Welcome to this week's mailbag, featuring Bull Dempsey as a potential face of the WWE. But Bull couldn't possibly be the face of the WWE right now, could he? In just his first year with the promotion, he's more like the calf.
Newcomer Bull Dempsey seems to have a boom-or-bust ceiling. I feel like he'll either get called up and become a star or won't make it past NXT.
The WWE bringing in Kevin Steen won't help his cause. Steen, as an athletic big man, is a more technically sound version of Dempsey. Having both Steen and Dempsey called up to the main roster seems excessive unless the two were packaged as a tag team, which could be interesting.
The choice between Steen and Dempsey on paper is a mismatch. Steen is a world-traveling wrestling veteran with a built-in fanbase. Dempsey is a more domesticated WWE prospect still trying to find his voice.
Dempsey, however, is fresh clay that WWE can mold into a sports entertainer, while Steen's extended career on the independent scene could make him prone to bad habits.
Fans have been indifferent toward Dempsey until recently, when he began feuding with happy-go-lucky babyface Mojo Rawley. Fans down in NXT have clearly grown weary of Rawley's "stay hype" gimmick. Despite being a heel, fans have rallied behind Dempsey to express their Mojo fatigue.
Dempsey is a serviceable talker, yet his "last of a dying breed" act is unimaginative and needs a bit more fine-tuning. Dempsey is the type of wrestler who would benefit from a manager—not necessarily to talk for him but to act as a handler who makes sure he doesn't destroy everything.
After all, his motto is "destroy everything."
This is always an interesting proposition, and Brock Lesnar was, by far, the most common answer I received. That blows my mind knowing how mercurial Lesnar can be as a real-life monster with a history of conquering before leaving for his next conquest.
It also speaks to the effectiveness of how Lesnar has been promoted on WWE programming as of late. Even jaded fans don't seem to care about his limited-dates contract or his propensity to only take "one fight every so often," according to John Cena.
Despite Lesnar's blockbuster appeal, that's a risk I just cannot take as a promoter. If I could build around any wrestler in today's landscape, it would be Roman Reigns.
I saw (and heard) an unusual amount of women, for a wrestling event, in attendance last week at SummerSlam. The women in my section came unglued when Reigns' music hit—as if John Legend had played the opening notes to "All of Me."
Reigns potentially could have more of a mass appeal than Cena, who, for the record, I would select if this scenario wasn't limited to now and beyond. Reigns wears black and speaks softly, giving him an edge that isn't too squeaky clean for male fans yet makes him more attractive to women than Cena's all-American act.
As a second-generation star, Reigns' respect, admiration and loyalty to the wrestling business is light years ahead of Lesnar's. Reigns also became a father at an early age and had to grow up quickly to raise a child. This could explain why maturity and entitlement issues—which plagued Randy Orton early in his career, as was reported by PWInsider and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc)—have been nonexistent with Reigns.
@ThisIsNasty What in the world is WWE doing with Bray Wyatt? Harper & Rowen as well.— Teddy Couch (@tmcouch93) August 27, 2014
Nothing at the moment. WWE is cyclical, often to its own detriment. Once a superstar is pushed early in his WWE run, there seems to be an inevitable cooling-off period. It was just last week that Bray Wyatt went over Chris Jericho. However, on Monday's Raw, he played the role of SummerSlam Cena while Cena portrayed SummerSlam Lesnar.
It was just last month that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan put on a match-of-the-year candidate against the Usos. Today, however, they find themselves getting beaten up the Big Show and Mark Henry, both of whom were M.I.A. last month.
Whether it's part of a socialistic sharing of the spotlight or to test the patience and obedience of up-and-coming talent, this system is a hindrance to creating stars.
Lesnar is currently the hottest money-drawing monster heel WWE has seen in years. That's because he is given preferential booking. In 2014, Lesnar has won matches most wrestlers would never win while remaining undefeated for the year. It's that type of dedication to a select few stars that separates Lesnar from the likes of Heath Slater.
But if WWE books everybody as disposable talent liable to go on a losing streak to "see how they deal with it," everybody becomes mediocre and the product suffers.
Pro wrestling operates best using a capitalist model. Pick a small handful of promising stars, and use the rest of the roster to get them over. Those select-few stars are the one percent, and when the rich get richer, so does WWE.
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