Ryding From the Heels: Is It Time to Face the Standard?

AkDSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2009

I tuned into ECW this week as I do regularly and it was quite the show. The show began with the Abraham Washington show. Usually the show takes place half way into ECW, but opening the show was a bit weird to me.

I'm sure many weren't happy with the AW show starting of ECW, as he's not the toast of town, though I think he's decent.

Abe played the crowd and did the usual plugging of his show as he always does before praising and insulting the city, which was Long Island, N.Y.

Before he could waste anymore of ECW's limited hour, Zack Ryder came out to the show, which was on the stage once again. It seems as if the big boys are scheduling Abe's show every two weeks, but that appears to be for the greater good.

The Long Island native made himself comfortable by sitting on the couch mic in hand as well as placing his feet on the coffee table. Washington didn't seem to take it lightly and asked Ryder what the hell he was thinking.

"Are you out of your damn mind?!"

Washington wanted to know why Ryder interrupted his show. The woo woo woo guy went on to shout out his girlfriend and stated that he's the best thing about Long Island.

The back and forth interaction between Abe and Ryder was interesting as Washington played both hands as a face and as a heel during his show tonight.

He went on to insult Ryder comparing him to Grimace, a fictional McDonald's character. Ryder quickly lost control in the conversation as Washington began to cut him off and firmly stamped that Shelton Benjamin was supposed to be the guest on the show. The annoying Washington then shifted back into a heel after Ryder downplayed Benjamin.

Ryder was surprised that Benjamin was still around and claimed he was may more entertaining than him anyway.

Abe Washington followed up with agreeing with Ryder's claims and said he didn't even want Benjamin on his show, but GM Tiffany ordered him to.

Shelton Benjamin took finally appeared after Abe took a shot at the gold standard mocking his theme song. I fixed my eyes on the television as I realized this was a vital moment.

Last week when Benjamin told Tiffany he'll show her entertaining I had a feeling in my gut and that feeling had returned. With Abe playing the tweener to heel and Ryder playing the heel, I assumed it was safe to declare Shelton Benjamin as a face. 

Could it be?

How long as it been?

Benjamin hasn't played a face since 2004 when he received his first Intercontinental title on RAW and feuded with the then dominating heel faction Evolution.

The gold standard proceeded to take on both Ryder and Washington as he retaliated with a PG vibe. Instead of everyone's favorite four letter F-word we were treated with Smurf as a substitute.

Everyone remembers the Smurfs right?

You know, the little blue fellas.

Just in case we forgot or never knew who or what they were in the first place Benjamin painted the picture. He spoke of the environment including mushrooms, which he claimed Ryder had too many of.

I really didn't know what to gather from all this, I wondered if this was a temporary thing or if Benjamin is in the inception of face turn. Dreamer and Christian are pretty much the only faces on the brand as Yoshi Tatsu has mysteriously disappeared despite the fact that he was over.

Sheamus, Ryder, Kozlov, Jackson, Burchill, Regal, and Washington round out the heels, so I wouldn't rule the possibility out. Benjamin defended himself and didn't believe that Ryder was more entertaining than him.

He told Ryder to smurf the hell up as well as telling Abe to go smurf himself on his smurfed-up show.

Benjamin sound angry didn't he? Why did he have to use smurfs?

The gold standard continued by saying he also gave a shout out to Ryder's girlfriend and added that everyone else as well. I quickly reminisced on Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon moments because that insult had those two written all over it.

Washington shifted once more and responded by asking Ryder if he could hook a brother up since every one seems to give shout outs to Ryder's girlfriend.

That action resulted in the two men getting face to face, which resulted in Washington trying to regain attention to himself and regain order on his show.

Abe wanted both of them to sing after making a reference to American Idol, he wanted to see which of two is more entertaining. He joined Ryder's side yet again and gave him the benefit of singing first and choosing the song that he and Benjamin must sing.

If I remember correctly the song was "Only Wanna Be With You", by Hootie and the Blowfish. Ryder dedicated the song to his girlfriend, but forgot the words a couple of seconds into the song.

I put my hand to my head and feared for Benjamin on the mic, but heads were turned. In the midst of a fan-like pandering verbal face retaliation Shelton Benjamin sung well.

Benjamin can sing?!

Not too shabby.

He easily out sang Ryder and sang well to boot, Ryder's plan backfired and he attacked Benjamin from behind. He stomped him out on the ramp while trash talking and Benjamin countered in a rage.

He proceeded to nail hits on Ryder as the brawl spilled up the stage right back to Abe's set. Benjamin tossed Ryder over the couch and went to finish the job, but Ryder ran away.

The gold standard got the best of Ryder and the question on everyone's mind is if he's a face or not. The segment was decent overall and got better once the segment began focusing on Benjamin and Ryder.

I like Abe, but he was just wasting time tonight though he threw in some good lines. Benjamin hasn't been the been the dastardly deed doer heel he was supposed to be, so turning him face wouldn't be hard if that is what they're shooting for.

The last face turns haven't been so successful and I've began to wonder the shape of the path that Benjamin's face turn will have if he is turning.


  • After a long losing streak he gained the sympathy of the crowd.
  • He regained the U.S title from Shelton Benjamin
  • Lost cocky attitude
  • Began to use "ballin'" more than ever
  • Was actually considered a possible future main eventer star
  • Had program with Sherri Shepherd from The View which included taking her to prom and the BET awards
  • Traded to RAW
  • Lost steam and hype
  • Placed in mid card 
  • Push failed

Mark Henry

  • Ditched Tony Atlas
  • Drafted to RAW
  • Pinned WWE champ Randy Orton
  • Briefly battled Chris Jericho
  • Mark Swoggle, the world's strongest leprechaun
  • Push failed...could you even it call it one?

John Morrison is the only one who survived the face push...IF you look at it a certain way. Morrison has racked up multiple victories against Shelton Benjamin and former World Heavyweight champion CM Punk as well as just recently having a good match against current World Heavyweight champion CM Punk.

There is no doubt that Morrison has put on great matches recently, but at the cost of his personality? Long gone are the cocky Morrison and we're supplied with one who doesn't talk as much and just panders to the fans...or does he?

Morrison is a face, but hasn't really shown that he is. This might just work for Benjamin as he isn't needed to talk much, but does that mean he'll eventually praise the fans like MVP and Cena?

The average face is what I'm getting at. I wonder if Benjamin can succeed as an average face. If history tells anything then he can, but the land of extreme's landscape would drastically change as such a change will alter the ECW title picture itself.

Ryder and Benjamin could be heading for a collision since Ryder doesn't like to be bested by anyone, especially the way Benjamin did.

It at least appears that WWE is attempting to do something with Benjamin in second ECW stint and he didn't let down on Abe's show.

His lack of personality was called out numerous times by Ryder and Washington, he could be on track to getting one. It still might be premature to assume anything, but if so are ready to face the standard?


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