Simon Says "Try my old school system"
December 7, 2005 by Kevin Coles
People of OWW, my name is Kevin Coles and Kevin says you'll know if you have been reading my patented Kevin Columns that they will increase your wrestling knowledge by up to 99% as they are virtually trash free. Kevin also says that he is going to take a look at which of the talent on the current WWE roster has what it takes to be a champion of the future as a heel. For people who are already planning to take exception to my list, you know who you are! I will make it quite clear at the outset this list will only include wrestlers that have not yet captured any of the WWE's 4 major singles titles. I will focus most attention on the one heel I believe to be most under used at the moment and then look at his competition for the spot over future years. If you are now thinking this column will take several years please read the previous sentence in its intended context.
Unless you are an insomniac that hasn't slept for 10 years and are
currently passing time before your next failed attempt at sleep, then you would have guessed from my opening paragraph who my first candidate for a future champion heel is. That's right it is of course our very own fitness guru, the first man in WWE history to patent his very own
nutrition bar, Simon Dean. Simply, Simon is great, I am a huge fan of his and his overall performance, from the moment his music hits to the time the match is over. His music is perfect for him, people immediately recognise it in the first few beats and wait in anticipation of the Dean Machine. I still don't quite understand how that thing contributes to his fit and healthy life style, seeing as he just stands on it. Surely walking would burn more calories, although of course the irony of it does contain a certain comedy value, as does the man's perfectly sculpted love handles. After parking the scooter... erm I mean Dean Machine of his choice, sports bag in hand, he is then likely to demonstrate his dedication to fitness with 3 perfectly timed jumps up the steps towards the ring. He will then dance around obnoxiously with that cheesy grin on his face and is often up to some antic or another with the referee, he never wastes a second to entertain. Now the guy gets on the mic, this is where the fun really begins "my name is Simon Dean and Simon says..." he will then go on to insult either the crowd or his opponent over the condition of their body. This is particularly hilarious if his opponent is clearly in the better shape. An example of such an occasion produced one of the most entertaining segments I have seen this year. No I'm not talking about Shane McMahon blatantly using a storyline to bully Eric Bischoff on screen, I found that quite sickening to be honest. Anyway, back on topic. I am obviously talking about probably the highlight of Mr. Dean's career so far, his verbal exchange and subsequent match on Smackdown! with the World Heavyweight Champion, Batista.
After his verbal assaults and promotion of and pontificating on the world famous Simon System (insert trademark logo) which is normally
followed with a cheap shot, the bell rings, but can the man get it done in the ring"... the answer is yes. What he produces in the ring is simply on a different level to most of today's current heels. He cheats all the way through the match, constantly interacts with the crowd and backs it up with a good polished set of moves. It's never boring as he is constantly up to something and it's completely believable because of the confidence he shows in everything he does.
I had the great pleasure of watching Simon Dean live from the 2nd row
in Sheffield, England on the Velocity which proceeded the recent
Smackdown! taping there. For an overall performance with no storyline it was my favourite performance by an individual in the whole 2 days of action including both RAW and Smackdown! So lets take a look at how this typical Simon Dean match unfolds. After his usual entrance his opponent who is already in the ring is introduced. He is wrestling a local lad by the name of Taylor Phoenix who on this showing has limited ability, limited mic skills and zero prospects in the industry. Yet they trust that Simon Dean can generate enough heel heat against a man whose own crowd chanted "who are ya, who are ya" to make the match entertaining. With his music still playing, Simon then goes up to the ref and offers a handshake, the ref is about to shake his hand when Simon delivers the Ric Flair style swerve of brushing his hair back instead. With mic in hand and a few twirls later the music dies down. "People of England, my name is Simon Dean (loud boo's) and Simon says that when I arrived in your country I was appalled, your pathetic country that is. I was appalled to find out that you people are even fatter and even more out of shape than your American counter parts and I don't even know how that is possible. Because number 1, your food stinks, and number 2, your teeth are so rotten I don't even know how you can chew it in the first place." Here the tried and tested formula of insulting the home crowd of course generates some good heel heat. The best at doing that on the subject of weight and food was of course the late great Ravishing Rick Rude; we're not quite talking that level here, although I think Simon uses more creativity and variety in what he says.
Simon then turns towards his opponent "Now lad, what's your name and
where are you from" ... what's this" Simon Dean's invitational" or maybe considering Simon's ever growing locks recently it couldn't be our very own Cilla here, could it chuck" (I have now lost any American reader ... believe me you're better off for not knowing who she is!!!). The standard "my name is Taylor and I'm from Sheffield" response generates a guaranteed cheap pop for the home town hero. Meanwhile the real hero continues "Come here... Well, Taylor from Sheffield, it's apparent that you're in pathetic shape. Now have you ever considered supplementing your poor diet with my patented Simon System Protein Bar"" At this point our local hero backs away shaking his head as Simon thrusts the microphone in his face. Simon needed our kid to speak up and give him the feed line of "no" so he could deliver his line and then subsequent cheap shot. So we have the hilarious scene of Simon thrusting the microphone further into our man's face and through lip reading Simon clearly says "no, say no". Thankfully our kid got the message and got the word out in the end, after a sigh of relief Simon says "No" well Taylor I think you should of said yes" (thank God he never had to, we could of been there all night!) ... this leads to a cheap shot protein bar slap to the face.
The bell rings and the match is under way, we have a bit of brawling
style dominance by Simon whilst shouting "you should of said yes" and
then a strange bit of crowd interaction as Simon shakes his posterior at a front row fan. He then continues his beat down as very loud chants of "Simon sucks" start up. Some of the loudest heel heat of the 2 days,
but everybody is having a great time and laughing at his in ring antics. With the crowd on his back it's the perfect time to sell a few moves, a few hip tosses later the fans are actually going crazy for our lad mainly because of how Simon had worked the crowd. Then off the ropes Simon delivers a vicious snap back of Taylor's neck as he ducked for a Back Body Drop. This produces some "oh's" and "ah's" then leading to more boo's as Simon gains control again. A hard kick to the back and then standing on Taylor's face 2 footed continued the heat as we saw our kid being man handled. After too many stomps in the corner the ref calls for the break, Simon obliges, then turns to the ref and crosses his heart as if to say sorry whilst delivering a sneak mule kick to his stricken opponent. He follows it up with 2 more quick basic heel moves (not basic by today's standards sadly) a slap to the face and a scrape of the foot across the face. This leads to another chorus of "Simon sucks" which again leads to him selling a few more moves before Simon brilliantly avoids a top rope Dropkick. The drop kick was a bit wayward and not really near the mark but Simon just basically turned away in disgust waving it off and walked away as his opponent crashed to the canvas. This moment truly made me laugh out loud on the night, and I hadn't had much to drink by that stage either, I was still on my first pint... okay maybe second, but it was still funny. Anyway enough of my drinking habits, back to the match... Simon then delivers a crushing Running Elbow with the type of velocity fit for the show. A few press ups and then another slap keep the fans interested. We then have a submission hold by Dean to try and get the fans behind our man, sadly the crowd doesn't respond on this occasion so a few knees to the face by Dean before his opponent breaks free. Then follows probably my favourite Simon Dean move. I'm not sure of the name of the maneuver but you have probably seen it where he grapevines the leg and pulls back his opponents arms in a Surfboard type move, this is followed by a devastating stomp to the back of his opponents head. It looks painful and never fails to produce a response from the crowd; it was no different on this occasion. After the initial "Oooooooooh" then a few boo's the crowd falls silent as they know their man is surely beaten, Simon gets them out of their seats by shouting "I can't hear you now" in his unique style. Then comes the most arrogant attempted pin I think I've ever seen as Simon performs press-ups on his opponent's chest as the referee makes a 2 count. A further quick submission hold and some blatant choking produces more heat with the crowd. We then have a few more exchanges before Simon puts on a unique looking abdominal stretch whilst shouting "He isn't going anywhere" which gets the crowd clapping for their local hero again. One further fight back follows which gets big pops before Simon fight backs, checks his pulse then delivers his finisher of a Twisting Fisherman's Neckbreaker before rolling over on top for the pin. Everybody then claps along to his catchy music and all in all are pleased with a very entertaining match.
Now I realise I just did commentary on an entire match there but I
wanted to give an example of how Simon Dean's old style heel performance is put together. Granted he didn't use too many great moves in that match but anybody who watched him in his ECW days of "Nova" will know he has a lot more in the bank when it comes to moves. It is the small things he does and most importantly the crowd interaction that set him apart. There are not many heels that could of kept the fans that interested whilst dominating most of a match against an unknown. Considering his opponent, Simon put on a great show that night. Most heels these days are in the mould of Triple H ... big body, talk and act aggressive, sometimes arrogant and have a few power moves and decent finisher. They are rarely sneaky or work the crowd in the same way as Simon Dean did.
Now we all know about Vince's big man fetish but he also used to have
a fetish for creating characters. We've had almost every major
profession under the sun enter our wrestling ring. We've had a model, a barber, a teacher, a dentist, a policeman, a Mountie, a tax man, a singer, a hockey player, a hog farmer, even a plumber and a chef ... ok I don't remember a chef but maybe that could work, especially a French one carrying a tray and a towel... Ok on that wild tangent of a note I think I need a cigarette break before I finish this column, see you in the next paragraph where I believe I will focus on the Simon Dean gimmick of fitness guru and hopefully get this column back on track.
The fitness guru gimmick in the style of Richard Simmons is perfect as
of course fitness is relevant to the sport of wrestling. Being so
obsessed with fitness and diet gives the impression that he is better
prepared for battle than his opponent. They tried something similar with the Body Donnas but it never really caught on. From the moment the info commercials for the Simon System aired just over a year ago I loved the idea and thought it could be a huge success. I'm pretty sure they got the idea from the movie Dodgeball with Ben Stiller's brilliant character in that film. I'm also sure Vince watched it and thought "why didn't I think of that"", so as with many things, he created his own version. The only thing that could hold Simon back is the fact that he is seen as a comedy character which although is good fun rarely leads to any kind of great push. I think they could tone the comedy down slightly and try and promote him as an accomplished athlete who can get it done in the ring as well as talk a good game.
Unfortunately, he is still largely confined to Velocity with the
occasional showing on Smackdown!, which more often than not sees him jobbing to mid card or main event talent. With no more Cabana or Peep show on Smackdown!, if they want a new interview segment I believe Simon is the man. If they wanted a set for him, then a few exercise machines should do the job, and you could be sure Simon would make full use of the props. You could then introduce a new aspect to his character by having him as a "life coach" where he could coach a heel wrestler to improve his performances, similar to the brief time he was paired with Maven. That could lead to tag team matches or eventual face turns for his partner. For example If he worked a long term program as "life coach" to Ken Kennedy I'm sure it would help both men's careers and possibly lead to a Kennedy face turn if he continues to get over with the crowd.
Lets take a time out. Deep breathes. I have to say this column hasn't
exactly gone as planned as I never intended for it to be so long or be
so focused on one individual. But that's okay, I like to start writing
and see where it takes me. For it to make an ounce of sense though I'll
crack on with my list.
So who could be Simon Dean's rivals for a top heel position down the
line" ...they can't keep the same heels year after year so there is
always room for new stars to emerge. Well, 2nd on my list is a guy they
have started to push recently and it has been suggested he will challenge for the Intercontinental Title very soon. That man is Trevor Murdoch. As with Simon Dean this guy has an old school style confidence in his character and plays it brilliantly. He isn't over in the slightest yet but obviously his good work has not gone unnoticed by back stage staff. He isn't your typical 2005 heel but he has something that is so hard to achieve and that is a natural character, this guy will never need another gimmick in his life. He's just plain mean and moody and likes nobody, but it's not forced - it's totally believable. Ric Flair of all people will appreciate what this guy is trying to do and it was nice to see Flair give a nod of approval to him before their recent match in Sheffield. Ric was of course the greatest at it, but Trevor Murdoch just knows how to be a heel, plain and simple, he's natural and was born to do it. I just hope for his sake he hasn't come along 30 years too late and he can get over with today's wrestling fans. It would be a shame to think that if a young Ric Flair broke into this sport tomorrow he wouldn't make it to world title status. I do feel however that it is probably too soon for any major singles push for big Trev at this stage and hopefully they are doing it just to get the tag team over. I would like to see multiple tag team title reigns for this man which I think is inevitable and then eventually promoting him as a serious singles star. I don't believe we have seen the full range of the mans skills yet so who knows how far he can go.
The next man is the obvious choice, I'm sure if there was betting on
wrestling this guy would be the favourite to capture some sort of gold
in the near future. He is of course Mr Kennedy. I'll resist temptation
to say his surname twice, ah to heck with it.... Kennedy, it had to be
done. He was actually believe it or not the most over guy on either
roster when WWE came to Sheffield. Only the Ric Flair "Woooooooooo's" could match the Mr Kennedy chants. I don't know what it's like in America but he is so over in the UK it's incredible. It happened in a pub before the show, in the arena before the show, during the show and outside the arena after the show, somebody would chant "Mr Kennedy" in the usual drawn out manner, seconds later the whole crowd would provide the 2nd Kennedy chant. Hell, it was happening waiting for the tram back to our hotels. It even happened on the tram home and half way home on the train the next day, it was utter madness. Hopefully he has enough talent to overcome that, but he's going to need to add a few extra twists to that ring announcing to stop it getting too repetitive too soon. But for me this guy is destined to be a star, certainly a US title run can't be too far away and he's definitely one to watch in terms of future World Champions as he seems to have the total package of what is needed to get to the very top.
To quote John Cena, "as a totally non biased reporter" my 4th pick is
Paul Burchill. I'm sure you've figured out by now I am in fact British,
you know that little island across the pond that just kind of sits
there not doing a lot. Well, apparently we do produce the odd talented
wrestler here and there. Could Paul Burchill be the first ever British WWE champion" ...I doubt it but he does remind me of 2 former champions. Those men are Chris Benoit and Randy Savage. Maybe not as skillful as Beniot and not as charismatic as Savage but somewhere in between on both counts isn't a bad start. I think being paired with Regal is perfect for him, as like it or not his main gimmick is always going to be the fact that he's British. I would like to see a couple more Brits brought in to join them as there is some amazing talent like Jodie Fleisch and "The Anarchist" Doug Williams that could be brought in to create a British stable similar to Team Canada in TNA.
Those are my main four to watch but what about the rest" Well, Eugene is a guy that is guaranteed to get some good heat as soon as he comes out of character and turns heel, his recent problems could add to that.
Therefore I wouldn't be surprised to see him be quite a big success as a heel as he appears to have a natural charisma and character. Bobby Lashley is another that may well be destined to have his best run as a heel. I'm not a massive fan of Chris Masters but he seems to be well liked where it matters and he has shown glimpses of being able to be entertaining particularly in backstage storylines. So of all the names mentioned he is probably in the best position especially considering he is the only name I have mentioned that is currently primarily a singles star on RAW, and that IC strap looks like its up for grabs for a heel pretty soon.
So there you have it the guys we will love to hate over the coming
years. Of course many top future heels could come from outside the company but it's always nice to think we are watching the stars of tomorrow before our very eyes and I personally will enjoy following all their careers and hope they can achieve the level of success their talents deserve. Who knows maybe with a bit of influence from Ric Flair we will have more stars in the future that have mastered the true art of being a heel as well. As always any feedback good or bad is welcomed, please feel free to comment on anything I have written or if there is anything you want to add or take issue with me about.
by Kevin Coles ..
James Lindsey wrote:
Amen brother! I too tune in week after week only to see Vinny Mac come down to the ring with that ridiculous music and yak yak yak for 20 or 30 minutes about absolutely nothing. Then in his own form of closing move he screams at someone that they're FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRED!!!! With a billion dollars you'd think that Vinny Mac could at least hire writers that could come up with something better than that. Then we have matches that could easily have outlasted, not to mention, out entertained us. Instead, we are left of about 5 minutes of what we all tuned in to see. Look at old wrestling "talk shows". Piper's pit for instance. Piper would rant at someone for a few minutes then beat the crap out of them. Mr. Catiana I couldn't agree with you more.
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