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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Am I The Only One Who Noticed This"
July 5, 2006 by Evan B.


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I noticed something while watching Vengeance a few weeks ago, something remarkable. No, I am not speaking on the surprisingly negative reaction towards RVD in the title match. No, I am not speaking of the WWE's crapping all over what could have been a somewhat decent angle with the Kane vs. Fake Kane match, which, for the time being appeared to be the blow off match for this feud. I am, in fact, talking about the surprisingly amazing three way match between Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, and new Intercontinental Champion Johnny Nitro.

Now, before anyone gets angry at me for using the phrase "surprisingly" in the previous paragraph, allow me to explain. When it comes to three way dances in the WWE's recent past, the standard, in this writer's mind, was Michaels, Hunter, Benoit from WrestleMania 21. And of course, because I have not pigeon holed myself into non intelligibly drinking the WWE kool aid without also searching for alternative forms of entertainment, I can honestly say that the North American industry standard was probably Styles, Daniels, Joe 1 from Unbreakable circa 2005. While the match at Vengeance wasn't quite up to par with either of these particular contests, the more I watch this match, the more I realize that something special may be in the works.

Let's face facts. Each of the participants in this contest has not yet peaked in terms of utilizing all of their talents, or rounding out their characters completely.

Carlito is slowly but surely gaining baby face popularity, and is expanding his repertoire of moves by the day, but he still needs to get past that comical stage in terms of his promos, otherwise, he risks falling victim to the "Cena Affect" at some point down the road.

Shelton's athleticism has never been in doubt. He is capable of pulling off moves of extreme athleticism, and with his legitimate college wrestling background; he has the tools to one day be an excellent world champion. But what is in doubt is his ability to cut a believable promo that can really rile up the fans and make him a legitimate threat to the top baby faces in the company.

Nitro has always been a personal favorite of mine. When he first appeared on Tough Enough 3, I remember watching the season finale and his personal highlight real was unbelievable. He can pull off moves with agility are on par with some of the best cruiserweights and X Division stars on the planet today. Up until now, though, he has had his own personal mouth piece in Melina (rawwwwwwrrrrrrrr!!!!) and, much like RVD, doesn't seem capable of throwing a legitimate looking punch to save his life.

Each man has his flaws, but what I saw in the ring when the three were given a decent chunk of time to tell a story, was three amazingly talented individuals whose futures could be brighter than bright. Carlito's double springboard suicide plancha was excellently done. Shelton's leap up to Carlito in the prone position in the corner, followed by the pull up into a super belly to back suplex/superplex by Benjamin was so X Division it was scary. And the crowd LOVED IT. They were eating it up. And the match was not just a spot fest like some of the 6 Man Hurricane X Division matches have been lately. There was a nice slow build, and each man was given ample opportunity to wow the crowd in one way or another, and when the spotlight shone on them, they each delivered to the fullest.

I have been watching wrestling for 28 years. I remember all of the classics, I have most on tape or DVD. Any match with Flair and Steamboat, Michaels and Hart (when they were still willing to try to work together), Owen and Bret in the cage. While this match itself will most likely not be a MOTYC, each man in the ring that evening could one day be in the position to put on MOTYC on a fairly regular basis. The athletic talent is there, the drive seems obvious, and each is young enough that, barring major injury, they will many years yet to put on such amazing matches.

My hope now is one that I unfortunately doubt will come to fruition. My hope is that Vince wasn't in the back trying to grope Candice (although, I really can't blame the guy), or trying to write a bigger, better dick joke. My hope is that he was firmly planted in the gorilla position, headset on, monitor inn front of him, with eyes glued to the screen. If he was, and if his ego can step to the side for a minute and realize that people DO like to see actual wrestling from time to time, then maybe, just maybe, these three young men will be given more opportunity to shine. More face time on RAW, higher profile matches on Pay Per Views. And if that happens, who knows, maybe one day I can look back and say that I saw it when it happened. The day that three talented young wrestlers took it to the next level, got recognized for their gifts, and were pushed to the stratosphere. I mean, I can always hope after all can't I" Nahhhhhhhhhhh!

by Evan B. ..


Andrew Riordan wrote:
I didn't watch Vengeance so I didn't get the benifit of seeing the match. I am happy that the match took place, and I'm loving all three guys at the moment. At first I wasn't sure if Nitro should've jumped ship to the singles division so fast (and I still wish he was in MNM) however he certainly is great in RAWs mid-card. Carlito is also improving, as you said. He's getting more and more over, and I agree that his promos could be better. That leaves Shelton Benjamin, once again a great addition to RAWs mid-card, athletic, fast, and a good wrestler. I can't imagine WWE putting the title on an x-division wrestler though. He's skinny, and fast and ussually (despite Rey Mysterio) guys like him don't win 'the big one'. I hope this fued only goes further.
Drago-Matt wrote:
I so agree with you because this match was really good and it involved TWO of the next best things in the WWE. Why did i say two well because i do not think that Johnny Nitro is a itercontinental champion and i do not think he is a singles competitor and i do not think he is a great wrestler. i think he is another buff body that the WWE thinks is good and they will push him with no wrestling skills to the WWE title. First of all look at who he leap frogged over to win the title at the snap of a finger. Carlito and Shelton Benjamin who had just won the title a few weeks ago from RVD. Carlito is the best thing thayt could have happen to the WWE in a little way, what i mean is that Carlito is one of the best technical wrestlers/highflyers in the industry and the WWE was lucky to sign him, Shelton is one of the best athletes to ever come into the WWE and he is a great wrestler too. My problem with Johnny Nitro is he is too young and too arrogant and i really havent seen anything that impresses me about him. He also does unnecessary things like that stupid flipping karate stance he did on Raw when he was facing carlito, or that spinning elbow drop. First of all an Elbow Drop was not a finishing move and does not win you a WWE title. THE BACKCRACKER or the Exploder will win you a WWE title any title. WWE needs to rethink this Johnny Nitro push because hes just another Chris Masters in the waiting. the only thing is that Chris Masters can wrestle somewhat and johnny nitro is basically Eye candy for the ladies and others who like his blonde streaks and physical build hmm and people call John Cena a pretty boy champion who doesnt like taking hits
Jonathan Preston wrote:
That match at Vengeance was good. I was very impressed by two individuals. Can you guess" Well, I agree with Drago Matt 100%. Johnny Nitro is NOT Intercontinental Champion material, I'm sorry. He's just not good enough for me. Even though he has that extremely gorgeous fox Melina in is corner, they are still nothing without Joey Mercury. MNM was a great tag team. Probably considering that the tag teams at the moment aren't too great, but still MNM was better than everybody else. To take Johnny Nitro and make him a singles wrestler again, that's a horrible idea. He can't wrestle. As a matter of fact, the only eye opening move that he has is that break dancing leg drop and to call that move eye opening is being generous. I'm sorry but Carlito would be a better IC champ and as far as Shelton Benjamin goes, he needs to be out of mid-card status. He is a tremendous, tremendous athlete and needs to be in line for a World Title shot soon. Or putting him and Haas back together again to be the World's Greatest Tag Team, since the WWE tag team situation is so lacking, that would be a good idea too. As far as Johnny Nitro goes, he needs to go back to OVW until Joey Mercury comes back and Melina needs to be in the women's title hunt or managing a big name Superstar!!!
Brocksolid wrote:
Dude, first of all I do agree with the fact that WWE hasn't produced a decent three way dance since HHH, HBK, and Benoit. However, you better do a little more homework because it happened at WrestleMania 20 at MSG, not WrestleMania 21 at the Staples Center ( the main event that night was HHH vs. Batista)
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