The Main Event Vol. 118 - Climbing The Corporate Ladder

The Main Event Vol. 118 – Climbing The Corporate Ladder

Welcome to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s get right to…

THE UNDERCARD

Zelina Vega made a claim that she has put female managers on the map again; and in all honesty, can you argue with that? She has been on fire as of late and is probably the RAW star who receives the most television time. Her stable, although not all that convincing, has come a long way in a very short amount of time. She serves as their spokesperson and you have to admit, she’s pretty good on the mic. If this trio ever disbands I’m hoping that Zelina continues to stay by Andrade’s side because he may not survive without her. She brings a lot to the table and she has taken full advantage of COVID-19 causing big names to stay home. She is standing in that spotlight and shining brightly.

AEW beat NXT in the ratings again this week. But that’s nothing new. What is new is that Orange Cassidy is quite possibly a draw, considering he always shows up with strong quarter-hourly numbers. He definitely appeals to the casual fan who I’m sure can relate. Me and mizfan recently spoke about why fans can relate to Orange Cassidy. In essence, he presents the lethargic nature of modern society today. Everybody doesn’t want to do much and at times we approach life in an apathetic manner. That is what Freshly Squeezed brings to the table and it would appear that the fans love him for it. I most certainly do.

RAW is drawing historically low numbers and I wonder why that is. Could it be because of a lack of atmosphere in the arena? Is it because a lot of the big names are staying home due to the pandemic? It’s almost as if WWE never really thought this issue through in its entirety. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I wish Vince could grasp that concept. This would have been the perfect opportunity for an off-season and the numbers prove that. Creating a sense of longing certainly has the potential to bring in more fans. Perhaps this is another missed opportunity on WWE’s part for a future plan to bring more eyes onto the product. All I know is that Vince will begin to take drastic measures if the decrease in ratings do not subside.

THE MAIN EVENT

Climbing The Corporate Ladder

The concept of climbing the corporate ladder is so on the nose. It lacks any form of subtlety in the sense that it speaks volumes about how the WWE Corporation works. If you’re not deemed suitable for a prominent spot on the card you will never climb the corporate ladder. Its concepts such as these that makes me feel like we’re still a part of the Reality Era. It’s WWE’s way of showing the world that they are in fact a corporation who will not push a wrestler based off there worth and the reactions that they receive. Instead, those who are liked by the corporation – and those who fit the mold of what a star should be – are the ones pushed to superstardom. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the standing of the MITB competitors on WWE’s corporate ladder, all the while predicting who would win the respective MITB matches.

Let’s start with the women…

Womens Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Asuka

Asuka managed to climb the ladder of a brand that used to be largely overlooked by Vince McMahon and his corporate affairs. So it should come as no surprise that Asuka was able to succeed in NXT. However, once she delved too deep into the corporate nature of the main roster, she faded into a lesser role. The truth is that her stagnant position on the main roster can also be attributed to the culture divide in WWE (and other mainstream wrestling promotions). Unfortunately for Asuka, the big boys of WWE are on the fence on whether or not she should be pushed effectively. The Empress Of Tomorrow is on the middle spectrum of the corporate ladder and only time will tell if her position will elevate.

Carmella

Like Asuka before her, Carmella has tasted gold on the main roster. However, she is most certainly not considered amongst the top tier of women in WWE. She’s pretty enough for her not to go unnoticed by Vince, and she definitely doesn’t suffer from the hindrance of a different culture; so it’s interesting to see her not ascending the ladder beyond her current positioning. I suppose this all boils down to the notion that not everyone can be a main-eventer. She is a steady hand in the midcard of the Womens Division, and although I believe her to be fairly well liked by the corporation, I don’t expect her to reach the very top of the ladder.

Dana Brooke

Dana is one of those women who always gave off the perception that she’ll never be more than just a helping hand in the Womens Division. However, recent weeks as seen an upturn in her fortunes. Luckily for her she is blonde; a trait that Vince truly appreciates in his female cast. Yet her blonde hair can not even save her from remaining on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder. Yes, she is in the midst of a push of sorts, possibly because of her brief back and forth with Batista not that long ago. But that heat will only last for so long and once it dies down she will seemingly be forgotten once more.

Nia Jax

Another interesting conundrum. Personally, I do not enjoy Nia’s work at all. She’s slow and prodding in the ring and lacks charisma. As the monster she’s meant to be she’s only half decent. But with that being said, in they eyes of WWE she has intangibles that other females – and most males – cannot lay claim to; namely, being The Rock’s cousin. A good monster is needed in any division, but I don’t see her as being all that good. But my opinion doesn’t matter. Because of her familial relations to The Rock she will forever be on the upper spectrum of the corporate ladder.

Lacey Evans

The Sassy Southern Belle is exactly the kind of women who will be given all opportunities to climb the corporate ladder. This has been more than evident in the way she has been booked since debuting. She is tall, pretty and blonde. In fact, you could even say that she’s a Charlotte 2.0. On top of that she’s a former Marine. And in what world would Vince not push a woman who has all those attributes? Lacey Evans is being primed for a successful tenure in WWE and at this point only she will be able to halt her ascent. WWE currently has other plans, so she likely won’t climb the corporate ladder this time. But one thing’s for sure; she will always have access to that ladder and will reach the top plenty of times during the course of her career. She’s just the perfect fit for WWE’s corporation.

Shayna Baszler

Baszler may not be the embodiment of a corporate superstar like Lacey Evans is, but she too brings with her an intangible. That intangible naturally being that she is a former MMA star. The cage fighter is the type of wrestler Vince and his corporation actively strive to employ. In Vince McMahon’s mind MMA stars bring legitimacy to his promotion of oily men (and women) pretend fighting. She was always destined to get pushed. Besides, she has the added advantage of being involved in a storyline that would sensibly make her a lock for the win. I don’t think there’s any denying that Shayna Baszler is climbing the corporate ladder this Sunday.

And now, onto the men…

Mens Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Otis

I honestly don’t see what WWE sees in Otis as a singles star. But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Otis as part of Heavy Machinery yet I doubt having him go out on his own is a wise choice. He certainly is a loveable big guy and you know how Vince feels about big men. Perhaps that is what’s prompting this push. Still, I find it perplexing that Otis is involved in this match considering he is not normally the type of wrestler the corporation would seek to push. Maybe his chemistry with Mandy Rose is the driving force behind this push, especially factoring in Mandy’s suitability to Vince’s ideals. In any event, this is probably the closest Otis will ever get to climbing the corporate ladder.

King Corbin

The Lone Wolf has received backing from Vince for quite some time now. He appears to be well liked backstage, as is evident with his regular prominence on WWE television. I don’t see what Vince sees in this guy, but I suspect he’ll be close to the apex of the corporate ladder for a while to come, even though he may never be at the very top. I highly doubt he’ll be pushed to the heights that WWE wish he could attain due to certain aspects that he lacks. But from a corporate perspective he has certainly cracked the code, deservedly or not.

Rey Mysterio

The Ultimate Underdog may have stepped foot on the top rung of a ladder, but it was not the ladder which matters most; that of the corporate variety. He managed to reach the top of the mountain due to incredibly sad circumstances. As we all know, Vince and his corporation will never look the other way if they can make money by playing off of people’s emotions. It’s a sad reality that has always plagued WWE. Despite all this, Mysterio’s stock in the WWE has always balanced out. It’s because of this that he will remain in the upper echelon of WWE.

Aleister Black

Black appears to be WWE’s new pet project. With an elaborate entrance and prominently featured, Black – who has amassed a winning streak due to favourable booking – finds himself in quite a good position. He is not your conventional corporate guy when you look at all his tattoos and smaller frame, yet someone in the back has taken a liking to him. He certainly brings a brooding intensity to the ring and that is only in his favour. Due to WWE’s lack of vision for Bray Wyatt – who was widely regarded as the heir apparent to The Undertaker’s mythical status – Aleister Black may now find himself on route to that title. As of this writing I am unsure of how far up the corporate ladder Black is allowed to climb. We’ll just have to sit back and witness how far he can go.

Daniel Bryan

What a legend Daniel Bryan is for overcoming corporate manhandling. Labelled a B+ player by that very corporation, he managed to void the stigma put upon him by WWE brass with the aid of the fans and proceeded to create one of the greatest Wrestlemania moments of all time. For the first time ever a wrestler was able to stick it to the man (in real life, not kayfaybe like Austin’s storyline motivations). But yet he’ll never be seen as a true star in the eyes of Vince McMahon. Nevertheless, he has worked hard to maintain his spot near the very top of the corporate ladder. What a great inspiration for overcoming oppression.

AJ Styles

The Phenomenal One has created a near untouchable presence in WWE. Not because he necessarily fits the mould of what Vince likes to see in a top champion, but because of The Chairman’s fear of Styles going to AEW and bolstering their ranks. That is AJ’s trump card as I’m sure he knows Vince doesn’t want him running amok in a rival promotion. AJ has been at or near the top of the card ever since he debuted four years ago. AJ Styles definitely has all of what we would consider the tools to build a successful career in WWE and somehow Vince might believe that too, despite AJ’s perceived shortcomings. He’s a good merchandise seller too, and that surely counts for a lot in WWE. Bearing all of that in mind, I’d say AJ is the one who is climbing the corporate ladder all the way to the top.

There you have what I believe are the positioning these wrestlers who are competing in MITB have on WWE’s real corporate ladder. At the end of the day it’s all about who can bring the most dollars in for the corporation. If you succeed at doing that you’ll have the full backing of Vince and his money-hungry partners. Couple that with being a well liked yes man and you’re have a great chance of staying afloat in WWE’s corporate cesspool. You have to fit the image of what WWE pictures a top star should look like. Either that or you have to have an intangible that cannot be denied. Only then would you even have a hope of reaching the summit of the corporate ladder.

DARK MATCH

Quick Money In The Bank Preview

Overall, I think this show has the potential to be pretty good. This show only has one match that may be a dud, but the rest of the matches all seem to make sense. This will undoubtedly be a very unique experience for everyone watching the show; whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing we’ll only find out on Sunday. The main focus is naturally on the two MITB ladder matches and rightfully so. Those two matches are extremely significant and it will make or break this show. The entire show hinges on the success of this outlandish new idea, so let’s hope it attains that success in spades. I’ve have actually been watching all WWE’s programming since Wrestlemania and I’m mildly enjoying it. At least I’m up to speed on everything that’s going on.

Although, I still don’t know why WWE has to book a match between Bayley and Tamina. I’m definitely not a fan of Snuka’s daughter and this match has the potential to be a dud. I’d much rather prefer Lacey in this role. Bayley should definitely win this match, especially if WWE are going down the Banks/Bayley route which looks likely. As for the Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way Match, I’m hoping all eight men can deliver something hot because the division as a whole is in much need of it. New Day definitely retains, but if these wrestlers are the only teams in the division then WWE has a tough road ahead of them.

The two World Championship matches are the matches I’m really excited to see. Both champions got credible, sensible feuds to start off their title reigns. Strowman/Wyatt is a logical story considering their history. I did like the buildup but what I like even more is that Bray is facing Strowman instead of The Fiend. Bray’s demonic counterpart needs a timeout. Strowman retains in a match I’m hoping these two guys can make work. On the red brand, Drew and Seth have been having a sleeper feud. It makes sense for Rollins to be the challenger when you look at the roster and see that he’s basically the number one heel in the company. Couple that with these two men both beating Brock for a World Champion at subsequent Wrestlemanias and the story writes itself. I’m expecting a good match between these two, with Drew undoubtedly retaining.

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And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. Do you think any of the MITB participants have the ability to climb the corporate ladder? Are you excited for MITB? Please let me know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can pop me an email at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time folks…

This is Don Franc signing out.

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