Smart Marks 4.19.14: We'll Meet in the Middle
Posted by Dino Zee on 04.19.2014
Thoughts on WWE trying to rebuild its midcard by putting guys like Cesaro and Wade Barrett in the IC Title tournament, TNA's effort to make Eric Young legitimate, who has the best dropkick in wrestling and more!
Welcome back everyone, to another edition of Smart Marks. I'm Dino, and this is your place to talk about all things wrestling, no matter how super serial, or how fricking stupid.
Coming off the immense highs and lows of last week, this week feels like nothing important happened. However, it was less about the headlines, and much more about the foundations being laid, at least in WWE and TNA.
I also got to see the WWE Scooby Doo film, which honestly, wasn't that bad. Charles S. Dutton tore it up! Viva Roc! All right, let's just get to the Marks for the week - no need to waste time!
I greatly enjoy the tournament currently taking place in WWE for the honor of being named the number one contender to Big E and his Intercontinental Championship. The lack of any real midcard motivation has been a gaping, oozing, festering eyesore in WWE for years now, and those of us who remember a time when they cared about those guys just get cranky when we think about it.
For Hogan knows how long now, the IC title has been seen less as a prestigious championship, and much more of a stepping stone belt one must win in order to get to the main event, one with no other real value. People my age will talk endlessly about the Mr. Perfects, the Rick Rudes, the Ultimate Warriors, the Bret Harts and the Shawn Michaels that made the belt matter. Younger people will pine about the Guerreros, the Benoits, the Rocks and the Helmsleys that showcased how important the belt was. It's one thing when the company just parrots the same old lines about how everything they do is important- it's another entirely when the roster shows an actual interest in one of the "secondary" titles.
So while I was already happy to simply see an honest attempt at making the midcard matter, imagine my surprise when I saw that the tournament was not so much filled with the JTGs and the Zack Ryders of the world, but instead saw former World Champions like RVD, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus, along with guys clearly marked for a rise like Wade Barrett and Cesaro. Really, Jack Swagger and Sin Cara were probably the weakest inclusions in the tournament, and that's ignoring that Swagger is a former World Champ himself. Either way, they were both eliminated on the night, so it's a moot point now.
To us fans, it always seems so simple, doesn't it? If you treat things importantly, fans will believe they're important. If you give midcard wrestlers feuds and/or goals to achieve, there's a good chance at least some of the fans will become invested in those guys, too. It's been said elsewhere, but the merging of the World Title with the WWE Title has really forced an added emphasis on the IC and (hopefully) US titles. Guys who normally would just go win a World Title (Henry, Swagger) are now vying for the "second most important" belt in the company. It's not beneath them, they're not settling for a lesser prize- they honestly want that belt, because it means something again. Even better is that waiting at the end is a pretty popular champion who really needs a good feud to get the fans fully invested again. Does Barrett/Big E work for everyone? How about Cesaro and Big E? Can Sheamus- injured ankle and all- somehow fight his way to a toitle shot?
Look at that, actual questions of intrigue as it relates to the IC title. All it takes is a some simple storytelling, and a nice tournament that should take a few weeks to finish out. Worked wonders for Mr. Perfect back in the day.
I'm just really happy they didn't yet again go to the "number one contenders battle royal!" that usurps any type of earning a championship match lately. No, that isn't a shot at any company in particular - more the lazy booking we've been subjected to in recent times from pretty much everyone.
What do you guys think of the Intercontinental Title tournament? Does it grab your interest in any way? Do you have any confidence in a hopeful rebuilding of the midcard? Tell me what you think in the comments!
I'm going to discuss the ending of the main event of Impact here, so if you haven't watched yet, you might wanna come back later. Just throwing it out, RESULTS WARNING and all that jazz.
It appears as if TNA may actually be into making Eric Young a credible wrestler, much to the he's just a comedy act! crowd's chagrin. His victory over Abyss in the Monster's Ball match is quite a big victory on paper, and the violence in the match itself helped deliver a satisfying outing overall. I'm probably going to be a bit hesitant to really buy into the Young reign, but it's not due to a lack of want. I just recall Chris Sabin's big win last summer, and how he was basically a coward for a few weeks before finally losing the rematch. No, Sabin ain't Young, and no, they don't have to be treated the same. I'm just saying that I'm happy to see that at least early on, Young will not be treated as a smiling fluke.
What makes me really happy is when I take a look down the road, and I see Bobby Roode regaining momentum and looking to once again place himself as TNA's top heel. I see James Storm doing his best to remain in that conversation as well. Either of those matches for the World Title would feature home grown TNA talent vying for the top prize in the company. There's nothing wrong with that as far as I can tell. Plus, we can eliminate the memories of that neverending feud Young and Roode engaged in years ago. Both have progressed so much further from where they were then, that I can only imagine great matches from the two.
Outside of the former members of Beer Money, I'd have to assume Magnus would like his chance at regaining the gold, and of course there's always EC3, ready and willing to use his name to get what he wants. Without being directly involved in a feud with 3 of the 4, he still has to be ready for any of them to make their challenge at a moment's notice.
It really is nice to see both feds making positive steps in their booking. The backlash to Eric Young winning really seemed to damper a nice moment. Can I see where one might infer that the decision to give Young the Title may have had something to do with Daniel Bryan? Of course I can. I could also see the same thing when Austin Aries won the belt while CM Punk was champion. That doesn't mean that Eric Young is a Daniel Bryan ripoff, and it didn't mean that Austin Aries was a CM Punk ripoff. If I saw something clicking with the fanbase I cater to, I'd attempt to get their eyes on my show, too. I liked it best when I read Eric Young addressing the comparisons directly, basically saying I like Daniel Bryan, so go ahead and compare me to him. Best answer ever. Some people are just going to gripe about anything, and there's not much we can do it. I'll just enjoy having underdog champions who don't have to rely on luck each time out. Eric Young (and Daniel Bryan) are legitimate wrestlers who won their belts straight up. There's nothing wrong with that.
What do you guys think of Week 1 of the Eric Young Reign? Who would you like to see challenge the champ? Let me know down in the comments!
Just Drop It
To close it out this week, I thought I'd try something a little different. I was watching some lucha the other night, and was just taking note of the grace of the luchadores, when I started thinking of dropkicks. That eventually led me into trying to break down who has had the best dropkick in my lifetime.
Immediately, a ton of names rushed at me. Randy Orton's dropkick has always been pretty amazing. Hardcore Holly's was even billed as the Best Dropkick in the Business for a while. I always like Lex Luger's Dropkick That Never Hit, because he would throw it from style and be completely laid out in the air, which led to him landing hard on his back each and every time.
Sting was another one I considered, as well as Davey Boy Smith. Road Warrior Animal had a really impressive standing dropkick. Then there were guys like the Rock N Roll Express, the Rockers, the Southern Boys- basically any young team that showcased a double dropkick in their arsenal.
Personally, I really dug Lizmark Jr's dropkick when he wrestled in WCW. It looked like he would just float into the perfect position, and connect spectacularly with the flying attack. In the end, I just couldn't come to a real decision on who I considered to have the best dropkick. Curt Hennig's was awesome! So was Marc Mero's! What about Jeff Jarrett??
So, what do YOU guys think? Who in your opinion had the best dropkick? Did I name him above, or is there someone I'm really dropping the ball with? If you could, tell me all about it down in the comments, and maybe we'll crown a Historical Dropkick Champion or something next week!
... or, maybe not. But who knows? Swerves are what sells!
PUT SLICK IN THE HALL OF FAME!!
Well, that oughta do it for the week. I hope to continue to be entertained by my programming, and that our new World Champions can continue to find their wings. As well, here's to the IC Title Tournament! I hope you all enjoy your weekend, and until next time...
Enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies.
It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.