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The Chosen One(s)


HarmonicGenerator
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"In every generation there is a Chosen One. He alone will be pushed against the midcard, the veterans and the rest of the roster. He is the Project."

 

 

Terrible Buffy reference aside, there's a prevailing idea of wrestling, and WWE in particular, having a 'Chosen One' on their roster, a guy they pin all their hopes on being a massive star, the face of the company, the marquee act, etc etc. But recently, that idea's been failing - with live crowds, anyway. The latest incarnation of the Chosen One is Roman Reigns, and that idea is one of the reasons people tend to give for booing him - because they're 'supposed to' cheer him, because he's being pushed 'down their throats', because he's the 'chosen one' and they don't like being told who to like. John Cena has suffered with the same thing for years.

 

But it seems like the idea of a Chosen One has been a thing in WWE for decades, and it's never really been that much of a problem before. You find a guy who has 'it', you build him up, you push him to the moon, and business is sorted for the next few years. It's an almost fundamental unwritten rule in WWE. 

 

Doing my big Kurt Angle rewatch and reaching 2003 has made me remember that Brock Lesnar pretty much got this kind of push from the off when he arrived in 2002. Almost immediately positioned as the 'Next Big Thing', bulldozed over everyone, and was the Undisputed Champion five months after debuting, and one of the most prominently featured people on TV after that. I also remember having a similar kind of feeling to the one described above - Brock didn't 'deserve' to be pushed so high so quickly, they were trying to 'force' me to get on board with him, they just 'gave' him the title and he wasn't a 'real' champion, he was just the Project. I was such a twat I only ended up liking him when he turned heel again in summer 2003! I sound like wan of dem. But I was a minority on that, it seems, because the crowds generally seemed to go along with his push.

 

Austin and Rock both got 'Chosen One' treatment as well. The popular narrative is that their rise to the very very top was totally organic, built on natural crowd reactions that just got bigger until they had no choice but to make them the top guys. But listening back to all the SCG timelines, I can't see that. They both caught on, organically, sure, but once WWE knew what they had, they both had a rocket strapped to them - these guys were destined to be the top guys as far as WWE were concerned, and they were absolutely instrumental in cementing it and making it happen. As far as I can gather anyway.

 

Then you go back to the late 80s/early 90s and Ultimate Warrior absolutely seems to have had a 'Chosen One' push. They needed a 'new' Hulk Hogan (who was probably another guy to receive the treatment) and they got it in Warrior, they built him and built him and made it so. Or they did with me anyway because Warrior for life, Hogan's rubbish, boo Hogan yay WrestleMania VI.

 

With all of those, the fans got on board with what was happening and helped to propel these Projects to success. And it was good. Now, they will tend to - not always, I guess, but I struggle to think of a recent example otherwise - they will tend to actively turn against anyone who they suspect is even getting an inkling of one of these pushes, sometimes purely because they appear to be getting one of these pushes. Even if they liked them previously, or liked them so much WWE decided they were a Chosen One.

 

What changed?

 

Is it exposure? Are guys just on TV so much now that it's that much easier to get sick of them? Is the model outdated? Do WWE need to push their top prospects as heels to get the fans to like them? Are the live crowds a misrepresentation and the acts are actually successful? Is it possible for there to ever be another 'Chosen One' that will become the megastar of WWE?

 

These are the questions I ask, in the hope that others will answer and not just tell me I'm wrong.

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Austin was never the Chosen One. He was never destined by anyone in WWF to be a top star.
He was hired to be a solid worker, a 'good hand'. Vince didn't even think he could talk, which is why they put him with DiBiase at first.

 

Austin got himself over and then WWE latched onto him and pushed him to the moon.

 

 

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On STWW, Prichard tells the story of Vince being the one to say "how can I market a guy with black trunks and black boots?" about Austin. Apparently Vince hated Austin's accent and, after Prichard received word from Heyman that "you need to let Austin talk", Vince instructed Prichard to only allow Austin to say a couple of lines. Steve Austin.

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I forgot about Lashley. There never seemed to be a massive backlash to him like with Cena. Whether that was because the push only lasted a few months before he buggered off or because he never quite got to the top, I don't know. I think the reason you can't think of anyone between him and Reigns is because the combination of Lesnar leaving after two years and then Lashley leaving after so much effort had been put into him burned them on giving anyone else a megapush for ages afterwards. Speaks volumes of their confidence and trust in Reigns that he's had the push he's had.

 

 

Austin was never the Chosen One. He was never destined by anyone in WWF to be a top star.
He was hired to be a solid worker, a 'good hand'. Vince didn't even think he could talk, which is why they put him with DiBiase at first.

 

Austin got himself over and then WWE latched onto him and pushed him to the moon.

 

That's the key thing for me though. They latched onto him and pushed him to the moon. It's not like they gave him the title because they didn't have anyone else or for his long service or something. Once they latched on, he became a Chosen One - they built the company around him for years, that can't be credited completely to Austin!

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Austin was never the Chosen One. He was never destined by anyone in WWF to be a top star.

He was hired to be a solid worker, a 'good hand'. Vince didn't even think he could talk, which is why they put him with DiBiase at first.

 

Austin got himself over and then WWE latched onto him and pushed him to the moon.

 

That's the key thing for me though. They latched onto him and pushed him to the moon. It's not like they gave him the title because they didn't have anyone else or for his long service or something. Once they latched on, he became a Chosen One - they built the company around him for years, that can't be credited completely to Austin!

It doesn't take a great promoter to realise someone is getting over and going with it though [although WWE has shown they struggle to even do that in some instances these days]

Rocky, due to his looks and lineage, WAS a chosen one right from the start - how he was booked early on was evidence of that. Same with Reigns. Austin wasn't. He BECAME the Chosen One, sure, but that was after he gave WWF a reason to care. Shit, he wasn't even booked to win King of the Ring where he cut the Austin 3:16 promo, HHH was. It was only due to the MSG Curtain Call that plan was culled.

Of course it was WWF and Austin together that caused him to go stratospheric but 'Chosen One' to me indicates someone Vince, or whoever, sees almost right from the start and goes 'Yup, that's my guy!' and that was not the case with Austin.

 

 

Edited by Snitsky's back acne
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Austin was never the Chosen One. He was never destined by anyone in WWF to be a top star.

He was hired to be a solid worker, a 'good hand'. Vince didn't even think he could talk, which is why they put him with DiBiase at first.

 

Austin got himself over and then WWE latched onto him and pushed him to the moon.

 

That's the key thing for me though. They latched onto him and pushed him to the moon. It's not like they gave him the title because they didn't have anyone else or for his long service or something. Once they latched on, he became a Chosen One - they built the company around him for years, that can't be credited completely to Austin!

It doesn't take a great promoter to realise someone is getting over and going with it though [although WWE has shown they struggle to even do that in some instances these days]

Rocky, due to his looks and lineage, WAS a chosen one right from the start - how he was booked early on was evidence of that. Same with Reigns. Austin wasn't. He BECAME the Chosen One, sure, but that was after he gave WWF a reason to care. Shit, he wasn't even booked to win King of the Ring where he cut the Austin 3:16 promo, HHH was. It was only due to the MSG Curtain Call that plan was culled.

Of course it was WWF and Austin together that caused him to go stratospheric but 'Chosen One' to me indicates someone Vince, or whoever, sees almost right from the start and goes 'Yup, that's my guy!' and that was not the case with Austin.

 

 

 

 

Yeah, that's fair. Austin's slightly different then - but I'll maintain that WWE could have almost as easily decided not to go with that momentum he'd started to gather and just ignored it to stick with the plan. Austin made them change the plan so that he WAS the plan, but it's not hard to imagine if a similar scenario began to emerge today it would go down differently - either WWE wouldn't go with it, or they'd go with it big-time and fans would probably turn against it. That WWE managed to play the rise of Austin so well is a great credit to them, and I'll maintain that becoming a Chosen One still makes you one at some point - it's not like he was a top star against their better judgement or anything. Once they realised what they had, they made the most of it. But okay, I'll give up Austin as being different!

 

I still think I'm on the right track with the others though?

Edited by HarmonicGenerator
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Slight departure, but on the same theme; Okada in NJPW. I'm guessing from the majority of fans' perspective, he was forgotten. Went to the U.S, presumably as part of his learning curve, even ending up in TNA (getting slapped around mostly as I recall). All of a sudden he's back in Japan, not just back, but as the new IWGP Champion & the 'chosen one'. First 6 - 12 months, I bought into it completely. There was still some 'green' in him, but that'd presumably be ironed out in time.

 

Five years on & despite a pretty constant push, I get the impression his popularity isn't close to where Tanahashi's was at say '07 -'13...not that I particularly want Tanahashi back on top now. From what I gathered a couple of years back, the owners see him as the future, the guy that'll get mainstream, domestic attention & propel the Company forwards. Doesn't really seem to be happening, despite more worldwide coverage since his crowning. WrestleKingdom attendances aren't great. Excuses were made for the poor attendance in 2016, but this year's figure was only up by a thousand or so. Not necessarily blaming the lad for too much of that, as other factors are in-play, but for me he lacks something. In-ring, I don't see any great improvement. 'Heavy Rain' & 'Rainmakers' were all well & good back then, but they're essentially some sort of side-slam & a clothesline - not a Stan Hansen clothesline either. Maybe I'm going against the grain. Fuck, it wouldn't be the first time, but the guy just tends to bore me now. I don't rate his matches as highly as I used to, as a lot of it comes across as same old. His contests with Minoru Suzuki have been particularly poor (for me). The latest being a snoozefest. Selling, selling, selling, but never quite enough, to no ultimate end, aside of having a forty-odd minute match. Bore off.

 

Losing; AJ, Anderson (singles Anderson obviously), Ibushi & Nakamura all of whom could potentially had stints on top was pretty calamitous for New Japan & it looks like the immediate future is still going to be all about Okada. Thank the wrestling gods for Shibata, Naito & a few others.

 

 - Not that he is on top, other than temporarily in NXT, but I've never 'got' Bobby Roode either. Rick Rude, yeah, Bobby, not at all. Solid, nothing more to me. - that's just to qualify that I'm one clueless shit4brains fool.

Edited by KingofSports
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I'd say Austin is maybe the best example of someone grabbing on to that famous brass ring, Vince always goes on about. Vince didn't really see much in him, at first, but Austin made sure that didn't last long.

 

The Rock and Triple H are probably better examples of "Chosen Ones". Both always put the work in, like, but it's pretty clear Vince had a twitch in his pants for those two. Even when Triple H was supposedly in the doghouse and didn't win the King Of The Ring in June, over the curtain call in 1996, he was IC champion by October. 

Edited by ColinBollocks
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