Hello again, IWC, Quinn here and this is usually where I introduce the “Studs & Duds” column, but I’m taking a break from that for some time as I’m needing to talk general wrestling, rather than focused on certain individuals. With the success of NXTTakeover and the surprise success (for me) of Payback, it made me think of what the product has become in the last few years and what aspects have seemingly died off, while other one’s still linger around. This articles purpose is to get the built up frustration and ideas I have for WWE, out.
Let’s start with the relevancy (or lack thereof) of the tag team division. This aspect of WWE used to be one of the main highlights that kept WWE interesting but now, it seems to be a dwindling flame that’s going to be extinguished in the future (in a relevancy aspect). They won’t ever get rid of the tag team division, but I sadly feel that they just won’t put much care into it like it used to be. I find that one of the main problems is that they don’t keep the focus and drive going on either the champs, or the surrounding teams. There was a brief stint with Cody/Goldust, and Shield that was seriously picking up momentum and the Raw that had Cody and Goldust win the titles, the crowd was ecstatic and I honestly felt like the tag team division started to be on the rise, but that came to a crashing halt when the New (Old) Age Outlaws won the titles from them. It just didn’t seem right to hand the titles over to a group from the past, and then within the next couple of months, Uso’s finally received their break and won the titles, but that’s it, now. There’s no focus, no direction, no feuds for the titles. Teams aren’t gunning for the titles like they used to a decade ago. There’s more focus on dumb, gimmick matches that include Hornswoggle and El Torito rather than taking under-utilized talent that could be made into tag teams and fill the tag team division again. Why not have another TLC featuring tag teams again. If WWE is big on wanting the draw factor, then only focusing on one section of their program is the wrong way to do it. At least take the stars that are either being used as jobbers, or not even that and have them form multiple tag teams, so the tag team division could become relevant again. I'm wanting to have hope for this division but it just continues to be like Edge’s old finisher, a downward spiral.
Underutilizing talent? I can’t imagine the amount times this has been said by wrestling fans regarding stars in WWE. I can think of plenty of stars that can be brought up (from their current status) into higher mid-card to top star talent. Off the bat, we have Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd (in NXT I know, but still), Wade Barrett, Césaro (yes, he’s not being used right, right now*) Swagger, just to name a few. Hell, even Drew Macintyre to the list. I don’t mention NXT stars at the moment, because right now they’re doing just fine on their show and I’m hopeful that they experience that success on primetime television. However, there's still going to be a concern that they'll be misused, because the writers and bookers have been garbage for some time, now. The individuals have an enormous amount of talent, and aren’t able to display it, due to the likes of ceremonies like Rusev’s that took up 10+mins of TV time (Don’t even get me started on how crap Raw was this past week. The only thing that saved the night was Rollins heel turn.). Take last year’s Money In The Bank match for instance. The MITB match for the World Heavyweight Title contract had a wonderful array of talent and it trumped the WWE title contract match easily. Sandow, Cody, Ambrose, Césaro, Swagger, Fandango and Wade Barrett had a phenomenal match, with beautiful spots in it. The year before had Ziggler, Tyson Kidd among others and was a well produced match. These stars have the capability of putting on extremely entertaining matches that grasp the audiences attention and focus, and yet we get the pleasure of watching midgets wrestler, or overly long, pointless, no interruption ceremonies. These guys are made for prime time TV spots, and with the 3 hours of Raw, there shouldn’t be any discussion or dispute as to why they aren’t able to showcase their talent. The men alone that I mentioned above are good enough to have outstanding matches in singles, tag-team, triple threats, fatal 4-ways, you get the idea. I want these stars, plus more to be given the opportunity to have a real run, a serious run, and have a serious role on the roster.
Much like the tag division, feuds nowadays are also tying in with misusing talent, and normally I can let it slide and just ‘try’ to enjoy the product, but some have just been painful. Take Swagger for instance; he’s a gifted wrestler and a generally great heel and yet, you have him feuding with Adam Rose, just because Adam Rose needed someone to help put him over, even though he won’t go far with his gimmick (in my opinion). One ideal feud that could pan out and be what’s best for business is Rusev having conduct another ceremony-like presentation, and then the drums kick. Jack Swagger with Coulter walk out, declaring their new plan is to deport the S.O.B standing in the middle of the ring, back to mother Russia. The crowd would lose their mind, and I for one, would mark out hard. It also makes total sense in that you have Rusev; a Bulgarian brute that now represents Russia and is claiming Russia to the power country, then you have Swagger; A REAL American, who’s proud of his country, and isn’t fond of others disrespecting his country, with their culture. It has potential to make Swagger relevant again, as well as give Rusev a feud that last longer then a couple of weeks (no offence, Big E). That’s one major feud I’ve wanted for some time, and another one, could be Bray Wyatt targeting Evolution or HHH himself. You go from one big dog, to arguably the biggest dog in WWE. Bray is capable of many great things and this could be his launch into a babyface role, even though he’s essentially almost there. Even after Cena defeated him at Payback, Bray’s promo from Smackdown reassured us he’s not going anywhere, and that finish still bugs me, which leads me into the next blurb.
There’s seemingly some trouble with putting over other stars, for whatever the reasoning may be. This isn’t for me to bash Cena by any means, for the fact that he’s put over others many times and the most recent big put over being Daniel Bryan at Summerslam, last year. Since then, Cena came back, won the title from Del Rio, lost it to Orton, and since January, has been feuding with Bray Wyatt. I (sadly) figured that Cena would come out on top at ‘Mania against Bray, and I called Bray winning the steel cage match at Extreme Rules, and I honestly felt that Bray would win the Last Man Standing match at Payback to further catapult him into stardom, but to see Cena win just bothered me. I don’t have any concern in that it’ll hurt Bray’s character or status, as he’s easily one of the most fascinating superstars to watch on Raw and Smackdown, and I get that this gives Cena closure to focus on maybe another feud but I think it could’ve played out well on both ends, having another different outcome. Bray could’ve also won, Cena comes out the next night on Raw and mentions how the better man won (or something Cena-like) and then have someone take Cena out, having him leave for a couple months until Summerslam, to pump the pay-per-view up. Similar scenario to when Lesnar defeated Undertaker at No Mercy 2002 in a HiAC match, and Taker came out that following Smackdown, only to be ambushed by Show and tossed off the stage. There could've been multiple ways in order for that finish, but I'm just a tad bitter about super-Cena coming out on top. I'm not necessarily surprised, but it happened and we must look forward to MiTB and Summerslam now. I'm definitely interested in seeing where Bray takes his focus now, and what new feud (if he has a new one) comes his way.
I feel that a big focus of my frustration is on the writers, creative and booking team. We know what they’re capable of but the product we’ve been getting is questionably bad, with the exception of a couple angles. We, the universe, know what we want to see yet we’re given what they think we want to see and it just flat out sucks staying loyal to a company, even when garbage is being produced. If the issue is lacking idea’s or direction themselves, they should then take a gander around the IWC and see what some of the brilliant (and not so brilliant) minds are saying, and use that as motivation and focus for their writing.
This is a lengthy article I know, so I appreciate you, the IWC, reading what thoughts have been conjured up in my crazy mind. I leave you all with another question, as I enjoyed the answers you guys and gals gave last week!
In 5 years, who are your top guys in WWE, and why are they your top guys? Who are the stars that carry the company and represent the company the best?
Looking forward to your answers and as always,
Stay Classy, IWC