The Stomping Ground: The Mick Foley Situation

Greetings, my loyal stompers! I’m back with another fantastic edition of Mike Gojira’s Stomping Ground!

Not sure if you’re all aware of what occurred last week, but evidently TNA and Mick Foley are parting ways, apparently due to “creative differences.” With Mick’s contract up in September, he’ll be free to pursue other options. Among those are ROH, Japan, and even a return to the WWE. As a result, our very own Matthew Michaels has set up a poll (which you can find here) asking who in the WWE could use a boost in a program with the Hardcore Legend. Edge, Randy Orton, The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, and the Undertaker have all worked with Foley in the past and all have benefited greatly from his influence. I thought it would be a good idea to analyze the Superstars on that poll and see who would do well to work with Mick in some way, shape, or form.

I’ve broken the list down into 4 specific categories: wrestlers who need Foley, wrestlers who could benefit but don’t necessarily require his aid, those who can stand on their own, and those who have yet to develop to the point that a program with Mick might be necessary.

The WWE Superstars who I feel are not yet prepared for a storyline involving the former Dude Love are presented herein for a variety of reasons. They may be too green, or have an underdeveloped character, or not even seen on television. Brodus Clay, Zack Ryder, Husky Harris, Tyler Reks, Skip Sheffield, Michael Tarver, JTG, Curt Hawkins, DH Smith, Chris Masters and Primo fall into the category of “Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players.” They are either relegated to Superstars or aren’t even wrestling on TV yet. Guys like Trent Barretta, Yoshi Tatsu, and the Usos are used sparingly on Smackdown, but they too are not ready. Johnny Curtis made his first appearance in a humorous and bizarre promo on Smackdown, so he falls into the same category.

The members of the New Nexus, Mason Ryan, David Otunga, and Michael McGillicutty, are currently working for CM Punk and are thus far directionless. Of them, only Ryan seems to be ready for any sort of push, but not of the Foley variety. Likewise for the Corre’s Justin Gabriel and Heath “Generic” Slater, who work well as a tag team. Of the two, Gabriel shows the most potential. It’s too soon to tell if any member of these factions can be a breakout star.

There are quite a few Superstars who either do not need a story with Foley or would never benefit from it. Vladimir Kozlov and Mark Henry won’t do anyone any favors in a setting involving Mick; he’d only be good for providing a few bumps but it would never serve to get either big man over. A guy like Santino Marella is their go-to guy for comedy spots, and might have a few good moments with Foley in this regard, but I don’t see it boosting Marella a few rungs up the corporate ladder.

Daniel Bryan needs to have higher-profile feuds with current Superstars before he can ever deal with Foley, but he also doesn’t need Mick’s help. The same goes for Sin Cara and Evan Bourne; although in Bourne’s case all he needs is an actual push and he’ll do fine. Ezekiel Jackson is currently getting a push we thought was reserved for Mason Ryan; he is starting to get over with the fans but doesn’t need Foley’s influence.

A few Superstars on the poll could use Mrs. Foley’s baby boy to step up their game, but do not necessarily need the help. Jinder Mahal, while brand-new, could definitely use Foley as Khali’s punching bag to get more heat. Does he need it? No, not from my standpoint. Having Khali is more than enough to garner heat. Tyson Kidd might benefit from using Foley as a stepping stone, but he (like Bourne) just needs some direction and perhaps Foley won’t be necessary.

A couple of guys stand out for me in this group; Superstars who are at the cusp of the main event but just haven’t gotten there yet. Sheamus and Kofi Kingston have tasted what it’s like to stand in the ring with top tier talent, but for one reason or another have yet to fulfill their dreams. Sheamus is mired in Smackdown’s midcard at the moment, being used as a stepping stone for the Orton/Christian feud, and Kofi had his chance with Orton and blew it months ago. They could both use a little help from Mankind, but they don’t necessarily need his support.

Now for the true meat-and-potatoes. Each of the following wrestlers desperately needs something to push them to that next level; some form of motivation that they are currently lacking. All are heels (with one exception which I’ll get to later) and most certainly can benefit the most out of anyone on this list. Wade Barrett, a year ago, showed the most promise: an NXT rookie who took a huge opportunity and made the most of it when he formed Nexus. Currently he is in an Intercontinental Championship feud with Big Zeke, but this is only serving to further Jackson. I keep thinking back to the late 90s, when fighting over the Intercontinental Title actually meant something (see Rock/Austin and Rock/Triple H) and pushed both men up the ladder in the process. What the hell happened?! Anywho, Barrett could stand a little face time with Foley and I envision it to go the way of Triple H/Foley in 2000 in that it could catapult Barrett to the top.

Drew McIntyre, the so-called Chosen One, isn’t even on Raw despite having been drafted there. He is my personal choice for a Foley-esque push and the one I voted for. McIntyre has the personality and the talent to make a good foil for Cactus Jack. It would give the Scotsman something to do instead of losing in dark matches and taped matches for Superstars.

Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler are in the same boat. Both are currently directionless (don’t let the Bourne debacle fool you; Swagger’s going nowhere fast) and wasted space on Raw. Can someone explain the logic in putting Ziggler in a main event feud on Smackdown (even holding the damn title for a nanosecond) just to waste him on Raw? The same can be said for Alberto del Rio, but at least it appears he is next in line to take on John Cena. Both Ziggler and Swagger need the assistance of a dedicated veteran like Foley to bring their considerable talents into the limelight.

Ted DiBiase desperately needs a swift kick in the ass (and a new theme song…for the love of God, that autotune crap needs to disappear), which he MIGHT be getting from Daniel Bryan and Sin Cara at the moment. Mick Foley would be the perfect fit here. Get him involved with Teddy Senior and it could be just what Junior needs.

R-Truth is comedy gold on the mic as a paranoid heel, but he’s clearly not ready for the big time. After he loses to Cena at Capitol Punishment (and he WILL lose), I could see Truth in a feud with Foley. He could easily think a returning Mick is back to steal his spotlight and snap. This most certainly would work in his favor and improve his in-ring game while hiding his flaws, what with Foley being primarily a brawler.

This leads me to the lone babyface in the equation. Oddly enough, this man was not included in the poll. I am talking, of course, about John Morrison. Think about it this way: Morrison could return to action from his injury and get a measure of revenge on Truth, but he’ll still feel like something’s missing. Enter Mick Foley, who can instill that fiery passion in Morrison. His promos could be edgy and less like he’s reading off a script and he won’t have to turn heel for it to work. Working a program with Foley would be the shot in the arm Morrison needs to raise his game.

Random Thoughts

Kudos to “Silent Rage” Andy Levine for making it to the end of Tough Enough and earning a WWE contract. I believe they made the right choice, as Luke will definitely get his opportunity sooner rather than later, and the fans were obviously rooting for the underdog. Andy really stepped it up this season and deserves a chance to shine. As for Martin, I assume the company has already worked out some deal for him since his untimely exit.

R-Truth secedes from the WWE Universe: absolutely brilliant. The company is really letting him go all-out and do his thing and I have to say that it’s working for me. Once again, however, I have to mention that the company’s focus on building heels will come back to bite them on the ass.

By the way, Truth’s press conference was great. “Little Jimmy’s got a boat!” I love it.

Cheap Plugs

I would be ABSOLUTELY REMISS if I didn’t mention Rhett Davis‘s “phenomenal” and TOTALLY ORIGINAL idea of 100 Random Wrestling Thoughts. Yup, nobody has done THAT in recent weeks. But seriously, check it out. He needs the attention. After he graduated from high school, he’s got nothing going for him. Personally I think he’s gone insane. He actually thinks he’s funny! (But don’t say that to his face. Just smile and nod.)

Jonah Kue hits us up with another awesome Kue’s ReKall in his latest column, wherein he discusses the week that was.

Two more in-depth looks at this past week’s worth of wrestling can be found here, by Chris Sanders, and here, by Joel Leonard. Both guys are really starting to find a groove as writers.

Want some “outside-the-box” thoughts on the wrestling product as of late? Check out Steven Gepp and his piece on jobber identity, or K. Sawyer Paul‘s controversial new rating system theory, or the next installment of Patrick Spohr‘s opinion on the state of female wrestling, or Matt Harrak and his prediction that TNA is on its death bed. You’ll get no argument from me on that one.

Want some recaps? As usual we have the comedic styling of one Andrew Wheeler and his Raw Recap and the torture Blair Douglas goes through every week for Impact Wrestling. Let’s not forget the always talented Pulse Diva herself, Kelly Floyd, and her Smackdown Recap.

Next week there will be a double dose of Gojira as I take on Rhett Davis as his latest guest on The O’Really Report. No doubt he’ll have some “pun-riffic” title in mind and call me a Goldfish at some point. Hilarity will ensue.

At his expense, of course.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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