I will not lie that this month was very tough to come up with an idea to do for the series. Now I don't think that the series is anywhere close to ending, but it is just the idea of trying to find interesting things to write about using this series concept. Also with the upcoming debut of the Monday Morning QB series we maybe reaching a peak for this series either way though I will be sticking with it for the time being. During the Monday Night Wars we saw a lot of people jump back and forth between the WCW and WWE with some going back and forth a number of times. One name that did have a run with the WWE in between his time in WCW that never really got going because of an unfortunate substance abuse issue. For those unaware "he was a man such a man... he was a real... a real man's man" the former Lord Steven Regal had a short run in late 1998 with WWE before getting let go by early 1999.
Following a stay in rehab Regal did return to the WCW for a little over a year before leaving the promotion in February 2000. Once again it wasn't long before Regal resigned with the WWE, but it was different this time as Regal was sent to the WWE's developmental territory for a short stint prior to heading to the main roster. This time around things were different and Regal would not only become the commissioner and a top heel, but he would really find stability for the first time in many years.
The reason for this edition of the series though is to focus on Regal's major run between 2007-2009 which is when he won the King of the Ring tournament in 2008. During that time Regal was a top heel in the company feuding with names like John Cena, Triple H, and Mr. Kennedy. This was most prominent position Regal had ever been in within the WWE and there was a rumor going around at the time that after his King of the Ring win Regal might've been in line for a reign as WWE Champion had he not gotten suspended. Though it might be hard for some fans to believe it is a possible situation considering the amount of heat that Regal would get at the time and his status within the company as a reliable hand.
Once he returned from the suspension he did win the Intercontinental championship soon after his status in the company would never again reach where it was in the above period of time. In 2009 Regal would be drafted to the ECW brand and though did once again reach the level of a top heel I'm not sure how much weight that carries considering the status of the brand he was on. His career was on it's last legs though as he would retire from active competition in 2014 becoming more of backstage/coach for the NXT brand. In my opinion there is very few talent better to help mold the new generation then someone who has been a member of this profession for as long as Regal has been. Either way though he is one of the many names that fans wonder what if when it comes to him holding the World Championship. The reality of it is though it might've just been a little "Too Little Too Late."
Back in the 1980's fans saw a golden age of managers in the WWE with names like Bobby Heenan, Fred Blassie, The Grand Wizard of Wrestling, Jimmy Hart, and various others lead the charge. The class of manager in the WWE during this time has been a sight that has never come to the WWE again since then. Adding to that names like Jim Cornette, Paul Bearer, and Mr. Fuji who would join the elite class of managers later in the 1980's and into the 1990's. Sometime in the 1990's the WWE would lose interest in managers as they would begin to faze them out during the ruthless aggression era.
Though some fans might point out to a handful of names that were given the managerial role in WWE during the 2000's but they never have reached the peak it did during the 1980's. Now don't get me wrong Vickie Guerrero, Theodore Long, Armando Estrada, Davari, Paul Heyman, and various are among the best the business has seen. Comparing the idea of having one manager on the entire roster as oppose to having five or six with each manager having four to five different clients. I know that a lot of things from the territory era has changed, but one thing that is still a need as some names could benefit from having a manger.
Overall it all goes back to the main rumor that Vince hates managers and in a way this was proven when Paul Ellering was removed from the Authors of Pain upon their debut on the main roster. However, I think that by now most fans are aware of Triple H's affection for the old school with NXT at one point or another having a lot more managers then the main roster had seen in years. Does this mean that things will change when Triple H gets the ball well not sure and we'd have to wait and find out. The one thing I do know is that opening the door for more managers would be a great way to use retired talent & other wrestlers that don't have anything going on at the moment.
For example, what the company did last year with Axel & Dallas managing The Miz in the Miztourage. In conclusion though I think it is fair to say that as for right now the WWE's opinion on managers will not change and any semblance of more than just a few managers being around will not happen. The reality of it is a manager isn't like it use to be and another golden age doesn't seem to be in the cards right now, a return how things use to be might "Too Little Too Late."
Since his debut on the main roster many people have wondered if the "Bulgarian Brute" would be able to land the top spot in the company. Based on the heat that he was garnering upon his arrival in the company some thought it was only a matter of time. However, things began to change and much like so many after him Rusev hit the "dark ages" of his time on the main roster. His "dark ages" saw lackluster feuds with John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, and Lana this really derailed all of the momentum that he built since his arrival on the main roster. This forced the WWE to really start over with Rusev and rebuild him from the ground up which really didn't happen until the launch of #RusevDay.
Now I don't think that anyone including WWE creative could've predicted the success of #RusevDay and just how popular both Rusev and Aiden English has become from this gimmick. Once this gimmick started to take off the fans immediately insisted that either Rusev should capture the World or Tag Team titles to capitalize on the insane amount of popular of his gimmick. However, thus far the WWE has yet to much with Rusev and his incredibly successful gimmick which has left fans including myself very puzzled. This one is very different then most other things I have talked about with this series because they never actually made an attempt to push him like we have seen before.
Overall though seeing AJ Styles fight Rusev for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules was a sight that many of us have been waiting for and the feud getting more build then AJ's other feud this year was icing on the cake. In a way this title shot for Rusev really gave fans of his current gimmick his future in WWE a shred of hope that the "Bulgarian Brute" could become a top star in the company before his future becomes "Too Little Too Late."
Up until the modern era many wrestling companies always had a very deep tag team division with a lot of teams not only staying together for years but some stayed together for their entire careers. During the 1990's one the top teams who would spend time everywhere was Rick and Scott Steiner. The Steiner Brothers would get their big break in the NWA/WCW really taking off following the name change in the late 1980's. The brothers would leave for WWE in 1992 but wouldn't stay that long for whatever reason spending sometime in ECW before heading back to the WCW. Both Rick and Scott would remain with the company until the end of the promotion in 2001 spending time as the top flagship team in WCW before they'd finally go their separate ways.
At Superbrawl 1998, Scott would turn his back on his brother to join the New World Order and even though at the time this was a special moment the company did nothing with it. Even though after the turn Scott would stick out from the pack with his look changing and landing Buff Bagwell as a manager. However, it took a long time for them to give him a singles chance even a step above his previous position. The one thing I will point out is that the company seemed to always want to build talent from the ground up like they did with Booker, T and Steiner. Before he got his massive position into the Main Event he would have runs as both Television and United States champion.
Looking back it wasn't until late 2000 when the company would finally give Steiner the opportunity to lead the company. Now don't get me wrong he wasn't the easiest person to work with based on all the stories talent has told but there is no doubt that he was over and could've been given a shot sooner. In my opinion Scotty's reign with the World Title was a highlight for the end of the WCW and could've helped the company boost the ratings a little bit. I think that Scott would've been a breath of fresh air for the company and the fans which would have also given some fresh matches for the company. However, this was really a little "Too Little Too Late" for things to have changed.
Starting his career in 1982 crossing between both Jim Crockett Promotions and All Star Wrestling in Canada. Rude wouldn't find his footing in wrestling for the next two years really until he returned to Memphis in 1984 and found the gimmick that would make his career. Upon his return to Memphis he would find the "Ravishing" gimmick that would make him famous, and it would start with him feuding with Jerry Lawler in his never ending rivalry as a hired gun for Jimmy Hart. Rude would then move around a little more acting sort of like a freelancer spending time in CWF, World Class, and Jim Crockett Promotions before finding a long term home in the WWE. Though his run with the company didn't last a ridiculous amount of time his stay with the WWE was his longest run with a company up to that time which was about three years.
Rude would have many of his famous feuds as a member of the company including his feuds with Warrior, Piper, and Jake Roberts. Fact is I do believe that even though he might have only held the title once he did go down as one of the best Intercontinental Champions in history. In October 1991, Rude would be apart of one of the most shocking moments in pre-Hogan WCW with Paul Heyman introducing him as his new client. Rude would then become the leader of the Dangerous Alliance along with Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, and Madusa, this stable is one that most fans call underrated cause of the amount of talent in the group. One of Rick's highlights in WCW was winning the WCW International Heavyweight title which was formerly the NWA World Title prior to the NWA with drawing from WCW. Rude durting his career would be a multiple time International Champion prior to his retirement in 1994.
Rude's career would be cut down in his prime during a match with Sting for the International title when he caught a flying Sting but caught his back on one of the raised mats at ringside. Rude would hurt his back and it would actually end his career this would take him away from the spotlight for the foreseeable future. In 1997 it would be a marquee year for Rude as he was the most valued asset in wrestling working for each of the big three at one point or another. At first he would show up in early 1997 with Extreme Championship Wrestling starting as a masked man and then ending up as a color commentator with Joey Styles. Rude would then become the first and only talent to work for both WCW and WWE at the same time choosing WCW over WWE after the Montreal Screw job.
In the Spring of 1999 rumors started popping up that Rick Rude could be making his way back into the ring for the first time in six years. According to Eric Bischoff it was a part of Rude's Lloyd's London Settlement that stopped him ever returning to the ring. However, I am unsure that without Rick updating his gimmick if he would've done as he did the first time around. It is also possible that Rude's in ring skill would've fallen off to the point of being nowhere close to where it was before. I know it is tough to predict what could've have happen but I just think that at the height of the Monday Night Wars an in ring return for the "Ravishing One" was a little "Too Little Too Late."
This might be something that nobody who watched the WWE during the "Ruthless Aggression" era would've expected just based on how easily replaceable Doug Basham was when he was on the main roster. However, first of all you need to remember that the WWE did have developmental territories before NXT and one of them was OVW which was the territory that gave the company a number of top stars. Unfortunately though a lot of the talent that called OVW home never was able to catch on within the ranks of main roster WWE for one reason or another and one of those names was Doug Basham.
During his time down OVW the man once known as The Machine would spend time as both the top heel and top face in the company. This all would change though when as Jim Cornette said in an interview "One night my top heel came in the door and he was bald." As the story goes they had him shave his head to see what he would look like bald before he came up the main roster mind you at that point Doug had a full head of hair. Just think about this in OVW they had Doug fighting under mask against the likes of Nick Dinsmore, Rob Conway, and Danny Basham trying to spoil the opportunities these good guys were getting within the WWE as far as tryouts and other opportunities go. The main layer of this angle was Doug had a falling out with his uncle Danny Davis and left wrestling only to return on the mask after becoming spiteful of those mentioned above. Now compare this to his first storyline on the main roster where he and Danny had an S & M gimmick with Linda Miles as their handler.
Overall the Basham Brothers were a solid tag team and among the best in the division during the weakest points for the WWE's tag teams. But it is hard not to wonder how things would've been different had the WWE saw the talent and potential Doug had to be a singles competitor as oppose to wasting him within a placeholder tag team. Honestly, I think that seeing Doug's success in the lower level I think that Doug could have be a stable mid card singles talent to add more depth to the WWE. I've seen a little bit of Doug's work at the time and he had potential but for some reason management didn't see it in him or didn't get the point of developmental at the time. Now some might point to Doug's short singles run following the split the Basham's had due to the draft, but I do think at that point it was a little "Too Little Too Late" for anything to really happen.
Too Little Too Late: Brian Pillman
Looking back the last golden age of wrestling brought us a lot of great moments, but it also allowed for a lot of missed opportunities. During the war a lot of talent shifted between companies back and forth some multiple times and others one they switched they never went back. During the "Age of Attitude" a number of talent were unable to find their potential for one reason or another and one of those stars was Brian Pillman. From his time at the start of his career in Calgary to his move to North America as a member of World Championship Wrestling it didn't take fans long to realize just how talented the man then nicknamed "Flyin" was.
While a member of the WCW there were a number of opportunities for him to fulfill his untapped potential & become a top star in the wrestling business. Though Brian at this time was still on the younger side he was slowly bringing together all of his skills including incredible in ring skills and among the best on the microphone. According to the WCW Timeline: 1990 featuring Jim Cornette who spoke about Pillman and the planned push that was scrapped in 1990 following Sting's debilitating injury. After watching the DVD I firmly believe that if the angle would've have gone off the right way then Pillman would've likely become the World Champion & maybe that would've been enough to keep Flair in the WCW.
Before you think I am going to skip over his run in 1996 before heading to the WWF don't get me wrong it was a great run, but their was no way Pillman would've been World Champion. I am aware that it was around this time when Brian had the tragic motorcycle crash, but also not long before that he was the most intriguing talent in the business after the "I respect you booker man" stunt. However, due the shortsighted nature of that angle and Bischoff not working out Pillman's return before he left the legs were cut off the angle soon after it got going.
Either way though it is hard to say that Brian Pillman at one point or another wouldn't have or couldn't have been in the Main Event of WCW or WWF at a time. I will go out on a limb and say that had Brian not had the terrible accident I think he would've have finally had his feud with Steve Austin for the WWF Title. There is no doubt in my mind that Brian as the Loose Cannon in Attitude Era WWF would've have worked and done extremely well. But WCW coming to the realization of the talent they had and his arrival in the WWF was just a little "Too Little Too Late."
To continue what I started last month in taking situations that haven't happened yet but at this point seem unlikely to happen and talking about them instead of talking about things that have happened. Since his career kicked off John Cena has really been looked at a talent with a tremendous potential and thus far he has proven exactly that. Cena did start his career off very slow, but when it got going he very quickly became a top star within the company during a time in which the company really needed some new top talent. By the time Cena won his first World Title in 2005 he was something unlike anything else the company had in decades.
But now you look at things like the fact that Cena has been a good guy for over 15 years at this point and has pretty much also had the same gimmick for that time as well. For years internet fans have been begging the WWE to turn John Cena heel and allow the "franchise" of the company to not be a good guy for once. However, into his forties at this point the company has moved on from him and found their next "franchise" even though Roman is not on Cena's level it was time for him to be replaced. Even with this in mind it doesn't matter though that John will be able to turn heel at this point as he is part time player now and this makes it even tougher to flip him to the dark side.
Though there might be other ways at this point to be able to turn John heel it isn't extremely easy to turn heel a top star that has been a good guy. Keeping in mind the amount of members of the IWC that have been dreaming of Cena's heel turn I am not sure if at this point they'd care as much about the anticipated turn due to the ascension of Roman Reigns. At this point I think it is safe to assume that John will continue down the road of being the company guy until he leaves the WWE for Hollywood like many have before him.
Since his unwilling retirement a few years ago many fans have wanted Bryan to return to the ring and felt that if he is good enough to return he should be allowed to, and the WWE's doctor doesn't know anything. Either that or due to the companies current lawsuit against them from both CM Punk & other former employees this could make them want to avoid Bryan being in the ring if he is actually risking severe injury. At this point though most fans wonder if Daniel will leave the company and get back in the ring. However, I do think that if Daniel does return to the ring I don't think that he will leave the WWE or do I hope that he choses to stay just for his safety and WWE being able to best protect him.
With current rumors though it seems like the company is setting up a plan to allow them to protect themselves if Daniel does decide to leave. The current rumor is that the WWE will attempt to turn Daniel heel before his contract expires to try and "damage his mainstream appeal." However, I think that aligning him with Kevin & Sami Zayn if that is how they would turn him I don't think that would hurt him and could actually help keep him fresh. The reason that Bryan wouldn't be affected is because I believe that he would be looked at sort of a cool heel and not really an evil person especially compared to a McMahon.
Overall looking back at Daniel Bryan's tenure following his retirement and the fact that he really hasn't gotten off the idea of returning to the ring. This really has I would assume the WWE has wished that Bryan would drop the idea, but it just shows how little Bryan wanted to retire and that it wasn't his choice. Now do I think that Bryan will get back in the ring. I absolutely do think he will and it wont be in the WWE. Bryan being in a WWE ring again seems to be very unlikely, but the idea of seeing Bryan in the ring again is still likely.
Now this might be me grasping at straws but it also is sort of the point of this series. This really is one of the top memories for fans when it comes to the latter days of the European Championship title. For those who may not remember Al Snow would defeat Perry Saturn for the title back in August of 2000 on an episode of Smackdown. In the following weeks Snow would actually come out to different music and using flags from different European countries. This I feel like was Al Snow moving away from the "hardcore manic" and more to the comedic guy much like Mick Foley did when he started doing Socko.
Now don't get me wrong this actually did give new life to the European title that felt very weak & insignificant at this period of time. To the fans that didn't watch the WWE at this time the prestige of the European was looked at as lower then the current status of any WWE title. In my opinion before Al Snow's reign this title really could've been retired for good and nobody would've missed it. However, Al's run didn't change the fact that the WWE really didn't care about the title at this time and that it was only a matter of time before the title would be retired.
Though part of me feels as though they tried to get interest back into the title by giving Al a comedic run with the belt. However, the title at this point was dead and it was only a matter of time before it would retired. The problem with this title is that the WWE never cared about it even though this could've been a title that helped build new stars or give lower card talent something to work for a fight about. Either way giving someone a meaningful and interest drawing run with this title may have been a little "Too little too Late."
This section has to do with moments that may have happened a little "Too Little Too Late."
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