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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Saving SmackDown!..
June 17, 2004 by Lucas Odparlik


How do you save SmackDown" That's a question I often find myself asking. Well, I've decided to answer that question and intend to try and find a solution. I invite you to read on as I explore SmackDown's current storylines, their divisions, and my opinion on how the show can be saved.

First of all, Rob Van Dam needs to go back to his heel persona. The fans love to hate certain wrestlers, Cena when he was a heel for example and Austin too. Sure, it might lead to that wrestler becoming a face eventually, but it's fresh while it lasts. RVD as heel during the Invasion angle worked perfectly and he was cheered everytime he did something. The thing is, he was heel and everyone knew it.

A Van Dam heel turn could do wonders for his growing staleness. I also suggest putting him into a World title program with Guerrero. Fans know that Van Dam has never had a World title run and many feel he deserves one. As the ratings proved, the RVD and Guerrero matches over the IC title were popular. In fact, I'd go as far as saying the fued is a classic one of the modern era. I know I'll surely remember their fued for the better half of the year.

So why not re-ignite that fued" Triple H and HBK have their fued jump started every other two months, so why not give RVD and Guerrero another fued" It's been about 2 years and I think it's about time the two settled the score once again. RVD was face and Guerrero was heel during that time. This time the tables have turned and the results could be intriguing. If anything, it'd be much better than the current John Bradshaw Layfield and Guerrero program.

That's only one of my suggestions, mainly towards better shaping the struggling main event scene of SmackDown. Another suggestion would be to elevate even more deserving talent to the World contender status. Booker T is a prime example of someone who deserves to have another program over the World title or at the very least a main event fued. At least before he retires as he shouldn't go out as a midcarder who hasn't had a serious title run since his WCW days.

I also feel John Cena, in time, should be elevated to the main event status. This would leave Rene Dupree, Mark Jindrak, Kenzo Suzuki, Mordecai, Charlie Haas, and others in the United States title picture. The young talent will help the US title to get back to its roots of boosting young talent and preparing them for the main event. In about three of four months, I would suggest Cena drop the title to Dupree and then move into a program with Booker T over the number one contender's spot for the World championship. As far as JBL goes, I feel he should be demoted to the United States title picture. He would make the ideal champion or contender. That and he is more on the level of a midcarder than he is a legitimate threat to Guerrero's title.

The tag scene seemed to be doing dismally fine with Rico and Haas as champions. The tag team division is fine as far as teams go, but what I mean by dismally fine is Rico and Haas are an entertaining, yet poor decision as champions. Which is why I am partially glad they dropped the title belts to the Dudley Boyz. However, I feel the WWE should not have placed the belts on them, as Rico and Haas were just getting started with their ordeal. Haas had an ongoing storyline revolving around his lust for Miss Jackie, and Rico had a storyline going where he hoped to help Haas get more in touch with his flamboyant side. There was unlimited potential for their tandem to work, but the two as champions was a bit poor.

The reason for the loss of the titles may be to create a new tag team, though. Carly Colon will be debuting soon as the metrosexual Carlito Colon. There is a chance that the WWE might pair him with Rico to form a new tag team to help stabilize the division. Miss Jackie, though, would leave the group for Haas, ending the storyline and establishing a new team. But, in my opinion, I do not think the WWE should have to resort to tagging two random wrestlers together for the sake of "saving" their tag team division's credibility.

The division already has a well rounded tag division that they should utilize. Akio and Sakoda, Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi, The Basham Brothers, The FBI, Paul London and Billy Kidman, Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn, and the Dudley Boyz are more than enough to help stabilize the scene. Putting the straps on the Dudleyz is a poor move, though as they are currently embroiled in a fued with the Undertaker. The straps should have been placed on a team such as the Bashams or kept on Rico and Haas. With the Dudleyz holding onto the belts, that leaves no tag title match at the Great American Bash. That doesn't neccesarily look good, having your tag team champions not defend their titles. It also puts Rico and Haas in a bad place as they are potentially off of the card.

As far as the Cruiserweight title goes, the WWE made a partially wise move in stripping Chavo Classic of the title. I do not agree with them releasing him, though, as he put Chavo Jr. over in the managerial position. Putting the belt back on Rey Mysterio seems to be the WWE's solution every time they mess up the crediblity of the championship. Sure, Mysterio is a credible title holder, but he is way past Cruiserweight championship status. He should at least be vying for the United States championship at this point in his career. Not to mention, he's had the Cruiserweight title so many times I'm sure even he is sick of it.

I expect the Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Rey Mysterio fued to be revived in time for the Great American Bash. The reasoning behind the fued will likely be that Mysterio beating Classic crushed him so much that he left the WWE leaving Chavo on his own. A decent explanation as to why Classic was released and hopefully a step towards the title becoming credible again. But on the other side of the spectrum, we've seen the Chavo and Mysterio fued take place so many times, that enough is enough. Let someone else step up! There is unlimited, and I mean massive amounts, of unlimited talent in the cruiserweight pool.

The WWE currently has the best cruiserweight roster of all time, in my opinion. The problem with that is, they do not utilize them. Paul London, Akio, Jamie Noble, Billy Kidman, Ultimo Dragon (on a leave of abscene and rumored to be released), Nunzio, Funaki, Shannon Moore, and more are all worthy challengers to the title. If the WWE wanted to get the Cruiserweight title back on the right road, the wisest move would have been to put the title on Noble. Sure, Mysterio is more popular than Noble, but Noble is arguably the most successful WWE cruiserweight champion since its inception.

If the WWE lets their true talent step up to the plate and take a swing, I'm sure SmackDown can easily be saved. I am currently in the midst of not watching SmackDown and haven't watched it for at least two months. In those two months, I only caught one episode (Kenzo's debut) to see if things had gotten better. They hadn't, and it's about time things change. If things change, the WWE will regain a fan who was once one of their most loyal viewers, but until then that fan will continue not watching.

by Lucas Odparlik..


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