Random King of Randomness
Regal on TV again
During a later period of the Attitude Era, I remember a thread being posted on LOP in the forums asking “Who in the midcard could be a Main Event player?”
I answered Al Snow and William Regal.
Let me defend the Al Snow answer first. He was training on Tough Enough on the time, and he had shown a decent amount of natural charisma. I felt that combining the credibility of being a trainer on TV, plus the talents we saw on WWF TV at the time from the former Avatar, they could have something that worked. I will admit I was wrong, but I do feel he could have been key in some higher places on the card if used correctly.
But, I stand by the vote for William Regal. Thankfully, time has backed me up. At the time, there were a few who agreed, but most did not. Now, it seems like the opposite. More and more fans appreciate what Regal has done in WWE for almost 15 years (and WCW before that). He delivers everything needed from a wrestler. Somehow it just never worked out for him to do it in a main event capacity. It’s a shame, because while I don’t think he’d ever be on the level of John Cena, I do think he could reach levels similar to CM Punk today. I know that seems shocking to some, but consider how easily he got under your skin when he was a heel. Try to remember how sympathetic he was when he was siding with Eugene against HHH. Keep in mind how many strong matches he has had with a variety of opponents. And, wrestling is a 2 man sport, and having the respect of your opponent is a huge key; WWE hasn’t had as many wrestlers as well respected as Darren Matthews a.k.a. William Regal.
It would have taken strong booking, I don’t think he could have made it to the top as naturally as Punk has, but he has all the tools to perform on that level.
But, this isn’t a “what if?” column; I’ll leave that to the amateurs. This is about analyzing the current wrestling world. And I want to present a great method to use Regal in today’s WWE. He’s been used as a jobber to the stars recently in the Sheamus/Big Show angle, but that can be used as a step into using him in a broader capacity. Honestly, as much as I’m not a fan of the idea, it seems like WWE is slowly moving Sheamus out of the World Championship picture. If that’s the case, he can move into a tag team with Regal. Not the best idea, but a possible one, and not a shabby one either.
I would prefer he move into midcard singles action. After this exposure, we could easily move into a European feud against Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro is talking down Americans, much like Regal used to. It could be a great angle of Regal trying to teach Cesaro to respect the US Title, as he’s competing in the US 90% of the time, making his wages in US dollars…etc. Regal had the same arrogant attitude, but he’s since changed his ways. I won’t pretend this would be a huge angle. It wouldn’t end up being the headliner on Ion’s Main Event program. But it would be a great angle in terms of wrestling and entertainment, and would benefit Cesaro, no matter what the outcome would be.
In general, I think Regal would be a great tag partner or opponent for everyone on the WWE roster under the age of 35. I’m not expecting a title run (though hoping would be more than fair) but rather use the man to your fullest advantage while you can. Time is not on his side.
By the way, he should have been ECW Champion as well. Shame that he wasn’t.
Importance of Tag Wrestling
Watching the recent Raw, I found a new argument for the importance of tag team wrestling. We saw a beautiful 8 man tag team match which exceeded everyone’s expectations. But anyone who’s been watching wrestling since before the Attitude Era knows that it wasn’t that special of a match.
This might get mathematically boring, but it really is a math equation. Think about the spot fests that are the Money in the Bank ladder matches. Having 6-8 people going nuts all around the ring for 15 minutes leads to exciting matches which are, more often than not, match of the year contenders. Remove the ladders… and you can still get the same effect. Other than Rey Mysterio, no one in the ring during that match was incredibly over, yet the action was well paced, fluid, and entertaining. Sure, it was a collection of spots during the last 2 minutes, but it ends up being a much safer spotty environment without the ladders (and chairs/tables) involved. 7 of these 8 guys don’t get a great reaction, but they did on Monday because of how well this match was put together.
The best part, in my opinion, was how Justin Gabriel got the pinfall victory with the 450 splash. We hadn’t seen it used on such a great level in such a long time. This win mattered much more than the fluke win vs Cesaro a couple of weeks back. And it put another great spotlight on the tag division.
So, you dump 8 guys in the ring, and give them 10 minutes, and look what they delivered. With the insane roster they have, this shouldn’t be such a rare occasion. I’ve said it many times before, but multi men midcard matches can achieve so much in so little time. The rumor is that at Survivor Series, we’ll see those 4 teams in a 4-way match to determine the #1 contenders. This helps elevate 4 teams to an equal playing field on a huge stage of Survivor Series. Let’s be honest, Kidd/Gabriel and the Colons can use the extra spotlight. Even though it would be Luchadors or PTP that walks away victorious, the other teams can benefit, just like they did on Raw.
A similar option I’ve called for before are more 6-man tags. We saw a great example on Main event with Orton/Luchadors vs Del Rio/PTP. It combined 2 different feuds into one match. It advanced two storylines with less time. Use the draw of Orton/Del Rio, but move the attention to the lower card tag team feud. Or vice versa. Imagine we saw a Smackdown match of Team Hell/No and R-Truth vs Rhodes Scholars and Antonio Cesaro, but let Truth or Cesaro get the victory. Or even more drastic, something like Cena/Zack/Santino vs Ziggler/Mahal/Slater. Use the big draws to give more attention to the lower card guys.
Or, instead of the common tag matches like Orton/Kofi vs Dolph/Del Rio, combine feuds on different levels of the card. Orton/Truth vs Del Rio/Cesaro.
I didn’t even mention a tag team championship match in all of these examples. Tag wrestling adds so much to a wrestling program.
Miz face Turn
This isn’t so out of the blue. Back when The Miz was WWE champion, the seeds were planted for a face turn. When we were seeing how much promotion Miz puts into his job as WWE Superstar, we had to know this was coming.
Will it work out? Obviously, time will tell. I don’t think we should expect the next John Cena, or even CM Punk in terms of cross over appeal. But you’ll get someone on the level of Randy Orton in terms of value to company as top face star. He can main event PPVs, even Wrestlemania in the right scenario (he already has). But as strong of a talker as he is, and as decent a worker as he’s shown himself to be… he’s just not that special. He’s a great prick as a heel. He’ll be a more than capable face, but he won’t reach the same level of effectiveness.
A lot of it has to do with his style, both in ring or on the mic. He’s a solid mic worker, but he’s not on the level of most of the guys he’ll be compared with. He’s a great asset to the company, but he’s also the type of guy that won’t make waves. He’s essentially a tremendous midcarder who can main event. He’s on the same level as a Christian (though not as talented in the ring) in terms of being a guy who can be anywhere from a main event title match to a midcard match, and still keep you in the palm of his hand. He’s versatile enough to be able to perhaps rise up to a World Heavyweight Title run in a 6-12 month period. But in an era where we have other stars who are always on the brink of getting the extra shot to main event, like Ziggler, Barrett, Bryan, Sheamus, Rhodes, Ryback, Cesaro, and Sandow, he’ll fall in the middle of the pack very easily.
It’s not a bad idea to give him a shot at being a fan favorite, but it seems more like something to do with him while they find a better use as a heel in 2-3 years. If he holds his own, and if the majority of the previously named stars fail to make the impact most expect them to, then he might be a true long term legend. I just wouldn’t put my money on it. I think we’ve seen Miz peak back in 2010-2011.
Whenever we hear of a new star, everyone has their own expectations. You can’t help but laugh when a live Raw discussion thread on the forums is filled with “doomed to fail” comments, all from a 15 seconds promo that didn’t even tell you who it was. On the other side, you’ve got those guys who’ll jump on board right away, in hopes of being able to say “I was on the bandwagon first!” if/when that new star succeeds.
With every hype/promo for a new star, I always sit back with a “we’ll see” approach. There’s so much that goes into making a star “click” that there’s no way to predict.
But, let’s use the information given, and analyze the possibilities. It is pretty clear that this is Johnny Curtis. As a talent, he’s not grabbed my attention. He’s not bad in any way. In fact, he’s quite comfortable and competent on all levels that I’ve seen. But he doesn’t stand out and grab you.
Don’t let that stop you though. I don’t think anyone thought much of Steve Austin, Rocky Maivia, or John Cena when they debuted in WWF/E. While Austin showed a bit of promise immediately, Rock and Cena were both as bland and boring as Johnny Curtis has shown himself to be so far. What made those guys click wasn’t their talents or skills, as much as is was the gimmick that helped them click. It took heel turns to let these guys get the right showcase to become true super-faces.
Is Curtis the next Wrestlemania headliner 6 years in a row? Probably not. But the point is that you never know. This dancing gimmick might lead him to be the next TL Hopper, or it could be the next Goldust.
The trick, in my opinion, is to use what Curtis has already done so well, and incorporate that into the Fandango gimmick. Curtis has been interesting (not amazingly, but more than most) in NXT with his “creepy” gimmick. Obviously, having him be creepy in a promo wouldn’t work. The secret to being creepy is to be subtle. Have him be the dancer, but make him a creepy dancer. With a name like Fandango, (I’ve typed Fandongo so many times so far, and really feel that would be the better gimmick, but another Val Venis is not what we need in 2012) you know he’s going to be coming off as a classical dancer. While I can see why it would be too much in the Zack Ryder category if he’s the type of douche dancer at a club who just molests women on the dance floor, I think there should be a level of that in his gimmick. Let him use the dancing as his introduction to the Divas, but let him fail because he’s obviously just using it to get laid.
Genius booking? Far from it. But it’s a step in the right direction. His creepy thing was working. Don’t drop it. Let it evolve. He doesn’t need to have “Let’s Get Weird” on his tights. Put Fandango on his ass, and let him be creepy and weird, with subtlety.
Also, I’m glad he has a nickname. I don’t think he should be just Fandango, like Mankind or Goldust. I think he should be “Fandango” Johnny Curtis, more like “Macho Man” Randy Savage, or Bret “the Hitman” Hart. It lets him be a gimmick without losing touch with the human aspect needed to succeed in wrestling. Other than the Undertaker, there aren’t too many gimmicks in the main events of wrestling from any era. The nickname is key to start the ball rolling, but Austin, Rock, and Cena ended up being themselves once it came time to draw butts in the seats.
A great point was brought up in the forums (by MachoMourn) for Fandango to debut this weekend at the Survivor Series to replace Cody Rhodes in the Elimination Tag Match. I’m not against this idea, but only if WWE didn’t have something else in mind for him. If these promos are to debut him into a squash match, then sure, no loss rushing it to PPV. But the goal may have been for him to do something specific that could be derailed by a sudden mystery partner debut. Also, the booking may have had a undefeated streak to get some heat. I doubt he’ll end up being a Survivor in the match, so he would end up needing to be eliminated somehow. Usually these debuting stars get eliminated by DQ/count out (Flash Funk in 96, Undertaker in 90), so we may see that as well.
I’m excited to see what happens.
And on that note, peace out.
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