...AND MARKING OUT
Leftovers: Feedback from my "rank the SmackDown! awesomeness" question:
As far as the best being between Eddy, Angle, and Benoit. That is easy. Eddy is by far the most all around wrestler in the game because he can brawl, mat wrestle, and pull off the occasional high risk when needed. And he does it flawlessly. Angle is a tight two with Eddy. The only thing is he has abandoned the Moonsault in order to keep his mat game fresh. Benoit lacks something Eddy and Angle have...mic skills.
Feedback Question of the Week:
Edge is primed to be the top face in SmackDown! along with Kane if the advance house show reports are to be believed. Opinion on Edge varies around the Net, but this may very well be his last big chance to prove that he has it. Will he make it or not? Is he finally ready to glue together the pieces of his push that were shattered in the wake of the InVasion or does he just lack that certain "something" that all great stars need to shatter the-ahem-glass ceiling? You tell me. I look forward to reading.
Welcome to another 10 minutes inside my brain. Enjoy the ride.
Just when I thought they had forgotten how to do it, the Fed proved me wrong. Just when I thought that effective managers and valets were a thing of the distant past, the WWE trots out Tough Enough I co-champion Nidia and all is right with the world. Rico and Paul Heyman have been effective managers, but I want to focus here on their female counterparts. In the span of a few short months, Nidia has quickly become my favorite valet in professional wrestling. And for that, I commend her-not because it's difficult to win me over, but because it is difficult to find the proper balance needed to be an effective valet. Not since the days of Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth/Sensational Sherri has it felt like a female valet has truly brought substance to her man. It's a slippery slope to walk and the precipice is easily fallen into, but somehow Nidia has thus far managed to keep her footing. In my assessment, a female valet has a few main duties, which sound far simpler than they are to actually execute. They are as follows:
1. A valet has to draw heat for her man. By this, I mean she has to draw attention to a wrestler and his matches without herself being the focal point to a level where no one cares about the wrestler when she isn't around. She has to make him more interesting without making it seem as if he couldn't make it without her. She mustn't over power him in terms of star power, but must be seen as bringing her own 50% to the table and not simply riding his coattails, so to speak. When this works, fans have to be mindful and aware of her ringside presence without being fatally drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Usually this is accomplished by having the valet cheer her wrestler on during matches and interfering when necessary to ensure a win. Remember Miss Elizabeth's "C'mon, ref!"s? She supported her man and advocated for him during matches in a way that made you pay attention to the wrestler and the match and not necessarily her. So far, Nidia has done well with this, we'll see if she can continue as both her and Jamie Noble's stars continue to rise.
2. A valet's character has to compliment her wrestler's character. Nobody likes a mismatched pair (when it seems that bookers just slapped a couple together because they didn't know what else to do with either one of them-see: Dudley, Bubba Ray; and Stratus, Trish). To that end, attitudes need to be in sync. You can't have nice guy wrestler with bitchy valet, because then people just cheer and wait for the inevitable break up which distracts from the matches as people look for miscommunication rather than psychology and workrate. Haven't there been those matches where all you wait for is the guy to be Irish-whipped into his valet so that she can leave him or he can leave her? In those instances, the valet-wrestler relationship is simply a means to an end (usually getting the guy over) rather than a cool on-screen relationship. Nidia brings perfect balance to Jamie Noble. She makes their efforts to be more that what they are without ever truly ascending from the trailer park all the more intriguing. I dare say that people might actually start taking a liking to the two hard working "southerners" if the Fed isn't careful.
3. A valet has to be an asset and not a liability. Here, the valet must be able to assist her man when necessary without becoming a crutch and making him dependent upon her for success all the time. She also needs to be tough enough to hold her own most of the time and not present as a walking target. If this isn't established, then the valet weakens the character she is supposed to enhance. StoneCold had this problem with Debra, for a number of reasons. One, his wasn't a character that made you immediately think of wholesomeness and marriage. He was a one-man rage against the machine and strapping him with a family just made him more vulnerable. Two, Debra was only on television because she was Austin's wife and wanted to be and thus only served to make him look like a shadow of his former self. I could hear Bradshaw sneering, "Yeah, Austin, you used to be a real tough son-of-a-bitch and then you went and settled down and now you never show at the bar anymore cuz she just brings a cooler of beer with you to the arena so she can keep her eye on you!" It always boggled my mind that when someone wanted to gain revenge on Austin that they didn't always just beat the hell out of Debra or hold her hostage for something. At least, then I would have possibly cared about her. But that would have only begged the thought: Why keep someone around that just serves to get you in more trouble then she's worth? Nidia has shown that she can help Jamie if need be, and hold her own-so to speak-and not appear as a random victim of violence in waiting.
4. A valet has to have a synergy with her wrestler that makes it all seem "real." This is another very difficult aspect of the job. Characters must have an on-screen charisma that enables rather than deters our suspension of belief. Starting with real-life relationships may be a start, but doesn't always work either, just ask Kidman and Torrie Wilson. They have been dating for some time now, but never seem to be able to make it "click" when the cameras are on. It's real for them, but they can't convey that to the audience and so, it never works for them or those of us watching at home. Nidia works tons of her magic here as you forget that she isn't a redneck and almost imagine her in all of her trailer-trash glory, making out with Jamie and whoever else happens to be around. It's not easy playing a likable slut, but somehow they pull this over the top relationship off in a way that is totally authentic.
These are the things that separate the truly effective valets from the next pretty face with an artificial body. It's the difference between caring about a wrester or his escort and caring about them both. Nidia makes you care. She plays her role to perfection and transcends such transparent valet-gimmicks as the Terri Invitation Tournament or the next young plaything of Vince McMahon and makes me no longer pity about my brethren in the trailer parks. I dare say that for sheer entertainment value alone, she and Noble are up there with the SmackDown! trinity that is Angle, Benoit and Guerrero. In short, Nidia works the fuck out of that gimmick.
Or something like that.