Santino Marella: I heard Santino has been debating giving up on wrestling to spend time with his family. He’s probably already peaked so he might as well. If he doesn’t though, he should really start doing the Cobra Clutch as a finish.
Seth Rollins: There is lots of potential for Rollins as a scuzzbucket rocker-trash heel post-Shield. I also want to see him get a singles squash match against a smaller opponent, Sin Cara or someone, so he can show off a few of the power moves he has in his quiver that he never gets to do anymore.
Sheamus: Everyone has Sheamus pegged as needing to be the next Cena or the next HHH, but I think if he’s the “next” anyone, its this: he’s a muscular, talented power wrestler who’s a HHH protege and has teamed with Orton, spends his time close to the top, and is a jovial babyface who turns vicious on occasion. He’s basically the new Batista. All he needs to do is make sure he doesn’t lose that spot to Ryback and he should be fine.
Sin Cara: No chance of recouping their investment here. The intentions with this guy were pure but he just didn’t translate. I gotta wonder if the money would be better for him headlining in Mexico as Mistico rather than doing job detail here.
Ted DiBiase: He was having some decent matches on Smackdown before that king hell injury kept him out so long. If they ever decide to give him another shot they should reboot the character as a rich sadist, akin to Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. That way his relatively flat demeanor could be taken as being cold and calculating rather than dull and lifeless.
Triple H: I’m torn on this concussion angle. Besides that I don’t think anything is worth having more McMahon family drama on TV, it is kind of bad timing to have one guy attempting to soldier through a fake concussion while you have your World champion out with a real one. On the other hand, I think making an angle out of it is their way of showing their commitment to the Nowinski thing by bringing the issue to the forefront on TV. (I also suspect HHH has some kind of unresolved issue with Nowinski related to the fact that Nowinski was a big blonde Kowalski student that HHH probably saw some of himself in and then Nowinski bailed on them and made the company look bad in the media). So you’ve got the question of how seriously they take the concussion issue pitted against HHH probably wanting to make himself look good. Either way I’m betting that the “no head moves” initiative on the Saturday Morning Slam show becomes standard operating procedure in the future.
Tyson Kidd: Like I said before, his team with Justin Gabriel should be rekindled and repackaged with something to make them a babyface blowjob team. But also I wonder: will the Divas show on E! actually show Tyson as Nattie’s real life boyfriend? You gotta think that the story of childhood sweethearts living their dreams together and trying to make it as a couple after all these years is natural drama, and it could do something for Tyson’s career. I’m interested to see how that plays out.
Undertaker: He looked healthy enough at Mania that he really should come back for Summerslam and give Punk his clean win back. After that I’m sure it’s just gonna be lather, rinse, repeat.
Wade Barrett: Either commit to him or don’t. At this point, all the main titles are held by uppercarders except his; and I think the idea might be closer to putting the IC title on someone like Bryan or Swagger than to try and elevate Barrett. I like Barrett’s Guy Ritchie British street tough vibe, but he might be better off regrouping. Also, pick a song and stick with it already.
William Regal: I get the feeling the two “I don’t want to be the guy who never made it like you” runs he had in NXT against Ambrose and Ohno were dry runs for repeating it on the main show at some point, maybe against Barrett.
Yoshi Tatsu: After all these years I’m still not sure I even know whether Tatsu can wrestle or not. As it is I tend to forget that he’s not actually Funaki.
Zack Ryder: More and more I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s less “they didn’t want to let Ryder get over” and more “Ryder just expected them to get behind him once the YouTube stuff caught on and never went the extra mile to get there.” Foley called out Ryder when he was on Nerdist for never making his case to Vince directly. When Santino got into the Smackdown Elimination Chamber that one time and got a US title run, that should’ve been Ryder, but obviously Santino was the one in Vince’s ear saying that should be his spot. People say Ryder should just quit and go to TNA, but I get the feeling he’s a dedicated WWE mark and would only ever want to be there. I really don’t know what else to make of him, it may just be too late.
The Divas: I address the Divas as a whole because at this point, their universe is about to be rebooted. Once the E! show happens, its going to change anything that exists as far as the current Divas are concerned (if the show is a hit and it lasts of course). The dramas from the Divas show are going to carry over to the actual division. It’s pretty clever actually, shows like Bad Girls Club and Real Housewives have the same kinds of dramas as WWE, but in a different format where they can have more time to grow their stories. In the end I think AJ and Kaitlin will just go on to be valets and the Divas title will be a reality show prop for the rest.
That’ll do it for this series, thanks for reading.
Epico, Primo, and Rosa Mendes: Some people have let the fact that these guys are small and agile fool them into thinking they’re good high flyers. I’ve seen no evidence that that’s true. In Epico’s case I’ve seen no evidence of much of anything, as he rarely scores any offense. Primo I know is firmly a selfish stodgy worker who made Sin Cara look bad on his debut (and Sin Cara would’ve done that just fine on his own!). It’s sad that these two got their default title reign, because a less distinguished tag team there never was. All that said, I really miss seeing Rosa wiggle that ass on TV.
Evan Bourne: Yup, still employed. I seriously wonder if he’s just laying low with this injury after all the shit he got into before. A return could be a fresh start for him, and hopefully they could start by getting rid of that weiner character. The name Evan Bourne is great but really? “The Aviation Nut”? One of those geeks that builds model planes and whacks off to fighter jets? How could you stick someone with that atrocity and have any hope that they’d get over? I’d like to see him add a little edge, maybe become more of a Jackass-style punk rock urban daredevil (a void left by Jeff Hardy and John Morrison that could easily be filled by a post-Shield Seth Rollins or, as I’ll talk about later, Justin Gabriel).
Ezekiel Jackson: This guy has no clue. That this no talent fuck held the same title as Ricky Steamboat, Curt Hennig, and Bret Hart is disgusting. If roid-muscles and nothing else actually impressed people, Mr. Olympia would outsell the Super Bowl. Not much you could do with this guy. I’d maybe hype his South American roots and make him an ethnic strongman gimmick like Ivan Putski, with some Carnivale style music and hype videos with moco jambie dancers and shit, but even then it’s lipstick on a pig.
Fandango: I actually feel a little bad for him, believe it or not. If they’d have just calmed down and let the meme take root, he could’ve been all over the net for a few minutes and, since he’s got his character down pat and is pretty good on the mic and in the ring, he could’ve rode that wave for a while and earned his success. Instead they tried to meme-rape us and the whole thing just fizzled. Fandango has the potential to be the new Goldust or early-era Mankind (weirdo uppercard heel who creeps out opponents) but if they don’t play the character notes right he’ll just be Disco Inferno lite.
The Great Khali, Hornswaggle, and Natalya: I’m surprised, as they’re racheting up Natalya’s role in the Divas division (I’ll address them as a whole later, btw) on the eve of that E! Diva show, that they haven’t pulled her out of this mess yet. If they address their real life relationships on the show, they can’t very well have Nattie playing Khali’s girlfriend on Raw. So that just leaves Khali and Horny, dancing and jobbing. Khali is an abomination of a wrestler, but if they want to keep him around to do clean jobs to faces and make them look good for beating a giant, that’s the best they can hope for. Just seriously, the bloom is off the rose on ever making him seem legit scary. He’s a permanent comedy goof.
Hunico & Camacho: Its too bad these two have kind of disappeared, Hunico looked to be very talented. However, I have different ideas for both. Obviously Sin Cara is a dud, so after they send him back to Mexico they’re gonna need a masked babyface to replace Rey and shill masks to the kids (this character always needs to exist in some form. Kids can’t resist getting masks at shows, they’re always more fun than a t-shirt). So Hunico should get a mask and a new gimmick, and a visually impressive high flying finisher to go with. Camacho I have other ideas for, but you’ll have to wait for me to get to the R’s……
Jack Swagger: Owed an ass beating by Dolph, but besides that, he can keep doing what he’s doing. He needs to quit being a fuckup though. They should feud him with Sheamus for a while, to maybe skirt a little of the racist comparisons and make it clear that he’s against all foreigners, not just Mexicans.
Jimmy and Jey Uso: Pretty much where they can be. Not a lot of other ground to cover with that gimmick.
John Cena: Any dream of Cena turning heel is pretty much dead by now, he’s just not gonna do it. Even if he did, it wouldn’t really do much to freshen him up. So the best use for him is to line up as many top heels as you can and give him a Heel Of The Month type run. Let the focus of the feuds be more about their gimmick than Cena’s. Yeah, Cena probably wins every time. But at least guys who aren’t near his level can get a little rub off of it.
JTG: Didn’t he, like, pull a Mongo and go missing or something? I’d just let him and Shad reform Cryme Tyme on the indies, not much left for him in WWE.
Justin Gabriel: If things don’t work out with Evan Bourne, he could always do that daredevil gimmick I suggested (and they seemed to sort of hint at that on the JBL and Cole Show, with all the footage of him doing motorcycle stunts). Really though, reforming his team with Tyson Kidd and giving them matching outfits and a team gimmick to get over with as a blowjob high flyer team would work. Don’t let him talk though. No offense to the people of South Africa, but they sound like drunk Australians imitating Orson Welles.
Kane: Sounds like he’s about ready to hang up his boots and make the venture into politics. He’s been a great hand for them and he deserves to get a great sendoff. I’d even like to see him be a transitional WWE champ after Cena, just to give him one more run with the big belt that lasts longer than a day (maybe to transition it to Daniel Bryan???????)
Kofi Kingston: If he’s fine with his role then there isn’t much to be said. I’d be interested in seeing him get “lured to the darkside” and become a Paul Heyman guy, though. Maybe channel Money Mayweather a little bit. But if not, ah well.
Mark Henry: It really sucks that he took so long to get on the right character track, because he is starting to ratchet up the injuries and it’s affecting his momentum. Still, him vs. Cena is just a given at this point, and possibly him vs. Brock.
The Miz: Turn him back heel already.
R-Truth: Just not enough room for him anymore. He had his big run and did well with it but he’s pretty much consigned to a lifetime of being trotted out as a “Legend” and doing comedy segments.
Randy Orton: I’ve talked enough about Blandy this week, but I really wish that we were in the olden days where when someone was as stale as Orton is and was drifting their way back down the card, they cut them loose and moved someone else up rather than trying to character-feng-shui them so they can keep their spot. It’s not a fucking charity they’re running.
Rey Mysterio: Poor Rey. He can’t stay healthy long enough to get his one last memorable retirement run. He’s gotta be ready, so when he makes it back its gotta be All Systems Go on that. I get the feeling it’ll be with Swagger (although Rey is an American) but maybe they’ll try to have him pass the torch to Sin Cara. The question: do you have him unmask upon retiring?
Ricardo Rodriguez: Yes, Ricardo gets his own spot. Hey, the dude is over. He can keep being allied with Alberto but i’d like to see him get his own little side comedy angles. Namely, if he kept being attacked at ringside, he could hire Camacho as his bodyguard (not Alberto’s, because that would be heelish, but its ok for a comedy face). Then you can have them do tag matches and 6-mans with Alberto.
Roman Reigns: I salivate at the thought of Roman turning babyface and having a big feud with Ambrose, it could be some great stuff. I’m loving The Shield as they are but there is tons of potential later on with all of them. I really see Reigns as their best bet for another superhero babyface. If he keeps his head on straight and doesn’t go down the road of his cousin Umaga, he’s an absolute sure thing.
Ryback: I am actually shocked that they turned him heel so soon, when it actually seemed like he was working as a face and they got so behind “Feed Me More”. But, he really seems to be comfortable as a heel and he’s showing he can actually cut promos. Who knew? Regardless of anything, he needs to pull a Sheamus and downgrade the Shellshock to a setup move and just finish with the Meathook.
I’ll leave it there and pick up with the remainder of the roster, plus the Divas, tomorrow.
The first half of 2013 is rapidly coming to a close and it seems like a lot of WWE superstars are on the verge of some changes, so I decided to go down the main roster alphabetically and share some thoughts on everyone’s current state starting with letters A through D:
Alberto del Rio: I didn’t think there was much to like about ADR as a face, but he slowly seems to be growing into the role. He had been on record as saying he wanted to be a face from the get-go, so he’s probably more comfortable working as one. He just needs something more to tack his character onto; right now he just seems like his prior millionaire character slumming it.
Alex Riley: This poor prick. Blackballed for standing up for himself. He should really just quit because its obvious they see nothing in him, and I think he has potential. At the very least, team him up with Curt Hawkins and let them be a jobber team.
Antonio Cesaro: Lotta rumors surrounding old Claudio. The rap from day one was that Vince thought he was boring and HHH saw potential, so he got a chance. Then I heard some talk that HHH invited him to work out and Cesaro turned him down. I REALLY hope that’s just some newsboarder’s overactive imagination because otherwise, really? How dumb could you be? What little fragment of character they gave him was all about his strength and his unique workout routine. If your boss wanted to go share his favorite activity with you, obviously he sees something there and maybe wanted to learn something about your workout. Hello! HHH pushes his gym buddies, dipshit! Maybe its not true, but either way all I can say is that I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another ROH match with Claudio Castagnoli in the future.
Big E. Langston: What do you call a big, ripped musclehead that you hire to be pushed as such only to find out that he has untapped reserves in the comedy department and great facials in the ring? Well you could call him Titus O’Neill, but Big E. is a little younger and a little better. Despite looking like some horrific House Party slashfic where Kid ate Play, Langston is probably going to be breaking out as a singles star soon, and won’t be with Dolph and AJ much longer.
Big Show: Big Show’s been having some of the best matches of his career, and I really think that he’s cementing his legacy as a great worker and an all around professional. Unfortunately, Show’s not getting any younger, and giants have shorter life expectancies than most of us. While he’s barely touching his 40s, he could be in his twilight years very soon. I know its morbid and sad to say, but its the truth. I get the feeling it might even be like a Joe Paterno situation for him, where once he stops it all catches up to him and he won’t make it much longer. That’s why, even though Brock is being held for the bigger stars, I’d love to see him and Show have one match on PPV. Between their prior history, Brock’s MMA style, and the fact that Brock is strong enough to lift Show and Show is believably strong enough to throw Brock around, we could feasibly see a 5 star Big Show match.
Bo Dallas: I’m not sure he really counts yet. Either way, being the new Freddie Joe Floyd might not be the best career move for him.
Bray Wyatt & the Wyatt Family: I was a mark for this character from the second I saw his first promo, and I called it by saying they should ditch Eli Cottonwood as his flunky and use Luke Harper. Husky wasn’t a half bad worker and Brodie was a pretty great big man worker, so they should have good things to come. I haven’t really seen Erick Rowan but his beard is excellent. And since their vibe is basically Max Cady leading The Devil’s Rejects, we are in for some fun.
Brock Lesnar: All I really want out of Brock is for him to have great, bloody MMA hybrid brawls every once in a while and put people over. At this point there are tons of money matches with Brock: Big Show, Punk, Sheamus, Mark Henry, Ryback, a Cena rematch. How many of them we actually see is up to fate and Brock but hopefully he’s done wasting time with HHH.
Brodus Clay, Tensai, and the Funkadactyls: Tons of Funk as the new Men on a Mission is okay with me. They can be a feel good team to challenge for the tag titles and make heel teams look good. Like Khali, they may not be serious threats, but it always means something to beat someone that big. As for Cameron and Naomi, they’re going to have to face the facts that Naomi has a future as a singles Diva and Cameron is the Jannetty (Jannette?)
Chris Jericho: What more could you ask for? Add me to the list of people who’d like to see him get one last run as champ briefly, to eventually pass the torch to someone. God knows he’s earned it, and he has a patina of fame around him, plus the crowds go apeshit for him.
Christian: Unfortunately, his prime has peaked. From the stories I’ve heard he’s another hard luck case: strong-armed into appearing at Slammiversary last year as an exchange for the Flair deal when he really didn’t want anything to do with them, and then looked down on by some people for not outright refusing to do it and appearing with the competition. Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Couple that with age, injuries, and a lack of motivation from creative to find anything for him, and I think the writing is on the wall.
CM Punk: He can do no wrong. I just want him back on TV, although I’m glad he’s taking time to heal. Anything at all will be great with him.
Cody Rhodes: His whole gimmick is having a mustache. I think they should have someone forcibly shave it, and then have him freak out and go back to his old Dr. Doom character. It’d serve the character even more to overreact to something so vain and minute.
Curt Hawkins: Lost cause.
Curtis Axel: Here’s my problem with this chode. Besides the fact that he isn’t a great wrestler, they’re pushing his legacy of being Hennig’s son. I’m in my late 20s, and I’ve been watching wrestling for over 20 years. Curt Hennig retired for the first time within a year of me starting to watch; he seemed over the hill to me most of the time I was watching. He’s also been dead for a decade or so. So if he seems that old to an old fart like me, what does the average kid watching have to relate to? And if that kid did happen to bone up on his wrestling history and had seen Mr. Perfect’s dvd or whatever, he’d be able to see how his creepy son doesn’t match up. So its a lose lose scenario.
Damien Sandow: I like the darker elements they’re adding to his character. Rather than just acting smart, he’s using his intelligence to mess with his opponents. He’s basically The Riddler, and that has lots of potential for great villainy.
Daniel Bryan: It’s happening. They can’t ignore the reactions he gets. He will be on top or damn near. Just you wait.
Darren Young and Titus O’Neill: The PTPs got a little crowded out of the tag scene, but they still have potential to impress. Since their comedic promos are their strong suit (and not so much wrestling) and since Titus is a little old, if I were them I’d just put a lot of focus into YouTube videos.
David Otunga: He’s not gonna stick with this. Plainly his heart isn’t in it, and he is stuck in the limbo of being untalented enough to suck as a wrestler but too jacked physically to just be a manager. Time to quit and go be a house husband.
Dean Ambrose: All they could do more with him is give him some more vignettes where he can fill in the background of his character like he did in all those excellent Moxley promos. The mysteriousness of The Shield is fine but there is more to him than that. But those are small complaints, and he is the top heel of the future.
Dolph Ziggler: If I were him I’d beat the piss out of Swagger when I came back. The biggest run of his career has lost all its momentum due to Swagger being a sloppy goof, and it doesn’t make him look good that HHH is out there acting as though coming back from a concussion is just a matter of toughness. Dolph has a case of terminal bad luck, and he is starting at a severe deficit. It also says something that in the time he’s been gone the World title hasn’t really been missed too much.
Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater, and Jinder Mahal: 3MB are the three worst wrestlers on the roster, give or take a Khali or Ezekiel Jackson. And they don’t really do much “comedy” per se by coming out and acting like rockstars. Heath is an effective JTTS but has no good offense, Drew is the dreariest wrestler I’ve ever seen, and Jinder is just awful all around. Scary to think that Drew was at one time supposed to be the “next big thing”.
Stay tuned over the next few days for thoughts on the remainder of the WWE roster.