WWE have always seemed to be against having part time performers on the roster, and perhaps with good reason. However, that mentality seems to have changed somewhat over the last 2 years. WWE has always had part time performers in some element but not in the sense as they do today. But is the use of part timers a good thing for WWE? Should they steer clear or are they finally on to something? I look at the pro's and the con's of part time performers in WWE.
Without a doubt, The Rock's return to WWE in 2011 marked the beginning of a change to WWE's mentality on part timers. For the first time the company started to gravitate toward having a part time performer take a central role in the product. Rock hosted Wrestlemania and of course cost John Cena his match against The Miz to then challenge Cena to a match at the next years Wrestlemania, which of course Rock went on to win. He made it clear that his next goal was the WWE Championship, and after some time away came back to beat CM Punk at Royal Rumble. He then headlined the following Wrestlemania only to lose to John Cena.
The question has to be asked - Would this have been the same case for any other performer? I'm not so sure that anyone else could have pulled this off other than Rock due to the huge amount of drawing power he has. Even when Hulk Hogan tried it when he returned at Wrestlemania 9 and won the championship from Yokozuna only to lose it at King of the Ring, but I don't think his heart was truly in it any more, despite Vince trying the same old story of having "his guy" on top. He was never going to get back to his glory days as people were bored of that same old gimmick.
Looking at Brock Lesnar's return you could argue that he was also hugely successful in his comeback match against John Cena. No, he hasn't shown the same wrestling skill he once had in his matches, but Lesnar is still a huge draw thanks to his exposure in UFC. Again, his matches with Triple H were not the greatest matches but they drew decent buy rates on Pay Per View.
RVD is the latest example of a returning part time talent, and so far he has proved to be worth every penny. His highlight without a doubt was the stellar match he recently had on Raw with Chris Jericho. Van Dam is still as popular with the fans as he ever was and that shows no sign of slowing down. Undertaker is WWE's biggest name who you could now easily consider as a part timer with him now seemingly only working Wrestlemania, but when he pulls out a quality match year after year that gets people to buy the show just based on his match then you know this guy has to stay on.
Whilst drawing power will always be the biggest factor in a part timer, what are the down sides to this? Well, your biggest issue is what image does it give to the boys in the back who are working their backsides off night after night over the year to have someone swan in, take their spot they worked hard for, and they lose out on a good pay day. It doesn't sit well and we have heard top stars like CM Punk voice their displeasure with the fact that someone like Rock could just walk back in and take a spot that someone else deserved.
The other issue I have is how many times can these guys come in for a few weeks and then disappear for a lengthy period, only to the waltz back in like they have never been away and take over a spot. Fans are going to potentially get bored of this and are going to stop caring. Whilst this may not be the case with someone like The Rock there is the potential it is going to help with someone further down the line. WWE needs to handle it's use of part time talent carefully to prevent this.
There's no question that overall the part time talent in WWE has been successful so far and looks like there is no stopping the success it has had. TNA allowed it's talent to have a lighter schedule, which is what attracted guys like Sting, Kurt Angle, and Mr Kennedy to make that move. It seems like WWE has finally seen there is a value to part time talent on the roster and I hope they will continue to use the right guys who will draw the right audience. Guys like Steve Austin and Sting have serious drawing power and are the next two names I would like to see WWE bring in and promote. You can guarantee these two men could make just as much money for WWE, if not more, than some of the existing talent.
I would like to know your feelings and opinions on part time talent in WWE. Is this the way forward? Should WWE stop using part timers, or at least not give them a main event or title spot? I look forward as always to seeing your comments below. Up next I take a look at John Cena and his character. It may be a topic done many times but I look at what a potential heel turn could do for Cena and for WWE. Until next time, thanks for reading as always.