Posted by James Tee
I would say I’m lucky enough to own a DVD box-set, containing every WWE PPV from 2005. The re are some great feuds and great matches on that set, and it set me thinking about whether my memories have been clouded by the odd bad character. People like Heidenreich, Kizarny, Braden Walker have all taken over memories of some great Eddie Guerrero work, Rey Mysterio in his prime, and the Evolution faction.
And then I read something by Alex Barie, of tnanews.com, on his Facebook page, Alex’s Assumptions. He mentioned something about the roster of WWE ten years ago. There were mega-stars such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Ric Flair, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker and Kane. But there were also men who were in the process of becoming greats such as John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Christian, Rey Mysterio and for a few months, Jeff Hardy.
When we look at the present day, it is widely accepted that WWE need to develop more main event talent. And this is where, I feel, the legacy of Triple H has started. The new WWE Performance Centre has everything that someone needs to make the jump from just another developmental worker, to a potential World Champion. The 8 rings mean that you can train and hone your craft, which is ultimately what will get you onto the main roster. There are specialised areas in the building where you can practice promos and nurture a gimmick.
Most importantly perhaps though, there are cameras where anyone can be watched at anytime by Vince or Hunter. There are the opportunities to make a name for yourself.
The thing is, that now, 95% of the men and women in developmental are coming in on the back of years in the independent territories. They are men and women who have earned the right to be in NXT or the WWE, and are competing in a promotion where you have to be head and shoulders above anyone else to get called up.
That will be hard though when you look at the talent currently on the main roster. The Shield have headlined PPV’s, Dolph Ziggler is one of the most popular faces of modern times and is now a proven World Champion (despite his concussion), CM Punk is now one of the biggest stars in WWE history, and what can I say about Daniel Bryan that hasn’t already been said by the WWE Universe. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes’ upcoming feud has shown that they are both capable of making the jump to the main event, and Wade Barrett still has a lot of potential.
All of those I have mentioned have taken their opportunities with both hands and ran with it. Then you have people in the middle of their runs, such as The Wyatt Family and Big E. Langston, who are getting better and better with every passing week. In my view, Big E. is the dominant heel that they wanted Ryback to be. In my eyes, Ryback is the only one whose opportunity has been wasted, mainly due to bad booking, but also due to his limited ring work and promo skills.
That doesn’t even cover the men who have been at the top of the card, and are reliable main event talent. Randy Orton has overcome his Wellness blip to become Mr Money In The Bank, and Christian will be part of a World Title match at Summerslam. John Cena is loved and hated in equal measure, but his ring work has become more solid in recent years, and the return of Rob Van Dam has, arguably, seen the return of the most popular Wrestler of the past ten years.
What I am trying to say through all of these lists is that WWE is in one hell of a strong state. And in five, ten, fifteen years in the future, we may be looking back on this as one of the best eras we have ever seen.
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