Reality From Ringside #37
November 2, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of WrestleView.com Kwestions Regarding Kofi
I apologize for the tremendously corny tagline for this week's ?Reality?, but it couldn?t have been helped. Knowing how kids nowadays like to misspell words on purpose for the sake of looking hip, I figured I?d try my damnedest?
It seemed to have begun eight days ago at WWE's ?Bragging Rights? pay-per-view. The Raw team losing to Smackdown's with Jericho getting the pin on Kofi Kingston via Big Show's double-crossing treachery. Jump cut to backstage hallway #35, Cody Rhodes decides to lay the blame on Kofi for the loss; verbal sparring turns into fisticuffs with Ted DiBiase joining the fray, leaving Kofi to lick his wounds.
Later in the main event, Kofi runs Legacy away from laying into John Cena. The following night on Raw, Randy Orton decides to toss Kofi off the entrance ramp after Kofi's match blaming him for his main event loss. For the final flashback, Kofi demolishes Orton's brand new stock car given to him by Legacy in what many (including yours truly) call a riveting segment.
From what we have seen, it seems that a contest between Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston is inevitable. Whether it is on television or slowly built for a pay-per-view match has yet to be seen, but I would be willing to predict it would be on the Survivor Series card.
Two Januarys ago Kofi Kingston made his debut on ECW. Since then, he has been a Tag Team, United States, and Intercontinental Champion. He has appeared regularly on television and for all intents and purposes, looks to be the new stalwart on WWE's ever-dwindling roster of such performers.
As I always love to do with my day-after-PPV hangovers, I thought it would be wise to do the same thing for this occasion. While it may already seem overblown and over-utilized to some, I believe this is the best way for all of us as wrestling enthusiasts, analysts, and blowhards to step back, take a deep breath, and look at this from all angles.
The mixture of potential, possibility, and pessimism is alluring to say the least.Does being typecast as a stereotype hinder your career as a professional wrestler or is Kingston a particular case?
This is a very difficult question to answer simply because so many aspects need to be defined, such as what determines a successful professional wrestling career or what is considered a blatant stereotype in the industry.
If the multitude of ?belt marks? over-populating the rank and file of the internet community believe that having a substantial run as a world champion makes you a success? and stereotypes in professional wrestling are tremendously exaggerated and overblown beyond comprehension to where it's impossible to shed? then Kofi Kingston will definitely not be the first to experience the potential of success as a stereotype.
This performer is a WW(F)E Tag Team Champion holding the straps alongside his partner for five months before losing them to Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels. He is a two-time WWE Champion, his second title reign lasting nearly nine months, unheard of by this generation's standards. He is also a Royal Rumble winner. Sounds like a very prosperous career.
I present Yokozuna for your consideration.
His stereotype was so overpowering that it could not have been avoided. There was no other way that you could market this performer with his tremendous size and girth. How else would you brand a gentleman who weighed nearly 600 pounds and originally hailed from the Philippines? There's no way Vince McMahon would have called him by his real name or given him a different gimmick to work with? sumo wrestler was all that was needed.
Can Kofi have the same success as the late great Yokozuna? Possibly but it is highly doubtful. As I have proclaimed nearly every week on Wrestleview's ?Friday Fishbowl?, you cannot compare eras of WW(F)E. There are differences in audience demographics, media outlets, and the world outside of professional wrestling that cannot be compared to one another.
It is definitely possible though for Kofi to become the main event talent that WWE desperately needs right now? which leads to the next question?Was this WWE's logical 1st choice for new Main Event talent?
First, let's keep this question strictly geared towards the Raw talent roster.
Look over that roster and name the performers that should be defined as ?Main Event?. Looking over the list of 36 (as of 11/1/09), I have only found four that fit our predetermined view of such: John Cena, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. I have not listed Big Show as one because he will be making a cameo appearance in Smackdown's main event at Survivor Series in a triple threat match for the World Title (competing against Chris Jericho and current champion Undertaker).
It wouldn?t be prudent to begin pushing The Miz or Jack Swagger right now. Both are too green and need a lot more grooming when it comes to establishing themselves as believable mainstay characters on the flagship show.
Mark Henry is in limbo unfortunately. A title run of some kind would do him a world of good, if not that maybe some weekly television appearances for the sake of keeping his name out there. The same can be said for MVP sans the title run.
I heard someone blurt out Ted DiBiase. I heard another one say Cody Rhodes.
Okay? you would like to push one of those two, and I take it that would mean the excruciatingly inevitable split of Legacy.
So who would you pit against either one of them in a feud, for the purpose of putting them over as a Main Event stalwart?
If the only answer you have is Randy Orton, then think about how long you would build the feud? which one would be considered the face or heel? more important, what happens to the odd man left out of this equation?
Cody and Ted should not be pushed in any capacity until Legacy's eventual split occurs and the two are sent to different programs. This would make building them both much simpler than potentially pitting them against one another and sacrificing one's potential for the other.
Looking at the roster, Kofi does seem to be the next to rise up and the timing of it seems logical enough. This is Kofi's first drama-building feud that does not regard a title of some kind, which makes it that more suspenseful and more telling when it comes to his stature following from it.
However, there is one BIG question that is left to be answered?Who has more to prove from this feud: Kofi Kingston or Randy Orton?
We know Kofi's position; he needs to continue to build the drama and provide a tremendous performance in the ring against Orton to convince the masses that he should be at the same level. However, I believe the one who has more to prove in this is Randy Orton.
We know Orton is one of, if not, the best; without a doubt the number one heel on WWE's collective roster. He does not need to go over with the crowd when it comes to winning them over with his diabolical ways and methodical means of victory.
However, he does need to go over as a ?professional? who can put someone else over.
?Torch Bearer? is not exactly the title that Orton has right now and this upcoming feud is definitely not a ?passing?. Orton's title in this feud is ?Water Bearer? as he will be the one possibly anointing Kofi. Triple H and Shawn Michaels have carried buckets of water in their right hand and torches with their left, but seem to have a hard time distributing either one to their well-deserving peers.
Orton has only been in this industry for nine years now. He could become what Triple H and Shawn Michaels have yet to be? and they have been professional wrestlers for a combined 44 years!
We have witnessed many progressions this year in WWE: The rise of the condescending straight-edge superstar CM Punk, the simultaneous slow climbs of the engaging duo The Miz and John Morrison, and the combined ascension and dissension of Jeff Hardy. Kofi Kingston's time seems to have come and would be welcomed into the ever-widening arms WWE's youthful audience?
But all of these will pale in comparison to where Randy Orton will stand after ushering Kingston into Main Event status? and he's not even 30 years old yet?
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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