What happens when you align yourself with Paul Heyman?
Great things, according to WWE. Look no further than Curtis Axel, who in just a few short weeks, has already wrestled John Cena and Triple H. In fact, the newest "Paul Heyman" guy will have a chance to win the Intercontinental title this Sunday at Payback.
If he doesn't, he'll probably "fade into the background" like Justin Gabriel, according to WWE.com:
Since the dissolution of [Nexus], it can be argued that the three-time WWE Tag Team Champion has, in a sense, faded into the background. What prevents Gabriel from attaining greatness? Perhaps a little bit of guidance from Paul Heyman could propel the high-flying South African "Darewolf" through the glass ceiling and atop WWE.
Talk about your ringing endorsements.
I'm not sure "glass ceiling" is the appropriate term here, since Gabriel is neither a woman nor a minority, and really the only thing that's holding Gabriel back is the organization's unwillingness to elevate him. He was getting some decent airtime on Saturday Morning Slam as "The Capetown Werewolf," but he wasn't becoming a "breakout star."
Must be his nickname.
You can't expect anyone to get over being called "The Capetown Werewolf" because no one on this side of the Western Hemisphere gives a rat's ass about South Africa. Therefore, creative will rename him the "Darewolf" and send him on his way.
If he doesn't get over, well, that's his fault.
It sounds silly because it is. Gabriel can't score a touchdown if you don't throw him the ball. Changing his nickname is like changing the number on a player's jersey and expecting him to have a breakout season. And the "creative has nothing for you" argument is bullshit.
You're called creative for a reason. Now sit down and get creative.
Part of the issue for me, as an old timer, is the absence of backstage vignettes. I mean the old-school 1987 promos where "Mean" Gene Okerlund would stick a gigantic microphone in someone's face and let them go off for two minutes.
We never really get a chance to get to know these guys.
The new-school vignettes are expertly produced by the wizards in the truck, while the open promos we do get are in the ring so that someone can interrupt. I really believe the talent would benefit from getting a few minutes to show the "universe" what they can do.
Like The Hardy Boyz.
I remember when Matt and Jeff dumped Gangrel as their leader before Matt got on the stick and went nuts, insisting he and his brother were not the "New Brood" and that they were just Matt and Jeff Hardy. Then they went out and tore the house down with the original Brood, Edge and Christian.
That's how you measure a talent's ability to sink or swim.
If the Hardys did nothing but spend the next year jobbing to The Acolytes or The New Age Outlaws, no one would have cared. But because they were paired off with equals, they had a chance to kill -- or be killed. After all, there is a reason we all go nuts when Daniel Bryan wrestles CM Punk.
Keep in mind, RAW is three hours long.
Guys like Justin Gabriel don't need nicknames or goofy gimmicks, they need a few precious minutes on the stick and someone they can work with who will bring out the best in them, as well as their opponent. Yes, he's held gold in the tag team division and had a few stints on TV, but this idea that he's "faded away" and "can't achieve greatness" without the help of Paul Heyman is bothersome.
Let the fans decide if he can be great, not the overlords backstage.