Deep Breaths, Mr. McMahon
Last Saturday, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Vince McMahon has been on edge lately with the rash of injuries to the current roster, the inevitable departure of Jeff Hardy, and new talent not panning out as hoped.
Many within WWE have questioned the motives of April’s ?Draft? and last month’s ?15-man Trade? as positive measures to this ever-growing concern. Some of the most noted ones involving Jack Swagger and MVP moving to ?Raw? only to be used in roles meant for ?underneath? talent.
Just as I had brought Paul Heyman back to ?Reality? last week, it seems that I need to do the same with Mr. McMahon and the talking heads within WWE Creative. Hindsight has always been rumored to be 20/20, but when panic and desperation are used as the lenses to view it the vision can often tend to be very blurry.
So? WWE is questioning whether the draft and 15-man trade was necessarily beneficial to their situation right now. Well, the question has been raised: Would WWE have been better off and better equipped for their current status if they had not shuffled up their rosters? There have been plenty of times where we can?t tell if there really ARE separate brands within WWE (Smackdown’s Cryme Tyme on ?Raw? last Monday), but for the sake of argument let’s say that the separate rosters are strictly used and the roster shuffle never occurred.
Questions immediately sprout forth with this notion; here are just a few of them.
Who would Randy Orton have been defending the WWE Title against?
With Triple H remaining on ?Smackdown?, you certainly cannot suggest that Orton would have been John Cena for the title 3 months straight. Sure, he faced Batista for a couple of months only to see ?The Animal? be subdued with a torn bicep, but Triple H would not have been able to walk through the curtain with sledgehammer in hand. Who would have been pitted against ?The Legend Killer??
Chris Jericho? No, he would have been busy with his feud with Rey Mysterio and consequently still becoming Unified Tag Team Champion alongside Edge/Big Show.
Rey Mysterio? No, after his feud with Jericho he would still be defending his Intercontinental Title against Dolph Ziggler.
Without Triple H’s shift to ?Raw?, who knows what WWE Creative would have done to fill this tremendous void.
Who would be United States Champion?
I know that many of you would argue that this is an irrelevant title and does not deserve any mentioning, but it is a title nonetheless. With MVP remaining on ?Smackdown? and not losing it to Kofi Kingston, there are many opponents that he could defend it against.
The problem with this is how would you be pushing MVP as a potential main event talent? If he continued to hold the strap, he would have been in limbo for another year like he was back in 2006. R-Truth, Vladimir Kozlov, Primo? all great mid-card talent on ?Smackdown? in need of a push to an even higher status. With MVP holding a secondary title, it is the perfect opportunity to promote those that need to be.
Even though MVP was shuffled to ?Raw?, and Kofi gained the title, there has been no legitimate pushing of MVP except for his debut interjection of Randy Orton and Legacy’s weekly rant and his participation in last Monday’s ?Beat the Clock? challenge. Maybe if WWE Creative wasn?t so concerned with Chavo/Hornswoggle comedic relief and more concerned about their current roster, this is one decision they would not be questioning.
What performers would be promoted on? ECW?
Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, John Morrison, Mark Henry, The Miz, Tyson Kidd? all of these talents would have remained on ECW doing what exactly? Was the plan to have these great performers just stay on a one-hour show vying for only one secondary title, relegating them to ?possibly? appear on a monthly pay-per-view? Last I checked, ECW only gets one match per pay-per-view and it always happens to be a title match.
What performers would be promoted on? ?Raw??
Jamie Noble? Mike Knox? Santino?! Notice how I never mentioned Cody Rhodes or Ted DiBiase? they would be too busy playing their roles in Legacy and/or vying for the Unified Tag Titles.
What still would have happened even if the draft and trade hadn?t happened?
Releases and injuries? plain and simple. You can never prepare for the unexpected; all that you can do is have the talent and measures needed for when such an event ever does happen. WWE proved that in 2007 with ?No Mercy? when the Monday before the event John Cena tore his pectoral and was knocked out of the main event to defend his WWE Title. Their answer was Triple H.
What if the same were to happen now for the upcoming Summerslam but Orton was to go down with another debilitating injury? Who would fill in? Chris Jericho, without question. What if it was John Cena? Shouldn?t it be Rey Mysterio? Sure they have their feuds and titles, but they are the talent you depend on when something array happens. Unfortunately, that’s who you would substitute in if the shuffling had never happened.
WWE has the talent right now. The performers and athletes have most certainly lived up to the lofty expectations that stand before them. WWE Creative doesn?t seem to agree with that last statement.
With that being so, I have a few burning questions for them that deal with the hand they have dealt themselves. If you are not prepared, then why?
Did you have John Morrison as an ECW, Intercontinental, and Tag Team Champion?
Did you give the ECW Title to Jack Swagger only 2 months after his debut?
Has Shelton Benjamin not fought for a World/WWE Title YET?!
Did you have MVP go through his ?losing streak? in 2008 for so long?
Did you make teaser videos for his debut but have yet to put R-Truth in any meaningful feud?
These are not questions that pop up because injuries occurred. These are not questions that arise when just one living legend goes into retirement. These are not questions that make headway due to some unforeseeable departure of an upper echelon talent. These are questions that come up when writers and producers are too busy trying to reenact the past while the performers are still with them.
This is known as ?The TNA Effect?.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: Doug Lackey.