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Potential history-making debut expected for WWE's Monday Night RAW

About Justin LaBar
Picture Justin LaBar 412-320-7949
Video Producer
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Justin LaBar hosts Wrestling Reality Tuesdays at 2 p.m. on TribLIVE Radio. He is the producer and host of online video wrestling talk show Chair Shot Reality. He's been featured on NBC Sports recognized as a leading analyst in wrestling. You can also see him at independent wrestling shows around the country as he frequently makes guest host appearances.

By Justin LaBar

Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The best and worst thing about professional wrestling is everyone has an opinion.

Because opinions and questions are unavoidable in this genre, I thought answering a few and dishing out some reality would be a good way to end the work week.

These questions are from Twitter and email. You can submit questions by using the hashtag #TribWrestling or email during my radio show Tuesday's at 3 on TribLIVE sports radio.

From J via email: Will Ryback hold a title this year?

A: I wouldn't be shocked if Ryback captured one of the two mid-card titles: Intercontinental or United States Championship. He's been involved in main events competing for the WWE Championship since October, and he's looked terrible since October. He was only inserted due to John Cena and CM Punk suffering injuries within a month of each other.

After Ryback's most recent feud with Cena, I think WWE realizes there needs to be a rebuild of Ryback. I could see him holding one of the previously mentioned titles in the fall. There's a scary trend of guys who hold those titles and end up losing a bunch of television non-title matches. No real progression for their careers is made, nothing like what those mid-card titles used to represent.

Dean Ambrose holds the United States title and is the next big thing. He by far has the best future of any recent mid-card champion. The five U.S. champs prior to Ambrose were Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Santino Marella, Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston. I like all of those guys, but I don't know if WWE does.

Curtis Axel holds the Intercontinental title. He's another guy that I like and think can have a bright future. The five previous champions were The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett, The Miz and Wade Barrett again.

So, I suppose Ryback could win a title ... if he dares.

@fryandtheguy on Twitter: How do the Wyatt Family debut next week? #TribWrestling

The hype surrounding the advertised debut of the Wyatt Family on this Monday's RAW is incredible.

I can't remember the last time a sequence of video promos has been this prominently featured and received with this much genuine interest. The wrestling historian and dork in me loves that Sunday, the day before the Wyatt's are set to debut, is the 16-year anniversary of the creation of another memorable trio of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. I doubt their legacy will reach the heights of the nWo but perhaps in 2029 we'll still remember their debut.

I hope the debut features an element of surprise. WWE has been advertising their Monday debut all week. Some fans don't like this, but I do. I like it because you can't make money off something you don't know about. Unannounced surprises are cool, but there is more money in announced anticipation.

It would be good, however, to have whatever segment they appear in be a surprise. I don't want WWE to go to a commercial and tell us the Wyatt Family is coming up next.

The characters are going to cause chaos and are meant to be dangerous. Their entrance should be in that context. While I want the appearance to come out of nowhere, I hope they get a full entrance. That's going to be a big part of their appeal ― all of the extra stuff.

I hope their music interrupts someone when he's cutting a promo in the ring or a match is going on. The music and the way they walk are key parts to their presentation. I don't want them to come out of the crowd with a mass sneak attack. That worked for The Shield at Survivor Series but wouldn't be appropriate for these guys.

Chris Jericho or The Miz are my two leading candidates for who will be the first feud for the Wyatt Family. I hope for Jericho but fear for The Miz.

Jericho is the perfect veteran to work with these guys both on the microphone and in the ring. He'll help sustain the momentum they're coming in with. In the end, Jericho can lose and it won't harm his legacy, but it will give credibility to Wyatt's. Everybody wins.

However, I fear Jericho's schedule with his rock band (and whatever other new flavor of work he has this week) could make his a less appealing option for WWE to put up against this new attraction.

The Miz is a babyface who needs stability. He also represents everything the Wyatt Family characters aren't. The Miz has an upcoming title match against Curtis Axel which he isn't going to win. Wyatt Family could be a good situation to increase The Miz's relevance again. The problem I see is The Miz is a natural heel and should be a heel. People don't want to cheer him as a face. The Wyatt Family deserves a strong babyface to oppose.

A wild-card option is Randy Orton. He's a top guy in WWE's eyes. Funny thing with him is he wants to be a heel, is better as a heel and we've been hearing he was going to be turned back to a heel for a year. Last thing you want is Orton to get impatient and make himself a heel on his own. Randy Wyatt does have an nice ring to it.

From @John_Marianacci on Twitter: What ways can WWE ruin The Wyatt Family? #TribWrestling #HopeTheyDoNOT

Given the excitement for the Wyatt Family, I felt they were worthy of two questions.

WWE could ruin this if they don't allow these three characters to remain on their own level, a level unlike any of their peers. The key to their success is being different, especially with the way they speak and are presented in the video promos. Now that the Wyatts will be live in the arena, WWE has to allow as many of their strengths and uniqueness to be shown. Let them talk on the way to the ring. The way the Bray Wyatt character speaks is tremendous. It's believable and scary. Give him a mic every chance you can. He shouldn't have a typical entrance.

In addition to the group, WWE has to play to the strengths of the individual characters. They must be protected. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will be the henchmen to the leader in Bray Wyatt. This is fine and traditional but should be closely monitored.

Rowan catches the viewers' eyes with the odd plastic lamb mask he wears. He is henchman number one.

I've worked with Harper on the independent level. For a guy who is 6-foot-7, he's got a wide range. He can work as a big man doing chokeslams and big boots, but he also can work with the smaller guys in a fast-paced style. He should be the final obstacle for someone to go through before getting to the leader. Harper can shine and preserve a future for his character, while still putting over the babyface the group is feuding with.

Wyatt is the money match. He's the payoff. If pecking order is followed, Wyatt and company should be able to pull off losing like heels should, but still remain important.

The Wyatt Family also could be ruined if expansion is too quick or unwarranted. There is nothing worse than something special getting too crowded. Too many people to follow. Too many people that don't matter to follow. As soon as EVERYONE shows up to the cool party ― the party is no longer cool, just crowded.

Trib Total Media staffer Justin LaBar has a wrestling column every Monday and Friday. He also hosts Wrestling Reality at sportstalk.triblive.com every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m.

 

 

 
 


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