We all love watching RAW, Smackdown or a WWE Pay Per View when an old favourite superstar comes through the curtain. I will admit to getting chills when Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts came down the aisle during this year’s Old School Raw, and I enjoyed watching Kevin Nash’s appearance at the Royal Rumble, I enjoy every time Rowdy Roddy Piper shows his face like he did at Wrestlemania, and was extremely grateful I got to experience The Ultimate Warrior one more time in the WWE. We look back fondly on their careers, their great moments, matches and promos, and thank them for their wonderful careers, and the entertainment they provided us.
However prior to receiving that love a superstar has to go through a period of rejection from the fans, a period where many fans do not focus on their great moments, matches and promos, but focus on their current limitations and flaws. This period is where these WWE superstar are reaching retirement age and injuries are catching up with them (& is not named The Undertaker), and are perceived as non-main event material by hardcore fans. Superstars such as Kane, Mark Henry, The Big Show, Rey Mysterio and Christian will all sign onto legend contracts and us fans will raise the roof when they appear, however unfortunately for these and similar superstars, they are currently going through this ‘rejection’ period.
Over the past 2-3 weeks, when it was known that Kane will be challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, a good portion of fans, and internet commentators have slammed, and rubbished this decision saying things like Kane is to old, he is past being a legitimate threat, he cannot perform like he used to, he is just a mid-card talent now etc. This is the same reaction The Big Show received when he was battling Randy Orton late last year for the same title. Christian, Mark Henry and Rey Mysterio get the same comments now after every match they perform in. These superstars who have given us so much enjoyment and entertainment over the past 15 years, are by many fans, being told to head out to pasture, and let the likes of Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro take over. While I am not a huge fan of Rey Mysterio, I was still very disappointed in the reaction he received after the Royal Rumble. I can understand the reaction at the Royal Rumble, as I too wished o see Daniel Bryan make his way down to the ring, but for a man who has delivered so much for us fans and the WWE, to continue to receive the boos and jeers weeks after the Rumble is disappointing to hear.
The likes of Kane, The Big Show, Christian, Mark Henry and Rey Mysterio are told to forget about chasing titles, and focus on putting this generation over, forget about headlining PPV’s instead form tag teams, become managers, drop down to mid-card level, and in the case of Christian, retire and become a trainer. Is this a fair reaction to superstars who have given great service to the WWE for the past 15 years? Imagine being told at your place of work that you are too old to be given a job that results in a pay rise, or told that instead of representing the company at a high end conference, you are to stay back and train the junior staff. This is what we are telling these superstars to do.
Over the past 12 months, each of these superstars have delivered in the ring. Kane as part of Hell No, Mark Henry’s ‘retirement speech’, Christian series of matches against Alberto Del Rio, and The Big Show’s Authority angle all showed each of these superstars still have much to give to wrestling. These superstars provide a great foil for this younger generation, and are filling the gap until the likes of Reigns, Rollins, Cesaro, and Wyatt are ready to be main event material. We all saw what happened to Ryback when a young superstar is pushed to early, or the likes of Alberto Del Rio who was shoved down our TV screens. Both have suffered in their careers, because they were not ready to become main-event superstars in the eyes of the fans.
With Extreme Rules coming up, let us see what Kane and Daniel Bryan can deliver in the ring, let the likes of Cesaro, Reigns and Rollins gain more experience on the big stage of a PPV, lets us welcome back Christian, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry when they return and instead of telling them to retire, pray for an injury free period, appreciate The Big Show for his ability being the size he is, his humour and his knowledge of the business, and as someone that has put more people over than anybody else I can think of. Let us as fans appreciate these older generation superstars, and not just save our appreciation for when they have retired.
Hooroo and see you next week.
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