Rankings (That don’t really matter)
1.) MVP,Superstar turned Wrestler- He gave Lagana his best press with a compelling IWantWrestling.com podcast and then took home the newly created IWGP Intercontinental title. And he did it all with a Breathe Right placed firmly across his nose.
2.) Scott Stanford, Broski straight man- Lost in the Ryder Revolution shuffle is the positive rub off on Stanford. Upon his arrival, the New York-based sportscaster appeared to be a straight laced human microphone stand, but thanks to his featured role as pseudo-straight man to Zack Ryder’s Long Island leading man, Stanford has become one of the more reliable sources of entertainment in the realm.
3.) Jack Swagger, Former World Champ- In a bit of meta moment on Raw, Michael Cole directly addressed some of the pro/ con theories related to Swagger and his role in the Cole-Lawler storyline. Whether you forgot he was a World champ or not, one thing is clear: he’ll soon break away from Cole with enough momentum to get back into the spotlight for one more deserved try.
4.) Medical Insurance, Boo Boo Protection- So, apparently, Team Vince will now require all performers to maintain their own medical insurance at their own cost. (Which they can they write off.) While it doesn’t help remove the ridiculous independent contractor aspect of the business, it does help protect some of the those ever breaking bodies and keeps the discussion going.
5.) Tommy Dreamer, Mr. McGillilcutty- It’s easy to think that the Innovator of Violence is another old face hanging around the TNA locker room, but he’s only 40 and still knows how to tell a story. The latest wrinkle, turning heel for some yet to be answered personal reason, is adding some depth to the overall Styles-Bubba Ray feud.
The “Unsolicited TNA advice” of the week:
Change up your main event picture.
Taken as individuals, the main players in the fight for the Impact Wrestling World Title bring something to the table. Sting, though limited in his “old” age, brings history and main event panache, RVD has the cult following, and Mr. Anderson has the high volume persona to make things interesting. Yet taken together, the three of them lack a certain degree of chemistry to put this three-way feud over the edge. It’s not for lack of trying, of course, but something is off. Time to change up the players in the world title melodrama.
A New Place in History…
For the Jobber.
It’s fair to say that the role of the Jobber is still around. Just watch WWE Superstars (on your computer!) and you’ll find most of them earning a paycheck. But, when you hear the word Jobber you flash back to those bygone days when you’re favorite wrestler would come out on a Saturday morning and fight some guy named Doug, Duane, or Greg. They would usually be in a tacky singlet with a fuzzy mullet and perverts moustache. The tag teams were even more pathetic. Demolition would stomp down to the ring to face two guys with mismatched tights, flabby arms, and the distinct look of two kids habitually late for shop class. An entire generation of wrestling fans have grown up not knowing the excitement of watching Haku beat up Barry Horowitz or Reno Riggins.
The Monday Night Wars forever changed the role of the Jobber. With WCW showing main event style matches for free, Monday Night Raw began to answer in kind. The need to mothball the squash matches was obviously there as the fans responded in kind. Each show became its own event. Some Monday’s surpassed the very pay-per-views they were meant to promote. Which this ties back into the the pay-per-view overload discussion. You wanted to watch SummerSlam, Starrcade, or WrestleMania because outside of those events you rarely got the chance to see two Superstars in the ring with each other. You were excited to watch The Mountie take on Tito Santana because for weeks you only got to see The Mountie defeat and shock Duane Gill. It meant something when he then stepped into the ring with Tito.
The Jobber is forever a relic of wrestling’s past. Yeah, for good reason, but it’s time we really looked back at those brave souls that pulled on some shiny red trunks, laced up some dirty white boots, and dared to step into the squared circle with the biggest names in the business… knowing their job was to simply get destroyed.
Little Known Wrestling Trivia…
While it is well-known that the Ultimate Warrior was a late scratch from the 1992 Survivor Series, the real reason behind it has long since been buried. Warrior would have you believe that it was over a disputed drug test result which also saw Davey Boy Smith fired. Some point to the battle over marketing and money issues between Warrior and the WWF. Some ten year-olds would have you believe Warrior missed Survivor Series ‘92 due to the lingering effects of the Voodoo attacks from Papa Shango that previous summer. But, revealed now once and for all, is the real reason behind Warrior’s sudden departure.
During mid-November of ‘92 or in the year 3242 according to the intergalatic space calendar, the people of the far off alien world Ultimate Prime were under siege from their fierce enemies the Hellwigs. When all hope was lost, they set up a beacon and projected the image of Warrior’s mask across the galaxy. While talking out spots before a West Palm Beach, Florida house show match with Kamala, the Warrior received the call for help. He slowly stood up in the locker room with his arms raised, quieting the room. All eyes were on him as he belted out in a guttural roar, “The word has come from beyond that people of the One Warrior Nation need me. The time for peace talking has ended and it is now time to call for the Warriors to stand tall. (Snort) I receive the words from beyond and will make my purpose greater than that of defeating the Ugandan Giant. (Long snort) I shall be back when the time of the calling is over. Hogan. Hogan.”
Everyone stood there staring at him. Pat Patterson mumbled, “You used that before ‘Mania Six, Warrior.” Then Jim Neidhart went back to pulling up his High Energy taxi cab pants. All was back to normal.
Then the Warrior walked out of the locker room, rode a beam of light to Ultimate Prime, and lead his One Warrior Nation in a four year-long battle to defeat the evil Hellwig army. Moments after the final battle he was sent back to Earth, where he quickly squashed Hunter Hearst Helmsley at WrestleMania XII. Vince and Warrior agreed to never reveal the real reason behind his 1992 disappearing act as a matter of National Warrior Security.
The way I see it… the WWE can’t be completely held to the flame for keeping the Cole-Lawler feud going well past it’s born on date, but the time has come. End it. Bury it. Put it in the Memory Banks. If you want to keep Cole as a heel… fine, but he’ll need to evolve. Take him off the announce team because it is just plain confusing to have him as a straight play-by-play man one minute, condescending heel the next. Make him a “manager” with a stable. Send him away for a bit and bring him back humbled ala Sgt. Slaughter begging for his country back. Let him job to Kharma. Something. Just do something.
I would totally love it if… TNA continued to build on the tiny, tiny strains of momentum they’ve had with two straight decently received and reviewed pay-per-views and their rebranding. Sure the buyrates were low. Sure their reputation is still tarnished. Sure they’re not hitting home runs, just solid singles. Sure, sure, sure… but there have been flashes of good and I’m starting to root for them to grow on these moments. Or would you rather have Vince buy them and set-up up the TNA invasion angle with Gunner, Suicide, Robbie E, and Abyss taking on the entire WWE roster?
I gotta think… Alberto Del Rio has to be wondering how he went from the cusp of his first World Title reign to completely off a pay-per-view in less than two months. Look, I’m sure there are many great things in store for The Mexican Aristocrat (Am I the only one that think that sounds like a swanky Mexican fusion restaurant?) and he has by no means disappeared from the main event landscape, but the Del Rio character already seems lost in the shuffle on Raw as opposed to front and center on Smackdown. He hasn’t done anything to lose his place in line and the Extreme Rules ladder match is worth a second viewing yet a clear spot for Del Rio on Raw has yet to be defined
Come on, admit it… you saw it, too. Alex Riley’s promo at the top of Raw showed a hint or two of someone that can one day transition to a top dog.
Seriously… Ms. Tessmacher. That… is… the best… yeah… wow.
Sure… he’s long been a joke and it hurts to watch him walk, but the Jinder Mahal-fueled transition of The Great Kahli from comic relief back to dangerous monster is being handled quite well with a believable storyline. I will miss his singing, though.
Quick… since they’re TOTALLY going to bring managers back and all… don’t you think it would be cool if the WWE also brought back a new line of Superstars with day jobs like T.L. Hopper, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, and The Goon. To start it off, perhaps Kane can announce his retirement to go reopen his dental practice?
Ken Napzok is a writer, comedian, and pro wrestling manager living in Los Angeles. He totally would have bought Damian Demento as the I-C champ. He can be followed online at twitter.com/Kozpan and twitter.com/TexTunney or contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?