Some Tj Wilson Appreciation.
"You are looking at the number one protege of WWE Hall of Famer, Bret 'Hitman' Hart, his name is Tyson Kidd!"
So proclaimed Natalya on this week's ECW.
While their seemed to be many in the audience whose heads this statement went over, a scattered few rose and applauded in appreciation of the dropped name, Bret Hart, and also of Tyson Kidd.
While it isn't unusual to come across IWC 'smarks' rooting for the heel (apparently, it's cooler than cheering for the face), there is something about the heels in the WWE at the moment; most of them are the better wrestlers.
Or, to be more precise, better workers.
Without doubt, Tyson Kidd is amongst the elite workers in the company.
Despite his boyish good looks and youthful ring name, Wilson is a ring veteran, whose career is now well into double figures. As is always mentioned on TV programming to get him over with the audience, Wilson was trained in the basement of a somewhat well known house in Calgary.
This instantly gives any wrestler a bit of legitimacy and a bit of a 'leg up' with promotors. Wilson himself, however, wasn't content to just play on the fact that his best friend is Stu Hart's grandson, or that he had been training in the dungeon since being a pre-teen.
Wrestling consumes Wilson and, like many of the Harts before him, Wilson began paying his dues in the Wrestling world a long time before the world had heard the name John Cena.
Wilson has wrestled around the globe - fair enough, you say, so have many other wreslters knocking about today. Though they have, a select few have toured Japan and Mexico - two real big rungs up the wrestling ladder - at such a young age.
In addition to wrestling in the countries he has been to, Kidd has sought to develop himself in other ways. As many sports coaches and players will tell you, an athlete develops wider perspective of their game once they (try to) teach it to other, less experienced people.
Kidd has 'guest trained' at many wrestling schools in England, America and Canada, including the well respected and revered Storm Wrestling Academy in his native Calgary.
But what is it that makes him so special? What is the 'it' that he just has?
Firstly, he has a gimmick. On the surface of things, he is another shorter guy who can really work. So many guys who can be tagged with that have been reduced to TV jobbers for the WWE - Jamie Noble, anyone?
But Kidd's gimmick is wrestling gold. He is an adopted Hart. His tag team partner is the son of Davey Boy Smith. Since their beginnings, Wilson and Smith used the Stampede Bulldogs gimmick to generate hype. Now in the WWE, they have the pink and black of the Hart Foundation and the names T Kidd and David Hart Smith, almost identical to the original Bulldogs, The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith.
The importance of a good gimmick cannot be underestimated. At all. How many of you remember The Ringmaster? Exactly. Bet you remember Stone Cold Steve Austin, though, eh?
Now his gimmick is sorted, what separates him from others with a marketable name? Why is he better than Cody Rhodes? Why is he amongst the elite workers?
Being trained in the Hart Dungeon and developing in Japan, it would be perhaps implausible to think anybody wouldn't be an elite worker.
What he has learnt and developed into, however, isn't necessarily simply a Bret Hart with a shaven head and different trunks. Kidd is so rounded as a worker, he may as well be spherical.
Kidd's mat work is solid; he has such a wide array of submission maneuvers and ways of slotting opponents into them, a trademark of the Hart family. This ground attack is complimented nicely with a dazzling array of footwork, perhaps not seen in the WWE since Rob Van Dam, which provides further legimaticy to Kidd's persona, with the amount of UFC and MMA stars out there.
In addition to the (extended) Hart family, Kidd cites Shawn Michaels as an early influence/inspiration on his career and it's easy to spot this with his aerial attack. His WWE finisher, the spring board elbow, is arguably the best elbow drop seen in the company since Michaels' in his mid-90s prime.
Attacking wise, Kidd has it all. But that isn't enough to make it to the elite group of workers. To do that, you have to be unselfish and have the ability to allow your opponent to come over well. Kidd has this.
It's another Hart family trait.
Stampede Wrestling in it's Stu Hart heyday was based upon believable, realistic wrestling. Anybody who worked for Stampede had to be selfless. Even if they always won (and there were a few egos knocking about that meant this was the case), Stu never accepted wrestlers not putting their opponents over during a match.
Some IWC 'smarks' often get this phrase lost in translation, but make no mistake about it, you don't necessarily have to win the match to 'go over'. A relevant case in point; Bret Hart-Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 13.
Who won that match? Bret Hart. Who's career sky rocketed because of that match? Steve Austin's. You're doing well with this history stuff, kids.
A similar, and equally relevant case can be made for the Bret-Davey Boy match at Summerslam 92.
For instance, although Kidd has a fantastic winning record on ECW TV, he rarely 'buries' his opponents (early TV jobbers aside). When he beat Finlay with a few weeks ago, he did so with the help of Finlay's stick with the funny name. Kidd cheated to win. While he won, he needed to cheat to do so, especially relevant considering the manner in which he sold Finlay's attack during the match.
This might seem bread and butter to some people, but it takes real skill to make your opponent look good; some people can mistime things in the ring, or their ego can get in the way and they won't sell something so well. A lot of variables can happen during a match that turn a potentially good match bad.
And I've seen nothing to suggest that they are likely to happen with Kidd.
To wrap up where we are, Kidd has; A gimmick, a real pedigree, a ground offense, an aerial offense and a great work ethic going for him.
Add to this, a realistic look (He is only 5'9 and 195lbs. He would've been considered a midget in the wrestling world had he been 20 years older.), a charisma that enables him to get the marks really wound up (especially being Canadian) and a sneaky, heel manager (who just happens to be a really talented wrestler, too) and you have a future main eventer in the making right in front of your eyes.
There is one last thing I would like to touch upon before calling it a day (or morning), and that is the way he is being booked.
I have been very critical of the WWE in recent times. Still am, in honesty, but I really like the way he is being booked.
Firstly, he is on ECW. Of the three main 'brands', this gets the lowest viewers. This enables him to develop his on screen persona without too much pressure, allowing for any character re-work that he may need.
It also allows him to have good solid 15+ minute matches -highlight a wrestler's strengths, see. His main strength is his in-ring ability.
He developed his name and reputation on the independent scene and in FCW, away from the spotlight. To the casual fan, he is just a young kid, who's talented and may get somewhere. They aren't likely to get bored of seeing him around, as he isn't exactly being overly pushed to the extreme some other second generation stars are.
To the IWC smarks, he is probably their new favourite and they want him to be pushed. Doing it slowly makes them wait more. Almost like you would expect to be done with a big babyface for the marks, the 'E seem to be toying with Kidd's indie scene fans.
This will lead to a gradual push that contines to gather momentum, until he reaches a point where he is THE hottest name in the business. It won't be next year, nor will it probably be the year after, but when it does happen, you will all know about it.
This kid has the whole lot. The total package, you could say, if you wanted to rip off Lex Luger's WCW career.
The old wrestling cliche of 'You can't stop talent' has rarely been truer than when applied to TJ Wilson.
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