The following is an email coversation between WZ’s Chris Cash and Nick Paglino. It has been formatted into an exclusive WrestleZone column.
Nick Paglino: So another big topic in pro wrestling right now is Jerry Lawler finally getting to have his WrestleMania moment that he’s been deprived of for so long. As we reported last week, we know that WWE will be booking him on the big PPV this year and it seems the plan right now is for him to finally get his hands on Michael Cole in some capacity. I’ll be the first to agree, as I’m sure many wrestling fans would, that Lawler deserves to be on a WrestleMania card. He’s a legend, a pioneer, a Hall of Famer, and has earned the right to be there. The issue I have, however, is they way WWE is booking him to get there. Lawler is not a main event player, and we all know that whatever happens between now and ‘Mania that his participation in the PPV will have something to do with Michael Cole, so why does he have to be main eventing The Elimination Chamber PPV against the WWE Champion?!? The Lawler/Cole feud is fun enough as a small story line on Raw, and it will culminate in a fun, albeit less important moment at WrestleMania, so in the meantime who really wants to pay to see him main event a PPV in a title match against The Champ? WWE has treated The Elimination Chamber PPV in recent years as an unpredictable event, but who honestly thinks Lawler is going to beat The Miz and headline WrestleMania? So my question is, how can WWE turn this predictability into spontaneity and excitement?
Chris Cash: I don’t expect the WWE to turn the Lawler/Miz match specifically into anything. It is what it is: a feel-good moment for everyone. I agree that it shouldn’t be headlining the Elimination Chamber match as I always felt having the two major championships on the line in the gimmick matches was part of the overall mystique of the pay per view. However, Lawler doing the job to Miz will at least give the former MTV star a "little" bit of some much needed credibility heading into the biggest show of the year.
WWE could have given Lawler his "day in the sun", so to speak, by simply having him wrestle Alex Riley at ‘Mania. That’s probably the direction they’ll go anyway, so why have him headline the only pay per view left before April unless it’s for the reason I stated above?
Nick: I’m just not so sure that a young, "in the prime of his life" Champion defeating Jerry Lawler is really anything to brag about. I don’t see The Miz gaining any credibility by defeating a 61 year old man. In fact, it only makes The Miz look worse if he can’t handle him with a certain degree of ease. Imagine if this were John Cena facing Lawler. He’d beat him in seconds. And you know WWE isn’t going to book The Miz to look strong here. It’ll be in a similar fashion to the TLC match he had with Lawler in that both A-Ri and Cole will somehow help screw Lawler out of the title. The Miz needing the help of an announcer and a wrestler to defeat Jerry Lawler doesn’t speak very highly of the Champion at all. I understand this is how WWE wants to book The Miz, but his staying power as a believable top guy/champion won’t last long if this booking style continues.
Chris: I agree with you completely, which is part of the reason I don’t feel the Miz will stay as a top, "main event" level guy (cheap plug for my recent "Top Five WWE Stars "Most Likely To Succeed" article). He can’t win clean and I think there’s a reason for that: even Vince McMahon doesn’t think it’s believable for Miz to get solid victories over his opponents.
The one good thing coming out of all this is that this match and storyline will result in a payoff for Lawler at ‘Mania and more importantly, the end of the "heel announcer" gimmick Michael Cole has been giving us lately. Personally, I think Cole pulls it off rather well, but I think it’s getting in the way of the announcing at this point. Either let him go full-blown heel in a manager or general manager type of role or allow him to go back to straight play-by-play at the booth.
More on page 2…
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