On The Ropes: The Christmas Star

Martin Daniels


Hello ladies and gentleman and welcome to the one and only “On The Ropes” column. Today, I am going to touch on the WWE and a little question that has been bothering me. You see, for me, something has been asked over the past 12 months or so. It’s a question which has been on everyone’s lips for month’s maybe even years. That question has finally been answered. Get ready for action, get ready for drama, get ready to be put “On The Ropes”.

On The Ropes: The Christmas Star

The question has been asked for several years all around the internet and it has been asked time and time again especially during the last twelve months. What will WWE be like without its bona fide stars such as The Rock, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and Triple H? Let’s face it, we have all thought about it at some point. In due course, our heroes are all going to retire. There will come a time when The Rock drops the eyebrow, Foley drops Mr. Socko and indeed, Triple H will eventually fail to regain the Raw heavyweight title. Look at the future. There will be no Kurt Angle, nor will there an Undertaker or Vince McMahon. There won’t be a Booker T to watch and there won’t be Ric Flair to imitate. As you can see, WWE needs to create stars, and ladies and gentleman; I believe they have done a damn good job of doing this during 2004.

On Raw, many point at Triple H for criticism. Whether that criticism is fair or not is debatable, but look further down the ranks of Raw and you will notice a healthy roster. You will see, in my eyes, the future of this business.

Since his arrival, Edge has been slated on a number of occasions. Indeed, when he arrived from a 12 month layoff, Adam “Edge” Copeland look lost in the big league. Whereas twelve months earlier, fans had warmed to his pairings with Rey Mysterio and Hulk Hogan and popped massively for his matches against the likes of Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero, they no longer had a reason to warm to him. In his first match back, at Backlash against Kane, the fans weren’t interested about the match, not because Edge had become boring, but because the main talk leading up to Backlash was the roster split move of Triple H. The fact that Edge moved to Raw during the split had been forgotten. In the return match, Edge seemed somewhat missing. He was missing that “X” factor which made his matches in 2002 a pleasure to watch. His music was dull, his attire was old and even his ring style was repetitive. After re-injuring himself, Edge was looking a mile away from where he should be. Cue Toronto.

Edge faced Chris Jericho and Batista for the Intercontinental Title in his hometown. It was a different night for Edge, despite being in his hometown, he was booed. Edge looked clueless; he didn’t know how to react.

Finally, nearly seven months after he first returned, Edge actually looked somebody. He ditched the music which he had five years ago, cut his hair slightly shorter and he actually had a gimmick to work with after Taboo Tuesday.

In his new role, Edge looks like a million bucks. His cocky, whining persona is getting Edge over with the fans and with the wrestling world. He is looking like a bona fide superstar. Look closely though and you will see more stars developing…

Take a look at Maven. After being idle for a good part of 2004 (and most of 2003 in fact) Maven actually looks like something. His recent heel turn, in my eyes, means that we could very well see IC gold around his waste in the next six months, and after a good two years on Heat, Maven actually looks like he belongs on Raw.

And talking of IC gold, what about Shelton Benjamin? After his switch to Raw from Smackdown, Benjamin has gone from strength to strength, defeating superstars such as Triple H, Christian, Chris Jericho, Edge, Batsita and Ric Flair. That isn’t any type of push. That is a monster push. It is the type of push which will almost guarantee Benjamin a healthy run with Heavyweight gold in the coming years.

Evolution’s own Batista is being groomed as the “next Brock Lesnar” in my eyes. But unlike Lesnar, the fans have actually warmed to Batista and are actually willing him on. His airtime and ring presence with the likes of Triple H and Ric Flair is definitely helping the big man improve, and his future feud with Triple H, could very well see Batista as the World Heavyweight Champion going into 2006.

Who can forget Gene Snitsky in all of this? If his recent push is anything to go by, then Snitsky could be IC champion in a year’s time. A feud with Kane just in time for WrestleMania and a possible Matt Hardy feud afterwards, and the “Baby Killer” could very well be on his way to the main events.

What about Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari? The fact that the duo debuted during Mick Foley’s eight month return, can only mean good things for the tandem.

Then there’s Eugene, and what about Simon Dean? Where will Tyson Tomko be in the year 2006? Who can forget about Johnny Nitro in all of this? Should we be looking for a “superhero” as the first Heavyweight Champion?

Speaking of former champions, the likes of Kane, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Chris Benoit are still at the top and they are still giving us some memorable matches.

Indeed, Triple H might be headlining Raw, but it’s easy to forget about the healthy roster below him, just waiting to take over.

Meanwhile, over on Smackdown, John Bradshaw Layfield has felt the brunt of many fans disapproval over the past twelve months. Critics have been bashing JBL for just about everything. Is Smackdown in the same state as Raw? Let’s take a look!

By JBL’s side, The Basham Brothers and Orlando Jordon are now considered midcarders, and there new gimmicks are certainly working with the fans. The year 2005 could be a great year for the trio but only if they remain by Bradshaw’s side. Personally, I can see The Bashams winning the tag titles and making the titles actually mean something again. Orlando Jordon doesn’t need a title win to get over; he is already hugely over in his new gimmick.

Speaking of tandems, could Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns be ready for a Smackdown Tag Team Title run? With Reigns microphone skills being put forward, I can’t see why the duo can’t go far. Sharing airtime with Kurt Angle can’t be harming them either.

Just look at Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree. Despite there lack of talent, they are still a great part of the future.

It’s cool. That’s right; the future of Smackdown is defiantly looking “cool” with the likes of Jesus and Carlito Caribbean Cool on the brand. The fact that Carlito has held the US Title already, means that we are likely to see him on Smackdown in the coming years.

Then we move towards Daniel Puder and the rest of the Tough Enough 4 crew. Puder may very well be off to OVW shortly, but with a potential feud with Kurt Angle waiting for him, Puder’s future looks great. Then we have the likes of Ryan Reeves, Justice Smith and Mike Mizanin. Despite every single WWE fan never seeing any of them in “wrestling” action, I am certain that at least five of the Tough Enough “losers” will be given a contract.

Then we move towards the cruiserweights, and with Chavo Guerrero, Paul London and Billy Kidman on the brand, could Smackdown change its ways and move towards a style used by TNA and ROH? A Billy Kidman and Paul London feud over the United States Championship would certainly keep the fans entertained.

What about Matt Cappotelli? How about Akio and Paul London? Should we be looking at Heidenreich and Shannon Moore in the main event of WrestleMania 24?

The question has been asked for many years. Ladies and Gentleman, read some of the above and you might think I am being ridiculous. Shannon Moore vs. Heidenreich at WrestleMania 24? Tyson Tomko vs. Eugene for the IC title? Some of it does sound ridiculous. But think about it, did you think that “The Ringmaster” or Rocky Maivia would be the biggest stars during the nineties? Did you think that Eric Bischoff would sign for WWE after proudly stating that he would never work for them? What about the collapse of WCW and ECW? Did you ever believe that Hunter Hearst Helmsley would be one of the biggest political minds in the history of the sport? What about the Montreal screwjob? What about Goldberg’s 180+ winning streak? More recently, would you have believed at WrestleMania XX, that a guy who wrestled in a fatal four way tag match, and was pinned first, would hold the WWE Heavyweight Title two months later for a good seven months and counting? You have got to expect anything in this business because you never know. One day, maybe not tomorrow, but one day, Shannon Moore could be the WWE Heavyweight Champion. One day, Danny Basham could spurn a catchphrase which could make him the biggest star of the millennium. And finally, Johnny Nitro could very well hold both brands Heavyweight Title’s. It does seem ridiculous now, but look at the future. For me, WWE may very well be suffering now, but in the future, I believe they could be back to there best. And that for sure, is definite.

Got any thoughts? What do you think of WWE? What are your thoughts on the column? E-Mail themaneffect@hotmail.com

I would like to thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a great Christmas. I am looking to expand greatly, so if you would like me to write for you site, please get in touch. I appreciate all the feedback sent to me and I read every piece, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Finally, I would just like to wish you guys a very Merry Christmas and have a great New Year. My next column will be published in 2005, but until then, thanks for reading and take care.

Thanks,

Martin Daniels

themaneffect@hotmail.com

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