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Getting the Poison Out: WWE's Star-making formula

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When I was a little fella, I remember that many of the guys that eventually became the WWF Champ, or at least really big stars, always seemed to be an IC Champ, King of the Ring, Tag Team Champ, or Rumble winner on their way up the ladder. It never dawned on me that it was more that just a coincidence. I was a young mark back then, ya see.

But of course it was intentional. It was how the WWF found out which guys were money, and which weren't. And it always worked. By the time a wrestler went through the process, you always knew where their place was. With both the fans and the promotion.

Some were pushed to the moon and became big names to put on the marquee. Some ended up not getting the big push, but were popular enough with the fans to hold down the mid-card. Some just petered out, to rarely, if ever, be seen again.

In today's WWE though, that old formula doesn't seem to work as well as it used to. It used to make stars out of most of the roster.

Today, it seems that the old formula isn't creating too many new stars. And I mean STARS. The current mid-carders are nowhere near the popularity of the mid-carders of yesteryear. Back in the day, the mid-carders got great pops from the crowd. Nowadays, the mid-carders don't seem get much of anything. When I was young, we all knew and loved the top guys, but at the same time, we all knew and loved the mid-carders too. We marked out over everyone.

As fans, we all have our opinions. Some think so-and-so is holding guys back. Some think so-and-so can't talk or wrestle. Some think it's that the crowds are stale. Some think it could be all of those things. Or none of them. Or a hundred other reasons any of us could think of.

I wonder. Is it the formula that no longer works? Or is it the current talent that's been plugged into it? Did WWE forget how to make it work for them? What happened? Who knows? I sure as hell don't. Hell, maybe it's just me. Then again, maybe not. I'd love to find out one day though. I think it's an interesting question.

But, I think more than anything else, that finding out if they can make it work as well as it used to is what keeps me interested in WWE as a whole.

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