(Banner coming soon)
Written by: Nikki Heyman
I thought I’d at least be polite enough to introduce myself, My Name is Nikki Heyman, and did you know that my Uncle’s client BROCK LESNAR ended –
Sorry, almost a habit anymore.
In this handy little “Notebook” I’ll be talking about wrestling, primarily WWE, but if something in another league or major wrestling news catches my eye or ear, this is where I will discuss at length.
Originally, I was going to write this as a preview to Payback, but I realize there is a much broader issue in WWE right now, and that’s the state of their main event.
No, I’m not speaking of the WWE Network show (you need this network, trust me!) I’m speaking of WWE’s main event picture in general.
Maybe I had spoken too soon about merging the titles because right now there’s not a whole lot at the top. As we wade through the midsummer holding pattern and the minor booking panic with Bryan’s injury, the “top” of the card is pretty weak. What’s a McMahon or the EVIL BOSS DR LEVESQUE to do? They’re in a “Now What?” phase.
A peek at the former A-belt champs current on the card tells me this is going to be tricky.
-Alberto Del Rio: Slam City’s barista has been directionless as rumors swirl that he’s not too much longer for the company. From a booking perspective, it would require him to commit and probably a few months of build. He could have the belt by Summerslam, but we need someone right now.
-Wade Barrett: Our current IC champ has had a lot of GOOD news in finally finding his way up the card. Holding a B-belt is a great start, but WWE might not be ready to move the belt and move him up. I’m still convinced if I he hadn’t messed up his elbow he would have had an A-belt by now.
-Batista: Part timer. If he wasn’t needed for movie promotion, this wouldn’t be a bad place to land. Evolution, while working well as a unit, aren’t 100% together. There’s mild dissention in the group (DAVE expected to be handed the belt?) That’s not how the EVIL BOSS DR LEVESQUE operates. Dave wouldn’t be a bad choice after Summerslam, but isn’t it bad enough our current champion is legitimately injured and unable to compete?
-Big Show: Hasn’t been on tv for a bit, non-factor to storylines unless they want to resurrect his contact stuff from a couple of years ago.
-Bray Wyatt: He’s already fighting superman at the Pay-per-view so wouldn’t this be a surprising next step? Swamp Jesus has preached that he was told he’d never be a success, yet he’s got the whole world singing along with his discordant rendition of a 90-year old hymn. Should the Authority consider a mini-tournament, Wyatt would volunteer himself – especially if he dispatches Cena at Payback. This would be the biggest physical and psychological blow to the Cenation and would make compelling TV.
-BROCK LESNAR: Could retire on his WM XXX match, I don’t think even a title run right now could top his EPIC CONQUEST OF THE UNDERTAKER’S UNDEFEATED STREAK AT WRESLEMANIA! (obligatory caps) Also a part-timer, believable as champ but not as available as needed.
-Cesaro: The active “Paul Heyman Guy” is involved in a US title feud at the moment, but even in a losing affair, a strong match with Sheamus would keep him swinging upward. Not as out-of-left-field as you think.
-Christian: Not sure if retired…..
-Dolph Zigger: WWE’s love/hate relationship with the Show-Off has sent him tumbling back down the card. This is someone who with another proper push COULD be champion again, though I wonder if he inherited his luck from Billy Gunn……
-The Rock: Extreme part-timer. Moving on…..
-John Cena: You can tell I’m not quite doing this in order of probability. While Cena still has a young, strong fanbase the bipolar crowds have sent a message to KEEP the belt off him for a little while. Cena’s “Mid-career crisis” feud with the Wyatts could be title-worthy down the line if my above scenario plays out. However, WWE I beseech you: Cena is not and never is an Underdog. He’s Superman, and it will take a boulder of Kryptonite to slow him down. Why? That’s your booking coming back at you.
-Kane: The Big Red Corporate Monster is winding down on a positive albeit confusing career as the monstrous middle manager working directly for Stephanie McMahon. Handing him the title would make sense, as a slap in Bryan’s face from a personal and CONTINUITY! perspective. It would be a short-term deal while Bryan heals up, but who does Kane fight in the meantime? Or the Authority could “Protect” their current champion by feeding him jobbers and crushing their hopes and dreams, inspiring Bryan to come back…..
-Mark Henry: Mostly retired, muscle/enhancement talent. The bald look has grown on me, big man.
Randy Orton: Despite being a disappointing “Face of the Company” under the Authority, the man who lost to Bryan at Mania might be a stopgap measure as well. The Evolution/Shield conflict shouldn’t be further complicated with the title, so this might be something to visit if Evolution breaks up after Payback. Not saying it’s an option I’d like, but it’s still an option.
-Rey Mysterio: Love ya, hermano, but you’re too beat up. We already have an injured champion.
-Roman Reigns: Ok, I am biased. Not yet, big man, not yet…. and Dean? Don’t think I forgot about you, buddy. It’ll happen. It WILL happen. Just not right now.
-RVD: Part timer, enhancement talent, doing it for fun and some merch money.
-Ryback: First, stop laughing at me. No, I mean it, STOP laughing. If Ryback could be turned back into the monster face he was in his “FEED ME MORE” phase, think he could have been champion. He’s a “fixer-upper” for the main event picture, so not an immediate option.
-Sheamus: The current US champion still has upside and apparently leaning toward the heel side of things. Grab your booking caps, folks…. what if Sheamus lost the US title to Cesaro only to sign on to Evolution as their new muscle if Batista quits? Hunter’s into “meta-kayfabe” and we know he’s a fan of the Celtic Warrior. Let’s put that in front of the mainstream audience, the heat would give Sheamus a nasty sunburn…..
-Triple H: The EVIL BOSS DR LEVESQUE would get screams of “Reign of Terror” from the IWC if he pulled a Vince and gave the belt to himself. He knows he doesn’t need the heat, so this is extremely unlikely.
-Vacant/Abeyance: Who says you don’t learn things from wrestling? I’d never heard the word “Abeyance” until Triple H used (correctly~!) in Corporate for “inactive” or “on hold”. Probably where the belts are going to land for a short time if the above options aren’t feasible.
-Other possibilities: While I know WWE is usually ok with moving a secondary belt to a newcomer, are they brave enough to try that with their top prize with an NXT export? I won’t raise your expectations of Sami Zayn getting the belt in his debut…. but wow, wouldn’t that be something?
Don’t get me wrong, WWE is doing a lot of things right right now. But because they’re only doing it right NOW doesn’t mean they were doing it right previously. They had their holdovers from the Attitude Era (HHH, Kane, Edge, Christian) a couple of stars made who stayed (Cena, Orton) and stars that shined on and off (Mysterio, Jericho, Punk, Batista, Lesnar). this was a situation that WWE never wanted to be in. All this talent but no one to really hang their hat on now that their most organic star in Daniel Bryan is temporarily unable to compete, seeing a company this big in the “Now what?” phase is troubling. Hopefully, thanks to most of what Triple H has put in place in the last year or so, this won’t be happening again.