The Middle Man: WWE’s Endless Revolving Door of Elevation and Regression

It’s the same song we have heard for almost five years now.

From 2000-2002 the WWE experienced an influx of new and plentiful talent from WCW and ECW. These were the rewards they reaped from the Austin Era and being the only game left in town after the other promotions closed up shop in early 2001.

Over the past five years that talent has dwindled down to only a few select hold-outs and WWE has once again found itself needing to create new stars. This time, however, there are no other promotions for talent to crossover or pull from. The wrestling giant is on it’s own.

Yes, the WWE has pulled many talents from the independent scene as evidenced by the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dean Ambrose. However, it appears moving forward Vince McMahon wants the company to create it’s future “in house” under the banner of WWE’s new Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

The necessity to develop a fuller roster on it’s own has lead to a trend of many young performers being “tried out” on different levels of the WWE card.

The Miz, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Ryback, and countless others are all prime examples of talent who have been pushed into the WWE’s main event scene to only be regulated down the card later.

Unless you’re a ten time World Champion or have main evented WrestleManias, I’d say a talent is constantly being auditioned. No matter how long they have been on the roster. Every performance is a “try out” for a higher position.

It’s a fickle business. It’s entertainment. Of course everyone cannot  become long lasting-dynamic main event superstars.

But what happens when these men and woman are put back into the middle of the card?

What is the point of keeping a talent around if it is proved they cannot make it in the main event scene of World Wrestling Entertainment? Shouldn’t the WWE want a roster of talent who want, and can make it as a main event draw?

These questions are those asked by many of the WWE Universe, but the thing is there is only room for a handful of top draws in the company.  That is the way it has worked since the days of the territories.

A story can only have one or two main characters after all. That is true in all forms of media. Films, books, video games, professional wrestling. It’s all storytelling.

However, a story is nothing without it’s supporting cast. While it is easy to say “every person on that card should be working towards being the number one man in the WWE,” the truth of the matter is few men have achieved that position.

The thing that many wrestling fans seem to misunderstand it – well – that it is okay to be a bit player sometimes.

A talent should never settle for being just that, but sometimes no mater how hard someone works they are cast as a “Stunning” Steve Austin instead of a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Kofi Kingston, has been with the WWE since 2006.

For eight years he has been in the WWE without holding a World Championship.

However, Kingston has been exceptionally entertaining in the ring, has appeared at charity events, worked with the Make a Wish Foundation, and has been a wonderful hand for WWE. He has made a decent living for himself doing something that many people do for much less compensation.

And while he did not connect to the crowds as a main event player in the eyes of “the office” he, and many others, have proved to be entertaining and a great representative of the WWE in a smaller capacity.

Wrestling fans obsess over who will be the flag carriers in the WWE, but in all reality if you think of the company as a pyramid, there are many more positions available in the middle of the pyramid than their are at the top. Without that middle, and the bottom of the card for that matter, the pyramid crumbles.

Entertainment like that which is supplied by the WWE is a fluid animal. No one will be in a set position for long.

While The Miz and Jack Swagger were both given prominent pushes and World Championship reigns a few years ago they proved they lacked staying power. Does that mean they should be let go? Does that mean they will be stuck in the middle of the WWE card for the rest of their career? Or will they redeem themselves and scale the pyramid again?

These are questions I do not have an answer to. So many new faces have come onto the WWE scene lately that there is less and less room for complacency among talent.

The point of this one sided discussion was simply to reiterate that all the online posts and “news” about possible pushes for certain stars or other stars getting heat on themselves and being bumped down the card is nothing to be surprised or concerned with.

If a talent is truly motivated they can make the most out of any position on the card they are put in. Whether it is a 30 second match on WWE Superstars or a 20 minute pay-per-view main event match.

Maximizing the capacity of a middle of the card role is the goal, but honestly their are so many variables to becoming an iconic WWE performer that trying to pin down what any one-person needs to do is impossible let alone an entire section of the roster.

This article, was more so for that middle man. To validate their position whether they’ve been in that role for years or only stopping in on their way to the top. At the end of the day professional wrestling is a career, and being in the WWE, at any level, is like working on Wall Street.

And like any other business, there is elevation and there is regression. How all the rest plays out for the individuals is just another part of the show for you and I.

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