Hello jolly children of the universe, my name is Todd Rogers, and for the first time here at IP, I will be adding my thoughts over here in the wrestling side of things. I usually am busy posting in the sports section, but with they needed a pinch hitter and I gladly stepped up and offered.
Why can’t I sit through an entire episode of Smackdown? I just cannot watch this show from beginning to end. Is it because it’s bad? Well some it, very much so. But something on this show just begs me to change the channel over to the OC or some other show. The other day I read Dan Hevia’s Crucifix column and I have to say I agree with something he said on there. Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles would be great on Smackdown. I have heard people recently looking for Jericho, Benoit or Edge to get rotated over to Smackdown. Well I don’t see that happening, as the WWE tries to get it’s Raw ratings as high as possible for upcoming network negotiations. But the overwhelming problem with Smackdown too me, is serious lack of depth. You glance over the Raw roster and what do you see? Obviously HHH, HBK, Orton, Batista, the aforementioned Benoit, Jericho, Edge, not to mention Shelton Benjamin, Christian, they have Kane (I know some people enjoy this guy) they even have struck on a little something with Gene Snitsky, and they still have Matt Hardy on his way back., and a guy like Rhyno who is kind of lost on this roster. Thats at the very least 13 guys on the Raw roster who are at the very least pretty decent. Hell they have 8 guys right now on that roster who could all carry the World Title and I don’t think people would be up in arms. Over on Smackdown it’s just the same. You have JBL and say what you want, but by giving him this long established run as champion, I think they have made him into a pretty good sports entertainer who can be taken seriously. You have Kurt Angle, who is not quite the Angle from two years ago, but is still better than most. You have Big Show, John Cena, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman. You will have Carlito when he gets back from injury and I think Charlie Haas could be alright if used, same with Paul London. The thing is, the top of the card I think isn’t that bad. Towards the top they are strong, but under that, I just think they struggle. Orlando Jordan, Kenzo, Rene Dupree all come to mind as guys that when they come across my TV make me change the channel.
I thought they had Kidman on a good roll, and he was slipping nicely into his heel persona, and could of very well become Smackdown’s version of Christian, but then he was shot back onto Velocity and thus pushed halted. Now with RVD banged up what do they do with Rey Mysterio? Well that is where guys like Hardy and Styles could come into play. I think on the Raw side of things, we could very well be looking at a Trips vs Orton vs Batista main event at Wrestlemania. Now I think triple threat matches as main events blow, but hey maybe it’s just me. But that aside, if you look at that, Orton is not in the Rumble now so he wouldn’t have to win to get his slot. Batista may not be in the Rumble but I look for him to get involved in the World Title match in some way and thus cause further dissension in the ranks of Evolution. So they could use the Rumble for a few ways, they could have a guy like Benoit, Jericho or one of them win it and shoot them over to Smackdown. But I don’t see that happening, what I do see happening, is that maybe the time has come for Cena to win it. Seems to me they have been holding him in the upper mid card there trying to help pull some guys up. Forget it, put him where you want him, up around the WWE title, or even have him be the guy to knock off JBL. So I guess that would beg the question as to what to do with the US title. Well if wrapped around WWE title scene you have JBL, Cena, Taker, Big Show, Eddie, Angle, Booker, you need something to do with the US title. Well when Carlito gets back he is right there, but why not put decent, flashy workers around him. Guys like Kidman, Mysterio, Styles, Hardy. Yes a lot of those guys could be considered Cruiserwieghts, but as over as guys like Mysterio and Hardy are with the crowd (love or hate him, you ever go to a live WWE event that Hardy was on he got huge pops) Styles could quickly win over the WWE crowd and Kidman can go, and was finding himself nicely as a heel. You can even work Orlando Jordan and Mark Jindrak into this group if you so choose, as well as Dupree to give some size here and keep it from being a glorified cruiserweight division. But Mysterio deserves the chance to move up the card. His matches with bigger guys like Eddie or Angle are always terrific. It would be a shame to see a guy like Mysterio turn into a guy like a bored RVD or even Hardy before he left the WWE. Guys who just hit the same crowd pleasing spots over and over and do the same match each and every week. When they are capable of so much more. Mysterio has been a good WWE soldier. The crowd loves this guy, but what would it take to get him up the card convincingly? I really don’t think too much. He did alright out there against Brock Lesnar awhile back if I remember correctly and there were even a few times in that match, where he was looking good on offense. Now of course Lesnar sold, which helped a lot. So yeah you couldn’t put him in there with the Taker, but I really think if they pushed Cena up the card and had him drop the US title to, hell even a guy like Rene Dupree or Mark Jindrak. You then hotshot the title from one of those guys to a guy like Mysterio, both of which I think could be entertaining. You bring in guys like Hardy and Styles, to compliment Kidman and a few others and bingo. Back in the day we all raved about the Smackdown six. Edge, Eddie, Angle, Mysterio, Chavo, Benoit. Well at that time Lesnar was world champ and feuding with Taker. They would have a chance to recreate that with Rey, Kidman, Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles. Any combination of the four would be a great to watch, and would provide the kind of matches we are not seeing right now from the WWE mid card. But you want six well ok. So maybe you swap Hurricane over from Raw to Smackdown, Chavo is still there. On the face side of things you could very easily have Rey, Jeff Hardy, Hurricane while on the heel side of things you could have Kidman, Chavo, and AJ Styles. There is your new Smackdown six, you put the US title as the centerpiece for the feud, and you have six guys who crowds like to watch work and entertain the masses. You elevate all six in that situation, you make the US title meaningful, seems like a win-win for everyone. Only it probably makes entirely too much sense.
So what do have right now, looking into Wresltemania?
World Title – Triple H vs Randy Orton vs Batista – Yes I see them dragging out the Rumble match up on into Wrestlemania. Maybe Orton goes over here, still too early to tell. The Batista thing is kind of funny. I think he started getting over by accident, but the WEE did it right. They let him work with guys like Jericho and Benoit and let him get better in the ring, then they started to show his personality. Guy could be a big star, no doubt.
WWE Title – Well I already told you It think Cena may win the Rumble thus shooting him into a battle with JBL, where I think Cena could be the guy to take JBL down.
Taker vs ??? – Does it really matter? You know he will be on the card and will most likely destroy whoever it is. You really have to wonder if guys like Booker, Eddie, Angle and Big Show are backstage drawing straws to see who has to get their ass beat. But Taker’s a lockeroom leader ya know.
HBK vs ??? – This could be about anyone as well. HBK like Taker wouldn’t be figured to lose here, I mean we wouldn’t want him losing his smile or anything. But coming back from a bum knee he needs to work with a guy who can go. IE: Benoit, Edge or Jericho.
You have to figure we get a gimmick match or two. Hopefully if they do something with Cena, then he drops the US title on the way and we get a match there. Hopefully Shelton Benjamin finds someone to feud with. We probably get a chicks match or two, one of which has to feature Trish, so the WWE had better get back on the horse of making Victoria look great. We’ll get some tag team non sense, as they continue to pair crazy mix matched partners to make tag teams. An God I hope not, but I keep hearing stuff about Hogan begin on Wrestlemania and with Austin back in the fold….geesh you just never know.
After that I really don’t know. Still way too many variables. That said, I do want to give the WWE credit. They have tried to make some new stars. And yes it’s lot like throwing shit at a wall. You have no idea what will stick and what won’t. But with Cena, Orton, Batista, JBL, they have succeeded. Carlito I think has a good chance, people seemed to be really into that guy before he got hurt. Shelton Benjamin could be a good one. Meanwhile Snitsky, Heidenreich, Maven and many others continue to slide down off the wall. But at least they are trying. Yeah I know those aren’t the guys the IWC wants to see, but the IWC will probably never be happy about everything, and if we didn’t have anything to bitch about then what would we do?