Small Guys, Big Talent Part II
October 21, 2006 by Michael Blowes
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Here I am, back again to promote all the smaller guys in the professional wrestling business who have achieved their goals or are still fighting their way. To set the record straight, I indeed have no problem with the bigger sized wrestlers, I do appreciate the hard work they go through, but as the saying goes, people love underdogs. My last column didn't seem to impress as many of you as I would have liked, so for all the true wrestling fans out there, this ones for you!
Beat him if you can, survive if he lets you, tap out or pass out, if he even decides to let go. Straight to the point for this portion of the columns inspiration, the way he would have wanted it, is non other than the Tazmaniac himself, Taz. Yes, I spelt it TAZ, for all of those who used to follow ECW before Taz joined the WWF roster and Disney'd himself up, he was once a brutal wrecking machine. Standing 5'8 and weighing 240 pounds throughout his career, Taz was a powerful mass stuck in a short mans body. Growing up in Red Hook District, NY he enjoyed the more physical things in life, such as America's favorite past time , Football, and even earning himself status in Ju-Jit Su.
Cut to the chase. In a promotion seemingly dominated by Shane Douglas, Taz was as good as any, and waited for his shot. Although he had already defeated Douglas before, it was only common that Douglas would step up his game. January 10th 1999 Taz would get his shot at the heavyweight champion at ECW's Guilty As Charged pay per view. After wrestling a hard fought match, Taz seized the moment and ended the match via Knockout. Like any champion, Taz would eventually drop the title, but still starving for championship gold, Taz wanted it back. He would get this chance again, although this time he wasn't even wrestling for ECW, rather for WWF. With the permission of Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman, Taz made the trip to ECW and defeated Mike Awesome April 13th 2000.
Lets lighten the mood shall we" His hair is less than tamed, and his accent sounds more Cuban than Caribbean, but he's the guru of cool. My pick for future 'underdog' champion is Carly Colon Jr. himself, Carlito Caribbean Cool. With an impressive debut, defeating John Cena for the United States Championship, Carlito was already a star on the rise. He made his home in WWE's brand Smackdown! and planned to make it his castle. He made himself a name going on to defeat the biggest athlete in sports entertainment today, The Big Show, and eventually getting drafted to the RAW brand. In true Carlito fashion, he defeated Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin, in his first match on RAW.
Although Carlito has had a chance to win his respected brand's main title, he came inches away from winning it at WWE's New Years Revolution pay per view in an Elimination Chamber match including WWE future hall of famer Shawn Michaels, olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, the Big Red Machine Kane, The Masterpiece Chris Masters, and reigning heavyweight champion John Cena. To be involved in that match is an accomplishment at the very least, but to be the second last person standing is a feat worth talking about. Carltio, his Back-Cracker, and his Over Drive are years away from achieving main event status, but before long, the Puerto Rican native will have his shot, and that, that's cool.
If every WWE superstar where to bite you, one bite might stand out more than others. He's the founder and master of Toothless Aggression, still maintaining his serious composure, Chris Benoit. Sometimes serious can be a bore, and sometimes you gotta have a little fun every now and again, but Benoit has proven to us all, that when taken seriously, you can fight your way to the top and still have fun. Benoit started out in ECW like our first 'small man' did, but eventually made the move to WCW, you know, "Where the big boys play", and all that other great stuff. Benoit had success in ECW, but even greater success in WCW. The Crippler won the T.V title on different occasions and feuded with other greats like Booker T and Fit Finlay during his lustrous career. Considering all the other talented, yet vertically challenged, competitors there like Chris Jericho, Dean Melenko, Lance Storm, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Rey Mysterio, who coincidentally enough all came from ECW as well, Benoit was reaching higher success points.
After defeating Sid Viscous for the WCW Heavyweight title he was later stripped due to his jump to rival promotion WWF, the title reign was later void, Benoit was still looking for his 'big win'. Appearing with a group called The Radicalz, consisting of Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and himself, they made big impact in the promotions roster. Each would eventually go their separate ways hoping to reach singles highs.
Similar to our overly cool friend Carlito, Benoit had an opportunity to win the WWF Heavyweight title with Shane McMahon in his corner, against the Rock. Although the first outcome of the match would see Benoit winning the title via Disqualification, the decision was over turned thanks to Mick Foley and title saving evidence for the Rock. In true fairy tale style, Benoit, like many others before him, won the Royal Rumble, entering at number 1, earning him a title shot at WrestleMania 20. Taking advantage of his opportunity to choose the Champion of his liking, Benoit made a jump from WWE's Smackdown! brand to the RAW brand, where he would find himself in a triple threat match involving Triple H and Shawn Michaels. March 14th
2004 Benoit won his first Heavyweight title forcing Triple H to tap out from the Cripplers Crossface.
Alright, I'm warning you, finish your drink, swallow your food, this may cause a laugh. My second pick for future world champion is non other than former ROH World Champ Austin Aries. Before you judge and make weird faces, keep in mind that Aries was the one who ended Samoa Joe's 21 month title reign, a feat in which many couldn't accomplish. Although Aries is competing in TNA at the moment as a dreadful Austin Starr character, it's only a matter of time during this struggle for ratings that his company reaches out to him for help, mind you they'll probably have to drop the Starr gimmick (oh please TNA, drop the star gimmick!). Although he may not be seen as a Heavyweight contender right away, Aries, much like other smaller guys, has an extremely wide move set, including one of the best 450 splashes to date. Adding high flying skills with incredible mat based wrestling, Aries makes for a perfect X-Division Champion or Intercontinental Champion, 'cause hey, we all gotta start somewhere right"
Aries resume speaks for itself. Title defenses include Colt Cabana, Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong, Homicide, Alex Shelley, James Gibson, and even current ROH Champion Bryan Danielson. In such case, C.M Punk would be the competitor to end Aries run (C.M Punk winning the ROH title probably should have been in my last column huh"). Aries has also been active in Tag Team style wrestling as well, winning the ROH tag titles with Roderick Strong from Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinuaro, having 18 successful title defenses.
Let's take into consideration that Samoa Joe winning the NWA world title is, whether Jerret likes it or not, inevitable, who better to bring in as a lovely surprise for Joe than the man who striped him of his ROH world title. In addition, this would also finally display Joe as being human, and not a Samoan Goldberg clone. Perhaps you all see it differently, or perhaps it's just too obvious, either way, it's a match I wouldn't mind seeing again and again.
In closing, some of you won't like my choices for future champs, and even the past champions I've chosen to remember, but we can't win them all. If you do have suggestions for future champions, or past champions you would like to hear about and don't plan on writing a column yourself, leave me a comment and I'll try my best to accommodate your wrestling needs. Until then...
by Michael Blowes ..
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