The Three Kings pt. 1...The Wayward Prince.
'Although no community can protect against all threats, we can provide incentives for local communities to take comprehensive steps and to maintain those efforts over time. The 'USA Freedom Communities' will be a voluntary initiative that will give a special designation to communities meeting certain criteria related to preventing and responding to terrorist threats. The criteria can include, among other things, the following measures:creation of a Citizen Corps Council; operation of VIPS,Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps, and CERT training;Strengthening all-hazard community planning*; improving public awareness and education;and persuading citizens to support local first responders. Governors, working in cooperation with mayors,other local officials, and FEMA, will determine whether or not a community has met the criteria for designation.'
The USA Freedom Corp, Craig B. Hulet, The Hydra of Carnage:Bush's Imperial War-Making and The Rule of Law:An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire
(*'All-hazard community planning' no longer (circa 1995) has much to do with natural disasters, like floods, hurricanes, etc. It is newly defined as FEMAs ability to deal with public disturbances with the deployment of Pentagon assets (=the Military).
(The theme song for Mollyopoly # 20 is 'The Clincher' from Chevelle. Oh, and by the way...Bush? As in President Bush? Bush SUCKS. And we got him for another 4 years...4 years that just might bury YOU and everybody you know.)
This is issue # 1 of a 3-part series focusing on the 3 new Kings of Raw. Once upon a time, that trio was Austin/Rocky/HHH (or you can sub out HHH for 'Taker). As for now? One of the names hasn't changed (HHH), but the other two names are the names of two somewhat fairly rapidly (?) developing superstars directly under the tutelage of himself and Ric Flair. And those names are: Randy Orton and BATISTA (I do things in CAPS when I tend to talk about BATISTA, even when I shorten his name to BAT, because EVERYTHING BAT does IS BIG. See?). Let's proceed on to the first ish of this trilogy.
The Celebration, it seemed, would envelope all in its far-reaching embrace. The Celebration, it seemed, was sustained by a fire that would never grow cold.
The Celebration, it seemed, would last...forever.
But...in the midst of all that gold...that fantastic shower of riches that rained down from the heavens, stood The Wayward Prince...jubilant. Carefree. And yet, too accepting of the spoils, the riches of his sudden ascent to the top of the WWE mountain...too quick to partake in the customary sip from the Goblet of Champions so many had done before. Far too quick to discount failure. And so, in the glory of the bathing he received in that shower of gold, The Wayward One could never know of The Grey Men, who cast no shadow, who had no lifeglow of their own, but who saw EVERYTHING.
And they had seen that their prodigy stood, in that shower of gold...
The Kingdom would not stand long ruled by this One.
Ah.....it gets lonely out here in Mark-ville, USA.
When I feel that I am wrong, I tend to correct myself. When I am in error, I tend to state as such. When I overestimate the talent of certain young WWE Superstars, I state that as well. I apparently overestimated the worthiness and ability of Randy Orton to capably wear the clothes befitting Raws' top face.
The reactions to him-to anything he does-are all over the place, but seem to generally be one of 2 extremes...either a decent upper-midcard level acceptance and at other times somewhat, oh, I don't know...indifferent? People are fickle, so I'm not going to even focus on that. People are still marking out HARD over The Undertaker and John Cena. People are going to mark out for whoever they feel like. People are watching Raw just to see Gene Snitsky. I myself watch Raw-intermittently, these days-just to see the bountiful curves and somewhat stuck-up manner of a certain short-haired female wrestler whose name I needn't mention who is NEVER on T.V. Everybody got their something, and something different floats everybodys' boat. Thus the same with Orton. So these are my impressions of 'The Legend Killer,' and they are mine alone. I mean, I could pull up numbers that would corroborate the fact that Randy Orton is a much worse draw as a champion than, oh...say, HHH or even Chris Benoit-who actually scored the highest average ratings while he was WHC. But I'm not going to do that. I'm gonna do this instead:
Well, visually it seems that Mr. Orton appeals muchly to the fairer sex. Women-for the most part-dig on Randy Orton, so much so that this appears to be the main crux of his push on the WWEs' part. Women have libidos too, and the WWE generally tries to capitalize on all things that begin with 'libid' and end with 'o.' Can't fault them there. Of course, his model-type looks are much better suited for a heel persona...for obvious reasons. Most males simply want to boo him out of hand. Of course, when the WWE and Orton alienate the male portion of their male-dominated audience, that only hurts them. And especially Orton. No one is going to book Raw down the card, now are they?
Randys' very entrance routine is a heels' entrance...and this is where I began to realize that my problem with Orton isn't directed at him; no, rather it is directed at the booking...all the people behind him. I looked at all the other things that I would put in this super-category of 'package' (everything OUTSIDE of the wrestling part of the wrestlers' resume)-look, mic skills, charisma, acting ability and was surprised by what I found. Not so much surprised at the findings, but by the level of my initial markout over this guy:
His 'look' is fine. Nothing wrong here...he LOOKS like somebody I would want to mold into the face of my company. Perhaps, though, 'representative' is a better word to use than 'face' as Mr. Orton clearly is a much better (and more readily acceptable) heel.
Mic Skills: Over-rated...and I thought they were overrated as a heel, too. Even at my most lost point of markdom over this guy, I knew he sounded somewhat forced and robotic on the mic. He did NOT sound like a 'cocky-cool' 23-24 year old 'world-beater' should sound. He sounded like a really bad actor in a low-level off-Broadway play. Put simply: He's a charisma guy with average mic skills. Stiff as a board, and always seemed to be trying waaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard to remember his lines even as he would periodically stumble over them. Or mispeak. Simply put, he seemed to be trying to hard to play a role as vs. just being himself and his speaking skills were always backed up by his charisma level-which is quite high and were thusly acceptable from a pro wrestling standpoint. And he was getting pushed, so of course he was gonna talk...whether or not that was his strong suit. But to me, he is not and never has been better than an average speaker, kind of like a poor-mans' Trish Stratus. But where Trish generally knows what to say and how to say it, Randy shows no mastery of knowing what to say or how to say it or even WHEN to say it. Take note of this when he struggles every time he tries to make an off-color comment. He cannot get the crowd behind him when he speaks UNLESS he is in the protective cocoon that playing the role of heel provides. Then he can bail himself out by bragging, riffing on whatever city he happens to be in that night, riffing on other faces, etc., etc. But,as he IS a charisma guy, and is still only 24, and is more than passable as a heel when speaking, there is still more than enough room for tremendous growth here.
But, for now, he's a face, which is a role he seems somewhat uncomfortable with. The gesticulations; the wild facial contortions...the pandering to the crowd, for Gods' sake...! Randy Orton is The McRib Sandwich of WWE faces right now, and this should not be Ortons' lot-face or not. Everything he does right now runs counter to his 'cocky-cool' billing. Now, his character is that of a complete tool. And he still has much to learn about cutting a face promo. To be fair, he isn't bad in a speaking role...but the WWE is filled to the brim with average speakers who never get to speak. Orton should take heed...and improve. He is-as far as the WWE is concerned-like The Rock-a worker whose greatest strength is his microphone work...and this skill should most fully define him. The actuality of the situation, however, is this: His character is based on two things: his finishing manuever and his look. Which makes him what would happen if DDP and Buff Bagwell were to ever have a baby. Of course, DDP had much more of a grasp of ring psychology than Orton does, and DDP knew how to consistently execute his finisher.
Charisma. Off the charts. In the upper-bandwiths, as a heel or as a face. But his type of charisma seemingly lends itself more towards the heelish end of things. Or, the writers could simply come up with an appropriatley edgy babyface persona for him. The fact that he is charismatic leads me to believe that most of his 'failings' are due to poor booking and inexperience...in whatever order you feel like putting them in.
Acting ability. Below-average. I was convinced that Orton was playing a good heel in that mode...but he failed to really make me believe he was that heel-in a good way. In some respects, yes. Orton was a punk and there are some instances that suggest that this may have a fair amount to do with reality. I won't go into them here...you all have the internet, go look them up yourself. But he was also playing an over the top sort of uber-heel, which didn't click for me, it didn't work. Bruce Campbell can go over the top and make you love him...hell, so can Gene Snitsky. Orton cannot. There is a difference between playing a role, and transcending it and suspending belief and making us believe that you ARE that character. But he was closer to doing that than convincing me that he's the heroic, all-American good guy, cocky-cool babyface he is right now. This role is not for him, not right now. He needs the protective cocoon that playing the heel offers, or he needs to be moved out of the main event, where all of his weaknesses are magnified. One of the two.
This would actually be a good place to state this impression of Randy Orton: As a face, it seems that, in his promos, he is most definitely NOT being himself. His promos are the same promos that The Rock cuts (see cadence, tone and delivery)-albeit of a much lesser quality. His promos have the aftertaste of HHHs' DX promos (see when he tries to make off-color comments. That's the old Trips circa late '97-98)' promos-again, of a much lesser quality. His mannerisms combine these two legends* and also that of Booker T.(see the telegraphing of the RKO). Hell, for a while there, the WWE was basically pushing him as some kind of strange amalgam of The Rock and Stone-Cold (see post-match all-out RKO fest ('stunner-fest') on large groups of men. Look familiar?). Hell, we should just rename the guy altogether:'The Stone-Cold Legend-Killer' Randy T. Rock. We should just call him that until the WWE lets this kid develop/show his own personality. I'm not denegrating him for this, again...my issue is with whoever is responsible for putting the guy in that position. It's hurting him, and the longer it goes on, the worse this will get.
(*note:I'm gonna refer to HHH as a 'legend' here, even though I don't think he fits the criteria-10-time World Champion or not-just to make my case.)
In-Ring: Were it not for Randy T. Rocks' failings and fumbles on the microphone, this area of his development would be very readily overlooked. However, those skills are what they are...so here goes. It's not his 'limited' moveset. It is not necessarily his execution of these moves-all of the time, that is. In my mind, it's this: ring psychology. He has a lot to learn about when to do these moves. When carried (And this is not an insult) by the HBKs' and HHHs' and Flairs' and Foleys' of the world, he looks fine-not great, just fine. Above-average. Stick him in the ring with Shelton Benjamin or Edge, and his deficiencies start to show (not because Shelton/Edge are bad workers, they just have much to learn about psychology too, particularly Shelton). Stick him in that same ring with people well-below his talent level wrestling-wise (see his Raw match with Batista,1/10/2005), and you really start to see it all: the inability to use moves in their proper context at appropriate times;the over-reliance on rest-holds (particularly as a heel); the inability to fill in gaps in the match with anything other than his predictable punch/punch/european uppercut combination.
His moves are good enough, and they fit his body type. He throws a beautiful dropkick, and his modified/inverted backbreaker is a really cool move, and when he uses it at the right times, it is a really, really REALLY believable move. His running fistdrop is a cool old-school move. His Euro-uppercut looks nice. He could stand some work on his punches, however. HHH could/should (has?) teach him a thing or two about that. This brings us to his finish.