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DENNY'S DUNGEON
London's Calling
(And Other Musings)
September 24, 2004

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

Pardon me if this is a brief one. I've got a lot on my mind today. My neck of the woods is YET AGAIN in the "cone of death" for a hurricane, this one scheduled to smack us around over the weekend. Someday, when hurricane season draws to a close, I hope to remember why living in Florida seemed so appealing to me years ago. 
 
In other VERY distracting news (in a GOOD way), I'm less than 24 hours removed from the news that I am about to become a daddy for the very first time. Yes, I did just get married less than two months ago, and yes, I do work quickly. We've jokingly tossed around ideas for naming our child after a pro wrestler (JOKINGLY - neither of us are quite THAT

lame. She, of course, chooses Randy for a boy. In retaliation, I went with Trish for a girl. But then, if you're going to do something as ridiculous as name your child after a pro wrestling star, why not go all the way? Some ideas:

- The Fabulous Burkholder
- Sheik Adnan Al-Burkholder
- The Ultimate Burkholder
- Bastion Burkholder
- Andre the Burkholder
- Juventud Burkholder
- Koko B. Burkholder
- Bad News Burkholder
- Abdullah the Burkholder
- Big Van Burkholder

The funny thing is, out of all those asinine ideas, the stupidest part of any of them is the name "Burkholder." Such is life. Now, something related to WWE...

As I watched the Smackdown "season premiere" last night, I was pretty impressed by the fairly significant role Paul London played in the episode. I know fleeting pushes and storylines are the norm in WWE - hell, Jamie Noble had several of those, and look where it got him. But still, any inkling that WWE is trying to do something, ANYTHING different is a good omen.

London was the focal point of the opening match, and I gotta say he knocked the ball straight out of the park. London and Kidman's angle seems far from over, and Booker T isn't quite finished with John Cena yet. But WWE still made an effort to plant seeds for future rivalries and storylines by letting London get the last shot in on Booker after jobbing to him. What's more, it saved London from looking like a total jobber, which until he teamed with Billy Kidman was how he was portrayed for about a year. You can't build a new star unless he shows some kind of strength or promise. Even if he loses, he's got to show the will to fight back and the ability to win in the future, or fans will accept him exactly as presented - a nothing-happening jobber they shouldn't think twice about.

London's worth way more than that. Hopefully, last night was an indication that WWE understands that. They already know they need reliable, talented new stars. London is that. They need new stars that have upside potential, meaning their best matches and storylines are years in the future. London probably fits that bill also, barring injuries.

I'm not saying Paul London is the ultimate "next big thing" superstar that WWE needs to regain viewers, because that's not necessarily true. But one look at the past few months of WWE programming shows that they need not one, but several newcomers to step up. Even if Randy Orton, John Cena, or Shelton Benjamin are successful as main eventers, that still leaves holes in the midcard. For every champion they elevate, WWE will need someone to keep the midcard interesting. London's as good a choice as anyone else they've got under contract.

Consider Christian. When he made his WWE debut, Christian was a little more than a rail-thin, tiny version of Edge. Back then, nobody would have thought that Christian would still be around WWE without the aid of a light heavyweight or cruiserweight title to contend for. He was small and not entirely original, but he was talented and dedicated. A lot like London.

Today, Christian's still not a main eventer. But he's about as good as you can get for midcard entertainment. He worked hard, he showed up every week, and little by little, he became integral to the show. He had help along the way from friends and opponents (Edge, the Hardys, Chris Jericho). And so will London. If WWE keeps finding him a place on television and doesn't give up on him once the Kidman storyline blows over, he'll eventually become a very integral part of the show, too.

Of course there are a ton of outside factors that could blow that entire scenario out of the water before it happens. That's life. And the same goes for any other promising roster member. All it takes is one flippant comment to management, one huge blown spot, one late arrival for a house show, or one dress code violation to vastly change the landscape of WWE Future.

But you've got to roll the dice with someone. Here's hoping London carries the ball, and the coaches return the favor by putting him in the game more often.

 
E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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