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Taking All the Torches

This article will examine an Attitude Era and/or Ruthless Aggression star who is still prominent on WWE television and what "rub", if any, can be given to stars of this generation.

WWE.com

Pass the torch

definition

(traditional) - to relinquish responsibilities, traditions, practices, or knowledge to another

(professional wrestling) - the act of a veteran giving an up-and-coming or established wrestler the ultimate rub of declaring the younger athlete is capable of taking their role in the business

With the spectacle that was WrestleMania 31 firmly in the WWE's rear view mirror, a glaring truth stares before the eyes of the company and fans alike: The WWE has yet to develop that "next face" of the company.  Even beyond that, the company has yet to produce a standalone draw out of its outstanding class of new wrestlers.  One of the issues stems from the WWE's overreliance of past Attitude and Ruthless Aggression stars to sell the "big" events and an undying commitment to keep the older wrestlers looking stronger than the younger guys.

Instead of sitting back and waiting years and years to slowly "pass a torch" to one preordained golden child who may or may not fail, the WWE should take all the torches from every veteran on the roster and start giving them away like bite sized Snickers on October 31st.  With the current structure of the main roster's creative team, this task may seem too much and prove to be daunting.  Therefore I will take it upon myself to let the WWE know who has what torch and exactly whom it could be given to.

Legend/Veteran:

Mark Henry

Accomplishments: Multiple time World champion (WWE/WWECW); One of the Longest Tenured WWE Superstars; Attitude Era star; Hall of Pain

Comparable to those he started his WWE career with, Mark Henry's run in the WWE is nothing to sneeze at.  Henry has been signed with the company since 1996 and has enjoyed successful runs during the Attitude Era as Sexual Chocolate and ECW champion during the brand split of the Ruthless Aggression Era.  Those facts alone, however, would not qualify Mark Henry for a position to pass a torch to anyone because Mark Henry did not become a stand out in that respect until he embarked on his Hall of Pain run in the summer of 2011.

As it currently stands, Mark Henry is in a good position where he is over with the WWE audience as a powerful force to be reckoned with and a tough challenge for any WWE Superstar.  Over the course of his WWE career, Henry became the ultimate powerhouse who would toss wrestlers around the ring, no matter the size, and dare anyone to stop him.  Simply stated, he is a mean, no nonsense ass kicker.

It is no secret that Henry's healthiest in-ring days are behind him but he still has value.  He's still got that torch and it is high time he passed it on.

New/Established Star

Big E

Accomplishments: NXT Champion; WWE IC Champion; Five Count Gimmick

In the immortal world of our wrestling lord, Brock Lesnar, "It's not rocket science, people!".  Big E (formerly Langston) seems to be the guy who was a result of someone in WWE Talent Relations department asking scouts to find a younger, more athletic Mark Henry.  Big E has all the intangibles that made Mark Henry a success- powerlifting beast, dominating presence, and a great smile- only Big E's trajectory for success could be far greater than Henry could ever achieve.  Big E is an overall better in-ring worker and more versatile in his moveset than Henry has ever been.

Big E has had impressive moments since his debut on the main roster in late 2012.  That is about all, though.  Over two years into his run, Big E has yet to establish a firm identity or have a major angle where fans can get behind him.  Compare Big E's resume with that of the three guys who were called up around the same time in Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.  On second thought, please don't compare their resumes.  That would be extremely unfair to Big E.

If anyone deserves to be the first person given a torch, it is this guy.  If the WWE does not know how to go about doing so, well, I have that covered as well.

How to Pass the Torch:

Mentor-Protégé Program

In order for Big E to fulfill his powerhouse destiny, he has to split with the New Day.  I know; I know.  I had high hopes for the trio at the onset.  However, recent events have lead this Cagesider to believe that the WWE is better off sacking the New Day gimmick and have Big E do this whole "staying happy in order not to snap" gimmick on his own.  Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods get fed up with the positivity and turn on Big E.  Yet, he still remains positive.  Big E goes on a losing streak where his heel opponents always cheat to win.  Big E remains positive despite loss after loss after loss.

Then, once it appears that Big E is about to snap, Henry has a talk with Big E and offers to become his mentor.  The two could form a makeshift tag team or Henry could accompany Big E to the ring to watch his back.  Big E starts to win.  He starts to move up the ladder.  His partnership with Henry is working on all cylinders and he starts to contend for a secondary title.  When Big E inevitably comes up short, he blames Mark Henry and turns heel on him.  The feud should be short, only one pay-per-view match where there is no disqualification.  In the match, Big E clearly aims to injure Henry and the match has to be stopped with Henry being taken out on a stretcher.

The next night, Big E cuts a promo announcing that he is the new curator of the Hall of Pain and Mark Henry was the very last induction.  This should establish Big E as a powerhouse and a major player in the always erratic mid card situation in the WWE.  It also could potentially set Big E to become a player in the ever elusive upper mid card/top of the card group.

Mark Henry is a future WWE Hall of Famer in the twilight of his career.  For the past year or so, he has been used primarily as enhancement talent when the WWE wants to book a guy to look powerful already, so Big E could take credit for being the one to finally take out one of the toughest and strongest guys in the company's history.  Big E did something that Brock Lesnar, Rusev, and Roman Reigns did not do: He closed the Hall of Pain.  Big E gets the rub of taking a veteran out and Mark Henry retires knowing that someone is there to carry on his bad ass, hoss'itude.  Win-win for all.

That was my first stab at taking a torch and passing it on to the future.  This move by no means would "fix" the current standings of newer stars in the fans eyes, but it is a start.  And I intend to continue to mine the roster of veterans in the WWE until I have taken all those torches and given them to their rightful owners.

I mean, it is 2015 - nearly twenty years after the Attitude Era and over ten years since Vince McMahon ever uttered the term "Ruthless Aggression".  It's time.

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