Wednesday, 16 May 2012

State of the Stars, Part One: WWE

Part One : WWE

Over this three part edition, WW will address all the promotions current states and what they can do to improve as well as what position the state of the companies are in and who or what can be done to enhance wrestling further.


Corporate machine in merchandise sales and ‘charity’ work keeps Cena as WWE’s “Love on Top” (Knowles, B:2011). The worry Cena has, as always will be how to make a sports entertainer transition into a wrestler, which is primarily what he was booked for and is the sole reason for his disgruntled fans. No one can appreciate a stronghold of the top wrestling company whom doesn’t do so.  That is he challenge to overcome, should he be as bothered as he claims to encorporate that.


Turning WWE on its head as the new John Cena, Punk, formerly unseen as star for WWE at the top of its pinnacle, has obtained this tremendous feat in 2011. However, in doing so, hasn’t allowed other stars to comeback with any ‘attack’ be it verbal or in ring physicality. Punk needs to realise he must create his opponents than dismiss them before having a match against them. Everyone has a shelf life.


Returning on Jan 2nd 2012 after a lengthy hiatus, Jericho’s absence from 2011 was met with thrills in ’12. Solely due to the fact a guy who can handle his talent in all ways to become effective for audience approval. Jeri may be staying for a short time, or perhaps extended. Either choice he makes, for now, embroiled with CM Punk for Wrestlemania shows entertainment to the WWE Universe in a gap that 2011 failed to fill.


Booked into Smackdown title matches as a Raw star (which he still is, despite WWE showing the Smackdown logo next to his name upon entrance), Big Show illegitimately won the World Title (which was the shortest reign in all of WWE history). Big Show should be there to sell for younger stars, putting them over with his premise as a behemoth, to create interesting matches in size proportion as he is booked for. Cutting down likes of Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett supported no future transitions for stars.

On a very rocky road since Wrestkemana in 2011, as champion, no less, who retained, suffered illogical booking in the run up to his defeat. As WWE Champion, Miz added a new dimension and love or loathe, created principals and entertainment on all areas for the sport. Fully respecting of the industry, Miz is prepared to do anything to add to his repertoire. WWE realise and after losing its booking interest, are resurfacing Miz.


Now aiming to be built as a potential in the market, Santino Marella is seen as a primary jokey character for so long that none can believe his legitimacy, no matter how superiorly booked he may start to become. This space should have been placed with an NXT-er or Superstars/Raw flagger. WWE proved one thing with Marella, when it wants to push someone instantly it can do so, which makes a mockery of the 2011 and 2 years prior to that, where no new stars evolved.


Given a chance on the Raw brand after splitting from mentor of NXT fame, The Miz, their feud was a red hot contest that sparked interest when all other avenues failed. Riley, the hottest prospect with Del Rio, was bumped from the feud afterwards. If WWE were to resurrect the feud between Riley and Miz it would begin the momentum for both. The pair would be able to have high esteemed profile ranking and contribute fluently to their roles in the future.


McGuillicutty, now on Superstars along with and in matches with Riley, should have remained on the Raw roster. Hall of Famer’s son he may be, however this does not impact his status. Burdened with the McGuillicutty name is not a derogatory aspect, the issue is unable to be booked efficiently to enhance that name. Otunga still remains on the roster, whom has less talent than Mikey Mc G. Please, do not place another awful bandana on his head.


Mr.A List, I love New York 2, and Jennifer Hudson, Otunga, after tag team success as champion with McGuillicutty, now acts as legal advice council. While this is more of a character role that has given place on the roster than a wrestler, Otunga’s real life mish mash to his on screen projection is capable. However, it is rather uninteresting in his typecast, which is running out of steam. Occasional wrestler now and then, Dave-O was hired as the equivalent to Batista. Big muscles, brawn and bulk.


Finally given a new breath of unstagnated air, the fumigated clamour engulfed her again once stuck with incapable female ‘wrestlers’. The saga of unable to capture a respected title for an enhancement of proving one lesser Diva can work, this Woman (Phoenix) eventually took what should have come earlier. Respecting the values and division of Women’s wresting with the Women’s very championship after Unification, Phoenix has never been more dominant and impressive. Working with 9 – 10 female employees is a difficult task for any female wrestler, though Phoenix is finally booked with credible opponents whom can potentially best her.


Given a role that was unbeneficial to her, solely based on proving a point to someone outside the WWE walls diluted its core strength and legacy. If serious, she should have refused the role of champion and asked to be trained until she was prepared, though, of course, who would turn a championship away? Marlon Brando refused his Oscar in his role for The Godfather. Adding a few moves in is not sufficient to proclaiming a title match. Once done so, audience receptiveness, laced with the PR images of something a champion wouldn’t easily do to discredit it, gives you its answer. If serious, KK should be training every time she can and not gain a title match for 2 years to be fully prepared. Though the time would most likely be wasted.


Recent transition to the Hoeski along with her former pal Bimbo Bimbo (above) (Waltham, M:2011) [Your welcome!] has received a role that can enhance her capabilities. Whether liked or not, Eve has more options than the aforementioned, though now needs to heighten her deliverance on the mike to severely make her mark. It is possible. Last year, Eve was a non-entity, whom also spent another four months waiting before her title match to prove herself, in which she choose to ruin her options with one foul move. The “Booty Shake” which cost her many a viewer and respect in doing so in a match which could have proposed a backbone to her on screen character. Now she has the options to make something of herself. It’s on her shoulders now. “Everyone is watching.”


2012 will see Kharma involved in many different angles. Laced with many options, and yet few ladies to battle that matter, Kharma’s opponents should not be rushed. Some may be used as fodder/squashes, but those who are should not be those that dilute a match storyline. Even Kharma could win Money In The Bank and ruin a heavyweight champion on the Raw brand with a new dimension and powerful intent. Which ever way booked, Kharma can mix everything up. Its what the Universe want, and what was necessary to pulling her in, with pleasing responses. It is just a shame Gail Kim isn’t around for WWE anymore.


Recent slight setback after an rising 2011 now sees Alby in a comfortable position as one of WWE’s top stars. He must now be booked efficiently in the top spot roles or float around them with his magnitude as former champion and ultra submission machine. Possibly guiding two or three others as ‘affiliates’ or brief stable members/alliances will benefit, as long as they are not Mark Henry and Otunga likes.


Possibly WWE’s most shakey prospect over the last year. Earning plaudits for success has now re claimed mid card/jobber position which should have seen him become utilised in the heavyweight division regardless of victory. One match sporadically does not enhance his credentials. 2012 should have him climb as a challenger among the top stars. If it doesn’t, Ziggler will be disregarded bt the Universe forever. It’s now or never.


Titanic moment? Or add your own caption... :p

Marketing tool to get over became successful to a fashion, until WWE eventually tired from it, as did the audience. May need his heel return. For now, as babyface, needs stronger booking and develop a strengthened outlook to his character. As an on screen persona Zack Ryder looks fresh and is likeable. However, he looks weak as a result.


Picked up scraps with the United States title (2012) after Zack Ryder won it at TLC 2011. In 2011, Swagger was ten times the afterthought of its entire roster. Hard to envisage any potential any more.


Managing only heavyweight champions, being the most narcissistic, whining annoyance that is one hot mama, has the audience in her hand. Without her guidance, Dolph Ziggler would not have been as great as he was in 2011 with the Universe. WWE’s only superheel, Guerrero is one who will always remain the constant for the company whom can be solely relied on for anything expertly.


Spent some time out to rest, before coming back as the masked arsonist lunatic which told us to “embrace the hate.” It was something everyone loved. The Kane mask return looked sketchy as a comeback, though managed to deliver its intent on a new and surprising level intuitively. Now done with Cena, we hope Kane does not win another pointless Money In The Bank victory, as well as being able to become demonic again. Many avenues are open once more for the Big Red Monster, which deliver entertainment on certain levels.


What role can R-Tee have? Eyelined for tag tandems is one option. Though Truth, at the height of his challenges is able to rise back towards US champion in a way where it is meaningful for him than previously before as deadpan. Having turned it around, his moniker transcends star underneath the big guns. If WWE gave him the Santino recent strong push treatment, WWE fail to realise R-Truth could become the first black WWE champion it craves with credible intent. Yes. R-Truth has re-modelled his character to achieving this, potentially. There is a demand also.


Rather misfortunate in 2011 with the self destruction of AirBoom, initially booked as an afterthought in singles and tag participation, Kingston, stuck with pint sized goon Bourne, suffered as a result innocently. Remained tag champion without a partner. 2012 sees him pair with R-Truth, however if still in tag division, needs to own it outright as WWE’s tag team upholder. Is still available for singles credibility.


Never has one many given us multiple work. As ‘goon’ smiley Ev couldn’t shake it, and as a result, put many off in believing his chances at further prospects. Didn’t help himself with not one, but two suspensions, back to back. The future looks bleak for Bourne. As Evan Bo-u-ring, unable to entice an audience enough after two high spots, if WWE aim to keep, and if serious about his place, should ditch the smile and become more aggressive than a cheap gimmick. It’s up to him alone.


The biggest challenge for Tripper will be to remain in the suit as Chief Operating Officer, instead of constantly hopping back in the ring. Now and then is fine, as you can never take a wrestler away from it, though once in spot, must not feed his ego for a victory, he should put over the future stars he’ll be handling for his future takeover. Creating stars behind the curtain is one thing, but de-favour certain stars with such unwarranted pushes that do not protect the product. Sheamus would be prime example of this. It isn’t ‘your’ star that makes your work noticed; it’s how you make all stars benefit from the structured placements in produce.


WWE’s big mean bulk machine became erased from TV once Ziggler had to carry his match. Ryan as big build may have the on screen look as hired for, and slightly inept inside the ring, however, given chances, can adapt. Ryan should be considered for a powerhouse tag team with a smaller guy in order to add the contrast if neither are ready for the big spot just yet. Candidates: Alex Riley, Michael Mc Guillicutty, Johnny Curtis, Tyson Kidd, Cody Rhodes, should draftees move. (No Big Show!). Ryan requires dominance to back up the body which primarily got him on TV. It is not an oversight to re-define.


Abraham Washington is the rip off charcter of M.W (Max Waltham.) WWE know this and choose to play games than give performers and viewers what they require. Washington has always been a charcter WWE have hoped would excel but has constantly been a washout. WWE should consider hiring people who can do the job instead of flunkies who fit the mould but can never be created into it.

Regardless, the role has a place, but Washington does not fit it. It shouldn'tbe done just for the sake of proving those points or chips on shoulders. All aligned with Washington may also be crushed, and we arn't talking by superstars.


Greatness comes in one form. Almost every ones god of the new age, is slightly dipping with a slight percentage who are fickle in understanding. Orton can build any new star and although WWE wish to respect him with this, we feel Orton should aim to build new stars, be in title pictures, and not win when expected. Orton ‘doesn’t need’ the championship on any brand, though that does not mean he should be neglected from it, though time away becomes refreshing. We would be interested to see Orton’s meaner streak in a face role appear once more. This entices the audience and keeps match ending results open with challengers. The Orton/Bryan champion feud is something we welcome. Re-matches with Christian are not profound. Though others have tired and must be booked selectively and sporadically, to protect from boredom.


Has biggest challenge of all stars to reclaim heavyweight position. WWE views him as over with now that he has had his reigns. The Captain can clearly lead. Can work others well to matches as well as own his own position. A stable isn’t out of the question. Seems to be rallying troops. Perhaps a leadership role in fighting corporate WWE is what he needs. He feels disgruntled more than anyone else. Rightly so. Either way Christian needs to, and is aiming to stamp his mark at the top as a player once again. He must be allowed wins, in order to create the flow. The Sheamus feuding was deadpan because of Christian’s lacklustre job booking.


Has no chance of being the face of Smackdown with the audience, even though he shall become it. The powerhouse moves are bland, in effective and everyone watching lets out a massive *sigh* every time he arrives. He has become tiresome which is catastrophic for any star being earmarked. Triple H’s influence could be counter productive. Must hold back on Sheamus favouritism, as is harming the product.


A loss at Wrestlemania looks apparent. If WWE had sense, it would allow him the retained victory. Sheamus’ win will not elevate the “Great White”. Bryan needs further capitalisation from the company and must be moved out of the Big Show frucous. To enhance the product, Bryan, once removed as champion must be allowed to remain at the top tier of Smackdown in order to maintain the wrestling fans and internet darlings. Bryan has the talent above all else, and is often considered as WWE’s only wrestler.


As Intercontinental champion, has done the industry proud. Re-surfaced the classic white title to maintain honour and kept values high as a result. Has immense talent in those legs. Should be prepared this year for a heavyweight title chance next year. Rhodes is the one to watch. Needs more meaningful IC opponents to establish worth to title honour for when he eventually drops it. Who could possibly take it and uphold it? Key player and should be challenging Daniel Bryan for the World title/WWE in 2013.



Most underrated talent due to size. Has more than enough to follow through with, and spikey tuff on top is a defining touch to personality. If unable to be singles star and fodder, throw into a tag team that has longstanding strength and do not break until esteemed characters. Can develop tag team well. Do not choose Drew McIntyre.  Candidates : Gabriel, FCW stars,


If continuing as single in US title role tier, needs to be booked with further offence as opponent. Consider tag teaming to re-develop division.


Recently upgraded to Women’s division, hasn’t been any form of disappointment and proved she can go as a powerful force along her father’s roots. Should remain around division, among other key players.


Given a role than waiting to be future endeavoured, Ms.Fox has started to slip her standards again. Gaining consistency with vocals and performance is paramount to her survival. Must cut the ‘babytalk’ and motions to be fully respected by masses. In-ring work is the essential being, however.


WWE’s premier wrestling Woman, sitting back until Phoenix smashes all competition. Claims of a match should occur between the two. It should not. Natalya V Beth should not occur until next year, when WWE have had a chance to establish both as upholding the division. It can even be put off for the year after next and still remain open. There is no need to break the sterling work of a fragmented division repairing itself with its lieutenants. Natalya is a key fixture to that. Having her wrestle in Phoenix’s absence (not for the title like the Laycool debacle), is welcomed than jobbing the talented member on the roster because she isn’t champion.


Occasional wrestler hasn’t harmed, as Book has managed to put others forward in the role. This is necessary for a veteran who understands this. That being said, Booker is still in pristine condition for a vet returning to in ring action capably. As announcer, Booker can be off and on, but one thing he does is entertain, that much we understand. Commentary needs personality as much as the in ring behaviour, but must not detract from the match participants in hindsight. Maybe Booker as other announcees, can work on making the table entertaining and pertaining to the matches going across.


Infused in a tag team with Primo, managed by Rosa Mendes the pairing has the chance to elevate the ailing tag division back to wrestling principals while building their own portfolio. Tag teams in WWE don’t last longer than two years at most in this current timeframe. Some teams must remain with this. On their own, Primo and Epico would be swallowed up and spat out by the WWE system, therefore there is no need to break them anytime soon, and continue to re-shape the tag area instead.


Although in tag teams, Primo, along with Epico, have no stand alone characterisation that then develops their partnership to a stronger connection. Establishing friction with opponents that break the rules in ‘script’ should be initiated, in order to elevate all in place. Primo should show off his chest in a vest some more, and develop a tougher projection in promos, or in ring entrances. Small but effective, not all out in one entrance, though, will give longer standing.


Found her forte as manager to Primo and Epico keeping the Hispanic market fruitful. In the outfits and bodices, Mendes not only looks smoking hot, but can deliver the on screen portrayal for her elitist body behaviour. Perfect in this role.

Comfortable for staff than good for business


Another brief injury on a star in early 2012, Ted has had a quiet 2011. Fought Cody Rhodes after rejoining him in a Legacy re-enactment, that shouldn’t have really been in pace, as costing both their slight re-rising being built back up highly.  Ted looked foolish once Rhodes laid waste to him. It didn’t push him ahead. Needs to push forward on his own.


Wrestlemania supremo missed most of the year, though managed to maintain his aura at ‘Mania 27. Often finds his streak now taking yearly rematches continually, which can be harmful, despite being able to make it work. Being ‘moved’ to Raw to highlight the upcoming match was rather short-sighted. As a Smackdown star still, with no logical reasoning for the move, ‘Taker should have been switched in the draft, to create massive impact this year.


Ups and downs have laced Barrett in one position. Mid Card at best. It is a shame for him, though with his own personality unable to shine through, with multiple attempts from employing organisation, Barrett, whom WWE believe can make it on his own, without aid of supergroups anymore, Barrett is a fish out of water. A face turn is needed, though we don’t see this changing his position to the top. Hire more Brits.


Only booked for the Indian geo-demographic, this was recently confirmed with the wanted use of the Punjabi Prison match, so WWE can reuse the match. If you want to reuse the match, you need to ‘create’ Jinder Mahal beforehand. Mahal has been jobbed tirelessly when assuming he would be growing. Either a strong shove behind Mahal, or hire other Indians capable.


Likeable backstage, and preferred for size overall in booking procedures. No one dislikes Henry as a fellow, however, once in ring, the Universe will judge you on your contributions. Such is the way of the industry. To make mass impact, Henry must become sharper on the mike with dominance that just a shove or slow walk. Hard as that may be, granted, Henry, if wanting to achieve appreciation for what he can offer, will find this way. If not, 2011 will remain.


A bland beefcake that just cannot contribute. Bobby Lashley fever.


Shakey year. Botching entrances, suspension and vocal trouble with press, Cara almost lost his spot. If it wasn’t for Triple H’s inclusion for hire, he would have. Upon return, must prove to WWE Universe he is fully capable to invest in as a product/entity and most of all, wrestler.


Has dipped after success as the stand in Sin Cara and a Survivor Series victory in which Hunico held his own for a long time.  Booked as a B2 (Squared) or Mexicool’s force without the back up in ring from bigwigs could harm further. Own the arena.


Returned for a match with Mahal. Possibly tested the waters to entering Heavyweight title race once again, where his first reign was a complete washout, after WWE realised back then that its Smackdown superstars were so short stacked from injuries, character development or strong angles was thankfully dropped at Elimination Chamber. To make him work, apart from PR, add moves and fluidity with those to make believable. Only believability ‘back then’ was the Khali vice grip (because he didn’t have to do much). Isn’t needed in title races at all.


After losing the General Manager of Smackdown position, ad without a role, Teddy Long, now as the assitant/dogsbody to John Laurinaitis can do this for a while. However will need to have strong booking angles after the Aksana/wavering eye and GM lapdog scenario's in order to maintain a force in WWE's Universe.


The Latvian native has upper body strength and power to be efficient in roles. Whether with Teddy Long or on her own as a Diva, Aksana can add to the Women's division among the Layla and Kelly Kelly travesty ensuing. While WWE won't downplay the barbie role, Aksana needs to become in higher standing than Kelly because Aksana, who is also extremely sexual and hot, can utilise her background in bodybuilding to support the neccessary requirements in ring matches. Obviously, she will need to have strong training to prepare her, however can achieve this, given the opportunity.


On NXT with the look and slight style as a younger Orton in look, acceptance and slight hotness, Curtis has caught the eye of many fans hoping to have a new hunk in their midst escape the clutches of the neverending NXT format and join Smackdown fully, where he is rostered according to WWE.

Curtis on Smackdown, or even shifted to/or appearing at Raw shows, will enhance audience with a new hunk and delightful new storylines with a fresh talent who can work capably and become an influence. In light of WWE's current misdemeanours on the rosters, Curtis is needed as eye candy and talent.


Along with her man Curtis, Maxine needs to come with him as a starting package as double act, unless WWE instantly start placing her into the Women's division. While she was jobbed to Kelly Kelly and Layla on a recent Raw broadcast in May, Maxine, alongside Natalya can contribute perfectly to the role, and in the division. Her name aside, (from a Max who has structured the Women's division over the last year and given evey diva including Eve and Alicia Fox roles to save from future endeavours) Maxine is a credible candidate to learn on the job, with Nattie also among her, and with Natalya being made Phoenix's equal, Maxine can become an incredible force with Natty gaining wins, with the occassional loss when done to build feuds, rather than dropped to prove a point from the only Max that re-shaped a crumbling divison.

If with Curtis initially, Maxine can eventually use him to dump him once called up to both brands to get there.

The overall State - For the top wrestling promotion in the land, WWE have a pool of talent not being utilised correctly. WWE don't realise that their stalling could be costly, as it is slowly but surely losing viewership. While this won't destroy WWE outright, it can allow options for at least one other promotion to take the lead as healthy competition and that promotion is meantioned in the following posts.

WWE will always remain top dog, however apart from the new forces of Damien Sandow, and Antonio Cesaro with Brock Lesnar, Lord Tensai and Paul Heyman returning and the impending call up of Dean Ambrose, WWE may have some new talent, but it is lacking tight packed storylines and relying on old hat performers at the expense of new stars making their names to provide for the future. While old stars have lost their star pull, others wanting to be seen by its very Universe arn't getting their needs nor value for money, driving the wedge further apart, which now allows them to drift to other promotions giving them what they wish to invest in.

WWE need to encorporate their annual draft soon, in order to gain much faith back "Shake it all up" again and create new options. Having the supershow's where opposing roster superstars challenge for the brands oposing titles, Raw superstar going after a Smackdown championship and vice verse, for example, is incoherent.

Not only does the draft gain tons of exposure and viewers, it re-establishes boundry, honour and prestige, even if stars do appear on both shows, titles must remain segregated to only those brand rostered stars. Those losing out are the title holders, the challengers, WWE's booking and creative team seen as lost or confused and the titles themselves becoming meaningless, exposing WWE's lack to create new superstars. All these devalue the business and sport that is wrestling. Most will eventually leave, should it continue. Fan favourites holding titles as a bypass excuse wont protect them, neither. 

WWE must use its talent it has neglected, or no one will ever respect their choices again, even should they stick around continually hoping for change that may never occur.

Parts Two and Three (links below), address TNA, ROH, NJPW and Dragon Gate.

Part Two is here (click link) - State of the Stars, Part One : WWE

Part Three - State of the Stars, Part Three: ROH, DGUSA & NJPW

© Max Waltham 16th May 2012

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