Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Build New Stars When Past Stars Can Make Cameos


The Miz vs. Roddy Piper

@ChadSmart on Twitter

Note: All photos in this post are from WWE.com

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few weeks now and with comments Kevin made in his “Wheel of Misfortune” blog and some comments from the my123cents Facebook page (go “Like” it, then come back and finish reading), I figure now is as good a time as any to toss out my feelings on a problem WWE has had for the past few years.

I don’t know why, but WWE seems to have an issue with wanting to build new stars. Are they still brokenhearted over Brock Lesner leaving them seven years ago that they’re afraid to trust in any other new talent for few of a similar rejection?  Seriously, WWE has ridden John Cena and Randy Orton as the only guys who really matter (outside of Triple H and The Undertaker) for almost five years now. In that time there have been several other guys who could have been elevated but for some reason those guys would get a taste of the main event before quickly being pushed back down to the middle of the card. While I could focus an entire blog around that topic, there’s another issue, which seems to be happening more and more often lately.

Is Andy really Tough Enough?
Over the last month we’ve seen “Stone Cold” Steve Austin berate The Miz and Stunner, Tough Enough winner, “Silent Rage” Andy Levine. We’ve seen Roddy Piper pin The Miz (granted it was a fast count by special referee Alex Riley) and Shawn Michaels super kicked the tag team champions, David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty as well as Drew McIntyre. Then you have The Rock, who hasn’t been seen in over two months, in the main event of Wrestlemania next year despite having not wrestled a match in over seven years. While I don’t think former stars should be shown the door and never seen again, the way they are presented doesn’t help the guys who are currently trying to make money for WWE.

Yes, each of the above mentioned guys are legends and hall of fame talents. Yes, the crowd will always go crazy for them when they show up. Does that mean they should consistently apply their trademark moves to members of the current roster? At the end of the night what is more likely going to entice people to want to purchase a pay per view; seeing the current champion laid out at the hands of a retired superstar, or seeing the current champion look like he’s worthy of holding the title? 

Piper pins the Miz
With Triple H and Undertaker not being seen since Wrestlemania (the fact they both returned for 6 weeks to wrestle at Mania then disappeared is another rant), CM Punk looking like he’s leaving soon, as well as the departures of Batista and Chris Jericho over the last year, WWE doesn’t have a lot of main event level talent. They have guys that could be yet haven’t been given an extended shot at being there. Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger are all former World Champions. How many fans that just started watching over the last four months would know that based on what those guys have done since Wrestlemania? 

Getting back on topic, when former superstars who aren’t active show up and get the upper hand either verbally or physically with current superstars, it tells the crowds, “hey this new guy isn’t that important. He can’t even beat a past his prime old guy.”  Correct me if I’m wrong but did Austin or Rock ever get laid out by any 80s era WWF wrestler? If Piper or Hogan or even Koko B. Ware had showed up would Austin have tried to make peace with them and kiss up to them? Or would he flipped them the bird (not Frankie in Koko’s case) and stunnered them? Then why (other than the Attitude Era being successful and Triple H being a part of that era) do the current guys all get disrespected by the past generation? Have Cena or Orton ever been treated poorly on-air by former talents?

Shouldn’t the past generation be used to help give the rub to some of the new talent? Wouldn’t Dolph Ziggler gain a little bit of credibility if Roddy Piper put him over on the mic saying how Dolph reminded him of a young Piper? Instead, Piper would make fun of Dolph’s hair, the crowd laughs, and Dolph looks like a fool for just standing there.

Cena gets Rock Bottomed
I have nothing against using past stars. I would like to see some new faces in the group of past stars, but using them is fine. It’s the manner in which they’re used that WWE doesn’t seem to understand. No one will become a star unless they’re presented as stars. Next time Vince or Stephanie or Kevin Dunn want to criticize someone for not connecting with the fans or not selling pay per views, they should ask themselves how have they presented said superstar. And if they want to blame the talent for not being a hit, they can always call in Steve Austin to give a stunner and send the guy packing. At least then the crowd will cheer.

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