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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Future of the WWE: Hits, Misses and Maybes..
March 28, 2005 by Matthew Jones


It's around this time of year where the WWE whips out the old stars for WrestleMania. Be it Hogan/Austin/Piper this year, Bobby the Brain last year or the classic Rock/Hogan match a few years ago. However the WWE also uses the big event to create stars of the future. Some are hits (Austin vs. Bret Hart-WrestleMania 13, the day attitude was born and Austin became the mega-over anti-hero), some are misses (Diesel vs. HBK WrestleMania 11. Diesel never really became the mega babyface hero the WWF desired) and some are maybes (HHH vs. Benoit vs. HBK. Benoit was a good champion but he never became RAW's main star, this was despite great matches with Orton/Kane/HHH, but he still may be the man in years to come If used right. Blame HHH/HBK over-shadowing him or his lack of mic skills, or the booking but Benoit was never truly "the man").

With the WWE severely lacking star power (JBL as champ, good character, poor matches), it's time to look down the roster and think who will be the headliners come WrestleMania 25. Here are my hits, misses and maybes:

Hits:

John Cena: An obvious choice perhaps but it has to be stated that despite critics often slating his anti-gay raps and poor quality matches Cena has a connection with the crowd that can't be denied. Similar to The Rock (circa 99) the fans eat up his catchphrases, merchandise and the silly gimmick move such as pumping his sneakers and the 5-knuckle shuffle fist drop. Cena is currently the biggest babyface but perhaps his strongest work was when he was a heel (remember that rap in the graveyard against about the Undertaker"). When the cheap-pops a well-timed heel turn could make the next generations HHH (but in a good way)

Randy Orton: Again another obvious choice due to his previous mega-pushes but I feel the need to state the obvious. Randy didn't fail as a champion due to his abilities. He failed due to a rushed evolution expulsion. If they'd done with Orton what they have with Batista he'd be a mega-babyface and the WrestleMania main event would be a much better match. While many say Orton's time in the sun has come and he's never going to be a true main-eventer, just wait until he turns heel. Randy appears arrogant even when he's a face, he is a naturally heel and the next turn will save his main-event status.

Carlito Caribbean Cool: Not the greatest worker, but to me has that certain element that screams super-star. Ultra cool Mr Charisma. Hilarious as a cocky heel, the guy that you love to hate. Could be the next Rock in my eyes. As a babyface CCC could be as funny as "the great one" in his prime, don't dismiss him straight away, Remember it took a while for Rocky Maivia to achieve something, Carlito has more potential than Rocky showed in first year in the WWF.

Edge: Yes! His current bitter twisted self-depressed heel role has been awesome, great character, good worker, and great look. Can't see him going four years without another main event run. My pick for the ladder match at WrestleMania. Always a good and popular babyface if his current heel run fails!

Maybe:

Shelton Benjamin: He's got the hard background story, he's got the talent, but does he lack the charisma" That is maybe his only downfall. Has the potential to be huge, if written correctly the underdog storyline going into a title win would make him a hit. If done wrong just look at the HHH vs. Booker T feud from WrestleMania 19, Booker never really main-evented again and is Mr Upper-Midcard.

Brock Lesnar: Perhaps a surprise selection, but if the WWE do re-sign him I'm sure Brock will be the next big thing again. After a few months of being buried the WWE will have no choice but to push "the pain" again, they need main eventers, can you just image the reaction if Brock F-5'd Cena in a post-match angle if Cena wins at WM21"

Batista: Yes he's very popular at the moment, but this is the same guy who came out to silence at Summerslam 2004. His match against Kane on RAW shows he only looks good with talented workers. While the hype for the match at WrestleMania is huge, the match itself could drag, Batista doesn't seem like he can carry long matches and HHH isn't the worker he once was. It could be a snore-fest! He lacks that certain thing made the fans take instantly Goldberg and the WWE are booking him in a way Goldberg would have thrived. All current signs say yes Batista will be the next big super-star, but it could turn sour very, very quickly.

CM Punk: I can't see four years going by without WWE signing this guy. Talented, good look, charismatic. CM Punk could be huge; he has an in-built straight -edge gimmick that would slot right into the WWE. If they do sign him he'll be huge

Christian: Id love nothing more than to see Captain Charisma to get a main event run, but I can't seriously see it happen unless he moves to SmackDown!!. Good worker and funny but perhaps a little too slim. Shame as he deserves so much more!

Paul London: No not a bad joke! I seriously think he could be as big as Jeff Hardy in his prime. Perhaps not main-event unless his strikes a lucky accord with the fans, but a solid IC champion. He currently is one of the few cruisers (along with Chavo) who get a good reaction from the crowd, despite the fact he is never pushed or given airtime. His daredevil attitude and good looks will make him popular with the 13-20 market and hardcore Roh/Internet fans would support any London push. His connections with HBK won't hurt; perhaps Michaels could even be used as a mentor role to help give him "the rub". Could be big but as easily could be touring Japan with in the year!

Luther Reigns: Good talker, OK worker. WWE loves its big guys so he's bound to be given his chance at some point. A slow building turn against Angle may work well.

Misses:

Chris Masters: What a horrible, horrible match against Stevie Richards. Stevie is 1000 times the worker the masterpiece is. Joins Tomko/A-train/Heidenreich/Snitsky in the line of terrible big workers, who will never be a Vader or a Brock, hell even a Batista!

Heidenreich/Snitsky: Vince put these two guys together as they show exactly why not all "big" man are good. Just because they are large doesn't make them instant superstars. Their promos are terrible and the matches are worse. Even worse as a team at Royal Rumble. These guys can go join A-Train and Nathan Jones on the welfare queue!

Mark Jindrak: No charisma, no charisma and umm no charisma. I never understood why he's the only "natural born thriller" left. Even Stasiak was more over as Plant Stasiak! God I miss Sean O'Haire, he could have been huge!

Rhyno: Loved this guy in ECW, has the skills and talents, but seriously after the way WWE has booked him would you seriously accept him as a main-eventer"

Samoa Joe: Sorry Samoa Joe fans, but his hard-hitting style and flabby look won't make it in the WWE! Look at Taz!

Rey Mysterio: Mega popular. The only cruiser allowed using all the highflying moves that the others can do. But seriously a world champion" Serious" Vince would never allow it!

by Matthew Jones..
Shawn wrote:
I agree with everything you say except one thing, Snitsky. Snitsky is not a great or not a good worker but he plays the heel role so well and know how to get the fans to boo him. He don't get XPAC heat, his boo's is real. All WWE need to do is put him in matches with Benoit,Jericho,HBK,etc. each week(ala Batista) and his skills will grow. The guy is a heat machine.
You forgot about Hassan. He has the talent,mic skills,look,charisma to be the next superstar. I think once he escape the Arab gimmick he will be huge.
Rob Conway,he's just like Hassan except his ring skills is better.
Rene Dupree, WWE kill the guy but he's still got plenty of time to improve in the ring. He stuck on SD working with losers.
I think CM PUNK and Samoa Joe will have a better chance going to TNA before WWE. If WWE wanted to sign them,they would of done it by now. They offer Aj Styles deals every year. They even offer AMW a deal.They just sign Kazarian,Juvy and SUper Crazy. AMW and Kazarian doesn't have the status Joe and Punk does. WWE is signing new people everyday and they can get Punk/Joe if they want too but probably will not. I wouldn't be surprise to see Joe and Punk in TNA before WWE.
Jackieellisworld wrote:
I agree with everything you say except one thing, Snitsky. Snitsky is not a great or not a good worker but he plays the heel role so well and know how to get the fans to boo him. He don't get XPAC heat, his boo's is real. All WWE need to do is put him in matches with Benoit,Jericho,HBK,etc. each week(ala Batista) and his skills will grow. The guy is a heat machine.

You forgot about Hassan. He has the talent,mic skills,look,charisma to be the next superstar. I think once he escape the Arab gimmick he will be huge.

Rob Conway,he's just like Hassan except his ring skills is better.

Rene Dupree, WWE kill the guy but he's still got plenty of time to improve in the ring. He stuck on SD working with losers.

I think CM PUNK and Samoa Joe will have a better chance going to TNA before WWE. If WWE wanted to sign them,they would of done it by now. They offer Aj Styles deals every year. They even offer AMW a deal.It didn't take them long to sign Spanky/London. They just sign Kazarian,Juvy and SUper Crazy. AMW and Kazarian doesn't have the status Joe and Punk does. WWE is signing new people everyday and they can get Punk/Joe if they want too but probably will not.

I wouldn't be surprise to see Joe and Punk in TNA before WWE.
Laurens Fuchs wrote:
Let me congratulate you on a very good article.... I think you made some really excellent points.

About your HITS: I couldn't agree more with that, especially about Carlito and the comparisons you made between him and Rocky... that's what I've been thinking from the first moment I saw him, he's just extremely charsimatic, funny and hilariously entertaining.... I love his skits, or to say it in is his words.... THAT'S COOL!

About your MAYBES: I agree with what you said about Shelton B., Batista and Christian. I dunno about CM Punk, I don't think Lesnar will be back as he really pissed off Vince and everybody, I don't like Reigns simply because he looks like an ugly gorilla.... I'm not too impressed with his performances on the mic or in the in the ring also, so he should probably be on the MISSES list really..... London is great I think, I think IC-status could be realistic for a guy his size, but that'll take a while.... or maybe more than a while.

About your MISSES: I basically agree with everything you said, Mysterio is great no doubt about it, but his size stands in his way... plus he's lacking mic-skills (like Benoit for example).... he's a great pure wrestler/high flyer, but to get to the absolute top and to stay there that's simply not enough.... and a mask isn't helping either I guess, but since he lost it in WCW at some point that wouldn't be the main problem, but what's really keeping him out of the game is his size, I would love to see him get the IC-title/US-title at some point though.... oh, and he should get rid of the 619-cam he's carrying to the ring, that looks kinda stupid I think.... or to quote Carlito: THAT'S NOT COOL!
Michael Dam wrote:
Agree with something, but still i think that Batista diverves a spot in the "Hit" Section, i the WWE scripts him right, he have a big feature ahead of him.

I agree with Shawn, with the Snitsky role, he might not be the best wrestler, but he plays his "offstage" role really good, and i really think that it should be awarded, i dosnt will that much matches.

But you miss one wrestler, Maven, i think WWE screwed him, not letting him become the superstar he could have been after Survivor Series 04, and then after then screws him for a place at Evolution.

Then im actually impressed by "The Masterpiece", but could be nice to see him in matches against, better competitors, than unknowns at Heat, i mean last time i faced Russell Simpson"" huh".. But still he's only 22(i think), and could have a feature..

And if you put London in Maybe spot, you really cant put Rey in a miss. Rey is a great highflyer, and an enjoyment to watch.

Other Misses, i think is Rosey, Reigns but i guess they gotta have theese guys to fill out the rosters.
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Rhey Higgins wrote:
I agree with many points in your article, but there's a few things I should mention: 1) Snitsky: I don't see what everyone's problem with him is. He's great at generating heat, and has some pretty decent in-ring abilities. I would put him on the "maybe" list at the very least. 2) Luther Reigns: He's a definite "hit" if I've ever seen one. How can you say he doesn't have any in-ring skills" He's a phenomenal wrestler: just look at his match at No Way Out against the Undertaker! That match (much like Snitsky v. Kane at Taboo Tuesday), showed that these wrestlers have the abilities needed to handle themselves in a match against the veterans, and Snitsky's resulting feud with Kane showed that he's able to carry a feud...its just a shame that the 'Taker/Luther thing didn't;t go any further. Aside from that (and those are just my opinions), a pretty good article...although I'd have put Orton on the "maybe" list and Cena at the VERY BOTTOM of the "miss" list.
BigHustle233 wrote:
I was watching the Wrestlemania Recall Special that airs all day long on my dish net and i noticed that there are Wrestlemanias that usher in a new era. Wrestlemania's where the industry is turned on its heels. Although i HATE to admit it, Cena could usher in a new era much like Stone Cold at WrestleMania 14.

Randy Orton should be on SmackDown! and should be the anti-Cena, my God if WWE doesn't do this for Randy Orton then he will be a complete waste of time on Raw.

Carlito Caribbean Cool, would be good if they would at least put him in a match or two. Isn't his shoulder healed by now" And who would you feud him against" When he does come back to wrestling in matches, they need to feud him in athletic contests that show his true talents. I'm not talking about jobbing to Mysterio or Eddie Guerrero; I'm talking about MATCHING Mysterio or Guerrero or whatever star they put him in the ring with.

Edge is my favorite heel in wrestling today, case closed. There is something that reaches fans about Edge's character that many don't realize right away. His character represents everyone who has never gotten their fair shake. Everyone who was overlooked. Everyone who had the talent but was never given the chance to show it. His appeal when playing out his character is captivating. This gimmick would have been great for Benoit a two years ago. Edge should main event Wrestlemania 22!!!

Shelton is the most amazing athlete on Raw who I don't care about (damn thats a first). He is probably the greatest gem the WWE has seen in recent years athletically, but his character is like the token black guy from "Not Another Teen Movie".

Brock Lesnar""" If the WWE did consider bringing him back it would be great because i kinda miss the guy. However, I'm not too sure if Vince or the fans for that matter would accept him. He would be hated for all of the wrong reasons.

Batista...I don't know what to say about Batista. Sometimes I like him. Sometimes I wonder why he's going to Wrestlemania. Its obvious that he shouldn't stay as HHH's monster in Evolution. For some reason he didn't fit in with Flair>>HHH>>Randy Orton...and o yea Batista the monster (notice the order). I don't know what to say about him. His in ring strength is outstanding, but I just think that strength shouldn't be the only thing to bring a guy to the big dance at Wrestlemania.

C.M. Punk...never heard of him. No I have but unfortunately I haven't seen him wrestle. His reputation I know precedes him of being a great worker in the ring. His look is something that the WWE can utilize to bring in a new audience. But the WWE has a reputation of fearing new things sometimes. Like I've said the one thing the WWE is lacking is risk taking. Take a risk damnitt take a risk!!!

Christian is good right where he's at. A main event run would be even better but right now he is reaching the prime of his mid card worker status. He's a young veteran that is ripe for main event status. His matches are still golden and to me his character hasn't gone stale yet. I love to hate the Creepy Little Bastard and a main event push seems fitting.

Luther Reigns is a another big mess. He's just a little better than all the other big messes i.e. Snitsky, Heidenriech, Masters. I'm not saying scrap him, but the WWE needs to book him in good matches because he has the potential to get out of his current big mess status.

Chris Masters is destined to be the next Renee Dupree. Snitsky is a Creepy BIG Bastard. Heidenriech makes me laugh because if i were 4 years old i still wouldn't be scared of him.

WWE squashed Rhyno's career the second they brought him over to Raw. What was the reason for this" Did they need someone to fight Val Venis on Heat" They took a good talent from SmackDown and made him a flaming pile of uselessness.

Somoa Joe I've heard is a great worker. However if they brought him up to the WWE they would put him in a Polo shirt and eventually make him the host of WWE Velocity. Seriously WWE needs to stop discriminating against people who lack the physique. Maybe it should be something to be considered but they've scrapped great talents like Tazz over their physiques.

Rey Mysterio is gonna be so over once Super Crazy, Juvi and Psicosis hit the scene he won't need the WWE title.
Susan wrote:
Great column...I agreed with pretty much everything you said, although I am NOT a Cena fan...don't really know why, he just rubs me the wrong way. What the Hell happened to Sean O'Haire" When I saw his "new look" when they started using him on Smackdown (I think it was Smackdown), I thought damn, he could be huge. What happened"""" Love Rhyno, wish they'd do something with him besides jobbing...
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