Jim Ross is gonna have my ass for this (and he can have it, as long as he brings it back tender, juicy and slathered with chipotle ketchup), but after discussing with Kevin on a recent audio the state of the WWE Intercontinental and United States championships, and with Rey Mysterio’s suspension, Jeff Hardy’s time off and (even with) Batista’s jump from Raw to Smackdown, Raw is still looking way too much like the A-show. Why? In part because more thought is going into Raw’s roster. Remember when Dusty would bitch about Raw not having a midcard? Seems that’s currently a Smackdown problem. I thought now would be a good time to rip off Wade Keller and look at WWE’s rosters for Raw, Smackdown and ECW. For as much credit as Smackdown gets, they sure don’t have much to work with. But let’s start with Raw, “‘cuz it’s the flagship brand, King.”
RAW MAIN EVENTERS:
(1) John Cena: Definitely the No. 1 babyface and definitely the No. 1 merchandise seller, but not the No. 1 roster member “by a long shot.” Not with Triple H stalking in the wings, bigfooting everything everyone does. But the fact is, no one is going to win a feud over John Cena right now, and so he belongs atop the list.
(2) Triple H: Ugh. At least he’s portraying himself as the jackass babyface on TV and not just being a jackass in normal life. Although he was willing to pull a child or 12 over the guard rail and let them do the crotch chop with him. Aw. But I still and will always feel like he’s the 1,000-pound weight on the chest of Raw as long as he’s there. And no one except John Cena will be getting one over on the Cerebral Ass anytime soon.
(3) Randy Orton: I don’t care how long he takes to get to the ring, he’s Raw’s top heel. Of course he was also smashed into smithereens by Triple H at WrestleMania 25 and tapped out to John Cena’s STF in record f’ing time at Breaking Point. But he’s still the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship without any other heels below him likely to usurp that position.
(4) Shawn Michaels: The decorated, storied veteran who can still do it all… including tap out to Legacy when Triple H doesn’t want to. No one in the midcard is going over the Heartbreak Kid, but I find it unlikely that he’d beat any of the guys ahead of him in a long-term feud. He needs to help put more guys over, though, and I think he’s finally mellowed out and decided to lay down for some people.
(*) Big Show: As one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions, that’s where his focus lies. But when he returns to singles competition, he’ll be put right back into this place where he’s been since Day One. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, how much did feuding with Andre the Giant help Hacksaw Duggan or Jake Roberts? Is it time for MVP (instead of Mark Henry) to go one-on-one with Show? If the 14-year vet can legitimately put over the smaller midcarders, he should start now.
(5) Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase: They’re basically the same person, right? They both have famous daddies, they both use derivative finishers/names, and they’re both Randy Orton’s bitches. They go completely unprotected against the main eventers but have been given no real chance to highlight the midcard. However, they’re high on the list by association. But (say it with me) they deserve so much more.
(6) MVP: This poor guy can’t buy a break. First, Chris Benoit dies on him. Then Mr. Kennedy leaves on him, giving him no friend in the Smackdown midcard. His biggest feud to date has been with Matt Hardy, an absolute turd. When he moved to Raw, he shined against Orton, but that wasn’t followed up on. Now he’s delivering scripted lines to the mouth of the north Chris Jericho. I bet if MVP was unleashed, he’d break on through to the other side.
(7) Kofi Kingston: I couldn’t put the United States Champion higher than this because WWE probably would job him to MVP, Rhodes or DiBiase given the chance, but they sure do have him flip and flop and slop all over the other guys, don’t they, mon?! Blecch.
(8) Jack Swagger: WWE is high on this young kid whose speech impediment they can make fun of. He’s no Brock Lesnar (dammit), in that he’s not as strong or physically imposing or, you know, adult-looking facially, but he has plenty of upside.
(9) The Miz: How the mighty have fallen. Miz should be No. 5 or 6 on this list, but WWE lost faith in him at some point (and wrongfully so) before cutting off his “feud with Cena” momentum, taking him off TV for a short period, then bringing him back with no fanfare. He’s a natural on the mic, he’s good in the ring, he has a good look, and he’s purely hateable. What’s so god damn hard about this?
(10) Mark Henry: WWE likes Mark Henry, and Mark Henry likes those big WWE paychecks, but once his team with MVP officially breaks up, I see a slide down the ladder for Oh Henry. I like him and all, but he’s past the point (if he ever got there at all) of main eventing or even holding any sort of title. But he should continue to be given things to do, because he’s better than just a bit player.
(11) Evan Bourne: Kids, don’t smoke the weed.
(12) Carlito: You gotta love him, even if his hair and mustache look like shit and he walks to the ring all frumpy. Well, *we* can love him, but WWE is always more cold than hot on Carlito. The feud with Primo was forced and political and thus never went anywhere, and Carlito stayed in purgatory. Don’t expect much from him any time soon.
(13) Chris Masters: His hairplugs rank 13b. I think he was just a warm body brought back to strike fear into the hearts of the midcard but ultimately lose. But why him? Does the target demographic remember the Incredible Shrinking Masters from almost three years ago? Eh.
(14) Primo: Well, he can jump in the air and touch his toes like a midget. He’s actually fun to watch, but he’ll probably never be taken seriously as a title contender. And he did the j-o-b in a tag match on Superstars recently. That doesn’t bode well for the younger Colon.
(15) Santino Marella: As long as he keeps making the McMahons laugh, he’ll have a job,which is fine because that means he’ll stay on my TV. But he’s not winning any matches, so don’t put him on your fantasy roster.
(16) Hornswoggle: Yep, because…
(17) Chavo Guerrero: Ooooooh, Chaaavoooooo, keep collecting those sympathy paychecks, buddy!
Hacksaw Jim Duggan: Last time we saw him, he was plotting a name change to Hacksaw Jim Thuggin’… Jamie Noble: When he’s not losing dark matches, he’s not even given an intro for televised squashes… Festus: Who the fuck cares?… The women: Time filler at this point, since Mickie James and Gail Kim wrestled that poor match last month; haven’t been on a PPV in a while, either…