Doctor's Orders on The Shield, Lana, NXT Call-Ups, Terrible Storylines, Underutilized Talents, and the New Mid-Card Champions
By The Doc
May 6, 2014 - 10:38:51 PM
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QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Where do you think The Shield goes after finishing up their feud with Evolution?
Well, last night's Raw was one of the worst of the year for my tastes. Brie Bella's acting and the general theme of the Kane-Bryan angle killed my interest in that feud for now and the rest of Raw felt like a re-run. Not in the mood to waste your time with upwards of 2000 negative words that you can get anywhere else on the internet, I elected to post an "Ask The Doc" question on Twitter this morning. Here were the questions and my subsequent responses.
Matt Mortensen requests that I "Name five guys on the current roster that could but will never win the WWE Championship"
#1 is Dolph Ziggler. There's not a better combination of good looks, in-ring talent, and charisma that is as underutilized. He could still reach the top, but his time may have passed with all the budding headliners currently climbing the ladder. #2 is Cody Rhodes. His heel persona in 2011 would have made for a great main-event antagonist. He proved last fall that he could also get over big as a babyface. There's still time for him considering that, unlike Dolph, he has not reached the main-event precipice only to fall back down. Generally, though, I view them as similar stars whose ceilings are getting lower with each passing year. #3 is Wade Barrett. I think he may be a victim of having just one World title. His career has not yet peaked and his current run suggests he's got the ability to get over finally, but timing is important and others are ahead of him in the race to be a member of the next generation of top guys. #4 is Damien Sandow. His Money in the Bank victory seemed to signal that the WWE felt that his character had the chops to be a major player, but the rug was yanked out from under him and he may never recover. It was always going to be an uphill climb for him, in my opinion. His character screamed mid-card and his look was a little flabby for a bigger guy. Destined to be a great supporting cast member, but not a World Champion. #5 is Titus O'Neill. The African American demographic is horribly under-served in WWE and it surprises me when a guy with the charisma and look of a Titus O'Neill gets passed over. He'll be employed for a long time, but I don't see a bright future anymore.
Fellow LOP Columnist Triple R / Rob Simmons asks "Where does The Shield go from here?"
I see Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose being heavy favorites to win Money in the Bank. So many options exist for what happens after that. I could see a PPV where they each face one of the Evolution members in singles matches. Maybe Summerslam offers that option. I could also see one of them turning heel. Reigns makes a lot of sense if you look at it in terms of The Authority seeking their next guy rather than Evolution getting a new member. He is exactly what WWE looks for in a top star; a perfect modern day “Corporate Champion.” What makes The Shield such an intriguing group right now is the host of possible directions that they could go in. Personally, though, I don't think that they have a long shelf life as a babyface unit. There is money in a face trio, but they will quickly run out of opponents. Their heel run was just right because they largely faced randomly thrown together units featuring combinations of popular faces that had credibility and an established fanbase. During that time, they changed the game on six man tag matches and eventually a team rose to their level (The Wyatts), giving us an incredible match in February. What more can they do? As heroes, they are starting with the most dastardly villains first. I'm not sure there are enough heels that people care about for The Shield to face once the Evolution program is over unless they go back to The Wyatts (certainly not out of the question, but they've wrestled a handful of times already). Money in the Bank could be used to tease tension and do some protagonistic character development. We're fast approaching a time when they need to break up and give us the match between them. I am of the opinion that it would be a waste not to cash in on the potential of those three wrestling each other. They could run that program for several months. I'd love for the long-rumored Shield triple threat to occupy one third of the Summer Classic line-up of headliners. The Money in the Bank suggestion could be used as a catalyst to break them up and the last few months will have served to give them a higher profile and larger platform for when they split.
Karl first asks, "What do you think of Lana's rear end?"
I'm a big fan of it. WWE has been missing the requisite hot blonde.
Karl then asks, "If you added a member or two to Evolution, who would you choose?"
First choice would be Roman Reigns. He fits the mold. Having him transition from one group to another would protect his character and give it time to develop, subsequently setting him up for a chance to break free and feud with Triple H once the crowd disassociates him from The Shield. He'd have to wrestle main-events sooner than later, but his current list of challengers would include Daniel Bryan and John Cena, so he would have plenty of chances to learn on the fly with consummate professionals.
Second choice would be Cody Rhodes. Cody is a hard worker who appears to want to make it. I don't think anyone is as ready-made to succeed in such an angle as he is. I have a feeling that he would step right in, flourish under the tutelage of his peers, and prosper with a booking team behind his main-event efforts. He would be awesome. The only reason I didn't list him first is because I think he'd be a long shot.
Karl proceeds to ask, "How do you think Sheamus and Wade Barrett will be booked as US and Intercontinental Champion, respectively?"
Bad News Barrett is on quite a roll. He has gotten over like never before since he got back in the ring. One of the key elements to establishing yourself - and, if you hold a title, the belt, too - is by getting a better than usual reaction out of the audience. So, half the battle is already won for #BNB. Now, he just needs consistency of booking, which is often the problem for non-main-eventers. The mic in hand is the thing he needs to maintain. If he is to be more successful than his IC title predecessors (his previous reigns among that group), then he'll have to continue to be a featured upper mid-card act and do more than just wrestle. A program would be nice. Imagine that - a feud that goes beyond "I beat you, you beat me" for the IC title. The fact that he's over and gets the microphone suggests to me that we can be hopeful. The ceiling for Bad News as IC Champ is the revamping of the division as something similar to the World title division in 2012 and 2013. The basement, conversely, is more of the same old poorly booked junk and Barrett becoming yesterday’s News within 6 months. Sheamus, interestingly, gets the mic put in front of him for his whitemeat babyface promos, but nobody cares what he says; he's just not over. His character connects with such a tiny part of the viewership. It takes a rare breed like John Cena to be so unrelatable yet still garner a strong reaction. Sheamus, as hard as he has tried, just isn’t made from that same stuff. He needs to turn heel and be the badass goon of a bad guy that he's so good at being. When he was telling the same Irish stories that he's been telling for the last 3 years, but as an antagonist in 2009 and 2010, he was firing on all cylinders. I loved that version of The Celtic Warrior. I'm rooting for Sheamus to be an Authority henchman, US title in tow. If that's the case, both the man and his title will benefit. Rumor has it that he may make the switch, but I don't buy into rumors until they're no longer rumors. Of the two, Bad News seems far more likely to turn his latest mid-card title reign into something memorable to his career and constructive for his belt's division.
MarkedOut.Com asks, "Where will the brand new talents like Bo Dallas, Rusev, and Adam Rose fit amongst the floundering veteran group of Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, etc.?"
Tough to say. The youth movement in WWE is in full effect. With the current crop of budding headliners establishing themselves right now in a manner similar to Cena, Batista, Orton, Edge, and Mysterio in 2005, the door is open for young and hungry debuting stars to piggyback off of the movement toward a new crop of top stars, riding their wave of momentum to a status ahead of some of the "floundering" guys. In all likelihood, the 2014 NXT call-ups will be more like the call-ups from the post-Mania season in 2012 (Cesaro, Brodus, Ryback, etc.). They will have their initial TV time during this "reset" portion of the wrestling calendar, then phase into relative obscurity. The Shield and Wyatts debuted in such ways that made you feel like their presence would be felt early and often, with a touch of consistency not always present in rookie booking. I think that was just as much a case of "right place, right time" as anything. Both years were marked by returning stars making big splashes at Mania and a fairly thin headlining crop during the rest of the year. WWE has been ripe for change, accordingly. That being stated, neither Bo, Rusev, or Rose are on the same level as The Shield or Wyatts. So, I suspect we'll be introduced to them much like we were Cesaro and Ryback in 2012 and they'll have to work around the Zigglers and Del Rios of the world before reaching their level.
Tony asks, "What are the top 10 worst storylines ever?"
These may not be the top 10, but they’re an easy 10 (in no particular order)…
(1) Kane impregnates Lita and Snitsky claims "it wasn't my fault" when causing her miscarriage. Poor Kane has really been through the ringer in his career. (2) Katie Vick tops them all. Apparently, Kane murdered his girlfriend, who Triple H humped in a casket pretending to be Kane. Many on the fence about sticking around past the Attitude Era found something else to do after that. (3) Mark Henry impregnating Mae Young, causing her to birth a plastic hand was the kind of nonsense that made me stop watching wrestling during the famed Austin Era. Speaking of Austin, (4) his abduction of Scott Hall in 2002 reminded me why I so strongly disliked Stone Cold in my youth. And while we’re on the Mania X-8 nostalgia trip, (5) Edge and Booker T’s squabble over the Japanese shampoo commercial was a hot mess. (6) Big Bossman interrupting Big Show’s father’s funeral was horrible. (7) Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior’s WCW rehash made my head hurt. (8) The McMahons vs. Shawn Michaels and God was just a bad idea. The ill-conceived (9) illegitimate child angle with Vince and Hornswoggle was too. (10) The WCW Invasion I’ll add just because it was such a colossal miss when it should have been one of wrestling’s greatest hits – too much ego standing in the way of tractor trailers of cash.
Join Super Chrisss and I on “The Doc and Super Chrisss Show” Wednesday at 5PM on LOP Radio as we give our Win and Fail of the Week and take a close look at the next generation of top talents in WWE both currently and a year from now.
Below, you’ll see the link to the LOP Radio Special that I did with Maverick, Mazza, and ‘Plan two weekends ago. We detailed the top matches in modern pro wrestling history that were 14-minutes or fewer in length. It has been called “the best the best wrestling focused radio program I've ever heard.”
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