-The First Shot-
Hello once again fellow shooters and welcome to the 23rd edition of The Shoot. TNA’s Victory Road PPV is in the books and there were a couple of things that just bothered me about it, but I?ll have more on that later in the One Extra Round segment. This week’s main focus, though, will be Creating the Next Big Star. Now this isn?t an arm chair booking situation that I sometimes do, but it’s more or less a look at the gimmicks today in wrestling. You?ll see what I mean when we get there, but first, I will detour you to this week’s news topics.
ROH is rumored to be interested in hiring a major star from the past to be ROH’s Television Ambassador to replace Ric Flair. While this could be exciting for a lot of wrestling fans and for Ring of Honor all together, one must wonder if this is such a wise move. ROH has moved to a very limited schedule to cut down on a lot of straight-to-DVD shows, something that made them popular in the past. While it is necessary to change in order to succeed, the reduced number of shows is another sign of the company trying to save money. The question now is were they saving all of this money in order to make a good offer to a wrestling legend or were they saving money for the sake of trying to stay afloat? If the latter were true, then this decision could hurt Ring of Honor in the long run instead of help it.
Taz made his TNA debut at Victory Road and is now in the corner of Samoa Joe and in the Main Event Mafia. I would still prefer for Taz to manage Samoa Joe because I think they could be a killer duo together. It is obvious that Joe and Taz do not need the MEM to be successful in TNA and I believe the formula would work much better as a duo rather than part of a grander picture, but this is only a couple of days old so I can?t really judge its full effectiveness until I can sit back and watch the events unfold.
Ken Anderson’s online videos are gold. If you haven?t seen them yet, I urge you to check them out. My personal favorite was the one where he taught summer school. The reaction after being stopped in his WWE Trademarked Mannerism was simply priceless. Many would suspect that Mr. Anderson will be headed to TNA once his 90 day no-compete clause is up. I?m sure he?d fit the bill and could possibly be the next TNA World Champion because, after all, he did come from the ?E.
-The Big Shot: Creating the Next Big Star-
This week’s column was actually inspired by a trip to the wrestlecrap website, which was inspired by some small wrestling talk at my poker game this past Thursday (which I ended up winning and taking home $60!) Just the mere mention of the likes of Triple H, The Undertaker, and even John Cena made me sit back and think why there are not more like these? A lot of the gimmicks of big name WWE stars are not really too complicated. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Bret ?Hitman? Hart ? His tag line, as we all should know, is ?The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be?. Bret Hart’s gimmick was based on being a great technical wrestler. Bret Hart also prided himself on never injuring another wrestler in his entire career. It was a gimmick that worked and Bret made it work through solid mic work, but most importantly, very solid in-ring work.
Shawn Michaels ? ?The Heartbreak Kid?. He always had the looks and the promo skills to back them up. He dazzled many with his quick-paced matches and aerial maneuvers and he could make anyone look good in the ring, but beyond that, there really wasn?t much more to Shawn Michaels. It is just another simple gimmick, that with some great promo time, was made to look like gold.
Steve Austin ? Here’s a man who ran with another simple gimmick. He was just your average beer-drinking, foul-mouthed, bad ass who hated authority. There wasn?t any flashy lights or bright colors with his ring attire? it was a simple look, a simple gimmick, only personified by mic and promo skills once again.
Triple H ? Once HHH stopped being the snob and started acting more normal? like a true badass, and your ultimate asshole, his stock rose extremely fast. Triple H became the embodiment of what it meant to be a heel in the attitude and E era of the WWF/E. Again, HHH ditched an over the top gimmick for something simple and backed it up with meaningful ring work and microphone skills.
John Cena ? This era’s ?Hulk Hogan? in the sense that he is the goody two shoes role model who acts like a true believer that never backs down and always sense the message that you can always rise against the odds and come out on top. It’s another simple gimmick that takes a plain ordinary man and with meaningful ring work and promo skills, has turned into a larger than life gimmick.
Are you starting to see a trend here?
While some of the gimmicks have their tweaks to set them apart, the core basics are there for some of the WWE’s greatest stars and that is meaningful matches and promo skills.
So this begs the question, where are all the next big stars? John Cena was the last one to hit it big and CM Punk is slowly coming into his own, but one must wonder on the creative side of things that when the creative team is thinking of a gimmick for a character, do they have ?the next big star? in mind when they hand them out?
I mean, there have been a LOT of horrible gimmicks wrestling as a whole? recent ones like Simon Dean to those of the past like Oz and The Shockmaster. Sure, wrestling is an entertainment thing, but it seems that this day and age, the more realistic the gimmick, the bigger the star they become. One would think that in this time era, out of this world gimmicks wouldn?t have a place in the wrestling business, but alas, while they are smaller in number, they are still there.
If the excuse is ?family entertainment? and that these gimmicks serve as something that they can use to connect to the younger audience, then there is a news flash to be had here. More and more of the younger audience is connecting to gimmicks like John Cena over crazy gimmicks like Kizarny. More have a connection to Jeff Hardy, who is just a realistic gimmick because it’s all about self-expression, then they do to a gimmick like Zack Ryder.
Gimmicks like The Hard Foundation are a step in the right direction because it uses the name value of Bret Hart and helps them promote technical wrestling. If they can back it up with excellent promo skills, then this could be the next big thing to take off in the WWE. CM Punk’s Straight-Edge lifestyle heel gimmick is just beginning, but I urge you all to board the CM Punk train and watch this unfold because I believe Punk will also be a shining example of how to create the next big star in wrestling.
So the question here is? would you rather see more realistic gimmicks in wrestling because you think they have the best chance to succeed? Should creative team members aim to give out more realistic gimmicks? Do you think that the wrestlers themselves should be responsible for creating the gimmick in an attempt to get themselves over? There are a lot of questions here to be had over what could spark an interesting debate.
One could even argue that there is still room for the over the top gimmicks. Santino Marella is a prime example of that, but let’s be honest here. As entertaining as Santino Marella is, I just can?t see him being a major player in the WWE. People will always laugh and cheer him, but to see Marella as the WWE or World Champion just doesn?t fit and it’s all because of the gimmick. If the WWE does put a major title on him, I will be shocked because it will break the mold of what the definition of a major WWE superstar should be.
Then there is the other paradigm in the whole mix here and that is some wrestlers just don?t want to make it big. Some would just rather stay in the lower or mid card and be entertainers, which is fine and dandy, but I do see more and more ?bad gimmick? wrestlers, who are future endeavored, start to whine and complain as soon as their 90 days are up about how they were mis-used and one must wonder if there are more who want to be in the limelight than there are who are just content with being a small time player.
Whatever the case is, I look forward to your e-mails and thoughts about what you think would be the right gimmick to create the next big star in not just WWE, but in wrestling in general. I?ll tell you what wasn?t a big hit though, at least with me, and that was TNA’s Victory Road PPV back on Sunday. I did fairly well with my picks, but there was just some booking that made me scratch my head. Let’s get to it.
-One Extra Round: PPV Pick Results-
Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca
WINNER: Jenna Morasca
PICK: Jenna Morasca
Thoughts: Like many, I didn?t really care about this match and I took a stab in the dark and picked Jenna Morasca and well, I guess my dart landed in the right area for this one? go me!
Abyss vs. Dr. Stevie
Thoughts: I just couldn?t see Abyss losing this match. Dr. Stevie just seems like an enhancement talent more than someone who would be a viable threat to ?The Monster? Abyss. In this match, Abyss picked up the win and so did I in my predictions. Now the question is where do they go from here with the Abyss character?
Matt Morgan vs. Daniels
WINNER: Matt Morgan
PICK: Matt Morgan
Thoughts: As much as I love the gospel according to the fallen angel, Matt Morgan needed a push to support his work and Daniels was the man to be that stepping stone. After failing to secure a spot in the main event mafia last month, it would only seem plausible that Morgan would get the victory here to get the ball rolling once again.
Samoa Joe vs. Sting
WINNER: Samoa Joe
PICK Samoa Joe
Thoughts: This one just screamed predictable. As we all know, Taz was the one in Samoa Joe’s ear. You?d have to be Helen Keller not to see that, and even Helen Keller could probably tell you what would have happened in this match. Taz came down, Joe picked up the win, end of story.
New Japan Tag Team Championship
Team 3D (c) vs. The British Invasion
WINNER: Team 3D
PICK: Team 3D
Thoughts: When you have another promotion’s championship on the line in your company, nine out of ten times the title isn?t going to change hands unless it’s going to be mainstays of the other company. So this match ended up as being pretty predictable.
Tara (c) vs. Angelina Love
WINNER: Angelina Love
Thoughts: Well, this is odd. Tara didn?t win the match, but the referee didn?t see her foot under the bottom rope. Angelina Love regains the Knockouts Title. I can just predict that this is going to just pingpong back and forth as it seems as if this feud is far from over.
TNA Tag Team Championship
Beer Money, Inc. (c) vs. Booker T and Scott Steiner
WINNER: Half and Half
PICK: Beer Money, Inc
Thoughts: So they went with the power trip storyline by giving Booker T and Scott Steiner the tag team titles. What does this really prove, to be honest? They may be doing this for storyline purposes, but they further depresses any TNA home grown talent from stepping up to the plate. Beer Money Inc was one of the best things that they had going and it’s really sad that they dropped the titles for this.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Nash
WINNER: Kevin Nash
PICK: AJ Styles
Thoughts: Ok? storyline or not.. what business does Kevin Nash have holding a championship? They completely de-railed AJ Styles momentum by having him job to a washed up wrestler who can barely move who has already suffered 1 minor heart attack in his life. That makes absolutely zero sense to me.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Kurt Angle (c) vs. Mick Foley
WINNER: Kurt Angle
PICK: Kurt Angle
Thoughts: They job Beer Money Inc, they job AJ Styles, and now they have Angle retain. If TNA had planned this whole thing from the beginning, wouldn?t it have made more sense to have Mick Foley hold onto the belt until THIS ppv and then have Kurt Angle win it? The storyline, in my opinion, is about as smart as having a doorknob in space, but if they were going to go through with this, that scenario would have made more sense and it would have had a better impact, but instead, it’s just mediocre bull to me. This is the kind of booking that makes me not watch TNA.
-The Final Shot-
That will do it for me this week? until then, feel free to hit me up using any of the following:
Until next week…