The WWE's mid card talent deserves a whole lot more respect from those watching WWE programming. I say those watching rather than using the word fans because the term fan is just short for fanatic, and a fanatic will love something its favorite thing, whatever that may be, does.
There are some that are pure WWE fans, there are some enthusiasts, and then there are those that just watch. I would qualify myself as an enthusiast, I like the show and have been watching for over 30 years and rarely complain. But there are those who just watch and then complain and act as arm chair quarterbacks. They have a critique for everything and doubt the business making decisions of the man who's kept a TV show on air longer than anyone.
Being an enthusiast of the show it bothers me to see the WWE's mid card talent constantly being disrespected by other watchers of the show and some that comment here on the site. The most recent uproar against the mid card talent comes from the announcement of the upcoming Money In The Bank pay per view. It was announced that the WWE Championship MITB match will only consist of former WWE champions. This caused a lot of those watchers to complain that the 'young guys' aren't going to get a shot to elevate themselves up.
This to me comes across as disrespectful, the statement implies that those competing at a mid card level really never achieve greatness. On top of that there are constant marks out there who go on about how certain superstars are either never given a shot, or make statements as if it were about time that the particular superstar they enjoy gets put in main event matches.
My usual go to guys in cases where I would like to point out that not everyone who is great becomes main event status are Ricky The Dragon Steamboat and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Two legends who have had some of the best matches in WWE/WWF history and yet neither one of them ever held the world title. But as these are two superstars from the '80s era, I thought I would go through and take a look at the ever loved '90s Attitude Era and see how that fares in this debate.
The '90s too had their greats and one day Hall of Famers who had great matches but were never in contension for the main titles. In the list below I will state that these performers never held the championship, but that will be referring to either the WWE or World Heavyweight championships. They have held titles such as the Intercontinental, The US Title, The European Title or Tag Team Champions but not once did they hold either the WWE or WHC titles.
Mr. Perfect - a superstar who spanned eras and is considered one of the greats of all time never held the championship.
The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith - gained mass notoriety as a tag team champion and held other titles but never the other two.
Jeff Jarrett - Multiple holder of the Intercontinental Championship but had to buy his own company before he could be a world champion.
Goldust - Another wrestler who has spanned generations but never held the championships.
Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, Val Venis, Road Dogg, The Godfather, Shelton Benjamin, Umaga and D'Lo Brown were all great talent, all successful and popular in the WWE never held the championships.
But I suppose the biggest name of the Attitude Era that never held a major championship but earned a giant reputation has to go to Scott Hall/Razor Ramon. He's known for his accomplishments as a Intercontinental Champion and as one of the founders of the NWO. Even in WCW where some could argue that he was used more with main event guys he never held the World Heavyweight Championship.
The WWE is a television show when it all comes down to it, and on a television show their are the leads and the supporting cast. It doesn't make the supporting cast any less valuable for the role that their playing, they do their part and when they do it well they sometimes should stay in that role and keep doing it well. There are those that start in the role of mid card/supporting roles that move up and become the leads. In fact in the WWE you have to work your way up to get to the top.
Guys like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, John Cena, Randy Orton, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Edge, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin all competed at the mid card level but they had that thing at some point that escalated them into a spot to be in the lead role. Usually it involves someone who was in the spot not being there anymore, someone has to leave or step down. Guys like Cena and Orton got as big as they did because guys like The Rock and Stone Cold left the show.
When people who watch the show make comments like its about time Kane got a push, or it's about time they started using Mark Henry like that it seems wrong. Kane and Mark Henry were great in every role they've been in, whether it was the monster that didn't speak and just came out and choked slammed Bob Holly eight times in the ring, or playing the role of Sexual Chocolate and having a love affair with Mae Young. They were great, they were popular and they deserve the respect for doing what they did and the roles they played.
Not every superstar will be the lead of the show, some guys will always be those going for the other belts and working that mid card level. They have to; it's what carries the show from beginning to end. Show them the respect they deserve for the work they're doing.
Be sure to check out all my other articles here on Bleacher Report as well as my stuff over at The BOOM Page, where we cover WWE and other pop culture.