Like many people I was thrilled to see Montel Vontavious Porter, otherwise known as MVP, return to a WWE ring at the 2020 Royal Rumble. Though his appearance in the match was brief, it was good to see a former fan favourite back after a long time away from the company. MVP’s return was certainly surprising, but his cameo raised just as many questions as it did eyebrows.
Was this a return to in ring competition? Would he be joining WWE in a backstage role? Could he be an on-screen personality, potentially in the role of a superstars manager? While we waited for a definitive answer, MVP would go on to feature on the last 3 episodes of Monday Night RAW. His return has so far seen him lose to Rey Mysterio, put Drew McIntyre even more over than he already was on an edition of the VIP Lounge and most recently lose to Drew in a short but effective match.
The most logical path for MVP to follow would surely be that of an on-screen manager, lending his charisma and personality to one of the many superstars struggling in those areas. He may not be able to hang with the best in the ring anymore, but who could WWE’s original Baller help to elevate to superstardom? Let’s take a look at the leading candidates:
End. The. Rusev. Lashley. Storyline. Now.
It astounds me that with all the good Paul Heyman is doing over on RAW, he is still overseeing the storyline that has castrated Rusev of all credibility he has built over the years. What is even more confusing is that without receiving a definitive explanation for her actions at the wedding ceremony, Liv Morgan has been separated from Rusev altogether. The sooner this garbage ends, the better. Move Rusev onto a mid-card title program and pair him with a great talker like MVP. Rusev may be over with the WWE Universe, who still chant Rusev Day at every opportunity, but the fact remains he still isn’t fully comfortable cutting a promo. Aiden English was every bit as important to Rusev Day as Rusev was himself. I don’t particularly want to hear MVP singing, but he could tap back into the heel side of Rusev, reverting back to the days when he was a silent killer who carved out a path of destruction during the undefeated streak that followed his main roster call-up.
Perhaps the most obvious candidate on the main roster, Ricochet is crying out for a mouthpiece. This isn’t just an opinion at this point, it is an almost universally known truth. Why exactly is he on the list? Ricochet is an incredible athlete. He's a human highlight reel, and perhaps the most exciting performer on the roster at the moment. Nobody can do what Ricochet can do. Unfortunately when you give him a moment to speak, things aren't quite as awesome. Robotic, awkward promos where you can tell Rico isn’t comfortable being told what to say, especially when he is spewing the same kind of motivational nonsense that Hulk Hogan was famed for. The downside to giving Ricochet a mouthpiece is that traditionally, babyfaces don’t have someone doing the talking for them. The role of manager is usually reserved for a heel, backing up a fellow heel. Could Ricochet ever believably come across as a bad guy? His style doesn’t lend itself to turning heel, so this pairing would require MVP to step out of his comfort zone as a face. Not the biggest stretch by any means, faces can certainly be arrogant and confident, but this one could be a step too far, even for MVP. It may be a bit extreme to say Ricochet needs saving this early into his WWE career, but something needs to change before he fades away even further into mid card obscurity than he already has done.
Similar to my point about Rusev, Lashley also finds himself as the victim of some horrendous booking decisions. An absolute monster, this man should be firmly in the main event scene competing against Brock Lesnar for championship belts. That is, after all, why he returned to WWE in the first place. Shortly after his return a couple of years ago, Lashley was paired with Lio Rush. This was arguably the hottest Lashley has ever been. Rush was absolute fire on the mic and could incite a crowd like not many other managers could do. Rush helped to elevate Lashley and give him some sort of character again which saw him capturing the Intercontinental Championship from Finn Balor, but since Lio stepped back into being a full-time competitor on 205 Live and NXT, Lashley has suffered. Badly. Stuck in the most embarrassing program of his professional career (Yes, worse than his 3 sisters), Lashley needs to quickly move on and ditch Lana so that he can pair up with MVP. Imagine the arrogance and brashness of MVP knowing he has an absolute beast in his corner who can actually back up and prove everything that he has to say. We are in serious danger of forgetting just how good Lashley is in the ring.
Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Now I know what you’re thinking. Yes, Cesaro and Nakamura do already have a manager in Sami Zayn who just happens to be one of the best talkers in the business. The problem with the current grouping is that Sami has for a long time been known for two things, comedy and running away. Cesaro is not the type of guy who should be running away from opponents, slipping out of the ring to escape. Cesaro is a bonafide badass. He is pound for pound the strongest athlete within all of WWE and should have a manager who hypes him that way. Nakamura is known for his hard-hitting offence, lethal strikes and for exuding confidence… not for running away at the first sight of danger. MVP is every bit as arrogant as Sami, but he is also more of a fighter and could easily build Cesaro and Nak up to come across as the threats we know that they can be. Cesaro has proven time and time again that he isn’t comfortable using a microphone and the lack of a world title on his resume can be accredited to this one weakness. Nakamura has tried his best and did briefly strike gold with his character pretending to not understand English, but that was only going to take him so far. Now that Nak is longer the Intercontinental Champion, why not have him and Cesaro go after the tag team titles with MVP helping from ringside?
While it is a shame to keep placing someone as talented as Cesaro into spur of the moment teams, some guys are sadly destined to never be more than that. Alongside Sheamus we have seen the best of Cesaro because he has somebody to fall back on who is a confident talker. It would be a crying shame if we see The Swiss Superman, one of the greatest athletes that WWE has ever seen, move on in the future without holding more gold.
Oh Shorty G. I mean Chad Gable. No, wait what do I mean? Gable seems to have completely lost his identity despite having a complete character overhaul and name change. Currently in the middle of being fed to Sheamus week after week, Gable is in desperate need of somebody to back up his incredible talent. Gable is hands down one of the best technical wrestlers that WWE has on its books, a pure thoroughbred athlete in the mould of Kurt Angle.
The issue around Gable isn’t so much that he lacks charisma or personality. He isn’t the worst talker in the business, on the rare occasion he gets to speak, and is a very believable babyface. The problems around Gable are more to do with consistency. In a fairly short space of time we’ve seen the multiple time tag team champion paired up with Jason Jordan, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Roode, Mustafa Ali and it seems to be heading the same direction with Apollo Crews. Gable was the first victim for Sheamus upon his return from a lengthy injury lay-off and it has seen his stock in the company plummet to an all time low. Once this is all said and done, Gable could benefit from someone to back up his amateur wrestling credentials and his fairly impressive short tenure as a member of the WWE roster. He wouldn’t even need to turn heel, the dynamic here would stem from having a proud all American who has represented his country at Olympic level, be represented by a man who wants to live vicariously through him. MVP and Gable are polar opposites to eachother, but one look at The Broserweights over on NXT will tell you how successful the odd couple pairing can be when done right.
Who do you think could benefit from MVP representing them? Let us know in the comments!