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Author: Subject: Around the hOOrn - Season 3, Week 1, Round 1
bigfatgoalie
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posted on 4-9-2006 at 09:19 PM Edit Post
Around the hOOrn - Season 3, Week 1, Round 1

The Rules:

Round 1: Topic announced by BFG on Sunday night around 8:00pm EST. The top 6 posters (as per BFG) will qualify for round two. Winners of Round 1 declared on Tuesday by 10:30pm EST.

Round 2: Topic announced by BFG on Tuesday night around 11:00pm EST. The top 3 posters (as per BFG) will qualify for round two. Winners of Round 2 declared on Thursday by 10:30pm EST.

Round 3: Topic announced by BFG on Thursday night around 11:00pm EST. Winner of the week (as chosen by BFG) declared on Sunday by 7:30pm EST.

DO NOT POST IN THREADS FOR ROUNDS 2 AND 3 IF YOU DID NOT QUALIFY!!! EVERY TIME YOU POST IN ROUNDS YOU DID NOT QUALIFY FOR, GOD KILLS A KITTEN!!!

*****

Around the hOOrn - Season 3, Week 1, Round 1:

In the past couple of years Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista, Edge and Rey Mysterio have all held the WWE or World Title for the first time. How has the new blood helped or hurt the WWE, and how has the WWE been helped or hurt by keeping the old guard out of the title picture in favour of creating new stars.

Good luck, and remember that the winners of Round 1 will be declared on Tuesday by 10:30pm EST!






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EricOMac
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posted on 4-9-2006 at 10:04 PM Edit Post
It is not that Benoit, Guerrero, Orton, Mysterio, Edge, Cena, Batista, and JBL holding the title for the first time has hurt the WWE. It's the way the WWE has booked them.

Take a look at Benoit - his title reign was not handled well at all. On a Raw-only PPV, he wasn't even part of the main event. He played second fiddle to Triple H and Shawn Michaels all throughout his title reign. The issue during his title reign was never about Benoit holding the title and defending it - it was never about Benoit's issue with the challanger - that was never the main story. Instead, it was about HBK and Triple H fighting one last time in the hell in a cell, it was about Triple H trying to manipulate Eugene into doing his bidding. And the way Benoit dropped the title? To a young Randy Orton who he had defeated with no-build up, to someone who was not ready for the main event - And then Orton dropped the title after one month to Triple H, going back to the same way of doing things. Benoit has not been a credible threat to the maine vent since, and Orton is just now recovering (although his suspension sets him back a little).

JBL was not even considered a main eventer when his title reign began. Guerrero could have had a great title reign, if he was allowed to have four star matches with credible opponents. Instead, he was forced to face JBL, forced to carry the matches, putting stress on himself. This forced Eddie to drop the title because he couldn't handle the pressure and JBL was awarded the title in dubious fashion. The matches JBL had afterwards were atrocious, and it wasn't until far into his title reign that he became entertaining. Even then, he should have been where he is at now, as a credible United States Title challanger. With Edge holding his title for barely 3 weeks, it makes the championship seem less important. Now, with Cena being booked a superman - making it seem impossible for anyone to come close to beating him, the WWE has booked themselves in a corner.

All of these title reigns either could have been great or should not have happened. But because the WWE booked these championship reigns poorly, this has hurt the WWE more than keeping new blood or old guard involved. Hopefully, since the WWE had something going right with Batista, they'll do things that make sense, they'll book their champions as credbile, and their challangers as worthy.





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TarheelMike
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 12:54 AM Edit Post
quote:
Originally posted by bigfatgoalie
How has the new blood helped or hurt the WWE, and how has the WWE been helped or hurt by keeping the old guard out of the title picture in favour of creating new stars.


Keeping the "old guard" out of the title picture, coupled with the poor booking, has not only made the "new guard" irrelevant, they've made us long for the old guys to be back in the game.

I mean, just check out the sentiment of these forums here. The majority of the people here wanted Triple H, big, bad, boss's daughter banging, politics playing, Triple H, to beat John Cena for the title at WrestleMania. That isn't the way it's supposed to be. Not only has Helmsley been looked down upon for several years as wielding too much backstage clout and hogging the title picture for himself, Triple H is a heel. When it comes to WrestleMania, we, even the IWC, generally cheer for the good guy. By cheering Triple H, were we cheering for the rumored double turn that was to turn John Cena into the top heel on Raw?

Eric is right, all of this ties into the booking. Benoit's title reign overshadowed by Triple H and HBK's never ending feud, then jobbed out for no reason to Orton at SummerSlam. Guerrero, amidst a rash of injuries and walkouts on SD!, gets handed unproven single Bradshaw to feud with, and drops the title on the UNDERCARD at the horrible Great American Bash PPV.

Creative took the reaction of one crowd to babyface Edge, who, as we've seen, works better heel, and used it as a signal that it was time to turn Randy Orton, rather than tell the Evolution story properly. Orton predictably died as a face, and was, in desperation, re-turned shortly after the turn of the year. WWE got lucky, however, as Batista's run with Triple H was done well, if unremarkable beyond the pre-WM face turn.

Edge was really hitting his stride as a heel when the Lita fiasco broke, yet despite the storylines actually playing off real-life events, they never pushed Edge as a legit threat. Then, when they finally decided to pay off the Money in the Bank angle at NYR, they let Edge hold the title for two weeks, and then, despite playing to hot crowds and having a crazy match with 354 year old Ric Flair on Raw, jobbed him back to Cena. Mysterio was effective in playing the "doing it for Eddie" card without overdoing it, but Project Orton reared its ugly head again and made deceased Eddie back into a character, forcing Rey to revert to "doing it for Eddie," rather than himself, and he got booed at WrestleMania for it.

Finally, John Cena was a mega-over, upper card heel on SD! in the fall of 2003. He was so over on the heels of an entertaining feud with Kurt Angle, that they had to turn him face.... and I think since then he may have pinned four times. A loss when the story calls for it isn't gonna kill Cena. He has enough natural charisma about him that he can draw the fans back in. The problem is that they won't let him lose, nor will they let him cut his own promo, like he used to, opting to feed him his lines instead. Cena has lost all of his charm due to both os those factors.

Does anybody else here see the common denominator?





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Stormtrooper
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 01:08 AM Edit Post
Cena, Batista and Edge's runs helped them and helped the show (at least in my estimation) because while being champion they were booked as the most important person on their brand. While I do think WWE ignores the midcard WAY too much, the champion (and the challenger) should be the focal point of any PPV because that's what the role of champion is.

*sorry, couldn't think of much.

[Edited on 10-4-2006 by Stormtrooper]





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USF Bull
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 01:15 AM Edit Post
My contention is that the WWE does not push NEW people. Instead, it takes an established performer from another organization and "WWE-izes" them before making them a star. This way, the WWE can safely say that the new guys didn't have what it took when they first got here and only after serving time "learning the ropes" did they get the big belt(s).

Case in point is the way they handled Benoit. He had just won the WCW strap the week before he stepped foot on RAW. You want to shake things up: give Benoit a title shot the night the Radicalz debutted. Have HHH come out and say "Hey, it's the minor league champ. What's say we (unoffically) unify these bad boys tonight?" Benoit accepts, WINS and starts his reign that night. THAT would have shocked the world, given the appearance that "anything can happen" and spiked rating in a big way.

Instead, they have Benoit languishing in the mid-card for several years before (briefly) elevating him. His purpose: build up JUST enough credibilty so that when he drops the belt it makes the other guy look good.

The instances of guys walking in, ready for the big time are numerous. Benoit, Y2J, Rhyno (the last ECW champ), and others. Times when they made an IMMEDIATE impact: 0. The only debuts that were shocking were BOTH by Carlito. He took the US belt on his first night on SD and the IC belt on his first RAW. Why? Because he was a home-grown talent.

If Ric Flair circa: 1985 appeared on RAW tommorow night, NWA World Title in hand, they'd have him jobbing to the Simon Dean for a month to "earn his stripes" before giving him a sniff of the IC title.

"Sorry guy, you're just not ready for the big time."


[Edited on 4-10-2006 by USF Bull]






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ConcreteTG
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 02:26 AM Edit Post
It is Vince's arrogance that will not take a talent from any other organization and just hand them a belt.

Vince MUST have had a hand in that wrestler's success before he even considers it. This is why there has only been ONE Non-WWE created main eventer to win a top title (Goldberg).

Booker T has been with the company since the Invasion and has had only ONE shot at the top belt. This might be partially his own fault, as he seems to get hurt when they give him a "B" belt.

Only now, five years after arriving in WWE (and even after a short stint back in 1997) is Rob Van Dam even getting a serious look. He had a title match against Triple H in 2002 but was not expected to win.

The so-called "new guard" has been a breath of fresh air for WWE, as many of their big title holders are either semi retired (austin, Rock, Foley) soon to retire (HBK, Undertaker) or question marks (Angle, Kane).

Cena and Rey are proven merchandise movers, luring younger audiences to the show because of perceived cool (Cena) or size/agility (Rey). Cena, as well as Orton and Batista, are appealing to female fans, too. This explains a squeals of "Jeff HArdy heat" that they generate at shows.

I didn't fell that Benoit was a big stretch for the title, mainly because of Kurt Angle. Benoit had proven over the course of about three years that he could match up wiht a former WWE champion and Olympic Gold medalist, so why shouldn't he be in the title picture?

Eddie, I think, was the tougher sell to fans because of those who were at the top of the card on SD at the time - especially Lesnar, whom he defeated for the WWE title. However, what has been conveniently taken out of that "victory footage" was a goldberg run-in that set up Goldberg/Lesnar for WMXX. Eddie lucked out in not having to have a rematch with Lesnar and instead put on an excellent match with - who else? - Kurt Angle.

Edge's top title opportunities have been marred with injuries and personal issues. He looked ready for some main event competition in late 2002 but was sidelined before No Way Out 2003 with a broken neck. He returned in 2004 and had to deal with a broken foot and a damaged wrist, then the entire mess with him, Lita and Matt broke, which solidified his heel persona for television. Edge is a believable main event heel now, and many people were excited for his title reign. Sadly, that was cut short - I believe this was a "punishment" to Edge because of the real-life fiasco, but I'm sure Edge will be holding it again soon.

JBL is more the exception than the rule as he was promoted from within - there was no fan demand for Bradshaw in the main event, but the makeover has indeed revived his career. This is one of the few places that the title picture was really hurt - JBL was pushed too hard and too fast, and apparently it was Eddie's request that JBL take the title from him. His defense of the title has been likened to hte Honky Tonk man, and there was a huge sigh of relief when he dropped it to Cena back at WM21.

Batista is a genuine case of "right place, right time" - with Project Orton failing, the writers discovered that Big Dave was actually a pretty smart guy, and he played well off Hunter and Flair. He stepped into a situation that has MADE Batista a main event guy, one who is still immensely popular even though he hasn't wrestled since November.

With the exception of Orton and JBL, I think all of our other "New Guard" people who have held a top belt has helped the company, as this seemed almost designed to get people to stop bitching about Triple H being at the top all the time.

Was Hunter right when he said "You'll be begging for me to take that title back"? Maybe, but Hunter being away from the belts for a year hasn't hurt them. If anything, WWE is doing something that it did during the Monday Night Wars when ratings were down - it started creating new stars from within and without, and for the most part the company IS moving forward.

With that in mind, I do look forward to seeing guys like Gunnar Scott, Ken Kennedy, Carlito, and Bobby Lashley holding championship gold in their futures. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this year, but maybe three or four years down the road, when we need more new stars.






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DevoniusMaximus
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 02:37 AM Edit Post
quote:
In the past couple of years Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista, Edge and Rey Mysterio have all held the WWE or World Title for the first time. How has the new blood helped or hurt the WWE, and how has the WWE been helped or hurt by keeping the old guard out of the title picture in favour of creating new stars.


I want to answer the second part of the question first because I think it's the reason the E has been hurt by the "new blood". I ask what old blood is being left out of the picture? HHH? He's the only old blood left and he's going to win the title at the next PPV most likely. One might argue that an RVD or Kane are old blood but I don't think they qualify because they've been used as nothing more than occasional throwaway contenders.

Therein lies the problem though, the E stuck with the proven commodities for so long that they failed to properly fuse the new blood with the old blood. What we have now is a generational gap between top level stars. Had the E done a better job of establishing Benoit, Guerrero, RVD, Booker, Christian, and Jericho as main event stars when Austin et al were still around THEY'D the the curent old blood helping establish Cena, Batista, Masters, and Carlto. Instead we have a shitload of perceived upper midcard performers with no real stars outside of HHH/Cena/Batista (The latter two are only by default because SOMEONE has to face HHH). Benoit might be a former champion but where is he now? Upper Midcard feud. Edge might have been champion but where is he now? Odd man out in a three way match. Even when Benoit won the title at Wrestlemania it became apparent that because of how the E had used him in the past, this was a midcard performer being given his dues (much like JBL) and not a shift in WWE policy.

Face it. Benoit should have been champion LONG before Wrestlemania, Jericho should have RETAINED the title against HHH, Edge should have been blasting Foley BEFORE he retired, and someone BESIDES Hogan and Goldberg should have gotten profile matches against the Rock. Had this happened we might have been more excited at the prospect of Edge vs. Carlito because Edge would be a top level performer giving the rub to tomorrow's top level performer. We might have been dreaming of a Jericho/Orton feud that had some real sizzle to it, We might have been salivating at the thought of Christian vs. John Cena at last months Wrestlemania instead of dreading the Glass Ceiling vs John Cena that we got. The E decided to make hay while the sun was shining and forgot to plant seed for the next harvest and we are left with upper midcarders like Edge and RVD fighting for a title that the E has made clear neither of them really deserve.






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Katie Vick killer
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 09:39 AM Edit Post
I think what the E needs to do is book appropriately to an individual’s situation, case in point Batista, well handled the Booking committee saw that this guy was hot and booked him in the Main Event, and it worked.

Now it’s all fine and good giving RVD the MitB title shot and the plan seems to be he’ll use it at the ECW PPV, which will make win seem even more special but its still 5 years to late, forgot that he should’ve won the world title from Trips in 2002, he should’ve cleaned pinned Austin in 2001. when he was fresh in the eyes of WWF fans, this was guy who worked his ass off in ECW, (I myself had seen only 2 or 3 of RVD’s ECW matches before he signed and was blown away, I knew about the 2 year title run, back then to me RVD had a mystique). I really see this pencilled in ECW PPV win as just that a meaningless thank you gift from the boss and when ONS 2 is over and done with RVD will drop the belt and be back chasing the IC title, because he has been on the verge of winning the big one so many times.

Edge a lot of people are saying Edges 2 week run was a terrible idea, but they all seemed to like that he had the title. You see some times you go the movies and see a preview for an up coming movie and you say hey that looks good, I’ll check that out! That’s the bizarre fucked up way I see Edge’s title run (remember Edges 1st IC title win against Jarrett in 99, he won it a house show only to drop it the next night). Edge with the title get people wet.

Eddie and Beniot for me came out of no where, I didn’t order NOW 2004, but a friend told me Eddie was WWE champ, I was very much in the frame of mind of “a fucking mid carder” a very talented and entertaining mid carder. But both he and Beniot had been terribly mishandled since 2000. It was hard to believe. (I was even more shocked when JBL won. Like RVD Beniot had been on the verge so many times.

In the end I think this hurts, my room was fan back in the attitude days, I while ago I was watching WM 21, he asked me who was the WWE champ, I told him Bradshaw!
He said fucking Bradshaw, from the APA.

I think how ever Eddie and Beniot’s run prepared me for Rey’s current run and got me hyped for it, (shame about the ghost of eddie crap).

Now this isn’t the fault of Eddie, Beniot, RVD, Edge or even the two of biggest dochebags in Randall and FatShaw. It’s the booking committees fault they’ve made the new upper card appear week.

quote:
Originally posted by EricOMac
Take a look at Benoit - his title reign was not handled well at all. On a Raw-only PPV, he wasn't even part of the main event. He played second fiddle to Triple H and Shawn Michaels all throughout his title reign. The issue during his title reign was never about Benoit holding the title and defending it - it was never about Benoit's issue with the challanger - that was never the main story. Instead, it was about HBK and Triple H fighting one last time in the hell in a cell, it was about Triple H trying to manipulate Eugene into doing his bidding. And the way Benoit dropped the title? To a young Randy Orton who he had defeated with no-build up, to someone who was not ready for the main event - And then Orton dropped the title after one month to Triple H, going back to the same way of doing things. Benoit has not been a credible threat to the maine vent since, and Orton is just now recovering (although his suspension sets him back a little).



It appears that this not a WWE specific problem, Look at the up coming TNA PPV, Who is TNA World champion Christians opponent? Fucked if I know! What I do know is the Sting and Jeff Jarrett will continue their epic feud in 6 sides of steel with weapons hanging of the roof!

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dragonmak
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 11:52 AM Edit Post
quote:
Originally posted by bigfatgoalie
Around the hOOrn - Season 3, Week 1, Round 1:

In the past couple of years Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista, Edge and Rey Mysterio have all held the WWE or World Title for the first time. How has the new blood helped or hurt the WWE, and how has the WWE been helped or hurt by keeping the old guard out of the title picture in favour of creating new stars.



The new blood has helped the WWE in that there are some fresh faces to see on our TV every Monday and Friday nights. It's nice to see some variety in the differant type of matches some of these individuals can perform. As fun as it is to watch Angle and Mysterio do their thing - the truth of the matter is that you never know when a freak injury might occur or when a wrestler might explore other options (like Christian joining TNA or Brock giving football a shot). You need these new guys take over when the time is right and see which ones can run with the ball. MNM has been a great example of this and seems to be on their way and eventually one of those guys could turn into the next Shawn Michaels.

However, I also feel that the WWE needs to learn how to properly feed us this new talant. It almost seems like they throw a dart at a wall of pictures and figure they can just put any random guy against a proven commodity and then **BOOM ** he'll be the next big thing. They need to look into the past and remember how such individuals such as HHH and The Rock were built up. They've had classic IC and World title matchups and weren't shoved down our throats 5 seconds after their debuts. There build was slow and study until they were ready to take over the "big" belt.

On the other side of the fence, I also feel the WWE has been hurt by keeping the old guard out. It seems the WWE has a diverse fan base of "new generation" and "old schoolers". The problem lies in that "old schoolers", such as myself, have trouble accepting some of these new stars that haven't seemed to earn their stripes. The obvious example is Mr. John Cena. He had a descent US title run, but with his limited in-ring skills and his "wiggerlike" attitude its hard for us to believe this is the BEST in the WWE. We grew up with champions like Nick Bockwinkle, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan. To see what passes for a champion in todays times just seems like this sport has past us by. We want to watch for nolstolgic purposes, but one things for sure. It's just does not seem like it used to.





TBA

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thakfu
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posted on 4-10-2006 at 03:25 PM Edit Post
About 5 years ago the WWE had perhaps the greatest collection of superstars they've ever had together at once. Practically every key player of the monday night wars was on the roster at the same time. The title bounced from mega-star to mega-star with frequency and the flop that was the InVasion was quickly being righted. We were spoiled with constant dream matches and suprising debuts. And then one by one these stars faded away, led by the 2 defining stars of the modern WWF/E, Steve Austin and The Rock.

Fast forward to 2006 and we see John Cena, a WWE homegrown, relative new-comer and Rey Mysterio, an under-utilized WCW luchador as reigning champions. This is the make-up of the new WWE. A lot of newcomers litter the main event picture yes... but can you really call this the era of a new guard? WWE 2006 consists mostly of the forgotten faces of 1999-2003 and a stellar crop of homegrown talent. The Guerrero, JBL, Benoit and Mysterio type title reigns dont really strike me as the establishment of new stars so much as they are old guard members themselves that are finally catching the break that eluded them when Rock, AUstin and HHH ruled the landscape. Where-as Cena, Batista and Orton type title reigns have seemed forced and spoon-fed. There is a stubborness to them, and alot of times their victories have come at the expensive of the guys who were finally catching their break after so long. Can you honestly look at any of those 3 and say they completely deserve to be legitimate WWE Champions when they are all inside of 4 years since their WWE debuts?

It's been already mentioned, but what real "old guard" is their left? Angle and HHH are the only two that come to mind. Sure the Booker T's, and RVD's of the world have been around long enough to be called old guard... but those guys were never champions and their first WWE Title reigns would only categorize them as more new champions. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are more attractions then they are old guard.. both have recently had to re-establish themselves as well, but coming off extended absencses.

The fact is the WWE has had to create new champions by neccesity. The star power of 5 years ago is gone. Left are a collection of rookies and the guys who were held back by the "true" old guard. Is this a good thing? Certainly it's nice to have alot of viable title options... makes for a more intriguing product. But after being conditioned to cheer for the same group of stars for so long, as well as being conditioned to believe guys like Benoit, Edge and Rey to be inferior, and that young talent had to pay years of dues before being ready for the title, it's definately difficult to see some of these new champions of recent years and take them as seriously as the champions who came before them. And that reflects poorly on the product as a whole.

As hard as it may be to say, right now... the WWE needs champions like Triple H and Kurt Angle, and they need to bring up those waiting in the wings the right way, and no shove them into a title picture their not prepared for, or arent going to last long in.

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madiq
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posted on 4-11-2006 at 03:32 AM Edit Post
I'm probably not going to say anything that hasn't been said before, but I'll offer my perspective.

With two top belts, there's a need for more main eventers, and yet, WWF/E wasn't fully prepared for this eventuality. Instead of using the Invasion storyline and Rock/HHH absences to integrate a new crop of main eventers, so that the Brand Extension could be successful, midcarders on the verge were tainted as "second tier." As I have often said, fans expect that winning or feuding for the World Championship means that you have "moved up," and if, without a good storyline explanation, you return to feuds over the secondary belt, then the fans recognize that the company doesn't have faith in you, and that often affects fans' future ability to take you seriously. Having done that to the next phase of up-and-comers from the Attitude Era, they were stuck with "Superstars" who weren't that super, and not nearly enough guys to "make" them.

That situation was unsustainable. Something had to give, and the answer was clear: Elevate Guys, no matter the cost. Project Lesnar was a massive success; within a year, he was in a Wrestlemania Main Event, and the next year, he was carrying a brand and participating in a Money Match against a household name like Goldberg. Project Orton was fast-tracked, while young guy after young guy was called up from OVW, and given moderate pushes. Evolution was formed to elevate Orton and Batista to main event status while rehabilitating Ric Flair's damaged credibility, and was successful (even if it lacked proper execution of the endgame). However, at the same time that younger guys were catching fire, veterans pressed against the glass ceiling were slowly being broken through, and there was a tension between making good on dues paid and striking while the iron was hot. Wrestlemania 20 was the highest point of the WWE main event scene, with a mix of main eventers that included stars from the Attitude Era like HBK, Undertaker, Big Show, HHH and Goldberg, Kurt Angle (the first superstar of the "Desire" Era), freshly-minted main eventer Brock Lesnar, and breakthrough veterans Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. Mick Foley, Rock, and Austin could be counted on to put in the occasional appearance, while new blood like Randy Orton, Batista, and Cena were well on their way to main event status. Unfortunately, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Kane were not on that list, and to date, have never gotten the breakthrough win when the time was right, and they could have been accepted into the fold. (Jericho came the closest, but between being CONSTANTLY portrayed as inferior to top-level superstars, and doing high-profile jobs based on the mistaken belief that he is "bulletproof," the well of his Undisputed Championship win was drained dry, and now is viewed as a (double) transitional champion by much of the fanbase.)

And yet, after that high point, the bottom dropped out, as a rash of injuries, quitting, and non-re-signings severely hampered the ability to give the fresh new champions the challengers they needed to establish themselves. Furthermore, instead of using the void at the top to give Jericho, Booker, RVD, and the returning Edge the chance to step into main events, it became about elevating the new guys, including a veteran who was repackaged to seem brand new: John Bradshaw Layfield.

In retrospect, the JBL character ended up growing into a highly entertaining part of Smackdown, and proved that he could contribute more than the opportunities he had been given. Still, what continues to be my thesis is that, just as the Rock-HHH rivalry was one that began in the midcard before being resumed in the main event, over the World Championship, so too could the white-hot babyface John Cena who tricked and blinged the US Championship belt have stood to have a true archrival. Instead of having Cena battle men like Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki (barely above jobber status) before programs against Booker T (a damaged-goods upper midcarder who just finished being jobbed out to the Undertaker) and Carlito Cool (a fresh face who showed promise, but was never given the sustained push to establish his in-ring credibility), Cena could have faced off against a man whose entire persona was based upon selling out and being corporate. JBL's right-wing conservative values, rather than being perceived as quasi-racist against Eddie Guerrero, could have been more directly opposed to Cena's countercultural relevance, his edginess, and his (at the time) incisive "flowmos." With JBL claiming to be a "Real American," it'd only be right to want to be the United States Champion, ESPECIALLY with someone who eschews traditional American values wearing the strap. And had JBL found his stride AWAY from the pressure of the main event, while giving Cena's character much-needed vulnerability and adversity to overcome, then a Cena-JBL World Championship match at Wrestlemania would have meant something, and both guys would have been better for it.

You see, the problem with JBL's 10-month reign wasn't just that he didn't have the requisite credibility. It was that Eddie Guerrero sacrificed so much of *his* credibility to give Layfield more. And it wasn't necessary. Booker T was a multiple-time WCW Champion, a belt Eddie never won, and had the whole "Smackdown is the minor leagues; I'm a big fish in a small pond" persona working for him. Edge was on the cusp of the Smackdown main event before his injury, and with his whiny paranoid heel persona, could have spun Eddie's championship success as something that was "meant for [him.]" RVD, while a babyface, could have benefit from Paul Heyman's return as Dudleyz manager to have played a tweener desirous of usurping Guerrero's spot, and proving to Paul E. that he hadn't "gone soft." GM Kurt Angle could have just booked midcarder after midcarder against Eddie, to "soften him up" for Angle's eventual return; the same parade of near-jobbers Cena had steamrolled through could have been defeated, dirty and clean, by Eddie's "Lie, Cheat, Steal" shenanighans. If Smackdown lacked star power, then a few months of stunt casting Stone Cold Steve Austin (they did it for Lesnar) or Mick Foley could have given them a quick fix. By pulling the plug on Eddie Guerrero: Main Eventer without giving him a storyline "out" (i.e., win this 4-on-1 match or be ineligible for World Title shots for a year), they needlessly reduced the (already shallow) pool of main eventers without leaving him with the credibility to adequately elevate a replacement. By the time he had recharged his batteries enough to be back in the main event mix, he wasn't quite credible enough to fully elevate Rey Mysterio. Their feud, even before the soap opera elements, hurt Eddie more than it helped Rey, because Eddie didn't have *that* much credibility to spare. Had Eddie not died, leaving Rey to inherit all his heat (Latino or otherwise), Rey would still have needed big wins in big-time feuds against big-time stars to be accepted as a credible main eventer. The feel good win is good for Wrestlemania, but they had better start putting Rey over HUGE if they want his reign to be successful.

On the RAW side of things, Evolution has been a boon, and that has EVERYTHING to do with HHH, as well as the members of the Attitude Era "old guard" who were willing to work with them and give them the rub. We can speculate about the failure of the Randy Orton Babyface Experiment (ROBE), but the end result was TWO World Champion main eventers, one a babyface, and one a heel, with Orton able to go to Smackdown and provide the most credible challenge to the Undertaker's Wrestlemania Record in a long time. Unfortunately, the cost of the credibility of Evolution was the sacrifice of a high-quality World Championship reign for Chris Benoit.

If you look back at Chris Benoit's title reign, he was never matched up in a program that enhanced his character OR his story. The "series" with HHH and HBK cast him as the interloper, the odd man out. The match with Kane was secondary to the pregnancy storyline with Lita and Matt Hardy. Even the storyline with Edge as Benoit's tag partner, which EVENTUALLY resulted in a feud between the two, did nothing to benefit the title reign, or Benoit's championship. He was proven to be "for real," and nothing more, and as such, was quickly positioned to where he could show others to be "for real." He did two straight jobs to Orton to elevate him. He jobbed to Edge to elevate *him.* And the shame was that we never got to see Benoit-Jericho, two men whose WWE careers had been so intertwined before then, in the main event.

For Chris Jericho, Christian was his personal Rey Mysterio, a good friend that HE had a hand in getting over, but because of management's lack of faith in both men, ultimately hurt him more than he was helped by working with Y2J. Every time it looked like one was turning a corner, they were paired, and made to appear less credible. While giving Christian the Wrestlemania win (and pairing him with Trish Stratus) was an admirable move, having the result of his "push" be the Intercontinental Title -- a weak reign at that -- was a wasted opportunity. The addition of "The Problem Solver" Tyson Tomko could have assisted his ascent up the card, like HBK before him, but it just extended the Jericho feud in the midcard, keeping either from getting a chance to feud with Benoit in the main event. Before we knew it, instead of being paired with Benoit, Jericho was helping to give credibility to Shelton Benjamin, and later Mohammed Hassan, before participating in the Money in the Bank match, which helped to punch Edge's Golden Ticket out of the midcard. It seemed that between Benoit, Jericho, Christian, and Edge, only Edge was determined to have "it" by the Powers That Be, and so it isn't surprising that only Edge managed to get into a PPV main event in that year. In the final indignity, Jericho and Christian participated in a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH which was given midcard treatment, as it played third fiddle to the HHH-Batista program AND HBK-Hogan. By the time Jericho got a legitimate shot at the Big Gold, it was clear that he was taking a hiatus from wrestling, and he did the job, donating his last bit of credibility to the cause of The John Cena Project.

So when it's all said and done, WWE has prioritized its Projects higher than getting the superstars that bridged the Attitude and current Eras to the next level. In doing so, the "elevation" that ensued was imperfect. Batista, having beaten HHH, is "made," while Cena, who received a Brock Lesnar-esque push through most of the roster, is who the company would have you believe is part Rock, part Austin, although he has received the rub from none of them. Randy Orton hasn't really beaten anyone special, but is dick enough to be accepted begrudgingly as a heel because he has received the rub from EVERYONE. John Bradshaw Layfield received neither Big Time Rub nor Big Time Win, and is lacking in main event credibility because of it. (It's sad that the company never put him in the ring with Steve Austin while they were trying to get him over.)

As for the vets, Edge may yet benefit, because he is young enough to be thought a peer of the Next Generation, and has big wins over many of WWE's former World Champions. And Rey Mysterio, as mentioned earlier, is far from out of the woods, because the residual Guerrero Heat will wear off soon, and without a few big feuds and wins to generate his own heat/credibility, he'll fall back into the hoi polloi like Guerrero and Benoit before him. The proper transition would have been from HBK, HHH, Austin, Foley, Rock, Show, Taker to Angle, Lesnar, Benoit, Jericho, Guerrero, Booker, RVD to Edge, Cena, JBL, Orton, Batista, and Rey. By weakening the middle group, the rub that comes from going over them is reduced, and there's less elevation in the third group. As more new blood is worked into the main event, then the pressure is on everyone involved to turn the stars of today into the superstars of tomorrow, but with the superstars of the past only serving as reference points, instead of torch-passers. Therein lies the flaw. The final links to the Attitude Era HAVE TO do their parts to bridge the gap, whether it is Foley, HBK, and HHH giving the rub to RVD, as well as Edge; Angle again working his magic with Benoit, and then, Rey; Austin working with JBL and Cena; or Booker getting a credibility boost from Batista, and an additional rub from The Rock. It wouldn't be an instant fix, but it would certainly help.






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Jheaton
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posted on 4-12-2006 at 12:36 AM Edit Post
"In the past couple of years Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista, Edge and Rey Mysterio have all held the WWE or World Title for the first time. How has the new blood helped or hurt the WWE, and how has the WWE been helped or hurt by keeping the old guard out of the title picture in favour of creating new stars. "

It's good that WWE is trying to creat new stars and push "fresh blood". Same old Same Old is what killed WCW. New charecters, new main events, new storys is a good thing the problem is that "Vincent Kennedy (Kennedy) Macmahon knows what we want better than we do." Vince has an idea and by god he's going to make it work. No matter if Cena's no geting a proper face responce keep pushing him!!!.

When Benoit and Eddie finaly won the belts they where over huge, rating where up and both where getting great pops. Yet they both where treated to small title reigns and didn't win the title a second time. This could be accounted to the fact that Vince doesn't like to push talent thats not homegrown. Perhaps he still see's Benoit and the late Eddy as "WCW guys".

Benoit was very entertaining as a champion. he had great matches (remeber those Evolution vs Benoit and who ever else tags that where tons of fun) The Benoit era short as it was, is fondly remebered by fans. And what happens Benoit getts to spin his wheels. Frist nothing then he becomes part of the "Raw Five" haveing great matches in the undercard. Why has Benoit not been pushed back to the top of the Card where the fans want him.

Eddie had Bradshaw as his frist real challenger and that did not bode well. Fans didn't buy into Bradshaw and the result was a lackluster feud. Vince should have got a superstar to go to Smackdown and make Eddie. One match with angle at WM wasn't enough. Benoit got made by Winning the Royal Rumble and repeated wins over HHH and HBK.

Orton and JBL are at the other end of the spectrum. its good that new faces are going up the card but in these cases its to much to soon. pherhaps they where pushed because they are WWE homegrown? maybe. Both men where good in midcard matches but neitherwhere good enought to be in main events.
Bradshaw was in the entertaining tag team APA. When he broke off into singles competion he often seemed some what lost overly relying on blood, brawling and sleepers. While not the most athletic of men he has learned that to have a good amtch he has to cooprate with his opponets and sell. Unfortianly for us fans he didi it overa ten month main title reign. JBL with the title for ten months might not have been the smartest idea either.

Orton was having good to very good matches with Shelton, Edge, and Jericho in the mid card when he got pushed into the main event spot dispite not being ready. He couldn't work a long match (unless it was against Benoit but who can't have a good matcha gainst Benoit?) and he didn't have the charecter development or the promo skills to carry a main event feud. Plus at times he seems to be content to be average.

Both of these men should have had a longer time to perfect their ablitys instead of being doomed to fail.

Edge got the rug pulled out from under him whenhe became champ. Vince wanted Cena to be succsefull so Edge was not allowed to be. Despite a raise in ratings, a great mini feud with Flair, and strong heat Edge got to be champ for two weeks so that Plan Cena stayed intact.

Batista was probbaly booked the strongest out of all these men as he got good feuds (with the low point of JBL) and had the personality to connect with the fans.This was a case of the WWE striking while the Iron was hot and it working. THough not the strongest worker he made up for it with his work ethic. A welcome addtion to the main event.

Rey is deserving of his title run. Despite being under sizes he has proven he belongs in the main event and can hang with the big boys. So far his reign has been booked good and hopefully he eases up on the Eddie tributes before it becomes nothing more than another gimmick.

Cena was very over on Smackdown and was pushed to hard to fast for his own good. His wrestling while never that great to begin with go worse and his matches became unplesent to watch do to his "superman" act. The more annoying parts of his charecter becasme over exposed and each week he seems more like a one dimensional gimmick that a fully fleshed out charecter. Plush the powers that be seem intent on keeping the same course of acton no matter how bad things get. I wonder if he'll be ale to recover after this run as champ. Also i wonder about the logic of creatinga star that appeals to 13 year olds who buy Chain Gang swag but alienates those 20-30 year olds who can afford to buy PPVs and tickets to see show with out their parents?

I guess if I was The Rick I would say something like Plus ten for pushing new faces, minus several million for doing it ina completly screwed up fashion.

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bigfatgoalie
American Dream






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posted on 4-12-2006 at 02:31 AM Edit Post
Blame Mats Sundin for scoring 4 goals and keeping this late. But the winners of Round 1 are:

EricOMac
TarheelMike
ConcreteTG
DevoniusMaximus
Katie Vick killer
Jheaton

Thanks to all who played!






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