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WRESTLING COLUMNS

New Stars And Acclaimed Veterans
May 1, 2006 by Jasper


I haven't done one of these in awhile, but... I am now. I think that wrestling right now is about ready to catch an upswing in the industry again. Think about it, they have an influx of these new stars who are almost ready to hit the main event and you have a mix of very good teachers who can train them. Not just that, but these older veterans seem to be hitting their second wind. It seems as if the whole industry is gearing up to move another notch. These new and old wrestling stars mixed in with good competition makes it seem as if ratings will sky rocket and we'll see the new version of the crotch chop everywhere.

The point of all this is that I'm going to run down stars (and you can take this as a guarantee) that will be huge in the upcoming success of the industry. Since the mainstream audience is mostly gathered by TV shows, I'll stick with WWE stars for the moment and work my way through WWE rising Stars, then Teachers, then TNA rising stars, then teachers in due time.

Starting with the WWE rising superstars...


We have the "Most Controversial Champion" John Cena. Whether or not you love him or hate him, he is ratings gold. Sure, he's not the most talented wrestler, but neither was the Hulkster. Not only does this guy draw merchandise from women and children, but he draws ratings for all the guys who want to see him lose. This man is win-win either way you cut it and as long as you keep tuning in to watch him win or lose, then it doesn't really matter. However, character aside, you have to give him credit in the fact that he is a workhorse in terms of outside activity which does draw some viewers into the wrestling world. Look at him; he is everywhere. He's at car shows, on magazines, online, sports events... you name it and this guy is doing everything he can to promote. He is a media beast and just his appearance everywhere does a lot to just get people interested. Now, if he improved his wrestling skill in the future and gave him more time on the mic, you can see this guy hit even bigger major superstardom.

Carlito, the apple chomping man. This man right here is another child born of wrestling legends. From the minute he set foot in the WWE, you have to admit you've been captivated by his style. I've heard things where he was not so hot in OVW, but naysayers in the past seem to have turned around for him. He is currently undergoing a very tricky change to a face character and this makes it interesting to see if he can retain that coward, wrestling style and still be good. I believe he can pull it off. He seems to be currently in the process of refining his character; raising certain qualities while getting rid of some. I don't doubt that by the end of next year, he'll be main eventing.

Eugene Dinsmore, a technical genius in the ring. Well, with the Eugene character, he's a technical savant. I don't see him making it very far saddled with the "mentally challenged" character. If they turn him heel, make him cut a promo about how he's been lying all along, and then let him build a new character in the same manner as "The Shooter" Dean Malenko, you'll be grinning. He can be one of those ushering in a new age of pure wrestling.

Paul Burchill. Coincidentally, this man is also one of those technical geniuses. Hailing from England, Paul Burchill has made a name for himself world wide. His new character, Pirate Paul Burchill is not horrible, but most likely seems as if it will be discarded later on. I don't think the WWE intends to hold onto the character for too long, though I could be wrong. Either way, he makes it work for the moment. Regardless of whether or not he's a pirate, a ninja, a barber, warlord, a barbarian, or a gobbledy gooker, he will be key in terms of pure wrestling in the future. It doesn't matter if WWE lets him go, someone else is going to snap him up.

Edge. Though he's has been around for awhile, it is more than safe to consider that he is the number one bad guy in wrestling. He's got legitimate hate on him and he knows how to keep it hot. When Edge returned off the injury list, he was very bland and generic. However, he had more than a second wind when the Lita/Hardy/Edge scandal hit. Knowing how to run off of this, he has proven himself to definitely be a very versatile wrestler in any match, entertaining in any moment, and definite future gold around his waist.

Shelton Benjamin... what do you really need to say about him? Though still very young and has room to still improve in wrestling, no doubt he is a beast to contend with. This guy can go all over the ring and still go run some laps afterwards. What is also great is that his mic skills are improving. He seems to be more and more confident and this leads to better and better promos. Though some guys need to actively practice and train, I think he's one of those natural talents that just grow better just from sheer repetition. Another year and I expect him to start main eventing.

Masters... I'm still a little iffy on this man. He has improved bounds and steps, but he still does not seem to be mid card belt contendership. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he stays healthy though. Also, is it just me or has he shrunk a bit since they said they would start doing drug testing?

Let's talk about our resident psycho, Mickie James. This girl has wowed audiences on the independent scene and is certainly doing the job here. She does indeed deserve the women's title and after a good solid reign by Trish Stratus, these two are proving to bring back respect to it. These two women are hard hitting and have better matches than many of the men on the roster. I consider their match at WrestleMania one of the better ones of the night. If she doesn't get an ego and can keep herself on the good side of behavior, I expect her to only raise the bar. Heyyy Mickie, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind...

The Spirit Squad...they made this gimmick work. It's absurd, it's stupid, it tugs at no heart strings, doesn't allow anyone to relate to them...and yet their damn good. I don't know if its because of their characters, but they bring a lot energy. A LOT OF ENERGY. They seem to be having a lot of fun with it too; every single week they go out to try to top the silliness of last week and are having a ball doing it. You can also seem some legitimate wrestling skill in them too. Those leg drops are a thing of beauty. I should also make mention that they resurrect the stable concept again. It makes sense on a whole lot of levels. More people in one group = more energy, more variety, more to bring to the table while decreasing injury rate, decreasing dissatisfaction with TV time, and just bringing a lot of talent in at once. Go Mikey! Go Kenny! Go..uh..on Donner, on Cupid, On....well, I don't know their names, but Go Spirit Squad!

Maria Kanellis, cute as a button and she's made another literally dumb character work. A fan favorite in my opinion and if they have someone like Finlay train her as he did for the other divas, she's going to a permanent main stay of the WWE. I like her, I bet everyone else does too.

Bobby Lashley. Wow. I mean... wow. He's got a great appearance, a great style, and a decent wrestler. I say decent wrestler only because there seems to be something about him in the ring that seems off. It's as if he's 2 seconds off in every move he does so you get the feeling that his actions are not smooth and flowing. You can definitely see a stutter step in his actions, but that can be taken care of. Even if he never gets on the mic again, if he clears out that little hesitation, you've got a faster rising star than most of these people on the roster. I'm not just saying because I like him, but the WWE has always preferred larger men and he is fitting the bill. When he gets more seasoned, the WWE is going to push him to the moon. Then he'll apply the Dominator to the moon. Then tidal waves will start occurring due to the destruction of the moon. Then the world ends. Therefore, Bobby Lashley = End of the World.

Trevor Murdoch, a fresh face, fresh appearance, fresh style...and now he's Siskel and Roper. I liked his in ring style and his character, so what are they doing with him? He's funny, but why is he not wrestling? WHY?! WHAT DID HE DO?!

Mike Mizanin- very new to the roster and I'm not sure what he brings yet. However, I'm willing to see since he seems to be willing to give a lot to the wrestling industry itself. Either way, he's going to bring in audience who enjoys reality shows just to see what he's doing. Because..he's the...Moz? Maz? Ahh. the Miz.

Paul London and Brian Kendrick- This is hard one to call and not because their not talented. Ever since the WWE cut down on moves, it has impacted the cruiserweights a good deal, especially for these two guys who made a name for themselves in ROH and across the world with their high flying moves. If the WWE let up a bit on their restrictions, you're going to see people start cheering for smaller men more and more. This, is a good thing. Either way, they are and will be stars and only raise the bar for cruiserweight matches.

This brings me to Shane Helms, who has been on the roster for a very long time, but with this new character brings a very serious tone to his matches. This is good as he no longer has to take silly bumps or not be taken seriously in the ring. Ever since he's taken the cruiserweight belt, I feel as if he's bringing in a lot of good with his style. Also, he can sell like no one else. He takes moves so well that it is very enjoyable to watch him in the ring. I expect after he's done with the current belt, he'll move onto the US title belt.

The Great Khali.... does not deserve to be on the list. He is another big man who can't move. There are plenty of big men who can't move. In fact, I know the perfect way to bring in the very best of the Big Men Who Cannot Move. I actually met him and have passed by him many times. He's the telephone pole down the street. You can't lift him, you can't hurt him, and best of all, if he falls on you, its over. The WWE should hire him. The Great Pole-y. Anyways, Big Show at least has moves in the ring. I don't like the Great Khali and neither should you. So, if you do like him...you're a very bad person.

MNM- They are tag team champions for a reason. They bring back memories of when tag teams were abundant and very good. They have great chemistry, a great manager, and everything is just done well with them. I don't have much to say except that they need more air time.

Mr. Ken Kennedy- though currently injured, he is nothing short of the future main eventer. Just a look at his promos and his in ring work is proof that legends are still in the making today and that wrestling is not over as an industry.

Randy Orton- with this fiasco currently on his list, it's hard to make a call on him. If he hadn't gotten in trouble this past month, I would have boldly made the declaration that he would be a multiple time heavyweight champion. However, with the recent buzz about him, its hard to say how soon its going to happen. If he does return, then expect the title belt around him in 2 years.

These are the Rising Stars of the WWE, I didn't expect it to go so long, but there you have it. Nothing but goodness served up on a wrestling plate and the future is bright.

I know this is unrelated, but I have to toss these comments in here. I think Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon have very good character play between them and with this recent God Kick that Vinnie Mac is on (though sacrilegious and offensive), I think it's hilarious. I was laughing when Vince entered the church wanting to pay by credit card. How about when Shane was reading the commandments and works of Mr. McMahon and stopped because "Dad, this is getting weird." The loud and outspoken tyrant and the quiet, but still evil son. It's good to see Shane O Mac back on TV. Also, ever since Sharmell came on TV with Booker T, I've seen nothing but energy from him. Being with his wife has totally renewed him and bought back promos that are in high energy, and you know he is having fun with it.

That's it for now. No more. Please, no more.

by Jasper..


Dragomatt wrote:
Okay these all are great up and coming Wrestlers but Trevor Murdoch? i mean he looks like a hillbilly and he will never be used as a quality wrestler. What about the WWE using Snitsky as dominant wrestler. i mean all you have to do is change his finisher to a powerbomb and he will be good to go. Snitsky has the look of a champ and the build of a champ. I say you put Snitsky on this list and take off Trevor Murdoch because Trevor Murdoch is not going anywhere any time soon and he is being used as well a card. I say that snitsky should be at the top of this list because he looks like the class main eventer standing at 6ft 7 and weighing at 300 pounds. He is the next Batista
hinano joseph wrote:
Let me holla at you, playa! Frst of all, I found this article to be well written and timely. I am also in agreement on the potential held by more than a few of those mentioned, as well as a few more.

The strange 'love/hate' draw that fuels Cena's title run could indeed keep him in the main event for another year. He retains that anti-hero persona from the Attitude era very well. Not many can do that any more, as the anti-hero becomes a harder sell. He is a perfect fit for the raw brand, if the WWE can bring the show back to it's unique former self. Maybe with a new, heel GM? Maybe a new, heel GM named JR?????

On March, 20th, Kane def. Carlito on RAW, 2 days after SNME on NBC. This was the first match I'd seen featuring Carlito. Having heard of his previous exploits in the WWE, and in the past, I was expecting a lot. And I was not disappointed in the least. Though the match received only moderate grades, Carlito flashed some of the greatness not seen since the Nature Boy! I couldn't stop giggling when after taking Kane off his feet with a low blow, Carlito sat up off the mat in taht Kane/Taker style. Classic! The 'coward/comical' style will always be marketable, and I think Carlito can take it all the way to the main event!

I agree on the points brought up on Chris Masters. I think he has been misused, and it may be hard to correct this downward spiral. His mic skills are servicable, and he is visually marketable, but his in-ring talent is still a few years away. (Just ask Stevie Richards.) If he had been cast in the bodyguard/enforcer role for as long as Batista was, his credibility would be better, and his character would have more depth. While we're on this topic, I believe it takes years to develop depth-of-character. The WWE has been putting their belts on VERY shallow characters lately, i.e- Cena, Batista, MNM, Benjamin. The belts need to be decorating the accomplished, the distinguished, and the originals. Now can you dig that....SUCKA??!!!

Lashley, Dinsmore, Burchill all have the gift. They need to spend a year in the trenches, but will all one day be main eventers. Dinsmore is probably the closest to the main event, and could pull off the gimmick change with a move to SmackDown! I like the 'shooter' idea a lot. Lashley's marketability is off the charts, and though his character is entertaining, it has no depth at this time. Sadly, this may be only improved by a heel turn, a substancial tag-team run (Maybe w/ Daivari, Henry, & Khali?!), or some hardcore experience, i.e.- bleeding form the forehead. Still, Bobby will be World Heavyweight Champion one day. Paul Burchill opened many people's eyes to the posibility of a 275 lb 'luchador'! His athleticism, agility, quickness, rate-of-work, high match tempo, ring presence, and innovative offense are a breath of fresh air in a company full of slow, lazy, poorly worked matches. This guy doesn't need a corny gimmick, just lay the English accent on thick, and wear a suit in his promos like another certain 'wrestling aristocrat', ya feel me?

I'd like to see the return of the stables, too. Certain social issues are too sensitive right now, but I'd like to see the return of Muhammad Hassan & Khoshrow Daivari, grouped with the Great Khali as enforcer 1, and Mark Henry (w/ muslim name change?) as enforcer 2. International super heel faction! Furthermore, with the new emphasis on comedy, the 'personality' talent becomes more important. Armando Alejandro Estrada, Daivari, Melina, Lita, Ric Flair, and, yes, even the 'Coach' hall have that timeless inate silliness which is so critical for a successful manager, i.e.- Slick, Frenchy Martin, Jimmy Hart, Heenan, Blassie, Mr. Fuji, Sonny Ono, Sherrie Martel, Sunny.

Finally, two performers I believe will have breakout years, and will set the stage for next year are Rene Dupree, and Umaga! Unlikely, I think not! Dupree, a 3rd gen wrestler, French-Canadian, technical prodigy, and young to boot, has all the makings of a new Evil Canadian Champion. Cpt. Canda Lance Storm did a good job of portraying the evil Canadian, but Dupree can be great as the nemesis from the north. He, too, could benefit from a brand change. Lastly, I present, UMAGA! My polynesian ancestory creates no bias in my belief that among the most marketable of villains is the mindless monster. He has no need for a title belt, no interest in the Divas, no regard for the rules, no respect for the opponent, and nothing to stop him from destroying other wrestlers, referees, announcers, even McMahons. That being said for the gimmick of Umaga, the only thing for Eddie Fatu (the real name of 'Umaga') to do to make his new character successful is Slow Down. I can appreciate the fact that 'speed' is the difference between this and any other 350 pounder, but Afa and Sika would draw there matches out a little further to inflict more punishment/torture on an opponent. Only time will tell...

The future of Pro Wrestling is bright!
James Redd wrote:
I'm sorry but Snitsky? The guy has about as much skills as the Great Khali, who was already mentioned in this article and I will agree with what was written. All these big guys are just big- there is no substance to these characters. The only big guys who have gone solid gold are the ones with some sort of style to go along with their characters. The Undertaker and Kane are two good examples. Snitsky looks very similar to Sid out there, who was also already mentioned and again I will agree with what was written. Batista is big, but he's also entertaining (his promos with the late, great Eddie Guerrero were some of the best I had seen in a long time). While I agree that Murdoch is more of a silly character than a tough redneck, he comes from a wrestling family (Rhodes) and hopefully has some of the qualities of his father and brothers. They should have some giant matches where the good ones defeat the lame ones and then the losers get fired (but not until after Khali makes enough money to get some dental work done).
Jay Clare wrote:
Awesome point about Masters. He's improved drastically, but being so young and built so well, you have to wonder how long he will hold up injury wise. Also, he DOES seem to have lost a bit of size already after the steroid ban, and his "look"(his livelihood, what sets him apart from much more talented young competitors like say, Charlie Haas and Rob Conway) will be diminished to some extent. So he's got alot of obstacles to overcome to stay a "rising star". Good job on your assessment of Masters. By the way, Rob Conway has lost alot of size too!

If I could choose one guy I would add to the list:

Gene Snitsky: He's getting more and more of a fan following as time goes on, and for great reason: His subtle charisma is scene stealing and attention warranting. His look is dominating, and fierce yet original and entertaining. And he is very agile and ring savvy, especially for a man of his stature. There was a reason why WXW made a "Best of Snitsky" DVD despite his short time with the company, and it's because he just let loose and showed what he can do. I feel he'll do the same for WWE, and can't wait for him to continue rising within the company. Believe in Snitsky, because he's the real deal.
Richard Bermingham wrote:
Nice read,nice column but there is absolutely no problem with Paul London and Brian Kendrick.The WWE seems to be allowing more and more risky moves now whilst these guys get time on SmackDown!There have been numerous suicide dives from both these men to the outside in their recent matches with MNM.You also may have missed WWE allowing Paul London to do a Shooting Star Press to the outside of the ring at the Royal Rumble?It seems to me that the WWE are going back on their decision to outcast the Cruisers best moves as "The HooliganZ" edge closer and closer to the WWE Tag Team Championships
Jose Aguirre wrote:
I love how you emphasized how Edge, has legitamate hate. I have stated before that I don't care what superstars do backstage but this whole Lita fiasco has really worked for the better. The only problem is that Lita comes out as looking, like the biggest slut in the WWE.
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