On The Ropes – Is It Time To Step Back?

Martin Daniels

On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes - Is It Time To Step Back?On The Ropes – Is It Time To Step Back?

On The Ropes – Is It Time To Step Back?

Welcome to another edition of “On The Ropes” by yours truly. I would like to thank everyone who sent feedback last time. Thanks guys. One thing, however, has been bothering me this week. What was the reasoning for a Marty Jannetty return? What is doing to the business? Ladies and Gentleman, please get ready, as I am about to put you “On The Ropes”.

On The Ropes – Is It Time To Step Back?

4 years ago as I begin to write this, the wrestling business changed forever. In one of the biggest stories ever, WWE bought WCW in a move which ended years of conflict and the boom period known as “The Monday Night Wars”. The somewhat merge of both companies; saw a flood of talent on the indy scene and in the WWE. The WWE, who previously had somewhere around 45 active wrestlers on there roster and around 35 developmental wrestlers in OVW and HWA, needed to cut back. They needed to get rid of talent which they were certain weren’t going to make it any further in their company. In return, twenty or so former WCW and ECW talent where hired by the WWE to from the “Alliance”. WWE hired guys like Tommy Dreamer, Booker T, Lance Storm, DDP and more to pose a serious threat to their company in the Invasion.

The Invasion failed miserably from some people’s perspective. Fans didn’t want to see the guys WWE hired; they wanted to see Goldberg, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff, Scott Steiner and more. Within the next three years, WWE fans where given these star names and within three years, there WCW reputation was left in tatters.

Indeed, the reputation of being arrogant, self-obsessed, unreliable and unwilling to put over talent, in my opinion, was a myth. The former WCW superstars were now willing to put over anyone, to try and make new stars in the WWE.

Over the next three years, we saw Eric Bischoff make 3 Minute Warning over night superstars. Scott Steiner helped push Batista, Test, Stacy Keibler and Mark Henry into the limelight. Ric Flair put over Rico, Randy Orton and Batista. And Hulk Hogan put over Sean O’Haire and teamed with Edge. Granted, some of the above fell back into the mid-card ranks after their fifteen minutes of fame with a previous WCW legend, but despite their bad reputation in their former company, these stars were able to make new stars because, maybe for the first time ever, the 90’s generation of superstar had realised that in twenty years time, if they don’t create any stars now, their may not be a wrestling business worth watching.

Last week on Raw, we saw the return of Marty Jannetty and Jake Roberts, two superstars who peeked during the early nineties. Jannetty was brought in to work an angle with Shawn Michaels and La Resistance, and Jake Roberts opened the show with Randy Orton on The Highlight Reel. The reaction of these two returns has been mixed. Why bring these superstars back? What is the point in all of this? The point, for me, was made completely clear.

We are nearly a week away from WrestleMania, a card which may not be fantastically strong, but at the same time, it is loaded with several big names. On the card, we will see Roddy Piper return with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, a Hulk Hogan appearance and the likes of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and more making an on screen appearance. With Hogan rumoured to be working a future angle with Muhammad Hassan and the other stars on the card being used to draw a huge buyrate, are the legends of wrestling really being used to make new stars in the wrestling business?

Just look at Randy Orton; he has worked angles with several big names over the past two years, guys like Harley Race, Ric Flair and Mick Foley. His match against Mick Foley was breathtaking and the fact that Orton won the match, speaks volumes about what WWE is trying to do to Randy Orton. Orton defeated a hardcore icon in a hardcore classic.

Is it time for the legends to step back? No it’s not. It’s time more legends did what Roberts, Jannetty, Foley and more are doing. They are puttinng over the new superstars of today and they are making a new generation of stars.

The WWE may be using several legends to draw a buyrate for this WrestleMania, but these draws will watch a product left void by superstars like The Rock and Mick Foley, and they will see new stars, guys like John Cena, Shelton Benjamin, Batista and Randy Orton. The likes of Benjamin and Edge may not necessarily be ready to main event a WrestleMania, but at the same time, their presence on the card is something special. New fans who were drawn to the star names will recognise them and continue to watch them develop.

The WWE will always be a place where stars become legends. But, to become a legend, there needs to be a legend to pass the torch. At WrestleMania, we will see legends pass the torch. Whether or not, Muhammad Hassan run in on Steve Austin or not, it doesn’t matter. The torch will be passed in The Undertaker/Randy Orton match, the Batista/Triple H match, the JBL/John Cena match and the 6 way ladder match. It doesn’t matter who wins the matches, the presence of the matches and the legends will make the superstars turn from stars into legends. The WWE did it last year with Guerrero and Benoit. Nobody remembers the Guerrero or Benoit match, the only memory of them on last years WrestleMania was the moment which ended the card. From that, Guerrero and Benoit are now legends. It’s the same with the Brock Lesnar shooting star press. If Lesnar had hit the move, he would have been a legend. It’s the same at WrestleMania X, when Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon battled in an intense ladder match. From that match, they became legends.

At WrestleMania, the likes of Batista, Randy Orton and John Cena have the chance to emulate the HBK’s, Brock Lesnar’s and Chris Benoit’s before them, and make themselves legends. In the WWE, a wrestler can always be a star, but at WrestleMania one moment can turn you from a star into a legend.

I may not be a huge fan of either Orton or Cena, but I respect them as athletes and as stars, now it’s time for them to make the step up, and let me see them transform from star to legend. The company needs it, we need to see the young blood take their chance and become stars. Shawn Michaels did it in 1994 and I’m almost as certain that in 2005, Randy Orton, Batista and John Cena will make the transformation from rookie to star to legend.

Got any thoughts? What are your thoughts on the column? E-Mail themaneffect@hotmail.com

Finally, I would just like to wish you guys a good few weeks. My next column will be published in about 2 weeks, but until then, thanks for reading and take care.

Thanks,

Martin Daniels

themaneffect@hotmail.com

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