WWE: Why We Shouldn't Worry About DiBiase Jr. and Another Mid-Card Limbo Champ
On October 18, 2010, I posted an article about NXT, in which I pointed out how great a move it was for WWE to be nurturing a crop of new faces and rookies, because in doing so they had a chance to reestablish an important hierarchy that had been lost.
If you like, check out that article here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/474721-wwe-nxt-a-lost-chance-to-maintain-superstars-much-needed-momentum
Incidentally, this isn't meant as a response to Amsterdam's article on DiBiase, seen here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/602229-priceless-has-the-career-of-ted-dibase-jr-hit-rock-bottom It's more relating to progressing thoughts from my own article.
Anyway, by hierarchy, I mean the separation between "superstars" and "jobbers," or in other words, the unspoken and yet somehow confirmed "ranking system" that set the "most deserving" wrestlers apart from the ones "who weren't going to make it."
So far, we've seen some of the effects of this phenomenon.
For instance, Alex Riley has competed on Raw against guys like Randy Orton and John Cena, and in every one of those encounters, Orton and Cena have come out looking strong and powerful, while Riley, still a newbie forcing to pay his dues, takes a fall that he can easily afford.
The star comes out on top while the rookie shows some of his stuff and takes bumps as part of the learning curve. Rather nostalgic, if you think about it.
Interestingly, Alex Riley hasn't scored a single victory on Raw, much like the similar fate suffered on Smackdown by his fellow Season 2 rookie, Kaval, despite a DUI, Riley remains employed. Think on that for a moment.
That's all fine and good for rookies, you might say, but what about wrestlers like Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes? Where do they stand? Why do they need to take losses so often?
My theory, and it may not be a new one, is simple: they're WWE children. By having DiBiase and Rhodes blood in them, they have the genetic material to make them into future stars. After all, look at their former Legacy-mate, Randy Orton.
Another WWE child, son of Cowboy Bob Orton. He's incredibly talented, taken plenty of losses as a rookie and has still won top tier titles several times. He was the youngest World Heavyweight Champion at the ripe age of 24. By being a WWE child, Orton, DiBiase and Rhodes are easily not going anywhere. We're not likely to hear how WWE has come to terms with their releases any time soon.
Thus, I feel like DiBiase and Rhodes, as they're still somewhat new to TV, can afford to take some of the losses if there's no one else around to do so.
On the bad side, it makes the favoritism they receive a bit more blatant, in that they can be on massive losing streaks and still remain employed, while Matt Hardy and MVP get the chop for not being good enough.
On the good side, losing can help DiBiase and Rhodes earn the right to bigger and brighter storylines in the future, as well as give them opportunity to pay their dues and look like losers for a while. Also, as it does for most everyone, wrestler or civilian, losing can provide a person character.
"Dashing" Cody Rhodes saw a surge of momentum ever since he adopted the addition to his name. He's been able to showcase much of the talent he has on the microphone, as well as gather enough confidence to beat Mark Henry cleanly.
Mark Henry may not be exciting enough to be main-event material, but for such a small, skinny guy to beat the World's Strongest Man (or one of them, anyway), I consider that impressive. Lately, though, he's seen a drop in his win percentage.
After a tag match with Rey Mysterio, where Rey's revealed knee brace was driven into Cody's face after a well-placed 619, Cody's now claiming that he has a broken nose, and unlike CM Punk's own nose injury, is currently pulling a Phantom of the Opera, refusing to participate in the Royal Rumble for fear that (more) people will see him as ugly as he undergoes "cosmetic surgery."
Goes nicely with his gimmick, being well-presented, and although I've rather enjoyed watching him apply his in-ring talents to effectively protect such a large chink in his armor, losing is giving him some character.
It's caused him to show some emotion and weigh what's important. When interviewed, he even raised his voice and screamed, showing how truly angered he was over being ridiculed so vehemently by fans.
DiBiase hasn't been quite so lucky to see even a brief surge in success since Legacy broke up. He teamed with old school star Virgil briefly, tried to pay R-Truth to be his "new Virgil," was placed with trophy girlfriend, Maryse, and given a newer, hipper, club-style theme song to replace his previous theme that he adopted from Legacy. He once carried the Million Dollar Belt, however he gave it back to his dad, claiming that he wanted to do his own thing.
Unfortunately, his losing streak hasn't let up, and weeks ago on Raw featured further humiliation, as he attempted to muscle Jerry Lawler out of his spot in the "first annual Raw Rumble."
The winner of the mini-rumble match would take on The Miz at the Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship, with the losers being entered into the Chamber proper, and the winner of the Chamber going on to compete at Wrestlemania for their own title shot.
A tad convoluted, but it makes more sense when one takes it slow.
Ted's attempt to intimidate Lawler failed, as Jerry got up from the commentary booth and chased Ted, whose response was to hide behind his French-Canadian sensation. Maryse, not wanting to take a famous hook from The King to protect her guy, turned and slapped Ted who, while stunned, then took the right hand that was coming to him courtesy of The King, and watched his girlfriend storm off in a huff.
DiBiase was laid out on the black mats, alone and made a fool of.
Again, though, losing can ultimately give him some character and possible avenues for his emotions. For instance, DiBiase is among a growing list of victims that have considered Bryan an easy target. A brief look at that list also sees The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Tyson Kidd joining DiBiase in the failure column.
Albeit with help and a little luck, Miz and Ziggler are both seeing success despite the American Dragon successfully routing them over and over, but somehow, even with a crafty Heel Diva valet, DiBiase still can't cut a break.
To reiterate, I'm not worried. Creative will find something to do with him, just like they did with Cody. Easiest method, he can always go back on his individualism and use his "trust fund" to pay off other midcarders, possibly a little main-event talent, to create a new Million Dollar Corporation.
It makes the most sense, the roster can easily handle another stable and despite what some believe, DiBiase is actually good enough a personality on the microphone to cover leading a group driven by greed.
Look what creating stables has done for WWE wrestlers lately. Since June of last year, Nexus has been a huge part of the WWE landscape, thrusting newbies into spotlight they could've only dreamed of having years from now.
Even CM Punk, a former World Heavyweight Champion and overall supernova of talent, has found new relevance and an ability to bounce back from the extremely disappointing disbanding of the Straight Edge Society by not only aligning himself with a group, but taking full control as an iron-fisted leader.
Truthfully, I foresee the same happening to DiBiase. I know he said he wants to strike out on his own and go about things differently than his dad, but until he gets the mojo he needs to pull out victories, he could use some backup to remain a solid force and bring honor back to the DiBiase name.
I won't go into the myriad of folks that could be added to DiBiase's group, nor will I speculate on why each one would be a good fit, as just about anyone could be a great candidate. Frankly, in this economy, one could rationalize that most people struggling at their jobs want to find any way possible to make more money.
Not only would that get Ted over more, but by showing a desire to "provide for their families" or even sell their souls for the almighty dollar, it would give a ton of wrestlers clawing for visibility and respect some much-needed motivation beyond just "the title hunt."
However, we should probably hold off on hoping for more from Ted till after Wrestlemania. Plans seem to be in the works for various storylines, feuds and rivalries to play out and Ted will likely be left out of many of them.
When the smoke clears in mid-April, though, maybe we'll see more develop, and DiBiase Jr will rise as a true dark horse.
Of course, where does this leave others? Cody has a good thing going, Ted's at least got job security. But not every midcarder is lucky enough to be born into a famous wrestling family.
What about the Kofi Kingstons of the world? The MVPs? The Carlitos? Hard to say. They all have, or had, potential but weren't seen as useful assets.
MVP started as an egotistical heel, who wanted to be the highest paid star on Smackdown, and cheated to earn his payday. Fast forward, he's "Ballin," then gets his release. He was fun to watch, but his gimmick wasn't going anywhere. Creative's choice, I guess. I could come up with things to do with him.
Carlito was talented, but how many times could we watch him spit apple into peoples' faces before he spit on the wrong guy and got flattened? Creative's choice again. Maybe a better idea should have seen him spit in a main-eventer's face and have him actually pull out a victory. That would've been nice to see.
Kofi is once again the Intercontinental Champion, finally achieving victory in his quest to take his belt back from Dolph Ziggler. Vickie and Dolph currently have their sights set on the World Heavyweight Championship and Kofi is currently feuding with Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio.
If Kofi gets more of the crowd behind him, comes up with an infectious catchphrase (more complex than just BOOM BOOM BOOM), and gets a little bit more biting in his promos with some of the heels? He could see the surge in popularity he needs to really solidify that babyface strength, and one day reestablish the momentum he needs to go after a top-tier belt.
Otherwise, if he doesn't get better at public speaking and rallying the crowd to chanting louder for him than anyone else, WWE may not stick their neck out for him anymore.
And he can forget about getting the indestructible tenure that Cody, Ted, and even Dustin, Joe, and Windham, all likely have.
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