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Opinion

Tony Acero: WWE – The Endgame

Does WWE need a frontman?

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WWE Avengers Endgame John Cena

Does WWE need a frontman? Tony Acero explores the concept of WWE without a frontman with Avengers: Endgame as his reference. Does it work?

If one were to stretch the timeline of wrestling lore in front of their face, one could easily see the rise and fall of numerous men who held the title as “The Face” of the WWE. People have been making their own Mount Rushmores of wrestling for years, and the heads are almost always the same. For the sake of this column, I will only stretch as far back as I can in my own memory as opposed to the annals of history that proclaim many other than the names I am about to list. The 80s had Hulk Hogan. The 90s had Steve Austin and The Rock, The 00’s had John Cena. Begrudgingly or not, we are in the reign of Roman Reigns. These are the faces of the WWE, the ones that are pushed to the forefront, whether wanted or not, as the ultimate definition of wrestling personified. They, each in their own era, WERE/ARE the WWE. While some could argue of the co-stars, there is no denying the fact that these guys were THE stars.

SLIGHT Avengers: Endgame Spoilers Ahead

Recently, one of these very men claimed that the WWE is in a position right now where there isn’t a need for one main guy, one face – if you will – to run the place. John Cena recently claimed:

”For the longest time, I think, if you consider WWE a band, there’s been one frontperson of the band. I think that dynamic is changing and it’s because the audience is too diverse. I think older males are watching it, younger kids are watching it, females are watching it. The audience is so diverse so with a diverse audience, it’s tough to universally please someone.”

This got me thinking about the possibility of a roster where there wasn’t one man at the top, one man who held the torch on high while others clamored for it or fell in line. The thought led me to the idea, the possibility, that John Cena may be right, yet his reasoning seemed off to me, and I wasn’t quite sure why until I sat down to write this column.

WWE

If I may digress for a bit, let’s ask what the biggest movie of the year thus far is. Avengers: End Game. This film is the culmination of over ten years of films and twenty films that have done everything in their power to create consistency and entertainment, with countless connecting threads all leading to this final film. The writers believed in their characters and helped to create an entire world where they existed, and held a soft spot in the heart of – I would argue – almost half the world.


Also read:
DeMarco: Who Is The Biggest Draw In WWE?


When looking at the “roster” of The Avengers, one could easily deduce that Captain America and/or Iron Man are the de facto leaders based on arrogance and clout via Tony Stark or altruism and patriotism via Captain America. In a lot of ways, the characters were so different in an effort to assure that even the divide amongst “good guys” was covering all basis, assuring that a crowd, while even split, would have its favorite. Take The Rock and Austin, for instance. Two bulls in the same pen sharing the top of the card, and dividing the crowd. In this aspect, we are not talking about heel/face simply leadership. While Stark and Rogers lead a band of would-be heroes to something iconic, Rock and Austin pushed the envelope of a business towards the monetary edge of success.

Now then, what of the rest of The Avengers, each with their own film that were successful in their own right? When you look at the 90s, could one choose a “mid-tier” of wrestlers that, although successful, were considered standalone successes? Arguably, yes, but the gap between Austin and Rock and “everyone else” was relatively huge. The WWE knew where their bread was buttered, and they stuck with it…until they didn’t.

WWE

We are aware, by now, of the fear of someone becoming bigger than the WWE, and thus, causing a gaping hole if they were to jump ship or leave the boat. It is, perhaps because of this, that the WWE at large fears putting their full energy behind someone as the “lead singer” and instead is falling into this pattern that Cena claims is due to the diversity of the crowd. In other words, the WWE doesn’t want an Iron Man, and would rather be much more happy with a bunch of Black Panthers.

Cena’s claim that the diversity of the crowd is what causes the lack of necessity for a leader, and I vehemently disagree. He follows this up with claiming that it is very hard to universally please everyone. Yeah, that’s not news. It wasn’t in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or any time in any forum of entertainment. THAT is not the reason why, Cena, and to think that seems a bit short-sighted. As I mentioned last week, there are any number of reasons as to why the WWE can be considered as a failure of entertainment in my opinion, and that will come soon, but to say that diversity amongst the crowd is what creates a lack of need for a leader seems ignorant, and I mean that in the kindest way possible.

For those that checked out The Avengers film, I ask you what the crowd looked like upon first viewing; for me it was a bunch of people ranging from around 18-40, with the mean in the center, of course. A few weeks later, upon second viewing, I sat in a theater full of children and parents. In both instances, the emotional levity was huge upon the shoulders of the audience. Adults and children alike cried, felt, laughed, cheered, emoted as much as possible, and it wasn’t because the children liked Spiderman more, and the adults felt more of a connection to Hulk’s control of anger. No matter the love and adoration for every single character in the film, it was everyone, EVERYONE, who freaked out the minute Iron Man proclaimed, “I’m Iron Man.” The leader. The one.

WWE

The danger in comparing The Avengers to the roster of the WWE is the very obvious superiority that Marvel has in terms of character development, budget, and platform of performance, yet if we are to strip the argument to the barest of minimums – fandom and emotional investment – then we can draw the lines amongst the leaders of the WWE and The Avengers versus the rosters they loom over.

To be honest, I feel that John Cena is correct; that the WWE doesn’t NEED a lead singer, and is possibly entering a world where this role will be left empty while the stage fills with a bunch of would-be leaders instead, but there is no denying that in any collection of people, the cream rises to the top, the leaders naturally take their role, the confidence jumps out of the screen. Roman Reigns does this in spurts. Cena, Austin, Hogan, The Rock oozed it. The WWE has, unfortunately, considered themselves the biggest name in the game – even over the men they employ, yet are unable to change the way they present themselves, leaving a hole where a leader should be. In their attempts to become the omniscient, they have created the lack of a lead singer, not the diverse crowd.

When Iron Man was left on Titan alone, and the survivors were left on Earth, the team – even with Rodgers as their leader – was lacking both in star power and formidable strength as characters. With the dissolution of a leader in the WWE, we will be left with champions were something isn’t quite right (Rollins), or some are just lacking that something (Kingston). We are left with challengers that just don’t have the same appeal, and where the only believable strength is a looming Hulk (Brock) who really proved nothing the last time we had him as champion. As early as this writing, the would be lead singer was covered and pinned by Shane McMahon. So maybe Cena is right, but could one argue that this win was for any one of the many diverse people in the crowd? Is there a sect in the fandom that I don’t know about?

WWE

In conclusion, the idea that the WWE doesn’t need a lead singer, that the WWE is becoming a place where a number of men are at the top instead of just one, I would say that I welcome this with open arms, because a leader that naturally rises to the top through their charisma and in-ring talent will undoubtedly happen regardless. The problem I have is, and most likely always will be, is that the WWE is incapable of becoming this type of roster. They don’t have the skills, writing or otherwise, to let this happen. Their attempts of control are too high, and their inability to create consistent characters, motivations, and layers of drama will almost undoubtedly assure that no matter how much they may want their own Avengers – where people would pay to see a stand-alone show surrounding a mid-card act – they will almost assuredly always be DC.


Tony Acero can eat a Gogurt in one squeeze.

Follow Tony Acero on Twitter @TonyAcero411


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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