Well, hello. Welcome to The Live Wire, probably the only column that has an intro paragraph featuring the word “bojangles” – and that has to be a good thing, right? YEAH!
Anyway, thanks to everyone for their response to last week’s predictions column… they are always one of the more popular columns of the year, and this one proved to be no exception. And of course, with it being the start of the year, then following on from the predictions column, comes the Ones To Watch!
First, last year’s choices : John Cena, Randy Orton, Matt Hardy, Haas & Benjamin and Test. Now, ignore Test. A lot of people tend to do that automatically anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem. My other picks did quite well – Cena is a star in the making, Orton is the current IC champ and in the midst of a push to the top, Haas & Benjamin held the tag titles on Smackdown and were generally class all year round, and Matt Hardy took the Version One gimmick and nearly dragged Shannon Moore to stardom with him.
Four hits, one middle ground…. Not bad, not bad… so who does The Live Wire tip for the top in 2004? Well, for a start, regular viewers of Velocity will already know of the joy that is Spanky & Paul London. These guys are making people sit up and pay attention, and also making people actually watch Velocity, despite Josh Matthews! They’ve been bundled together, not sure if it was intentional or a happy accident or not, but whatever reason, it’s turned out to be quite the pairing.
They had a good reputation on the indy circuit, and they’ve continued their work on to a slightly bigger stage. The next step for them would be to get a match on Smackdown… In 2004, I see Spanky & London making a name for themselves – maybe they won’t win any tag gold (at least not until the second half of the year) but they will create a hype that should see them in good stead.
Hype is the word surrounding Matt Morgan – WWE.com has ran an interview with the rookie, and JR’s column in Raw magazine has hyped him up for months. As it stands, he looks every inch the rookie he is – but let’s face it – he’s at least better than Nathan Jones.
He’s not the greatest wrestler in the world at the moment, but by all accounts, he’s desperate to learn all he can and asks almost everyone for advice – it’s a good sign. If he can polish off his skills, and if he can even cut a semi-decent promo, then by the end of 2004, Matt Morgan’s name could be as big as his physical stature.
La Resistance have looked like a different tag team since the departure of Sylvain Grenier – and the majority of that improvement can be put down to the presence of my next pick – Rob Conway. Don’t get me wrong – Dupree has great potential, but I don’t see him being ready for the big push for another couple of years yet – they could pull the trigger on Rob Conway tomorrow.
He’s shown he can cut a promo – his in-ring work is sharp enough, and he has enough size to be able to slot into the Raw roster with no problems. Add the fact that he’s a WWE product and came through OVW to the mixture – and I think Conway could well have a huge year in 2004. Tag team gold is certainly in the future of Dupree & Conway, and by the end of the year, I see Conway starting to make his way up the singles ranks as well.
The WWE have already shown faith in Batista – they kept his slot in Evolution open rather than add in Mark Jindrak, as was widely predicted. Despite being on the shelf for so long, and actually re-injuring himself along the way, Batista was given the prime role of taking out both Goldberg and Shawn Michaels, and is now tagging up with Ric Flair in a lacklustre tag division.
Let’s face it – we know now that Batista can talk, after his eloquent promo work after his return and his confrontations with Steve Austin – all he needs to do is work on his wrestling skills, and with his size, he’s more or less guaranteed to get a big push. Being partnered with Ric Flair is probably the best way to learn… Batista will also benefit from the Evolution connection he has – look out for Batista in 2004 – at least an Intercontinental Championship from the big man…
Now, my last pick – it’s someone I picked last year (no, NOT Test again!) and I feel they did make a breakthrough – but this year, I expect them to take another step up the ladder. Matt Hardy has a Cruiserweight Title reign to his name, as well as multiple Tag Team Titles – the guy is just itching to be turned face, and if he does – there could well be an Intercontinental Title run with his name on it.
Hardy’s Vee-One-Ahh gimmick has caught on with fans in arenas and at home alike – his ‘Matt Facts’ entrance is unique in the WWE, and he has learned over the past year how to interact with a live crowd. A face turn would give him the little push to the next level that he now needs. While the shadow of his Gymnast brother Jeff is still around, Matt has definitely stepped out of it and 2004 could be the year of Mattitude…
So, folks – there’s my Ones To Watch in 2004 – be sure and come back in 52 weeks and we’ll see how well my crystal ball was working this year!
Until then, have fun, go mad.
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