WWE's Pushed to Punished, Edition 8: The Curious Case of Ken Kennedy
Welcome, Bleachers, to my weekly series entitled WWE's Pushed to Punished, where I analyze the controversial careers of a selected few Superstars who were temporarily given the spotlight before meeting their inevitable downfall.
Last week's edition covered former WWE United States Champion MVP, but this time around I look to cover the questionable career of current TNA wrestler Mr. Anderson, formerly known as WWE's Ken Kennedy.
Debuting in late 2005, Ken Kennedy was one of the few WWE Superstars to make an impact by standing out significantly. This would include introducing himself in the ring, thanks to a dangling microphone from the rafters of the arena.
Within the first few months of his arrival, Kennedy looked to be on the fast track to superstardom, beginning his career with a long undefeated streak. Ironically, that November, Kennedy would be the last Superstar ever to wrestle the now-deceased Eddie Guerrero.
However, by the end of the year, Kennedy suffered the first of several serious injuries to come. Being diagnosed with a torn latissimus dorsi, the Green Bay Loudmouth remained sidelined for an estimated six months.
By the time he eventually returned in June 2006, the Creative team had reinvested their interest in Mr. Kennedy, having him pick up two huge upset victories over Dave Batista that summer. In addition to this, Kennedy was also an aid to the McMahons during their feud with D-Generation X.
That September, Kennedy scored his first championship victory by defeating Bobby Lashley and Finlay in a Triple Threat Match to capture the U.S. title. Following a disqualification victory over the Undertaker at No Mercy, Kennedy was now being considered one of the top players on Friday nights.
After losing the prestigious United States Championship to Chris Benoit a short while later, Kennedy resumed his feud with Undertaker for the remainder of the year.
Kennedy was able to score another victory over the Deadman in a First Blood Match at the Survivor Series event, before eventually falling to Taker in an unprecedented Last Ride Match the following month at Armageddon.
At the dawn of 2007, Mr. Kennedy challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship against the defending Batista at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Although he came close to walking away with the gold, it was his former nemesis, the Animal, who pulled out the victory.
While continuing his quest to make it "his" year, Kennedy emerged victorious in the WrestleMania 23 Money in the Bank Ladder Match, with it being his first appearance on the Grandest Stage of Them All. With this monumental win, Kennedy was able to challenge for any of the three World titles at any time of his choosing.
At this point in time, Mr. Kennedy was well on his way to capturing his first ever World Championship, as exclusive plans called for the rising star to capture the belt very shortly. After locking up with some of the biggest names in the industry, Kennedy had proven he was ready and capable of being a credible World Heavyweight Champion.
In early May, it was discovered then-World Champion Undertaker was suffering from a reported injury that would sideline him indefinitely, which meant he was being forced to relinquish the title. Finally, Kennedy's moment of truth had come, being scheduled to cash -in his briefcase on Undertaker the following Friday night on SmackDown.
However, mere days before the dropping of the title could take place, Kennedy suffered an injury that would presumably render him inactive for months. With this being the case, Vince McMahon panicked by having Kennedy drop his opportunistic briefcase to Edge on Raw, who later went on to win the World Championship instead.
Subsequently, it was later revealed Kennedy's "injury" was indeed minor, and he could have very well been the World Champion. Due to management jumping to conclusions, his hopes and dreams were now up in smoke. Ironically enough, Edge would later forfeit the belt that July because of an injury as well.
Following being sent packing to the Raw brand in the 2007 WWE Draft, Kennedy would subsequently find himself lost in the shuffle on Monday nights. A feud with Shawn Michaels at the conclusion of the year helped him regain some lost momentum, but not enough to relaunch him back in the WWE title picture.
At the start of 2008, Mr. Kennedy once again qualified for the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 24, but came up short. He took a brief hiatus following the event, only to return a month later in a feud with the 2008 King of the Ring William Regal, turning face in the process for the first time in his WWE career.
Due to a legitimate circumstance with Regal getting suspended for 60 days for violating the Wellness Policy, the rivalry would end abruptly in mid-May with Kennedy emerging victorious in a Loser Gets Fired Match against the then-Raw General Manager, Regal.
A short while later, the Green Bay Loudmouth found himself back on Friday nights a part of the 2008 WWE Draft in June.
Upon his return to the blue brand, Kennedy was scheduled for another huge push in a feud against then-United States Champion Shelton Benjamin, but another significant injury put the bleached blond Superstar back on the shelf.
During his absence, Kennedy filmed "Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia," a production of the WWE Studios, and made a handful of appearances on WWE programing to maintain visibility. By the time he returned to action in May 2009, Kennedy had once again been drafted back to Raw as the premiere pick in the 2009 WWE Supplemental Draft.
With vignettes hyping his return that spring, Kennedy was yet again in line for an apparent push after a promo with then-WWE Champion Randy Orton claiming his hunt for the title. Later that night, Kennedy returned to action in a jam-packed 10-Man tag team match that saw his team walk out with the victory.
Shockingly, Kennedy was immediately released from his contract five days later in a controversial fashion. Not many were sure what transpired the fateful night, but it seems that Kennedy came close to re-injuring Orton's collar bone, as well as tweaking his own wrist.
Apparently, McMahon felt Kennedy was too injury-prone and rid him from the WWE once and for all, subsequently pulling the plug on his rumored push for that summer. A number of months later, Kennedy would begin to use his real name, Mr. Anderson, as his in-ring name and make his way over to TNA Wrestling at the dawn of the decade.
Since then, Ken Anderson has had a bumpy road to the top while wrestling in Orlando, turning face and heel on so many occasions that fans have no idea what reaction to give the guy. Anderson would capture the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice this year, but both were incredibly short reigns that did nothing to enhance his character.
Overall, Kennedy has always been the perfect package, maintaining an average set of wrestling skills and impressive promo skills where ever he may be wrestling. Without a doubt, he could at any point in his WWE tenure have made a money-making World Champion being the entertaining Superstar that he is, but subsequent injuries have set back any potential pushes he was set to receive.
In my opinion, it is a true shame that another WWE Superstar with amazing potential was wasted due to management jumping to conclusions at every given opportunity.
Sure, "Mr. Anderson" is allowed to be himself in TNA, but he will never be able to repeat the same success he had in WWE as Mr. Kennedy mainly because Vince Russo has booked the former TNA Champion terribly over the course of this year.
Where would you rather see Ken Anderson compete?
Although a return is a small possibility, I have a feeling Mr. Kennedy won't be seen again on WWE programing after calling out the organization on several occasions for the way they treated him. Anderson has since gone on record by saying that he won't be wrestling much longer, as he has stated that after suffering a number of injuries in the past few years, there aren't many years left in him.
Unlike some of the past subjects of my WWE's Pushed to Punished series, Kennedy has always had the biggest chance of becoming World Champion, but circumstances that he couldn't control prevented him from living the dream.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and make sure to drop a comment with your thoughts on the Mr. Kennedy character. If you have any suggestions for who I should analyze in my next edition in the coming week, include that as well.
As always, your "likes" and feedback is always appreciated. GSM out.
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