Maybe it’s that he was taken up by WWE Developmental before his third year on the Indies. (Heath began in 2004. Developmental started yo-yoing him in 2006.) Maybe they just dilute the potential of all wrestlers who venture forth into a WWE-approved training camp. Maybe his calling just is someplace other than the ring. Whatever it is, it seems that there are many wrestling fans that have given up on Heath Slater.
He’s not a failure. Certainly if you ask any die-hard WWE-Universe-badge-tote-r, they’d say that he’s “making it” in the WWE. He’s got trading cards, action figures (yes more than one, I DID check) his face is on cups and t-shirts, and he’s only been devoid of the tag titles for a VERY short time. Plus he was in the SmackDown Money in the Bank match, so it doesn’t look like he’s a failure at all right now.
And yet, I am continually amazed at something.
Heath hasn’t had nearly as many injuries as the other wrestlers in his age group. In fact, I can’t remember him having one nasty concussion or broken leg during his televised WWE run. He’s healthy. He has full use of all of his senses, and again the WWE is keeping him on the mid card of SmackDown, with promise of a new storyline in the very near future.
Heath is a Sports Entertainer. Just about the type of wrestler Vince McMahon would want as a supporting player for his televised action soap opera.
……. Heath can neither wrestle nor cut a promo. Evidence of such appeared on SmackDown this past week:
Now isn’t that amazing? Injury-free, is just a few inches shy of meeting McMahon’s “Mold of perfection” and just in that right age group too.
But Heath bless his heart, lacks mic skills, can’t wrestle and if you’re listening to the crowd, has NO power over the fans! He can barely act, stick to a storyline, cut a promo, tell the difference between a Boston Crab and a Sharpshooter, thinks an Irish Whip is a malt-based drink, and for some reason (as seen above) the boy has yet to master the art of NOT looking into the camera.
….And yet somehow, this guy is “making it” in the WWE.
Now there are three wrestlers that I’m thinking of. Three men who are different. Different to the point where WWE wouldn’t care about two of them, and the third has had to jump through 10 times as many hoops, just to get to the low-card spot he’s at. And I find this baffling. Let’s take a look at those three in a random order:
1. Bryan Danielson ~ As you heard in the above video, Bryan’s vision is impaired in one eye. He has no use of his left ear. He’s been concussed more times than I actually remember, and has been plagued with injuries and infections his whole life.
Bryan (as seen above) can out grapple Heath any day of the damn week.
2. Gregory Iron ~ Gregory has cerebral palsy. He has little use of his right arm and he’s survived a life-threatening brain aneurysm.
Gregory can out-wrestle Heath, and unlike Heath, knows how to own the crowd.
3.Silent Warrior ~ http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Silent-Warrior-Fan-Page/147918228606562 Silent Warrior is deaf. He can only communicate via sign language.
… AND HE’S A BETTER TALKER THAN HEATH!!
The three wrestlers I mentioned are all different, don’t fit McMahon’s mold, and yet each of them excel at wrestling. Each one of them can get the crowd to react, put asses in the seats, and keep them coming back for more. Each one!!
So why then are there so many people who are less likely to take a chance on these three, (Unless it’s the “popular” thing to do) then they are with someone like Heath?
Who says I need a corporation to dictate to me what is and is not “cool” in wrestling? As wrestling fans, we owe it to ourselves to think on our own, instead of following the top company blindly.
Now like I said, these three men each have disabilities to live with, and each one is amazing in the ring. Each one is able to own the crowd. And they are not alone! There are other wrestlers in the world, who have HUGE fanbase, are a promoter’s dream, and have disabilities.
Joey Ryan, Colt Cabana, X-Pac and Blue Meanie all have asthma. All four men own the crowd every time they wrestle for AAW, Chikara, ROH, NWA and so forth. All four men can wrestle like nobody’s business. Not one of them fits McMahon’s mold, and yet all are phenomenal wrestlers.
Zach Gowen lost a leg to cancer. He’s still being hailed as an inspiration to many people who dream of being wrestlers. He can still do it!
There’s even a promotion out in Japan called Doglegs, that has run shows built around disabled wrestlers:
So think about it, WHO is really “making it” in the wrestling world?
A disabled man with the crowd in the palm of his hand, or an abled man, who’s just flying by on his looks?
I pity Heath.