I am so happy that the WWE is putting a lot of young talent on their SummerSlam card. World Wrestling Entertainment has a significant problem on their hands, a good portion of their top talent is either nearing retirement or they keep on getting injured. By matching up a lot of younger wrestlers with veterans, the WWE is not only exposing younger talent to a larger audience but they are setting them up for a possible major push. SummerSlam is advertised as the second biggest spectacle of the year and this year’s card should not only be entertaining but it could have a major effect on pro wrestling’s future.
The best example of this is D-Generation X facing Legacy. DX is possibly the most famous faction in sports entertainment history and they are wrestling two young guys that are making their SummerSlam debut. Even though a Legacy win is unlikely, just a good match against DX could help push the two youngsters to superstardom.
The match for the Intercontintal title match might be an example of the old catch phrase, “out with the old and in with the new”. Dolph Ziggler is challenging Rey Mysterio for the IC title. In this bout I will be cheering for the underdog and it’s not because I like to cheer for the heel but I am hoping Ziggler gets a major push. Rey Mysterio’s knee problems are well documented and Ziggler might be the guy to replace the high flying wrestler from Mexico. Ziggler has no where near the following that Rey has but his high impact and high flying wrestling style will captivate fans. A Ziggler win would give the young superstar a strap around his waist and bragging rights that he defeated a former World Champion.
Another young versus old matchup, is Cryme Tyme facing Chris Jericho and The Big Show. Just like Legacy, Shad and JTG don’t even need to pull off a win to get over. They need to put on a solid match with the tag team champs and put on a good show in front of the Los Angeles fans.
Even the CM Punk, Jeff Hardy World Title match is pitting a veteran with a star who is relatively new with the company. Hardy might be the most popular star in the WWE and Punk could benefit from a major win. Even though Punk is a multiple World Champion, many fans still question if he has what it takes to be among the WWE elite. A Punk win against Hardy (Hardy is rumored to leave the company soon) makes sense. A World Title victory in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match might be what the straight edge superstar needs legitimize himself.
The newly added Jack Swagger and MVP bout is not a veteran vs. rookie matchup but the two superstars are being given the oppurtunity to show off their ability.
There have been reports that Vince McMahon is not happy with the current product that his company is producing. The major reason why the boss is upset is because his elite talent pool is disappearing. Many of the WWE’s top stars are either nearing retirement or they are constantly getting hurt. I am just relieved that the WWE has finally realized that they need to push mid carders that have big time talent .
Along with the reports that Mr. McMahon is upset, there has also been rumors that the WWE main office wants to make SummerSlam a Wrestlemania caliber pay per view. So look for the matches to be well worked and lengthy. I would also be prepared for some major upsets.
I think the story of SummerSlam ’09 will be the emergence of several new talents elevating their careers to a higher level.
The Countdown of the most influential wrestlers begins with # 10
10th Verne Gagne- Gagne not only wrestled each night for AWA but he ran the shows, booked the matches, and owned the company. In the early days of TV, AWA flourished and was one of the premiere wrestling organizations in the country. Gange’s résumé’ also includes being a world class trainer. He is credited with training and tutoring Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Harley Race. Not only did Gagne entertain masses of people during his era as a wrestler but he trained future wrestlers to entertain fans for years to come.
9th Bruno Sammartino- Please look at the record books, Bruno Sammartino had a title reign that lasted over seven years. Not seven months, seven years. And if you add both of his title reigns together you would get a grand total of 11 years that Bruno had the world championship around his waist. He was the work horse for the World Wide Wrestling Federation that Vince Sr. ran. For years Bruno was the foundation that kept the WWWF thriving, a federation that would eventually become the most powerful and dominating wrestling promotion of all time.
8th Shawn Micheals-The Heartbreak kid entered the business of pro wrestling when he was by far the smallest wrestler on the card. And by ignoring the fact that he was too small to make an impact on pro wrestling, ironically he became one of the most influential wrestlers of all time. Michaels knew he was too small and did everything in his power to make up for it. He was precise with every move he executed, he would take any bump and he was innovative. One of his most innovative moments came during Wrestlmania 10 when the Heartbreak kid along with Scott Hall made the ladder match what it is today.
7th Ed “The Strangler” Lewis- The Strangler was the most revered wrestler in the 1920’s. He was the most prolific champion that the NWA had at the time and revolutionized how a pro wrestling show was performed. Promoters used Lewis in the first ever storylines and fueds in pro wrestling, and the Strangler was amazing. He generated emotions from the crowd and the fans loved him. He also trained Lou Thesz and was noted as the biggest influence in Thesz’s career. Lewis was a seven time world champion whose career spanned over four decades.
6th Lou Thesz- Even though current fans may not be familiar with Lou Thesz but they are most likely familiar with his inventions. The powerbomb, the German suplex, Thesz press, and stf were all creations from Thesz. On top of Thesz being an innovator, he held the prestigious NWA World for over 10 years over six different title reigns.
5th Stone Cold- It’s a proven fact that no one has raised more hell or made more money than Stone Cold Steve Austin. His biggest impact came during the ratings war between WWE and WCW. WWE was getting beat bad and Vince McMahon knew he had to do something. And that is when he put his full faith in Stone Cold Steve Austin. The rattlesnake was able to do anything and the attitude era was born. Austin was the single biggest reason why the WWE prevailed over WCW. People tuned into WWE so they could see what crazy stunt, promo, or storyline Austin was going to do next.
4th Frank Gotch- During his era, Frank Gotch dominated. At the turn of the century wrestling became a new entertainment and Gotch was the main attraction. Many say that Gotch is the father of pro wrestling and the pioneer that helped lay the foundation of the historic NWA. His matches were real and lasted up to two hours. Gotch came over from Germany and made wrestling famous here in the States
3rd Ric Flair-In a lot of ways Ric Flair reminds me of Hulk Hogan, they both were successful over three to four decades no matter what promotion they were in. Despite being a better wrestler than Hogan he wasn’t marketed as heavily as the Hulkster. Despite not getting as much attention as Hogan, Flair set the record for the most world championship title reigns. Flair was so good for so long. He was a top star for multiple generations and he did it with style. The Nature Boy is also credited with reinventing the promo.
2nd Gorgeous George- In the early days of pro wrestling, wrestlers were just tough, muscle bound brawlers with no gimmicks or personality, then came Gorgeous George with his colorful robes, curled hair and a butler to escort him to the ring. George created the first modern day heel. People during this era were appalled by his behavior and they hated his guts. TV was a new invention during this time and Gorgeous George was one of it’s first stars. People would tune in just to boo the most hated man in America, Gorgeous George. He is also credited with having the first entrance music of all time. George came up with some incredible ideas that are still used in pro wrestling today.
1st Hulk Hogan- What Hulk Hogan has done over his career is truly mind boggling. In the 70’s he was a top star in Japan and was the main attraction in Vern Gange’s AWA promotion. Vince McMahon caught wind of the Hulkster’s success and wanted him to be the face of the WWE when Vince brought his company to national TV. Hogan signed on with the WWE and changed the business for ever. Not only did Vince and Hulk dominate in the states but thanks to Hogan, WWE became a global juggernaut. He made Wrestlemania what is today as he wrestled in eight of the first nine Wrestlemania main events. After leading Hulkamania for years in the WWE, he jumped ship to World Championship Wrestling. There in WCW he created one of the most well known factions in all wrestling history, the New World Order. WCW went head to head with WWE in a ratings war and thanks to Hogan, WCW won that battle for over a year. If that wasn’t enough Hogan came back to the WWE and had memorable matches with the Rock at WM 18 and Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam.
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