This is one of those opinion pieces that I am passionate about. When talking about the greatest wrestlers of all time, please do not lump John Cena in a category he does not belong.
After listening to a lengthy conversation the other day amongst wrestling fans over how superior the 16-time world champion was to any other performer in the history of professional wrestling, I felt the need to use my words instead of my voice, which would have cussed out these neophytes for their lack of knowledge.
There is Cena, who is a superstar and one of the greatest performers of all time. Then there are wrestlers like Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Ric Flair, Jack Brisco, The Funks and many others who put this business on the map. Cena helped it become more mainstream because of WWE’s constant need to move away from the purity of wrestling and step deeper into the sports entertainment abyss.
There are few who have enjoyed the success Cena has through his popularity and prowess in the ring. There is no denying he is the ultimate star, who has made the transition as this generation’s Hulk Hogan look seamless. But in a “wrestling match” can he hold a candle to those who open the door for him to walk through? The answer is a resounding “No.”
It’s a resume many would be proud to have. There are 25 championships throughout his career, 16 world titles. He is a five-time United States Champion and a four-time world tag team champion. Most wrestlers would do anything to have half the championship success as “The Champ” has had.
After beating A.J. Styles for his 16th title at the 2017 Royal Rumble, I wrote a column on another website stating the win was hollow, anti-climatic and an insult to how Flair was by far a superior champion. I still believe that today. WWE has done a better job if respecting their brand titles with longer championship reigns. There is little doubt in my mind Cena’s run as company champion is done with.
With Cena’s age (41), his movie career and other business dealings and the company’s desire to move forward (unless the company needs to move more tickets so they bring in aging veterans to get us all amped up a bit), the debate will continue about Cena and his place in wrestling history.
Is he a great performer? One of the best of all time. Is he the greatest champion of all time? Not even close. Cena has never been a wrestler first and performer second. Just like Hulk Hogan. Just like The Rock. Just like Triple H. All three are on a list of the greats of all time. Some would debate if that’s because of wrestler or entertainment.
For Cena, it’s about entertainment. The rest continues to be an open debate.
Vitalli: Pro Wrestling Is For Everybody. Kind Of…
Is pro wrestling for everyone? There are two sides to the argument, and this is the side most aren’t qualified to share.
The generational fight for pro wrestling continues, but this time you get the view from the talent side thanks to Dom Vitalli!
Wrestling is for everybody. You see and hear it all the time. Sounds cool to say and looks great on a t-shirt, but what happens if we really break down such a broad statement? What if, something that has become common place, particularly out there in the indie scene, creates more harm than good? There are two viewpoints one must consider when encountering this statement; the fan’s and the wrestler’s.
For the fan, I think this term is nearly flawless. Anyone, from any socioeconomic background, can enjoy professional wrestling, especially with the variety available out there in today’s market. In general, wrestling fans are quite welcoming to newbies, aside from the internet or course! Die hard wresting fans have a very unique way to make brand new fans feel at home and a part of something special. On the other hand, we also need to consider that not everyone loves this as much as we do. To this day, I’m sure we all hear every now and then, “you still watch that stuff”? No matter how great wrestling can be, how exciting/entertaining it is, or how much it plays on our heartstrings, there will always be those that just do not get it. Those people, wrestling is surely not for.
So what about the wrestlers? Surely pro wrestling is all-inclusive and should be open to anyone and everyone, right? Wrong! Now when I say that, I don’t mean that from it’s broadest perspective. Of course it should be open to wrestlers of all color, race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on. What I’m referring to is, just because you love professional wrestling, doesn’t mean you get to be a part of this. For years I have heard the argument from so many people that have snuck into our locker rooms that they deserved to be there because they’ve, “been a fan for X amount of years” or “am more passionate about this than anything else”. That’s all fine and well, but those are just claims any and everyone can make. Then what?
Somewhere along the line, the barriers to entry to pro wrestling became a bit too lax. If you ask me, it’s because policing a dressing room is now looked down upon as a form of “bullying” from a much more sensitive generation. We are still on the tail-end of the last generation of guys that had to fight, scratch, claw, and nearly sell a vital organ just to be considered to enter this amazing business. Forgive us if we don’t take too kindly to those that get in on east street. Also consider, the talent pool has been completely watered down due to this epidemic. This generation has a tremendous amount of guys and gals with amazing talent and natural ability. Far more than years past. It also has a gigantic surplus of people that call themselves wrestlers that really have no business being inside of a wrestling ring, let alone on our side of the rail. These folks are put on low-level, castaway shows due to them “being a nice guy” or “deserving a shot” completely unrelated to any of their ability of lack thereof. For every Shane Strickland’ there are 100 Shitty McBackyard’s. To me, safety needs to be the top priority for all wrestlers. The more lax we get on who we allow on our stage, the more we put our bodies, our livelihood, at risk.
The fans are the fortunate ones here. There is a wrestling show out there for all of you. Something that will strike a cord within and put a smile on your face while you get lost in the moment. As for the wrestlers, remember that what you do is not easy. If done right, it takes years of hard-work, sacrifice, and training to attain. It is okay to be protective of what you hold so dear. Just remember this; everyone wants to get into the nightclub known to be the most difficult to get into. The nightclub that let’s anyone in is almost always the backup plan or last resort with the shittiest clientele. Wrestling should ALWAYS be the hottest nightclub in town.
Dom Vitalli has two decades of experience in a professional wrestling ring, and has grown to be one of the most renown trainers in the state of Arizona.
Mcleod: Street Profits Showing More Aggression
Scott Mcleod of the clan Mcleod brings thoughts from the most recent NXT TV episode!
Scott Mcleod of the clan Mcleod brings thoughts from the most recent NXT TV episode!
For me the most interesting part of this weeks NXT was the Street Profits match. They were a lot more aggressive than usual manhandling their opponents with Ford very nearly dropping one on his neck with a back suplex.
There was also a moment where Ford offered a handshake then took a cheap shot. Uncharacteristically heel thing for the Street Profits to do.
After the match they cut a fired up promo saying they wanted a tag title shot. This lead to the classic a bunch of people coming down to the ring one after the other before there was a brawl.
A few take aways from this segment: One is that NXT has a better tag division that I’ve given them credit for. After this I really want to see Lorcan & Burch or Aichner & Barthel challenge the War Raiders. They wouldn’t win but the matches would be great. The Street Profits could be turning heel. I don’t know exactly how that would work. I don’t think it’s a good idea given how popular they out and it would be too similar to how Gargano turned heel.
I’ve talked in the past that Street Profits need to find that balance between comedy and serious which they look to have finally found.
I think this promo is setting the seeds for Street Profits to win the NXT Tag Team Titles. Not at the Mania Takeover but around the SummerSlam Weekend Takeover. If you wanted to turn them heels you could have them snap after losing a titles shot. They feel like they’ve wasted too much time on entertaining the fans and will do whatever it takes to win the titles. They could keep the entrance the same like heel Sami Zayn.
I’ve started becoming a fan of the Street Profits recently and if thing with them continue the way I think they’re going I will stay a fan. If they’re not going to win the titles yet they need to find something to do. Why haven’t they came out with the Evolve Tag Titles on NXT TV?
Surely there’s a story to be told there.