One thing the WWE has success with, and some could argue they go overboard at times, is using tride-and-true formulas that have worked in the past and giving them a fresh update. Some may call this “lazy booking” and yeah, sometimes that is absolutely the case, but consider the creation of the latest Star Wars film.
When having to re-start their franchise and get everyone back onboard, essentially the producers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens went to the well. They played The Force Awakens very safely, and the results were incredible. Some may debate how good The Force Awakens actually is, but no one really argues how successful of a movie it was, and now that the producers have everyone back onboard, they can build out new storylines from there. It can work, you just need the right idea and the right person.
The gimmick I want to discuss today, that I feel should get a re-imagining of sorts is The Million Dollar Man.
Now, I’m not saying Ted Dibiase should return to television or anything, nor am I suggesting the title of TMD should be given to someone else…but the idea behind the character is something that should really consistently be involved in WWE Storylines.
There may be a few updates needed to the gimmick, like perhaps the new TMD character comes in and has a fake business or brand and wants the best wrestlers representing that brand, so he buys all the top heel talent and hordes the titles…But I think it could really work (Roman Reigns being his Andre The Giant seems like a near-perfect fit), especially with Shane as babyface perhaps in the driver’s seat to take over as GM of RAW, this would be an opportune time to get a character that can provide motivation for the heels and a figure for the babyfaces to triumph over.
They could re-brand or re-imagine some stars they already have to facilitate this role…A few ideas that stick out.
1) JBL: I love JBL on the mic, I think he’s insanely underrated as the heel announcer and I think if they upgraded the Michael Cole role, he could be on the verge of being one of the best heel announcers they’ve ever had…But it couldn’t hurt to get him back in the ring either.
One of the great things about JBL in this role is here would provide some legitimacy being that he is a very successful money manager in real life, making a fortune in the stock market. JBL has legitimacy as a wrestler, and thus could take bumps and even occasionally fight in a match, but also has that “Dallas” feel about him where he is a believable business fat-cat trying to take the business over.
2) Stephanie McMahon: Steph is harder for this role because she can’t take bumps from the men (well, supposedly she can’t, she did eat that glorious spear at Mania though), and that is part of the charm of TMD, that he was a character who could take big bumps when the hero finally caught up to him. But, I think the state of programming is setting up nicely for Shane to take over, maybe Steph “sells her shares in the company” and then buys the heel talent and does her own takeover thing.
3) The Miz: I may have an irrational love of The Miz, but I really think he’s one of the best performers in the company, his in-ring work is fine, nothing special, but man….ANYONE who gets in a feud with him will get cheered because The Miz is impossible to root for….That is really the ideal characteristic we are looking for: this TMD type character gives an automatic heel rub to anyone. Wanna turn Nakamura heel but don’t think the fans will buy it? Have Miz do most of the talking and see who the fans boo then.
“Who” specifically is the next TMD can be fluid, because what works so well about TMD character is the multitude of avenues he provides to storytelling.
One of the central problems that WWE Programming has is, they have 1-2 storylines that make logical sense from a motivational standpoint, and a feud builds organically….but the rest are just two guys plopped together and they have to construct a feud out of the deal.
The nice thing with having a TMD character is it’s instant motivation: he offers heels more money to win the title under his brand than if they won it without him. So now the concept of “cheating” is more explainable, TMD doesn’t care if Neville wins the match clean or if he cheats as long as his “guy” is holding the belt, he will pay him more money.
2) Replacing The Evil Boss:
The “Evil Boss” storyline has run it’s course for the time being. It’s an incredibly important gimmick, but you can only do it for so long…At some point you’ve gotta run with with a babyface boss, if nothing else, to keep things fresh. Which is exactly where it appears WWE is going, but the problem with the babyface boss is that it’s one less obstacle for the heroes to have to jump over.
The nice thing about having a rogue millionaire (or probably updated for 2016, Billionaire) trying to recruit the best wrestlers in an attempt to keep the titles represented by his brand, is it keeps the oppressive figure character alive and well, while providing a relief from the constant overpowering nature of The Authority.
3) Rejuvenate the Mid-Card:
The big winner of this idea would most-assuredly be the mid-card. I think having a character who pays more money for belt holders instantly adds more credibility to all belts, and gives better motivation for things like: unprompted attacks that lead to feuds, tag team break-ups leading to feuds, guys who cost other guys matches….The mid-card right now is really starting to get packed with talent and adding a legitimate motivating factor to help direct those talents into good feuds is something I think would be valuable.
Stay woke everybody.