Reality From Ringside #15
June 1, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of

Plugging in a Dead Microphone

Last week was certainly one of the most entertaining weeks to be a fan of WWE? a fan of everything that has nothing to do with action inside a ring. The free public relations cavalcade provided by ESPN to the sweaty palms of Vince McMahon resulted in the prototypical parody-filled ?Raw? we?ve been shown in the past. A mystery partner promoted to take part in the 10-man tag team main event did not provide any shock or suspense? Mr. Kennedy shows up. Enter the main event, exit Mr. Kennedy.

I cannot think of any other time in professional wrestling where the return of such a blossoming performer like Mr. Kennedy was given the pink slip within one week of his/her return. If you know of such an occurrence, please email me at and enlighten me. Before you do, consider the panoramic view of WWE and their decisions leading to the dismissal of Kennedy.

February 2005: Mr. Kennedy signs to developmental contract with WWE
August 2005: Called from OVW to perform on ?Velocity?
August 25: Makes WWE debut on ?Smackdown?
December 2005: Torn latissimus dorsi muscle during European tour
May 10, 2006: Returns to in-ring action in OVW
July 14: Returns to ?Smackdown?
May 7, 2007: Massive hematoma to right triceps muscle found following WM23
June 11: Returns to in-ring action on ?Raw?
September 10: Suspended for 30 days for failing WWE’s Wellness Policy
October 1: Returns to in-ring action ?Raw? (Not exactly 30 days, huh?)
April 2008: Leaves to film role for ?Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia?
April 28: Returns to in-ring action on ?Raw?
August 4: Dislocated shoulder in house show
May 7, 2009: Returns to in-ring action in FCW
May 25: Returns to ?Raw?
May 29: Mr. Kennedy is released

There’s the professional timeline of Mr. Kennedy in a nutshell. All of the arguments of him being injury-prone can be legitimized by this but this is not the sole reason for his release. Rumors of a discussion between Kennedy and WWE champion Randy Orton following the main event from last week regarding a bad suplex delivered by Kennedy have swirled around websites for the past couple of days. Legitimate or not, stock should not be placed into this rumor? regardless of who he spoke with, if he spoke with anyone regarding his in-ring performance.

WWE is in dire need of main event talent right now and they know in the very near future, they will need twice as many as what the need currently. With Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Triple-H all taking much needed time off for rehabilitating injuries or resting, WWE is desperate to find names to fill these voids. So desperate in fact, to bring a performer back from a very serious injury with less than 3 weeks of ?wrestling rehabilitation? and place him in a main event involving nine other performers. It is a recipe for disaster and WWE is impatiently stirring the sauce.

Couldn?t Mr. Kennedy have been brought back with more rehabilitation and orientation under his belt? Like say? another two weeks worth? His previous injuries have all warranted just as much re-orientation to the ring and it is amazing to see that WWE was that anxious and desperate to bring him back so quickly and expect him to perform fluidly.

If WWE wanted to bring Kennedy back as soon as possible, they truly picked the worst possible match to bring him back in. A 10-man tag team contest is not exactly the most effective and productive means of bringing back a performer from injury. Normally most talents are brought back to rival one of the talents, build some heat, and potentially lead to two or three great matches down the road. Bringing Kennedy back and having him partake in the 10-man PR cluster. was only another invitation for disaster? what if the rumors were true? Ten of your top talents in the ring, two of them potentially exiting the show with a career-threatening injury. How does that math sound? Hastily bringing back one performer only to have another two or possible three head for surgery or rehabilitation?

So enough finger-pointing, what’s done is done. There is no point now trying to figure out WWE’s rationale for Kennedy’s departure. What we need to speculate on now is where the two parties will go from here. First, Mr. Kennedy.

Toss away all of the federations that are coming out of your mouth right now. We should not be so quick as to think he will be immediately gobbled up by another organization 3 months after his release. Kennedy needs to take some time off, spend time training and conditioning, and fine tune the in-ring work that has been brought into question. Before signing with anyone, he needs to rebuild an image should not be tainted in the first place, but unfortunately is. Rumors of fragility and shoddy ring-work can only be quashed by months upon months of healthy training and conditioning.

After a year of this, I honestly have no idea where Kennedy could end up. Optimistically, I would like to see him return to WWE. His microphone work and charisma is top notch; the number one reason why WWE wanted to bring him back so quickly. His persona would not be a quality fit in TNA? top shelf talent like Kennedy’s does not deserve to rest in a cabinet full of ?Aristocrats?. While RoH does sound promising, again Kennedy’s persona would not fit in. RoH is as close to chivalrous and honorable as professional wrestling can get. Kennedy’s character and demonstrative nature would be like to trying to cram a square peg into a circular hole. Again, giving Kennedy ample enough time to work off the ring rust (which is nearly a year due to his shoulder injury and movie promotion) and re-signing him with WWE seems the logical outcome.

Now, to the ones I believe at fault for this entire ordeal, World Wrestling Entertainment.

WWE is now down another marquee talent, the main event talent pool has a hole on the side of its wall, and the mindset has been reduced to impatience and desperation to the point that Ric Flair is needed to come back from retirement in a feeble attempt to glue eyeballs to the television and butts to the seats. No offense to greatest professional wrestler who ever lived, but Flair is retired? period. Regardless if he is fully active in the ring, Flair is retired. He was given the greatest send-off that any performer could ever ask for; For him to un-retire for the sake of the company makes all those tears that were shed last year feel wasted and irrelevant. By the way, Flair comparing himself to Brett Favre nearly made me devote an entire fit of ?Harsh Reality? to him but thanks to Kennedy and WWE’s incompetence, it will be put on the shelf for another week.

Has WWE learned its lesson yet? How often has WWE brought back a performer too soon from injury and rehabilitation only to see it fall apart before their eyes? Rey Mysterio is probably the biggest example of WWE’s ineptitude and anxiousness. My editor’s unfortunately only give me so much space when it comes to my columns, so for me to actually provide you a chronology of Mysterio’s professional career in WWE rife with injuries and returns would nearly cause to exceed its bandwidth allotment.

What talent will WWE push feverishly now? On the ?Raw? side, it is evident who will be because of the 10-man main event from last week. MVP, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. seem to be the crop of young talent worthy of this push. I?m not so quick to lump The Miz in there just yet, his microphone skills and charisma are very polished but it will truly take some time for his in-ring talent to match that. All in due time.

With Mike Knox, John Morrison, and Dolph Ziggler receiving the same push on ?Smackdown?, it’s difficult to fathom WWE’s mindset for bringing Kennedy back so early. Was it purely impatience? Your talent is there; give them the opportunity to shine and you will absolutely reap the benefits. HBK, HHH, and ?Taker may be resting right now, but you damn well know some retirements and early exits will be coming soon. Instead of bum-rushing the injured and placing others in danger, why not build the perfectly-healthy talent you have right now? I haven?t even mentioned the waves of progress being made on ?ECW?, which I will contend is the best of all three brands!

WWE needs to nurture these young talents and encourage their progression, reincorporate the approach that brought so many talents from years past. Without this methodology, you would not have helped groom? Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Masters, Bobby Lashley? the list goes on and on of developmental talent that has panned out and paid massive dividends.

Mr. Kennedy is on this list as well, a byproduct of WWE’s developmental organizations, just as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, his name now graces a list that will apparently be growing as time passes: The number of talents that are wasted due to WWE’s eagerness and anxiety. I really hope that they learn from this mistake? five years down the road, when nearly a quarter of their roster has retired or gone unsigned, WWE will wonder where all their talent went.