Powered by ProWrestlingTees!

About Adam Hess

I have been a wrestling fan for over 25 years and have been a devotee of WWF, WCW, and ECW. I attended live events for each of these companies and has been to multiple PPVs. As a fan of the ridiculous and crazy sides of wrestling, I love Stranglemania 1 and 2 and somewhat miss the days of both Sabu and the Mountie. I also love the storytelling and technical sides (when done well) and my favorite feud of all time is Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. A Tensaite and Fandangoon, I make sure to get into Beef Mode every Monday night!

Author Archive | Adam Hess

Old School is New School in WWE, Part 2 of 2

Click here in case you missed Part 1 of 2.

I’m back this week with a look at the Shield. Trying to find comparisons for these guys wasn’t easy and I had to do a little more thinking about them than some of the guys mentioned last week. So, how do the Hounds of Justice fare against their historical counterparts?

Superstar: Dean Ambrose
Comp: Raven

This one might not be so obvious, but the past Superstar that Dean Ambrose reminds me the most of is Raven. Raven was intelligent but deranged, led a group of men to torment other wrestlers with a sense of justice for perceived wrongs and, what really sells it for me is that he carried his persona throughout the match and even with the way that he executed his moves. Raven was a character that was grossly underutilized in WCW and WWF/E, but his time in ECW established him as a masterful storyteller with a sadistic streak. Ambrose, however, takes this to a whole different level. He has stardom written all over him. While Raven never was able to carry his momentum over to the big leagues, Ambrose already has the respect of his peers and fans alike. Perhaps Raven could have reached this level in today’s era of the smarks, but there is little doubt that Ambrose’s career will soon (if not in the next year) eclipse that of Raven and lead to long term Main Event success. Verdict: Ambrose

Superstar: Seth Rollins
Comp: Brian Pillman

This one may be a bit of a stretch, but hey… it’s my article dammit! This comparison comes mostly from the Shield’s debut match, where Rollins showed a lot of high flying ability and agility. This was what Pillman was mostly known for. Well, other than for being batshit crazy. I preferred Pillman’s time in WCW as both a member of the Hollywood Blondes and as a “loose cannon” (prompting Bobby Heenan to curse live on air at one point when he grabbed his neck) to his similar portrayal in the WWF but, either way, he clearly a very talented performer and was someone who went before his time. I have mixed feelings about whether Rollins will eclipse Pillman. While I said on the podcast that Rollins is somebody that I think has World Champion potential, I doubt that his legacy and reputation will live up to that of Pillman. As a result, I’ve got to go with the Yellow Dog. Verdict: Pillman

Superstar: Roman Reigns
Comp: Diesel

Roman Reigns has, in my opinion, been the most pleasant surprise of the last 6 months in wrestling. The skill that Rollins and Ambrose brought upon their arrival to the WWE was obvious but, when The Shield first announced their presence, Reigns was greener than Greenberg. While he started out as the weak link, however, he has progressed quickly both in the ring and on the mic. While he started off more like Adam Bomb, he has since shown the potential for much greater things and could move on to have a run as a freak with a lot of charisma. This is where things get difficult, do I compare him to just Nash’s run as Diesel or his career as a whole? If I were just addressing his WWF run, I would likely give Reigns the nod. Nash, however, matured as a performer and ushered in a whole new era in wrestling as the point man for the NWO. Regardless of what Reigns does, there is so much luck involved with something exploding like that and, even if he evolves into a better all-around performer, the wrestling business as a whole just is not what it used to be. As a result, while I like his potential, Kevin Nash “reigns” supreme. Verdict: Nash

And there we have it, folks. The oldsters take it by a narrow margin of 4-3. While this may seem like an indictment of the young blood, to even consider these guys in the same class as such legends (in some cases, at least :-p) within their first year of competition is quite a compliment. While it is likely that through being misused, injury, or a myriad of other reasons wrestlers don’t live up to potential, that they will go the way of The Miz, Wade Barrett, and countless others that we have hoped would pick up the touch, there is at least some reason for optimism. We all keep waiting for that next golden era of wrestling and, perhaps, these 7 might be a few the guys who will finally take us there!

Old School is New School in WWE, Part 1 of 2

Everything old is new again!

They say that there’s no such thing as an original idea in wrestling. That was my first thought when I saw the Bray Wyatt vignette last week on Monday Night Raw. Wyatt, clad in a Hawaiian shirt with a Southern accent, brought back memories of a character that never really got the chance that it deserved, the southern “gentleman”, Waylon Mercy. While it’s true that Wyatt is more of a cult leader type figure and is deranged in a different sort of way, the character is a clear homage to Mercy. I was somewhat shocked that he didn’t end with the phrase “Lives are going to be in Bray Wyatt’s hands. You know what I mean?” with the way that Vince likes to hit us over the head to get a point across.

This got me thinking about the new crop of Superstars that have come up over the last year or so. What are their most comparable figures? In some cases, such as Wyatt (I mean, have you SEEN his promos on Youtube?!?! The guy is phenomenal), I think that the new version has a chance to far exceed the predecessor. In others, I’m not so sure. This just screamed “blog post”. Since it was the starting point, I’ll just start with Wyatt.

Superstar: Bray Wyatt
Comp: Waylon Mercy

Waylon Mercy was a character that, while intriguing, never really got its footing. Dan Spivey was a good wrestler, but he didn’t quite have the charisma that Wyatt has. Everything that Wyatt says exudes the confidence of an insane man who believes his path is righteous. I’m not quite sure where they are going to go with this character, but I am sure that it will be compelling. As we’ve discussed on the podcast, Wyatt’s place will likely ultimately be as a manager, but I’m excited to see how it plays out. Spivey got hurt and the Waylon Mercy character never really got a chance. With Wyatt, even if he gets injured, he will still lead the family to great things. Verdict: Wyatt

Superstar: Fandango
Comp: Goldust

Johnny Curtis is a creepy man. The way he walks, the way he talks… he just oozes sleaze. While Joey Ryan in TNA is an obvious comparison, he is more of a goofball. Fandango makes me feel a little uneasy in a way that I haven’t felt since Dustin Runnels first became the Bizarre One. When Fandango “breathes in the A’s” and tells people not to forget his name, I certainly am reminded that I never forgot the name, “Goldust.” While the character peaked many years ago, I think that it tapped into the psyche of fans in a way that nobody has since. While I love the potential of Johnny Curtis in the ring, I never see him quite attaining the same level of intrigue. Eventually, he will be Fandangoing into obscurity. Verdict: Goldust

Superstar: Curtis Axel
Comp: Mr. Perfect (like there could be any other one at this point :-p)

From one Curtis to another (in the business they call that a segue kids!). This time we’ve got “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and his son “Curtis Axel.” Quite simply, Mr. Perfect was a character that was ahead of his time. Nobody can forget the vignettes of him unbelievably being perfect at every sport that he tried. Between that, the fact that he never failed to swat his gum perfectly into the stands with each entrance, and that he worked with the great Bobby Heenan, his was a character destined for stardom. In fact, he was so good that, even as a kid, I couldn’t look past that and boo him even though he was supposed to be the bad guy. I never failed to use him in the various WWF Super Nintendo games and could talk all day about how much I loved the Perfect Plex. The fact that he was never WWF champion speaks more to the day that he wrestled in than his ability and his legacy (as will be discussed in a review of the Mr. Perfect DVD by Billi soon on this very website) is well cemented. Even though his son will likely win more titles and will likely follow a similar all-time great manager in Paul Heyman to early career success, it will be very difficult to live up to the legend of Mr. Perfect. I just don’t see it happening. Verdict: Mr. Perfect

Superstar: Big E Langston
Comp: Ahmed Johnson

Just as Bryan asks on our podcast, “Why all the brothas gotta be in Cryme Tyme?!?” you might similarly ask “Why all the jacked brothas (note: not fat… I’m looking at you, Mark Henry…) gotta be called Ahmed Johnson?” Honestly, it’s a fair point. In reality, though, there just aren’t that many talented African American men who’ve been given a fair shake. Bobby Lashley was a consideration, as was Ron Simmons, but the character we’ve seen for Big E thus far most closely compares to Johnson. He hasn’t said much, he’s just been billed as a beast (while being a bit green in the ring) and run through guys until he got thrown in with Del Rio. These are where the comparisons end, though. While he hasn’t been given much of a chance to speak on tv, his Twitter account shows that he’s funny, thoughtful, and should have no problem building an interesting persona. Johnson, quite frankly, was an idiot. Once his shortcomings became obvious and people latched on to mocking him, he went away. Big E, on the other hand, should only continue to grow and, with his build, I think that there are “Big” things ahead (see what I did there?). Verdict: Big E Langston

With that, I wrap up Part One of my look at current Superstars in the context of historical comparisons. At this point, we are 2-2. Agree with my comparisons? Have some of your own? Disagree with my verdicts? I’ve stuck mostly to the wrestlers of my childhood, but are there some in a different era that you see as being apt, as well? Give me a shout! I’m interested to see what some of you come up with.

Next week, I will continue my retrospective by taking a look at the team that has taken the WWE by storm since Survivor Series, the Hounds of Justice… The Shield!

Click here for Part 2 of 2.

The Road to RematchMania

Brock vs HHH!
Cena vs Rock!
Zack Ryder vs Catering!

Been there, done that. Bemoaning the fact that the highest profile matches at Wrestlemania are, essentially, repeats has been a favorite pastime of the IWC over the last few weeks and I, certainly, have echoed this sentiment on our very own podcast. During Monday night’s show, however, I had a bit of an epiphany that led me to question where this anger comes from. The arguments come in slightly different forms, but I think that they can be broken down into 3 main categories.

The rematch that nobody wanted!

The rematch that nobody wanted!

We’ve seen these feuds before

Some of the best feuds are those that fester and build over time so I don’t think that it is simply a matter of these being repeats. The crux of the problem is that we just aren’t invested in the characters anymore. HHH wrestles too sparingly and is seen more as a corporate figure (besides…when is the last time he won a match?). Brock is on and off tv so often that the wrecking ball persona that they have tried to develop keeps losing steam and it seems clear that he is just in it for the paycheck. We all know that the Rock is just doing this whole WWE thing on the side and that acting is his main gig. This leaves John Cena. He is the one WWE constant and most of us grew tired of his shtick long ago. We have nobody to invest in, so we are angry that this is what we are forced to choose between. Which brings me to my next argument…

There are many talented guys on the roster being misused

I am not arguing that Zack Ryder belongs in the main event, but his example does illustrate a basic point. We have all seen multiple examples where we feel that creative has completely dropped the ball, misusing talented wrestlers or killing their momentum completely. An obvious example here is Dolph Ziggler who seemingly hasn’t won a match since sometime in the 80s (I believe his last pinfall victory was against the Dynamite Kid). We all play amateur booker and we are often disappointed when what plays out on TV is far more obvious and less interesting than our imaginations.

On his back more than AJ.

On his back more than AJ.

I get that this is part of the fun of being a wrestling fan, but at some point it is counter-productive. We can bitch and moan all we like but, at the end of the day, our opinions rarely matter. While I don’t think that we should stop voicing these opinions, once the matches are set I don’t think that harping on the shortcomings does much good either. This brings me to the last argument:

Let's hope HHH shows up in better shape than this...

Let’s hope HHH shows up in better shape than this…

The matches are going to suck

This is where I disagree and think that it all comes back to this matter of perspective. The matches WILL suck if we sit and sulk about not giving a shit about who wins between Rock and Cena or Brock and HHH. Taken objectively, however, I think that you will find that the matches themselves will be quite fun. Say what we will about HHH’s weight or Cena’s 5 Moves of Doom (and believe me, I will mock both plenty), but I would wager good money that if you look at each objectively they will both be a lot of fun. Essentially, it is all a matter of attitude. Would the matches be better if “our guys” were in them? Subjectively, yes but objectively… maybe not. Disliking the matches on some sort of fan “principle” isn’t only ridiculous, but the only people that we are hurting are ourselves.

That smirk is all I need to pick a side.

That smirk is all I need to pick a side.

So… What’s the solution? My advice is to throw away the talk about what could have been, pick a side, cheer on your guy, and enjoy the ride! That’s what makes wrestling fun, right?

The Steel Cage Podcast Network on SoundCloud