Week after week, I watch RAW and Smackdown. Sometimes I even catch ECW. It's obvious that WWE is full of talent, but I watch and I watch, and I see wrestlers just stuck in the same place. I don't get it. There are great wrestlers just in "limbo", in one spot of time and space.
WWE has an ocean of talent. OK, maybe it's not that deep, but it's definitely no shallow pond.
Superstars make money, correct? But to make a superstar, WWE must develop one: They must create a character and meticulously form a gimmick for the star.
The rest has to be done by the subject. They must posses in-ring abilities, or at least look like they do.
If you can't wrestle that well, you must try to sell that you can. Car salesmen do that.
At times they aren't exactly sure the car that they are trying to convince you to buy is even good at all. They might not even know a damn thing about automobiles, but they look like they do. It's all about doing your job.
Another thing that must be done by the wrestler: He's got to use the mic. WWE may have let the mic value decrease a little because there are superstars on the top card who can't use it for beans (read: Jeff Hardy). If mic skills weighed appropriately on one's superstar status, then we would be seeing a whole lot more of Chris Jericho.
I love RAW and Smackdown, but sometimes I feel like I'm seeing the same show, just slightly remixed.
On RAW, it's like the twilight zone. I see Priceless (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiease, Jr.) wrestle Cryme Tyme, and in the same show, Regal and CM Punk go one-on-one.
The next week, the same two matches occur. And the following week, Priceless teams with Regal to face CM Punk and Cryme Tyme in a six-man tag.
Seems familiar? That's what it feels like to me, to say the least.
I have nothing against those superstars, as they are all good talent, but could they be a bit more developed?
Cryme Tyme loses a lot. Once in a blue moon, they do win; but rumor has it that Creative isn't satisfied with them (Shad more specifically). Why not try giving them a push and see what happens?
Smackdown has Carlito and Primo Colon as its tag champions. Cryme Tyme, in my eyes, is a better team than them. They just wrestle better.
Allow me to digress a moment: I don't know what became of Carlito. He once was a great, apple-seed-spitting character, and he was really good. His merchandise was selling as well. I don't know why WWE demoted him.
Well, he did have problems backstage.
But getting back to Cryme Tyme, they have to at least try to push them. Sometimes you have to take risks to get rewards, right? Jeff Hardy has been doing that for years, and he finally got his WWE championship run, albeit a very short one.
I respect Hardy for all of the stunts he has done over the years, but did he deserve that title run? I think he did; he worked hard. But in the end, taking it away from him was probably a smart move by the WWE.
I wonder who really runs things around here. Is it Vince? Creative? The fans? The wrestlers?
Vince has some input with Creative, and so do some superstars. I believe the fans have some say too. Some would say Hardy's reign was a result of his popularity.
So is it popularity that makes you a top star, then? Or is it the gimmick?
Undertaker remains one of the most beloved wrestlers today. Is this about being a top superstar? Or just being utilized properly? Maybe some of both.
I'm a Shelton Benjamin fan. And you may think I'm just playing favorites, but I believe Shelton is a great wrestler. He's the closest of everyone to Kurt Angle in terms of in-ring abilities.
His athleticism is freakish, yet he's in quicksand. He's just not going anywhere.
It's even worse when you factor in that he's the U.S. champion. How are you a champion and you're tossed aside like use tissue? When was the last time he defended the belt?
WWE has a little thing called the "doghouse". Superstars are considered to be in the doghouse when they are punished. These days, punishment is the result of either behind-the-scenes conflicts or violations of WWE's Wellness Drug Policy. Yet some superstars are indirectly put in the doghouse.
Is WWE aware of this? Shelton is in there, unfortunately. His "gold-standard" gimmick isn't the greatest, and his mic skills aren't on par, so he gets thrown in. It's puzzling, but I've tried to create some equations and inegualities to explain it:
In-ring ablities < Popularity
Mic skills < Popularity
In-ring abilities + gimmick = popularity
Mic skills = Air time promos & segments
In-ring abilities = jobbing to someone
In-ring abilities OR mic skills + conflict = doghouse
No major storyline = automatic jobbing
Wellness Drug Policy violation = doghouse
Popularity + in-ring abilities = jobbing to someone
Anything + being big = automatic jobbing
No gimmick = jobbing & horrible segments (see: Big Show, Khali)
Detailed gimmick = limited stroryline (See: JBL without HBK feud)
Backstage favoritism = partial Creative control
I'm still not sure exactly how to quantify all this. I tried to classify superstars using these formulas and theories; for example, Kofi is popular and has in-ring abilities. He was used as a stepping stone for Edge to capture another world title. I was excited that Edge won the belt and I like his character. So I never thought how the match would have went if Kofi was actually in it. Did he know he was going to be "taken out" by Edge?
I only imagine Kofi elated to be in his first PPV main event. He was popular, so I understood him beating Kane for the spot in the match. WWE is famous for changing plans at the last minute. How would Kofi feel if WWE told him that he had to be taken out by Edge at the last minute?
He'd probably be bummed out, and would just watch the match (that he was supposed to be in) backstage.
I was never a fan of CM Punk being World Heavyweight Champion, but he was used as a pawn. The WWE draft left RAW without a world champion, so CM Punk cashed in his "Money in the Bank" on Edge in a RAW match after Batista left him flat on his back.
Punk was eventually taken out at Unforgiven by Randy Orton, who was still injured and didn't even became champion that night. But Punk was popular and could wrestle, so what was the point of that?
Chris Jericho was probably the most-deserving world champion in recent memory. As much as I love Edge and Orton, the man's a true heel. His mic skills are superb, and he can wrestle as well. He won Superstar of the Year in 2008, yet he's out of the Wrestlemania Main Event. It looks like he's on course to job to a legend at the 25th anniversary.
Smackdown seems to have finally come around to MVP. He is a great talent and possesses good mic and wrestling skills.
But what about Kennedy? He has been given pushes in the past, but they came to a halt due to injuries. I hope he gets another one, as he is very talented.
Big Show, Khali and the rest of the big men have turned into jobbers. They appear as this unstoppable force, yet then are taken down; it's inevitable.
JBL has recently lost his feud. That was the only feud that worked with his gimmick, so what is he going to do now? Hire someone else for "Layfield Energy?"
I hardly want to go into the wasteland that is ECW, but I'll touch on some superstars.
First there is Tommy Dreamer. What is WWE doing to this poor man? When was the last time he won a match? I can trace his streak all the way back to the feud between the ECW originals and the New Breed.
His gimmick is a washed-up legend on his last days? I don't even know what that is, but how much longer will he be unused by Creative?
There's also Christian. He's back, but what's in store for him? I thought I would watch ECW more often, but I still can't, even with him on it.
Finlay runs around with Hornswoggle, and Mark Henry hasn't done anything since he lost the title.
The rest of the roster consists of unknowns. Where is the Boogeyman?
What is WWE doing with their talent? Hopefully things will change, but for now, this is what we're stuck with.