Friday Morning Backlash: On Kings and Colts

Welcome back to InsidePulse Wrestling this Friday morning.  In case you’ve forgotten since last time, I’m Kyle Sparks, and my contribution to the Backlash means that the weekend is almost upon us.  So since Friday is going to be my domain for the foreseeable future, let’s dive in with a new addition to the column.

SmackDown Unspoiled
Sheamus vs. The Great Khali
Natalya vs. AJ
Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd
Ezekiel Jackson vs. Zack Ryder (Non-Title)
Mark Henry vs. Vladimir Kozlov
Randy Orton/John Morrison vs. Christian/R-Truth

As an aside (and while technically this is a spoiler, I don’t think anyone will care), apparently Daniel Bryan has new music.  While I enjoy “Ride of the Valkyries” as more of a whimsical idea for Dragon, it was never really something that was going to allow him to be taken seriously as a main event–or really even an upper mid-card–threat.  I haven’t heard it yet, but one assumes it’ll be similar to his first music, which can be found here:”

So, one can only hope that it will result in a continued push towards the top for Dragon, leading into next year’s Mania.  In the meantime, instead of just putting on good matches–as I’m sure he’ll do with Tyson Kidd this week and he did with even Heath Slater a couple weeks ago–I’d love to see the briefcase defended as an actual title in the interim, similar to what ROH did with the #1 Contender’s Trophy back around 2004.

On another SmackDown note, as everyone has no doubt heard by now, Colt Cabana wrestled the dark match before the SmackDown/NXT taping (as Colt Cabana) losing in about 5 minutes to Wade Barrett, via Wasteland.

All this ultimately brings me to the point of this week’s column.  It’s long been assumed that the Kings of Wrestling are on their way to WWE, but this provides a little more than speculation that Colt Cabana is likely on his way in as well.  ROH’s last attempt at an angle with him was the “I just want the best competition” storyline that saw him wrestling TJ Perkins and–eventually–Squire Dave Taylor at Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter Two.  This, coupled with the fact that Cabana was not booked for ROH’s television taping in Chicago Ridge, IL on August 13th (tickets available here), has ROH fans thinking that it’s just as foregone a conclusion that Colt Cabana is bound for Vinceland as well.  So what can we expect from these guys?

Outside of Sin Cara, it’s very rare to see guys skip WWE developmental entirely, but it frankly wouldn’t be surprising to see all three of these men skip past developmental, but in general, what can we expect from these three men, and what are the best and worst case scenarios?  Moreover, what can Ring of Honor do to replace them?

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Let’s start with Colt Cabana.  Colt is least likely of the three to wind up in developmental, for the simple fact that he’s already been through the system once, both in OVW and FCW.  There’s simply no reason to send him back there, and he can debut most quickly on WWE television.

Best Case Scenario: Colt debuts at SummerSlam to help Punk win (retain?) the WWE Title at SummerSlam, and is immediately entered into a top level angle with the likes of Kofi, Bourne, etc., as Punk moves into his feud with Triple H and Cena takes time to feud with Del Rio.  Colt’s association with Punk allows him to draw significant face pops to a point where when the time comes he will be capable of standing on his own.

Worst Case Scenario: Colt does wind up in developmental anyway, as the angle proceeds to run it’s course without him.  By the time he gets there, most of the heat from his involvement with Punk is lost and WWE has again failed to strike while the iron his hot, likely leading to his dismissal within a year.

What Will Happen: Colt winds up in a similar role to his role in ROH with Punk, as the Stevie Richards-esque sidekick.  Colt gets to do his usual schtick, providing a counterpoint to Punk and standing out as perhaps funnier than he actually is due to Punk’s intensity.  His wrestling will allow him to connect with the kid-centric audience and if he’s allowed to simply be himself, he’ll have a solid–if unspectacular–career as a mid-card guy with an IC or US Title reign here or there.

How ROH Can Replace Him: Truth be told, and I hate to say this, ROH really won’t have to work that hard to replace Cabana, as he really hasn’t seen significant use recently as it is.  He really wasn’t involved in any long-term angles, and many times saw use as a stock title contender whenever the company rolled through Chicago.  His role on the card was more in the vein of “put on good matches to kick off the show, which can be accomplished by the likes of Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, El Generico, ANX, etc.  If TJ Perkins does come in as a long term member of the roster–as some ROH fans have craved–he would occupy a similar slot.

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Now onto the Kings.  They have been the subject of some debate regarding their readiness to perform in WWE.  F4WOnline.com was reporting around a week ago that the Kings would bypass WWE developmental and join WWE in conjunction with the Punk angle.  Dave Meltzer’s response was essentially that he had heard similar things–at least that they were imminently headed to WWE and that it would be “stupid” of them to go to developmental, in the same sense that he believes it’s stupid for Tyler Black to be in developmental.  Meanwhile, there’s the obvious question of how much of their styles (particularly Hero’s) they will be allowed to keep.  One certainly would think their styles would adapt fairly well, but you never know what the WWE brass are thinking at any given time.  My biggest concern is names and gimmicks.  I say this as one of the biggest Chris Hero fans out there, but his name just reeks of the kind of name you’d find on the independents.  By the same token though, people could have said the same thing about the name CM Punk, and look at what happened there.  I guess the only conclusion we can come to is that we have no idea how they make these decisions, and we’ll just have to watch and see what happens.  But to heck with that, speculation is fun:

Best Case Scenario: I talked with Glazer about it the other day, but my personal best case scenario is that the Kings show up through the crowd either at SummerSlam or shortly thereafter (depending on how they’re working their departure from ROH) when Punk is confronting either John Cena (or even Triple H).  Hero gets in behind and hits the Cyclone Kill and Claudio follows shortly thereafter with the UFO.  The tag team is INSTANTLY made and at that point it’s only a formality for them to crush Punk’s previous pet project, Otunga & McGillicutty as the new Tag Team Champions.  Hero & Claudio can then embark on a tag team title reign similar to their last ROH Tag Title reign, proclaiming themselves the best tag team in the world, daring anyone in WWE to stop them, etc.


Worst Case Scenario: After a name change AND a trip through developmental, Hero and Claudio are brought up separately and given the kind of painful stop-and-start push that has plagued so many talented guys coming out of developmental and the two never reach  the kind of success that longtime fans of the team know they are capable of.  They find themselves future endeavored inside of two years.

What Will Happen: There’s ultimately no reason for the Kings to not be brought in immediately.  Sin Cara came up immediately and his style has proven to require significantly more adaptation to the so-called WWE Style than either of the Kings would.  Moreover, given that the WWE Tag Team division is made up of the New Nexus (who could use some more FCW time), the Usos and whoever Santino wants to team with, and WWE has just signed arguably the best team in the world, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be brought in and pushed to the tag titles.  It’s not like WWE has paid incredibly close attention to the tag division since the late 80s anyway.

How ROH Can Replace Them: Three words.  The Young Bucks.  The Bucks were just released from TNA, and had already put on several tremendous  matches with The Briscoes, The American Wolves and other ROH mainstays.  I would love to see the Bucks and the Briscoes go at it again, especially given the Briscoes new, violent heelish attitude.  That, plus the growth of the All Night Express and the continued development of Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole gives a lot of potential fresh matches with a team that’s already known and over with the ROH audience.

Failing that, while the Kings will be a major loss to the tag ranks, they may be a greater loss to the singles ranks, as either Hero or Claudio could viably step in and believably main event any show.  The ROH main event scene is now Davey Richards, Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards.  Homicide can step in, but he’ll require some build again and isn’t the same man that left the company in 2007.  Michael Elgin is being built tremendously, but will require some time as well.    Kenny King and Tommaso Ciampa are both potential main event level talents, but there’s no reason to split the ANX and Ciampa is still quite new to the scene.  ROH has weathered the loss of main event talents before, and there’s no reason to doubt that it will change now.  There’s also the possibility that ROH can bring back guys like Sami Callihan or Low Ki, or bring in guys like Chuck Taylor, Paul London (likely a pipe dream), or others.  Ultimately, with Haas & Benjamin, ANX, Co’Reilly, the Briscoes, the Wolves, and the developing Bravado Brothers, the tag division is in great shape.  It’s the main event scene that ROH will need help, and they have potential there.  We’ll just have to see who elevates and how they manage to deal with this issue as they move into the SBG era.

As always, thanks for reading.  The feedback from last week’s column was fantastic, and I’m very glad to have this platform to write for you all and hopefully entertain you and make you think about this thing we love along the way.  I always appreciate any questions, comments or suggestions.  Thanks again, and see everybody  next Friday!

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