The Three Count

T3C: Mid-card invasion or wasted talent?

Welcome to another Three Count, you know it’s been a strange year in WWE because certain things have been happening that many of us have been calling for relentlessly over a very long period of time. Trouble is now it’s arrived I don’t want it!

Welcome to another Three Count, you know it’s been a strange year in WWE because certain things have been happening that many of us have been calling for relentlessly over a very long period of time. Trouble is now it’s arrived I don’t want it!

For years one of the biggest arguments made about WWE has been the fact that the same old names appear in the main event. Austin, Rock, Triple H, Angle and JBL just kept cropping up time after time while the likes of RVD, Christian and Orton seemed to be stuck in mid-card. In 2006 though that’s an accusation that hasn’t always proved to be true. Austin and Rock have left, JBL is temporarily retired, Angle has been thrown into ECW and Triple H is acting like an overgrown kid. Is this a good thing though? Sadly I don’t think it is, the mid-carders have invaded the main event and most of them just aren’t up to the required grade, while the real main eventers are being totally wasted. Disagree? Let me show you starting with Smackdown.

The soon to be number three brand in WWE has had one major problem over the past year, it’s been dominated by a dead man and I’m not talking about The Undertaker. The sceptre of Eddie Guerrero has hung over Smackdown ever since his death last year. It caused Rey Mysterio to become a sentimental World Heavyweight Champ and now we have Mysterio v Chavo with even Eddie’s cash strapped widow getting involved. To make Mysterio the World champ was a total joke. We’re talking here about a guy who when he heard the junior division was being scrapped, stood on a ladder to avoid the cull. He’s a cruiserweight whose only interest in the heavyweight division should be to satisfy Vince’s love of the David v Goliath matches that he invariably throws in from time to time. But instead Vince decided it’d be logical for mini Mysterio to win the World title at Wrestlemania in a match almost as short as he is and resulting in a great wave of sympathy from the PPV audience.

OK sympathy achieved but then he proceeded to use Mysterio in totally the wrong way. If you’re going to have a cruiserweight as champ then use him like a cruiserweight. Let him feud with someone like Benoit or Super Crazy, even Matt Hardy perhaps. Then you might get some exciting high flying action that fans would look forward to but no Vince went back to the bible and decided it was time for David v Goliath yet again. In came Henry and Khali to dominate and defeat Mysterio making his title reign cheaper by the day. His number one challenger was JBL, despite the fact he’d just lost his US title which simply meant a dose of racism and a surprise win for Mysterio at Judgement Day to get the sympathy vote going yet again.

Mysterio isn’t a WWE main eventer and his subsequent loss of the title at the Great American Bash was probably his last ever main event in the company. Now the Guerrero factor drags on again and after that? Well hopefully Mysterio will either chase the cruiserweight title or go to ECW.

Sadly Mysterio wasn’t replaced by a true main eventer, instead we have King Booker and his irritating wife. We have to feel sorry for Booker at this time because that really is his wife! When Booker T jobbed to The Boogeyman at Wrestlemania could anyone have believed a few months later he’d win the King of the Ring tournament and then get the World Heavyweight title? Course not but WWE booking on Smackdown rarely makes sense. I bet Billy Gunn isn’t happy about the push this King of the Ring got compared to what he had. Booker’s best days are behind him and he’s not helped by the image he’s been given over the past year what with his refusing to fight on many an occasion feigning yet another injury. He’s certainly not a main eventer but it’s more than likely this is just a transitional reign before he drops the belt to Batista. That much publicised row the pair had is probably the only reason Booker is where he is now.

Thankfully Mark Henry is injured at the moment otherwise he’d probably be World Champ now, again he’s another mid-carder who should be thankful he ever got that far.

So if the mid-carders are making a mess of the main event what are the real stars of Smackdown doing? Vince decided to take Angle and Orton away from the show and Benoit, who Vince will never give a main event to again anyway, is off resting his injuries. I’ve been critical of The Undertaker in the past but that main event he had with Kurt Angle proved he still has some ‘life’ left in his career. So why the hell is he stuck feuding with The Giant Khali and The Big Show? Part of me thought he might actually win the ECW title because that’d thrill the sci-fi channel but that wasn’t to be and never will be hopefully. The Giant Khali is a total disaster and hopefully his match with Undi at Summerslam will be his last in WWE but what then for the Deadman? If Batista is back as champ, why not let Undi turn heel and challenge him. Undertaker isn’t a mid-carder, he deserves to be in the main event soon.

Over on Raw it’s even more confusing. Triple H has dominated the brand for years now but at least he has a new lease of life now as a face but Wrestlemania main event apart his days as a one-on-one top of the card wrestler seem to be over for awhile. Instead he’s stuck in DX which resembles Tiswas more every week. He deserves a damn sight more than having to face the Spirit Squad and the McMahons week in week out. It’s not as if the pranks are that hilarious. Take the Stephanie in labour lie, just think of it for a moment, we’re talking about his actual wife going into labour a month before she actually gave birth and that’s not funny is it?

While Triple H is out of the WWE title picture so is his buddy Shawn Michaels. I’d rather be seeing him feud with Edge or Cena than what he’s doing at present. God this guy must be sick of coming to the ring and seeing a McMahon as his opponent.

Randy Orton is a former World Heavyweight champ who finds himself lumbered with the Legend Killer gimmick and at Summerslam instead of being in the title picture he’s simply providing Hogan with another pay cheque he’ll no doubt say is too small.

It’s the same problem in the women’s division. Victoria is one of the few talented female wrestlers but never gets the chances she deserves while anyone prepared to get their kit off for Playboy gets more recognition.

So what has been in the main event all year on Raw? Cena is still there and I guess he’s going to get the belt back at Summerslam. He still doesn’t impress and surely Vince must realise that fans would rather be seeing someone more talented in the main event. Then of course there’s the current champ, Edge, doomed to have yet another short title reign. He’s got talent of course but needs better opposition if he’s really going to cement himself as a main eventer rather than a mid-carder given a big chance to impress for a few weeks.

That accusation definitely fits RVD, note that RVD stands for Rob Van Dam not Responsible Vehicle Driver. After years of not being in the main event, RVD gets there even though he hadn’t been that impressive since coming back from injury. A few drags of a dodgy ciggie later and he loses two world titles in a week, what a prat!

Kurt Angle and Big Show find themselves trapped in ECW so the invasion of the mid-carders is likely to continue for awhile now. Summerslam may well get a high buyrate due to the presence of Hogan but sooner or later Vince is going to have to realise that to sustain those high buyrates his real stars have to get back into the main event, perhaps sharing it with the likes of Edge and Booker T who do show some promise when in with the right opponent. New stars aren’t being created at the moment and that’s a worry for Vince, the main eventers of the second half of 2006 have a lot of pressure on them that’s for sure.

Stephen Ashfield