Superstar Spotlight: Justin Gabriel

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

Justin Gabriel got a pretty big win on Monday night when he pinned United States Champion Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match. Gabriel has had a lot of hype since he was on the first seasaon of NXT, and he had a bit of the spotlight as a member of Nexus but he got lost in the shuffle after they disbanded. I know he was in the Corre, but the same things I said about Heath Slater apply to Gabriel too. (No, not that he was terrible, but there really was too many people in the group and he didn't get as much of a chance to shine. He had this 'look' for awhile where he would stare at his opponent/victim before hitting them with a 450 splash, and they could've made it his thing. They really could have made anything his 'thing', but one point I think I can make is that he didn't initially work as a heel. I always thought Gabriel would've been the guy to change alliances with Nexus, but nothing ever materialized and he stuck with the group.

You can't deny Gabriel has a good look and he can work a good match, and he has one of the sweetest looking finishing moves on top of that. I don't know what beating Cesaro means, but you can assume he would be the next challenger for Cesaro's title, it's logical, right? I like him teaming up with Tyson Kidd, and I like the (seldom-used) name of International Airstrike. I like a team with a name. I like a team that wears matching gear, and although they were 'thrown' together after debuting, the pairing makes sense. I can say as much as I want about the tag division coming back or why they should push it, but the fact is I like that they are using Gabriel in tag and singles action.

As I already stated, he's a good talent, and WWE needs to use more guys who can wrestle a match instead of just using huge bodybuilder types. (They have their place too, but this is an argument for the smaller guys.) Gabriel's weakness is on the mic, I think that goes without saying. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard him say more than a few words or a pretaped promo. Everyone should practice that for one reason or another, but take the Paul Heyman approach and accentuate the positives and hide the negatives. Eventhough Gabriel was on RAW and that's generally the 'promo' show, he did what he was supposed to do. He wrestled and he won. Both guys looked good, and he got people, like me right now, talking about him again.

The landscape off wrestling has definitely changed, for better and for worse. Ratings are down, but new people are getting pushes and WWE tries new approaches. I think NXT would benefit from being on television, but aside from that, Gabriel should be a featured midcard guy. He doesn't need some monster push or change anything drastically, but revamping the midcard with guys like him, Heath Slater and Zack Ryder would bring back the importance of secondary titles and storylines. If there's already a title feud going on, how about giving us a good feud that is just about not liking the other guy or trying to out wrestle him? Everyone would benefit from a title reign, but Gabriel doesn't need one. He's versatile and he can be good as a singles or tag star, or as a cruiserweight or 'regular' wrestler ; no matter where you use him he could be a positive aspect for the show.

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