Saturday, July 9, 2011

Superstar or Just "That Guy"

By Chad Smart
@ChadSmart on Twitter

Kevin and I are on a similar train of thought today. While Kevin was writing his post of the lack of top tier talent, I was watching Summerslam 2008 and was having the thought about how certain wrestlers haven’t been able to escape the perception of mid-carder.

The opening match of SummerSlam 2008 was Jeff Hardy vs. MVP.  I don’t remember much about this feud. All I could think of was there was no way MVP was winning because he’s facing Jeff Hardy. To my surprise, MVP ended up getting the victory.  MVP is a multi-time U.S. champion and tag team champion. Yet in my perception MVP was nowhere near the same level as Jeff Hardy.

The next match, and the one that really inspired this was an intergender tag team match with Santino Marella/Beth Phoenix challenging Kofi Kingston/Mickie James. I haven’t done the research but over the last three years, Kofi has held the Intercontinental and U.S. tiles on multiple occasions. Even with all his past championships, when was the last time he was presented as a serious threat to actually win a world title?
Jack Swagger wins MITB (Wrestlemania 26)
Then you have guys like Jack Swagger, Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler. All three are former world champions but you wouldn’t know that from how they’re used on television. I guess Sheamus may be getting a title level push at the moment. I haven’t seen Smackdown in a few weeks, so I don’t know how he’s come across. Have read he’s been interacting with Randy Orton and Christian, guess that counts for something. The question is what happens to Sheamus if he doesn’t win the title from Orton? Or what happens even if he does win? Will he get a solid title reign or be booked as a lucky champion the same way he was booked during his first title run?

It isn’t like WWE is hurting for talent. Much like TNA, the pieces are there for the next generation of superstars to break out and take the reigns. Unfortunately, for some reason there seems to be a collective thought John Cena and Randy Orton are THE stars and shall remain that way until they are no longer with the company. At that point it will be too late for them to pass the torch to a credible new generation. If the current roster doesn’t get meaningful victories over established top level superstars, the fans will have a hard time seeing them as being on the same level as past stars.

Dolph Ziggler
Much like I talked about in a recent post, having past superstars continually look stronger than guys fans are paying to see, soon they’re going to have a roster that has the feel of a glorified independent league. Now is the time to cement guys as superstars. Putting titles on them won’t mean anything if they don’t score decisive victories. I wonder if the current crop of wrestling writers knows how to create stars.

This was hastily thrown together. Hope you understand the point I was trying to make. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page. Follow on Twitter so you’ll know when new content is posted. Watch the YouTube videos. You never know who’s going to show up.


  1. I think the problems is this: Once WWE decided that they are nothing more than entertainers, then we stopped viewing folk like Sheamus and Swagger as contenders and more as supporting cast. We stopped viewing folk like Orton less as powerhouses, and more as the star of the show. Well, what happens to the stars of shows? Look at Fonzie. Look at Urkle. Look at Michael Knight. Every week, we know that something bad might happen to the star, but we aren't overly concerned. We know that nothing bad will ever happen to the star of the show. Did we honestly think Fonzie would crash and get eaten by sharks? The star of the show? Of course not! But when you feature them more as competitors, it feels different -- as if no wrestler holds any more value than the next. Anyone can go. Nobody is sacred. They need to come up with a system that brings that energy back in one form or another. But by rebranding as an entertainment program has taken away some of the illusion... even thought it has always been the case from the start. Maybe if WWE started to take "audience response" and injected it into the show, there would be a little more uncertainy. You know, something like: "Wow. The WWE Universe is starting to get more behind Wade Barrett. If this sort of momentum continues, who knows... maybe Barrett will be selected the official WWE Universe contender for the World Championship.