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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

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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