Superstar Spotlight: New Year, New Breed

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

WWE has been bringing alot more talent onto television, and they have been giving them pretty big roles instead of slowly building them up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I have to say I like the way they have been handling a lot of the new talent.

Pretaped vignettes aren't always the way to go. Look at Fandango; I honestly don't care about him. I have no interest in ballroom dancing or The Bachelor, or whatever his schtick is supposed to be. (Dancing with the Stars comes to mind, but again, I don't care about a wrestler who dances, or vice versa) Stop the crap about 'cutting in' and put him in the ring! The last guy who was hyped like this was Brodus Clay, and they pulled a bait and switch on us. If you want to do a video package once or twice, fine, but the weeks and months of build with no action kills a guy's reaction. I already don't care about this guy, so I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking 'come on already…'

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the good ways of putting guys on TV. Ryback went on a tear in 2012, and he started by just beating enhancement talent. (AKA The Goldberg push) I really had no problem with it, I even mentioned using 'the streak' as an outline in a past column. Ryback could have been on the same path as he has been, but if they did things right (IMO) he'd just be getting his first title shot at Wrestlemania. Think about it, have him in the back of Punk's mind, but don't pull the trigger until you have him win the Rumble; set it up then and he'd be a ready made star if he beat Punk at 'Mania. Before I go off on another tangent, I want to stick to the point that Ryback's debut was good because there was no pre-hype, but he created his own through power moves and impressive feats in matches.

The Shield invaded our televisions by running through the crowd and attacking Ryback at Survivor Series. Michael Cole mentioned them all by name, and said they were from NXT. Running in during the main event and changing the outcome of the match was a great way to make them seem important. Paul Wight did it at St. Valentine's Day massacre years ago, and I really think everyone did a good job putting over the fact that these guys are dangerous. The Nexus started out the same way, and there are nWo comparisons (albeit poor ones) but The Shield is working alone and they said their purpose is to fight injustice. I think they will eventually be tied to someone else, but I would rather them be independent thinkers and really just be out for the greater good, not for a 'higher power.' The Shield should be involved in the big picture well into Wrestlemania, and they couldn't have debuted at a better time. They look important, they are dominant and they work together; they are a force to be reckoned with and they actually back it up.

Another name worth mentioning is another accused CM Punk "ally" in Brad Maddox. I am making a bold prediction right now, but Maddox is my WWE Breakout Star in 2013. I really think he will be a constant presence on TV, he already gets alot of time for 'not having a contract.' I don't know what his exact role would be, but he'll be around whether he's a referee, a wrestler or even the next guy to get his own talk show. Maddox has charisma and character, he has that pain-in-the-ass quality about him but he actually believes his own hype. I can see big things for Maddox this year; I don't think we're completely done seeing what his role was in the Hell In A Cell main event and how he's connected to Heyman, not Punk. Go back to what I said about debuts; Maddox wasn't hyped before hand, he was added as a new referee and his reason for hiring made sense. He had a bit of a misunderstanding with Punk on an episode of RAW, and a missed foot on the rope made him noticeable, but it laid the groundwork for the eventual Hell In A Cell events. Maddox's reasons were simple: he wanted to be a WWE Superstar by any means necessary, so he took a job as a ref and went into business for himself. It works because it's believable.

The last guy I want to mention this week is the latest debut, Big E Langston. We don't know what his role is yet, is he a bodyguard, is he a wrestler, is he just AJ's friend, etc. (The wrestling singlet kind of gives it away, but stay with me for argument's sake) Like The Shield, Langston just appeared on TV and attacked, no excuses or explanations, it was one Big Ending (his finishing move) and that was it. He got more information later, but all you really knew for that one week was from Cole saying 'hey that's Big E Langston.' I like the mystery of it all, and I like that he is just an enforcer. I know alot of people didn't like the brief promo he cut on RAW, but I think it was short and effective. I actually prefer that he didn't volunteer himself for the match; he doesn't need to be fed to Cena for a throwaway match and it keeps the suspense up. I like Big E just being a bodyguard for awhile, I wouldn't  even put him in a match for awhile either. Just having him hurt people and protect AJ (and Dolph) is just as effective as him winning a few meaningless matches around this time. You know he won't be in a big spot on April 7th, so why rush it? The most important thing to do for characters is to make them look strong and formidable, and they are doing it right with Big E.

There you have it, several different ways to bring a guy on to television. They don't have to have immediate hype or superpushed to an immediate title, but those aren't always wrong either. I just wanted to highlight some of the good things WWE is doing in the wake of getting crap like Mae Young's baby and the like. We will always have complaints about many things they do, and sometimes the conversations and arguments are just as fun as the actual product. These four instances show you that it's not the same old crap like we talk about, and I feel like these guys will be better off in the long run.

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