All the topics about who drew and who didn’t lately on the blog have been fascinating to me. My question to you is do you think the fans determine what positions wrestlers are to be in before an organization decides to push or not push someone. Meaning, if the WWE lost their minds today and decided to put the WWE title on, let’s say, David Otunga, gave him a Goldberg-like winning streak along with a good storyline while at the same jobbing the daylights out of John Cena, it wouldn’t matter. To us, Otunga will always be a jobber while Cena is a main-eventer to us (the usual complaints about him aside).
What brought this about was being kind of surprised about who didn’t draw but you would think should have, Mr. Perfect and Ricky Steamboat. I think we can all agree that those two are two of the best wrestlers ever. Yet, according to you, Perfect’s feud with Hogan bombed while Steamboat’s trilogy with Flair (while classics) didn’t quite do great business. Does that mean that no matter what, in our minds, we WANTED them to be nothing more than midcarders. They had almost no chance of going up the card (and in Steamboat’s case, staying there) because we didn’t want them there.
That’s one way to look at it. Perfect was an interesting case because he drew really well in the AWA given what state they were in and WWF pushed the shit out of him on TV all the time and gave him a win streak of a year or so. And yet fans just didn’t buy him at that level and I don’t think anyone is really sure why. Even PWI was acknowledging back in 1990 that the program was dying, so you know it was obvious.
That being said, I’ve long maintained that wrestling is the snake that consumes its own tail to survive. Foppish JTTS Hunter Hearst Helmsley gets repackaged a million times until he gets over as The Game being the most extreme example. Goofy surfer the Sandman gets repackaged into ECW hardcore legend The Sandman, etc. Look at Ryback, who would have bought him in this role back in the Skip Sheffield days? They stuck boring Ron Simmons and Butch Reed under masks and barely even pretended that they were anyone different, and even that got them over. So maybe if you called Otunga something else and pushed him as a killer, he’d get over. I wouldn’t bet against it, because above all else wrestling fans are WEIRD and fickle and you never know what’s going to get over or who they’re going to turn on.