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  1. #1

    Smark is the New Mark- Who Will Become "Best in the World?"

    Helloooooo readers, thanks for the click and your attention and WELCOME to the much anticipated RE-DEBUT of.... well, you read the title. "RE-DEBUT, what's that?" Glad you asked. Roughly a year and a half ago, under the username Lionhart, I posted TWO columns under the same series title, but this forum has since crashed, so let's pretend like it never happened! Which, I'm already doing poorly at. ANYWAY, let me introduce myself. You can call me "Ham," "Six," or, if you like punishing yourself, you can call me by full username, which you have the resources to find. And before you ask, yes, there is an origin story to this name, and no, it's not as cool as you'd think. Google "John Cena fights for America" and watch him cut a promo on Jimmy Kimmel's show to get the reference. There. Mystery solved.

    First, let me apologize. I haven't written in awhile, and this is going to be very unorganized and unpolished. So, do me a favor, and cut me some slack on my style, and just tap into my substance for a bit. I may be all over the place with little grace, so just try to engage with the line of reasoning I'm throwing at you.


    Anyway, this Friday, WWE is going through with their controversial "Crown Jewel" show in Saudi Arabia. When the premise of the show was first announced, I'll admit, I wasn't too thrilled. A tournament to determine the best in the world? While I love a good tournament, and admittedly, I like the idea better than a throwaway Royal Rumble, I ultimately figured that there would be little consequence coming out of whoever won said tournament. But then, I felt like I started to see the plan in motion. And in the weeks that have followed, I've slowly noticed how AWESOME this tournament could ultimately be. So let's break it down, shall we?

    First, let's look at the participants.

    Jeff Hardy
    Randy Orton
    Bobby Lashley- Replacing John Cena
    Rey Mysterio
    Dolph Ziggler
    Seth Rollins
    Kurt Angle
    The Miz

    Now, let's contest with the notion that two of these men are going to wrestle 3 times in one night. That notion is incredibly important for understanding how this thing will play out. Because of this fact, the first name that stands out to me is Kurt Angle. We can reasonably assume that Kurt Angle isn't going to be wrestling 3 matches in one night. I don't think WWE would even take that chance. So we can reasonably rule out Kurt Angle. And by that logic, although to a much lesser degree, I believe we can rule out Jeff Hardy, who's been banged up and is seemingly on the last legs of his career. I could reasonably see either man making it to the second round, and having at least 2 matches to keep the fans happy, but I don't think WWE would take the risk in having them go the distance. I believe Angle and Hardy are here to add name value to boost the credibility of whoever ultimately wins. So, let's write them off. We are done discussing Angle and Hardy for potential winners.

    Now, the purpose of this tournament is to crown "The Best in the World." So the real question is, are we supposed to accept the outcome of this tournament as being valid?

    Well, the first names that stand out are Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. And the reason these names stand out is that I doubt anybody gives either man any serious consideration for winning the tournament. Both are heels, and simply not perceived as being on the level of stardom as the other competitors, except Bobby Lashley. But he's got big muscles, and he works for Vince, who likes big muscles. Beyond those two men, I believe fans would reasonably accept any of the other competitors as being worthy of earning that moniker. But, this is WWE we're talking about here. In the words of Bryan Alvarez, "they gotta get heat." Either of these two men winning would certainly get a good amount of heat. For Ziggler, it'd undoubtedly be something that puts him closer to the level of his counterpart, McIntyre, who could help him go the distance. For Miz, it'd be a beautiful piece of irony that he could shove in the fans' faces, as he's probably least deserving of the title in the eyes of the fans, both in-ring and with his popularity.

    In the eyes of the casual fan, that would reasonably leave Orton, Mysterio, Rollins, and Lashley. Orton winning the tournament does absolutely nothing for him. He does not need that moniker, and his current character is not about to go around boasting about how he's the best in the world. Seth winning the tournament would probably validate what fans like us feel, that is currently the best performer in WWE's world. Lashley winning would arguably give him a nice boost for his credibility that his character probably needs, especially since Raw is going to need challengers for the Universal Championship soon. And that title scene looks like it's going to be a big man's game for the foreseeable future. Mysterio winning would do the same for him, especially considering he has just returned and it's not entirely clear how WWE is going to use him yet. A win for him shoots him right into WWE title contention, a place I'm sure many of us can reasonably see him being slotted.

    So, with an open field, who's going to win? I firmly believe that The Miz is going to take this thing. Let me make my case.

    AJ Styles just defeated Daniel Bryan on Smackdown to retain the world championship. His championship reign has curiously seen him run through Nakamura, Joe, and now Bryan, all of which could have easily been accepted as good choices to succeed him as WWE Champion. Earlier this year, many fans believed Miz was ready to take Money in the Bank and use it to complete his comeback to the main event scene. It's the natural next step for him. When that didn't happen, I believe many of us assumed that he was just going to slide down the card and all of this would be a missed opportunity. But now that AJ has defeated Bryan, there's nobody left for him to face. Except The Miz. Part of me believes that AJ has built up so much credibility in preparation to transfer that credibility to The Miz, who could definitely use it to transition out of cowardly midcard heel to believable main-eventer. Let's not forget that Miz did continue to elevate in prominence by dominating Bryan for most of the summer. If Miz takes the moniker "Best in the World," he can not only use it to justify a future championship match, but also shove it in the faces of Bryan and AJ, who many fans believe are deserving of that title. It writes itself.

    But this is merely conceptual. What about the booking of WWE lately makes me think this could ACTUALLY happen?

    On Smackdown this week, Shane McMahon returned and told the Smackdown competitors in the tournament that he would FIRE any of them if they failed in the finals. Close your eyes for a moment. Can you picture babyface Shane firing Mysterio or Hardy? Me neither. Which makes me believe that a heel from Smackdown makes it to the finals. And wins it. Because I don't see this threat as actually culminating in an angle with someone getting fired. More often than not, this stipulation is just used synthetically to raise the stakes without actually requiring any followup. On top of that, it's a known fact that WWE likes to juxtapose it's big event winners with it's go home show favorites. He who stands tallest before the show usually falls at the show. The fact that Hardy and Mysterio beat Orton and Miz tells me that Smackdown's side of the final has a heel in it. The fact that Orton stood tall after the match by laying everyone out told me that WWE was making sure to not violate their own unspoken rule. The biggest loser on Smackdown was by far The Miz. On top of that, he even lost to Mysterio last week, while Orton won his match against Hardy. So, WWE wants you to believe that Miz definitively has the least chance of taking this thing. The booking has further driven home what the fans probably already feel. Which is going to make his triumph at Crown Jewel even more bitter for those that don't see it coming.

    But how is it even feasible for him to win the tournament with the names that are in it? It's all in the brackets. WWE loves to have an undeserving heel win a tournament, look at any King of the Ring from the past decade for your blueprint on how this thing plays out. The best guy doesn't have to win. He just has to believably beat three men.

    Miz is facing Jeff Hardy in the quarterfinals. I think we can all see him winning that. Miz has enough credibility to win that, clean. Orton and Mysterio are facing off as well. It's not hard to see a scenario where Mysterio surprises Orton, only to be viciously attacked afterwards, softening him up for the Semifinals. Miz can easily beat Mysterio in the semifinals, or get a bye if the beatdown is brutal enough. Mysterio doesn't lose any credibility. Orton gets his heat back. Miz coasts to the finals.


    On the other side of the bracket, you have Angle/Ziggler and Rollins/Lashley. I think it's pretty obvious to have Seth wrestle more than one match, due to his popularity and him being at the peak of his career. Seth losing in the quarterfinals is just a waste, especially when he's the obvious choice to be the babyface that tears it up all night, earns the fans' respect, but ultimately loses in the finals. It's a trope WWE has repeated many times in the past with King of the Ring, with Morrison, Punk, and Neville each serving that role. If Seth wins the quarterfinals, he almost certainly goes to the finals, as I don't see Ziggler or Angle having any business in the finals, for different reasons.

    As for Ziggler/Angle, I'd like to see Ziggler get a win. He and Seth can have a show stealing match in the quarterfinals. As much as I'd love a Seth/Angle match, I don't think WWE wants to disrupt the babyface/heel dynamic at any point in the tourney. I see Ziggler beating Angle thanks to McIntyre, feeding into the semis where Seth has to fight against the odds. After a heroic effort, he's nice and worn dorn for The Miz.

    I see the finals being Rollins/Miz, with Seth having had a much harder night, where Miz gets the win. Seems like a perfect opportunity for Dean to cost Seth the match, if WWE really wants to go ultra cheap on the Miz victory.

    I know this seems like a bit of fantasy booking, but one of the things we're going to try to do in this column series is dive deep into analyzing WWE's booking patterns, piecing together hypothetical scenarios to determine what seems most likely. I wrote a column on the 2017 Elimination Chamber match where I basically used a similar type of "scientific method for wrestling" to guarantee that Bray Wyatt would win, and that AJ Styles would become de facto babyface at the end of the match. I also used this line of reasoning to determine that Goldberg winning the Universal Championship at Fast Lane would be casastrophic, long-term, and be the death of Raw's main event scene. This time, I'm predicting that this tournmanent becomes the catalyst to something that many smarks have anticipated for a few years now; The Miz makes his way back to the WWE Championship.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Totally agree Miz needs to win this. I actually think you're talking his credibility down way too much. He lost that stigma a long time ago and is overdue another run with the championship. Winning it from AJ now set it up perfectly for Bryan to win the Rumble & recreate YestlMania.

    You know what annoys me most about this World Cup thing? It's not exactly a World Cup when all the participants are American. I know the US likes to forget the rest of the world exists at times, but considering the diversity on the roster these days coupled with the fact this is supposedly an international event you'd think they could have pushed more than one country into it.

    Welcome back though, hope you start posting more often

  3. #3
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree that Miz would get the most miles out of winning this. I can see him declaring himself the 'best in the world' for months. Funnily enough I could also see that to a lesser extent with Lashley now he has Lio Rush in his corner doing his best Floyd Mayweather impersonation.

    I would actually love to see him beat Angle for it too as it would give him a huge name scalp that not many in the current gen can say they have however you are probably right about the real world concerns that mean Angle won't wrestle that many times in one night. Then again I absolutely do not like the idea of Angle beating anyone on the Raw side of the bracket especially Rollins and Ziggler.

    All that said, rumors have it that the guy bank rolling these shows is a massive nostalgia fan so it'll probably be Randy Orton. *Sigh*

    Anyway, good to have you (back) here in the columns forum. Good stuff here, looking forward to your next piece.



    @Sir_Samuel

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Welcome back, my man! I very vaguely remember you! I thought for a moment that your username was a reference to Al Laiman, don't know if you ever read the guy but he was a great columnist on the MP. I like the reference you did use too though, Cena is quite the ham himself at times.

    I can't say I've been too interested in Crown Jewel. Even before the controversy escalated I had mixed feelings about it. The support WWE has thrown behind a pretty brutal dictatorship, especially in view of recent developments, is a pretty heinous. But, so as not to derail the thread, from here on I'll stick to the content of the column!

    First of all, I want to say I'm strongly of the opinion that Kurt Angle shouldn't be wrestling any matches at this point in his career. Watching the dude straight up scares me, he looks like he's ready to keel over at times and clearly doesn't seem to know when enough is enough. But as you say, hopefully he goes out right away and without hurting himself.

    Also STRONGLY agree with Dyno that you are way underselling the Miz! Obviously I'm a big fan (duh) but even putting that aside, I feel like lots of people are way into the Miz these days. His matches get way more reaction than guys like Orton or Lashley do right now, so I don't think you can say he doesn't have that level of hype around him. Orton in particular feels like a guy who has fallen so far down the rungs that him winning this would be a major headscratcher. That said, you predicted Miz to win so all is forgiven! I really liked the logic you used to get to that outcome, and I think a Miz/Rollins final would be pretty awesome. Hope it turns out just as you predicted, it makes a ton of sense to do it this way.

    And oh yeah, what the heck is up with a "world cup" that features only Americans anyway?? Super strange.

    Fun column here man, glad to see you back around! Feel free to stick around!

  5. #5
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I enjoyed this. I'd probably agree with the others on the assessment of Miz, but I do think he's one of the few people who can actually benefit from winning this and there's a lot of logic to going in that direction. Plus, we know that WWE love him - I'm sure they'd like nothing more than to try and put him back at the top table for good.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
    Welcome back! This is wrestling so regardless of age or actual ability you get an automatic, "You still got it!" chant, right? There's not enough directly transfering of chants to column comments nowadays. And I'm just like MizFan, whenever I see the word HAM I just assume it's a Laiman reference. There was a sign on RAW this week that read 'I Like HAM' and I was like, yeah I always enjoyed that part of the 'In Laimen's Terms' series.

    But yes, the column, rather enjoyed this read. We seem to be pretty unaminously agreeing that Miz winning would give them the most/best to work with. I personally thought the man should have beaten Bryan back in Australia and gone on to eventually beat AJ. However like Mizfan said, Prince MBS is so nostalgic you can pretty much count out anyone who professionally debuted after 2002. So my pick's Randy, but Kurt, Jeff & Rey-Rey are all still eligible!

    No intentions in actually watching Crown Jewel though. Side note, them making the main events of SD Live "World Cup" matches has just meant I've not actually watched the end of one of those show in weeks (aside from SD 1000). I'm expecting this tournament to be just as irrelevant as the last one come two weeks time.

  7. #7
    The Brain
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    This is wrestling so regardless of age or actual ability you get an automatic, "You still got it!" chant, right?
    Actually heard a story of Tatanka (I think) wrestling on some indy and trying to start this chant for himself. Always thought that'd be a super fun gimmick for some really past it old wrestler to get one last run, imagine how obnoxious that would get week over week.

  8. #8
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    Actually heard a story of Tatanka (I think) wrestling on some indy and trying to start this chant for himself. Always thought that'd be a super fun gimmick for some really past it old wrestler to get one last run, imagine how obnoxious that would get week over week.
    Then they do a fake retirement speech and try to start up a "No" and then a "Thank you blah blah" chant.



    @Sir_Samuel

  9. #9
    Haha oh God, there must be a perfect wrestler for this gimmick out there somewhere... Billy Gun? No, Brutus Beefcake. Well you could even bring in PCO and do an actual good version of it! Would any modern day casual fan have any idea who in the hell PCO is?

    We may have gone off topic, but we've certainly struck gold here, fellas.

  10. #10
    Okay, so as soon as you started underselling Miz it took me out of this column. I mean, since 2016 Miz has been fire and he is arguably the best heel in WWE.

    With that being said though, you brought me back I to the column with our "WWE logical" this analysis was. Miz would greatly benefit from winning this and it will surely be the catalyst for him to dethrone Styles. He would have a field day with his promos about him being the best in the world.

    Also, if Randy wins I wouldn't mind one bit. Yes, that is completely biased because he is my favourite wrestler ever. I think his current character is cool but WWE just needs to push it more like they did in the Hardy feud. However, I do agree that he doesn't need this win at all.

    I'll be rooting for Miz all the way.

  11. #11
    Thanks for the feedback!

    In response to underselling Miz, Miz has been positioned beneath each of the competitors in the tournament, suffering losses and beat downs from everyone on the Smackdown side. Miz plays a cowardly heel. And has been one of the most consistently underhanded characters in the WWE. Meaning your average fan is far more likely to not view him as being on the level of his counterparts, whether he wins or loses. Miz is portrayed as someone who takes shortcuts to compensate for being overmatched in skill. Thatís a fact. WWE books to your average fan, not us. The average fan is very begrudging of giving Miz top tier status.

  12. #12
    The Brain
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    I'd argue the average fan has been reacting to Miz more than almost anyone in the past couple years, and WWE listens closely to those reactions (sometimes, anyway).

  13. #13
    This is true. But itís heat. He annoys the fans. That doesnít mean they perceive him as being as credible as they view other top tier heels.

  14. #14
    The Brain
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    Well apparently it doesn't matter, because the result was far stupider than anything we could have possibly predicted!

  15. #15
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    Well apparently it doesn't matter, because the result was far stupider than anything we could have possibly predicted!
    I think Shane did a fine job, standing in for an injured Miz like that. Truly honourable of him.

  16. #16
    I think Shane did a fine job, standing in for an injured Miz like that. Truly honourable of him.
    Dave, is that you?

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