Off The Record – Who Is Next To Go

Euan Conway


Hey I am back everyone and welcome to the very first edition of Off The Record since before Summerslam time. I should now be back with some sort of a regular column (hopefully once every two weeks or so) now that I have been re-hired as a columnist on wrestlezone.com. Many thanks to Joe Pritchett and Martin Daniels for having me back as a writer on this site after such a long absence, very much-appreciated guys. In today’s column I will look at who may be on the WWE’s hit list for their next round of job cuts and I will preview the once a year phenomenon that is Taboo Tuesday, the PPV from the WWE that allows you the fans to vote for what you want to see. So without further ado lets get to the column.

Now the last time I wrote to everyone it was before Summerslam time. I previewed the Summerslam PPV. This turned out to be pretty successful and other than a few repetitive storylines on Smackdown (the MNM v LOD feud springs to mind) and the stupid segments such as the JR/Vince surgery thing on Raw I have been impressed with what WWE are doing recently. Summerslam really turned out nicely and even JBL v Batista wasn’t the dull and boring match everyone thought it would be and the rest of the card including Cena v Jericho was better than expected. Elsewhere Orton v Taker is set up fantastically well for one of Undertaker’s shocking returns at Survivor Series. The WWE have found one more way of having Edge take on Matt Hardy again without mucking things up. The Raw v Smackdown feud is really heating up which is perfect for Survivor Series, the segments this pass couple of weeks on TV have really been superb. The WWE have finally got off the Rey v Eddie feud, which although one of the highlights of the year was dragging on far to long. Masters and Carlito have really benefited from HHH being off Raw for a while and low and behold we are finally beginning to get some tag teams, well on Smackdown anyway. Regal and Burchill could be a tremendous team if handled properly. In marks I would give the WWE 7 out of 10 since Summerslam, which is not bad although still not perfect. I hope it continues through Taboo Tuesday but judging by last years Taboo Tuesday I wouldn’t be too hopeful.

Anyway more on Taboo Tuesday latter in the column. Ever since around this time last year there has been a trend in the WWE to make roster cuts whenever Vince suddenly decides he has no use for a superstar anymore and would like to free up his wages for someone like Brock Lesnar. These realises seem to be coming at around 10 superstars at a time. In fact correct me if I am wrong here but weren’t several guys suddenly fired earlier on this year when it was rumoured that “here comes the pain” was about to return. The WWE gambling at firing several guys in the hope that one guy would boost ratings. It didn’t work, and when Brock Lesnar refused the offer of a return WWE was left looking stupid. Certain superstars have disappeared totally after being in pretty high profile matches. Luther Reigns is a good example of this. At No Way Out this year he took on The Undertaker (yes The Undertaker) in a one on one match yet 2 months later he was fired and looking for another job. So my question is to you the readers who is next to go from the WWE? Who does Vince have no use for anymore? And finally are these choices as obvious as you think, will there be a big name amongst them? Here is my choice for the next 10 guys that I predict will not be with the WWE (and probably be with TNA) this time next year.

This is in no particular order.

The Heartthrobs – When these guys were brought in to spice up the tag team division on Raw I thought that we were finally going to get some decent feuds between recognised tag teams. 6 months on and I cannot remember The Heartthrobs being in one decent angle. The only thing I can remember is them getting beat up by big guys like Big Vis, Kane and The Big Show. Pretty poor stuff. If rumours of Kane’s back injury are true and that he will not be able to work Taboo Tuesday this is the perfect time to push The Heartthrobs. However due to the heel v heel match and boring chants that would likely happen I doubt we will see this. I reckon Indy promoters could make good use of these guys so either get some decent face teams for The Heartthrobs to work with or The Heartthrobs time is up.

Christian – That’s right Christian. Perhaps the shock entry on this list but the lack of a recent push for Christian despite great hope for him earlier on in the year is quite frankly alarming. He has clearly fallen out of the writing teams plans despite main eventing with guys such as Batista as recently as two months ago. I have seen some people say well why not give him a US Title run. Why not, because like Edge he is past that stage now. Why exactly the much hyped and much wanted Cena v Christian feud did not materialise is beyond me. The WWE made a huge mistake when trading both men at the draft time. The fact is if the WWE cannot find Christian the main event role he deserves he will be in TNA next year fighting Jarrett for the title and WWE will be worse off without him.

Nunzio and Big Vito – Another pairing who can be grouped together for the purpose of this exercise. Why exactly Big Vito was signed in the first place I don’t know but the way this supposed big guy was made to look weak by Bobby Lashley on Smackdown two weeks ago was sad. As for Nunzio winning The Cruiserweight Title on Velocity looked as though it was going to mark the start of something big for him but he never once appeared on Smackdown with that Title which says it all. These two will not work as a tag team together either. They just do not have the credibility of a Regal and Burchill team. They could achieve much more in other promotions. Feeding them to Bobby Lashley could bring about the end of their WWE run. What’s for certain is when the next round of cuts is made, these two will be amongst them.

Orlando Jordan – Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhh. I just cannot stand this guy. The way he was allowed to put shame on the US Title annoyed me for the entire time he held it. He had it from before Wrestlemania to Summerslam and only had one decent match when defending against Chris Benoit at the GAB. This guy has absolutely no in ring talent, no charisma and no personality. What about this apparent boxing or fighting background he has, we have seen none of it. Any attempt to get him into an interesting feud has failed and now that he has stopped being JBL’s hired help there is nothing for him. I doubt even TNA would want Orlando, the best he could do would be Indies I think and even then he would struggle. A very uncertain future lies ahead for Mr Jordan but not in the WWE.

Simon Dean – Another guy whose best achievement recently has been getting fed to Bobby Lashley. He came in with the funny Simon System gimmick and at first it was worthwhile and I really enjoyed his segments (I honestly thought Simon Dean was going somewhere) but it’s just not interesting anymore and has now ran its course. When the BWO returned after the ECW One Night Stand I was excited, I thought they had finally found something for Dean as Nova of course and Steven Richards (where has he been recently) to do, but after the return was dropped for some unknown reason he became a Velocity and Heat jobber again. Cannot see Dean lasting much longer and certainly not till this time next year.

Sylvan – Has suffered the worst out of the three since the break up of La Resistance. Quite frankly I loved La Resistance but out of the three of them Sylvan was least equipped for a singles push. Dupree and Conway can talk on the mic where as Sylvan is horrible at that. Dupree and Conway have the in ring talent where as Sylvan does not. His matches these days are always fillers and never mean anything so its obvious his time in the WWE is coming to an end. This latest European fashion icon gimmick will not work. Sylvan is not over enough with the fans for it to work. A place in TNA or some sort of Canadian promotion beckons.

Eugene (Nick Dinsmore) – Yep folks you heard me right the Eugene gimmick is coming to an end. There is nothing more to do with it now. He has done it all including feuding with HHH and Ric Flair amongst others. My prediction would be that Taboo Tuesday will be his last PPV match. Ever since Dinsmore got injured back in January during a tag match it was always going to be difficult for Eugene to get going again. Dinsmore does not deserve to lose his place on the WWE roster as he is not yet at the past it stage but it is impossible to see him playing any other character unless it was under a mask as fans would know him as Eugene instantly. Will be gone by this time next year but shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding work elsewhere.

Doug and Danny Basham – Although on opposite shows now, again these two can be grouped together. They have suffered from the same problem, being split up as a tag team. Why I do not know although it could have been for MNM to take their place. I was a big fan of The Bashams as a tag team especially in The Cabinet so why break them up for the purpose of a roster trade. That is one thing WWE must think about next year during the draft. The high profile trades were ok this year but the swaps announced afterwards on WWE.com were crap. Anyway I am going off topic. There is not much more too say here apart from re-unite them as a tag team or get rid of them. My prediction is by next year the WWE will have chosen the later. Indy promoters in the UK I am sure would jump at the chance to book them.

Tajiri – Seems to have disappeared completely recently. Tajiri’s talent has been totally wasted by the WWE bookers since his move from ECW where he was a star. ROH, TNA, Japan or any promotion for that matter could make excellent use of this guy but not the best company in the market today. The problem with Tajiri in my view was that he was the victim of another stupid roster trade. He is a cruiserweight and should be on Smackdown (doh). My view is he will be gone by the end of this year far less next year.

Tyson Tomko – Has lost whatever push he had going as Christian’s problem solver and WWE have been unable to find something better for him since. Tomko played that role well in my view but the problem was that Christian did not need him anymore, which was really apparent on TV. I pray to see a feud between him and Kane that was teased several times in the past when both were heels but I doubt it. Kane has bigger fish to fry. Cannot see much more for Tomko unless he was repackaged and brought back with a totally new gimmick. I doubt the WWE will see it as worth their effort though. It is difficult to see where Tomko would go if fired by WWE but that is where he is heading.

So there it is, this is my list of 10 guys or teams who will not be with the WWE next year. Guys such as Big Vis, Rosey, Funaki and Rene Dupree came close to making it but just missed out. I suggest they should be on their guard as well. Certain veterans the most obvious being Val Venis and Scotty to Hotty ought to be amongst the next batch of realises but always seem to stay so I see no reason why that should not continue.

Do you agree with my choices? Who do you think has run their course with the WWE. Send your choices along with feedback to euanconway@hotmail.com.

Now onto the Taboo Tuesday PPV. Last years Taboo Tuesday was probably the worst PPV in living memory and I was a bit frightened this year would turn out the same. Thankfully it hasn’t and for once I am looking forward to a PPV and especially to the return to the ring of Mick Foley and Steve Austin. Here are some brief thoughts on each match.

WWE Title

John Cena v Kurt Angle v either Kane, Big Show or Shawn Michaels

Excellent idea for the main event for this PPV. The WWE have really built Angle up recently and he has carried a lot of main events single-handed. He really does deserve a run with the gold. Cena still has a lot to prove inside the ring. He is falling into the Ric Flair category of guys who produce the same match all the time. As for the third guy in this, I have voted Kane as he deserves it more than anyone. However with this apparent injury of his it probably will not be him. HBK has the most fan support and his involvement should make for a fast paced match. As for the winner, Cena to retain here but his days as champ are numbered.

Steve Austin v The Coach

This match has all stemmed from the firing of JR, which I quite frankly disagree with totally. The WWE do not have another play-by-play announcer like him. Coach isn’t his replacement either. This match can be a verbal debate, an arm wrestling contest or a street fight. Of course it will be a street fight though. Why do I get the feeling that this will end with a McMahon (or maybe some hired helped such as Snitsky or Tomko) or two interfering and costing Austin the match. Question is will Austin job to the Coach though.

Carlito v Mick Foley

I am so pleased to see Foley back in action as I might be seeing him in an Indy show in two weeks time. Here we can choose which character Foley plays. I would like to see Dude Love given one last match although fans will probably vote for Cactus. Foley has no problem putting over younger talent, which is what I like about him. Taking the “spit in the face” segment is something JBL or The Undertaker would never do. I think Foley will do the job here but be back somewhere down the line for his revenge on Carlito.

HHH v Ric Flair

While I hate the fact the Evolution split up it was clear it had run its course and it was time to move on for HHH anyway. This could be the beginning of Flair’s last run of matches so WWE should get the best out of him when they can. I have loved the build up to this especially the walk of shame segment a few weeks ago on Raw, which was brilliant. We saw Flair get his revenge on Raw and it all makes for an interesting match come Taboo Tuesday. I think the cage will win the day although a submission match would be good between these two also. Interesting to see the feud start with a gimmick match.

Edge and Chris Masters v 2 Smackdown superstars

As I said earlier on in this column I have been really enjoying this whole Raw v Smackdown thing. This is the perfect way to set up a full five on five contest at Survivor Series. Give the fans a small taster of what is to come. Its pretty obvious it will be Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy that compete for Smackdown here although any of the five choices would fit the bill. Tough one to call here but I say Smackdown wins at Raw’s PPV and Raw get its own back at Survivor Series.

The rest of the card is a just filler match although the tag team championship match could be in some doubt if Kane cannot work the show. Would love to see Snuka make a return to team with Eugene. Would also liked to have seen something made about this on Raw but I guess if you watch Heat you will know the storyline between Eugene and Rob Conway. Overall though there is certainly enough here to make me watch which is more than I can say for some PPV’s over the past few years.

Anyway to end my return column on WZ today I ought to give a small mention to an Independent show-taking place in The Billingham Synthonia Social Club in Billingham near Clevland in the North of England on the 11th November. It is run by a promotion called 3CW, which has in the past featured the likes of Raven, Alex Shane and Conscience. Show details below.

Tickets are NOW ON SALE via the online shop and shall be very soon at the venue! The details

TICKET PRICES:

£5 ADULT/£4 KIDS and OAPs/£15 FAMILY TICKET (at least two children)

OR

RINGSIDE SEATING!

£7 ADULT/£6 KIDS and OAPs/£21 FAMILY TICKET (at least two children)

The Venue Details:

Billingham Synthonia Social Club

Belasis Avenue,

Billingham,

Cleveland

TS23 1LH

01642 553102

Doors: 7pm

Bell time: 7:30pm

The main event will be a Tag Team match featuring 3CW heavyweight Champion Stevie Lynn teaming up with ROH and TNA star Low Ki to take on former champ Ice XVII and The Amazing Red. Also featured are several well known talent from the UK wrestling scene.

The Line-Up So Far:

TAG TEAM MAIN EVENT

3CW Heavyweight Champion Stevie Lynn teams with LOW-KI

Vs

Former Champion ICE XVII and THE AMAZING RED!

3CW Young Lions Championship

Kid Richie © Vs Darkside

LORD OF THE RING REMATCH! (there version of KOTR)

“Simply the Best” Chris Whitton Vs “Celtic Tiger” Blake Norton

Also featuring PAC, Conscience, Cutting EDGEucation and many more…

If you live in the North of England this is well worth checking out as it promises to be a crazy show.

As for this column that is all from me. I will be back within the next couple of weeks with a brand new edition of Off The Record. Any feedback or questions to euanconway@hotmail.com.

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!
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