Bring In The Young Guns
July 1, 2006 by Adam "The Adaman" Heap
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In the WWE, because it is a very established company, there will always be three levels of wrestlers. You have the veterans, who have been around for a while, and know what they’re doing, how the business works, and are usually training the newbies. A few examples of this are Ric Flair, Undertaker and Mick Foley. Then you have the wrestlers in their prime, some of whom have a ton of popularity and who are in contention for the World Championship, some of whom are mainly mid-card or background players and who are happy to work there. Examples of this are Shawn Michaels, Triple H (WWE Title contender level), Chris Benoit and Kane (mid-carders, regretfully). Then there is the final level ? the newbies, new blood, sometimes jobbers, and sometimes instant stars. And this column is dedicated to them.
The WWE know what they’re doing. They’ve seen, even if only recently, that they need to make new stars rather than rely on old ones. And now that they have the new people to do it, they can keep the old stars feuding still with interest from the fans, e.g. Foley/Flair at the moment. However, to keep the future alive, you need new stars that are popular with the fans to do it. And that’s what the WWE have been doing recently. There are a few people who are currently moving up the ranks, and well, here they are.
Umaga/AAE: Although I’m not all that fanatical about Umaga, the ‘Samoan Bull/Joe Ripoff’, I am very quickly hopping on board the train of his Cuban manager, Armando… Alejandro… Estrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrada. The WWE is covering all their bases, getting new technical wrestlers who have talent and people who are already masters of the mic, and Armando is one of these, along with my next subject. Umaga is becoming a powerhouse, and beating many of the WWE’s finest and not-so-fine. The gimmick should be taken to a lower level, but nevertheless it is progressing along with AAE, who is also becoming very popular.
Mr. Kennedy: It’s hard to find one wrestling forum on the internet that doesn’t have a topic focused around SmackDown!’s mic master. Mr. Kennedy…… Kennnnnnnnnedy. Kennedy is quickly becoming a face, although he was intended to be a heel, and he is rising through the ranks very quickly. The injury he suffered may have even made him more popular, as everyone loves a returning superstar, even if they were a heel. This is what happens when you pair an original gimmick with mic skills and wrestling ability. Kennedy is, unlike some others recently, the total package. And this combination has put him insanely over. When he gets back to wrestling real opponents, he’ll be one of the top stars in no time.
Bobby Lashley: Really, Lashley speaks for himself. He can wrestle, and the WWE has realized that his mic skills aren’t the best in the world, so he says little, but when he does, it’s important. Lashley has, in half a year, become the U.S. Champion, and whether it had build-up or not, he is the champ and looks set to be staying like that for a while. If he can stay healthy, he should go on to big things as well. His feud with Booker T has proved him to be a competent wrestler and he fits into the current WWE product nicely.
Carlito: Now, I know Carlito isn’t ‘new’ per se', but that doesn’t mean that he’s an established wrestler in his prime. Carlito is still growing in popularity, and will keep on growing. When he started, Carlito had excellent mic skills but very limited ring skills. Anyone who has watched him recently knows that that has definitely changed. Carlito has now improved his arsenal greatly, including his very original Backcracker finisher, doing plenty of aerial moves involving the ropes and much more. Besides this, Carlito has already held the IC Title and the U.S. Title, both in his first match on the respective brands. This is definitely not a light achievement.
Chris Masters: Once again not new, but another wrestle who has the chance to grow to immense proportions. Like Carlito, Masters has improved his arsenal of moves, albeit not as impressively as Carlito. From the ‘Masterlock Challenge’, Masters has had his first shot at the WWE Championship already in the Elimination Chamber, and no doubt he will have his next shot at gold very soon. Like Carlito, Masters’ gimmick is very good. It isn’t a non-gimmick, and it doesn’t reek of sports-entertainment. This is how gimmicks should be. Not unrealistic or stupid, just a light touch here and there.
Johnny Nitro: With Joey Mercury out, Nitro has moved to RAW and established himself as a decent singles competitor, and after Vengeance, he’s the IC Champion. Melina holds the gold, Nitro defends, and I predict that he’ll have it for a while now. He has a half-decent wrestling ability, has a good character/gimmick; once again not overly idiotic, and has something you don’t see too many people with these days: a manager. Melina is an excellent valet and perfectly fitted with Nitro.
Paul Burchill: I am a complete mark for this guy. Although the pirate gimmick may have been dropped, Burchill is still an excellent wrestler, with one of the best finishers in the WWE and great on the mic. This is an example of how certain unrealistic gimmicks can work. Burchill came off as a very believable pirate, and I’m not entirely sure what the WWE was doing when they canned the character and took Burchill off the air.
The Spirit Squad: Another example of how gimmicks can work. We have a decent faction of people, who are World Tag Champions, and work excellently together. From their first reaction from crowds being a nothing, they are now very over as heels. Where one has good mic skills, another has great ability in the ring, and this will show soon. What they need to do now is establish single characters within the Squad. I don’t mind what they do with the other four, but Kenny is an excellent leader. He has both the mic skill and the in-ring ability for it, especially with that diving feint leg drop. The Squad won’t last forever, but they will be around and all the members are young, so they will have a good run in the WWE.
Well, there you have it. I’ve mentioned only most of the active wrestlers ? some rising stars who are only new are those such as Harry Smith, Matt Striker, Gunner Scott (who could potentially make a great tag team with Matt Hardy), Brian Kendrick, the Gymini, and many others. But expect the ones I talked about to have an impact on the company. At least we can all feel safe in the fact that there is a future for the WWE, and these superstars are it. And to Vince McMahon, I say: Bring in the young guns!
by Adam Heap --- [View Adam Heap's Column Index]....
I agree with just about everything you said with the exception of the Spirit Squad. This to me represents the typical Sports Entertainment nonsense. Its almost like everytime a young guy comes along who has some talent, but doesn't have any exposure, Vince McMahon feels like he has to parade them out in ridiculous gimmicks that have about a 50-50 shot of killing their careers forever once that gimmick runs its course instead of just letting them work their way up. I just don't see how these guys can go from total spaz's to being accepted as legitimate. I have no doubt in my mind that Had Paul London and Spanky not had at least some exposure vince would have turned them into some running joke, and he did do a little bit of toying with them when they first came. Sometimes it seems like in the WWE for young guys to me, like the company policy is "Hey we are going to give you this ridiculous gimmick and if you surive, well then you can make it in the WWE. BTW we want you to play a mentally challenged guy. HAHA Jokes on you kid." Its almost like JBL sits around and comes up with this stuff for WWE, when he is not out right physically torturing the young.
To me Umaga is the type of character, that makes me shake my head and think why do they even want to go there. Vince McMahon wanted Joe, but Joe ( probably wisely) decided that TNA was the better place for him and you don't do that to Vince McMahon. So what does Vince do, he does what Vince McMahon always does when he can't get what he want's, he goes out and gets his his next best thing. Now I already know that there are alot of people will defend Umaga and say that he isn't a ripoff of Joe, but um...Yeah he is, its blatantly obvious. Samoan's have a long and storied history in professional wrestling, but as of lately we haven't seen alot of traditional Island characters. You might say they have fallen out of favor with the modern audience. Along comes Samoa Joe, who is obviously one of the hottest commodities right now, and is on his way to becoming one of the Main Stars of TNA, so suddenly Vince has the idea to bring back a Samoan character?
Yeah, thats what I thought. He might not look like Joe, but Samoan Smashing Machine, Samoan Bull? Not to mention its nothing but Jamal in savage paint, so sorry Vince Im not buying it. Its comparable to a situation like if WWE had a French wrestler named Andre the Giant"The 8th wonder of the World", who destroys his way to the top because of his size, and another company comes along and has another French guy who they call Phillipe the Large"The Giant Titan", and his gimmick is that he hacks his way through the roster.
The timing is all wrong and it looks like a cheap knockoff, regardless of
how you polish it. Poor Jamal I feel bad for him, they could have given
him something else to do without being relegated to the likes of the WCW Renagade. Heck they could have even brought back Rosey and teamed them up in the starving for teams WWE tag team division.
Great article you made some valid points agree with all of it but just to add my 2 cents MR Kennedy is the future of the bussiness at least I hope so
Jesse Lee wrote:
Truthfully, I love these newer (and not so "newer") wrestlers. I was one of the first Chris Masters fans (I have a column written somewhere on this site in 2005,) and instantly loved Ken Kennedy. I've also caught on to Spirit Squad, Lashley, and Carlito. In fact, the only problem I have (though I'm sure I will get over it) is the finisher for Nitro. I just don't see a real point to a standing shooting star forearm smash or whatever it is. In all honesty, I think he could find a different finisher fitting him and doesn't need the ridiculous flip when all it does is a forearm (perhaps, a standing SSP would be better? This way, it ends in a pin, flashy enough, and ends with a move in theory that uses most of his body-weight as a weapon.)
All in all, I think this group of "youngsters" is full of talent just waiting to bring in a new era and I hope the WWE creative team will realize that these are the future stars.
Good article. Just one thing Chris Masters got his first title shot in a triple threat submission match against Kurt Angle and John Cena. (The first time Cena used the STFU) From, Kyle
Cruz Barnard wrote:
Great Article! I think that Jamal struck gold with the the Umaga character and Armando Alajandro Estrada is a hilarious trip! Mr. Kennedy isn't all that great, I don't know why so many people like him. Bobby Lashley is a great wrestler and he NEEDS to be WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION soon! Lashley has shown that he is a no talk wrestler and this is what a champion should be! Not someone who is entertaining on the mike! Rey Mysterio has shown that a fighting champion is better then a talking one so... Carlito is cool!
Great wrestling ability and entertaining on the mike and legendary family!
Chris Masters reminds me too much of Lex Luger and that cant be good! Johnny Nitro has proven his worth already as a singles competetior after he won the IC Title at Vengeance. I always said that MNM reminded me of Edge & Christian, can Johnny Nitro be the next Edge? I like Paul Burchill and it looked as though WWE was doing wonders with this kid but now its going downhill! The Spirit Squad is gay, this is another example of great potential ruined by a bad gimmick!
Lance Crucifix wrote:
I like the column, only thing, Carlito's Backbreaker, isn't orginal, it's called a Lungblower.
The Bearded One wrote:
Umaga: Just to be clear here, Umaga is NOT new (that information is right here on the OWW site). In case you forgot, or didn't know, he used to be Jamal who was part of 3 minute warning back when Bischoff was running RAW back in 2002. Then a year later he was fired by WWE and joined TNA. Then he returned to WWE this year as Umaga. I never followed his career but I know a returning wrestler when I see one.
I don't know much about his ability but if the WWE keeps sticking him in these squash matches against jobbers and has-beens, then he might as well go back to TNA. Plus this whole samoan monster gimmick is tiring, he's like a really agressive Rikishi with a retard manager (who by the way isn't even cuban, he's palestinian, making him even more retarded with that fake accent).
Chris Masters: The only reason he's in the WWE is because McMahon has a boner for muscle men, he's nothing more than a midcard steroid abuser. He lacks mic skills and real wrestling ability (at least from what I've seen).
When your only move is a full nelson than I think you really need to start training again. Not to mention the fact that now he's off the road due to failing a drug test (probably for steroids or some another performance enhancing drug). A real winner.
Johnny Nitro: Most over-rated mid-card wrestler on RAW ever (or Smackdown for that matter). Despite having one of the hottest chicks in wrestling as a manager, Nitro really has nothing going for him. With Joey Mercury gone, you will soon realize HE was the talented member of MNM and that Nitro is a talent-less douchebag. Look back at MNMs past Smackdown matches and watch for the numerous times that Nitro mis-cued or screwed up a spot during matches (most recently against London and Kendrick). The biggest travesty being his recent win over 2 superior wrestlers (Carlito and Shelton
Benjamin) at Vengeance. I truly believe the only reason he's still around is because Melina begged WWE to keep him, and since she's one of the top women in WWE right now they said ok.
Spirit Squad: They need to split up the spirit squad because the male cheerleader gimmick is old and tired and isn't doing anything but turning people away. The kids have talent and it needs to be used properly instead of having them do the same matches repeatedly and never defending the tag titles. I mean how many times are we gonna see SS vs DX or SS vs someone Vince wants beatdown? Its boring, plain and simple. Put them to good use and make 1 or 2 of them a face.
As for the rest of the people you mentioned (Kennedy, Lashley, Carlito, Burchill, Kendrik) I truly believe they will be huge, only if the WWE lets them wrestle and doesn't throw them on the back burner to promote some bullshit (ie: Umaga, Great Kali, etc).
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