The current top dogs of the WWE have given the wrestling fans decades of memories via great in ring bouts. It goes without question that these men have come to be loved by all within the IWC as well as arenas around the world. As great as they have been throughout the years, mounting injuries and years of taking bumps on the unforgiving canvas that is the squared circle have taken a toll on their storied careers. With some contemplating retirement and those that have already exercised that option, we look to the younger generation to continue to carry the torch of the WWE into the future.
This article will focus on those I believe will replace the great main event wrestlers. Although each young superstar is developing into their own character, there are still similar characteristics that resemble the future hall of famers of the current generation.
Evan Bourne ---> Rey Mysterio
Recently we have seen this lower midcarder go from being fed to the Irish powerhouse Sheamus and The All American American (American) Jack Swagger in 2-3 min squash matches to being elevated in the main event with a good rub from John Cena. In the weeks following, the WWE continued to push Evan with a DQ win against veteran Chris Jericho. For a while now, I have been wanting this young wrestler to get pushed based squarely on his in ring ability; the kid can work. The fans have been responding well to him giving him tons of face heat from the time his song hits upon entering the ring to the time he leaves with his hand raised in victory after performing a stunning Air Bourne Shooting Star Press. Similar to Rey, what he lacks in size, he makes up for in his flashy, in ring move-set.
Here's where he shares the similarities with one of his mentors Rey Mysterio.
Both are great in ring workers. They both can fly from the top rope, are able to perform quick in ring spots and possess green mic skills. Anytime they are in the ring they always put on a show. Currently, with the constant push they are giving Evan “Air” Bourne, it looks as if there will be more memorable matches for this kid to put on.
Rey Mysterio has had constant nagging knee injuries, being in and out of surgery multiple times. Even today, Rey reframes from taking care of a much needed surgery that has been giving him trouble well before Wrestlemania 26. With every surgery performed on this superstar comes the cost of a much shorter career in the business. In recent interview, Rey has spoken openly about his timetable of when to call it quits, giving a possible two the three year window. If WWE is planning to replace this superstar, Evan seems like the obvious choice. With consistent improvement and face time in the ring to prove he can hang with the big boys, Evan Bourne will be the perfect fit to replace this future legend.
The Miz ---> Chris Jericho
The self proclaimed “awesome” wrestler and the man who claims that he is the “best in the world” at what he does; already, the similarities in attitude and charisma are there.
The Miz has had a great story in his development in becoming a rising star in the WWE. A man who once stumbled over promos, appearing forgetful and nervous on stage during the WWE Diva search has hit the restart button on his career, making a complete 180. He has taken the criticism and harsh words from peers and turned it into the fire that has been his current career. The current United States Champion is fire on the mic. He is able to control the emotions and attention of the crowd with ease. Like Jericho, he is able to garner heel heat with speeches that get under the skin of the fans with promos centered around a sense of entitlement. His annoying persona (annoying in a good way) make the kiddies hate him and smirks of the WWE love and appreciate him. Already in his young career, he has been crowned United States Champion twice and Unified Tag Champion three times, being the only superstar to hold both titles at once. He has been given the opportunity to be a pro to a rookie on WWE's new show NXT for not one but two seasons now which shows how fast this young superstar has developed.
Chris Jericho is also a decorated champion: A WWE Champion, three time World Heavyweight Champion, nine time IC Champion, six time WWE Tag Team Champion (twice undisputed and four times Tag Team Champion) and a European Champion (when it existed). Looking back on his accomplishments, he's done it all. With his involvement in his band Fozzy (oh how Vince loves when superstars have outside interests) and current gig hosting ABCs Downfall, there have been constant questions of how much longer Jericho may stay with the WWE. In his latter project of hosting the game show, to the disapproval of WWE management, it has currently thrown Jericho into a jobber role on MNR. Although he is one of the few veterans who is adamant about putting over younger stars, this role is below the future Hall of Famer.
With the brief pairing of Jericho and Miz, a dream of mine that has been fulfilled, it seems as though the proverbial torch has been passed to the young Miz to carry on into the next generation. Although these are huge shoes to fill, I am confident that the future will be “awesome” for this future WWE Champion.
John Morrison ---> Shawn Michaels
Based on persona alone, these two are a lot alike. They both are draped in flashy, sequin outfits, symbolize sex appeal and are greeted by screaming fans, the majority being of the female demographic. The Friday Night (or Monday Night) Delight has proved that he can perform in big matches in the squared circle and when given ample time can show off for the crowd with an array of flashy moves. What makes him special is that his move-set, similar to Michaels, if full of OMG moments. He is innovated, performs with lots of energy and always gives the fans their money's worth. He is still green on the mic and unlike other superstars, needs practice in playing up his character voice rather than using his natural voice. With a push in his future and constant improvement in the ring, he will become a future main eventer and WHC.
Although they share some similarities, no one, and I mean no one can do it like HBK. It does not matter how many DVD compilations are put out to capture his best matches, there aren't enough disks to capture the greatness of this natural born performer. All the Wrestlemania matches, as well as the majority of the matches on Raw, were memorable if not pure gold. He can make anyone look like a million bucks in the ring, from Big Show to Rey Mysterio. He is one of the greatest storytellers in the ring especially after the blessing in disguise that was his back injury that had him out of action for over four years. His mic skills are very impressive, whether heel or face, he is able to play both roles to perfection. In his facial expressions alone, he can create an emotional response from the audience and pull them into any storyline he is put into.
It is not fair to compare the two apples to apples but there are still similarities between them. There is only one Shawn Michaels and that will never change. However, with constant development as well as being put up against the best veteran heels (or possibly faces) in the business, Jomo will become a well rounded wrestler in the years to come.
Sheamus ---> HHH
It is no secret that HHH has taken young Sheamus under his wing, giving him his blessing to become the next big heel superstar in the WWE. With a great showing at Wrestlemania 26, the young wrestler Sheamus has proven that he belongs on the same stage as the current main eventers. With matches and feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton, as well as another title shot at Fatal Four, it is obvious that seeing Sheamus in the main event, love him or hate him, is going to be a reoccurring image for years to come. Sheamus has the tools to become a future big time heel within the company: a monster like persona that scares the little children in the audience, good in ring style, a constantly developing skill on the mic, and the evil villain foil for John “Super” Cena as well as other big name face superstars. Similar to HHH, back in his prime, Sheamus has been developed to be dominant in the ring, constantly on the offensive. His biggest match of his career at Wrestlemania 26 showcased this pattern as he dominated HHH for most of the match, looking strong in defeat. Oh yes and let's not forget about the new lead pipe that Sheamus carries around to take out his victims similar to that of HHH's sledgehammer.
HHH, The Game, The Cerebral Assassin. Whatever you want to call him, there's one name that will remain for all that have followed his career over the decades: legend. He has proven time and again that he is “that damn good” with many classic encounters with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, John Cena, and many more. The thirteen time WWE Champion has done it all in his career. He has completed the grand slam, was a part of many factions that have pushed future WWE Champions and superstars, has been a staple in the majority of the various WWE eras, and has and still to this day continues to put on many memorable matches. Over the years, he has been the victim of many serious injuries, nameable, his left and right quad tears. Although he has come back full force from said injuries, The King of Kings has shown signs of slowing down. He still gives his best when in the ring yet he is not the same wrestler he once was post career threatening injuries. He has a love for the business that rivals that of many within the company yet the question remains: How much longer can HHH continue on?
After the destruction (kayfabe) of HHH, it is evident that Sheamus has been chosen to fill the void HHH will leave once he has decided to hang up the boots. Whether or not Sheamus continues to grow and become a household name as a heel superstar is in his hands.
Cody Rhodes ---> Dustin Rhodes (Goldust)
Being a tag partner with Ted DiBiase early in his career helped to give this young superstar some exposure as a heel character within the WWE. Putting him with a top name superstar like Randy Orton in the heel faction Legacy has helped to propel the career of Cody Rhodes as a future top name heel if given the time and cohesive storylines to prove his growth. Post break up of the faction, with Cody receiving the brunt of the destruction due to a punt to the head from Orton, Cody has continued to show promise of a strong future with his developing in ring style. Although he has yet to be featured in a storyline let alone matches currently on Smackdown, he has been given the opportunity to be a coach for the second season of NXT. Young superstars like him and The Miz given the title of “pro” shows the push they plan to give this third generation superstar promising. He has become more comfortable on the mic; it would still be nice if the majority of his promos were not scripted, word for word, to see what the kid has to offer with free range. I believe that with enough exposure and time in the ring, as well as letting the kid go on the mic, he will develop an original persona and personality that will allow him to dive out of Randy Orton's shadow.
Dustin Rhodes, by far, has been one of the greatest and most underrated workers in the WWE to date. He shined in the 90s with his innovative (and sometimes controversial) in ring style. The second generation star has shown for over a decade that he can hang with any wrestler while also making them shine, highlighting their abilities. A recent match on WWE Superstars pinning Chris Jericho with Dustin Rhodes (Goldust), he proved that after a decade of wrestling in the squared circle at his age, he's still got it. He was always memorable in the ring and on the mic as either a heel or face. The multiple IC Champion has wrestled all over the world and has proven his craft in various countries overseas. The torch from the WWE Hall of Famer and legendary Dusty Rhodes was handed to Dustin and he ran with it, cementing his career in the halls of wrestling history. I believe that it is Dustin's time to hand the torch down to Cody to continue his “Legacy.”
There has been much talk from Dustin's end of his impending retirement. However, there is one more thing he would like to accomplish before he calls it quits: one match on a big stage with his younger brother Cody. I for one, feel this match would be the handing of the torch to the next generation. Not only that, it would showcase the full potential of both superstars given it would be Dustin's swan song and Cody's biggest opportunity to shine. A brother vs brother program would work wonders for Cody's career. Although there aren't many similarities between the two as far as in ring style and persona go, Cody will be the one to carry on the Rhodes name into the next generation.
Until next time....
So there you have it. These are, in my opinion, the individuals that share similarities with the current legends and main eventers to surpass them going forward into the future. What do you guys think? Was there anyone I missed on this list? Also, this is my first article written for BR so please feel free to give constructive criticism about the article and content. Thanks for reading people.