"Quit Living in the Past": Why Anything "Old" Won't Work Now (Part 2)

Mr. Ashley MorrisAnalyst IDecember 28, 2009


In my humble opinion, pro wrestling will die a gruesome death if the old ECW, nWo, and Attitude Era are brought back, if Sheamus has the rug swept up from under his push, and if TNA continues to allow Hulk Hogan to dominate their programming. Period.

A while back, I crafted an article that talked about how the WWE Divas could benefit from looking back at what made the division successful in the past. Although that particular article didn't receive as many reads as I thought it would, it seems that several faithful B/R members and fans have taken my words to heart in some way, form, or fashion. These fans not only want to take what was successful in the past, they want to relive that past altogether.

That will not work, and will only slowly kill an organization.

While some fans may disagree with the current state of a company's product, the sales from merchandising and the money from sponsors and advertisers do not lie. If a company can stand to make more money with their current product then they will, regardless of how many tirades we may embark upon amongst our ICW brethren. And that is a fact one cannot argue with.

Let's go over some of the things mentioned in the opening paragraph:


The nWo and Sheamus

If one were to give a grade for TNA's work in bringing interest to their company, then they would surely receive a B+ by signing Hall and Waltman. However, a B+ amongst a massive number of Fails does not bring one's track record to an acceptable level. Pro wrestling fans do not celebrate mediocrity.

With the breaking news of Hulk Hogan signing a deal with TNA, rumors have circulated that "The Immortal One" could possibly be bringing in a few of his buddies with him to Orlando, FL.

Word on the street is that Scott "The Bad Guy" Hall has already signed with the company, and Sean "X-Pac" Waltman is not too far behind. With Kevin Nash already in TNA, these rumors have led to speculation that a reformation of the nWo is not too far beyond the realm of possibility.

We all know about Waltman's and Hall's well-documented substance abuse problems, as well as Hall's penchant to miss shows. Without a definite Wellness Policy Program in place, why would Dixie Carter even consider bringing these two men into the fold that could benefit greatly from such programs due to their recent drug and alcohol abuse problems?

Perhaps she did so to satiate Hogan's whims, which may not necessarily be good for TNA, its wrestlers, and her company.

I'm shocked that Dixie Carter would play with the idea of hiring a flight risk in Scott Hall. If you or I don't show up for work consistently we get fired, while Hall drops out of work for whatever reason, disappears off the face of the planet, resurfaces, and instantly gets his job back. I admire Dixie's faith in the man, but her reasoning and logic skills should be scrutinized heavily.

Hulk Hogan is 56-years-old, Scott Hall is 51, Kevin Nash is 50, and Sean Waltman is 37. Collectively, these men have ninety-three years of wrestling experience, and while Waltman is the youngest, Nash is probably in the best shape. Hogan has hip problems and shares horrible knees with Nash, and Hall probably hasn't wrestled in front of a national audience in years and is currently losing a Botox-laced battle with Father Time.

You mean to tell me after all of this, people are actually looking forward to this nWo reunion?

Granted, the mic work and charismatic presence of these men would shoot TNA's ratings into the stratosphere compared to where they are now. But at some point, each of these men will probably be forced to cut tons of backstage promos and skits, as well as perform in the ring. Fans will not support TNA for pushing this aging, worn down reiteration of the nWo under the guise of "helping the younger talent."

Booker T said the same thing when he entered into TNA. At that point in his career, he was interested in working a lighter schedule and helping boost the new stars into the spotlight.

It was this type of ethic that won him a spot in the Main Event Mafia, which gave him way more screen time and storylines than a lot of the younger talent he desired to help. Booker T's tenure reportedly ended with TNA when he refused to put over Matt Morgan...a much younger talent.

While it can be debated where Booker T refused to put over Morgan (TV versus PPV), the fact is that Booker refused to put a much younger talent over, and Booker T was one of the nicer and more well-respected older wrestlers in the TNA locker room. If Booker T refused to put over someone, you think Hogan and the nWo will do so too?

Hogan wouldn't put over Billy Kidman, so there's no way that I can believe he would do anything for Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, The MCMGs, Daniels, Desmond Wolfe, Amazing Red, The British Invasion, Beer Money Inc., or the Knockouts if he manages to get his nWo crew in TNA. While the names bring notoriety to the company, they also bring a laundry list of issues that will only result in TNA resembling WCW, circa 2000.

A similar phenomenon is happening in the WWE regarding the WWE Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus. Most fans dislike the fact that Sheamus is the WWE Champ without beating quality opponents or having "paid his dues."

I disagree with this.

Take Brock "The Next Big Thing" Lesnar for example. A collegiate wrestling standout, Lesnar entered the WWE soon after college in 2000 and formed a tag team with Shelton Benjamin in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). Lesnar went on to debut on RAW two years later in March 2002 by entering through the crowd and beating up Maven, Al Snow, and Spike Dudley. Then he began a feud with The Hardy Boyz.

Lesnar went from there to win the King of the Ring Tournament by defeating RVD, thus garnering him a shot at the WWE Undisputed Title. Lesnar then defeated The Rock for the Undisputed Title in August 2002 at Summerslam. This was five months after his debut on WWE television.

Sheamus wrestled all over Europe from 2002-2007, and began with the WWE in 2007 at Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He made his debut on ECW two years later in June 2009, where he feuded with with Goldust and Shelton Benjamin.

Sheamus was then unceremoniously drafted to RAW, where he destroyed Jamie Noble, Jerry Lawler, a few jobbers, and eventually made his PPV debut at Survivor Series where his team defeated the team of John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Evan Bourne, and Shelton Benjamin.

Sheamus then won the "Break Through Battle Royal" the next night on RAW, awarding him a shot at John Cena's WWE Heavyweight Championship at the TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs PPV. Sheamus won the Heavyweight Championship that night in December 2009, a mere six months after his WWE television debut.

Sheamus' rise to the top is very similar to Brock Lesnar's, yet no one will dare say that Lesnar was undeserving of the Undisputed Heavyweight Title he won only five months after his debut. People will not complain about how Lesnar ran through The Hardy Boyz before facing the biggest name in pro wrestling at that time (The Rock). However, Sheamus did all of the same things, and fans are not high on him at all.

Our desire to hold on to the past is a gift and a curse for Sheamus. It is a curse because the fans are unwilling to support Sheamus, seeing as they're use to watching stars spend years and years struggling to get to that main event status.

These fans are quick to point out Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and HHH all clawed their way to the top before getting to hold a Heavyweight Championship. However, these fans rarely mention Brock Lesnar's rise to fame, nor will they mention the fact that superstars such as Carlito and Santino Marella won championships on the nights of their television debuts.

The end results of those reigns are inconsequential. If you're mad that Sheamus hasn't done anything to deserve a title, then you have to also be mad at Lesnar, Carlito, and Santino.

Our desire to hold on to the past is a gift for Sheamus because the dislike we have for him gives the WWE a reason to keep him a champion until the Royal Rumble PPV. Again, if the WWE is interested in building stars, which include faces and heels, for the next generation of wrestling fans, a lot of time and money will have to be spent on making Sheamus a character that is hated by everyone.

No matter how pissed off you are at him winning and holding the title, we all know that you'll be watching up until the next PPV just so you can say "I'm glad he lost to [insert superstar here]."

It is better for Sheamus to be hated than to receive no crowd reaction at all. Jack Swagger, in some fan opinions, deserves to be the heel to John Cena's face. However, Swagger gets very little crowd reaction nowadays, where as Sheamus can at least get the kid and mother demographic booing at him. Remember that it's all about money, and no one will pay money to see Swagger versus Cena at the Royal Rumble.

There are numerous speculations as to why and how Sheamus received his push over a number of other highly talented superstars, but the main reason the WWE is pushing him is probably because they need a short-term answer to a long-term issue.

As much as we love our favorite athletes, we all wait to see some of the new faces from FCW and other organizations make their debut on WWE television, and not every athlete will take the same path to the top, and it's best for the business if they didn't.

I'll use MVP as a perfect example. MVP was a "fan favorite" heel on Smackdown before losing several matches back to back. When he finally won a match, he was shipped over to RAW and became a face. His first night there, he had a good showing with Randy Orton in a promo and a match. But, the crowd's response to him by that time was very lukewarm.

Can we fans wait two-three more years for the 36-year-old MVP to get his shot at the big time? Mind you, he debuted three years ago in 2006 and fans are already pissed off that he hasn't had a run with the title, but we expect Sheamus to go at least as long as Eddie Guerrero (six years) before being a respected main event superstar?

And who says Sheamus will stay at this main event spot? In another contributor's article, I commented that I'd hate to see Kofi Kingston pushed back to an Evan Bourne-like push once his feud was over, as many others argued vehemently that Kingston didn't "deserve" to be in the ring with a superstar or Orton's caliber.

The very next night on RAW, after Kingston lost to Orton at the TLC PPV, Kingston tagged with Evan Bourne in a losing effort against Legacy, a tag team that hasn't been on fire since they went toe-to-toe with Degeneration X.

Sheamus could easily end up in the same boat as Kofi Kingston, a position where he can spend quality time dominating the upper mid-card before being thrust back into main event status. Or, he could slip into character development hell with Vladimir Kozlov and fade from our collective memory altogether.

If that happens, fans will only continue to complain that the same superstars main event the PPVs and TV shows, and we’re back to square one. That would be far worse for the company than letting Sheamus hold the title for a few months.

The bottom line is that both the WWE and TNA have to do what is profitable for the company. While seeing the nWo reunite in TNA sounds like a great idea, and while stripping Sheamus of his WWE Heavyweight Championship tonight sounds like a wonderful plan, both these decisions are terrible when it comes to making money in the long term.

Again, the business is a business that is out to make money, and if what we want and desire does not equal profits for a company, then it would be best if that company continued to do what they do best while we simply strap ourselves in for the ride...

This is Part 2 in a short series of articles that would have been extremely too long for you to read in one sitting. Part 3 will be up shortly.


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