Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tribute or Ripoff?

Chavo frogsplashes Rey Mysterio
Photo by WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I’ve been wrestling (no pun intended) with this topic for the past couple of weeks. I still don’t think I have my thoughts in order to make a sensible blog, but since the topic was discussed on the 8/16/12 edition of From the Rafter’s Radio and Rafter’s co-host Adam Testa mentioned I was going to be writing about the topic, I figured I needed to write.

CM Punk honors Macho Man
Photo by WWE
After the sudden death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage in 2011, CM Punk started using the Flying Elbow Drop in his matches as a tribute to Savage. Unlike Savage who used the move to finish off his opponents, Punk uses the move as more of a mid-match transition spot. There’s nothing wrong with Punk adding the move to his arsenal and really it’s just him paying respect to a former superstar that inspired him to become a wrestler.

After Edge’s sudden retirement after Wrestlemania 27, his longtime friend and former tag-team partner, Christian started using the Spear in his matches. Not only was Christian using the spear, he was doing the pre-spear ritual of kneeling in the corner waiting for his opponent to get up and move into spearing position. Unlike CM Punk, Christian wasn’t using the Spear simply as a tribute move while still using his own finishing move in matches. Rather the Spear was quickly becoming his go-to finisher. Christian was starting to straddle the line between paying tribute to or becoming a clone of Edge.

In my opinion the wrestler guiltiest of becoming a mirror of a fallen wrestler instead of simply paying respect is Chavo Guerrero Jr. I don’t know if I should blame Chavo or the wrestling industry/fans for Chavo’s reliance of changing his style. After the death of Eddie Guerrero in the fall of 2005, Chavo started doing the Three Amigos suplexes and the Frog Splash as a way to honor his uncle. Over time Chavo stopped paying tribute and became more of a wannabe Eddie Guerrero. If Chavo were playing in a band, instead of doing originals he would be playing in a cover band.

Does it matter that Chavo relies on Eddie’s moves and mannerisms? Should he not be allowed to pay tribute in a manner of his choosing? When he was in WWE, did WWE ask him to becoming more like Eddie due to Eddie’s Superstar status? Would the fans accept Chavo if he tried to be his own wrestler or does the Guerrero name dictate that he must do the mannerisms fans expect?

Chavo's frogsplash against Kid Kash
Photo by TNA Impact
I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do feel however that Chavo is not going to reach his full potential as long as he continues to be nothing more than a poor man’s Eddie Guerrero. I hate to say that as I think Chavo is a talented wrestler and his work in WCW and WWE was entertaining. I don’t want to see Chavo do or say anything negative to break away from Eddie’s shadow but he should stop using Eddie’s signature moves. We know he’s a Guerrero. We know he’s Eddie’s nephew and former tag-team partner. Most fans respect Eddie’s legacy. Chavo being Chavo Guerrero isn’t going to diminish Eddie’s accomplishments in wrestling. Chavo being Chavo will allow him to shine on his own stage and the lights are just as bright there.

As I said in the beginning, I don’t know if I could accurately express my feelings on this subject. I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way or not. Now that Chavo is in TNA, I know I want to see Chavo Guerrero Jr and not Eddie Guerrero lite.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.  

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