Reality From Ringside #27
August 24, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of

Summerslam ?09: The Hangover

This should come as a surprise to many of your readers and my fellow ?Realists?, but I actually purchase pay-per-views. I don?t hunt around the internet on my computer looking for an illegal stream so that I can squint and see Rey Mysterio smaller than I could ever imagine. I prefer seeing him perform on my insanely expensive Doug-a-tron 4000? the 50? plasma.

Before I choose to purchase any pay-per-view event, I constantly look at the pros and cons of the event and if it is worth the price of admission, just like if I were to go to a concert or a movie. Looking up and down the card throughout the week, I knew I needed to purchase the event just for the sole purpose of it being Jeff Hardy’s final appearance. What kind of performance would he give in his final match with WWE before heading off to pitch his scripts to MTV?

Sure, Degeneration-X was reunited after a one-year hiatus, but I didn?t care about them. I cared about Rhodes and DiBiase; would they become another Spirit Squad? Would they be swept under the rug like swatted flies or would they be displayed like a centerpiece put on top of the coffee table?

With those two reasons in mind, I handed Vince McMahon $40 and partook in Summerslam. I don?t think I need to give you any ?grades? on what I thought of the event, nor do I need to convince you how good/bad each contest was? that’s for you to decide. Besides, that’s all you?ve been reading and hearing about.

After 3 hours of soaking it all in, another 3 hours of reliving it through the re-airing and listening to’s post-show broadcast, and 6 hours of sleep? ?Reality? has sunk in. Where do we go from here? How do Vince and Creative capitalize on it? Let’s see if we can get rid of these hangover questions we woke up with?

After Rey-Dolph II, what now? Has Dolph Ziggler been legitimized?

Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler’s second pay-per-view title match was just as good as their first contest. While there were a couple of botched spots, they both recovered flawlessly. Little needs to be said about Mysterio’s work inside the ring when it comes to putting over a talent and keeping the audience glued to the screen. The same can definitely be said about Ziggler, maintaining composure, recovering nicely from the spots and showing raw emotion in the ring through his frustrating facial expressions.

I still believe it is too early to place Ziggler up there as a premiere performer though the biggest hurdles have been cleared. We know he can perform, we know he has the work ethic and charisma to captivate our attention but it is still too early. I don?t want to say that he needs a belt to cement his spot on the upper tier; I view him along the same lines as John Morrison in that he cannot be bum-rushed into the spotlight.

Ziggler has the pay-per-view resume now with two great matches but with very little experience on the roster. Morrison has the experience of being a premiere performer against the best and establishing a reputation but has yet to appear on a pay-per-view since his drafting to ?Smackdown?. Just have patience?

MVP and Jack Swagger put on a solid performance? but where do the two go from here?

Their characters have been recognized, their charisma and in-ring performance have been legitimized, but where these two go now is very difficult to determine. Who would you place them in the ring with on ?Raw? in order to boost their credibility and status?

Either one of them could face Kofi Kingston for the United States title? but that’s Kofi Kingston, a talent that is just as green as the two of them are. Veterans are needed to help usher them down the aisle to the spotlight? and ?Raw? is not the place for them to be escorted. I honestly see these two still in limbo trying to find their way to the front of the line. Just as patience will be a virtue with Ziggler, it will be even more so with MVP and Swagger.

Did we just realize how much deadweight Shad Gaspard is to JTG?

It has been a long time since we have seen this happen within professional wrestling: A tag team combination holding one of its own members back from bigger and better things. After watching their Unified Tag Team title match against Chris Jericho and Big Show, JTG is being held back tremendously by Cryme Tyme.

His unconventional yet effective athleticism in the ring combined with his well-over charisma to get the crowd out of their seats has made him a talent WWE needs to foster and exploit. The problem now is? how do they tap into it? It’s been no secret that WWE has been severely disappointed in Shad’s work inside the ring, viewed as lumbering and lethargic? which is really sad seeing as how there are performers much taller and wider than him yet they are not viewed with such despondency.

I see Cryme Tyme staying as a team for potentially another 3 or 4 months before Shad is let go in order to become more polished and refined in the farm system. Shad should not be thrown away and discarded, as we keep reading that the talent pool is tremendously shallow right now.

Keep your eyes on this tandem and what may come of JTG? think of a slow build to put him in a contest with Rey Mysterio? don?t just put him in there immediately but imagine a nice month-long build to it.

Was Legacy’s performance against Degeneration-X enough to put them over?

Their in-ring work and charisma is unparalleled. They are ready physically and mentally, but within the grand scheme of things, the writers and creative team are not ready for them.

The answer to that is very simple. Go online and look up the number of singles contests that Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase have participated in. I?m just picking this number off the top of my head, but combined I want to say they have had less than 10 matches and not any one of them being against upper-echelon performers aside from DiBiase’s match against Randy Orton over a month ago.

Rhodes and DiBiase also need time to foster and the best way to do so is sitting right in front of us: singles matches. You have four matches sitting in front of you between the two tandems, a month’s worth of enjoyable matches (barring anything catastrophic) and a straight shot to the head of the line. The veterans are there to put them over and the chemistry is not lacking by any means.

Once again, patience is the key. Rhodes, DiBiase, Swagger, MVP, and Ziggler: The talent is there and the roads have now been paved for their journey to the forefront. The last things Vince and WWE need to do is put them in a street racer and have them drift into the parallel parking spot reserved for the elite? the vehicle can easily be rolled and the talent can be totaled.

Enough talk about how good/bad Orton-Cena was? where does the WWE Title go from here?

This question is probably the simplest to answer? absolutely nothing. If you are sitting there complaining about how you are getting tired of seeing John Cena and Randy Orton constantly battle each other for the title, then I have no hope in swaying your opinion.

All that I can say is that this rivalry is right now the biggest and deepest rivalry WWE has going for them. I can?t imagine how angry you must have felt when you kept seeing Steve Austin or The Rock’s name shown on the marquee every month in the late 1990’s.

Vince and WWE Creative need to milk this for all it’s worth for one simple realization? if it wasn?t John Cena, then who else?

It can?t be Triple H or Shawn Michaels; they?re embroiled in a feud with Legacy.

It can?t be Mark Henry; he has been too busy frolicking in the shire with Hornswoggle for the past six weeks and needs twice as much time to shed that image.

Can you think of any other names on the ?Raw? roster? I sure as hell can?t.

This is the feud that is needed to bide time to steer the younger talent onto the progressive highway. That time is also needed to get Mark Henry back from his off-road adventures. This feud is most definitely needed for when Batista makes his inevitable return.

Is Chris Jericho still correct in saying that WWE is in a ?crisis period??

Jericho was never correct to begin with. I have been claiming for the past month and a half WWE has the talent to get them through these troubling times, the problem they have been encountering are the methods to go about bringing them to the forefront.

We saw the answer to that problem Sunday night. All it takes is patience. The main event titles are now involved in deep rivalries (yet to be seen how Punk-Undertaker unfolds, but the seed has absolutely been planted). The evolving talent has now taken the steps needed to be established in the audience’s perception. New and more explosive talent has been realized and the same measures will be needed to usher them forward as well.

What measures do you believe are needed to foster and develop WWE’s new crop of performers now that Summerslam has come and gone? How would you go about ?building? them? I don?t give a damn about who you think should be champion? the question is how do they go about ?becoming? a champion?

You read my columns? you?re a ?realist? like me? and in next week’s ?Reality?, we?ll see just how realistic you are.

Until next time, mouth-breathers!

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