking but here are some ideas I have…
Ryback – Okay, so he’s Goldberg 2.0, right? I mean we all agree on that, I think. He doesn’t seem to have captured the world’s imagination in the same way ol’ Bill did when he was plowing his way through the ranks of WCW back in the day, but they seem to be following the template and seeing where it goes. At this point, I say keep him going straight up the squash ladder and keep Brodus Clay doing likewise, then have them bump into one another and get into a fracas. Then, decide which one is the most over and have a big showdown at SummerSlam (I’d go with Ryback).
R-Truth/Kofi Kingston – The current tag champs seem to be a product of that old WWE standby rule of if there are two black guys they have to be either teaming together or feuding with one another. Now, I’m only half-joking, because, they actually have more black guys on the roster right now than I can remember since at least the Nation of Domination days. On that note, as I have touted the need for the return of stables, why not revisit that concept. Put David Otunga at the head of a group of angry black guys, with a re-heeled Truth, Ezekiel Jackson, Titus O’Neal and Darren Young. Or make them faces. Leave out Otunga, add Kofi, and have Teddy Long head up the group as a foil for John Laurinaitis and his backers.
Christian – Kudos to the guy for still being relevant and over at this point in the game. He’s had a pretty lengthy career and even managed the trick of leaving the limelight of the WWE to go to TNA and establish his value there before returning. You know who I feel like Christian compares to? Barry Windham. Barry was always a good worker who was just on the fringe of being a real star. To me that’s Christian’s lot in life. While Edge went on to (rated R) superstardom, Christian got shuffled down the card. A tag-team specialist who went on to singles competition (Windham spent quite a bit of time in tag ranks as well), Christian did at least avoid being a Marty Jannetty. When Ric Flair jumped to the WWF, who got the main event slot to put Lex Luger over? Barry Windham. When Edge was forced to retire due to a potentially crippling condition, who got the sympathy title run? Christian. I’m betting that Christian’s title win and apparent face turn is really just part of a plan to elevate someone (Ryback or Sandow maybe?), and really, that’s about right at this point.
Cody Rhodes – I miss “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. I thought he had the perfect cocky, arrogant heel down pat. Nowadays he seems more angry than cocky. Get Cody back into “Dashing” mode ASAP. He’s the new “Ravishing” Rick Rude. I’d go full-on “calling ladies up out of the crowd” with Cody. Give him a hot valet and I think you’ve got money. I mentioned it above that I hope that his dropping of the Intercontinental belt was to get him up into the World Heavyweight title picture. Give him the belt and have that as the opportunity to give him a personality tweak.
Jack Swagger – Okay, so I think we can all agree that the WWE’s attempt at creating another Kurt Angle was pretty much a bust. In fact, he’s gone ahead and dropped the American-themed tights and such. Honestly, I don’t see much left for the guy to offer other than as glorified enhancement talent at this point. He’s not likeable enough for a face turn and too bland to be an effective heel. Swagger needs an intense gimmick makeover to regain some relevance. I suggest going the complete polar opposite and have him turn his back on America and pair him up with some other non-American like Wade Barrett or someone. Which leads me to…
Lord Tensai – This is something that has almost completely faded into obscurity…the “Foreign Heel” gimmick. Now, granted it used to be easy, what with the Cold War and all – shave your head and “boom!” instant Russian bad guy (even Bam Bam Bigelow was Krusher Yurkov early in his career. The Iron Sheik, Baron von Raschke, the Cuban Assassin, Yokozuna…hell even Bret Hart was an “evil Canadian” and it somehow worked. I guess in this age of political correctness there’s a fine line between playing up someone’s nationality and falling into stereotyping someone because of their heritage, but it’s an easy heat generator, even if it’s cheap heat, but why not have Tensai explain how he has embraced the “superior” Japanese code of honor, or style of wrestling, or philosophy or whatever, run down the good ol’ U.S.A. and see who steps up to defend America’s honor (‘cause you know we’re just waiting to chant “U-S-A! U-S-A!” How about “Made in America” Ted DiBiase, or you know what, have Jim Duggan pass the old 2-by-4 down to the next generation (along with the “Hacksaw” nickname) and crown a new defender of America…I’ve got it! “Hacksaw” Husky Harris – the new Triple H! He even looks the part.
The Miz – I don’t know who he pissed off, but I honestly feel bad for the guy at this point. I know opinions vary on his ability, but the guy can wrestle, he’s great on the mic, and he’s entertaining (to me, at least). I think the problem is he’s just too easy to shuffle out of the spotlight and will always be second fiddle to, well whoever is being the focus of the show on that particular night. He actually reminds me (and hear me out) of Randy Savage. He’s a heel who is borderline face a lot of the time, due mainly to his interaction with the crowd. He had a run with the title, but that largely gets ignored at the expense of the storyline and whatever else is going on. It wouldn’t take much to turn him face, like Savage did for extended periods over his career. He just needs a valet/manager to berate and he’s ready to go. The best part is, like Savage was known to do, he has a legitimate reason to be pissed off about his situation (from the main event at Wrestlemania to losing dance-offs to Brodus Clay in less than a year and a half). Savage was quick to cry conspiracy, too, you know. I know Punk has called dibs on the Macho Elbow, but Miz should claim everything else immediately.
Antonio Cesaro – You know who’s a great heel, that dick who thinks he’s better than you – and then goes out and proves it. Ric Flair, or course, made a career out of it. Nick Bockwinkle, Harley Race, and even guys like Roddy Piper (pinned only once in the WWF, I believe, by Bret Hart), Rick Rude, Curt Hennig. I’m not completely familiar with the former Claudio Castagnoli, but he just has that look about him. You could say that about Alberto Del Rio, too, but I think Cesaro is the fresher face and has more need of a character to establish. I wouldn’t go all “foreign heel” or anything just have him be very proud of his ability and show it off, almost William Regal-like in his delivery.
Just some quick thoughts….
Shouldn’t there be a whole new generation of Guerrerros by now? Surely they had kids and surely some of them are wrestlers…
Why isn’t anyone doing a cowboy gimmick in the WWE? They should steal James Storm ASAP…
Where’s the crazy? George “The Animal” Steele, Kamala, Bruiser Brody, Cactus Jack. Hell, Norman the Lunatic…bring back the nutjobs!
There are a lot of good finishing moves no one is using right now….
And since I’ve mentioned him in two columns in a row, here’s a cool match featuring Bam Bam Bigelow teaming with Big Van Vader against Rick and Scott Steiner. Enjoy.
Okay, I guess that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for reading.