It’s always amazing to see how much certain wrestling fans truly hate their theatrical sport of choice. If they’re not getting what they want, these fans explode about what WWE should be doing. When they get exactly what they want, they complain that the angle is being hot-shotted, or just botched in general.
Take, for example, the midcard. Fans have long cried out for a need to rebuild the midcard, and to make the matches matter. Give the guys a reason to fight, instead of just having them fight. You may have noticed, lately, a lot of tag guys and lower card guys are actually getting over, and it’s not a coincidence.
People also cried for new talent. The Shield, The Wyatts, Cesaro, Fandango, and so many others say hello.
2 weeks ago, WWE attempted to rebuild a floundering mid-card tag team, while also introducing and establishing a promising new talent.
And it was brilliant.
A week after he was introduced to the mainstream audience, Xavier Woods came out with Brodus Clay’s dancers – and his theme song. A few days later, Big Brodie was PISSED that the young guy was stealing his gimmick – and his spot on the show. It immediately established Woods as a relatable underdog, and set the wheels in motion for a long overdue Brodus Clay heel turn. It also set up a series of matches where Clay gets to finally work like the big man he is, and let the crowd get behind Xavier.
So naturally, the internet drops trou’ and declares this a big ol’ steamy pile of wrestlecrap.
Are you kidding me?
I didn’t see many complaints about Woods, but man do people have a problem with Brodus Clay. In particular, people hate him for declaring himself a “main event player,” in comparison to a rookie like Woods. Apparently, these folks would rather have Clay declare himself a jobber, or a failed comedy gimmick, than try to sell himself and sell the feud. And since when do heels have an accurate opinion of themselves? Part of what makes them heels is the disconnect between reality and what they say reality is.
Which makes me think that the people complaining have never actually watched professional wrestling. Story lines like this one are almost literally Wrestling 101, and everything that is right about the business: It uses established undercard monsters (Clay and Tensai) as a platform to introduce a new character (Woods) using a clear and obvious size disparity and they’ve attached him to an established babyface (Truth) to make sure the fans cheer the new guy by association. Even if it didn’t do all that, it would still be using two babyfaces to take two floundering guys, and give them new life as bad ass heels.Whether or not the internet likes it, this angle is already a success.
Not only does it work, it shows that WWE could take its “future future endeavors” list and create some midcard stars. There are a bunch of unused (or underused) guys who have been on TV – who could be used a lot better. In no particular order- David Otunga, JTG, Ezekiel Jackson, Mason Ryan, Ricardo Rodriguez, Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder, Evan Bourne…
Let’s start with JTG. Right now, he’s dead in the water, but it wasn’t always that way. He was OVER as a member of Cryme Tyme. And he’s been off TV long enough that you could easily revive the gimmick, and retcon his miserable singles run.
There’s only one problem. His former tag team partner thinks he’s an actor now, and isn’t coming back. My solution? Since Mason Ryan would be busy with my next idea, I’d team him up with Ezekiel Jackson. JTG did all the work in the original team, and let Shad take the hot tag. That would work just fine here.
And if you’re trying to recapture Cryme Tyme magic in 2014, give them a high-powered attorney who keeps them out of trouble. There’s a certain Harvard Law grad floating around who could use something to do. Unless Mr.
Hudson Otunga is busy, that is.
Just like that – you’ve got an undercard tag team that, if nothing else, could be used to build teams like The Real Americans and Tons of Funk for tag title shots. And you’ve given them a Teflon gimmick with a charismatic manager to boot.
Zack Ryder has a segment of fans that love him. Right or wrong, they’re going to chant “we want Ryder” at live events—especially in the northeast. So cash in on it, using some other talented guys with nothing to do.
How? The FBI.
ECW fans will remember the original incarnation of the Full Blooded Italians. They’ll also remember that half the stable wasn’t Italian. Hell, some members weren’t even white. But that didn’t stop the group from parading around as a family of tough-guy Italians.
Re-use that formula here, but with Ryder leading a group of quasi-Long Island douche bags. Curt Hawkins is still under contract, right? Evan Bourne could easily fit the bill, given enough hair gel. Mason Ryan could be the group’s muscle. Better yet, Zack’s famous cronie The Big O is coming along quite nicely in NYWC. And a fake-Italian/guido stable would be far more productive than anything else Yoshi Tatsu is up to. Team them up as the L.I.E., and make it stand for whatever you want it to. Then feud them with Santino. Sell a lot of t-shirts.
A lot of people love Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s funny, he’s charismatic—and he can work. The only problem is, it’s been established that he’s little more than a punching bag in a bowtie. Now, in fairness, WWE did set him up for a future return and legitimate run, saying that he was moving to the WWE Performance Center to learn how to wrestle. But I have a better idea.
Use Ricardo Rodriguez as your next masked luchadore. Call him anything BUT El Local.
Give him a gimmick, a back story, and the chance to get over as a legitimate wrestler. If it fails… he’ll always be Ricardo Rodriguez.
Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel were a good little “London & Kendrick” kinda tag team, until Kidd got hurt. Now he’s back, and neither guy is doing squat. Team ‘em up and let ‘em go.
No, seriously, that’s it. Just let these guys wrestle.
I could go on, but I think you get my point.
Of course, not every gimmick is going to work out. Sometimes, a silly rapper gimmick turns into the biggest superstar in wrestling. Sometimes it’s Slam Master J and nobody remembers you at all. Maybe Bad News Barrett turns into a main event gimmick. Maybe it’s a “Just Joe” afterthought. Who knows?
Not everyone makes it to the top. But you can be a success without being number one and it wouldn’t hurt to give some guys a chance to grow as performers and connect with the crowd. It certainly isn’t hurting Brodus Clay, Tensai, Xavier Woods and R-Truth to have a shot at something meaningful. The proof is in the crowd reactions, and given enough time, the merch sales. And WORST case scenario, every roster needs a 3MB.
I hear and read a lot of complaints about Cena and Orton staying on top of the show, a decade after they took over. You want that to end? Someone else needs to get a shot—and everyone has to start somewhere.
So stop complaining, and enjoy the ride.