Straight to the Main Event: An Ode to the Part Time Wrestler
Over the past decade or so, the world of professional wrestling has changed. It’s no longer the top of the mountain when you make it to WWE. Now, due to side ventures like WWE Studios, wrestlers have the ability to break out and become stars outside of the profession.
Not all wrestlers have the acting chops. In fact, most of them that do a movie gain only a small fan base outside of wrestling because of it. But some have breakout roles. Dwayne Johnson, better known to wrestling fans as The Rock, has been in GI Joe, the Fast and the Furious series and, most recently, Hercules, as the title role. Dave Bautista, known simply as Batista when in the ring, will be gracing the screen in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie as Drax the Destroyer.
But what happens when these men return to the company that put them on the national stage? Well, it’s not a simple answer. Some are met with fanfare and booming cheers. Take the recent return of Chris Jericho, who is the front man for the band Fozzy. When he returned, the arena boomed with cheers. When the aforementioned Batista returned, however, it was quite the opposite. Boos rained down upon him as he stepped back into the WWE for the first time in four years. Why is Jericho, who is possibly one of the best heels of all time, so over with the crowd, while Batista, who was a headliner for a long period of time, so despised?
Well, the answer, in my opinion, is quite simple: Placement on the match card.
While Jericho returned most recently to have a feud started between himself and Bray Wyatt, Batista’s return was one that put him straight into the WWE title picture and main eventing at Wrestlemania. This infuriated some fans as well as some in the locker room.
Take CM Punk for example. He vocalized when still with the company the fact that while he had no dislike or animosity towards Batista, he felt that it was unjust and insulting for him to take a headlining spot away from other wrestlers who are with the company year round, wrestling at all the weekly shows and pay-per-views.
I’d have to agree with that argument. For a long time, WWE had only main eventers and low card wrestlers. They would need a former big name or part-time star to come back just to help gain interest in what was going on leading to Wrestlemania. Now it’s a completely different story. There are multitudes of story lines that have great potential, are captivating and able to carry the viewers’ attention.
No longer are we stuck with just the headliners and the up-and-comers. There is actual depth to the roster. There are great wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder, who on a weekly basis have their talents wasted and for what? So Shawn Michaels can cut a longer promo for no reason at ‘Mania? So Hulk Hogan can go in front of the world and get the stadium the event is happening in wrong?
The new breed deserves more respect and credit than that. Ziggler goes out on a weekly basis and puts on a hell of a show. Cesaro is probably one of the most gifted natural athletes on the roster but is never given a push. Damien Sandow went from winning Money in the Bank a year ago to being a bigger “jobber” than Brooklyn Brawler ever was.
The problem is WWE and the creative department starting story lines that actually interest the fans, only to just make it vanish. The problem is we all have pretty good memories. We know who has stayed and who has left. The information is readily available this day and age via internet.
Yet still we will sit and watch at the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view when John Cena defends his title against Brock Lennar, who hasn’t stepped in the ring since just after WrestleMania.
I guess, when it comes to wrestling, it pays better to have a part time job.
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