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Who Should Be Paul Heyman’s Next Client?

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Paul Heyman

With the reports coming out that Lesnar’s new WWE contract is a short-term deal the question with Paul Heyman has started popping up, he has also signed a new deal, but we don’t know the details yet. A few years ago, being a ‘Paul Heyman Guy’ was a sign of prestige…or it was supposed to be. To be managed by Heyman was meant to mean you’re going places, sort of how being managed by Bobby Heenan was viewed back in the 80s. The concept of the ‘Paul Heyman Guy’ dropped off after Heyman became Lesnar’s full time yap machine, but with the prospect of Lesnar going back to UFC a seeming fact, WWE could bring it back. So who are the viable candidates? Let’s take a look!

Ronda Rousey: Ronda is the candidate most mentioned with Paul Heyman, and with good reasons. It’s too easy and convenient to say she’s a ‘Female Lesnar’, not to mention, untrue, but she has a lot of the qualities that had put Lesnar on top: Great amateur background, UFC, being a legit badass, and mainstream recognition. On top of that, Ronda is a legit wrestling fan and has said that being in WWE is something she’s always wanted to do. One thing she’s not great at, at least right now, is cutting  a promo. Granted, she doesn’t really need it due to her mainstream recognition, but if she’s going to be part of WWE for the long-term, she either needs to work on her promo skills or get a manager, Paul Heyman would work perfectly for her.

Roman Reigns: This is one that has been going around since 2015, before Lesnar re-signed with WWE, but the reasons are largely obsolete. Yes, in 2015, Roman would have benefited greatly from being managed by Heyman due to his still shaky promo skills. Also, Heyman would’ve given Roman legitimacy that a lot of wrestling fans didn’t want to give him. However, those reasons are no longer viable in 2018. Roman’s promo skills have greatly improved in three years and he’s the top selling merchandise seller NOT named John Cena or Brock Lesnar.

Finn Balor: I like Balor and I think he’s a talented guy, but he just seems to be missing something, in my opinion. He’s got the charisma and the talent, but his promos leave something to be desired, and his small size in a company built on big guys, makes it easy to dismiss him. Heyman as his mouthpiece would help a great deal with that. If he were to also take on Gallows and Anderson, the Club would probably be unstoppable.

Bayley: I love Bayley, but her Hugger gimmick is wearing thin on the main roster and her promos skills haven’t really gotten better, either. A gimmick change and a manager with great mic skills would do a lot to help her on the main roster.

The Authors of Pain: Yes, I know, AoP already have a manager, the legendary Paul Ellering, but Ellering is in his early sixties and it’s not clear that he’ll be up for the main roster road schedule, especially if the AoP get as hot on the main roster as they are in NXT. Paul Heyman is a little younger than Ellering, and has plenty of experience managing destruction machines.

The Bludgeon Brothers: This is another ‘destruction machine’ team that would benefit greatly from a good manager. Bludgeon Brothers are very dominant, but neither of them are great promo guys. Someone like Heyman could give them a voice and legitimacy.

Lars Sullivan: Lars has a great look and great skills, but his voice doesn’t jive with his look and makes him less intimidating. With a manager like Heyman, he wouldn’t have to talk, he could just be a scary looking MFer and probably get a lot farther.

Of course, all this depends on the terms of Heyman’s deal and whether or not it’s the same as Lesnar’s. Heyman’s got his own company and projects in line, so he could very easily decide to leave WWE and focus on those things. Hopefully, he’ll stick around and lend his voice to at least some of these superstars.

 


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Stop Taking Pro Wrestling So Seriously; The Wrestlers Don’t

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Dolph Ziggler 2

This past Monday, Dolph Ziggler returned to RAW as part of WWE’s roster shakeup. I waited in anticipation for Wrestling Twitter to, once again, hit us over the head with how poorly Dolph’s being used, how he should quit WWE and go work for Ring of Honor or IMPACT Wrestling, etc. Typically, a good many of them didn’t disappoint. Folks, I think Dolph is a supremely talented performer and gifted athlete. I also think he’d be out of his mind to leave WWE for ROH or IMPACT, unless, of course, he’s tired of being showcased to millions of people each week.

The greatest trick pro wrestlers have ever played on fans was convincing us they care about their match as much as we do. Most of them don’t (nor should they), because their paycheck is, ultimately, what matters. Now, before you get all up in arms about this, understand what I’m saying. I’m not telling you professional wrestlers don’t take pride in the product they present to you. I’m not telling you they don’t bust their asses to entertain every last one of us who regularly haunt the VFWs, theaters, and arenas all across this glorious world. Damn near every single last one of them do just that, and it’s greatly appreciated by me, someone who’s been a fan of the genre for close to 35 years. However, when I hear or read someone say something like “Dolph is being wasted; he should go to IMPACT”, the sheer weight of the stupidity of such a statement forces my head onto the nearest table and I have to rest for awhile.

Good people of the internets and beyond, Dolph Ziggler’s accountant disagrees with you, verily. Dolph Ziggler’s agent disagrees with you as well. Hell, Dolph Ziggler disagrees with you, because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have re-signed with WWE the last time his contract came up for renegotiation. Dolph has been getting paid handsomely to stare up at the lights in front of fifteen thousand people a night for a large part of the last decade. Sure, I guess “hulkin’ up” and dropping a leg in front of the same fifteen thousand people would be better, but what about being the World Champion of a promotion that bounced checks and couldn’t draw flies (unless “flies” were largely indifferent goofs who wandered into a building after too much butterbeer ice cream and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts)? Is that better, and if so, why? Because he might’ve won more matches? Because he could have “gotten a real run as World Champion”? Why in the world would that matter? It’s not real life. Hulk Hogan never actually beat anyone.

I love that so many fans are still so passionate about Dolph, despite everything WWE has done to make us not care about him, but far too often the passion we have for our favorites is misplaced. Cheer or boo for them (if you want), play fantasy booker, but do your best to stop short of managing their career path. You’re only putting yourself in a poor mood over something they very likely don’t care much about. Pro Wrestling is entertainment for us. It’s a job for them. I’ve always loved when a fan gets angry at a wrestler for not watching their own show. I mean, do you go hang out at your job for free on your days off? If you do, stop reading this article immediately and seek help.

Look, a big part of a wrestler’s job to make us suspend disbelief, not for they themselves to do so. With the amount of (mostly pointless) risks many of them are now taking, most of these men and women aren’t gonna be doing this line of work into their mid-40s. You’d better believe it would behoove every last one of them to maximize their earning potential, sock away as much money as they can, and leave the ‘marking out’ to the fans. I’ve been to WrestleCon, and let’s just say the autograph lines are not the same for everyone.


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Drew McIntyre Can Make Dolph Ziggler Matter Again

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Dolph Ziggler Drew McIntyre WWE Raw
Credit: WWE/YouTube

At one point, it seemed like the entire WWE Universe was behind Dolph Ziggler. But 2012 and 2013 feels like a long time ago to fans, and it probably feels like an even longer time ago for the Showoff himself. The veteran performer hasn’t clicked in any role creative has tried to carve out for him over the last few years.

Ziggler was a lousy gatekeeper, stifling any chance Baron Corbin or Shinsuke Nakamura had at a red-hot start by engaging them in boring, paint-by-numbers feuds upon their respective debuts. Mocking the entrances of some of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business didn’t generate much of anything besides get-off-my-television heat, and the record scratch is just downright obnoxious.

It seemed like the 37-year-old was on the way out in 2017, but he ended up re-signing what was reportedly a lucrative two-year contract to stick with the WWE this past January. His United States Championship non-reign was baffling, as was his whiff as entrant No. 30 in the most recent Royal Rumble.

All of this is to say that the WWE has been scrapping the bottom of the barrel while trying to find something worthwhile — and more importantly, entertaining — for Ziggler to do on television. His in-ring work has always been top notch; it’s just that he hasn’t been involved in a fun storyline in what feels like forever.

Creative’s latest attempt to make Ziggler relevant again, however, just might be crazy enough to work.

With the superstar shakeup well underway this past Monday night, Ziggler strutted to the ring to cut a promo. We heard a lot of the same material from him as he condescendingly spoke to the crowd about how he always steals the show, and it seemed like this was going to be the same ol’ Ziggler; lacking in self-awareness and aloof to the fact that he hadn’t hijacked a pay-per-view in years.

Then a stick of dynamite went off in the form of Drew McIntyre.

With Titus Worldwide attempting to recruit Ziggler into their ranks, the former NXT Champion hit the ring like gangbusters. A new alliance has seemingly been formed between the Prodigal Son and the Showoff, and there’s plenty of substance in place to make it work.

These two performers have a lot in common, after all.

Ziggler has been fighting for the respect of fans, peers and presumably Vince McMahon since he arrived with the company in 2005. Starting off as a member of the Spirit Squad will set you back a few notches, that’s for sure. He overcame the initial awful gimmick, though, and became a world champion. No one can take that away from him.

McIntyre knows a thing or two about being saddled with a dreadful upon debuting.

He wasn’t able to wash off the stink of 3MB before the WWE decided to release him in the summer of 2014. McIntyre didn’t lose hope and instead reinvented himself on the independent circuit. Within two years of being let go by the largest wrestling company on the planet, the Ayr, Scottland native had turned Drew Galloway into one of the hottest brands in the business.

His promos were incredible, and his purpose was clear: put Scottish wrestling on the map and get back to the WWE in the process.

An unfortunate injury derailed what would have been a memorable run as NXT champion, but the fact that he debuted on the main roster instead of heading back down to developmental should tell you everything you need to know about McIntyre’s stock moving forward. While he isn’t currently positioned as a top guy on Raw, don’t be surprised to see him in the ring with the likes of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns within the next year or two.

And it appears that Ziggler will be right there alongside him. McIntyre is magnetic enough to make Dolph Ziggler seem cool again. This is the Prodigal Son who stuck around teaming with the Prodigal Son who had to go elsewhere to make it work, and that could create a remarkably interesting dynamic between the two.

It’s not clear yet if Ziggler will simply be a manager or if the two will be tag-teaming, but this looks like a great gamble by the WWE. Pump some like into Dolph’s career while immediately lending some legitimacy to McIntyre for more casual fans. Instead of being the gatekeeper that Drew has to beat, Ziggler is the Trojan Horse that McIntyre snuck onto Monday Night Raw inside.

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CheapShots: Carmella’s Cash-In Is A Win…Even If You’re Not A Carmella Fan

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Carmella WWE
Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!

So, by now, everyone’s heard that after several failed attempts, Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella, has successfully cashed in her briefcase on Charlotte and is now the SmackDown Women’s Champion. A lot of fans were perplexed by WWE booking Charlotte to beat Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania, only to lose her title to Carmella on SmackDown, even though it took a beatdown by the debuting Iconics to make her success possible.

Carmella

Carmella’s successful cash-in is important and should be celebrated, even if you’re not a fan of Carmella’s:

  1. It frees Charlotte to go back to RAW. Charlotte has done very well on SmackDown, but I know a lot of fans are anxious for her to go back to RAW.
  2. It keeps Carmella on SmackDown. I know some fans want her to go to RAW, but I think keeping her on SmackDown would be a better idea right now.
  3. It makes the Women’s Money in the Bank Look Legit: After all the BS with how Carmella won the briefcase, WWE needed to have her win or have the Women’s Money in the Bank look like a joke.
  4. It elevates Carmella. Carmella has really suffered from a lack of direction for a few months now and her failed cash-in were starting to hurt her in the eyes of fans. For her to beat Charlotte and have a successful cash-in really helps her over the long run, plus it gives her a chance to shine and show her skills in the spotlight.

I know Carmella isn’t everyone’s favorite, but her getting the title is a breath of fresh air, a nice surprise, and opens up new feud possibilities for SmackDown going forward. Am I guaranteeing that her first run is going to be great? No, but it is a change and Carmella has come a long way from her days as Enzo Amore’s hairdresser on NXT, watching her grow as a champion will be fun to watch.


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