WWE might not be a real sport, but it’s still entertaining, Breffni O’Sullivan previews the stars of the future
Professional wrestling is fake – it’s a form of entertainment, taking cues from the pageantry of theatre and presenting them as an athletic art form, albeit often devoid of logic or taste. While its popularity and mainstream acceptance has taken a tumble recently, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, formerly the WWF) remains at the top of the heap, spearheaded by current superstars like John Cena, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio.
While many of us ‘90s kids remember the glory days of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Rock and Mick ‘Mankind’ Foley, many staples of the so-called ‘Attitude Era’ are still forces today, notably The Undertaker, Kane, the Hardy brothers and a reinvigorated Shawn Michaels. But what will happen when these big names fade away? Who will be the next WWE superstars? There’s certainly no shortage of contenders.
Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase Jr.
Sons of the legendary Dusty Rhodes and ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase respectively, the men collectively known as “The Legacy” are cementing their, eh, legacies as stars of the future. Starring in the upcoming WWE film The Marine 2 (God knows that needed a sequel), DiBiase is being groomed as a future posterboy for the business and based on his technical prowess, few could argue against his potential.
John Morrison & The Miz
John ‘Don’t call me Jim’ Morrison and former tag partner Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin both entered wrestling via MTV’s Tough Enough reality show. The “Dirt Sheet Duo” are Intercontinental and US champions respectively, and both are hitting their stride as notable singles competitors. Morrison is one of the most eye-catching superstars in recent years, appearing in fur and jewels to Hendrix-esque strains of entrance music, while Miz’s obnoxious frat boy persona generates a unique hatred from the crowd. Both have great futures ahead.
The greatest wrestler you’ve never heard of. Currently signed to a WWE developmental contract, Danielson, trained by Shawn Michaels, has delivered stunning performances for years on the independent circuit as well as being the cornerstone of the Ring of Honour promotion (as showcased in Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler). A master of in-ring action, Danielson, despite his relatively small stature, could be the next big thing.
While there are countless other prospects in the wings including Dolph Ziggler, Dublin native Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Beth Phoenix and Zack Ryder, WWE certainly has a capable group of performers willing to take their game to the next level to entertain the fans and to produce top notch television. However, WWE is less than accommodating in facilitating development prior to TV, providing a false economy and an unnecessary hurdle in new stars’ own future success. With such untapped potential, another boom period could be on the cards for WWE and its owners, the McMahon family, if they realise it.