Sunday 15 May 2011

Dominant to the Core

Judging by recent developments on SmackDown it looks as if Ezekiel Jackson may have bagged himself another strong push. He’s split from the Corre and is set to challenge Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental championship at Over the Limit. There’s still another week of television to be recorded before that match, but at the moment I think Big ‘Zeke has a good chance to win the belt.

What’s frustrating about all this is that he could have been placed into a higher position on the card last year. He may not be the most amazing wrestler anyone’s ever seen, but he’s got an impressive physique, impressive power moves and decent verbal skills (that I believe could become pretty good with time and practice) to use to his advantage. WWE could do far worse than him when it comes to creating a new main event wrestler.

When he was first introduced to WWE audiences he didn’t have a surname, and was acting as a henchman to the super-talented Brian Kendrick. The idea was to pattern their relationship on that of Shawn Michaels and Kevin ‘Diesel’ Nash. Presumably this would have meant Kendrick capturing the Intercontinental or United States title before Ezekiel gradually turned face and then defeated him for the belt. In the notoriously mercurial WWE of the 2000s, that didn’t happen.

After several false starts and periods of time wasting Ezekiel, now with that scintillating Jackson surname, was brought onto RAW. Winning quick, decisive squash matches he caught the fans attention and gradually began receiving genuine babyface reactions. At the time I thought he could amount to something if they stuck with that approach and slowly let him demolish larger names, working his way through the roster to a mid-card or world title.

But it wasn’t to be.

For no apparent reason he was switched from RAW to SmackDown in December 2010. The change was hyped with video packages for a few weeks, but when he began appearing in-ring it was clear there was nothing lined up for him. He was a founding member of the Corre, which was just a reboot of the bungled Nexus angle. That meant it was going to be tough for the faction to get over. So tough, in fact, that they still haven’t several months later.

What was irritating about the move is that it was so short sighted. Ezekiel had been built up for months on RAW and was beginning to get over. Moving him to SmackDown served little purpose and turning him heel served less.

The recent booking of SmackDown looks as if ‘The Personification of Domination’ is now seen as a prospective face draw again. I hope that’s the case. His run on RAW proves that people will react to him if he’s booked correctly, something WWE should be hoping for from all its talent right now. The jump to SmackDown and inclusion in the Corre may have been bungled and halted his momentum, but it looks as though it was only a brief setback. With Intercontinental title matches rare on pay-per-view these days I think the upcoming Barrett v Jackson match shows that WWE’s booking team sees potential in both men.

He’s not to everyone’s tastes, and he’s not ever going to be named as my favourite wrestler, but I do think he’s got enough positive attributes to make it to the top. Doing so wouldn’t just be good for him, it would be good for WWE in general.

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