Why Calling A Wrestler The Next Whatever Is A Recipe For Disaster
At this point; a good portion of us knows about my several threads regarding the fall from grace Bayley has had this year, the 'Hug Chronicles' as I've taken to call them.
It's been quite an interesting ride looking back at it; I never intended for it to go that far. But up to this point, I had never seen any wrestler fall so far from where she was when the year started. Sure, you can say others have had it worse than her; but it's not like they were going to be a mega-star or an icon.
Bayley was a different breed, she was a 'horsewomen' who made a name for herself in NXT; she was the one woman every little girl could dream of being, she was going to be the 'female John Cena'. And now? She's being boo'ed out of buildings and is gone with a shoulder injury; it's likely she never reaches those heights again even if she does recover.
So, what does Bayley have to do with this thread?
Well, as i'm guessing most of us know by now, Asuka is heading to the main roster. We don't know when that's going to be or what brand she'll go to; but it's happening and so many people are excited for it. Asuka has been receiving praise from fans everywhere for being perhaps the greatest female worker in NXT and has even drawn comparisons to Goldberg. (Thanks in large part to her outdoing his undefeated streak)
And that is a major concern. Why?
Has anyone noticed something interesting about the NXT women that get called up? The ones that don't get as much credit like Alexa Bliss, Carmella or Nia Jax end up doing better than most expected and the ones we expect to succeed like Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Paige and yes; even Bayley; have more of the speed bumps. The one exception to this rule has been Charlotte, which even that's been a little shaky as of late.
But that doesn't just go to the women, that's also been a part of the men's side. Remember when people thought Bray Wyatt would be the next Undertaker? Or when people started comparing C.M Punk to Steve Austin? People have even compared Chad Gable to Kurt Angle, one of the greatest wrestling technicians and entertainers of all time. None of them have panned out, with C.M Punk coming the closest; and even so, he's been gone from WWE for three years and is likely never coming back.
In short: Wrestlers who get compared to other wrestlers usually don't live up to their predecessor unless it's either back accident or by sheer luck.
But there's another reason why doing this is detrimental to wrestlers, and this was brought up by Jack-Hammer. To paraphrase, when fans declare one wrestler the second coming of another wrestler; this adds more pressure on the star to perform at said level; beginning to get jaded when they start to hit the skids (be it booking wise, match wise or otherwise) and begin focusing on what they have in common instead of what the merits of the actual performer are and when they fail to reach the levels of said star, they automatically declare them a failure.
This is a mentality among wrestling fans that's been going on for years now and to me, it's a bad mentality to have. Wrestlers are not simply going to be the next so and so just because they have things in common or wrestle a certain way, Shinsuke Nakamura is not going to be the next John Cena or the next The Rock; he's the first Shinsuke Nakamura and no one can take that away from him. Even if Shinsuke never wins the WWE Championship, it doesn't take away all the great matches he's had over the years. He's still one of the best wrestlers in the world and that is never going to change.
In conclusion: Asuka is a great wrestler, she's proven this time and time again in NXT; and i'm confident she's going to do great in WWE either on RAW or SmackDown. But to compare her to someone she's not isn't going to help her in the long run, because that isn't who she is. Just like how Bayley isn't the next John Cena.
This is a problem wrestling fans have had for years and it's one that sadly won't be going away anytime soon. Am I saying that wrestlers can't be compared to other wrestlers? No, by all means; go ahead. Compare wrestlers to wrestlers, there's a reason Past vs Present was a thing for a short while. But if you are going as far as to say that they could be the next Steve Austin, The Rock or even A.J Styles, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
So if by some chance I come across a thread saying that Asuka is being used all wrong one day, I won't be shocked. Because that means the mentality has struck again, even if her booking gets better afterwards; it won't matter because once the toy is thrown away, it can't be used again.
Cat of Controversy, Writer of Wrestling