It’s been a rough year for the WWE roster. Not only has the roster had to endure with the likes of Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, and Sting making their presence known in main event PPV spots, but they’ve also had to compete with The Authority and Seth Rollins. And then the injuries came, and they came in full force, and the injuries created a gaping hole in the main event scene, a hole which Vince is desperately trying to fill. Think of the WWE Champions over the past five years: The Rock, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins. Aside from Bryan and Rollins, the rest had been champions many years before, and you could say they didn’t need the belt as they were already established. No mid-carders have been built up enough to convince the fans they’re ready for the main event.
Aside from Del Rio (who was recently brought back to fill Cena’s role as US Champion), Sheamus is the only former multi-time WWE Champion. He conveniently held Money in the Bank as Rollins was sidelined with injury, so the timing was right to pair him with The Authority. It’s known he was Triple H’s training buddy in the past, so it could be suggested to garner some heat. Regardless of the pairing of Sheamus with The Authority, the reality is there’s no active WWE wrestler in a position to hold the championship and carry the company in the future.
On the active roster, Reigns is the only guy with momentum. He has vocal critics, but he also has a following, one which is growing with each screw job. He needs to overcome many obstacles if he’s going to be the main man. I can see a feud between Reigns and The Authority going to Wrestlemania, with Reigns victorious in the end; it seems to be the only direction, unless we see a surprise return. Speaking of returns, here’s a list of all the wrestlers/personalities who have returned in the past few months: Alberto Del Rio, The Dudley Boyz, Erick Rowan, Goldust, Jack Swagger, The Uso’s, Mark Henry, Rusev, Stephanie McMahon and Zeb Colter.
Consider the inactive wrestlers due to other projects and/or injury: Cesaro, Chris Jericho (touring), Daniel Bryan, John Cena (filming), Randy Orton, The Rock (filming), Sting, Tyson Kidd, Lana, Nikki Bella, Alex Riley, Colin Cassady, Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn. It’s clear the WWE has a growing injury crisis, and the list above doesn’t consider part-time talent like Lesnar, Heyman and The Undertaker. Luckily, WWE managed to bring some mid-carders back, because the show will need a stronger all-round product going forward. But you can tell Vince is in panic mode, you can tell because of all the returning talent, and of course, The Authority is going to be the focus .. again. It’s been reported that Stephanie is going to be making more appearances as well.
So I guess the question is: How much faith does Vince have with the current generation of WWE talent? Will he use them as a stop-gap til the big stars return? Or will he move on from the legends and fully commit to pushing younger talent? The trend over the past few years tell me he’s going to use these guys as a stop-gap. Vince has relied on old names like The Rock, Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, Sting, and others who only show when he really needs to sell a PPV. The problem with it is it makes the current crop of WWE talent look irrelevant, and it kills their momentum. It’s like giving a kid a sweet, then taking it away and giving it to someone else; that’s what it must feel like to be a full-time mid-card talent in today’s WWE.
How do you get anywhere when your momentum is inevitably overshadowed by a big stars return? And how do mid-card talent stay relevant when they’re involved in a comedy act earlier in the night, losing their match, but inevitably ending the night as WWE Champion? It’s tough for fans to see Sheamus in the mid-card, not doing anything except working his matches, and then suddenly he’s WWE Champion! Where’s the momentum? Did he do anything memorable after he won the briefcase? Why give him the briefcase if you ain’t going to build him as a viable threat to the title whether he has it or not? Shock value? Everyone could see Sheamus cashing in at Survivor Series; it was really predictable.
Like I said before, the timing for Rollins, Cena and Orton to be out, has forced WWE to promote Sheamus, Barrett and Rusev to the top of the card. Just think back, and aside from Sheamus winning the briefcase, Barrett winning KOTR, and Rusev beating Cena, what have they done lately? Not much. And it’s not their fault, they’ve gone out there and done the job every week, but they’ve been nowhere near the main event scene. (Random thought) Remember when Barrett was Bad News Barrett? Damn, I wish they would bring that gimmick back.
At least Sheamus has drawn heat consistently since his repackage, even if the only reaction the fans can think of is “you look stupid”. To me, it’s a dumb chat because his look isn’t THAT bad. I guess the fans can’t think of anything else to chant? Why chant something like that when you have Stardust and Goldust running around? What about The New Day with their sexy unicorn horns? What about Triple H with his Terminator entrances? C’mon people, we can do better than this! If you’re going to chant anything at Sheamus, call him an arsehole, or tell him he sucks dick. Chanting “you look stupid”, is the lamest insult a crowd can muster, it’s clearly not insulting when Sheamus can retort by saying he may look stupid, but he’s still WWE Champion. Expect him to repeat the line over the coming weeks, as the unoriginal fans continue to chant “you look stupid”.
Moving on from my dislike of lame chants, I want to take some time to discuss Dean Ambrose. While he has the potential to be a big name in WWE, his recent run has not helped him. His promos seem to be lacking too, rather unlike his days in The Shield. His ring work isn’t clicking (with me at least) like it used to. He’s stuck in a character which hasn’t seen much evolution lately, and I feel for him, because he needs more variety. They have Ambrose doing too much of the same, he’s not a “lunatic”, because he’s actually quite predictable. He’s different, but he’s not as crazy as Cole tries to make him out. It’s really bad, because when Ambrose’s music hits, you should feel a sense of impending danger, followed by not knowing what’s going to happen next … but all we get is Ambrose working a match, putting someone over, and that’s it. No drama, no lunacy, and it makes me a sad panda. To make it worse, did you hear how JBL buried (and in this case buried is the right word, I don’t use it much) Ambrose during the Survivor Series main event?
It pissed me off as I watching Ambrose vs Reigns fighting in a tournament final for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It’s been said before, when Ambrose was feuding with Rollins, but JBL decided to remind us of the fact that Ambrose is not someone who should be representing the company. Think about this: did Jerry Lawler ever tell us that Stone Cold Steve Austin should never represent the company? Or The Rock? Why is it that the commentary team can blatantly tell the fans not to get behind someone because this particular wrestler is definitely not going to be champion any time soon. That’s what JBL was saying as he buried Ambrose (probably Vince’s words), he told us he couldn’t imagine Ambrose as champion, so neither should we.
But we don’t give a flying %$£& if the commentary team can’t imagine Ambrose as champion, the only important thing is whether the FANS can imagine Ambrose as champion! We don’t need commentary to tell us who would look good on promotional posters, and who would do exceptionally well on talk shows. GAH! Sorry, but I ain’t seen Survivor Series since Sunday, and I’m still pissed about the commentary. Why put Ambrose in the tournament final if you ain’t going to give him his fair share of praise and adulation? JBL telegraphed the finish for us, and I don’t blame JBL because he was probably told to do that. You didn’t hear the other commentators disagreeing and saying “SHUT UP JBL YOU FREAKING MONGO! AMBROSE WOULD MAKE A GREAT CHAMP! GAWD!”, all we got was JBL burying, Cole kinda agreeing, and King sat there staying silent.
So! I got to move on from Ambrose before I start swearing in caps. The decision to put the belt on Sheamus was “best for business”, and I only say it because WWE had no choice. You put the belt on Reigns, who’s going to rival him? No one. You put the belt on Ambrose, and you find it’s too soon. You put the belt on Triple H and everyone freaks out. You put the belt on Taker or Lesnar and we don’t see the title for months. You put the belt on Ziggler, with no momentum, and people won’t care (sorry, it’s true). At the end of the day, Sheamus was the only man available, and while it’s not what everyone wants, it’s got to happen because there’s no logical alternatives .. at least, not til Vince pulls his finger out and invests time and money on new stars. It was an obvious repeat of a previous PPV, and it made the tournament obsolete, but it provided “feeling sorry” for Reigns moment, and it pushes the storyline forward. It didn’t matter who won the title at Survivor Series, there was always going to be a form of backlash.