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Roman Reigns as the ace post-Wrestlemania

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The moral of the story: Ole was pretty fucking useless in a front office role.

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Well if you remember the famous ECW promo, Dusty had nothing for Steve Austin either. If anything, wrestling has a history of nearly every top guy getting released/passed over/ignored at some point.

 

Not sure if the "Cena was about to be endeavored before Steph heard him rapping" is exactly as true as we hear it, but he was Generic WWE Guy #69787987 before he got the Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick. Foley only got a shot due to JR lobbying for him.

 

Looking back, it seems like the only guy who was clearly a star who was pushed as such from the jump (not counting territories where the owner's kids got pushed) that I can recall would be Goldberg. Of all the things WCW fucked up, they knew the guy was money from the start.

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Vince left to his own devices picking stars (as opposed to reacting to circumstances) has a pretty horrible track record. If everything he thought would get over always did, Mason Ryan would be the ace.

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No one gets it right 100% of the time and even less get it right from the start, but Ole Anderson seems perpetually clueless and out of touch. Whiffing on both Hogan and Undertaker (among many others, I'm guessing) is pretty bad. I don't care if they weren't "great 'rasslers" - you'd have to be blind to look at them and not see potential money.

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Ole got rid of Hogan in 78/79 and Georgia was a successful territory for a long time. Ole was also booking for Crockett when that was a successful territory.

By 1990 Ole did not care enough to fight Jim Herd the way Flair was.

I never quite bought the idea Dusty did not want to push Austin. Dusty is the one hired him. made him TV champion for a long time, put him in the Dangerous Alliance, made him and Pillman tag champs, put them against Flair and made Austin US Champion. Find a time when Dusty had the book, that Austin was not getting a good push on TV.

In the territory days, this Roman experiment would not have went on this long. Though the first match with Brock would not have had such a shit finish. Roman would have beat Brock outright and maybe he would have actually gelled as champ. In the territory days or hell a decade ago, they would have turned him heel.

It does seem like whenever he finds something getting over, they start over. At the end of 2015, he was over as champion teaming with Dean and the Usos. Then they vacated the belt and put it in the Rumble Hunter won and Reigns has not been the same.

He was doing well in the reunited Shield and when Dean was hurt, him and Rollins were separated.

You can say Vince has dementia. But it does seem like the lesser powers do not want him to be over.

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Roman should have won the Wrestlemania match with Brock the first time when they did the stupid swerve shit with Seth Rollins and the Money-in-the-Bank cash-in (which needs to go away, by the way). Everything after that just compounded it.

 

I said pretty much this in the MDA thread for this match and still think it's 100% true. That was the PERFECT match and moment to crown the new ace. Lesnar was at the absolute height of powers (both artistically and in kayfabe) as the invincible monster with incredible momentum (the guy who broke the streak and squashed John Cena) and Roman dethroning him then would have cemented him as the top guy instantly. But they didn't strike when the iron was hot and now we are where we are.

 

If nothing else, that match would have had a proper finishing stretch and made the Top 25 for GME.

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Not completely related, but some posters here have seen me often talk about the Indian wrestling fanbase, which is huge and also mostly "casual". I attended their live event in December last year, and Roman and The Shield were tremendously over. They received a 10-minute ovation during their entrance, and the crowd remained molten throughout their match. Roman literally had a shit-eating grin on his face cuz he was probably not expecting it.

 

Well, the other day I was following a cricket ball-by-ball live feed on a popular cricket site about a domestic cricket match, and the commentator casually dropped in a wrestling reference. That led to a host of readers writing in referencing wrestling. One of them said that some cricketer's name should be "Roman 'Big Choker' Reigns" or something because he always seems to lose hyped, important matches.

 

This is completely anecdotal and literally a single bit of evidence that could very well not mean anything at all, but it made me feel that those who are saying he is done as the ace and can never attain that position are right. The constant pushing him to the main event scene, even when he in theory does not deserve it and comes off as a whiner (all the while talking about how there is some conspiracy by management to hold him down!!) only to make him lose while the live crowd very vividly shits on the match might be seriously impacting his appeal with the casual fanbase that does not really care about whether it is unfair that he was chosen to be the ace while other more "deserving" wrestlers were ignored. However, they arguably do care if someone is constantly inserted into the main event, only to lost most times, before being predictably inserted into it again, often on account of very tenuous and unconvincing logic.

 

Again, it could very well not mean shit, but it is a thought I had while following that cricket match.

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Roman is Lex Luger, but Roman is somehow hurt even more than Luger.

Lex had two World title matches that seemed to do lasting damage.

One was when he lost to Ric Flair semi clean at Starrcade 88. Flair did put his feet on the ropes and bash Lex's knee with a chair. But by 1988 standards, that is clean. The other was beating Yokozuna by count out after the giant push. Lex in the WWF was dead in the water.

Thinking about it Lex losing the WCW belt back to Hogan after a one week reign did him no favors.

Lex was way more over in WCW than Roman has ever been. But I think both are/were great workers who were unfairly labeled as bad.

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Tommy Rich was a Jim Barnett guy (not in the sleaze thread way), if I'm remembering the timeline correctly.

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Vic, the Dusty-Austin point is absolutely right. Clash 23 headlined by Flair/Arn vs Blonds -- in Flair's first match since returning to WCW -- did a disappointing rating. Dusty saw Austin as a talent that was being wasted in a tag team that wasn't a difference maker because of it and wanted to push him as a singles heel. That's true. This idea that the Blonds were broken up to bury them is revisionist.

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Ole was just so bad in 1990, the momentum of '89 was flushed straight down the tubes. He had plenty of good moments in his actual peak though.

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No one gets it right 100% of the time and even less get it right from the start, but Ole Anderson seems perpetually clueless and out of touch. Whiffing on both Hogan and Undertaker (among many others, I'm guessing) is pretty bad. I don't care if they weren't "great 'rasslers" - you'd have to be blind to look at them and not see potential money.

 

Ole is also responsible for the Road Warriors becoming stars and he knew what he had in them (first Animal solo, then as a unit) from the start, so it's not like he was totally biased against non-great-"wrasslers."

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Watts typically gets most credit for the Freebirds, but their act was refined and they got over in multiple places, one of which was definitely Georgia Championship Wrestling under Ole's booking.

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Would it be fair to give him credit for Piper? It seems like Georgia was where he really put it all together, which is odd since you'd think Ole and Piper would have driven each other crazy within seconds of meeting.

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It does seem like whenever he finds something getting over, they start over. At the end of 2015, he was over as champion teaming with Dean and the Usos. Then they vacated the belt and put it in the Rumble Hunter won and Reigns has not been the same.

 

He was doing well in the reunited Shield and when Dean was hurt, him and Rollins were separated.

 

You can say Vince has dementia. But it does seem like the lesser powers do not want him to be over.

 

In a funny way, that's one of the great ironies of this whole Reigns debacle. There have been times, even as recently as this past Sunday, where the booking seems to overcompensate based on what is expected to happen rather than what the reality is. Like, let's have Samoa Joe troll the crowd with submissions to make sure he doesn't get cheered over Reigns, when if you would've just let them go out there and have the kind of hard-hitting matches they've had on RAW a couple times, at least a third of the crowd is going to pop for Reigns. Instead, 100% of the crowd shat on both guys.

 

At WM31, they expected Reigns to get booed, so they book Rollins as a "crowd-pleasing" spoiler. The reality was that Reigns came off great and at least half of the audience was cheering him on. And even if it was less than half, the audience noise evaporated in the dome anyway.

 

This year, same thing. Reigns and Lesnar are putting on a great match for about 5-6 minutes - but, for some reason, they decided they couldn't just let Reigns win a competitive match cleanly, so they have Lesnar go Suplex City mode and hits a series of F-5s that Reigns still kicks out of. Then, its needless blood too. All of the nonsense to do what? Make Reigns look tough? He'd look tougher and earn more of the crowd's respect just winning a regular hard-fought match!

 

I know there's even more examples out there too.

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Dusty saw Austin as a talent that was being wasted in a tag team that wasn't a difference maker because of it and wanted to push him as a singles heel. That's true. This idea that the Blonds were broken up to bury them is revisionist.

 

Which kinda, sorta makes sense. Tag teams weren't considered a draw in that era. Unfortunately, everyone in WCW was too stupid, too Southern, too stuck in the old "rasslin'" ways, that they didn't realize the Blonds were a once-in-a-generation special team.

 

Austin's subsequent pairing with Col. Parker sucked. I liked the Col. well enough at the time, but what a dated territorial gimmick.

 

It all worked out for Austin in the end though.

 

Ole is also responsible for the Road Warriors becoming stars and he knew what he had in them (first Animal solo, then as a unit) from the start, so it's not like he was totally biased against non-great-"wrasslers."

 

Hard to believe that the same guy who saw money in the Road Warriors would see nothing in Hogan and Undertaker. People are weird, contradictory creatures, I guess. *Shrug*

 

As for Tommy Rich, even if Ole was behind that, I'm not sure how impressive that is. Sure, Rich was hot for a time, but it didn't last. Maybe that's down to Rich himself and his "demons" - I don't know - but it's not like giving Rich the NWA Title for a couple of days was this awesome masterstroke of booking. Yes, back then, holding the title even for a short time would "make" a wrestler "for life" - but "for life" only lasted a few years in Tommy Rich's case.

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Brock has been the guy & yall are talking about Roman. Lesnar is the one who is booked like the guy & the superstar who eventually beats him will become the guy until the booking inevitably makes them just another guy.

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Wasn't it Bill Watts who came up with the spikes and face paint for the Road Warriors? I'm not sure how well the Village People version of the team would have gotten over in the long run.

 

As for Luger, would his career trajectory have changed if he had beaten Flair at Wrestlewar? Supposedly, he was offered the belt and turned it down because he saw the company was going down the tubes and didn't want to be the scapegoat.

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As for Tommy Rich, even if Ole was behind that, I'm not sure how impressive that is. Sure, Rich was hot for a time, but it didn't last. Maybe that's down to Rich himself and his "demons" - I don't know - but it's not like giving Rich the NWA Title for a couple of days was this awesome masterstroke of booking. Yes, back then, holding the title even for a short time would "make" a wrestler "for life" - but "for life" only lasted a few years in Tommy Rich's case.

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As for Luger, would his career trajectory have changed if he had beaten Flair at Wrestlewar? Supposedly, he was offered the belt and turned it down because he saw the company was going down the tubes and didn't want to be the scapegoat.

 

I had always heard it was Flair's famous promise to Sting that kept the belt off Luger in that period. Would be very interested to know if that's not the case.

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Luger was offered the belt around that time, but not specifically in that match to my knowledge. The WON at the time said Luger didn't want it but then I remember Dave saying Luger always held Flair not putting him over in St. Louis against him (for the famous night that they were going to do a house show title change and had cameras and the Apter mags there, only to cancel at the last minute). There have been conflicting reasons for Flair's time as booker in 1990 ending too -- Cornette produced his letter of resignation because he was tired of dealing with Herd and Flair has always said he was forced out of the role as punishment for not putting Luger over at Wrestle War. I think it's possible (and likely) that Flair has confused the St. Louis house show and Wrestle War '90 in his head.

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