Welcome to The World's Most Dangerous Column, the Sunday home for your favorite 411Mania News Report's favorite 411Mania News Report!
I apologize for missing last week, but I return this week—and on my birthday no less!
(Happy Birthday to me!)
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The next generation?
That's something that wrestling fans have desired for some time now. And the WWE has given it to us, more than once.
In 2009, we begged for the company to create a new star, and they pushed Sheamus to the moon with a WWE TLC win over John Cena that no one saw coming. What did we do? Bitch, mainly.
In 2010, Jack Swagger won the Money In The Bank briefcase, later cashing in and becoming World Heavyweight Champion. "He's not ready" we said.
Later that year, The Miz captured the WWE Championship, holding it past WrestleMania and becoming only the second heel to win a WrestleMania main event. "Miz sucks" sayeth the internet.
In 2011, Alberto Del Rio was pushed hard, to a luke warm—at best—reaction.
In 2012, no one was given the big push, and we kept asking for more.
2013 saw another opportunity for Jack Swagger. And it was a waste, according to us.
You see, the WWE actually gave us what we asked for—it just wasn't what we wanted. It's what I often like to call the "Playlist Mentality." Or, "that's great, but it's not on my playlist."
Now, there was some perceived good during the years listed above. CM Punk had his first WWE walkout, returning to more star power and eventually amassing a modern day record 434-day WWE Championship run. Christian was pushed in 2011 as well, becoming a largely disappointing World Heavyweight Champion. I know, I know...it was how he was booked. Nothing to do with his ironic lack of natural charisma and the fact that he's simply not a main eventer.
2011 also saw the push of Daniel Bryan, winning Money In The Bank and his first World Championship. And don't forget the 2012/2013 elevation of Dolph Ziggler, cut short by concussion issues.
Late 2012 also saw the debut of a trio called The Shield. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are largely looked at as the future of the company today.
Who Can Step Up?
There have been plenty of guys that we've wanted to see get over in a big way. So many of them are doomed to be career midcarders, but some could in fact step up. Who are they? I'll give you four...
It's easy to pick Roman Reigns. But that doesn't make it wrong. The dirt sheets claim he's the heir apparent to John Cena, and Steve Austin tells us that Cena wants someone to challenge his spot.
Reigns is over, for sure. He has a natural charisma that comes out when he's just being a bad ass. The fans love him. Some say he's not ready, but I disagree. Look at the Royal Rumble. He was in the final two and had the crowd begging for a win. Was it because he was in there with Batista?
I say no. Replace Batista with Daniel Bryan or CM Punk and Reigns still has support. Put him over either man to win the Rumble and the crowd doesn't boo the booking.
But what's more important was his performance in the final two. He didn't rush it. He built to the moment, and he became a star.
Fast forward to today, and Reigns is seen as the defacto leader of The Shield. It used to be Dean Ambrose, but he's been overtaken by the "baddest mother fucker in the room" in Roman Reigns (thank you Andy Critchell).
Now, the phrase I keep hearing is "Reigns isn't ready." Really? How is he not ready? Why must we wait? That mentality basically killed the potential WrestleMania headlining career of Dolph Ziggler. Do we need to do that to Roman Reigns? No. He's ready, there is no need to wait.
Another obvious choice, but Bray is so unique in this day and age. He's over because of his promo ability, but not in a CM Punk way. CM Punk cared about things like winning and championships.
When it comes to those things, crazy don't care. And Bray? He's crazy.
(Quote courtesy of Greg DeMarco Show cohost Patrick O'Dowd!)
Roddy Piper was crazy, and he never won a world title. Should he have? Probably. If Hogan and Piper existed in the modern era of wrestling, Piper would have had a title run. And Bray Wyatt might as well.
Bray is so good. He's good in the ring. He's good on the mic. He works the crowd, without actually working the crowd.
But there's one key reason why I think he'll be a success: He reportedly has a lot of influence over his promos. This is key because he owns the character. It's largely his creation. Even if he didn't come up with the idea, he's made it his own. And when you have that level of ownership, you can get over. The last guys who really took hold of a character—a true character—and made it special? You might have heard of them: The Undertaker and Kane.
You'll notice that Dean Ambrose isn't on this list. Ambrose is good, but I'm afraid he may have peaked. I can't say he won't be a star, but I'm limiting myself to four and he didn't make the cut.
But alongside fellow Shield member Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins has shown why he can be great. He can go in the ring. His mic skills are vastly underrated. He's big enough to make it in today's WWE. He has a unique look.
But there's one more reason why he can make it as a top flight WWE Superstar. He's shining amongst those who shine. While Dean Ambrose was the early choice for Shield success, and Roman Reigns is being touted as the heir apparent, Seth Rollins is taking advantage of every opportunity—big or small—and making the most of it.
All throughout the Shield's dissension, Seth Rollins has been the voice of reason. When Roddy Piper was stirring the Shield's pot, it was Rollins who called him out on it. What people failed to realize is that Rollins held his own with Roddy Freakin' Piper! That's no small feat.
Current WWE NXT star Kalisto might be a surprising addition to the list. But he shouldn't be. Kalisto has all the tools to be a big star, and the biggest one is his mask.
The debut and initial push of Sin Cara shows that the WWE feels a need to find it's "next Rey Mysterio." Rey sells merchandise, and he sells tickets. He's over with kids and adults alike, but he's proven hard to replace.
Enter Kalisto. Where Sin Cara failed, Kalisto can succeed. He can go in the ring. He talks well enough for a guy in a mask. And he's marketable.
Boy is he marketable! You can sell that mask. And you can sell Kalisto. He can play the underdog role, and he can play the superstar role. He's a can't miss talent, and I'd be shocked if the WWE doesn't make him a tremendous star.
Four wrestlers barely missed the list: Dean Ambrose (peaked too soon), Cody Rhodes (fear in booking), Sami Zayn (look), and
A tradition started at the end of each point when I wrote The Wrestling 5&1, "You Decide!" is your chance to weigh in on a major question facing professional wrestling each week. Vote once per hour, and leave your opinions in the comments section!
Two weeks ago, I asked how you viewed CM Punk. Here are your responses:
This week, I ask you to take on the names I listed. I chose four, so I'll give you the entire list above and let you pick four.
Voting closes Wednesday night!
Prince Devitt, one of the best heels in all of Japan, is reportedly not headed to the WWE any time soon. He's amazingly talented and has been talked about by the IWC for years. And what's the action?
"Stay away from the WWE!"
In wrestling today, there is no show quite like Raw. Giving us moments and memories that we will cherish forever, and some we'd rather not ever recall again. This space is the chance to look back in time, each week, to a Raw memory.
Before there was The Shield or The Wyatt Family, there was The Nexus. A group of NXT castaways who were out to make a name for themselves alongside NXT winner Wade Barrett. Their debut was shocking and fun, all at the same time. See it again, here:
This is the WWE official version, so Daniel Bryan's choking of Justin Roberts is left off. It also amazes me how much smaller the WWE ring looks without the middle rope. Looking back, I can't help but feel that Wade Barrett should have won the WWE Championship during the Nexus's reign of terror. Instead he was covered in chairs by John Cena, split the group into Nexus Black & White & Nexus Wolfpack, and now he's afraid he has some bad news.
Have a match or a moment you'd like to see here?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
One of the most famous DeMarcettes—this week we feature former TNA Knockout Taeler Hendrix!
Follow Taeler on Twitter at @Taeler_Hendrix!
This Sunday, I broadcast The Greg DeMarco Show on the VOC Nation on my birthday! Chad Perry will present OddsMakers as we preview WWE Elimination Chamber, and my birthday present is none other than Buggy Nova!
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, drop a line in the comments, and until next time...