Following the retirement of Edge; a wrestler whose entire career was personally a pleasure to witness as he began wrestling with the WWE (formally WWF) shortly after I began to avidly follow both WWF and WCW, I can't help but wonder where the next breakthrough to the main event superstar will come from. Maybe it's a bold statement because as many other fans constantly state, the mid-card of the WWE contains wrestlers who are able to make the leap to the main event scene. I simply ask are they able to?
John Morrison is one name that I often read about; claiming he is a main event talent being held back in the mid-card. His credentials however may suggest otherwise.
The main issue with any wrestler evolving into a main event star is how believable they are in the spotlight, and this would probably be JoMo's biggest question mark. His presentation within the rock star gimmick is great, his look and styling work, and he has one of the most innovative and exciting styles in the WWE.
However he lacks a signature move that delivers on impact, making the set-up for his finisher completely believable. His recent bout against Del Rio highlighted a couple of additions including the hurricanrana, and maybe using slightly more stylish impact moves like those will put him over a little more as a threat to the likes of Cena or Orton. His lack of mic skills are also used as an excuse for the reason that his push has been delayed, and whilst this is a valid point, my personal take on him is that his moveset doesn't demonstrate strength, in terms of slams and suplexes.
CM Punk as an example has a smaller build than JoMo, but his finisher looks fairly strong, as does his use of submissions and strikes. JoMo's use of strikes has been great, but the speed he displays often highlights the missing moves that could make him look like a real threat and challenge to the World Title scene.
He has paid his dues to a large extent over the last seven to eight years with the WWE, and he has shown us in bouts against the likes of Rey, Evan Bourne, Jericho and CM Punk that he can produce a seriously entertaining match. His feud with Sheamus showed off his parkour skills, and made him stand out from the rest of the mid card, however in the ring, I feel he is restricted to what he can do because he has to pin or submit his opponent within the confines of the ropes. In my opinion, regardless of his mic skills, he is over with the crowd, and maybe using the hurricanrana and something else to add a depth of power and strength to his matches may help to push him into the main event scene more permanently.
For me personally, Dolph Ziggler has in the last year moved closer to the main event scene then any other mid-carder, without making the transition. There was the 20 minutes or whatever reign he had before Edge got the title back, but that hardly counts.
I think he's over with the crowd, his moveset is a great balance of a classical wrestling style, the submissions and grapples with a fluidity that makes most of his matches worth watching. He has been a fantastic performer, and during the last year, he has had some great series of matches against Rey, Daniel Bryan and Edge.
This may be controversial, but I think the person who has helped put him over may also at this stage be hindering a further push. Vickie Guerrero.
She has complimented his wrestling, by compensating for his poor mic skills as a manager, however I feel that a lot of fans are a bit bored of the duo. There has been the angle with Jack Swagger recently that introduced a new dynamic between their relationship, but I feel that a champion should be able to win on their own merits and stand on their own two feet as a champion. The last time I remember a world champion having a manager was Edge with Lita and he played no role in him winning the title, plus he was ridiculously over with the fans, and due to his longevity in the WWE, he evolved into a main-eventer easily.
Dolph had a fantastic match against Randy Orton on Raw, and he has demonstrated that he can be a main eventer based on his ring work. Maybe splitting Vicki and Dolph would work for him, as long as his push is followed up with a couple of strong feuds against somebody like The Miz and CM Punk?
Now Jack Swagger has had the opportunity to be a main eventer, and not to be rude, but it was dismal. He is one of the most talented wrestlers within the WWE, his size and look are otherwise typical of WWE's traditional mould for their biggest stars, and his strength and power show that he can be in the ring with the headline names and be a viable challenge for the title. It's easy to compare him to Kurt Angle in terms of his skills, however his mic skills are sub-par and I personally feel he is missing that elusive 'it' factor.
Unfortunately for him, the crowd just seem flat with him. For such a talented guy, there is a lack of connection with the audience, and it makes watching him in singles matches dull due to the fact that the crowd don't seem to care about his matches. He has demonstrated an aggressive streak, his ankle lock an obvious attempt to fashion his in a similar vein to Angle, yet the boo's aren't that loud, even when he's used it against the stars like Rey.
I'm falling a little short as to what to suggest may improve his standing within the WWE, because on paper, he's got everything he can learn and develop. There is just a big hole in the character, and the fact that the audience do not invest in him. Potentially one of the best workers within the company, he either needs Vicki to garner him more heat and be his mouthpiece. Or he needs to switch to an overtly aggressive gimmick that showcases less of a pure wrestling talent, and shows him off as a brawler with an aim to attack and destroy opponents in order to attain the main event status.
Please feel free to leave comments and opinions.