-The First Shot-
Hello everyone and welcome to the 30th edition of The Shoot. Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend as I?m sure many of you enjoyed the time off. This week’s column marks the return of the Armchair Booker series. This is also going to be spanning across multiple columns. While it will be the main focal point this week, the rest will be included in the ?One Extra Round? segment in the weeks to come. This also promises to bring a certain air of interactivity to the column. While you believe that I have teased you enough, I?ll make you wait just a little longer by diverting you to this week’s Quick Shots!
So? Traci Brooks was pulled from Playboy… all I can say is good. Maybe I?m in the minority here, but I just don?t find her attractive at all. I don?t know about you, but if I were to pick one person from TNA to put into Playboy, it would have to be the hottest goth chick on the planet? and that would be Daffney. Traci Brooks is just someone I can?t get my rocks off to? Daffney on the other hand? well? minors read this web site!
Kurt Angle wants Hulk Hogan in TNA. Seriously? You really want to put the final nail in the coffin for TNA? I mean, this whole thing was lobbied on Bubba the Love Sponge? some backwater radio show out of Florida. I mean.. I know Hogan is only talking about it so Vince McMahon will give him another payday so he can pay for his divorce, but if it actually goes through and Hogan does end up in TNA? that will seal it for me. I occasionally flip to Spike TV to watch TNA? now I won?t even give it a first thought on a Thursday night.
In addition to Bryan Danielson, another one of ROH’s aces, Nigel McGuinness says farewell and heads up north to Stamford, CT to join the WWE. Nigel and Danielson in the WWE is the answer to WWE’s needs to make the next big star in wrestling. Danielson has TREMENDOUS wrestling ability and a great attitude and could do wonders. Nigel is the heel version of Danielson. He’s got that classic british heel persona that can be backed up with very solid mic skills. His character and wrestling ability will fit in well with the WWE Universe as long as the WWE lets him be himself. Nigel and Danielson will be you next main eventers? I?m calling it now.
-The Big Shot: Armchair Booker: King of the Ring 2009-
As you can tell from the title, this is a fantasy booking scenario, but I decided to do something a bit different this time. Unlike last time where I booked the entire story (see The Shoot #10 where I booked John Cena vs The Rock), this time I am going to let the readers book it.
As we know, King of the Ring is a sixteen man tournament where the WWE would usually push a young up and comer to the upper mid-card to groom them to (hopefully) be the next main eventer. Sure it hasn?t worked all of the time, but a good portion of the winners have either become main eventers or well-known characters in the WWE Universe. For this tournament, I will pick my sixteen wrestlers, explain why I chose each wrestler, and set up the brackets. Then, based on reader e-mail, where you will vote on each and every match, wrestlers will advance, and in a few weeks, we will have our 2009 King of the Ring.
First off a couple of ground rules? I know that the WWE is tri-branded with Raw, Smackdown, and ECW, but doing a King of the Ring for each and every brand would be a little overkill. So I am basically just going to think of the WWE Roster as a whole where I will do something with the winner. I won?t say what I will do, yet. You?ll just have to wait and see once we crown a King of the Ring. Another rule here is that I will not be selecting any main eventers from the WWE due to the fact that the purpose of the tournament is to create new stars as the next main eventers of the WWE. With that being said, since ECW is a small brand and the ECW title doesn?t really mean much, I will not consider the ECW Champion a main eventer and will be eligible for the King of the Ring Tournament. That’s pretty much it for the ground rules. Let’s head to the sixteen selected wrestlers from the WWE roster. These are not in any particular order.
#01: Kofi Kingston (Raw) ? Kofi is the current WWE United States Champion, but that is not why I picked him. His pops are getting louder and louder each and every week and combined with his athleticism, Kofi has garnered quite a following. While the U.S. Title rank suits him very well, his character would surely develop over time and I could see Kofi’s star shining bright in the future.
#02: Christian (ECW) ? Christian is the current ECW Champion, but, like Kofi, that is not why I picked him. Christian has a deep history in the WWE from his days with Edge and Gangrel in The Brood, to his post-Brood days as a multi-time WWE Tag Team Champion with Edge, to his singles run as Captain Charisma, to his re-entrance in the tag ranks with Tomko. Christian’s fans were foaming at the mouth, hoping that he would, one day, become the WWE Champion, but that day never came to pass as he left for TNA Wrestling. Now that Christian is back, he’s been kind of forgotten about since his glory days in the WWE and a tournament like this could really be what Christian needs to re-ignite that fire that burned so bright in the past.
#03: Jack Swagger (Raw) ? Jack Swagger is a former ECW Champion that recently moved to the Raw brand and has been kind of lost since then. He came in looking like he would be a Randy Orton sympathizer, only to just seemingly get lost in the shuffle until he found a feud with MVP. Throwing the All-American American into the King of the Ring could help give Swagger that boost he needs. Not only that, but it would, hopefully, justify his move to the Raw roster. Swagger isn?t something that could win the tournament, but his career would do better if he could advance, but then again, Swagger winning the tournament could prove to be interesting as well.
#04: Mark Henry (Raw) ? Okay. Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE Mark Henry. I really do, but despite that hatred, I do have to give the man some props as he has found his own while venturing through the ECW roster. Moving to Raw and making the impact that he did gave him tremendous momentum and even made someone like me groan just a little bit less when his music hits. The WWE did something I thought they never would be able to pull off? and that is make me care about Mark Henry. He has been on a roll as of late and having him in the King of the Ring tournament just makes a hell of a lot of sense.
#05: Matt Hardy (Smackdown!) ? His brother Jeff made it to the main event level becoming a multi-time World Heavyweight Champion, but the best that Matt Hardy ever did was become ECW Champion. Matt Hardy is a former United States Champion and Multi-time Tag Team Champion. While his character development has been rather slow, it has become a lot better than it has in recent past. Here is someone that has been with the WWE for quite some time, but was always on the cusp of breaking through, but something happens and he falls back down the ranks. Whether or not Matt Hardy is qualified to win a King of the Ring tournament remains to be seen, but giving him this opportunity is only fair.
#06: John Morrison (Smackdown!) ? Breaking up Miz and Morrison and moving him to Smackdown! AND turning him face was just a string of great decisions. Morrison has really come into his own (even if he has been accused of just stealing a bunch of Low Ki and AJ Styles? moves) and his popularity has been soaring. He is now your current WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion (I haven?t heard the belt called that for a while so I thought I?d throw in some nostalgia) and the King of the Ring tournament would be an excellent place to help enhance all that he has accomplished so far.
#07: Zack Ryder (ECW) ? OH RADIO! Tell me everything you know! I will believe that you can win just tell me so! Well? maybe not win, but at least go far. It’s not really just the theme song, it’s the transformation of the former Edgehead into one of the most compelling characters on ECW. Zack Ryder even put on a hell of a clinic against Christian a little over a month ago and proved that he can go the distance. Many were calling that one of the best matches in ECW so far this year and I would tend to agree. Ryder has tremendous talent and a tremendous upside and King of the Ring is a great fit! You better believe it! Woo! Woo! Woo!
#08: William Regal (ECW) ? He is a former King of the Ring winner, but outside of being the GM of Raw, that win didn?t really do all that much for him. I know Regal is more or less an enhancement talent at this point in his career, but being a former KotR winner, Regal brings that experience to the table and gives an air of uncertainty among the ranks. Obviously, his story here would be the chance to repeat as King of the Ring winner and a lot can be written to help support that. Perhaps even see Regal advance to the semi-finals to kind of tease that he could repeat, only to be knocked out by someone with the best potential. Just one of many scenarios one could play with here.
#09: Carlito (Raw) ? While Primo is just starting to get momentum, Carlito is the more established star and is more deserving of this spot. Carlito has a great character that he has mastered over the years and his athleticism is top notch. While it is something that may not make him a main eventer, it is a character that can support an upper mid-card position.
#10: Santino Marella (Raw) ? Of course Santino will be in this! It could be for comic relief or it could actually be for a viable shot at winning the tournament, but a King of the Ring without Santino in it would be a travesty!
#11: Evan Bourne (Raw) ? The artist formerly known as Matt Sydal has gained a lot of popularity and when the WWE held the draft after Wrestlemania, many wanted to see Sydal move to Smackdown, but instead, he was moved to the flagship show of Monday Night Raw. They saw that much potential in him and so do I. I have followed Bourne’s career from the indies to the WWE and if there was someone that could step up and be a dark horse to win this thing, it could be him!
#12: Dolph Ziggler (Smackdown!) ? Why? Because his name is Dolph Ziggler! Well? not only that, but Ziggler has really impressed me with his character development and his series of matches against Rey Misterio Jr. Ziggler is being prepped to take the next step and could be close to being a threat to John Morrison’s Intercontinental Championship. (Sadly, I no longer get Smackdown in my market so I have to read the spoilers to see what happens). With the WWE prepping him for that upper mid-card spot, there is no reason not to include him in the King of the Ring.
#13: Kane (Smackdown!) ? Kane has been deserving of a shot for a very very long time. He deserves more than holding the WWE Championship for less than 24 hours! He has done so much for the company that putting him in this tournament for a shot at greatness is the very least that someone could do for him. Kane could be a big threat to a lot of the wrestlers here and when it comes time to face him in that bracket, they will either need to bring their A game to get past him or Kane will just run over them to claim his rightful place as winner.
#14: Ted Dibiase Jr.(Raw) ? A member of Legacy and a man who has grown by being paired with Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase is ready to break through to the next level. His match with Randy Orton could be considered his breakout match in the WWE to show that not only he could hang at a main event level, but put on a great story in the ring at the same time. While his mic skills need some work, that is something that can only get better with time. A win in this tournament could bring him into prominence.
#15: Cody Rhodes (Raw) ? I couldn?t ignore the other half of Priceless. While his star doesn?t shine as bright as Ted’s, Cody does deserve a spot in the King of the Ring tournament for everything he has done on the Raw brand so far. His character is developing a little slower than Ted’s, but it is developing nevertheless. The tournament could do some wonders for him? especially in the first round. *grin*
#16: R-Truth (Smackdown!) ? His dynamic wrestling ability and his persona have made him a unique character for the WWE. While his theme song works, I wish it just stayed back in TNA as I?m not really a fan of it, but R-Truth will be a solid addition to the tournament to flesh out the final spot.
So there we have it? sixteen wrestlers that are ready to take the next step. Now let’s see those brackets.
R-Truth vs Kofi Kingston
Mark Henry vs William Regal
Kane vs Jack Swagger
Ted Dibiase Jr. vs Cody Rhodes
Christian vs John Morrison
Evan Bourne vs Matt Hardy
Santino Marella vs Zack Ryder
Carlito vs Dolph Ziggler
I tried to match up a few face vs face and heel vs heel matches to try and cut down on some predictability. I also tried to create some dynamic matches that would be tough to pick from and some I made for story purposes, but nevertheless, there you have it? your 2009 King of the Ring. Now the rest is up to you!
-The Final Shot-
I don?t really have any real world culture suggestions for you this week as I really wanted the King of the Ring tournament to be the focal point. With that being said, use any of the following to cast your vote for the matches and I will post the results next week and give the new brackets for voting. Good luck with your picks and have fun!
Until next week?