If there was a word to describe Summer Slam, “Polarizing” might be a good one. A whole lot of people had a WHOLE LOT of strong opinions on the show. So much so, in fact, that I found myself so busy thinking about the opinions of others that it was hard for me to remember my own - The show got lost in the reaction.
So, to remedy that, I sat down with a pen and a notebook and decided to actually watch the show, jotting down my thoughts along the way. As tends to happen when I do something like that, the theme came along as I went, and since this is the Twitter-world, I gave it a hashtag.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Mick Foley looks a lot like Luke Harper’s homeless uncle.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a Brock Lesnar vs. Cactus Jack match would have been AMAZING. I suppose I didn’t need Summer Slam to teach me that, but I had never considered the matchup until that opening segment.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Jon Stewart respects what wrestlers do SO MUCH. He said it enough times, in fact, that I’m guessing it’ll be part of the rationale behind him turning on Cena. Don’t know exactly how, but we’l figure it out, I suppose.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE has weird ideas of what makes a good opening match. Orton and Sheamus was good, as we’ll get to, but was that really the ideal match to pop the crowd? I can think of 2-3 others that would have made more sense in that spot.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that wrestlers are learning to address the crowd and its chanting, which is an awesome thing. Wrestling is great, among a multitude of other reasons, because it is interactive, and that’s a prime example of that. While I’m on the subject. . .
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that I. . . .HATE. . . CHANTING!!! More specifically, I hate the handful of “cool kids” who think they should just start any chant they want for any reason that they want. I get that Orton and Sheamus dragged in the middle, but was there any reason at all for a Sami Zayn chant? No, no there wasn’t.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sheamus could. . . COULD. . . make an interesting World Champion, especially with this new attitude. Just don’t say “Respect The Hawk” ever again, please.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a lot of wrestlers are expanding their repertoires. Specifically, many talents are adding aerial maneuvers and suplex variations. We saw Sheamus’ diving knee, to go along with Ryback’s splash and Big Show’s. . . Whatever in the world that was. . . and Orton, Reigns and Becky Lynch all have some sort of T-Bone Exploder Saito Suplex. As a fan of the wrestling itself, I dig this a lot.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Michael Cole still needs some lessons on leg-locks. That is an Edge-cution, Michael, not a Cloverleaf. Ask Dean Malenko to tutor you. In fact, ask him to demonstrate.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that apparently you can bleed from hitting the turnbuckles. I’m guessing that he hit the metal part, since that obviously wasn’t a ‘blade job’, but I’d never seen that before.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Orton and Sheamus, despite the feeling that they’ve wrestled 987 times, still can pull out some new moves to surprise us. Sheamus rolling up onto the turnbuckles into an Orton DDT and the Slingshot-to-RKO were both very fluid and fun to watch.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Orton, despite my own personal feelings, can still be a top quality professional wrestler. Until I hear an explanation, I can only assume Randy is a prick, based off of his stupid comments to Owens some weeks back, but he was quite into the match. Passion translates, and while this isn’t on the level of Randy’s feud with Rollins, he’s still bought in, and I can appreciate that.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a Double Brogue Kick is a pretty cool finishing sequence.
Most importantly, #SummerSlamTaughtMe to try to avoid presuppositions when it comes to wrestling matches. I expected this match to stink, so I didn’t try very hard to watch it. In fact, I basically skipped it the first time around. Both participants put on an excellent match, and while I still don’t think it was the right choice for an opener, it was really entertaining.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that you never. . . EEEEVVVVEEEERRRR. . . take the camera off of New Day during their entrance. In fact, whenever New Day is talking, walking or really, breathing, all eyes should be on them. I’m not sure where they rank on the “wrestle joy” scale, all-time, but it has to be up there.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sin Cara’s flip into the ring, where his hood landed perfectly on his head, was the best contribution he made to that entire match.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that New Day tried something . . . Well, new . . . in trying to pin each other, and what made it good. . . No, this needs to be bigger. . .
Cole and JBL talked about how, while unorthodox, that was within the rules of the Fatal Four Way matchup, and therefore smart strategy! THIS IS WHAT COMMENTARY IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR. . . To add to the match, explain things, and help fans understand what’s happening.
We’ll come back to that. . . multiple times. . . throughout this series.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that when Big E kicks out of a pin attempt by Kalisto in Brooklyn, Kalisto should land somewhere in Queens.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sin Cara wears a mask so that you don’t see him apologizing all the time for all of his mistakes.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Kalisto could be. . . should be. . .and with all luck, WILL BE. . .a mid-card star in WWE. He was one of the highlights of the night, not just this match, and fans are going to want to see more of him.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Titus O’Neil, Kalisto and Big E all deserve to get a singles push of some kind in the near future. These three were the stars of the tag title match, and if you put them in a competitive division for the Intercontinental or US titles, fans would be in for a treat.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that I don’t ever want to be splashed by Big E Langston. Ouch.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe, though I knew this long ago, that Xavier Woods needs to be mic’d at ringside.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that El Torito > Sin Cara.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that despite my anger at the fans for chanting stupid stuff, they can make a match more meaningful with their participation. The collective noise for the Tower Of Doom sequence was awesome.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE has a great knack for creative endings. . . WHEN THE ANNOUNCERS HELP TO EXPLAIN IT! I saw Kofi make the blind tag, and THANKFULLY, I saw the referee acknowledge that he had seen the blind tag, but the commentary team was, quite frankly, bumfuzzled about it until after it happened.
Random Aside: Jim Ross was a great commentator because he was the smartest fan in the room. So was Gordon Solie, and so, in his own way, was Bobby Heenan. They knew what was happening and they explained it. . .They taught you how to be a smart fan.
Michael Cole, for all his positives, doesn’t do that. That’s the problem.
“Everyone was confused as to who was legal.” NO, if you were paying attention, you saw what happened. You saw the referee see what happened. Watch the match and call the match.
End of rant.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that nobody celebrates like New Day. . . Nobody.
We’ll break this up into parts, since I understand the attention span of my readers. Plus, that’s a lot of lessons from the first 45-50 minutes of the show.
What do YOU think? What did you take away from the first hour or so of Summer Slam? Be Heard.
We’re down to the nitty gritty here in part 3 of my Ranking of my 40 Favorite WWE talents. Only thirteen superstars remain (well, technically, 13 male wrestlers remain - female talents and other personalities will be saved for another time), and for many of them, the distinction ‘twixt them is very minimal.
If you missed part 2 of this trilogy, check it out here
If you missed part 1, the link is in part 2.
13. Roman Reigns
Yes, friends, I’m ranking Roman Reigns higher than Brock Lesnar. . . Remember, I’m treating Lesnar as his own entity - Were I to combine him with Heyman, this would be a different matter entirely.
Why does Reigns get the nod, albeit a small one? It all has to do, as the title of this tier says, with growth. Roman Reigns is improving each and every time he comes out. Brock. . . As good as he is. . . Is still just Brock. We haven’t seen the ceiling for Roman Reigns yet, and that should make every wrestling fan very excited.
I sincerely hope I never have to go back in time and delete tweets or columns regarding grievous errors or false information, though if I was placed in such a situation, I might also “accidentally” cause all my negative Neville notions to disappear as well. I really didn’t think he had a shot on this main roster, and I seem to be proven wrong on a regular basis.
Will Neville ever win a WWE world title? I still have to say no, but I’m much less confident about my answer after his performance on Monday. He still doesn’t have a character or story that screams main event, but if he keeps wrestling like this, he might not need one.
Super impressive, this man that gravity forgot.
11. Seth Rollins
Like many of the NAIborhood members I’ve been engaged with online, I too have grown very weary of the “weasely Authority champion” Seth Rollins. It was hurting his main event credibility and, understandably so, causing a lot of people to lose interest in the overall product.
Which means that breaking Cena’s nose might be the best thing to ever happen to him.
The champion we saw on RAW Monday night was a completely different Rollins. He seemed. . . legitimate. He had an attitude, a swagger, that had been missing these last months, and in a single promo (and, as I mentioned earlier, an excellent match), he turned my entire opinion on him around. Triple H had this happen to him as well in his initial World title runs, though it took a long program with Mick Foley to get there.
I’m really hoping that WWE continues this momentum for Rollins - A win over Cena at Summer Slam would be huge for The Architect.
And, since Hulk Hogan is being slowly and quietly reinserted into the history books, perhaps Vince won’t need to rely on Cena to get them through this crisis.
Of all WWE talents, Rusev might be the best social media user, especially when it comes to his character. His Twitter feed is great - He can be both hilarious and touching, as he was for his Piper tribute, all while maintaining his gimmick. I’m sure Vince & Co. appreciates his Kayfabe style.
Plus. . . And I know a lot of you thought this was dumb. . .But he gave Summer Rae a fish. . .I never knew Rusev had the propensity for comedy gold, and that vastly increases the future avenues his character can traverse.
I know he could be in danger of being comic relief in the near future, but he’s young enough and talented enough to avoid that particular pitfall. Also, he could become one of the company’s most popular talents if he winds up pulling a Macho Man and coming to Lana’s rescue someday.
I’m high on Rusev. . . I don’t love him yet. . . But it’s close.
9. The Miz
One of my very first columns over there at Number Two Contenders was all about The Miz and how he is Awesome, and while I got a “lot” (or what constituted a lot back when I was lucky to get 20 views a day) of flak for that, it seems that many people are starting to see things my way.
He is The Miz. . . And he is Awesome!
He shined with Sandow, he was the MVP of the Cesaro and Owens segment from RAW, and in many ways (now I’m just looking to start trouble). . .
The Miz is the Roddy Piper of WWE right now. He’s the guy fans love to hate.
Wow. . . That might be the most #HeelDC sentence I’ve ever written, but it’s true. In fact, it’s either him or John Cena. . . Allow me to explain, before you light the torches and find your pitchforks, my dear NAIborhood.
Roddy Piper was the ultimate heel, yet he was also wildly entertaining. Yes, he smashed an actual coconut over Snuka’s head. . . Yes, he did a multitude of other equally heinous acts, but he did so with a sense of humor and a lot of charisma. You boo’d him, but you also loved every minute of it.
Mike Mizanin isn’t doing anything nearly as heinous as Piper did, but like Roddy, he’s hilarious and hard to take your eyes off of. Go back and watch MizTV again - Look at his face as he’s watching Owens and Cesaro almost come to blows. He’s the best part of that segment, and he makes every minute of WWE better just for being a part of it.
8. Kevin Owens
Up until the point where he got totally and completely buried (Now I’m in full #HeelDC mode, I can’t help it), Owens was higher on my list, and since we’re in the Top 10 now, all of these guys are ones I adore.
My only hesitation with Owens is that it’s hard to take a guy like him seriously as a “cowardly heel”, and that’s exactly what is happening. Sure, he’s pulling the “trick you into turning your back and then attacking”, but guys like Owens aren’t supposed to back down from a fight, even if it is cleverly done. I don’t love this side of Owens, though I’m sure once he and Cesaro tear the house down at Summer Slam, I’ll be back on the KO bandwagon.
7. Bray Wyatt
If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge Bray Wyatt fan, so we really are just at the point where I’m just listing all of my ‘favorite’ talents. The last time I loved somebody’s ring work so completely, like I do with Bray, was with William Regal. In fact, if this NAI E-fed gets off the ground, or if I cave and buy a PS4 and WWE 2K16, you better believe that the DC Matthews character will be a hybrid of Bray and Regal’s ring style.
I still don’t think Bray ever gets to be a main event player in WWE, but truthfully, I’m OK with that, so long as he remains on the periphery of it, and as long as he continues to have logical reasons for his feuds, rather than just cryptic nonsense. Plus, someday we’re going to get Bray Wyatt vs. Kevin Owens, and my head might explode.
6. Bo Dallas
I love Bo Dallas more than his older brother because his character is so ridiculously corny. I’ve long accepted the fact that I’m drawn much more to the mid-card than the main event, and Dallas is a prime example. I mark out each time his music hits and I fight the urge to jump around the room each time he begins running around, pointing his thumbs in for some inexplicable reason.
It’s not a logical love, but then again, when is love logical?
5. Luke Harper
Harper getting the chance to talk alongside Bray might be my favorite development of the last few months in WWE - He’s holding his own with Wyatt, and that’s amazing in and of itself.
Luke Harper should be the new prototype for big men in professional wrestling - quick and agile, rough and powerful. If he was ten (or even five) years younger, he’d be somebody WWE would be building around, instead of just a really good role player. Regardless, I’m going to be excited for every Luke Harper singles match for as long as they keep letting him have them.
Like Harper, if Cesaro was 10 years younger and even a molecule less Swiss, he’d already have held a couple World Titles in WWE. Regardless, he’s getting a significant singles “push” right now, and no matter how it ends up, that’s a great thing for a wrestling fan.
Here’s my fantasy booking idea for Summer Slam - Make the Owens and Cesaro match 2 out of 3 falls. You have four hours, give them 12.5 percent of that (that’s half an hour, for those who haven’t had to use fractions since 6th grade) and watch them put all other MOTY candidates to shame.
Full disclosure: Somewhere along the line, I miscounted the number of talents I had on my list (it’s summer, I’m not required to remember how to do math for another 2 weeks or so), and so rather than group them together, the top 3 spots in my list go to Kofi, Big E and Xavier, but they have to share them as a unit.
Individually, all three are great - Big E’s got the facial expressions, Kofi has the skipping, and Xavier might just be the best talker in the company not named Paul Heyman. You have to have them all together, though, for it to be perfection personified.
Apparently, according to Xavier Woods, Vince really thought New Day would get over as a babyface stable. Rather than use that as an example of how out of touch Mr. McMahon is, though, I’ll use my own power of positivity to show how that proves how well WWE can make the best out of any situation. However it happened, these three have taken the ball they were given and have skipped away with it, and the tag division, and the wrestling world in general, are better for it.
Right now, in this moment, in this time, New Day is my favorite part of WWE, and if you needed to know why. . .
There it is, folks, my list of favorite talents. I'd love to see yours. Comment below or, since tomorrow is Friday, make your own article. Either way, Be Heard!
One of the less-talked about aspects of the “Attitude Era”, mainly because it wasn’t very exciting to most people, was the ‘gang warfare’ that took place in the late 90’s. I’m obviously not talking about the nWo or DX here, rather the feud between the Nation of Domination, Los Boricuas and the Disciples of Apocalypse.
Now if two of those stables are completely unfamiliar to you, I wouldn’t be surprised - as I said, it’s not necessarily a hallmark of the era, but I loved it, solely because as anyone paying attention knows, I’m a big stable fan. I think there should be stables all the time, so naturally, I crafted a What If Wednesday that goes along perfectly with that.
Today I’m mainly focusing on the WWE roster. You’re welcome to make your own version, or do an NXT edition. All fair game.
For those who follow along with me on Twitter, many of these will not come as a huge shock to you. All set? Good, on with the show!
Besides the Authority, we’ve gotten away from the “mega” stable, and this would rectify that. As I’ve spoken about repeatedly, Bray and Bo would be the double headed leaders of this group, though obviously Bray would get more of the main event push.
Truthfully, if I was running this, Bo would be more of a manager than anything else. He’s capable enough in the ring, but it’s on the microphone where he does the majority of his best work, so I’d stick with that.
Bray goes after the World Title, Harper is the mid-card belt contender and The Ascension could handle the tag titles. Rowan would be the silent muscle, like if Mr. Hughes wore a sheep’s mask.
Yet another one of my favorite ideas, though adding Kalisto was a last-minute thing for me. He’s going to eventually get a major push beyond just being a Lucha Dragon (provided he doesn’t keep having issues like he did at Elimination Chamber), and this could be a fun fit for him.
As much as I love KiddAro as a tag team, this really would need to be Cesaro’s time to shine, though I imagine Rusev might have something to say about that. Also, and not surprisingly, I’d want there to be a cruiserweight division so that Kidd and Kalisto could have something to do besides being the undersized underdogs.
We’re taking slight artistic license here, since Snuka is from Fiji, not Samoa, but I imagine Vince wouldn’t care about that. He had a Bulgarian Russian, he can have a Fijian Samoan.
Reigns is going to turn heel at some point and when he does, having him lead a group would be a good step forward. He wouldn’t even need to change his ring gear for this - everyone else would just start dressing like him. I think this trio (quarter, including Snuka) could be fun.
And no, since you’re asking, I wouldn’t put Samoa Joe in this stable. I’m not sure he’ll be around long enough to be in a group of any kind, but that’s another article.
You could go a lot of different ways with members for this group. Ziggler, Adam Rose, Fandango, all would make sense. I’m choosing these three because it all fits together right now, and I have other plans for the other guys. If you wanted to add one of them, I wouldn’t be offended.
Rather than a stunt double here, Breeze becomes Miz’ protege, and we don’t wind up seeing dissension in the ranks for a long time. Breeze and Summer have been rumored to be a duo when Tyler gets his WWE call up (which should have happened months ago) and Miz and Summer have the movie connection, so it all makes sense.
What am I doing with Ziggler then? I’m glad you asked.
This whole idea stems from my belief that Swagger looks like every 80’s movie college bad guy in history. I imagine him in a varsity letter jacket or a sweater vest. While this wouldn’t be Mean Street Posse 2.0, it would harken back to the days of Pete Gas and Joey Abs.
While Ziggler got top billing above, I’d really want this to be Cody’s group. (I’d also make Ziggler go back to a brown crew cut - No more showoff!) Swagger and Axel could be the tag team, Ziggler would handle the IC belt and Cody could finally ascend to the main event picture.
This group is so good I’m not touching it. Keep on keepin’ on, boys.
Frustrated that all these NXT guys keep coming up to WWE and “taking their spots”, this gang heads down to Full Sail to take out their aggression on these “young upstarts”, while hopefully also redefining their own careers at the same time. This is cheating a little, as I wouldn’t have this group in WWE at all, but I just wanted to mention it.
A little dig with the name on the ROH Kingdom stable, and if I’m being honest, I just came up with it about 12 seconds ago, so its a title in progress. Barrett needs a group to “rule” in order for this King thing to be more than just a jobber in a cape, and these guys would all work well together.
Plus, you leave the possibility open for Finn Balor and Becky Lynch to come up and join sometime in the future, leading to all sorts of possible shenanigans.
Each time I see the Matadors, I cry a little inside. Both these guys are talented, but they’re floundering right now. They need a change. They need new attitudes.
They need an apple spit in their face.
This is the only time I’m bringing in a new superstar, though it’s technically an old superstar being brought back, but if I’m WWE, I’m signing Carlito and letting him smack the masks off his relatives faces. I don’t want them becoming bandana waving, bicycle riding thugs, but I do want them being proud of their heritage and standing up for themselves on this roster.
It’d be cool.
A catch-all to get more guys on the roster, I imagine that with all this craziness happening, Cena would want to unite some folks to be able to stand as one, fighting to save WWE from being overrun by these mobs. Pretty much take any wrestler not listed above and they’d fit here. Big Show could turn face (he’s good at that) for a while, and I’d have Sandow be the standout, naturally.
Alright, only one stable to go, and this is just a toss-in to try to break the internet and get all your money.
While The Shield tried to save WWE, this group is trying to destroy it. Just imagine these three cutting a promo together.
What do YOU think? What changes would you make? How would you stable-ize WWE? Be Heard.
Took a little bit of a break there, but welcome back to a weekday edition of The Chief’s Briefs. After believing that the Comcast cable gods were conspiring against me, keeping me from Monday Night RAW, I had a pleasant surprise to return home from work this afternoon and find it waiting for me on my DVR. Thus, today’s episode is a RAW-recap spectacular!
By far, without question, unequivocally my favorite part of RAW featured New Day. The match was good (especially that cheating Kofi kick!), but the promo was the highlight of RAW, bar none.
This has been the plan from the beginning, I’m sure of it. You can’t honestly look at how New Day was booked and tell me this was supposed to work. You just can’t. Even Vince / Dunn logic doesn’t go that far. This was all a well orchestrated means of explaining a heel turn. These guys were super positive, trying to inspire the crowd and be great role models, and with each week, their frustration grows.
Each member of New Day had their own moment in the sun. Xavier seemed the most serious, although his reaction to the clapping was priceless. Kofi had a nice turn from happy to mean with the “Clap or Snap” line. And what can you say about Big E? He’s found his niche with the Baptist Minister cadence.
These guys are going to be a major heel force, even though they’ll get cheered the second it happens. I can’t wait to see what happens with New Day throughout the rest of 2015.
I wasn’t watching WWE during the Prime Time Players’ initial run, so I know next to nothing about them. Their promo was not nearly as good as New Day’s, but I was entertained. Keeping things legitimately light hearted and tongue-in-cheek works for Darren and Titus.
I want to applaud WWE for giving both of these teams promo time on RAW. You wouldn’t expect such “low card” guys to get interview time, and they ran with it. If they get a prolonged feud, I’ll be super psyched.
Two of the first matches last night proved that with proper booking, a loss can mean as much as a win.
To begin, we saw Neville challenge Seth Rollins. Neville, an NXT staple, is only in his “official” second week on RAW, and wrestled the World Champ. Not only did he wrestle, he stood toe-to-toe with “The Architect”, coming close to victory on a couple of occasions. Seth won, as we all expected him to, but that really didn’t matter. What mattered is that this “rookie” gave the champ a run for his money.
This is what made the Ruthless Aggression Era so great. You could have a guy like Shelton Benjamin ALMOST pin Triple H, or some nobody named John Cena make Kurt Angle nervous. You never knew which guys were going to step up and become rock stars in a single night.
I had very low hopes for Neville’s WWE prospects, but after last night, I’m beginning to believe in the Purple Wonder.
That’s a copyrighted name, don’t even try it.
Speaking of John Cena, the US champion is growing on me. . . Like a fungus. . . I didn’t watch the promo, you can believe that, but I do like this Open Challenge thing, especially when its answered by Stardust, of all people, and then they go on to have an excellent match.
In fact, at just over 13 minutes, Cena / Stardust was the longest match of the card last night.
What’s odd is that in on RAW, Seth Rollins and John Cena did what we had been hoping Brock Lesnar would do for his entire WHC run - help build other stars. Neville could be slipped into the Intercontinental title picture now without much fuss after his performance vs. Rollins, and Stardust, be his face painted or not, just held his own against 15 time world champion John Cena. These are all good things.
Bray Wyatt, albeit in a promo, made his return to RAW last night, and if my cryptic cryptographer is working properly, it looks like the New Face of Fear is setting his sights on Roman Reigns next.
I’m all for that - it’s a logical step for Bray and a chance for Roman to continue to grow as a performer. This is dangerous ground though.
You can’t lose too often and with too much frequency.
Not if you want to be a main eventer, anyway. Reigns and Bray are both coming off of losses at Wrestlemania, and while both “Looked Strong”, as it were, those were still losses. I blogged last week about what I thought Bray’s next steps should be, and Roman also deserves a bit of a winning streak if we’re ever going to take him seriously as a World Title contender. Having the two of them face each other means, inevitably, that one of them is going to lose. Now we’re talking a “slump”, which in wrestling is rarely a good thing.
Based on WWE logic, I imagine Bray loses and then moves on to the next guy, just like he did with Jericho. . .And Cena. . .And Ambrose. . .And Undertaker. . It’s kind of his schtick now, sadly.
The more compelling story would be for Bray to actually win this feud, and its more compelling for Roman than it is for Wyatt. Reigns was riding this super hot streak when he got hit by the freight train known as Brock Lesnar, then screwed out of contention by Rollins. A loss to Bray and Mr. Reigns is in a bit of a slump.
Remember, I said that slumps are RARELY a good thing. . . Not NEVER.
Losing multiple matches in a row leads to frustration, and frustration leads to anger. An angry Reigns. . . Not a “I’m gonna punch you in the face and then hit you in the tummy!” kind of anger, but a TRUE anger. . . Is much more interesting.
Congratulations, you just got a sneak peek of “Kid Reigns”, coming to you the next time I get onto NAIpod.
What do YOU think? Highlights of RAW? Be Heard.
For my money, there’s nothing like a good wrestling stable. If you were a wrestling fan in the 1980’s, it was the Four Horsemen or the Heenan Family. During the Monday Night Wars, it was the nWo or the Corporate Ministry. Raven’s Flock, Los Boricuas, Right to Censor, the Filthy Animals. . . The list goes on and on.
A well-put together stable allows you to showcase multiple talents in a single segment. Most importantly, it allows young talents to have a chance to grow and shine (Randy Orton in the early days of Evolution) while veteran talent who are getting on in years but can still bring it on the mic get to continue being a relevant force (Arn Anderson during the final days of the WCW Horsemen). In addition, a stable can help elevate a single superstar by having him be the focus of the group. (Straight Edge Society is one example, another one that failed dramatically was The Brood.) Also, stables can sometimes serve as a metaphor for broader issues, be it inside or outside of the wrestling world.
Here are 6 stables (4 re-iterations of a group from the past as well as 2 brand new ones) that I believe could exist in the WWE. Many of these also provide opportunities for many of the next wave of NXT stars to make their way onto the main roster, while also giving a current Superstar a leadership role.
Led by Wade Barrett, the Nexus was a group of NXT stars (back when NXT was a competition style show complete with coaches) who banded together to try to secure contracts for all its members as well as make life very difficult for one John Cena. Among its original members were Daniel Bryan and Skip “Ryback” Sheffield, and the future Bray Wyatt joined up soon after.
Barrett should reform this stable when he returns from injury later this year, giving the Bad News to the wrestling world that its time for another change in the ranks. I could see Paige being an early member of this group, and by fall, Adrien Neville (current NXT champion) could be a newcomer as well. I don’t want this to turn into an all-UK group, so let’s also add the reigning NXT Tag Team Champions, The Ascension, to the mix, who can serve as the muscle of the group.
Originally a group of evil sideshow “freaks”, the Oddities couldn’t help but be fan favorites in the late 1990’s, which is. . . ahem. . .”odd” considering one of them was wearing a leather hood and the other two looked like villains one would find in a James Bond movie.
I’m taking a little bit of liberties with the theme of this stable, going with more of a old-school circus theme (Before you start yelling, yes I am aware that TNA has recently used a circus gimmick, but no, I don’t care.). Damien Sandow would be the ringmaster of this group that would prominently feature current NXT tag team The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch), as well as either The Great Khali as an enforcer.
The 2014 Oddities wouldn’t set the WWE world on fire, but it would at least get Sandow out of a Sonic uniform and hopefully no longer a jobber. Speaking of which. . .
The JOB Squad
Led by Al Snow, the JOB Squad was a group of wrestlers who always found themselves on the losing end of matches, hoping that by joining forces, they could better their standing. This stable all but writes itself.
This stable would have been tailor made for Santino, but with him off TV, Zack Ryder could and should take the lead in this group. The fact that he found out about his participation in Sunday’s IC title Battle Royal on Twitter would be a natural impetus for him to come out on RAW and voice his frustrations, slowly joined by RybAxel, Heath Slater, Xavier Woods and Fandango. (Note: This could also be a natural way to transition Johnny Curtis off the dancer gimmick.) While this likely wouldn’t elevate any of them to main event status, it would allow them to be on TV more often, so maybe one catches lightning in a bottle.
Nation of Domination
I know that I am treading on dangerous waters here, but there is no denying that the issue of racism in wrestling has been all over the Web. The Cheap Heat Podcast (which comes highly recommended) dedicated an entire episode to it, and Mark Henry has been discussing it as well. In the past, WWE has seemed to address mainstream issues on their programming, so if that’s the case, bringing the Nation back makes sense.
While Mark Henry would be most associated with this, I’d actually prefer to see Big E take the lead of this group. I don’t know if he is intentionally trying to sound like a Baptist minister in his promos as of late, but that style would work well. Henry would naturally be the muscle of the group (though Titus O’Neill also would fit in that role), and Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Tamina Snuka and Alberto Del Rio could also be members.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be a long-running group, but it would put the issue up front, giving WWE a chance to address it on camera.
OK, time for the two new stables.
OK, so that’s a working title. Feel free to let me know if you have a better one.
Dolph Ziggler, after finding himself in the loving arms of both Summer Rae and Layla, realizes that it really is great being a good looking guy. With his new partner Tyler Breeze (who is already nailing this idea down in NXT), returning Superstars Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel and the current NXT BFF’s Sasha Banks and Charlotte, this group tries to take over every title in the WWE, all without messing up a single hair.
Whether its The Straight Edge Society or The Brood, there has always been a place for cult-type factions in wrestling. I could easily Bo Dallas attracting a small group of followers who totally subscribe to his positive philosophies. This stable would be different from the others in that it would exist solely for the benefit of Bo Dallas, rather than furthering any aims of his minions.
Again, we reach down into NXT, taking the very cheerful and bubbly Bayley as well as Mojo Rawley, who has the muscle and talent to succeed, especially if bo-lieving gets rid of the extra annoying “Stay Hyped” schtick. If Bo is super annoying on his own, just imagine if he has a posse.
Alright, time for me to step away from the fantasy booking chair. Feel free to share your thoughts. Could any of these stables work? Which ones would you like to see back in WWE? Let us know!