Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Future of Wrestling...Part 1

Nugget Commentary: The Future Of Wrestling - Tomorrows Superstars Today! Part 1

If you read certain websites and blogs you'll think that the WWE is days away from going out of business, tv ratings are down, buy rates are in the toilet and the product sucks. Well that's what some people think and that's what some people will always think. The truth is UFC ppv numbers are bigger, but WWE tv ratings crush UFCs. WWE gets tv money merchandise, live shows and huge international tours. On the other hand, some wrestling companies should worry, not only about MMA stealing their potential income but about a lack of profits all together. In particular, TNA should worry more. TNA needs to sort itself out and figure a new business model, maybe it should get away from so many ppv's and try to get more tv money for monthly specials instead. Also it could run more events in the UK and Australia, areas where its popular, can attract a big crowds and sell alot of merchandise, plus air those shows for free to the USA. A move to Wednesday or Tuesday may also be better for it's TV ratings. One other thing people always talk about are a promotions top talent.
The current top level superstars may seem stale to fans, but the WWE is trying to produce new contenders and superstars and sure, its been better with some than others, but alot of potential is there.
This post is meant to highlight the cream of the crop of the the up and coming talent i think there is in WWE & TNA. And just for the heck of it i'll even talk about a few of my favorites MMA fighters. First up, Part 1 the WWE...

Currently the WWE has bonafide superstars in John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Triple H & Rey Mysterio. Edge, Chris Jericho, and after a terrific year Kane are right up there too with arguably the Big Show close behind. But age, injuries and simply staleness are effecting these guys in top level feuds. Who are the next top stars that WWE have:

NR) CM Punk
 CM Punk is one of the top 3 'All Rounders' in professional wrestling today, and he's already a big enough star to not need be mentioned with 'Future Main Eventers'. 
But even though Punk is a believable top contender and a marketable star, as good as he is, i think he's only going to get better. He might need one more big feud to solidify his place on the top level, but he's definitely already floating around the level of Edge or Chris Jericho. 
Hugely versatile, Punk can thrive in any role, be it heel or face. He can pull off playing cocky and arrogant just as well as he can play a cheating coward. Or he can go on and play a competitive and ambitious fan favorite, or cut humorous and entertaining promos, whatever the storyline requires. 
Although Punk has already held the World title on multiple occasions he deserves a good solid, memorable run as champ to really cement his place amongst the top dogs.

1) The Miz
Without a doubt the Miz is gonna be big for the WWE. Already a former United States champ and current Mr.Money In The Bank, he will be WWE Champion sooner rather than later. More than that though, the WWE has great faith in him to be a crossover star and appeal to a mainstream audience. 
The WWE has every right to feel confident in The Miz's abilities, he is much improved as a wrestler and carries himself as a true superstar in and around the ring. 
His appearances on shows outside the wrestling world have also been very impressive and he seems just as comfortable on late night talk shows as he is on kids award shows alike. 
One stigma attached to the Miz when he started was that he was from MTV's 'Real World', this claim to fame may now be what he has going for him...He isn't stuck in the WWE bubble. He knows what's current, he can reference trending things and not seem forced or fake, he is cool and relatable to a young audience but he plays the asshole so well. 
The sky is the limit for this guy, i really think he has the best crossover appeal since the Rock (yes, even more so than Cena, who lets face it would look out of place on shows that the Miz could fit into easily)
Just look how far he's come already...
thank God he got a better haircut and got rid of that horrendous hat and ring attire!
I only hope that the WWE don't turn him into a good guy as soon as the inevitable cheers start.  As cool as he is, he works best as a douche!

2) Wade Barrett
You could argue that Wade Barrett has already established himself as a WWE main eventer. As leader of the Nexus and winner of season 1 of the show, NXT, Barrett has been involved in a months long, high profile program with the top star of WWE. He also has a one on one championship match at the next WWE pay per view, and there is a good possibility he may go on to become the next WWE Champion, (at least i hope he does.)
For someone with such little experience as Wade Barrett he is unbelievably comfortable with many aspects of professional wrestling. His mic work and delivery of promos is top notch, and his heelish
Without doubt he is a future world champion, and main event superstar for years to come.
What's scary about Barrett is that he can only get better!

3) Sheamus
Funny thing about Sheamus is that he could be considered both overrated and underrated at the same time. Now some might already consider him a superstar seeing as he's already held the WWE title on 2 occasions. But neither of his championship reigns were booked with him as a dominant champion that he so easily could be. 
Others might think he has been over pushed throughout his young career, and only won the titles through luck and his backstage friends. 
It is true Sheamus has been given a big push very early but 'The Celtic warrior' has handled it well. 
Sheamus works hard to put on hard hitting matches and for the most part delivers his promos very well.
His unique look and strong physical presence make him a memorable part of any show he's involved in. 
If he could get some more consistency with the scripting of his promos and be booked for an extended period as a viscous bully then he could truly be a huge superstar.
Although he has only played heel so far in his career i do see the potential for him to have a successful run as a babyface, if the right opponent was available for him. Especially with his regularly used terms like"Fella" so easy to catch on with an audience. The crowd love making signs about him.
Another under appreciated aspect of Sheamus is his potential as a crossover star. Although not much of his true character has been revealed i think he would be an interesting & memorable guest for talk shows to have on. His look, accent & heritage would certainly bring attention to him and wrestling. WWE should start pushing for more outside productions as soon as possible.


4) Jack Swagger
A so far criminally misused former world champion. Jack swagger brings bonafide wrestling skills to the table. He has tons of personality and greatly improved mic skills. 
Swagger has a style that can be marketable, especially with the popularity of MMA nowadays. Swagger's amateur background and training could catch the attention of legit fight fans, with many current UFC and MMA champions also being amateur wrestlers (Brock Lesnar, Frankie Edgar, Josh Koscheck, Gray Maynard Randy Couture and many more...) 
Although he is very good with humor the WWE needs to push his serious edge, like they began to do during his feud with Rey Mysterio when he went on a rampage with the ankle lock.
Jack Swagger is young enough and free of injuries to be a great talent for years to come. With his size, background, sense of humor and wrestling ability, Swagger offers a great overall package. 
Kurt Angle showed that you could be involved with comedic skits and still be regarded as a serious athlete. Now if Swagger can start following the "3 i's" as well as his moveset, he could really go on to become the new Kurt Angle. 
His recently added personal mascot, the 'Swagger Soaring Eagle' is a great touch to help raise his recognition.  So at least that'll help him gain him more visibility if not credibility. 

The 'King of the Ring' would be a perfect tournament for Swagger. The WWE should think about bringing it back especially for him, on the road to finally using him better.

King Swagger

5) Kofi Kingston
In terms of marketability Kofi Kingston could be huge. Very charismatic, young, athletic and exciting, Kofi has a lot going for him but the WWE seems hesitant on pulling the trigger on a true big push for him.
It seemed like he was gonna get a shot at the big time, a couple of years ago when he began feuding with Randy Orton but that all came to an abrupt end. Now it looks like they may be adding a mean streak to his character which may lead lead to the possibility of a heel run. If Kofi shows he is versatile enough to overcome his natural likableness and play a convincing heel WWE should really push him to the moon. Even if a heel Kofi doesn't work or if they don't even try it, his character as it is would work great as an underdog chasing a bad guy for the title, like a young Sting.
Already proven to be great in the ring, he's had numerous exciting matches, one area Kofi hasn't really shown much is his mic work. Although he seems capable on the mic, he hasn't ever really been given any material or programs that allowed him to show exactly what he could do in terms of promos.
I'm a big fan of Kofi Kingston, and would like to see him move up the card. The time for Kofi to move up into the top stars is now, too much longer at the level he is and the audience may not be able to take him seriously as a top contender and just regard him as a perennial mid carder. So with his unproven mic work and unknown ability to handle a bigger push, it might be up to Kofi himself just as much as the WWE in how far he can go.

6) Alberto Del Rio
Well the WWE has really built this guy up. He had weeks of vignettes building up to his debut and tons of TV time since. Alberto Del Rio, without question, has lots of confidence but i think he might be one dimensional. He's not as charismatic as i had expected but i am a fan of his little wink. Also his matches so far have not been all that exciting although he does have a cool finisher and i like the different ways he applies it.
Even with his limitations, Alberto Del Rio is gonna be pushed as a megastar. With his history in Mexican wrestling, Del Rio, is already recognized by millions of wrestling fans, WWE no doubt wants to capitalize on this and he will be a huge feature on any tours to Mexico and Spanish speaking nations.
One thing i am a hige fan of Alberto Del Rio's is his personal ring announcer. Ricardo Rodriguez is the real star of the show. Insanely charismatic, he sounds great on the mic even though i can't understand much of what he says(curse me and my ignorant only speaking English ways) . His timing for interruptions and interference in matches has been perfect. His facial expressions and manner in which he carries himself are also brilliant. The guy is hilarious.
Hopefully Del Rio will go far if it means more of Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrricardo Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrodriguezzzzzzzzzz!

7) John Morrison
I'm not a fan of John Morrison. Sure i see he has a ton of potential and more ability than almost any one else on the roster. But in 6 years working as a professional wrestler he has learnt nothing about promos or presence. He also has the worst ring attire in the company and the charisma of a drowned rat.
John Morrison also does moves, which, to put it simply, are silly. He has unrealistic looking flips that require too much co-operation from his opponents. And a finishing move from the top rope, which he seems to miss his opponent with more often than he connects. He doesn't seem natural or comfortable at all when it comes to interacting with the audience, and all of his poses look forced and therefore lame. 
Obviously as a good looking guy he is a big hit with certain members of the audience.But in the fickle world of wrestling fans you can't rely on looks, you need to connect to more people. 
After all this bashing, you might wonder why i've included JoMo on the list. Its because, like i said earlier, i do see his potential. 
He is ridiculously athletic and the parkour training which he competes in is amazing. I do enjoy some of his matches when he doesn't resort to too much gymnastics. (I am a fan of high flying, high risks moves by the way. I just like them to have a purpose and be done for a reason, not just to show off how flippy someone can be in a ring with no psychology involved)
 Most of all for JoMo he needs a character that he is comfortable with, the Jim Morrison resemblance doesn't work. He needs to start showing his real personality, if infact he does have one. 
The most entertaining he has ever been was while teaming with the Miz when they hosted 'The Dirt Sheet' on Now that success might have been down to The Miz being awesome but maybe, just maybe, John Morrison has some personality after all. 
One way to start his transformation into a more well rounder entertainer would be to turn him heel. With his looks and style, JoMo is more suited to playing a conceited antagonist. When characters like his are made to play the face it often has horrible results, like Shawn Michaels sickening, goody two shoes days in 1996. Shawn was finally accepted as a good guy not by being all super nice and kissing babies (JoMo gives away his sunglasses to a kid in the audience before every match) but by having matches so good that you had to respect the guy (and he was also really cool back in the original DX days). So while Morrison could become a true superstar 

I can't imagine he will ever crossover to a bigger audience until he improves more than just his high risk moves.

8) 'Dashing Cody Rhodes
As part of 'Legacy', Cody was over looked. While the WWE thought Ted DiBiase was gonna be the breakout star, Cody was showing signs of being the one deserving of a push and ready for a solo opportunity. Yet he was underutilized, until given, what could have been a disastrous 'Dashing' gimmick, he flourished. As a 'Pro' to Husky Harris on season 2 of NXT he cut some killer promos and was a highlight of the show. Cody has a great in ring style, and brings an old fashioned,classic way but with a modern edge.
Just like his time in 'Legacy' with his hyped up & movie starring partner, Cody outshines his current tag team partner, apparent 'Chosen One', Drew McIntyre in every possible way. Rhodes has presence, mic skills, ring work, athleticism and style all going for him and most importantly knows how to combine it all to be a very entertaining personality in matches or skits. He might never be a true main eventer or win a world title but he could and should be a upper mid carder, and a very credible Intercontinental or United States champion.

9) Husky Harris
Husky Harris brings a unique look and style to the WWE. He's a throwback to the 70's era wrestler. As a heavy hitting but surprisingly quick brawler, he could be WWE's version of Samoa Joe. I hope they build Husky up strong, and vicious, not necessarily winning all the time yet, but just showing him as a tough guy who can dish out big beatings and let him show what potential he has. He showed some promise with the mic on NXT but obviously still needs to do some work with that, pairing him up with a more experienced superstar and using him as an enforcer type deal for a little while might be a good idea. His partnership with Cody Rhodes on NXT seemed to work well, hopefully his time in the Nexus will be good for him too,and he can learn from Wade Barrett and gain experience from some time in a high profile program. Ideally, I'd be interested to see him paired with someone like Ted DiBiase as he hones his skills before getting a bigger singles push one day. 
As a singles star i could see Husky attracting attention from older wrestling fans that were maybe turned off from the new product. Keeping him with his throwback look and style would be good match up for potential feuds with veteran wrestlers like Triple H and the Undertaker or a styles clash type feud with John Cena.
Husky could be big and i'm not talking about his belly...

10) Daniel Bryan & Kaval 
Both Daniel Bryan & Kaval are universally known. Maybe not under there current names but both have had long and successful careers on the independent circuits worldwide. Hopefully both will also attain some success within the WWE. While i wouldn't expect them to be headlining WrestleMania's hopefully they both find some good solid middle ground between other similar sized wrestlers like superstar Rey Mysterio and, pretty much, enhancement talent Evan Bourne. 
Both do have potential to do big things in the future, not only are they extremely talented wrestlers but both have the experience and knowledge to help them get over with an audience.
A major advantage for Bryan's main event aspirations could be his ready made feud with The Miz. When the Miz does become the top guy and WWE Champion, the history between the two could pay off and lead to a top level feud. Daniel Bryan is probably counting down the days until The Miz cashes in his 'Money In The Bank' contract so he can once again challenge his former NXT Pro and try to make him 'tap out' one more time

Although Bryan can be soft spoken and quiet his unorthodox promo methods work. Very underrated on the mic, he can be funny and  self deprecating  but still gets his point across and is very good. Also his intense, submission based style of wrestling should work in his favor, the unique nature of his attacks makes him stand out and his technical ability and similarities to mma should help gain him new fans.

Kaval has done well in showing a new side to his personality since joining the WWE. After years of being deadly serious as Low Ki & Senshi he actually smiles now, cracks jokes and has even shown off his rapping skills! More relatable to the fans because of this, the main thing holding Kaval back in the land of the giants may be his size. The losing streak, Kaval, is on at moment could be a way to bring back his mean serious side, and a maybe a potential  feud with good guy Rey Mysterio which would no doubt offer some Match Of The Year candidates and help establish Kaval as a legitimate superstar. With his unique style and high impact striking and hisk flying moves, the winner of NXT season 2, Kaval, could definitely be a valuable asset to the WWE.


Justin Gabriel 
Without doubt the second biggest star in the Nexus. Management has already let him get a pin fall over John Cena and he's had high profile, competitive one on one matches on Raw, including one recently against WWE Champion Randy Orton. Hopefully they won't go cold on him when The Nexus split up. Or if he injures anyone with the 450 Splash...
Impressively, Justin Gabriel survived a partnership with Matt (or was that MATTHEW) Hardy on the first season of NXT, without being featured in any crazy youtube videos. He's done way better as a heel than anyone who watched NXT could have predicted.

Dolph Ziggler 
Dolph Ziggler has some potential but also has a terrible name and relies a lot on rest holds. He usually delivers good ppv matches though and is much improved since his Spirit Squad days. Just don't know how much further he can go.
He's already come along way, but how much further can Dolph go...especially with his stupid name.

Ezekiel Jackson

Big Zeke could be very good or very bad. He could be a new top level monster or another horrible big man like Mark Henry. The potential is there to go either way. I'd like to see him aligned with The Miz as his kinda of enforcer while he learns how to cut promos and carry himself as a star. I'm hopeful Big Zeke will turn out good.

Skip Sheffield
Skip Sheffield's injury hit at a terrible time. Showing great intensity as part of Nexus he looked like after years of trying (he took part in Tough Enough on the same season as The Miz) he was finally gonna get his shot in the WWE. With his insane muscles and strength, hopefully he can regain that momentum he had when he comes back and not fail any Wellness Policies.

David Otunga
David Otunga can definitely talk the talk, it's walking the walk he has problems with. WWE will keep him around because of his main stream celebrity connects. But he really needs to improve in the ring if he wants to actually be pushed. Has the potential to be a breakout star from Nexus, pairing him with a good experienced worker would be the best. Better off in WWE than risk catching std's on reality shows like 'I Love New York'

Thanks But No Thanks. (as much as i might like these, they aren't superstars)

Christian. I love the guy. He can do it all. But if it hasn't happened by now it ain't gonna happen. Sadly, he'll never headline WrestleMania's. But i can still hope he wins a WWE World title one day. The commentators would always make it a point to refer to him as a veteran, making it out that he's past it. Shame. Maybe there is hope that he will finally get a big push when he returns from injury...

Drew McIntyre. He has the look. He is always build up by the commentators. But he lacks so much.Will probably still win a world title but he needs to improve everything. Not memorable at all. Boring

MVP. Really could been something once. But they missed the chance and wasted him. Seems really stale now. Character needs to be a heel. Never be as big as he could have. Was the WWE scared to push him too fast?

Evan Bourne. Too small to every get pushed far. Still popular but treated a jobber too many times.

Ted DiBiase. Boring. Boring. Boring. Being part of a team would help him. Not ready for a solo push. Oh and his music is awful. He shoulda remixed his dad's theme.

Zack Ryder. He's a tool. :)

so thats part 1...part 2 will be coming soon featuring the future of TNA and more...

1 comment:

  1. Don't sleep on Skip Sheffield. I think he's probably going to be the biggest star of the first class of NXT rooks except maybe Danielson.