Five WWE Superstars Who Could Follow in Roddy Piper's Talk Show Footsteps
On the recent "Blast from the Past" episode of SmackDown, fans were treated to a heated verbal showdown between "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Daniel Bryan on a special edition of Piper's Pit.
As Piper made his way to the ring, Josh Mathews summed up what makes each Superstar's encounter with the legendary Hot Rod so effective: "Piper's Pit has always been the most notorious talk show segment in WWE history. Roddy Piper never holds back. He never [pulls] any punches."
As the segment unfolded, it became clear how a well-done talk show can simply and effectively advance a storyline, with or without any sort of physical confrontation.
Of the great and not-so-great talk show segments of the last few years, only a couple of qualified Superstars remain: Chris Jericho with his "Highlight Reel" and Christian with his "Peep Show."
With Jericho potentially leaving to tour with his band over the summer and Christian out of action until his ankle fully heals, the opportunity for a Superstar to take charge and host their own talk show segment is wide open.
Here is a list of five candidates to host the next great WWE talk show.
As the host of the Tosh.0-esque YouTube show, WWE Download, Dolph Ziggler is not exactly the heel fans have come to enjoy watching, but every now and then he shows flashes of the wit, comedic timing and unabashed narcissism that would serve him well as the host of his own talk show.
A more accurate gauge of Ziggler's talent lies in his work on "Ask the Heel," his almost weekly contribution to Zack Ryder's Z! True Long Island Story, where Ziggler's rapid-fire, poetic boasts and tapping on the fourth wall consistently make an impression and serve as a testament to his promo skills.
The addition of Vickie Guerrero, though not necessary, would still garner massive boos. I just think Ziggler's time with WWE's resident cougar needs to come to a close. She's done all she can do for him at this point.
Love him or hate him, fans are aware of Ziggler's in-ring abilities at this point. Demonstrating Ziggler's charisma as the host of his own show would almost assuredly propel him to the main event. The show itself would serve as a conduit for such a push, allowing him to potentially enter into high-profile angles with anyone he invited as a guest.
At this point, Zack Ryder has more than demonstrated his ability to host a successful show. In fact, he owes his career resurgence to it.
Lately, though, Ryder has stagnated. He can't string together any wins to build momentum. Having lost the 12-man tag match for Team Teddy at WrestleMania 28 and failing to win a match since, Ryder is in danger of plummeting straight back to irrelevance.
Ryder needs to capitalize on the very thing that made him a hit in the first place: Being the goofy, witty broski whose subtle references to WWE lore and wrestling terminology made fans of his Z! True Long Island Story burst out laughing regularly.
The addition of fellow YouTube host and best friend Matt Chiappetta, an easy target for bigger, stronger WWE bullies, would reposition Ryder as a protector or defender.
One Z!TLIS storyline prior to Ryder's US Title match with Dolph Ziggler at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs last year centered around Chiappetta being attacked in their apartment, ostensibly by Ziggler himself, providing additional motivation for Ryder to triumph in that match.
And while a Zack Ryder talk show would more than likely take on a comedic slant given the nature of the man at the helm, the potential exists for Ryder to develop a more serious, developed character, allowing for more flexibility in storylines and for the re-elevation of Ryder to pre-Kane/Eve levels.
Eve talks often about controlling and manipulating people to get what she wants, so what better way to do that than as the host of a show? Heck, Jerry Springer made a living out of it for years.
As one of the more prominent Divas in WWE, and given the fact that her mic work has been commendable when she's had the chance to cut promos, Eve is a prime candidate to host a segment.
Eve has made a lot of enemies during her recent heel turn, and as the host of a show, all of those burned bridges can be exploited for their maximum storytelling potential. Her back-and-forth with Zack Ryder can finally go somewhere. Maybe he finally gives her the comeuppance that she's largely avoided thus far.
More importantly, putting her in such a high-profile position as the first Diva (to my knowledge) to host their own talk show on RAW or SmackDown, could be the first step in reviving the insufferable Divas division.
Imagine, provided WWE doesn't ruin it by announcing it in advance as they so often do, if during one of Eve's heel rants during the show, Kharma returned and destroyed the set? Or if Lita and/or Trish Stratus returned and put her in her place?
The crowd would, for once, go wild over a Divas segment.
I don't know what it is, but as much as I can't stand Alberto Del Rio, I always laugh and silently root for his lowly personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez.
When he enthusiastically sang "La Cucaracha" (including an impromptu remix) on RAW, I laughed.
When he teased ADR's return for the Royal Rumble and drove out in a broken-down P.O.S. rather than a flashy luxury car, I nearly died.
What WWE's long-term plans are, assuming any exist, for either Del Rio or Rodriguez, I have no idea. Given the current state of his character, though, Rodriguez could be effective as a catalyst for higher-profile feuds via a talk show.
The guy is likable in a weird way, though clearly a heel given his affiliation with Del Rio. And while he plays a timid, hapless lackey on WWE programming, Rodriguez is more than capable of transitioning to an active competitor and wrestling a respectable match, complete with an innovative, unorthodox luchador style.
On top of that, his connection to Del Rio would allow him to borrow from Del Rio's offensive repertoire and add instant technical credibility.
In the future, perhaps as part of an angle where he is beaten down and Del Rio teaches him to defend himself, Rodriguez could become a more legitimate mid-card presence, probably continuing as a heel and personal ring announcer. He could also just as easily breaking away from Del Rio to begin a master vs. student feud.
If for no other reason than because it would an absolute riot, Santino should get a show. I haven't seen his YouTube show Santino's Foreign Exchange yet, but every time he's on TV, something comical happens.
Santino is wildly over with the fans, and his personality allows him to go in a number of different directions as the host of his own show. You know that Santino would not necessarily ask the most relevant questions, but they would always be funny and provoke a reaction from both the crowd and the guest.
If WWE is going to use Santino as a comedy character, then allow him to utilize the full range of his talents. As the host of his own in-ring segment, hilarity would almost certainly ensue every time the show was featured.