The New Superstar Initiative
In 2008, one of the ways ECW had tried to set itself apart from the rest was introducing the 'New Superstar Initiative'. It has been a successful venture on the part of ECW. Sure, there have been a few random wrestlers who didn't make it past their first match, let alone being a jobber, but it has been very interesting to see the progression of those who have made it.
When referring to those who have made it, the few that come to mind include the following:
1. Evan Bourne
From the moment he entered the ring, I saw a future star in the form of a Mysterio/Kidman hybrid. Within his first year, he already received a shot at the ECW title. Not necessarily because management pushed him to that spot, but because the FANS chose him to do so at Cyber Sunday.
He has been on the shelf as of late, but I think he is going to have a big comeback probably starting with a feud against Mike Knox. If he is truly the star that I hope he will be, he will elevate Knox to the next level as well because that is the ART of wrestling—when two opponents leave a match knowing that they just elevated their own careers as well as their opponent's.
2. Jack Swagger
When I first saw this guy making an entrance, I had my doubts. He just seemed... odd, I guess. It's been maybe six months since he made his debut and this guy is almost primed for a run at the ECW title.
If they want to handle him right, I think they should have him feud with another young guy who is somewhat over with the fans: Ricky Ortiz. I noticed this from the first time the two had a face-to-face meeting in the back; there is an angle there. Not to mention, this could really establish a mid-card matchup for ECW, something that hasn't been there before.
3. Ricky Ortiz
This guy needs to wrestle more and needs a feud badly. As I said above, a Swagger/Ortiz angle could probably do wonders for ECW. They are two young guys who have made it and who are hungry to become truly over with the fans. They both have great in-ring skill and can work decent promos.
I say put them together and see what happens. Again, I don't know why, but when I saw them converse a few weeks ago; I got excited at the thought of a possible feud.
Teddy Long became the new GM of ECW and I thought he immediately added a little more interest. I think his position is the best way to use the GM—only when needed. No big storylines are needed, he is the authoritative figure and he let's the show go as he sees fit.
Having (yet another) corrupt GM storyline would fade out the other angles on the show, which in turn would conflict with rising younger stars who are already given little time to shine.
Deserving of Gold
Finlay/Hornswaggle have been a great addition to ECW. Their duo is entertaining and Finlay, has earned a run at chasing and/or winning the ECW belt. Yet, I feel that they have used him too much as a "side show" in that he has never really gone after the title as much as just being involved in main event matches.
They should give him a good run at the belt for a couple months, since fans would be more divided/interested than the same old Henry/Hardy feud. This would allow the Swagger/Ortiz feud to carry on as well, leading to a possible Swagger/Hardy matchup.
My next subject is Tommy Dreamer. I think they need to stop having him job to young guys. In fact, don't have him feud with these guys anymore. I'm sorry, but his in-ring work just isn't what it was; he is slow and doesn't fit the more clean-cut ECW.
He needs to move into a more managerial role with occasional matches. This would allow him to be perceived as a mentor and do alot more for legitimizing his great career. Having him be a jobber to young wrestlers only makes him look like less of a star, which Dreamer doesn't deserve.
The Dirt Sheet
Finally, I would like to give a BIG shoutout to Miz/Morrison. These guys are freaking great. They had a great year with the Dirt Sheet, have gone over with the fans as two top heels in the company, and won the World Tag Team titles.
NOW, other than the Swagger/Ortiz angle, another possible feud has been on my mind. Who would Miz/Morrison feud with you ask? Brace for it.................................... Each other!
Oh yes, Morrison vs. Miz. This can begin in a couple of different ways:
First, have them be completely dominant as champions and then out of nowhere, Miz turns on Morrison (have it happen at Wrestlemania—remember Strike Force?).
Second, you could have them lose somehow with Miz completely flipping out.
Either way, same result: Miz turns on Morrison and puts him out. Then after "being injured" Morrison turns face. The guy deserves a big push and I can definitely see him pulling off a Face run. He is also WAYYY talented and takes alot of great bumps (similar to HBK in his day).
Miz is already a great heel and even better with the mic. I truly believe this could make them both major Headliners in not just ECW, but the whole WWE. Who would win, I don't know nor do I care. All that matters to me, is that they do what I've wanted all along: Elevate each other to Superstardom.
Welp, that's my take on ECW 2008 and where it could (hopefully) go in the future. Hope you all enjoyed.