Good evening. I am going to try something a little different today. I have an idea of what I want to write about, but I don’t have it mapped out or really prepared. My idea for this week’s column is that if you could fire one wrestler, not announcer or booker or anyone else, and only one wrestler, who would it be to make the company better. Perhaps a wrestler who is not living up to his or her potential. Perhaps a wrestler who is way past his prime and refuses to get out of the ring. Perhaps someone who is dragging down the product with their poor workrate. But remember, only one wrestler.
The twist is that I do not know who I am going to choose. I will make my decisions as I work my way through the column. I hope you enjoy the ride!
I am going to attempt to make the case for someone on the WWE Raw roster, the WWE Smackdown Live roster, the NXT roster, the ROH roster, the TNA roster, and the NJPW roster. I am sure all of you will have different options, so feel free to share in the comments. Here we go…
I will be the first to admit that this is the one which is probably way off base, simply because I do not get to see enough NJPW matches. Upon first reflection, I would probably lean towards firing someone in the Bullet Club. The Bullet Club has gotten too big, too unwieldy. It has surpassed its shelf-life in my opinion, and it needs to be blown up. For a group which was a knock-off of the NWO in the first place, it has bloated even worse than that group. I would say it would be time to stick a pin in that Bullet Club bubble.
So, who to choose from Bullet Club? I think the options here are fairly obvious. Bad Luck Fale would be my initial thought, but to be honest, he does the big man thing pretty well. As long as he doesn’t hog too much camera time, he can stay. Next, I would think Cody Hall could get a pink slip. I have not been impressed with Hall and even though he is injured, maybe he should go. But he is very young and green. Maybe he could become something with time. Oh, okay, I am just delaying the obvious choice from the Bullet Club – Tanga Roa. The dude is an anchor around the neck of his brother Tama Tonga. Getting rid of him would allow Tama Tonga to go on to greater things.
But wait… Tanga Roa gets a stay of execution. Because the person I would fire from NJPW is … Toru Yano. I know the crowds eat up his shtick, but recently he has been annoying the shit out of me. Too much comedy, not enough wrestling. For personal dislike only, Toru Yano, I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Confession time. I haven’t seen TNA wrestling in quite a while. I don’t even know what channel they are on any longer. I only know what is happening in that company based off the fine reviews of the product posted here at Inside Pulse Wrestling. And while I would like to fire Billy Corgan so he can concentrate on putting out a decent Smashing Pumpkins album, I did say it had to be a wrestler. Therefore, after perusing their roster, I choose to fire …
EC3. Yep. Ethan Carter III. This dude is currently wrestling the top program with the TNA champion Lashley. So why would I fire him? Because he is a big chunk of nothing. I don’t like listening to him talk. I don’t like watching him wrestle. No one EVER seems like they are afraid of him. His personality is bland, his character is bland, and it is just death having him on screen.
All that being said, I don’t hate the guy. In fact, I think he showed some promise a while back running around with Dixie Carter and pushing his highly unbelievable unbeaten streak. Maybe by jettisoning EC3 from TNA’s sailboat, he could catch on with another ship (preferably one that doesn’t constantly try to sink itself), develop a new character, and become a star. Weirder things have happened.
This one is easy. And anyone who reads my Ten Thoughts columns on the Ring of Honor television hours can probably guess who this person is. I enjoy Ring of Honor and look forward to watching it every week. The action is fast-paced and solid and while I may not always like their storyline directions, they normally can back it up with some great in-ring work. Except when they bring this man to the ring.
The person I would future endeavor from ROH is BJ Whitmer. Now, I know I said that this person had to be a wrestler. Well, technically BJ Whitmer is still a wrestler. He just doesn’t wrestle very often. And that is a big part of the problem. For well over a year (and for what seems like an eternity), BJ Whitmer has existed to simply come out and waste time bitching about Steve Corino, who has taken a role as a color commentator. The two FINALLY fought a couple months ago in a Fight Without Honor to hopefully blow off this interminably long and boring feud. But did they do that? No. After a fair and gory match, BJ Whitmer won. And I would have been okay with that. But…
BJ Whitmer won his big match against Steve Corino by pulling Kevin Freaking Sullivan out of moth balls, setting up another long and drawn out segment to this never-ending saga. Everyone involved in this is on my list. Expect maybe Punisher Martinez who was just recently dragged into this shit-fest. But since I can only fire one wrestler, and since Corino is technically an announcer, and since Kevin Sullivan is technically a boil which needs to be lanced, I will choose BJ Whitmer. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Now we get to the WWE rosters. We’ll start with NXT, the darling promotion of the internet. The big league indy. Who could we cut from NXT? Their roster is pretty small, so there is not a lot of fat to trim. This is hard because most of the wrestlers in NXT are either very young and still developing or they are veterans helping the youngsters while tearing down the house.
While I may not like certain wrestlers in NXT (No Way Jose, I’m looking at you), I can’t see myself firing them because they play a bigger part in the whole. When you bring each individual part together, you wind up with something special, and that is NXT. There is no one I see that is way over-the-hill or too green to function or simply a waste of space… Oh, wait, okay. I totally forgot. Elias Samson. See ya.
WWE Smackdown Live
Oh, I am sure a ton of people would say Kane for this pick because he is of a by-gone time. Or The Miz because he plays an arrogant dick so well. Or Randy Orton because, well, because he is the WWE’s attempt at a sleep aid. Others might choose people who will probably get the axe soon anyway because they aren’t doing much. People like Fandango or Jack Swagger or Erick Rowan. Then there are those who people would like to fire because they have abnormally huge hatred for like Curt Hawkins or Baron Corbin.
And while all of those choices may have merit (I’m personally fond of the Randy Orton choice), the person I would fire would be Zack Ryder. Before everyone comes at me with pitchforks and torches, hear me out. People like Ryder. The internet likes Ryder. He is a solid hand who you can throw into pretty much any scenario and get a decent match out of. He works hard and sells well. He is a jobber who you throw a bone to every once in a while. But there is a problem with Zack Ryder.
Ryder doesn’t get huge pops, he gets nice pops. Ryder isn’t the superstar, he is the placeholder for the superstar. Ryder isn’t the starter on the basketball team, he is the guy riding the bench who looks great in mop-up time. He is liked, but he isn’t loved. So you can’t push him to the moon because the fans don’t get behind him to moon levels. You can’t turn him heel because he loses so often it won’t make much difference. So what can you do with him?
Well, since the WWE loves their authority figures, and their McMahons, what better way to help establish a new dynamic. Make Zack Ryder’s termination mean something. Turn Daniel Bryan heel by having him fire a well liked employee for no reason. Having the General Manager of Smackdown Live all of a sudden start acting like a power-mad emperor and dismissing a trusted employee without cause should help push a heel turn for Daniel Bryan. After that, he and Shane McMahon could argue over the direction of Smackdown Live, and it could become a huge storyline with a big payoff down the line. Zack Ryder’s firing wouldn’t be collateral damage, it would be the spark needed to light the inferno.
Finally we get to the flagship program. At three hours, you would think there is enough time to properly showcase every wrestler, time to weave multiple storylines, and much more. But each week, at the end of the night, we tend to feel exhausted because Raw just dragged on and on with replay after flashback after talk segment after silly skit after guest stars, etc. That needs to stop. And that needs to stop now.
How does it stop? I am not sure, but I am willing to try out a new hard-ass approach. Let’s go with this.
Everyone is on the chopping block. If you don’t do your job and do it well, you’re gone. Whether you are a writer, a referee, an announcer, or a wrestler, you need to meet a level of excellence that needs to be achieved and maintained.
Everyone needs to be at their best. The locker room has to have only players who know they can count on each other. There can be no locker room cancers. More importantly though, there can not be any PERCEPTION of guys not being the best teammate they can.
This whole business is about perception. And the more the world gets to see behind the curtain, transparency is needed to keep perception high. Like most things in the world, perception IS reality in professional wrestling. Raw is no different.
Therefore, we need to say farewell to a major superstar. Roman Reigns, may you do well in your future endeavors. Roman, from all reports, you are a good guy, which is what makes this so hard. But you failed a Wellness test already and the “perception” from the outside world is still that wrestling is full of steroid-ridden muscle heads. Your suspension didn’t help that perception. Then there is your push. You were pushed and pushed hard. You were given the full weight of the marketing machine to become the next breakout star. Instead, you couldn’t convince the fans to love you. Maybe it is the WWE’s fault, maybe you were in an unwinnable situation. Maybe you were set up to fail. But, fail you did. Over and over. No amount of piped in applause could save you.
In short, we need to scare everyone. We need everyone to know that if you screw up, you will be held accountable. If we are trying to make you, you better damn well get yourself over and not overshadowed by a stingy-haired crazy guy and someone with two different hair colors and a friendship with Jon Stewart. Don’t tell us you were just doing your job, Reigns. You were out there every week, gobbling up hours and hours of programming time. It didn’t work. It is time to move on. I hear TNA just fired EC3. Maybe you can go there and be eaten by Lashley too.
And there we have it. My completely off-the-cuff thoughts on who each promotion should fire to make their promotion better. Growth by pruning the branches that are holding you back. I am sure many people will think I am way off base. I am sure many people would choose other wrestlers. And there are probably many people who wish Widro would do the same thing to his staff here and send me packing… But until that happens, jump onto the comments and let’s keep the conversation going.
Until next week…
Tags: b.j. whitmer, bad Luck fale, Baron Corbin, billy corgan, bullet club, curt hawkins, dixie carter, Elias Samson, Erick Rowan, Ethan Carter III, Fandango, Jack Swagger, Kane, Kevin Sullivan, lashley, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Steve Corino, Tanga Roa, The Miz, Toru Yano, zack ryder