WWE: The Card Game
by, 04-19-2011 at 04:08 AM (3828 Views)
Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn't resist. Today's topic is the "Card Game" or rather the different levels a superstar can reach or be in and ways to achieve them.
The WWE likes to call these "Enhancement Talent", but most of the IWC and older fans call them what they are: Jobbers. Jobbers come in multiple "flavors", but I'll highlight the main two.
These are the ones straight from FCW who are still developing their in-ring abilities. Their jobs (pun intended) is to make a mid-card look good in the ring, continue to hone their skills and pay their dues. Most non-initial super-pushed superstars start here and work their way up. While they have no tenure in the WWE, they tend to be safe from job cuts (unless they outright suck) due to the WWE wanting to test their "ceiling" for what they might become. They spend most of their time as extras in promos, dark matches and more likely on house shows. If they do make it on TV it's usually in a squash match or on Superstars (or similar) (Ex. Recently promoted FCW)
These are usually failed low and mid card superstars who didn't take advantage of their initial push or stopped impressing creative enough to where they have taken a major backseat. These are the most in danger of being fired. In today's WWE, they are quickly to be joined up in a tag-team so they can be utilized more without really being utilized (aka cannon fodder for their 3 actual tag teams) and if they do appear on TV it's in a squash match in most cases. (Examples: Hawkins, Tyson Kidd)
Sometimes confused with Jobbers, but there are a few distinct differences. These superstars tend to have actual personalities on screen, some limited merchandise sales, may be in a tag-team of actual usefulness. They will still job outside of their normal role (facing other low cards or tag teams) but will be allowed to show off their abilities when on TV. These stars, like jobbers tend to be in more Superstars matches and house shows but may appear on Raw/Smackdown as a victor on occasion, even outside of their tier. A problem for low cards though is if they fail to keep working their butt off (or don't have backstage respect/tenure) they turn into a downgraded jobber and risk termination. (Example: Zack Ryder, Mark Henry)
A small under-noticed section of superstars, usually because a star will not stay in this section long, are secondary characters in a stable or in a tag-team and thus ignored in terms of the "card level" debate. These are the ones who make a majority of the tag team division or make a very rare appearance into the IC/US Title Picture. Superstars who are in this position are usually there as a test to see if their ready to move up. (Examples: Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel)
The Solid Mid-Card, these are your staple US/IC Title holders and contenders, they get promo time when their feud is worth mentioning, their matches tend to be a bit longer, and they make regular appearances on their respective show (Raw/Smackdown), they normally have a decent supply of merchandise and will make it to a PPV on occasion. (Examples: Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston)
Jobber to the Stars:
Similar to a Mid-Card performer, but they have usually moved beyond it. These superstars have earned their place in the mid-card, are respected by fans and their peers and have usually above average in ring ability. However, they lack a certain feature to move on or get back up (Flinch Test, promo skills, age, VKM dislike etc.). They will hold a US/IC Title on occasion but their main job is to lose to the people above them either in a long feud or in a Contender's Match. (Modern Examples: Christian (until very recently), Jack Swagger; Older Example: Owen Hart)
The ones who make it to the Upper Mid Card are usually older superstars who are previous title holders or have great popularity with the fans but for some reason can't remain over enough to stay in the main event levels or are new to the top tiers. They are regulars in the #1 Contender's matches but rarely get title shots themselves. They have some similarities to the "Jobbers to the Stars" but they tend to win a higher % of their feuds. (Examples: Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes)
Main Event Level:
These are your staple WWE/WH Championship Holders and #1 Contenders. They get plenty of promo time when they are involved, they have regular matches on TV and depending on their part in the storylines may be in the main event of the night on a given week, and are usually on every PPV they are "Active" for. (Examples: Randy Orton, Miz)
The Pinnacle. Simply put, most Main Eventers and even multi-time world champions will never reach this level. While a superstar may not be perfect in every aspect, they have done something right. It's not uncommon to be a permanent face or fake heel once they've reached this level, to no matter what you do, you're cheered. (or fake booed but still loved) They don't need titles to be "over" or in any main event, or be in a prominent feud. Simply being there is enough. While it's not uncommon for a elite member to hold a title (almost always the younger ones), it's not required. The examples, say it all: HBK, Undertaker, HHH, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Rock, Edge (though him finding new ways to win a title was like his gimmick, I swear) and yes I'm going to say it, the unlikely addition of John Cena.**
**John Cena I am putting in there, not because I am a fan of him (I like many IWC fans find him dull and in need of a gimmick refresh), but the fact is he gets major pops (good and bad) no matter what, title or no title means he's either reached it or is about to.
On a fun note: by my definition, would that make Vickie Guerrero an elite manager/valet because no matter what she does she gets booed louder than Edge in 2005.
Well that's it for this round of blogging, it's not as polished as I usually like it, but I think I got my point across. You can feel free to "Hate Me Now" for giving praise to John Cena. Go ahead, it'll make you feel better. I deserve it.