We are approaching SummerSlam in eight and a half weeks, but the focus is already shifting to The Greatest Party of the Summer.
This year's event is the 25th of its kind and plans seem to be in place to make it an unforgettable event. I am often reminded of the main event from the event two years ago, which saw the seven members of Nexus take on a seven-man team led by John Cena and featuring a returning Daniel Bryan.
Those who bring the event up to me discuss that it was the beginning of the end for Nexus and showed that many were not ready to be big stars in WWE. I tend to argue away from that idea, citing that six of the seven members (Michael Tarver's release aside) are in perhaps their best possible positions to this point. Wade Barrett, still sidelined with injury, could return to a massive push in the coming weeks, especially if top contenders keep dropping like flies on Smackdown. Skip Sheffield became Ryback, David Otunga is an on-screen lawyer, and Darren Young is trying to make millions of dollars with Titus O'Neil.
This leaves me with Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, former tag team champions together who have two entirely different levels of popularity. In staying with classic talk about tag teams, Gabriel was projected by a lot of people to be the Shawn Michaels of this tag team, leaving Slater to be the Marty Jannetty. If a WWE fan poll dictated hirings and firings, Slater would have been canned long ago, but that is why the fans do not control those who get released.
Even as Gabriel is with an exciting tag team with Tyson Kidd and virtually the other former NXT rookies still employed with WWE are doing well or bound to do well, Heath Slater seems to be sitting around with nothing to do. His most memorable moment to date is being compared to the Wendy's logo by John Cena, which was two years ago.
Is Heath Slater even worth a spot on the main roster?
Not only is he worth the spot, but he may be the most valuable from anyone from his NXT class.
This is about the time where I get responses of how I am nuts. In this format, this is around the time where the comments section fills with questions on my head and if I have suffered any bumps lately. Before you jump to that same old feeling, let's explain the worth of Heath Slater in today's WWE.
As more and more ogle at Dolph Ziggler and other great workers in the company, Heath Slater is quietly high up in the ranks on the current roster. Winning matches never dictated actually doing well in the ring. Slater, in a losing effort, can accomplish more in the ring than some can do in a winning effort. Slater makes people look good. Doesn't anyone think that it takes talent to lose to Hornswoggle and make it look convincing?
Slater will even let his jobbing ways extend to legendary superstars and celebrities. Nobody else would be okay with being beaten up by Flo Rida at WrestleMania or bleeding from a wound by being hit by Cyndi Lauper with a gold record. His match with Vader proved things as well. As good as Vader still is in the ring, he still is old and rusty. Insert Heath Slater and suddenly Slater is making Vader look good.
Simply put, Slater is a company guy who will go out and do whatever is needed. Don't forget that Heath was on the Smackdown Money in the Bank match last year. Chances of Slater winning the briefcase were so low that not even a "No Chance in Hell" from Mr. McMahon would have sufficed. Yet, Slater had good offense in the match and was really there to help generate good spots for the other participants. A match that was unexpected and exciting led to Daniel Bryan winning the briefcase.
Slater is also not afraid to be in those matches where he is clearly not the focus of the match. Slater has been the opponent for both Brodus Clay and Sin Cara in a way to show off the skill of those rising stars. In fact, Slater is one of the few superstars who have been able to have good matches with Sin Cara. Slater was also an opponent of Clay who was one of the first to generate any offense against The Funkasaurus.
Slater is not even afraid to fall to legends and celebrities. Slater took a sucker punch from recording artist Flo Rida at WrestleMania. In the last few weeks, Slater has had to face Vader, blindsided by Roddy Piper and get bloodied by a smashed gold record from Cyndi Lauper. With the egos that pro wrestling can bring on, it is a difficult thing to ask of some superstars to get such a treatment done to them.
Slater is a team player and he looks good in the ring while he does it. Slowly but surely, he is winning people over. It reminds me a lot about another superstar who eventually got a push for himself a year ago. That superstar still has a lot of support from the fans, even if his good fortunes in the ring have run out. That superstar is Zack Ryder. This isn't to say that Slater will have the next revolution, but the tides could be turning for the One Man Rock Band eventually. Nobody goes through such torturous booking without being rewarded.