Welcome to VS. where the most talented writing staff on the ‘net battle it out to see who is the supreme debater using wrestling as the great equalizer.
Kace Evers seems to do more and more every time I look. He does the Kace Countdown, recapping what’s good on Raw and ECW, as well as hid underrated Pod Cast. He’s one of the better rounded wrestling writers around.
Mark Allen writes the regular feature column Historicall Speaking which covers not only old angles, but also takes a wider lens look at several of today’s top issues.
Me? I’m Pulse Glazer. I’m mostly known as the Ring of Honor guy and, weekly, I write A Modest Response. I also seem to help write VS. almost every week and come up with the questions along with Rob Blatt. Check out Rob’s interview with Nigel McGuinness. It’s awesome. Back to me. I also write a Comics Nexus column, East of Gotham and a Not A True Ending gaming column, The Most Dangerous Gamer. In my “normal” life, I’m a high school English teacher and so, to differentiate my VS. with Blatt’s and Morse’s, I’ll be adding a grading section to my scoring for fun so you can see how I feel each participant did on each question.
On to the questions.
1. John Cena is clearly the franchise player of RAW, and possibly the entire
WWE. Should Cena be in this spot? If not Cena, then who? When it’s finally time for Cena to drop the belt, who’s going to be the next top guy on RAW?
Kace Evers:: Whether anybody likes it or not, John Cena is the face of Raw and right now, there really isn’t anyone to replace him, even if temporarily. I do have a vision of how things could go, but it’s rather long term and involves the slow and steady build of the would be heir to the throne. First off, Cena does his best Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan routine of beating the odds until another man challenges him for the Title at WrestleMania 24. That man would be Dave Batista. The match would have a built in piece of hype material with both men coming to prominence back at WrestleMania 21 and by the time WrestleMania 24 rolls around, could be built as a dream match by the commentators. Meanwhile, the heir apparent would be in the midst of a lengthy secondary Title run, either with the Intercontinental or United States belt. Cena defeats Batista and moves on to dominating some more as Champ (though a short term drop to someone like Shawn Michaels can be
inserted at some point just to keep things interesting), while Heir Apparent winds up losing his secondary belt before moving on to another brand and at SummerSlam, captures that show’s secondary belt. Then comes a seemingly innocent run-in backstage during Survivor Series between Cena and the man that shall eventually unseat him. At Armageddon, the Heir Apparent drops his secondary belt and leading up to Royal Rumble, experiences a losing streak for the first time. Refusing to doubt himself, the Heir Apparent wins the 2009 Royal Rumble and challenges Cena for the WWE Title at WrestleMania XXV. The build up is simple, with both as faces and fending off against heels in order to keep each other at 100% leading up to the big match. Finally, the big match arrives and the torch that Cena has carried is passed to the Heir Apparent. The Heir Apparent by the way…CM Punk. CM’s already got the fan base, which appears to still be growing if those chants I hear on TV are any indication. WWE can build him up and keep him busy with a switch to one of the other brands away from ECW, so he can chase and capture a secondary belt, keeping it for a while, then going over to the other other brand (whichever one he hasn’t been a part of yet) and doing the same there before clinching his spot at Royal Rumble. The crux of the whole thing is Punk keeping himself out of trouble. As long as he can do that, he’ll be fine and the fans will pop louder than ever at WrestleMania XXV.
Mark Allen: I am personally a fan of Cena’s and have been since he started his initial face run for the United States Championship. I have supported him through all of his runs and continue to do this day. That being said, I think the true franchise player in the WWE is Triple H. I think when Cena comes to drop the belt and finally get rid of the spinner belt, it will be Triple H who will do it. I’m not a big fan of HHH myself but I think its obvious that he is the true franchise of the WWE right now. While he is hurt, Cena does well in the franchise spot, especially based on merchandise he moves. Undertaker and HBK can’t and shouldn’t be the franchise players anymore.
Flair hasn’t been relevant for years. Batista’s time was 2005 and he hasn’t been the same since. Lashley and Kennedy aren’t near ready for the franchise tag. Edge I don’t think has “it” yet and as much as I support Orton he very well may become this generation’s Lex Luger. Right now the best option is Cena and he carries that tag well but once Triple H comes back expect him to reclaim his throne as the “e’s” true franchise.
Mr. Glazer’s Grading: Both answers caught me slightly off guard here. There is an awful lot of fantasy booking going on in Kace’s answer. I usually shy away from that, but his answers mostly make sense. Unfortunately, he has Cena holding the belt for about two more years AND engaging in mainly face vs. face feuds. Need I point out how unlikely that is?
Mark has some good points about Triple H, but that he hasn’t been champion in so long really needs to be addressed in any question about him as franchise player. The booking there is more logical due to Triple H’s ego and the WWE’s obvious affection for him, being a member of the family and all.
Mark: C+ – Knowing the WWE’s booking style and favorites saved the grade here.
Kace: C Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Kace has a great idea, but this is WWE and won’t fit their style. It’s who will be the replacement, not who should.
Point to Mark, 1-0.
2. Morishima is clearly the franchise player of Ring of Honor right now. Should he be in this spot? The company is promoting itself with a foreign champion at the helm. Is this a good idea? Has putting the belt on a foreign wrestler worked out for Ring of honor so far?
Kace Evers:: If I’m not mistaken, ROH is high on the concept of building an International appeal and also showcasing wrestlers with immense talent. Morishima takes care of both concerns rather nicely. The belt should come back home eventually, but if Ring Of Honor is able to make decent money with Morishima as Champ, then why not keep him there for a little while? I, for one think it’s good in that it shows that ROH is able to reach out to an International audience, while still maintaining the loyalty of the American crowd. Not to mention, it helps spread the name of ROH in non-ROH markets overseas. It’s quite a balance, but so far ROH is doing well for itself. It’s getting Pay Per View time and the buzz surrounding ROH is still spreading about. In the meantime, they still have the talent to entertain people and sometimes, that’s all you need.
Mark Allen: I think putting the belt on Morishima has been a good thing for ROH. I think he should be in this spot while Gabe produces more stars to fill in the voids of Joe, Daniels, Aries and others gone by. Right now his only other credible contender is Bryan Danielson with Rod Strong and Nigel McGuinness in the almost-there category. Having a belt on a foreign guy signals a new direction for ROH, which is good. New directions are something Gabe is good at doing. Now that Danielson’s run and the CZW feud are done it’s good to move into a new direction, one with more foreign influence and with the stable wars they hinted at months ago. Gabe has proven himself to be a smart booker and I have confidence in what he is doing with this Morishima experiment.
Mr. Glazer’s Grading: Kace, if you don’t know enough to get into specifics, you really need to do some more research into the question. You lose this point for yourself based entirely on the lack of detail present in your response.
Mark’s answer is good and addressing that the direction is changing, but the quality remains high is a good point. The loss of major names is big for gates, but none of them were really challenging much for the belt, so it’s not major in that way. Perhaps addressing that would have helped, but nonetheless a good answer.
Kace: D Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This really demanded a more in depth look. Research was needed.
Mark: B Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A good supporting detail could have used more development.
A quick 2-0 lead for Mark.
3. Bobby Lashley is clearly the franchise player of ECW. Should he be in this spot? What does keeping Lashley on top of ECW say about the brand?
Kace Evers:: Up until Rob Van Dam’s departure, I would say no. But for now, he’s all ECW has since everyone else is set as being on a level below. With the Draft upcoming, a nice solution to the current quagmire would be for Finlay to be drafted and then beat the mess out of Lashley in an Extreme Rules match for the Title. Then they can have an intense feud over the belt for several months. They could trade the belt back and forth for a bit and take their old SmackDown feud to a new level of violence, thus putting over the concept of, “Extreme,” in, “Extreme Championship Wrestling.” As is, the current state of ECW with Lashley on top makes it seem rather unextreme, especially with no meaningful rival to play off of (that isn’t CEO of the company, that is). He’s a basic WWE power wrestler and there’s really nothing extreme about that.
Mark Allen: Right now a franchise player in ECW isn’t saying much. ECW is and should become basically an on-air developmental territory. When the Van Dam and Angle experiments failed and Big Show wanted out, Lashley really became their only credible choice, and I use credible loosely there. But no, I don’t think Lashley should be in that spot. He needs to go to RAW or back to SmackDown! to really make his mark if that’s what the higher ups want from him. I think the franchise player for ECW should be CM Punk. He has such a different look and style that he would help make ECW look and feel different. And I don’t if there was a sign of that this past week on ECW when he ended the show with a victory, as opposed to Lashley ending the show, but perhaps that signalled that Lashley is getting drafted and Punk will be the new face of ECW, as his was the last image shown on this week’s episode. Keep Cor Von and Burke on ECW as foils for him and watch all three of them grow because of it. Supplement the rest of the brand with the original guys and young guys like Striker, the Majors, and other young call-ups and watch Punk rise to the top.
Mr. Glazer’s Grading: Well, this question falls flat after the draft. I’ll forego scoring and explanation to simply give Mark the point for being correct in his surmise of what the WWE would do.
Mark is up 3-0.
4. Who was the best franchise player of the last 25 years? Why is your choice any better than other possible choices?
Kace Evers:: Ric Flair is the franchise player of Professional Wrestling. Think about everything that’s gone down in the last 25 years and consider what Flair’s done in that time. During that time, Flair became the Franchise player for Non-McMahon wrestling and was always the reliable workhorse that fans loved and loved to hate. He was a moneymaker and an ambassador for the NWA, especially Jim Crockett Promotions. When the Black Scorpion angle didn’t turn out the way WCW was hoping for, it was Flair who wound up being thrown in to salvage it, winning the World Title not long afterwards. During his year and a half stint in the WWF, he put over the WWF Heavyweight Title and what it meant to Pro Wrestling in general. Before he left, he jobbed to Bret Hart, setting him on his path to Legendary status. Back in WCW again, Flair once again was the man to the rescue after the disastrous 1993 and its Starrcade event, where Flair saved the day in defeating Big Van Vader after Sid Vicious safety knived his way out of the picture. It was Flair who was Victim #1 when Hulk Hogan arrived in 1994, in order to reestablish Hogan as a top player again and WCW as being on par with the WWF. In fact, I still remember a great interview Flair had in putting over WCW upon hearing about the possibility of Hogan’s arrival on WCW Worldwide (having just defeated Steven Regal in a great match). In that interview, Flair listed off the names of WCW’s top talent, from himself to Arn Anderson to Ricky Steamboat to “Stunning” Steve Austin. Flair made it clear that WCW was already a place rich with talent, but with Hogan arriving it was now even better. No matter what was thrown at Ric and no matter what company he worked for, he was able to make fans care, one way or the other, as well as put that league
over with the fans, all the way to the present time. His promo at the Last Nitro is still the Defining Moment of that evening (Shane & Vince stuff notwithstanding) and when he returned to the WWF in 2001, he once again did what he could to put over the WWF and the McMahon family and what they meant to Professional Wrestling. He helped solidify Hunter Hearst Helmsley as a top player and did what he could in building up Dave Batista and Randy Orton in Evolution. Even now in 2007, he’s doing what he can to help elevate Carlito Colon to a higher status with a nice storyline. I can’t really think of anyone who has done so much since 1982.
Mark Allen: Twenty five years would put us back to 1982. And as I think back there hasn’t been a better franchise player than Ric Flair. Austin and Rock had a few short years where they were the guys and Hogan has been on top longer than Flair, but Flair was the guy you could count on to get yourself out of a situation. He was willing and wanted to drop his belt in order to build up a new match or star if he felt they were worthy. He knew he could deliver a good, entertaining match to save the show. Think about when he bailed WCW out in 1993 after the stabbing incident. Think about putting
over Steamboat in 1989 to build the NWA Championship up. Think about returning in 1998 because the fans begged for it. Think about him being one of the last images seen on the final WCW program. Think about putting Sting over with that Clash of Champions draw. Think about his last WWE run where he has put everyone over under the sun in hopes that at least one of them catches fire and becomes a star. A franchise player is your go to guy. The guy you want on your roster at all times. And in my mind there is no one better in the franchise position than the Nature Boy.
Mr. Glazer’s Grading: Well, both men’s answers were the same, but Kace fully explicated his answer while a lot of Mark’s answer was dedicated to discussing other guys and not enough discussing his choice. This is Kace’s best write up so far and you can tell he’s really passionate about the legacy of the Nature Boy.
Kace: A Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A great, passionate response.
Mark: B Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Could have done more to discuss Flair, but the discussion of other major names is a nice touch.
3-1 for Mark. Can Kace bring this back from a blowout to respectability?
5. You could say that the franchise of the IWC has always been the live show coverage. How much opinion do you want in your show coverage? Is play by play dieing or will it always have a welcomed spot in the IWC?
Kace Evers: I think if it’s play by play coverage, then let it be just that. The great thing about Pulse Wrestling is that we have the options of both the straight up recap (some of which I’ve typed) as well as the analytical coverage of a variety of sorts, from myself to Steve Murray to Bambi Weavil to Eric Szulzcewski to Rob Blatt and Pulse Glazer. Rob, for example’s able to do both the straight up recap of ECW and then turn around and give you his thoughts on the show itself, during his podcast. So with sites like us providing the best of the both Worlds, the fans will always get the option of which they desire, therefore there’s no real need for opinions during the recap. I do believe that straight up summaries and recaps will always have a place in the IWC, especially for those who are interested in what they missed without having to deal with all the opinionated stuff they can get in the columns. I don’t see Play By Play coverage dying at all, so long as we have people willing to do it.
Mark Allen: I think play-by-play will always have a spot with the IWC. I know major sites like IP and 411 get a lot of hits for the play-by-play PPV coverage as there are a lot of us out there that don’t buy the PPVs and its nice to be able to check in every once in a while to see what is going on with the PPV as it is happening. The opinions can come later in other reporters’ rants or breakdowns but up to the minute play-by-play should be just that, play-by-play. Keeping it just the actual facts makes it look, dare I say, more credible and more professional than by including a bunch of silly little opinions along the way. We live in such a fast-paced world that we almost demand information that fast at our finger tips and so I think the play-by-play will be something that will continue to be a stable for the top IWC sites.
Mr. Glazer’s Grading: Bravo again Kace. Discussing in detail with examples is the way to get the point! We aren’t the only site that does good coverage though, which really helps Mark’s case, even if the other he did mention isn’t a personal favorite (no offense). Mark has a stronger opinion, but Kace’s point of “why only one?Ã¢â‚¬Â is more logical. Point to Kace and he saved his point scoring even in taking the loss.
Kace: A- – A bit more writing about the very good point would have made a great reply even better.
Mark: B Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A good reply with a strong stance that doesn’t make the best sense. Still well written and thoughtful.
Mark Allen beats Kace Evers in VS. 3-2! See you Friday for A Modest Response and more VS. action.
Tags: ECW, Raw, ROH, Smackdown, TNA, WWE