syxxpakk wrote:EDIT: Sorry, I somehow lost all of your quotes. Good luck trying to decipher that, heh.
It's ok, I'll figure it out.
You might not have known this, but Rikishi made his debut in wrestling in the 80s. He went through a ton of shit gimmicks from being your stereotypical Samoan, to a nice thug, to the Sultan, before dancing made him one of the biggest acts during the WWE's biggest business year ever.
I did know that but I admit that I was so concentrated on how ridiculous his dancing gimmick was that I didn't take it into account when I was responding to your post.
Regardless, aside from a very brief run as a heel, his level of success is no where near the level of any of the other names that you mentioned.
When I say talent, I don't necessarily mean in-ring abilities. Of those you mentioned, the ones with strong personalities IMO would be Storm, Malenko, Haas, London, and Kendrick. Michinoku does too, but it's a different kind and it doesn't work in America unfortunately. Regardless, while they have strong personalities that when used effectively (Malenko's late 2000-run or his feud with Jericho; Storm in WCW; Haas now in ROH; London and Kendrick on the indy scene), I don't think anyone would ever compare them to the same level as the ones I mentioned.
In the case of most of the wrestlers I named, unfortunately we will never know what could have been if they had been given proper pushes in the WWE. Lance Storm should have dominated the mid-card until he was rightfully raised to the main event but instead, his style was mocked and he was unfairly buried. Dean Malenko could have had the same type of success as Chris Benoit or Eddie Guerrero but he never even had a chance to succeed in the WWE because he was immediately stuck in the neglected Light Heavyweight division and then forced into feuds with Divas. One of the best technical wrestlers of all time and a former member of the Four Horsemen, reduced to fighting Divas.
Where do you get that his name was selling merch? I mean it might have been but I don't know that's as on point as you think it is. I don't think he was ever a major mover either way, except maybe early on in 2001.
Between 2001 and the time he left the WWE in 2007, Rob Van Dam was consistently one of the most over superstars on the roster. He was definitely more over than Rikishi. Sure, his name wasn't Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, or Triple H but just go back and watch any of his matches and watch the crowd. They absolutely loved him. The problem was, Rob Van Dam was an established name before he came to the WWE and Vince McMahon couldn't add anything to the character. Because of that, he suffered in mid-card hell for years before they finally gave him the opportunity. Unfortunately, he screwed himself by violating the rules of the WWE's Wellness Program.
But it has nothing to do with him being an ECW-creation and everything to do with Jack Swagger getting tons of publicity for his character. If RVD was getting the kind of press at the time he got busted that Swagger is now, it probably would have happened a lot differently.
The mainstream controversy surrounding Swagger and Colter's characters is already dying out. There will be no long term benefit from outside the WWE Universe for it. Regardless, it shouldn't matter if he draws one ass to a seat or one million. Jacob Hager made a boneheaded mistake, I don't think that he should be fired for it but I definitely think that there should be some type of consistency shown on the WWE's part. If you are going to take championships away from a guy for violating the policy, the least you can do is take away another person's title shot. Otherwise, what's to stop the next guy from violating the policy? What happens then? Jack Swagger gets off scott free but what about the next guy? "What's that Vince, you're going to let me go because I smoked a joint? Jack Swagger was arrested for a DUI and drug possession and he got to wrestle for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania!"