Monday, January 20, 2014

WWE's Most Misused Wrestlers

WWE has a long history of misusing talented wrestlers.  The most recent wrestler to almost fall into this category is Daniel Bryan in the opinion of the IWC. Putting Daniel with The Wyatt Family was seen as a demotion for a man who has spent the majority of the past 6 months on top of the card.  So when Daniel joined the dark side, the IWC raised it's arms in a rage they couldn't believe that DB was going to be used to raise the Wyatt stock.  As we saw on Monday, McMahon and company decided to end the story line as quickly as it began and the pop that DB got when he started his attack on Bray was on a Steve Austin like level. Seriously.  Imagine if this story line ran for more than the two weeks we saw. Would the pop be even bigger? We will never know.  One thing that is for certain is that DB is as hot or even hotter than he has ever been.

With the angle running its course it got me to thinking about wrestler's who really did get the short end of the stick. The wrestlers that never got the big break that they deserved, even if they had the charisma and wrestling ability they never got a real chance to take the spotlight and shine.  So a couple a days ago, via Facebook Chat, I contacted my Co-Writers and asked who their most misused WWE wrestler was/is.

Nick - MVP
My Choice for WWE's most misused wrestler is MVP.  MVP had it all, he had the entrance, he had the charisma, and he had the wrestling skill.  He was the total package, he had what the WWE looks for in a guy. The gimmick of the highest paid premier athlete in WWE should have led to grand career. So what stopped him from breaking that glass ceiling?

MVP had a great feud for the US title with Matt Hardy that had them competing in contests, ranging from arm wrestling to throwing a football through a tire. They even won the WWE Tag Titles as an odd bedfellow tag team.  When MVP and Hardy dropped the titles to The Miz and John Morrison, MVP turned on Hardy to start the one on one feud that should have made him a made man.  MVP beat up Hardy post match to give Hardy an out to get surgery on his appendix, but soon Hardy would return to challenge MVP for the title and finally beat him at Backlash to get the title.

Usually when a wrestler drops the mid-card title it lets them go for the main belt, unfortunately for MVP fate dealt him some cold lotion.  MVP had a story planned out for him, the story was that he went on a losing streak that would last 5 months. You see the best way to use a man who has the gimmick of a confident, premier athlete is to have them lose all the matches they compete in and suck all the heat off of them. MVP never fully recovered from the losing streak and was released in December 2010. A true shame.

Andrew- The Nexus
As much as I wanted to go with the obvious choice and say Colt Cabana, his 5 second WWE career happened during my 2007-2010 hiatus from wrestling. My decision then became not to focus on a single wrestler, but to focus on a cornucopia of stars that WWE decided to all fuck up at once, the 2010 stamp of death known as The Nexus.

 The Nexus started out as a genius idea, you take all the rookies from season 1 of NXT and have them join together to make a name for themselves in the WWE under their leader, the season 1 winner Wade Barrett. They would be the NWO of the PG-Era. They were told to go out there that first night and do whatever to could to make an impact. They beat down John Cena and everyone within a 10 foot radius of him, they tore apart the ring and everything they could find. WWE then turned around on Daniel Bryan and fired him, saying that it was "Too Violent" for him to choke Justin Roberts with his own tie. WWE said they didn't want children getting the impression that it was ok to choke people with ties. (Call me crazy but I think children know the difference between when a bad guy is doing it and a good guy. Also, apparently this was too edgy but it was ok for a face HHH to break into Randy Orton's house the previous year because HHH that's why.)

All the children and grown men alike would be covered from head to toe in Nexus memorabilia, right? Wrong. Very Wrong.

 To understand the downfall of Nexus, you must find the root of the problem. That root would be Summerslam 2010, The Nexus against The Cena Superfriends (Jericho, Edge, R-truth, John Morrison, Bret Hart, and the shocking return of Daniel Bryan!) Here's that match summarized in 6 minutes, set to only the finest douche-rock WWE had available at the time.

Now Im just a lowly wrestling fan. I have no knowledge of booking a show, or how to develop characters and get the over or get them heat, but wouldn't it be common knowledge that if you're establishing a dominant new stable you should have them beat down the team that is made up of Legends,World Champions, and R-truth & John Morrison? Chris Jericho & Edge have both stated that they went to bat for Wade Barrett and Nexus, but John Cena thought it would be best to take a DDT on the outside of the ring and then overcome the odds the way only John Cena can to beat the Nexus, because this was during the golden CenaWinsLOL era. 

This match began a downward spiral for The Nexus, as nobody could take them seriously after they hit that John Cena glass ceiling nobody was allowed to pass. They continued doing stupid things that no one really cared about and then John Cena literally buried Wade Barrett.

The Nexus technically lasted another few months under the leadership of CM Punk, and Wade Barrett went to Smackdown to start "The Corre" (Because since the Nexus didn't pan out, why not give him a shittier stable on the B-Show?"). I could go on and on into a rabbit hole of mediocrity about these guys, but instead I thought I would run down a quick list of "Where are they Now's" for the group.

Wade Barrett: Wade has slowly built himself back up from the grave he was buried in, he had a great singles feud with Randy Orton post-Corre and disappeared for a while. He now has a non-wrestling gimmick called "Bad News Barrett" where he just complains about things, but I would be complaining too if I was dealt such shit.

David Otunga: Went on to play up his Harvard background and has a lawyer gimmick. He's rarely ever on TV but he's married to Jennifer Hudson so they'll keep him around to collect paychecks. I still believe he should be in a tag team called "The Excellence of Education" with Damien Sandow.

Justin Gabriel: Another guy who's barely ever on TV. He was in a tag team with Tyson Kidd until Tyson got injured.

Heath Slater: The lead singer of 3MB BAYBAAAAAY: Heath has made the most of a shitty career, and will probably go down as the best jobber of all time.

Skip Sheffield: One of the more successful Nexus members, Skip (Now known as Ryback) went on to have a great WWE title feud with CM Punk & a Wrestlemania match with Mark Henry. He once again hit the John Cena Ceiling and now tags with Curtis Axel.

Michael McGillicutty: The son of Mr. Perfect, now known as Curtis Axel: He has a moderate IC title run but the man had the charisma of a dead horse. Not to mention he looks like Ben Roethlisberger. (If I spelled that correctly I'll be amazed.)

Mason Ryan: The artist formerly known as Batista, Mason Ryan disappeared back to NXT never to be heard from again.I once saw him do the Vince power strut into a Mariott bathroom and take a loud shit. Very reminiscent of his career.

Michael Tarver: Who?

Husky Harris: Another Success story, he is now Bray Wyatt on WWE television.

WWE has made solid attempts to save these men's careers. Some haven't worked but some have found  success in their new roles. However, even the guys like Axel and Wyatt and now a lot older and not as agile as they were in the Nexus days. It's a really shame that these guys were handed such crap to begin their careers.

Bryan - Kaitlyn 
So now it's my turn to figure out who is in my opinion the most misused wrestler in the WWE. Can't pick MVP Nick wrote about him , can't pick any member of the Nexus Andrew did that. I have so many questions , Should I write about an old timer , should I write about a current Superstar, Should I write about the Divas, Should I write about how the WWE is forcing an unsuccessful face run on the unpopular Bella Twins and very successful popular heel run for A.J. Lee and Where is the Miz and Santino? So many questions that I would like the answers to but I am here to talk about misused talent and I think I have stumbled upon a perfect former talent. Recently released Diva Kaitlyn.

When I found out that Kaitlyn had left the WWE I was shocked. Not because I am a huge Kaitlyn fan,I mean she is very good looking and ... Yes I am a huge Kaitlyn fan.  Yeah she wasn't perfect in the ring and she wasn't the greatest on the mic. But then again what diva is besides Aj ? She was a strong growing worker. She wasn't afforded the polishing that the new NXT has and will give the new crop of divas.

She went from FCW to NXT which was shot before Smackdown and was ripped apart by the commentary team which did no one any favors. Cole, Matthews and that other guy just shitted all over the show. The crowd that paid good money to watch the main roster and not these  bumbling rookies that appeared to be in the worlds most awkward game show. So during the competition you can hear loud boos, This is boring chants, amongst other not so flattering chants. Plus it really confusing that even the losers get WWE Contracts.

That's not the issue. At the end of Kaitlyn's run as Divas champ she had a pretty interesting rivalary. A.J showing her darker more diabolical  side and Kaitlyn as an underdog in the way that yes Kaitlyin is stronger and bigger but AJ has won the mental game. They had a very good but in Divas standards they had a great match at Payback in which A.J won the title. One would I think after that match there would be a nice run at redemption for Kaitlyn but instead we got a Mixed Gender Tag match that took all of 3 minutes. Then ............ enter the Total Divas who are just forced down everybody's throat.

 Kaitlyn was shoved into some 46 divas tag matches that  one  team was captained by AJ. Did someone forget that these two Divas has a deep rivalry for a long time and really took off after mania? Well, I am pretty sure there is a video on the app where Josh Matthews awkwardly stands there with a mic. After  Raw country the writing was pretty much on the wall.

I do feel that they misused Kaitlyn. She had tremendous potential to be strong performer and have some great matches with the newer talent. She her growing ring knowledge mixed in with her strength could have produced a nice career. But there isn't enough time and that's the problem. So enjoy A.J out preforming most of the female talent until Paige comes up.

Matt - Shelton Benjamin
I'll keep this one short and sweet as I have a tendency to rant. I think the WWE criminally misused Shelton Benjamin.  The dude was a goldmine (pun intended) of talent, in spite of his shortcomings on the mic.  One only needs to look at his Money in the Bank performances to see that he can put up on the big stages, but his work on Smackdown is some of the best technical wrestling you'll ever see.  Shelton Benjamin had the strength, speed, technique, and athletic ability to hang in the main event scene. If that's not clear from his classic bout against HBK, check out this killer match he put on with HHH early in his career.

Yes, the immediate response is that he couldn't talk at a main event level. Well the obvious solution is a mouthpiece.  Look at the least charismatic wrestler in the WWE today: Curtis Axel. God, every time he talks he sounds like it's his first day as a wrestler. Divas have better mic skills than him, and yet he's already been intercontinental champion because of one man named Paul Heyman. Now imagine someone with the talent of Shelton Benjamin as a Paul Heyman guy. He wouldn't have to say much. He'd just need to back up whatever Heyman said about him in the ring, which shouldn't be a problem for someone of his caliber. That is the difference between him and a guy like Axel. When anyone says Curtis is better than perfect, I cringe. When Shelton says he's the gold standard, you believe it; with or without mic skills.

That beefy look Vince gets off on.
Shelton Benjamin had all the in ring ability in the world and a problem that could be, if not fixed, hidden very well. He even had that beefy look that Vince gets off on without the stiffness of an off season bodybuilder.  Yet still, ShelBen was stuck in midcard hell for his entire career, much like Kofi, and his only place in the books is "The 17th black wrestler to have their finisher replaced with Paydirt." What a waste of potential. It truly is a shame that the most gold Shelton Benjamin ever received was all in his head.

Mike- John Cena

My post reflects my own opinion, and apparently not the same as my co writers.

Everyone above me posted a wrestler who underachieved, was misused in the worst possible way. They weren't handed the opportunities that they should have been. I am going to talk about someone who was quickly overused, and made extremely stale. It was a misuse of a wrestler in a rare way. Before everyone jumps down my throat please just hear me out. I am a firm believer that Cena is a good wrestler, and I also believe that he has far more to offer if he was given the RIGHT opportunity. Now I understand you might be reading this screaming "Look at all of the opportunities he has had! The championships, main events and promo time!". This is not what I am talking about.

In  John's early years he was booked to be a dominate competitor. He knew exactly what to say to get under peoples skin (even though he was probably rapping it.) He tore through his opponents and did everything he could to get his hands on gold. He finally got it, and turned into the superman that the IWC hates today. As everyone knows now, Cena comes out a majority of the time for a squash match. Once in a while he will lose on RAW and lately he has been losing some matches on  PPVs as well, but majority of the time he will be in 10-15 minute match. That match is filled with the same moves, and as it has been dubbed the "The 5 moves of doom" by the IWC. This has led to him becoming a stale wrestler, and boring to watch in the ring. This is my reason why people chant "Cena Sucks." Not because he is a bad guy, or a heel, but because of how easy it is to go out and do the same thing every week. This adds nothing to his character, and adds to the fact that he has a stale gimmick.

In my honest opinion, I feel like this gimmick has gone on far too long and that is where the WWE is failing with John Cena. Again, This doesn't have anything to do with his 14 championship titles. Majority of the fans who are over the age of 20 remember Stone Cold beating the crap out of Vince, flipping off the crowd, and even attacking Stephanie. As kids, we all loved this. We were grown to cheer this on. Imagine if Cena did this to the authority now. He will not only gain all of the adult fans, but the best part about it would be him keeping the kids as fans to. Think about it. The authority has screwed over Punk and Bryan, who are fan favorites. Now you have the top 3 wrestlers going against the Authority, this will keep the business going strong, and please the older fans. He needs more of a, say Batman gimmick, than a Superman gimmick. People still love him, but he isn't afraid to get dirty when he needs to. He needs that dark edge, a gimmick that doesn't make him so "friendly".

My next reason is how few and far in between John Cena puts on a great match, when he has the ability to every time he is in the ring. Money In The Bank against Punk, is my first example. His matches with Daniel Bryan as well. If you put him in the ring with someone who is a good wrestler, and someone who can hold a microphone, you instantly have a better Cena. His promos become more interesting, and he puts on 5-star quality matches. He unfortunately lacks this when going against someone of the caliber of Alberto Del Rio. If Cena had this booking more often, he wouldn't be someone that people look down upon.

If you end Cena's superhero like status, and work on producing a good or a great match every time he wrestles, I believe that he could become someone that everyone can cheer for. He has the full potential to win over the IWC, and be more entertaining to watch and enjoy. Making sure he isn't over, or under used.

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