It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time to welcome you all to the latest edition of From Across the Pond. Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way right now. I mentioned this briefly in the PPV recap I wrote for wrestlingrambles.com on Sunday night/Monday morning, but watching Raw last week was just eerie.
I’d been watching on delay because of Andy Murray’s US Open triumph (by the way @helenrobinson82, we’ve still to settle that bet!) and when Twitter blew up with the news that Jerry Lawler had a heart attack on live TV, I felt sick. As much as I feel Lawler’s commentary is stale and dated, it’s never nice to see someone go through that and I’m really glad that he’s on the road to recovery. Get well soon Jerry!
Now, moving on, I guess I’m normally fairly pessimistic about WWE. Well, that’s one word I’d use anyway! Haha.. So for this week’s FATP, I decided to do something a little different and light-hearted. I’m going to spend today listing the 10 men (or women), who I feel are the most entertaining superstars on the WWE roster. I’d be surprised if everyone reading this agrees with the 10 names I’ve come up with! Haha..
I’m gonna set out some ground-rules before we get started. The 10 names on this list are the Superstars or Divas who entertain me the most: whether it’s their in-ring work, their promos or the fact that they make me laugh my ass off when they’re on screen. They’ve also got to be full-time TV performers, so there’s no Rock, Brock, HHH, Undertaker, Chris Jericho or Shawn Michaels etc. My list, my rules. The list isn’t in any particular order, so it won’t count down from 10 to 1.
There are some superstars that just missed out so let’s get some honourable mentions out of the way.
As good as Sheamus is right now in terms of in-ring work and promos, I just think that he’ll get better once he’s settled into the role as number 2 babyface in the company. That’s where he’s positioned right now, because of Randy Orton’s continual misdemeanours. WWE are investing heavily into making Sheamus the franchise player on Smackdown and he’s doing great, but I think he’ll get better once Alberto del Rio is as far away from him as possible.
Talking of Alberto del Rio, he’s nowhere near this list and he almost puts me to sleep, but his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez is fantastic! Although he shouldn’t have been put in that God-awful Tuxedo Match with Santino, Rodriguez has taken some crazy bumps in the last year. I think the crowd actually want to see him break away from del Rio and in the few times he’s spoken in English, he’s really funny. I remember that I marked out for him when he entered this year’s Rumble. Rodriguez isn’t a chump; he’s a trained wrestler and he could do a job as a mid-card comedy filler type-act.
Another guy who was unlucky to miss out here was The Miz. I’m a huge Miz-Fit. I love his whole character and his shtick on the mic. The problem is that he’s effectively played the same character for about 6 years now and it’s time to freshen things up a bit. Either do something different as a heel or turn him babyface. Miz would be excellent in that role. He’s good enough on the mic and solid between the ropes to make it work. He’s a hard-working guy when you take into account all the promotional/PR work he does for WWE domestically and internationally. If I hadn’t seen him do the same thing for a few years now, Miz would be in the list.
Right, enough talking about who didn’t make it, let’s see who I think the top 10 entertaining stars on the current WWE roster are.
Whether you love him or hate him, Brodus is entertaining. Is there anything funnier than watching a huge tattooed fat-man fighting his way out of his tracksuit bottoms? I don’t think so. You know why Brodus is over with the crowd? Because he’s charismatic. You couldn’t just stick anyone with that gimmick. It needs to be the right person and Brodus is a great fit for the mid-card babyface, comedic relief. When you add the Funkadactyls into the mix, it’s easy to see why funk is on a roll!
This choice is gonna please @MuckyMorris and @helenrobinson82! You’re welcome girls! (Just between us, I think they’ve both got a thing for Mr Sandow, but keep it on the QT ok?) The funny thing is that Sandow reminds me a lot of HHH in terms of the way he works in the ring. You can tell that he’s got all the tools to be a great pro-wrestler. He’s an old-school heel that draws you in to what he’s saying. Sandow is definitely going places and he could be the next break-out star on the roster.
It’s well-known that I’ve got a serious man-crush on Dolph Ziggler. Like Daniel Bryan, there’s nothing that Ziggler can’t do. He bumps like a demon, he’s pretty funny when they give him the chance to talk and the crowd are into him, despite the fact he’s still paired up with Vickie Guerrero. The pro-Ziggler chants are getting louder and louder. It annoys me when people say “he’s the next Shawn Michaels” or “he’s the next Mr Perfect”. He’s not. He’s the first Dolph Ziggler and he’s well on his way to becoming a mega-star.
WWE had something amazing on their hands with the Daniel Bryan/AJ/Punk/Kane dynamic this summer. If I was running through this list in order a couple of months ago, AJ would have been right at the top of the pile. She was crazy, unpredictable and nobody knew what she would do next. While she’s still entertaining right now, WWE have dropped the ball with her over the last 6-8 weeks. They should let AJ be AJ instead of making her into a mini-Steph.
It pains me to say this, but I’ve included John Cena in here, but under ONE condition. Cena is ONLY entertaining when he has someone who’s “at his level” to bounce off of. When Cena was feuding with The Rock, he was entertaining. Last year (and right now), he’s feuding with CM Punk and, for the most part, he’s entertaining. I’ve said it before and I don’t wanna be too negative with this post, but Cena comes across as a little too cheesy and a bit like an ass when he’s feuding with people like GM’s or announcers. The frustrating thing about it is that when Cena’s good, he’s really entertaining. He’s capable of cutting awesome promos and putting on great matches. The problem is that with the lack of main-event superstars, it doesn’t happen more than twice a year.
He might just be one man, but he’s the One-Man Band Baaaabbbbyyy!! I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be entertained by Heath Slater. When he was on NXT, he bored me shitless. Then something happened this summer that made me appreciate the One Man Band, and it’s not just his theme music (which is f**king awesome by the way). Slater was basically turned into a jobber for the legends, putting over everyone. He even won the “Battle of the Jobbers” against the Brooklyn Brawler! It’s no surprise that the RAW ratings dropped once the legends segments were over. Proof that the Ginger ninja Heath Slater, equals ratings!
I can’t tell you how much I love Daniel Bryan. The man is just AMAZING. Does he look like a superstar? Probably not. Were WWE trying to f**k with him by jobbing him out to Sheamus in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28? Probably. Has he managed to get over despite everything that’s happened? Yes! Just look at the reactions he’s been getting throughout the year. He’s arguably the most over superstar on the roster and I don’t think Vince McMahon expected that to happen. Bryan has been WWE’s MVP of the last 6 months.
From his match with Sheamus at Extreme Rules, to the AJ saga, his epic battles with CM Punk through the early part of the summer and finally to his Anger Management sessions with Kane and Dr Shelby, everything Daniel Bryan touches turns to gold. The fans are behind him, whether they’re chanting “YES!” “NO!” “GOATFACE” or “HUG IT OUT!” Bryan can do it all: wrestle, entertain and get the fans involved. He’s a perfect example of what a modern-day WWE superstar CAN be.
When Kane returned last December, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t really arsed about it. It’s not that I didn’t like him, I just didn’t care that he was back. I didn’t see what there was for him to do. He went after Cena and lost the feud, before the same thing happened with Orton. When he was done with those two, I wondered what he’d do. Then along came the Punk/Bryan/AJ/Kane storyline. Wow! Talk about something unpredictably good. On paper, I thought it was just a way to screw with the fans instead of giving them Punk/Bryan mano-e-mano. Instead, Kane added just as much to the storyline as Bryan and Punk.
Kane can be a monster, he can play the babyface well and despite what you might think, he’s actually funny as hell! Some of the one-liners he’s come out with lately in this storyline with Daniel Bryan have had me genuinely laughing my ass off. From his Anger Management monologue, to hugging it out with D-Bryan, to “I’M GOIN’ TO DISNEYLAND!” on Sunday, Kane has shown just how versatile and valuable he is to the WWE. He’s a ring veteran who can get other guys over by association. I can’t wait to see where his tag-team with D-Bryan goes. For now, I’ll be calling them Kryan. You’re welcome.
I don’t normally like talking about other sites that I write for, but in this case, I need to mention it. I wrote a blog for Bleacher Report a few months ago where I listed who I thought were the “Stars of the Week” and I included Santino Marella in the top 5.
A reader chose to comment that: “The man has done irreparable damage to the sport of wrestling. Non-wrestling fans have a field day at our expense. Santino turns it into a joke. Wrestling fans in the US have a hard enough time with family and friends without having someone like Santino making a complete mockery of the sport. When non-wrestling fans have a field day laughing at our expense, it is time to DUMP Santino.”
I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Santino, just like I do for every wrestler, whether I like them or not. I love the fact that, although it’s not the best gimmick in the world, he’s worked his backside off to make it the best he possibly can. The gentleman who made the comments above obviously doesn’t feel the same way and that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with anyone who has a different point of view than I do. What I do have a problem with is the fact that this guy has said that (and I quote! haha): “Santino has done irreparable damage to the sport of wrestling”. He’s entitled to his opinion, but to say he’s done serious damage to the wrestling industry is just ludicrous.
I know that it might come across like I’m a mark for Santino, but I’m genuinely not. I find him tremendously entertaining, especially when you consider the gimmick he’s working with. He’s probably the most over babyface in the entire company when you think about it. The crowd love him and WWE likes to toy with us by putting Santino in huge matches. Remember when he almost won the Royal Rumble in 2011 or the Elimination Chamber match for the World Title earlier this year? Don’t tell me that you didn’t think he was gonna win either of those matches at one stage!
Santino makes me laugh. He’s entertaining and he brings a smile to my face whenever I see him. That’s why I’ve included him.
There’s no better way to finish off this list than with YOUR current (and reigning) WWE champion, CM Punk. Is he the best wrestler in the world? When you look at the level he’s performed at for the last 15 months, then yes. There’s no doubt about it. Since Money in the Bank last year, Punk has pretty much shared the load with Cena in terms of carrying the WWE. Punk’s one of those rare superstars who can switch between playing the role of a babyface or a jackass heel and he makes you believe it. He’s so good at drawing you in and believing in what he does that it’s frightening. Whether he’s dropping pipebombs or wrestling his ass off, Punk is tremendous at everything he does. He entertains you, whether you love him or hate him. The brilliant thing is that his promos are laced with truth. It’s not bullshit that’s made up to make you hate or love him.
I’ll give you an example. On July 23rd 2012, WWE decided to turn CM Punk heel by having him attack The Rock. Why? Because they knew the only way they could get heel heat on Punk was by having him attack someone that was more of a babyface than John Cena. Let’s face it, more often than not, Cena gets a mixed reaction, so the crowd is never fully behind him. If Punk attacked Cena, a large part of the crowd would’ve cheered him. Since then, Punk has continued to get babyface reactions because his quest to get respect is justified. Then, at the end of Raw in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, WWE played the ace up their sleeve and paired Punk up with Paul Heyman. Again, the only way for WWE to get heel heat on Punk was to pair him with someone the audience hates, like Heyman.
Regardless of the role that Punk plays, he has the one quality that you can’t teach people to have: charisma. It’s Punk’s charisma, his belief in everything he does on the mic and in the ring (and the fact that he makes it seem real) that makes him stand-out as one of the most entertaining superstars on the current WWE roster.
Phew, so there’s my top 10 entertaining superstars on the current WWE roster: Brodus Clay, Damien Sandow, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, John Cena, Heath Slater, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Santino Marella and CM Punk. Who’s your favourite? Who makes you laugh your ass off? Get in touch with me on Twitter @george_sltd or leave a comment below and let’s talk it out! I wanna thank a few of my Twitter followers for suggesting some of the names on the list, so huge thanks to @muckymorris, @helenrobinson82, @sportsmama32 and @MrDavies2012!
I’ll be back next week with another list, this time it’ll be the most entertaining WWE superstars of all-time! Get your choices in to me before next Monday and I’ll try to include them in the column. Until then, have a great week and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday.