Yesterday I looked at the scene on Raw in considering the state of affairs wrestling wise this month, let’s look at the Blue brand.
The Edge/Kane feud didn’t work. Edge as World Champ isn’t rocking and rolling yet, because of the crummy feud that gave him the title. This is what gives me the impression that SmackDown haven’t been doing as well with their stories as Raw has. Yet Edge is a competent competitor, he’s a multi-time World Champ and can hold his own on the mic and in the ring without ever breaking into that upper echelon of memorable ‘superstars’.
It is where this will leave Ziggler that brings up the interest. I never gave Dolph that much of a chance or rating when he started out. He has impressed me with how he’s grown in his role as a heel and although the feud with Kingston was a middling one, he at least did his best to make lemonade out the lemons he was given in terms of storyline development.
His push in the title picture and a PPV world champ match is a big deal. I can see how they can use this just to give a look at him at a higher position in the card. They won’t give him the title at the Rumble – it makes no kind of sense to do that – but a good run at that level will do him the world of good for later on in the year.
I get this and I hope they take it where it needs to go in establishing all the members in the stable. Barrett had a great 2010 which set him up to have a growing 2011 which should see him get to sniffing around being a top level player should he play his cards right. He’s carried himself like a leader and like a champ and so it bodes well for him.
What I don’t get is the thought that the stable isn’t about leaders – well that’s fallen flat on its face already. Barrett is the only one in that group with leadership charisma and charm that can lead him to titles. Heath Slater will not do all that much – maybe an Intercontinental/US title run here and there, but that’s about it. Poor Justin Gabriel is just waiting to break out as a face – the beard helps his heel persona but the guy is just a Rob Van Dam in the making.
Ezekiel Jackson? Well the muscle yeah, but he’s got a long way to go before he’s considered anything more than that. As a stable, though, they can do some business on SmackDown as long as they stay together. I hope that Slater and Gabriel work as a tag team and become a magnet to form a competitive tag title scene on SmackDown where it belongs.
The major deal for me is the rise of Alberto Del Rio. He is looking the business even without getting that convincing win over Mysterio that his whole approach to his character has deserved. As you’ll read later this week, I reckon Del Rio should win the Rumble. It would be an outside bet, but he’s worth it especially to mark him out as someone who is to be considered for the future.
Mysterio? He’s got his fans, he’s got his small man in the big man’s world schtick going on, but he’s had his titles and stuff, he can afford to go on building other competitors in his role as the little guy who will rarely turn heel.
Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger is the only other thing mentioning on SmackDown and here are two guys who will defintiely need to up their game this year if they want to be taken seriously again. I don’t get how Swagger can get to this position having won the title last year. It’s a pretty swift drop, but I believe in his ability and potential and just hope he makes the most of it.
Just to mention as well Vickie Guerrero – what a talent, what a performer. She’s had to take the barbs about her figure, even though she’s lost a great deal of weight and is genuinely looking great. She knows how to make the most of her rep though and is better on the mic than some of the guys.
A Short Word on The Divas Scene
Natalya vs. Melina – They’re not pushing Melina properly as a heel and she could be a mint heel, but then with LayCool dominating in that area it will be bit tricky if they don’t get their whole Divas thing together. Having two sets of Divas one on Raw and the other on SmackDown doesn’t make sense because for the brand that doesn’t have the champ you’re wondering, what are you battling for? Like Beth Phoenix vs. Laycool at the moment. She beats both in one-on-one matches, but so what?
So that’s Wrestle Watch monthly for January. Expect a Royal Rumble preview later on this week and the return of WWM in Februay.