WWE Trying to Create Something from Nothing: The JBL Affect
Image Credit - Unchained Wrestling
In my eyes it's pretty apparent that the WWE is at a cross-road, and they are installing a full fledged youth movement.
Over the course of a little more than a year the WWE has lost superstars such as Shawn Michaels, Batista, Chris Jericho, and most recently Edge to retirement. Superstars like Triple H and the Undertaker are still around; however they are not the players they used to be and won’t be again.
Even though the WWE has a plethora of young and exciting talent many of them have failed to get over, or haven't even been pushed yet. There is no doubt that many of these up and comers will eventually be stars, but right now may just not be their time.
Now that the 2011 Draft is complete the WWE certainly did shake things up a bit. They are going to try to create some new and exciting rivalries while pushing the young talent. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but may not be needed at this time.
The young talent is going to develop, but there's no need to rush it. The WWE booking team just needs to open their eyes a little bit more. Instead of being so hell bent on shoving the new talent down our throats, and making us like them, they need to utilize what they already have.
Let's rewind seven years to 2004. The WWE was in a similar situation, they were lacking stars and main-event talent. Orton, Batista, Cena were the new young and eager talent at the time, but they weren't over yet. The WWE needed a "Super Heel" desperately on SmackDown, so they created one.
They reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out a name nobody ever saw coming.
They took a guy who had been a cowboy on more than one occasion, a thug for the Undertaker, and the muscle of a tag team and created arguably one of the greatest heels of all time that walked the squared circle.
In a time of desperation they created JBL, and not only would they revive him from mid-card limbo, but he would become one of the longest tenured WWE champions of all time.
This could easily be done again by the creative team.
The IWC is always full of great and innovative ideas. However the majority of the time the banter is always about how the young talent should or could be inserted into the main event picture. Stars like John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre are always at the forefront of the discussion, just to name a few.
I'm an old school fan though. I like a lot of the new talent, but I think the WWE should take a much different approach.
The following slideshow is going to list five mid-card guys like JBL once was, that could be transformed into another "Super Heel" with a little effort.
5. Chris Masters
It's hard to believe, but Chris Masters originally debuted with the WWE in February of 2005, six years ago. After several up and down years including a brief main event push and drug suspension he was released from his WWE contract in November of 2007.
In July of 2009 he returned and is currently being pushed as a face.
For Masters to follow in the steps of JBL he would first need to turn heel again. The best way to jump start a guys career is to have them draw heat. Masters could make a very worthy champion, especially on the SmackDown brand where the WWE likes to build the stars and then swap them over to Raw.
Masters ended up being drafted to Raw during the Supplemental Draft this past Tuesday, but I don't think this is the route the WWE should have taken.
The ideal scenario for Masters was for Alberto Del Rio to be drafted to the Raw brand leaving a vacancy for a "Super Heel" on SmackDown. Masters would be involved in some type of match to be the #1 contender to the champion at the time, most likely Christian.
In the match at some point Masters would feel that he was screwed and so begins his heel turn. In the following weeks he would soon find a valet, Michelle McCool being the ideal candidate, as she would be his Vicki to Dolph Ziggler.
After several weeks of throwing his weight around by attacking superstars back stage and screwing over Christian, he finally gets his title shot. He wins with the help of his valet, and the era of Chris Masters begins.
4. Mark Henry
Mark Henry has had a solid fifteen year career with the WWE, and although Henry has a great look he has always been unable to get over.
This probably stems from several different reasons.
The first being that he's often injured. Whenever he finally finds himself in a storyline that can establish him he gets hurt, knocking him back down the line. The second being his gimmicks, he has had some awful ones.
The WWE had him on the right track at one point though. In 2008 he was drafted to the now defunct ECW and won the ECW championship. His gimmick was what it should have been, a brute monster who was a heel.
The problem was WWE wanted the ECW belt on Matt Hardy because of the main event status his brother Jeff was sitting in. WWE simply wanted to squash any jealousy issues because of how loyal Matt had been through the years. This killed what could have been a nice run.
Just like Chris Masters, Mark Henry was drafted earlier this week. He was drafted to SmackDown though, and this greatly benefits him. Not only was he drafted to the show he needs to be on to jump start his career, but before he left Raw he seemingly became heel again.
This is the perfect scenario for him. Now that Alberto Del Rio has been drafted to Raw there is a huge void left for a “Super Heel”. Mark Henry has been drafted into a prime position, and the WWE may even see this as well.
The ideal scenario would be that Christian, now WHC would cut a promo about needing a challenger. Henry's music would hit and he would cut a similar promo to R-Truth’s, about only being out for himself now, and then lay a beat down on Christian. The beat down would also play off what he did to Christian on Raw, leaving him laid out after the match.
Henry and Christian would clash a couple of times before Henry, with the help of a new associate, someone like Ezekiel Jackson, would finally earn him a world title run.
Henry and Jackson would stick together for some time, allowing Henry to hold onto the title for a nice run. Henry is established as a monster heel, defeating the best SmackDown has to offer. In the meanwhile he's drawing heat with Jackson while Jackson begins to build a face following.
R-Truth isn't as tenured as any of the other superstars on this list but he could still fit the mold of the next JBL. Truth resurfaced back in the WWE in 2007 after he left in 2001 and headed for TNA.
He was very popular in TNA and was even the NWA world champion. In the WWE though, he hasn't been quite as successful.
Unfortunately R-Truth found himself where a lot of guys find themselves, in gimmick hell. As soon as he debuted singing his own theme song he was doomed to be a fan (kiddies) favorite.
This was all until last week on RAW.
I have never been an R-Truth fan, but the WWE has finally garnered my interest in the guy. Creative finally did something I for one had been begging for, and that's turn him into a heel.
I think R-Truth just by his look makes for a much better heel. With the bandanas and piercings, he’s a guy I know I wouldn’t mess with on the street. Why not use that to his benefit and allow his image to match his attitude?
Don’t push him as a pansy that caters to the fans by dancing and singing for them. Make him be a street wise thug who punishes people.
Once again like Mark Henry the WWE seems to be going on the right direction with Truth. Now he just needs a darker entrance, with no dancing and singing to get him across a really evil guy.
Truth was not drafted to a different show so he will stay on Raw. Ideally SmackDown would have been better for him, because like Mark Henry, he could have filled the lacking roster spot of strong heel they need.
On Raw The Miz seems to be entrenched as the #1 heel, and champion. Truth is on track though, and if he can get over in a program with John Morrison a title shot may not be too far out of reach. Creative just can’t give up on him to quick.
In 1995 he came in and took the WWE by storm and even won the Intercontinental title from a very popular Razor Ramon. It all would soon come to an end and creative instead of running with the gold they had struck, transformed him into "The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust".
This transformation was pretty much the beginning of the end of any credibility he had ever established previously.
Currently Goldust is below mid-card, jobbing to everyone. With the right push though, he could be a world champion.
Goldust wasn’t drafted this past week either. Therefore he will stay on his current brand, Raw. Raw isn’t the best fit for him though, and it would have been much more ideal for him to have been drafted to SmackDown.
Once again it starts with a heel turn, and Goldust must revert back to his persona of the mid 90's. He has to start playing the mind games like he used to. He has to be taken seriously, a much darker Goldust that is willing to do anything it takes to win.
On Raw Goldust is stuck behind a plethora of budding heels like the Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and now R-Truth. If he would have made the move to SmackDown he would be another guy who could fill the top heel spot.
He could have been reintroduced in a stalking gimmick. He would have been kept off television for a couple weeks while the WHC, presumably Christian, continues to receive creepy threats and messages. After several weeks of ominous messages the stalker is revealed as Goldust. A play on what he did to Ted DiBiase for some time, but much more sinister and dark.
Goldust really could become a top draw if he was just used the way he was originally created to be, a disturbing and sinister human being.
1. William Regal
William regal has been around for a long time. He has won multiple championships including the Intercontinental, European, and Tag Team titles.
In 2008 he was do to receive a huge push after he won the King of the Ring.
However only a week after he won the tournament he was suspended for 60 days due to violating the WWE's wellness policy. The suspension literally crushed his push, and he was never able to regain that momentum.
Regal would make a fine world champion; he could even surpass what JBL ever was. After he won KOR I was very excited to see him get that push, and was a bit upset that it never amounted to anything. However it wasn’t creative’s fault for once, it was his own.
There may be some hope though.
This past week Regal was drafted to SmackDown from Raw. Many are saying that he may just be a commentator, but I certainly hope the rumors are false.
If Regal continues to wrestle I think he is in a prime spot. You honestly could be looking at the next major heel if it’s done right.
The ideal scenario would have been for Sheamus to be drafted to SmackDown just like Regal was, but also for Drew McIntyre to have remained on SmackDown. This way Regal could have created a faction of European descent with Sheamus and McIntyre as his acolytes.
Not only would Regal be almost unstoppable, but Sheamus would be the US champion too. WWE creative could have put the tag titles on Sheamus and McIntyre, while Regal holds the WHC. Regal comes across as a proven leader and this would not only have propelled him into main event status, but also catapulted two already young and bright careers.
In the end McIntyre was drafted to Raw, but Regal could still be paired with Sheamus. Regal could still act as a mentor for Sheamus, using the monster of a man as a body guard type of figure to help him finally claim the world title that has eluded him for all of these years.
Regal has all the skill sets to be a top notch main eventer; it’s just a matter of making his story work.
That’s why William Regal is my top pick as the next JBL.