Welcome to a rare installment of my rarely used “Air Up There” series of articles. On my last column before my departure, in the comment section I discussed some booking ideas for struggling stars. They were well-received – so much so that it completely overshadowed the column itself. Whoops.
Anyway, this return column takes a look at some more ideas along those lines – some serious storylines, and some not-so-serious storylines. And for anyone who didn’t seen them, I’m also re-including my original ideas from that comment section for The Miz and time-travelling Jack Swagger.
Scenario 1: Jamaican Me Crazy
featuring Kofi Kingston and The Miz
I want to reinforce early on that I feel like these general ideas don’t have to be applied for the subjects I choose to illustrate them with. The key thing with my first idea is that one subject has to be a relatively underused mid-carder who the fans ACTUALLY like (Kofi, Bourne, or Tatsu, just to use a few examples) and one of those guys who they push to the moon who people pretend is going to be huge, who then wallows in obscurity 6 months later (Miz, Shaemus, or, in the future, Ryback or Sandow).
So, the idea starts out simple enough. The Miz has had a fall from grace that’s been really fun to watch, but is now off filming a movie or just not being used. At some point, you start seeing vignettes for his return done in the usual WWE style. They can be clips of him working on his movie, beating someone up, talking about how he was the main event of WrestleMania whatever with Super-Wigger and then got pushed aside for part-timers like Jericho, Rock, and Lesnar. This will set up the usual internet dumbfuckery where everyone will wonder whether he was SHOOTING. More importantly, people will assume that he’s getting a big push – a safe assumption, since this is kinda almost the only way that WWE knows how to book a return or debut.
Anyway, do that type of thing for a few weeks. Then, that first week that he’s back on the show, do what everyone would expect and have Miz come out and beat someone like Zack Ryder with relative ease by hitting his moves like… uh… well, there’s that… shit. Okay. So I don’t actually think he knows any actual moves, but I think he does that shitty Jeff Jarrett finisher or something. Anyway, it’s not important. He can do whatever it is that he normally does. Miz squashes someone, that’s all that matters. For the second week, he does the exact same thing to someone else. Say, Alex Riley or something.
Sounds like your usual boring return routine, right? You could even do that for a third week – but the third or fourth is where the pin gets pulled on the ACTUAL start of the angle. The Miz fights Kofi Kingston on this week – don’t have any buildup to the match – the pattern has been established and everyone will think that Miz is going through Kofi, because again, this is kinda all that WWE knows how to do when it comes to returns of debuts. So just make this seem like another in a series of boring squashes.
Then, the match happens. Don’t even give Kofi an entrance if you don’t want to – everyone knows who he is, and they like him. First thing that happens is, Miz goes for a move – again, I don’t know any moves Miz knows, so let’s say a back body-drop – he ducks down to toss Kofi off an irish whip, and Kofi kicks him in the face. Hard. Miz staggers back, and Kofi hits that hard DDT he does. He picks him up and tosses him in the corner, and hits a HARD dropkick right to the head. Miz looks to be out, so Kofi goes to the top rope and hits a frog splash or a double stomp. Every move Kofi performs should be done with relative ease. He then pins Miz, who doesn’t even make an attempt to kick out.
Crowd is shocked. People watching are shocked. Kofi does not seem shocked. He’s happy he won and all, but not surprised. But he feeds off the crowd’s excitement, and leaves just like he normally does. Miz gets up after he leaves and staggers out holding his head.
After the match, Kofi is in the locker room with, say, CM Punk. Everyone knows they’re buddies. An announcer walks in as Kofi grabs his bag to leave for the night, and asks Kofi about the “upset”. Kofi looks at Punk and says “upset?” as Punk shakes his head and snickers. Kofi then looks at the announcer and says “that’s a good one bro. Have a good night.” Then he and Punk leave.
The next week, Miz has a rematch. He cuts one of his lame promos that people used to pretend were good, but Kofi says nothing. No one is quite sure who’s going to win, if last week was a fluke, or the start of a feud, or what’s going on. They go in and the exact same thing happens. Maybe Kofi busts out a couple different moves this time, maybe he even taunts Miz a bit and gets him frustrated at first. But again, Kofi just dominates him, and at the end of the match, for the top rope move or whatever Kofi uses as a finish, Miz sells like he broke or tore something. Kofi pins, celebrates, and leaves. Again, all of this should be done without much surprise on Kofi’s part. Miz continues selling the injury after the match, and he can be helped backstage by some officials or something. Whatever they do, it should be obvious that he’s hurt.
So, you get the idea. It’s simple enough – use hype from The Miz’s re-debut / comeback to create even bigger hype for building up a guy they already have – like Kofi Kingston. The Miz is someone who used to be a big deal, albiet for a short period of time. Whatever your opinion is of whether he should have been there and whether he’ll ever get there again (and I’m certain you can guess mine if you don’t know it already) is irrelevant. And Kofi is not a guy anyone expected to see them do this with – they’ve had him for years, and only used him in a major angle once. So, it’s something that hasn’t been done – bring a guy back like a house of fire, and have him lose… decisively… at an odd time like the third or fourth match back. Then have him do the same the very next week, just as decisively. This would definitely get people talking. You know it and I know it.
The pervious two matches should take place on RAW. But then, have Kofi go to SmackDown one week – have him beat someone not-as-impressive, like say, Hunrico, Again, relatively little effort, but not as much of a squash as Miz was. Then, someone like this Damien Sandow guy comes out after his match. You guys like him and pretend he’s good, right? Great. So Sandow comes out, and proceeds to run him down about his fluke wins, and about how long he’s been with the company and how little he’s accomplished. He challenges him to a match at the PPV. Kofi just smiles, shakes his hand, and accepts the match without bothering to say anything. He goes to leave, and, if you want some lame WWE-normal-style storyline, if you’re one of those people that believe they “need to have a reason to have a match”, then fine. Have Sandow attack him from behind as Kofi leaves the ring.
The PPV comes, and again, people aren’t sure who’s going to win. Did they just have Kofi beat Miz so that it would be more impressive when Sandow went over him? They’ve been making a big deal out of Sandow, after all. But no, they get in the ring, and Kofi beats him. Once again, this needs to require a bit of effort on Kofi’s part, and Sandow for sure gets some offense in. But, this early on into Kofi’s bulidup, it shouldn’t be believable that Sandow could have beaten him at any point. Anyway, at the end, Kofi hits a couple of moves, poses for the trading card, hits his finish, and pins. Done.
Next RAW, Kofi beats someone like Antonio Cess… fuck it, he beats Claudio Castagnoli. How easily he does it can be varied. After the match, Miz jumps him and REALLY beats the shit out of him. Miz and Kofi fight again at the next PPV, with Kofi winning, once again with relative ease, but still more difficult than his last matches with Miz. The next night though, Miz beats the shit out of Kofi with some kind of object. He doesn’t stop. Miz goes to break Kofi’s leg with a chair, but Punk comes out and chases him off. Punk doesn’t get involved in the feud though, because after helping Kofi backstage, Punk comes out the next week and yells at Miz. Kofi comes out, stares at Miz and tells Punk “I got this”. Kofi then challenges Miz to a street fight or a cage match or something. The presence of Punk in the angle elevates Kofi and Miz as well, and maybe they have a couple tag-matches or something until the next PPV. But the next PPV, Kofi beats Miz again. This should be Kofi’s hardest-fought match yet, but he does still decisively win.
Next up, have Kofi go after the Intercontinental Title. Let’s say he challenges Cody to a ladder match. Again, this should be his toughest match yet, but he does win. Are you guys still pretending Cody Rhodes is good? Well then, pretend we use this to get Cody in the main event. That’s going to be a hot disaster, by the way, but I’m trying to make this work for you guys.
After that, let’s say it’s Survivor Series time. Do you guys still like Shaemus, or what? Well, let’s say that he’s making a Survivor Series team, and in order to continue to get as much crowd support as he can, he picks Kofi for his team. During the match, the heels dominate and/or cheat to eliminate the babyfaces until it’s just Kofi and Shaemus. Kofi eliminates two of the guys like a whrilwind, and let’s say Shaemus eliminates another one with his retard kick. but then, Kofi misses a superkick (or something) on the fourth heel and hits Shaemus. The heel knocks Kofi out of the ring and pins Shaemus. Kofi comes back in and hits the heel with a move, his finish, and a decisive pin. Kofi wins. Crowd is happy. Shaemus is not happy, and he gets in Kofi’s face and shoves him. Kofi just smiles and gives him a look, like “I don’t think you wanna do that”. Shaemus cools off, then turns around and tries his retard kick. Kofi ducks, and then hits Shaemus with that one kick that makes people shit piss and piss shit. Shaemus is out. Kofi leaves.
Then, after Kofi leaves and Shaemus is out in the ring, a heel who won the Money In The Bank briefcase (let’s say Cody Rhodes… again, you guys like Cody, right? I’m all about making this work for you) cashes in on Shaemus and pins him for his title. Major angle started for Kofi and Shaemus. Shaemus has a legitimate beef, but it’s not like Kofi was in the wrong either. I can’t picture the crowd siding with Shaemus on this one, but if some do, then make it a babyface / babyface match. The next SmackDown, have Kofi fight and beat the fourth heel from the Survivor Series match before Shaemus comes down to confront him. Kofi should approach it like “well, you probably shouldn’t have gotten in my face, moron”. This leads up to a PPV where Kofi beats Shaemus – now this can be a match, if you like, where it’s believable that Kofi could lose. If you must. I mean, Shaemus sucks a lot, so Kofi will have to do a lot of the work like Bryan did, but it can happen. Regardless, it has to be Kofi’s hardest match, in a further escalation of how difficult his previous matches were as he moves up the card. And this would easily be his highest-profile match to date.
Then, we’re onto Royal Rumble time, and really, there’s any number of things you can do with Kofi that will work here. Have him win and go challenge a World Champion if you like. If he goes to fight Punk for the title, it doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses – if he loses, then Punk can come out and say how he thought he had fought the best wrestler in the world when he fought Daniel Bryan, but that he was wrong. This can lead to a Kofi / Bryan confrontation. But I’d personally have him lose the Rumble by the skin of his teeth, after a very long time inside where he eliminated a bunch of people, including one or two high-profile guys. Then he can work with one of those guys in a major program at WrestleMania – think Chris Jericho, or something like that. Maybe he can lose to Undertaker, even, since Undertaker is running out of opponents not named John Cena. Or, speaking of Cena, have him fight Cena or Orton. He doesn’t have to win, necessarily. But I’d keep him away from the World Title and the main event within the first year. Have him start building to that after WrestleMania.
You thought I forgot about The Miz, didn’t you? I didn’t. I left this part until the end because I don’t much think it matters when it happens – but at some point after their last confrontation, Kofi can be getting beaten down by one of his rivals. The Miz can be the one who comes to his rescue. As Kofi slowly gets up, everyone assumes that Miz will attack Kofi again. But he doesn’t. He can stick his hand out and shake it, and say that he underestimated Kofi. From there on, you start to turn him into a babyface who vows he won’t underestimate people anymore. One of the reasons why I think this works better for The Miz than it does for others is that The Miz really has nowhere left to go when he gets back, and he’s also never been a babyface. That doesn’t mean he has to be a babyface forever or anything – certainly he can switch back at any point it it doesn’t work. And I feel the need to point out – Miz sucks a lot – so there’s no guarantee anything will work for him. But this gives him a better chance than he has now, I think.
One other thing that I thought would be a nice touch, would be to have Kofi challenge a babyface World Champion in a non-title match at some point between wrestling Cody and wrestling Shaemus. With the match being non-title and Kofi being on a tear, people would assume Kofi would win – but he would lose by the skin of his teeth. Just to illustrate that while he is someone to watch, that he’s not unstoppable and that he still has a ways to go.
Anyway, the bulk of the angle is for Kofi, and you get the idea by this point. The key is starting the build with something surprising, with his initial victory over a recently returned Miz. That’s how you get people’s attention. Then you build steadily from there. People already like Kofi, so it wouldn’t be hard to get them into it. And no one necessarily loses – Miz ends up in a fresh position that he can take advantage of, which is way more beneficial than coming back to the same thing just to wind up in the same position. Sandow can take the loss to Kofi early on in his career, and from there, instead of being the heel who rarely wrestles and says he’s the best, he can become the heel who lost his first match but still claims to be the best, getting his massive heat. And I doubt things are going to work out for Sandow anyway, so who cares? Shaemus winds up a little worse for wear, but really, after the Kofi thing, he can still go after Cody and the World Title. And also, let’s be honest – fuck Shaemus.
If you didn’t like this scenario for the charisma vacuum that is The Miz, then maybe you’d prefer…
Scenario 2: Who Is The Miz?
featuring The Miz and Alex Riley
This is the first scenario that you may have already read in the comments section of my last “Interinactivity” article before the break. There, I was asked what I would do to stop the career-death-spiraling-counter-clockwise-around-the-shitter-situations that The Miz and Jack Swagger were involved in. I would make their career deterioration a lot more apparent on-screen since everyone talks about it anyway, especially with Miz. And just think doing something completely off the wall that doesn’t even make sense would be good. Let’s face it, WWE’s serious storylines (why Ace still has a job, etc) don’t make a lot of sense, so why do the funny ones? WWE isn’t very funny, and hasn’t been in a long time. But they do have some good actors…ish… so they can do better.
So, I’m just spitballing, but I would do something like have Miz go into Triple H’s dressing room and get all pissed off about what he’s doing on the show every week. Triple H can just stand there looking annoyed but not saying anything while The Miz goes off… and then he can flat out say “yeah, sorry… who are you again?” “I’m The Miz!” “Who?” “The Miz!” “Who’s The Miz?” “I’m The Miz!” “No, I know, but I mean like.. who is The Miz?” “I’m The Miz! I’ve been here for years! I main-evented…” “Okay, okay. Do you want a dark match as a tryout or something?” “What? I already work here!” “How did you get in my dressing room?” This can go on for a while, with him explaining that he main-evented WrestleMania over a year ago, and Triple H can just stand there looking confused. Next week, The Miz can show up proudly with a DVD of WrestleMania 27, which has him on the cover, and storm into Triple H’s dressing room to prove his point. Then he can show Triple H the DVD, and Triple H stands there, still unimpressed. Then he can be like “Right. So which one are you?” Then Miz can be like “WHAT?!” and turn the DVD around, and the cover actually has The Rock and John Cena on it, and not him. Maybe there’s a big blacked out piece of tape over where he’s supposed to be or something. Then Miz goes searching for who’s playing this joke on him. Maybe it’s Alex Riley, getting revenge for how Miz treated him?
Scenario 3: The Divas Finally Get Their Due
featuring the WWE Divas
This scenario is probably the one that most people won’t like, but I stand by it. Now, let it be known that this column was written in August, at a time when I heard there’d been no Diva matches on RAW within weeks. No one really noticed until someone pointed it out, but the point is that no one cared. At all.
Basically, what we need here is for a Diva who people actually cared about to show up – for the purposes of delivering someone who the current audience remembers, I would say Trish Stratus or Lita would be the best bet. Lita in particular was a great in-ring performer, so I think she’d be the best choice. So, say RAW goes to her hometown or something, and she shows up, just as a special attraction. Someone like AJ or Vince or somebody needs to come up to her, and tell her that the reason that the Divas haven’t been on TV lately is because they need inspiration – someone to help them out. Someone to tell them and show them what it’s all about.
We all know Lita is a terrible actress. In the ring is where her talents lie. But that’s all she needs, because this scenario doesn’t require her to say more than 4 or 5 words, tops. Anyway, whoever the authority figure is gives her that speech where they tell her that she has to talk to all the Divas and help them out. The authority figure gives her the power to make any matches and changes to the Diva’s roster that she sees fit. She only needs to nod, or say something like “sure”.
In the next scene, Lita is in a room with all the WWE Divas, except for AJ assuming she’s still GM – if she’s not, then she’s in there too. Lita walks in, looks at them – they’re all looking at her, anxious to hear advice from a legend. Again, Lita is a terrible actress, so she only needs to say 3 words. Let her hesitate for a couple minutes, and then say this:
Lita: “You’re all fired.”
That’s it. Done. Over. The Divas look shocked. Lita walks out. After the commercial, we see her leaving the arena. They literally don’t ever need to mention it again. Who is even in that division anymore, anyway? Beth Phoenix? The best wrestler of a really shitty bunch of female wrestlers? Big fucking deal. Natalie Neidhart, who’s career they ruined by making her Farting Girl? Kelly Kelly? Her 15 minutes are long gone. I honestly can’t even think of anyone else. And here’s the thing – you can get hot girls anywhere. We have real life, we have regular TV, we have the internet, and we have porn. We certainly don’t need to watch wrestling for hot girls – that is a completely outdated concept, so we certainly won’t miss it. The only time it actually works out is when they find the occasional hot girl who can ACTUALLY wrestle, otherwise all the Divas are completely interchangeable and completely replaceable – and WWE clearly isn’t all that interested in finding those girls that can actually wrestle. The girls they hire are more suited to valet or non-wrestling roles.
But if they’re not going to do that, then just fire them all. And don’t worry about them, either – I’m sure that they can find work on the indies or in TNA – I mean, TNA will hire anything. They hired Chavo Guererro for crying out loud. And it’s not like women in wrestling age all that gracefully, save for a couple exceptions – maybe they manage to have a lucrative fitness career or somehow end up banging Cloon-tang on a regular basis, but for the most part, firing them is actually probably doing most of them a favor in the long-run. Maybe some lame sex-positive feminists get their giant underwear in a twist for a couple of weeks, but they’ll move on to something else. And sure, my man Hargrove will probably send a couple of anthrax letters to WWE HQ, but he’ll move on as well. WWE certainly isn’t going to lose any ad revenue or sponsors over it. So fuck it. Just be done with it.
Scenario 4: The Future’s Got Swagger
featuring Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
This is the other one you may have read in my last “Interinactivity” article. With someone like Swagger, I’d do something even crazier than the Miz storyline. Swagger needs crazier because he is even more of a guy who people aren’t gonna care about unless you do something nuts.
So I’d make him a time traveller.
You never see him go back in time, you have no evidence that he goes back in time. You don’t need to do anything the least bit complicated. But he heavily implies it in everything he does. To set it up, you’d have to make it somewhat obvious so that the audience knows what’s going on at first. Maybe he goes into his dressing room right before a blinding light comes out around the corner with a bang, then Ziggler and Vickie go in and he’s gone. Then maybe later he shows up, and he looks a bit confused, looking at his watch. When the announcer comes up, he can go “What is it? Do you want to know my reaction to Brock Lesnar winning the World Title?” and then the announcer can go “What? He didn’t win the World Title. Lesnar was fired and is suing the company.” Then, Swagger can look at his watch, and just go “Right… right, I’m sorry. And walk off.” Then in a couple weeks, Lesnar wins the World Title. The important thing is that he predicts something that ends up happening, doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small.
After that though, you just fuck around with it. Maybe he runs into Beth Phoenix one week, who complains about how she’s treated and how people need to get used to her because she’s going to be around for YEARS to come. Swagger can just look at her, with a melancholy face, and then be like “Yeah, that’s great Beth… listen, save your money, okay? You never know when your wrestling career could end. Injuries can happen at any time.” And she can look at him all confused like “… what? What are you talking about?” And Swagger can just say “Listen, do you have RRSP’s? They’re a great way to plan for life after early retirement… I mean retirement.” Then she can get mad at him and sic that Skip Sheffield loser on him or something.
Both Swagger and Miz in his scenario still have matches, but the matches themselves don’t need to have much to do with what’s going on. Not all the time, anyway. Swagger and Ziggler can be cutting a promo with Vickie, and they can put some makeup on Swagger to make him look at least a decade older. Rings under the eyes, a different haircut, stuff like that. Then they hand the mic to Swagger, and he just looks confused like he doesn’t know what to do with it. Then he snaps his fingers and smiles, looks intently at the microphone and is like “… I remember these! I’m in the wrong time again!” and runs off around the corner. Then they hear the bang. Then normal-looking young Swagger comes in, still in his street clothes, not dressed to wrestle and is like “Phew. Sorry guys. I ran into traffic, I’m just now getting to the arena.” Then they can look confused and be like “WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! WE HAVE A MATCH FOR THE TAG TITLES!” Then they’ll lose because Ziggler and Vickie are distracted because Swagger’s acting so weird. Then they can argue and Swagger can be like “this is exactly like when you blamed me when that toolbox fell on your head” and ZIggler can be like “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!” and Swagger can be like “when it happens, you’ll know.” Then an hour later, a toolbox falls on Ziggler.
Then one day, Hornswaggle can run into Swagger’s dressing room and we can see a flash. Then someone can say to Swagger “hey, we saw Hornswaggle run into your dressing room and now we can’t find him” and Swagger can be like “WHAT?!?!” and run off all worried. He doesn’t show up for his tag match with Ziggler. Then, during the match when ZIggler is fighting around, we see Swagger chasing Hornswaggle through the crowd, and Hornswaggle can be dressed as a viking or something. Maybe Bob Backlund comes out in his old gear and says to Ziggler “Swagger said I could come help you out! Is throwing people over the top rope still illegal?”
Okay, now I’m having way too much fun with this. Now I’m planning on intersecting these stories. So maybe it turns out Miz is convinced that someone has erased his run at the top from history. And he goes to Jack and is like “I know you have a time machine.” And Swagger is like “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then Miz is like “LISTEN TO ME, YOU GIVE ME THAT TIME MACHINE!” And Swagger can be like “WHOA! Who are you again?”
Scenario 5: My name Is Shaemus, And I Can’t Wrestle
featuring Shaemus, Yoshi Tatsu, Hunrico, and someone named Camacho
This scenario is something that I 25% ripped off from TNA’a “Cruiserweight Bully” storyline that Kevin Nash did a couple of years ago. The difference is in the reason for the storyline taking place, and the execution – the TNA storyline that this is somewhat taken from was derailed when Kevin Nash tried to climb two flights of stairs and tore his quad, or strained his heart, or something. Don’t get me wrong, Shaemus is absolutely as shitty a wrestler as a post-27-knee-operations Kevin Nash circa 2008, but is at least healthy enough at this early stage in his career to be able to pull it off without breaking something. (Probably.)
Anyway, the premise is fairly simple. Shaemus is having a match with someone that WWE doesn’t care about, and won’t mind if they’re off TV for some time. Let me hit the “Superstars” page on WWE.com here to find someone good… ah! Here we go. Camacho – no idea who that guy is. So, Shaemus can wrestle Camacho. In the middle of the match, Shaemus botches one of the few moves he knows and Camacho stays down, and the referee stops the match and checks on him, and WWE can do that lame thing they do when they try to pretend that the injury is real. They haul Camacho out of the ring, and he can put up his fist or something so that the crowd knows he’s going to be okay, even though he’s clearly hurt bad. Shaemus can just stand in the corner looking sad, and the announcers can say nothing.
Shaemus goes backstage, and everyone is staring him down. He’s just walking with his head down – he knows he hurt someone, and is sad about it. Maybe during this, they can cut to Hunrico as they load Camacho into an ambulance. Hunrico can be upset and yelling about how he’s going to kill Shaemus for what he did, and how he’s sick of him. At one point, Shaemus walks into a locker room with a bunch of lower-card guys in it, and they’re all eyeing him up as well. He looks around, as if he’s looking to talk to someone specific – he finally walks over to Yoshi Tatsu. The camera zooms in on them, and there’s a tense moment until Shaemus says “Hi’. Yoshi hesitates, then says “hey, what can I do for you”. Shaemus asks him if he saw what happened, and Yoshi can just kind of laugh and say “well, yeah dude, we all saw it.” And Shaemus can just say to him “look, I think it’s time for me to finally admit something, but I’m going to need your help.” Yoshi can look confused, and Shaemus says “I need to tell you something.” and he whispers something in Yoshi’s ear that we can’t hear. Yoshi can just sigh, frustrated, and then give him a pat on the shoulder and say “We know.” and Shaemus can sigh deeply and say that he’s going to fess up to the crowd next week.
The next week, Shaemus goes out to the ring to his usual apathetic reaction, yet a more-curious-than-usual crowd, and says he has a confession to make. He calls Booker T in to surrender the World Heavyweight Championship – Booker can look confused and ask him what’s going on. Shaemus will appear to have changed his mind about telling everyone, but Booker won’t let up. Shaemus will eventually crack under Booker’s pressure and admit on the microphone: “I can’t wrestle.” Think of an adult admitting to his children that he can’t read. He can even say something like “I’ve been faking it this entire time. But it’s been almost 2 years and I can’t do it anymore.” The crowd will be in a confused state, and Booker will look sad but will also have a look of understanding on his face. Shaemus leaves the ring, and then the arena. Later on that night, Yoshi shows up to the arena late, and asks an announcer what Shaemus said earlier on – the announcer points to Shaemus’ boots, which he left behind before leaving the arena – the implication being that Shaemus quit. Yoshi looks sad, and as the segment appears to be over, Hunrico jumps Yoshi from behind and beats him badly in the hallway. Hunrico can yell something about this being revenge for his partner, and for Yoshi to deliver the message to Shaemus. Is that something that it sounds like Hunrico could do? I don’t know, I don’t really know Hunrico. But given that this Camacho guy’s bio has the idiot sentence “Brought up in the same tough barrio as Hunico…” in there, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this is some dumb shit that’s definitely within the wheelhouse.
The next week on RAW or SmackDown, we can see Shaemus entering a hospital with flowers. He goes into Yoshi’s room and they share an awkward silence for a second. Then Shaemus can say “look, Yoshi, I’m sorry that…” and Yoshi can cut him off and say “dude, it’s okay. It took a lot of guts to come out there and tell the truth like that, especially when so many of us have known for so long.” or something like that. He can also point out that his injuries aren’t that bad, and that he’ll be back in a week or so. Shaemus can kind of laugh and say something about how he’s wasted so much of his life working on something he’s clearly not good at. If it sounds like this whole thing is making fun of Shaemus, it’s not – the whole thing will have a sympathetic feel. I’m not sure if this only makes sense in my head or not, or whether that will come across on screen – but rest assured, Shaemus comes across looking sympathetic. Yoshi can kind of smile and ask whether Shaemus is going to help him get revenge on Hunrico or not, and Shaemus can just sort of say that he meant it when he said he was done. Yoshi can try to change his mind, and he can walk out of the room.
The following week, Yoshi can return to the ring in a match against Hunrico for revenge, and whoever Camacho is can return and he and Hunrico can beat Yoshi down again. They can yell something at him about how this is going to keep happening until Shaemus comes back so they can get their revenge. The week after, Shaemus can find Yoshi or Yoshi can find Shaemus – doesn’t matter. Shaemus will refuse to come back and wrestle, as he is afraid of hurting someone else… UNLESS Yoshi trains him. Yoshi is caught off guard by this, He can kind of laugh like Shaemus is kidding, but Shaemus is serious. Yoshi can say “I’m not a trainer.” And Shaemus can be like “But you’re a good wrestler, all of you are.” And Yoshi can be like “All of us?! What?!” And Shaemus can be like “You know… you’re… well, you know.” And Yoshi can be like “No, seriously… what.” And Shaemus can be like “Fine, I’ll say it. You’re Chinese.” Yoshi can be like “Yeah… I’m Japanese, you dick.” This can be the start of a humorous back-and-forth dynamic between the two. Shaemus is the big loveable dummy who can’t wrestle, and thinks that everyone from Asia is a great wrestler. Yoshi is the actual wrestler, who puts up with Shaemus because he feels bad for him and needs his help to beat Hunrico and whoever Camacho is.
Shaemus can propose a month-long training schedule, and Yoshi can point out that it takes years to learn how to wrestle properly. He can make a joke about Shaemus being so bad that they should probably start from scratch, but Shaemus ignores him and says he’ll be good after a few weeks. In the meantime, Hunrico and Camacho are demolishing whatever lame teams are currently in WWE’s Tag-Team division. They eventually win the belts from whoever it is that has them.
Let’s say that we’re about a month to six weeks into the storyline now – and over the next few weeks, you see training montages like this:
(I could not more highly recommend watching these guys. They’re easily some of the only good comedy that has come out of wrestling in years.)
Alex Shelley: Kevin, here to help with your training, these are legendary independent wrestlers Super Blue Cross #6 and Samolian Joe!
Kevin Nash: Dude, they look like crackheads.
Eventually, Yoshi decides that Shaemus is as ready as he’s ever going to be. He convinces him to sign a match for a PPV tag-match with him and Shaemus against Hunrico and Camacho. Shaemus can maybe forget who Camacho is for a moment, until Yoshi reminds him why they started this whole thing. The match is signed, and Yoshi starts it out – he does some actual moves, and there is anticipation from the crowd of what Shameus can actually do when he gets tagged in. Shaemus eventually gets tagged in, and performs an armdrag – he then proceeds to be overly pleased with himself for this. Hunrico and Camacho can take advantage of this and destroy him with some double-team move and get the win. Yoshi can be upset and disappointed, but pleased that Shaemus was even able to do an armdrag. Over the next couple months, they get a couple more shots – and Shaemus visibly improves and maybe busts out a new move or some kind of counter each match. Eventually, in one match where Yoshi does most of the work, they get the win. Crowd is happy, they’re happy – acutally, I guarantee you the crowd would be really behind this.
Shaemus has now been solidified as a wrestler who is NOT technically solid, but also now has more of a dynamic personality and a storyline where he can take advantage of sympathy and comedy – and in it’s own way, it’s a bit of a comeback story. They defend the belts over a couple of months. Yoshi is still clearly the workhorse of the team, and the humorous buddy-cop-ish dynamic continues, and Shaemus continues to improve slowly. One day, Yoshi makes an error and they lose the tag-titles. Shaemus can be upset, but supportive – and make an off-color remark about how he knows Yoshi has done his half of the workload and how he feels he’s finally ready to go back to singles without Yoshi’s help. Yoshi can look a little bit disgruntled from the “half the workload” remark, but hug him and tell him he’s always got his back, or something. Shaemus goes into singles, and starts working his way up the card. Occasionally their paths can intersect, one come’s to the other’s rescue, etc etc. There can be glimmers where Yoshi is actually surprised himself at how “well” Shaemus is doing despite his “help”.
This culminates with Shaemus winning back the World Title. From here, there’s a couple places to go – have Yoshi turn heel that night or the next night, and his motivation is that he made Shaemus not suck as much as he did, and has gotten nothing from Shaemus for helping. Shaemus can play the innocent guy who acknowledges that he’s become better, but that what Yoshi did was un-called for, and now he’s going to get his revenge. This angle, so far, has not elevated Yoshi in any major way, and this is your chance to either make that happen, or just have Shaemus beat him and move on – either works. Or, alternatively, have Shaemus jump Yoshi, and have him claim that he knows the only reason Yoshi helped him was so that he could turn on him and elevate himself as a result. Yoshi can come off as sympathetic this time, and can explain how he never asked for anything for helping Shaemus – and didn’t plan to. But what Shaemus did wasn’t cool, so now HE can get HIS revenge. Again, Yoshi doesn’t have to win – maybe Shaemus crushes him as the first win in a dominant heel run. Either scenario creates the option to elevate Yoshi IF you like – I happen to think Yoshi’s a good hand, and is worth more than he’s ever been used for, but I know not everyone feels that way, so I came up with something that I think works either way.
Okay, I better stop. See, this is why I don’t fantasy book. I’m mentally deranged now. I’m sure people will tell me that this would never work and that “matches won’t advance the story psychologically” or some other such nonsense. Or they’ll say “Kofi doesn’t have the IT FACTOR selling charisma management not pleased with his work bad look no wow factor crowd pop heel turn” or something like that.
But you can’t tell me that you’d rather watch Shaemus, Swagger, Kofi, Yoshi, Miz, Hunrico, and whoever Camacho is as they are now, rather than in a storyline with multiple elements and some kind of actual serious or comedic depth. That’s scientifically impossible.
Actually, that’s a good idea for a Jack Swagger t-shirt. The front can say “Time travel has been proven to be scientifically impossible.” And then the back can say “… sort of.”
That’s all the time we have for this week! I hope you enjoyed the article – please feel free to leave any thoughts you have in the comment section, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to follow me on Twitter as well @BlairADouglas .
I’ve been negligent in promoting some really good articles over the past few weeks. So, in a nutshell, these are ones you should check out:
Mike Gojira from this week talking about forced heel and babyface turns, my boy James Sawyer’s article from this week, my man Kon’s AMAZING article on the “IWC” as it were, and Mike Gojira’s article from LAST week setting everyone straight on this supposed “revitalization” of the tag-team division.
This has been “Air Up There”. “Interinactivity” will return next week with a couple more guests. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
I’ll be in my trailer.
Tags: AJ, aj lee, Alex Riley, cm punk, divas, Dolph Ziggler, jack swagger, Kofi Kingston, Lita, Raw, sheamus, Smackdown, The Miz, the undertaker, Trish Stratus, WWE, WWE Divas, WWE Universe, yoshi tatsu