Übermensch: WWE's Most Powerful Problem
Übermensch: Commonly understood as “Over-man” or “Super-man”; referent to a superior form of human species which transcends any common conception of the aforementioned.
No, the definition presented above does not refer specifically to John Thuganomics Cena; he’s only the tip of the iceberg, thus becoming IWC’s prime victim.
The term übermensch will be used here to acknowledge a cast of WWE superstars whose booking has been inconveniently strong for a long time; so strong that they have reached a point of semi-godly (and in some cases, truly godly) status in the ring; hence, they are pretty much untouchable most times.
John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, Batista, Randy Orton, Edge, and, lately, (in some way), Rey Misterio and Big Show, are the most recent group of übermensch to storm a WWE ring.
Whether it has to do with political power, merchandise sales or mere management favoritism, this guys are (and in Batista’s case, were) unstoppable forces comfortably established in a semi-empty main event scene….which posses a huge issue considering “the winds of change” are (supposedly) blowing right now in WWE.
We can trace the übermensch phenomenon back to Hulk Hogan’s reign in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s; certainly, some wrestlers were booked strongly in ages prior to Hogan (when the term “champion” was actually used with the full force of its definition), but the Hulkster’s case is fresh and familiar for most of us, whether we lived it or not.
Hulk Hogan, WWE’s unstoppable force back then; a modern day superhero: real, tangible, reachable, available, and, most importantly, a part of us, the people.
If the company wanted to transcend beyond the usual wrestling crowd, the answer relied on making this man superior, transforming him into an übermensch.
And so it was done. Hogan rushed through competition; very few superstars could actually pose a real threat to Hogan’s reign as champion.
It took another natural übermensch to finally beat Hogan: The Ultimate Warrior…which leads us to how this whole “booking an übermensch” dynamic works in present day WWE.
Let’s narrow it down to a single phrase: only an übermensch can beat another übermensch cleanly.
The statement written above reached “law status” in recent WWE memory. The only way any superstar named before in this piece could be (honestly) pinned or forced into submission was through direct confrontation with other top-of-the-card players; heel/face status is irrelevant (today morally driven superstars are favored by PG, though).
What’s relevant about this?
“The winds of change are blowing”; 2010 promised the rise of young, talented wrestlers starving for glory; up-and-coming WWE superstars need a starting point; whether such is the low-card, mid-card or upper mid-card (because no inexperienced, young stud earns immediate main event status for signing a contract) is irrelevant, because all of them are affected by the übermensch phenomenon.
How can a young individual rise to main event status when the gate is guarded by a crop of veterans who’s booking has granted them supernatural strength, resilience, technique and/ or in-ring knowledge?
Recently, through cheap wins (outside interference, distractions, masterful craftiness, MITB, you name it), yet none of them grants a solidified status at the top; Sheamus and Jack Swagger are prime examples of failed main event leaps through cheap victories.
As a result, the main event landscape has remained relatively unchanged for the last four years; it has been constantly dominated by an übermensch VS. übermensch picture, because wrestling matches are not supposed to be predictable.
Hence, WWE rarely books upper mid-carder VS megastar/main-event-wrestler at big events (namely PPV’s) because we all know what would happen due to how the company manages the cream of their crop.
Rarely is a mortal, average man handed an opportunity to challenge and beat a member of the superior crop; if a victory does happen, it took place, most probably, due to major strokes of luck combined with cheap tactics, involvement of a large group of people and/or, usually, another übermensch’s participation in the match.
Thus, such victories are controversial, almost useless to sell any individual as a legit competitor and future main event wrestler.
Through this means, WWE “progresses” a young character without taking any risk, because gods are not supposed to bleed when fighting pitiful, mortal men. Why would any of those übermensch look weak?
Yet when the young stud, now a “progressed” character, inevitably faces a main event talent once more, hopes for a clean victory (or any kind of victory) are low, if not reduced to zero.
That’s why newbie champions can’t hold the belt for long (Hardy, Swagger, Edge) and/or defend it on live TV constantly against mid-card/low card talents (Sheamus, Miz); if they do hold their belts for a relatively long period of time and defend it against big names, well, the story has been told in the text.
WWE can’t establish new main event talent/champions only through victories over fellow mid-carders; if a World Champion can successfully defend the belt against mid-carders only, then he’s one of them too; main event talents can go at it with anyone.
What to do?
Lately it seems the company is trying to solve the problem through the slow rise of some very promising young stars like Alberto del Rio, Sheamus and Wade Barrett, though, in my view, only Wade is being progressively built into a possible threat to any übermensch by becoming one himself.
But that’s not enough. WWE’s top crop is still being heavily protected. This practice must stop.
All of them are veterans; in the group mentioned at the beginning of this article, only Randy Orton and John Cena can still be considered young superstars; the others are reaching wrestling senility or will be close enough soon.
This is the perfect excuse to bring them down; they’re growing old, the company is being invaded by younger, faster, stronger competitors starving for glory.
“But the veterans have an edge: experience.” Bullshit! Ask Ric Flair how experience saved him from Kenny Dykstra.
WWE has to act soon before the inevitable happens: all of their übermensch will grow older until they retire or can barely wrestle, thus losing any sort of credibility as competitors.
Their main event scene will be full of un-established superstars who had to gain credibility (none) by beating old men or never had such opportunity because all of the übermensch left, without a single scratch, in all their glory, before anyone had a chance to prove themselves worthy.
Thanks for reading.
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