Unstoppable Forces and Immovable Objects - Old School Is Cool!
By Vincent Ferrari
Is the WWE Looking Backward Too Often?
At the top of the card lately, it’s hard to ignore just how much the WWE has relied on “old school” talent. Triple H has basically inserted himself into the forefront of the matchmaking and the title feud between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton.The Big Show, a “giant” in both WCW and the WWE has become the henchman of Stephanie McMahon (ironically, very similar to his gimmick when he entered the WWE as The Big Nasty) and has laid a swath through anyone who crossed the Levesque household. Dustin Rhodes and Dusty Rhodes are elevating the legitimacy of the “corporate” masters by fighting to protect Cody Rhodes and feuding with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Barring a major misreading of the current situation, RVD is about to take the World title from Alberto Del Rio, and Christian was brought back for a brief stint to face Del Rio a few months ago and while his former partner, Edge, didn’t hang around, he was brought back to do some mic work to advance the Daniel Bryan / Randy Orton / Triple H storyline. Hell, they’ve even renamed Michael Mcgillicutty to Curtis Axel in an attempt to give him a punch of credibility, and nary a week goes by when Natalya’s father Jim Neidhart isn’t mentioned. Even on Friday’s Smackdown, Tamina Snuka wasn’t just introduced as Tamina, she was introduced as Tamina, the daughter of Jimmy Snuka in an effort to increase her credibility.
All of this brings the obvious question up: Is the WWE relying too heavily on the old days in 2013? Have they neglected young talent in an effort to go back to what they knew “worked” in the past?
The answer is a qualified maybe.
When you pan the WWE landscape, there aren’t many stars that are being mistreated, but the ones that are really stand out. Guys like Dolph Ziggler who’s being woefully underutilized and who, according to the dirt sheets, is being held back because he “doesn’t draw,” have gone from World title holders to mid-card fill-in talent. Wade Barrett and the Miz are, essentially, banished, although the Miz has gotten his share of camera time lately, he still isn’t in any title pictures of any kind right now even though he is a former champ himself. And Barrett? Well, he was underutilized when he held the IC belt, and it’s only gotten worse since he dropped it.
And it isn’t just who’s moving and shaking right now, it’s what they represent. The WWE has recycled the “Corporate” storyline and turned on its talent. Like in the days when Vince McMahon became Mr. McMahon and tormented Steve Austin, we have a perception that the McMahon family is running the show for their own amusement. It’s almost identical. They have their target (Daniel Bryan) who’s the most over face in the company. He’s beloved by fans, but not by the “corporation,” so they work hard to screw him over. The “hero” overcomes most of it, but every once in awhile, the corporation exacts a pound of flesh. It’s not a bad storyline, but it’s not a new one, either. The players have changed, but the game (pardon the pun) hasn’t.
I’m just wondering if, at the head office of the WWE in Stamford, they’re not running a little short on ideas and direction for their young talent and part of me is even worried that we’ll see the return of The Rock, Shawn Michaels, or even (with his current contract situation with TNA up in the air) Hulk Hogan in the coming months. Hell, we might even see Austin himself back in a mic-work capacity, and after hearing some of Alundra Blayze / Madusa’s comments on AJ Lee this past week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her show her face right next to Victoria, who’s already showing her face in the backstage area during Raw tapings.
Holy cow, are we about to revert to the Attitude Era all over again? Triple H even harkened back to the WWECW days and ruled the World Championship match between Del Rio and Van Dam would be a “Battleground Hardcore Rules” match. Does anyone have the pieces for the old belt? If so, get the duct tape out and put that sucka back into circulation because we’re going back back back, baby!
Okay, clearly I’m being at least somewhat facetious, but it is hard to deny just how much the WWE is intermingling the old with the new lately. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they know what they’re doing and will figure it all out, but it’s hard to not be concerned also. I get nervous when I see things reverting, even if it’s in a good way, but I have faith. I like the way the Rhodes Family is getting involved in things, so if that’s a sign of things to come, I’m willing to give Stephanie, Triple H, and crew a chance to prove themselves.
Although, if the “snake charmer” bit from this past Smackdown is any indication of what gets past the office of VP of Creative, Stephanie McMahon, maybe I should tamp down my enthusiasm until it turns into outright panic.