by Alan Counihan, JarryPark.com contributor
Many have questioned the ability of World Wrestling Entertainment to produce future stars. Furthermore, WWE’s current developmental system has been strongly questioned. The system headed by Jim Cornette and Danny Davis in Louisville (which produced Cena, Orton, Batista and countless others) is now a thing of the past and a new system based in Florida is where the current crop of young WWE hopefuls are learning the ropes. The decision to scrap OVW has been criticized mainly because there are now 70+ guys being trained in one school, all learning the same in-ring style, cutting the same promos etc.
Thus, the output of the system will most likely be a lot of clones. I’m a firm believer that you need a wide variety of characters and wrestling styles on your roster and limiting yourself to just one developmental territory is a mistake when you could have had the Florida territory, the Louisville territory and who knows how many more all over the country. WWE just had one of their best financial quarters ever, so money does not appear to be a problem.
Now, I may be completely underestimating the current system. It may well produce the next generation of main eventers. But what if it doesn’t? In that case, one must look to the current roster and see what guys have the tools to break out and become bigtime players, guys who are only a push away from really making it.
I’ve picked out two wrestlers who fit this category: John Morrison and Lance Cade.
Strengths: I don’t think WWE could ask for a guy with a better look than Morrison’s. He’s perfect for the character he plays with his movie star looks, Rick Rude-esque body, and, perhaps most importantly, he carries himself like he’s above everyone else. He also gets better every time I see compete in the ring. With the help of Joey (Mercury) Matthews, he became a good tag team wrestler several years ago and in recent years he’s become a great tag wrestler, as evidenced by his current run with The Miz. More important than his tag skills, though, is he’s development as a singles wrestler. He recently had a match with Batista which was, without a doubt, his best singles match ever. The bottom line is that the improvements Morrison has made in his solo efforts have been remarkable.
Weaknesses: His promo ability is still a little weak right now. He can definitely cut an entertaining promo but I’m not sure if he’s able to cut a “money” promo. There’s an important difference between the two.
Chances: Very good. I’d be shocked if Morrison didn’t get a chance to run with the ball at some point in the next two years. He’s got everything Randy Orton has minus the behavioral problems.
Strengths: Cade is, as Jim Ross would so eloquently put it, “a hoss.” Wrestlers as big as Lance Cade who move as well as he does are a rare breed. He has improved leaps and bounds as a worker over the last few years after initially not looking like anything special when he initially debuted on the active roster. He’s an underrated talker too.
Weaknesses: He has been stuck in mid-card status for so long that fans might forever view him as a second-tier performer.
Chances: Uncertain. A lot will depend on how his current program with former partner, Trevor Murdoch, pans out. The fact that the turn has been largely forgotten isn’t a good sign.