Blame it on Del Rio, Remembering Reid Flair

Nick Paglino

Alberto Del RioIf the “Jack Swagger’s America” gimmick isn’t getting over, don’t blame Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Those two are executing to the best of their ability. It’s an “American History X” ripoff: Colter is Stacy Keach, the old man spewing racist ideology. Swagger is Ethan Suplee, the dumb redneck who provides muscle. WWE doesn’t have anyone talented enough to play the Edward Norton role.

If this isn’t working, blame Alberto Del Rio.

Del Rio just isn’t a good babyface. He’s wooden. His emotions are forced. He cuts bad babyface promos. He doesn’t appeal to non-Latinos, and his appeal to Latinos is being compromised by his verbal dedication to (white) America. Del Rio is splitting the difference, and it’s not working.

Del Rio is also second banana in his own act: Ricardo Rodriguez has far more charisma.

Swagger should beat Del Rio for the world title at WrestleMania. Chasing the belt is a traditional way to build babyfaces. If that doesn’t work, turn Del Rio back heel. Have him burn his green card, declare himself illegal, and work for less than minimum wage. Vince McMahon would go for that.

When you look at the WM29 lineup, you’re struck by how many WWE performers are just OK. No better.

Del Rio. Swagger. Sheamus. Big E Langston. Brodus Clay. Tensai. Damien Sandow. Cody Rhodes. Wade Barrett. The Miz. Mark Henry. There’s nobody in that group to truly hang your hat on.

Other performers, like Randy Orton, Big Show and Kane, have seen better days.

Others, like Ryback, The Shield, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, are in desperate need of a reset.

Who are the REAL STARS? The Rock. Cena. Triple H. Brock Lesnar. Undertaker. C.M. Punk. Chris Jericho. Five of those seven are part-time.

The WWE roster is so shallow, I’m looking forward to the development of Fandango. At least we don’t yet know for sure that he sucks. (Though I have my suspicions.)

This isn’t a criticism. It just means there’s work to be done, and heat to be generated.

WWE really has to make the most of The Shield.  Ryback is a poor man’s Goldberg, and probably won’t ever rise above that. WWE doesn’t seem to fully believe in Bryan or Ziggler, not beyond the mid-card. But WWE has a lot of options with The Shield, and needs to make the most of them.

Dean Ambrose is, right now, The Shield’s top individual. He’s Terry Funk. Roman Reigns has the look, but he’s green. Seth Rollins gets a little more generic every time I see him. I’m not sure that’s his fault. These guys need their characters developed beyond the group.

The match between Cena and Rock has to be GREAT. Expectations are high for drama if not workrate. The finish should be a given: Attitude Adjustment, then a pin.

The Cena and Rock interviews on Raw were very well done. Putting them face-to-face would have made Cena look foolish…again. He seemed a little rattled during his interview, but that struck me as intentional. The story here is Cena getting his groove back: Not sure he can win, trying to talk himself into believing it, but DAMN CERTAIN he’s going to give it 100 percent.

The Rock interview was just a great WrestleMania go-home promo. That’s why his movie opened No. 1 in the country: CHARISMA.

REMEMBERING REID FLAIR

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the sudden passing of Reid Flair, though I won’t go into much detail as such grief is a bit too personal for this forum.

I’ve known Reid since he was a little kid. He was a joy to be around. Watching Ric watch Reid at an amateur wrestling tournament – the connection between father and son, the pride Ric clearly took in Reid – will remain one of my enduring images of a young man who left us far too soon.

I have great memories of Reid, and Ric helped raise four great kids. I’ve had extensive contact with Megan, David and Ashley. Awesome people. The apple doesn’t fall far. Ric and his family have been great friends, and Ric has been a big influence on my life. Knowing him is an honor.

Please think of Ric and his family during this troubled time, and remember Reid fondly, as I do.

Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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