Posted by Adrian Good
With the addition of the third hour of Raw, more than a few of us thought the mid-card/tag team division would be built again. Maybe even titles making returns or more in-depth development with storylines and characters. And sporadically, they have. Talents like Wade Barrett, who were once sentenced to mid card on Smackdown, have worked amazing matches with other solid roster members (Orton, Jericho) on the flagship show. New tag teams have been put together, although few have seen consistent TV time. Not to mention more advertisements for the company’s video games, movies, and all the rest.
However, a whole new set of issues were brought in with this 3-hour format, the two most notable being overexposure and filler material. I don’t know too many who are willing to sit through R-Truth vs. Heath Slater without some sort of build. These random matches make the product seem that much more unorganized than what it already is.
With the Creative Department nopw having to write material for another full hour, it’s easier to simply use the current talents have been focused on for extended period of times. With part time talents also giving breathing room (EX: Brock and Hunter closing televised shows, Rock Concerts), anything outside of main event storylines seem to be irrelevant. Before the announcement was made to for Ziggler and Big E to face Team Hell No at Wrestlemania, did the tag team champions even have contenders?
The effects of all of this are leaving a mass amount of the roster unseen. Johnny Curtis, now Fandango, never seemed to capitalize from his NXT season win. As Fandango, I’m pretty sure they won’t even make mention of this win in his season. As far as the rest of the wrestlers backstage, not all of them can simply be repackaged and pushed back to TV. Granted, the concept has worked to some extent. Health Slater’s band of jobbers serves to do just that, job. Even as a singles competitor, it seemed as if his sole purpose was to lose over and over again. At least he has buddies to do it with now.
Talents like Ryback, and even Mark Henry experienced obvious gain from being repackaged. Henry didn’t even need a drastic change to do so. From teaming with the likes of Evan Bourne and Yoshi Tatsu, he decimated John Cena the night he was drafted back to Smackdown, and has been on a tear ever since. Ryback, once known as Skip Sheffield, a cowboy, may not have even amounted to much being stuck with such a gimmick. However, after breaking his ankle, he returned with a new look and now is established as a believable force on the main roster. With multiple title shots, as well as a rivalry with the shield, it is clear that Ryback has a place on TV for the time being.
Ted DiBiase Jr. for example, is useful for Be A Star rallies, but I can’t even tell you the last time I saw him in a ring. Much like Slater now, in 2010 we saw him lose virtually every match he was in. From Daniel Bryan to Goldust, and even when trying to retrieve his own family’s title, he was unsuccessful. One might say any exposure is good exposure, but he fell of from here and has hardly been used in any relevant light since the end of Legacy. Christian, who is a former World Heavyweight Champion, hasn’t been seen on TV in months. Guys like Mason Ryan, Alex Riley, and Michael McGillicutty are all in this category. Wrestlers who are employed to wrestle, and yet, they don’t. And with the roster only getting larger, they’re only being further overshadowed.
New talent is going to have to replace the old, that much is obvious. However, with so many stars already experienced both on camera and in-ring, it’s hard to tell if this new wave of superstars is being introduced at the correct time. The shield, Fandango, Big E, and Brad Maddox have all become parts of the company’s televised product. Six different wrestlers who are clearly going to break away from the pack and move on to something more. The shield won’t always be a group, and Big E can’t be Dolph’s bodyguard forever. Brad Maddox as an assistant/commentator is going to have to end, assuming he’s going to be pushed back inside the wrestling ring. While I’m sure Fandango is a superb dancer, I don’t think it’s going to last his entire career.
Times like this made the division of the rosters easier. With Raw at three hours and Smackdown at two, along with two solid rosters, there’s no doubt that multiple new stars would have been well on the rise by now. Of course, with the same stars jumping between shows, that’s not the case. Besides live events or NXT, it seems as if these forgotten superstars seem to have no platform to even do what they’re paid for.
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