Welcome to the post Royal Rumble edition of United State of Wrestling. I am back from my television adventure and ready to take a look at both the Raw and Smackdown! rosters in the build up to the biggest night of the year on the WWE calendar, WrestleMania 21.
The Royal Rumble was a superb event this year, developing storylines, pretty much guaranteeing two must – see matches for WrestleMania and most importantly, it was very exciting in the ring. So what is in store for the main members of the rosters?
This week we will look at the Raw roster first.
Things have never looked better for Big Dave. Royal Rumble winner and he will probably go on to face Triple H in Los Angeles. If they moved him to Smackdown! they would waste the past few months stories. The fact that he doesn’t have too many moves is not the point. What he does, he does very well and the power with which he carries out his moves makes the crowd pop every time. Unfortunately I can’t see him beating Tripper for the gold, so what will happen after that?
A sterling Royal Rumble showing for Benoit – he was in the match for 47:32, but Benoit is at a stale point at the moment. This time last year he was heading to the main event at WrestleMania XX. This year he may only scrape the card. A possible match I can see in the making is Benoit versus Jericho, with hopefully Benoit turning heel.
Another guy who doesn’t seem to know the direction of his career. He is still one of the most over faces in the WWE, but when was the last proper feud he had? See Chris Benoit for possible Mania match.
A man who deserves a lot more. Hugely charismatic, talented in the ring, but too small to make the top bracket in the company. He could probably drag a decent match out of a bin bag, and probably have to put it over, too. The man has been an easy loser for too long.
I make a lot out of Edge character-wise. He has carried his heel persona extremely well and his actions come across as completely justifiable. The only think he needs to do is change his ring style slightly to match the new aggressive persona. Seeing as his big match happened at the Rumble, I’m not sure what to predict for April.
A knee injury picked up at New Years Revolution has put an end to Nick Dinsmore’s chance of appearing at the big one. As a character, Eugene is losing pace and direction. There is only so much you can do with a character such as Eugene, and the WWE have exhausted all viable options in this writers eyes. This is also a shame for Dinsmore, who can now never be taken seriously on WWE TV in any other role.
He is pretty damn hopeless in the ring, but his only WWE feud still rages on. After the interference in the Casket match, it leaves only one possibility for ‘Mania – a tag team match with John Heidenreich versus Undertaker and Kane.
Glen Jacobs has come into a lot of criticism just recently, but most of it has not been his fault. It is the shoddy booking department. This is shown by the fact that this time last year Kane and Undertaker were in an intense feud, and now they will be tagging with each other again. It doesn’t really make sense.
What to do with Lita? Lumbered with dreadful storylines, poor in-ring work and with her looks seemingly deserting her by the week Lita has gone as stale as month old bread. Her extreme persona no longer washes with most fans and her toned down ring work, whilst sensible for her health, proves that she was only over for what she did then. The only possible saviour for her career will be a reunion with Team X-treme should Jeff Hardy return this summer.
Before falling victim to a knee injury (anybody else notice a trend?) the better Hardy brother looked like a loser. When he was The Sensei of Mattitude on Smackdown! he was funny and entertaining, but after losing to Zach Gowan and basically being buried, he has no career. Like Lita, a Team X-treme reunion could rescue his falling star.
Embarrassed on television and pay-per-view in 2005 already, Maven’s chances of appearing on the year’s supershow are slim to none. However, at least he is not stuck away on Heat anymore. If he learnt some new moves to add to his repertoire of about three, he is suitably over as a heel and is great on the mic. One of the most charismatic men on the Raw roster could be a player if he improved his ring-work.
I do not like angles with a racist tone, but once more it has got a ‘superstar’ over with the WWE crowd. His in-ring work is poor, but on the mic he his very good. His partnership with Khosrow Daivari works well, but after Daivari was threatened at an airport recently it shows that these angles can go too far. As far as WrestleMania is concerned – rumours suggest a match against Mick Foley. If this goes ahead, when Foley lies down for the three, Hassan could become the most over heel in the company.
If you are trying to get a good-looking male over as a face with the 18-24 male fan base, you do not book him as a love interest to Stacy Keibler. In the ring, Randy is as steady as ever. Would now be heading for the Mania main event if he had not bombed so badly as a face. Will probably end up facing Ric Flair again instead.
The last ever ECW Champion has what it takes to make it big in the WWE but with Vince McMahon not on his side he has always found it hard. The man-beast with a huge reputation now looks like a loser and if he appears on the show I will eat my hat. It’s probably time Rhyno tried for work elsewhere.
Naitch will appear somehow on the show – possibly against Randy Orton as suggested earlier. There is no doubt that Flair is a legend, but despite the odd good match he is tarnishing his reputation as one of the greatest ever by carrying on. However, I would not like to see Ric banished from our screens. As a manager he can stay as long as he wants.
Well, a dream match is on the cads for us fans, as HBK will face Kurt Angle for the first time at the show. A legend who continues to out-perform almost all around him on a weekly basis. Brilliant stuff.
Whilst it I like to see a new guy rise to the top, Shelton Benjamin is not the article in my opinion. Just above average in wrestling stakes, poor on the mic and not exactly charismatic, as much as I would like to see him rise further, he is not in the ring every week with a Triple H and it shows. Jim Ross made an interesting point when he said that Shelton has an open contract, suggesting that he could defend his title against a Samckdown! Wrestler. Charlie Haas?
Superbly entertaining gimmick, but he won’t be on the card. As regular readers will know I love a gimmick like this so it is great to see Mike Bucci getting this chance. However, will never main event due to the character. The only chance of WWE success would be in the tag ranks or at a push the IC.
A new push is heading his way in a tag team with William Regal. Superb in the ring and great facial expressions make Tajiri a guy I want to watch wrestle every time I watch WWE TV. As defender or challenger to the Tag Team belts, he should be present on April 3rd.
The man again in 2005. There is a chance he will drop the gold to Batista – even if it is for a month. Getting closer to his 2000 prime all the time, Triple H is now a welcome tradition on Raw and long may it continue. He just needs to put a few more people over and maybe have a lengthy spell out of the title picture.