Wrestling's Achilles Heel: Creating New Superstars
by, 11-27-2010 at 04:23 AM (5560 Views)
This is another blog that I will be writing off the fly. As usual, I do ask that you leave comments about what you've read afterwards. Don't hold back either.
So the hot topic everyone is talking about in the IWC is the The Miz cashing in his Money in the Bank and becoming world champion last RAW. Personally, I am VERY happy he won the championship. For the last year or so, the Miz has silenced all his critics and risen from mid-carder nobody to main event highlight. He busts his ass off to make the most out of every single event, segment, promo, and match he is involved in and it has paid off for the better. Do you guys remember how this guy looked years ago? I can almost assume nobody thought he would ever win the world title. When he broke up with JoMo in 2008, we all thought Morrison was going to be the one to win the title and Miz was going to fade into midcard hell. Looking back on it now, I am astonished at the massive improvement he has made. If there ever was a Most Improved Wrestler of the Decade award, the Miz would win it hands down.
Of course whenever there is praise, criticism is not too far behind it. Amongst the people who are happy with his win, there are those people who say The Miz 'won the title way too early' and that he 'did not get a proper build-up towards the championship' and does not deserve it. So the purpose of this blog is to defend why I think people like the Miz DO deserve to be world champion and also expose what I believe to be the Achilles heel of the main stream wrestling nowadays. So let’s get to it.
First and foremost, let's be real for a minute. This generation of wrestling is weak in so many aspects. To argue against that would mean you would have to explain low PPV buy rates, low enthusiastic crowds at shows, the wrestlers leaving the business, the corny segments on the shows, and other stuff. Good luck. I will admit that the quality of wrestling nowadays is a lot better than how it was in the 80s and 90s, but the overall aura and hype of the sport of wrestling has decreased dramatically. Now some can say that this has to do with the lack of main eventers since HBK, Y2J, Undertaker, and HHH have left. However, I think what is really killing the product of mainstream wrestling for both WWE and TNA is their inability to properly build up new stars. Now ask yourself. What exactly constitutes as a proper build up? Well, here is a list of things a wrestler needs to obtain a proper build up and be considered credible from my perspective.
-- Credible victories over credible wrestlers (No DQ wins)
-- Good amount of time in promos to get their personalities across
-- A record of consistently good matches (low botch rate)
-- A credible title run (4-6 months)
-- The ability to sell a feud or a segment and make it worth watching
Over the last 4 years, I can only recall seven wrestlers that have met just about all of these aspects. CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin, Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, Ken (Kennedy) Anderson, MVP, Christian, and The Miz. All of these wrestlers have covered the qualities above to some extent. Do they cover them all perfectly? No. But they cover them well enough to be considered credible, IMO. Any one of these men can walk out to an audience and get some kind of a reaction out of them. Now let me ask you this? Out of all those men above, who do you see beating John Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, or Randy Orton fair and square? If you ask me, I would say almost none of them. Guess what? That is a problem. When Stone Cold Steven Austin was coming up in the mid 1990s, he was kicking the asses of people like Jake The Snake Roberts, Mankind, and Bret Hart. So when it came time for him to face people like The Undertaker or HBK, you had no doubt in your mind he could take them on. Same goes for the Rock. Although he may not have won all his matches, you at least believed he could beat people like Hulk Hogan, Big Show, Undertaker, and even the unstoppable Brock Lesnar. Nowadays, when you see John Cena vs. Kofi Kingston on paper, you immediately think Kingston does not stand a chance. Why would anyone take him seriously if they can't see him hanging with the big boys?
You want to know why it is hard to take people like Sheamus so seriously. It is because their build ups are based off of squash matches and not believable pin-fall or submission victories. They need credible wins! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the character of Sheamus, but I think he was pushed way too soon with little credibility. Yeah, he beat Triple H .... once. Shelton Benjamin beat him twice (or was it three times?) and he didn't even get close to the world title. So how the hell does Sheamus have TWO world title reigns under his name? To make matters worse, he barely got any real wins during both of those reigns. It was mostly filled with fluke wins and DQs and you actually expect me to take him seriously when he can't have a decent title run? Please. This is why I did not include 'holding the world championship' as a quality of a proper build up. I am a firm believer that it is not the title that makes the wrestler, it is the wrestler makes the title.
The divas division has become a joke compared to how it used to be. Remember the days when Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Chyna, Ivory, Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, Ashley, Krystal, and Maria were around? I doubt any men went to go take a bathroom break, did ya'll? That is because they were always involved in some kind of shit. Whether it be a feud, a bikini contest, or a love triangle. Nowadays, the divas don't do shit except have subpar matches and play jobbers to LayCool. I fear to think of where the division would be without Beth Phoenix and Natalya.
TNA has the exact same problem. They have a roster FULL of credible wrestlers that can create new stars in an instant. Yet, that is all we ever see on TNA. Aside from everyone in Fortune, I haven't seen TNA build any of their home grown talents into the main event. Everyone in the main event are either wrestlers living off their credibility from the WWE (Jeff Hardy, RVD, Victoria (Tara), Mickie James, Katie Burchill, Dreamer, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Ken Anderson, Elijah Burke/D'Angelo Dinero), the same main eventers they've had since 2004, (Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, and Abyss), and OLD school legends (Hogan, Sting, Nash, Hall, Steiner, and Flair). To this day, I still can't believe they dropped the ball with Christopher Daniels who I believe could have been an amazing heel world champion. They also bombed on an opportunity to make Samoa Joe a HUGE threat when they started making him lose to all the newcomers. It also bothers me that they have yet to even give Jay Lethal a shot at the world title. That kid is talented beyond reason and gets over easily with his impersonations. Just imagine how big TNA could be if they used their credible wrestlers to boost up their home-grown talents.
Fortunately, there is hope. In this dark generation of wrestling where hardly any new stars are being made, there are glimmers of light shining from people like Wade Barrett, Nexus, AJ Lee, Naomi Knight, Daniel Bryan, "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, The Motor City Machine Guns, Kaval, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz. Because despite the lack of proper build ups all of these wrestlers have received, they all managed to use their natural born skills to stand out among the rest and work to make themselves into new stars.
Daniel Bryan, Kaval, and Dolph Ziggler are easily the top three competitors you are guaranteed to get a good match from, no matter who they are facing.
AJ Lee and Naomi Knight put on an amazing match up on November 23rd episode of NXT and it put the entire divas division to shame (easily the best divas match of 2010). I can see them both leading the division alongside Beth Phoenix, LayCool, and Natalya. Before long, maybe we will start to care for them again.
MCMGs are easily the greatest tag team alive today. All you got to do is watch them in one match on iMPACT and you'll be convinced.
Wade Barrett and The Miz are two very unique wrestlers who rose to the top through their promo skills. Can you do that? Yes, you can. The Rock did it and look how famous he is. His wrestling came second to his promos. Believe it or not, it is not always about how good you are in the ring. Promos are a vital part of sports entertainment and Miz and Barrett are two of the best at it today.
Let’s be honest. We can't expect any superstar today to get the exact same build up HBK, Stone Cold, or The Rock got back in their days. They were all fortunate enough to grow up during a time when a plethora of legends and veterans were still alive to make them into stars. These stars do not have that luxury, unfortunately. Most of them have either left wrestling or have died. There are still veterans around that can help make stars like Kurt Angle, Y2J (when he returns), Triple H, Team 3D, and others but they are very few in number. In spite of all that, I truly believe that as long as the listed superstars continue to grow and prosper (including the credible wrestlers from earlier), this generation will grow and help revitalize the sport of wrestling for the better.
So when I witnessed one of the people I consider a shining light in this dark generation of wrestling win the one of the most prestigious titles today, I felt happy as a wrestling fan. I can see the Miz being a great WWE champion, despite how long it is. I am positive he is going to make the most out of this championship run like he has made the most out of everything else he is involved in. So be sure you fasten your seat belts as we enter this new era. The Era of Awesomeness!
Thanks for reading.