WWE RAW - The 5/7 episode of the RAW Supershow continues an all-too familiar trend that has ever since put a stranglehold on the main event scene of both brands.
Although a beloved figure in and out the ring, Paul Heyman finally made his return in the squared circle after six years of non-appearance in the WWE. One of the best minds in the world of professional wrestling, Paul Heyman was best known as the man who made ECW through ingenious booking and his penchant for anything and everything extreme.
For the sake of this post, however, he’s also known as the mouthpiece of Brock Lesnar, pegged as the Next Best Thing during his debut year in 2002. Both formed a tandem that, in the words of Heyman, accentuated their positives and hid their negatives. Heyman was so effective as the manager that Lesnar was not only able to focus on the wrestling aspect that showcased his unique physical gifts of strength, speed, and explosiveness.
Paul Heyman rekindled his role this past RAW as Lesnar’s mouthpiece and legal representative by telling HHH in a promo that Brock quits from the WWE because of the same politics that disgusted him and made him quit the first time in 2004 (kayfabe).
What about the young ones?
Although I have a soft spot for Paul Heyman, his return does signal a disturbing trend of returning Superstars who have, at one point, quit from or released by the company. The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and Lord Tensai, originally known as A-Train during 2003 before being cut, are just some of the guys who not only made their returns and were immediately pushed to the moon, if not received more than enough television exposure (Lord Tensai).
Kinda makes you wonder what happened to the pushes Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, and other midcarders deserved.
I’m probably nitpicking here, but it’s difficult to see a product that keeps sticking to the old guys who either are working on borrowed time (The Rock, Lesnar) or guys who’ve been on the main event scene long enough that there’s been a nasty backlash against their sheer existence (John Cena, Randy Orton). If reports about Stone Cold Steve Austin making a return for one more match against CM Punk this upcoming Wrestlemania, then it’s true that the company continues to cling to the memories of the Attitude Era and are still reeling from unsuccessfully replicating their previous success.
It’s true that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are making the most out of their time in the main event scene as relative new guys, but the other guys on the cusp of a breakout are either still far behind or have fallen far behind. Dolph Ziggler, considered as one of the best wrestler in this generation, is still stuck in the midcard jobbing to guys like Brodus Clay. Once a fixture in the main event, The Miz has had a career slump after losing the belt to John Cena last year. Kingston is a perpetual midcarder despite being one of the most over faces in the company.
Why the old guys still matter
However, there are two main counterpoints to this train of thought:
- Creating Superstars are not as easy as it seems. Wrestlers not only have to deliver with their in-ring skills, but they also have to get a difficult crowd care for them, which is always a doozy. Not to mention, merchandise sales is another figure that wrestlers have to worry about.
- There’s still so much more that the “old guys” can do. The Rock and Lesnar were still playing around with their peak before taking a different career path. After spending time away from the ring, they now get a change to catch up with lost time. Getting both men to fight the top face of the company in Cena is sound and logical booking, plain and simple.
Therefore, getting Lesnar, The Rock, and possibly Stone Cold in the ring is not necessarily a bad thing. In a way, it’s probably putting the nail to the coffin of the Attitude Era and burying it the way it should be buried. WWE doesn’t want to have The Rock and Lesnar leave the company on their own terms, which is why they brought them back in the roster to settle unfinished business. And until the company can get a Superstars to step up their game by building their wrestling skills and charisma, then it looks like that the company will have to rely on the old guys indefinitely.
What do you think, dear reader? Is the presence of Lesnar, The Rock, and the other returning stars hindering the growth of the midcard talent? Or it is the fault of the current crop of professional wrestlers who can’t seem to get their game over? Let your thoughts be heard by commenting below.