by Jason Tolland
Wrestling needs mouthpieces.
Like everyone else, wrestlers are not perfect, as much as I would love to believe otherwise. They often excel at one field, but lack in others. With wrestling, there are a million ways you can impress, and even more ways that you can disappoint people; you may be a great interview in the back, but if you suck in the ring you’re pretty much screwed. Only on rare occasions have people been able to get away with being terrible in the ring but make up for it with their personality: The best example would likely be The Ultimate Warrior. There are few people in history that had his level of intensity, and although his interviews lacked…um…substance, they always kept you on the edge of your seat. You had to listen. And when he’d come sprinting down that aisle to high-powered music and squashed a man in 60 seconds before sprinting off to the back, you couldn’t help but cheer the man like he was a god.
Then you have people like Charlie Haas. Charlie was arguably one of the best in-ring talents in wrestling at one point. In 2003 I would have ranked him as one of my favorites to watch. If there was a Charlie Haas match on a show, I can promise you I would be watching. However, the crowd never connected with him like they should have. Why? Simple: He had no personality or charisma. Later on in his career it even became a character of his, when he would impersonate wrestlers of the past because the writers felt it funny to take this guy that had almost nothing in the way of a personality and make him a comedy character. This made him arguably the most popular he’d ever been in his career. All these years of wrestling some incredible matches, and all it took to get a reaction from the audience was to dress up as Bret Hart and Beth Phoenix. If only he knew earlier.
The reason for both these examples is to prove just how great the man I am scouting today actually is: His name is Matt Cage. I first saw Matt in IWA: Mid-South at a Prince of the Deathmatch tournament (he wasn’t actually taking part in the tournament, but he had a great match on the show itself). He took part in a six-man tag and he was easily the most entertaining part of the whole match. Nothing against the others, but Cage just knew how to stand out and put the attention on him. His personality shined through and caught my attention, and then finding out he’s also a great wrestler to boot? Excellent.
How did I find out he’s brilliant on the mic you ask? Well I shall tell you. I listened to him commentate IWA: MS shows. God damn he was funny. He’s very much what Jerry Lawler wanted to be behind the announce booth. I know TNA have tried three man booths before and that didn’t exactly go as they planned, so I definitely don’t expect them to try that again. To be fair to them though, three man announce booths have never worked in the past either; just too much going on at once.
The great thing about Cage is that he could fit into any role that TNA wanted to give him: Want him to be a backstage interviewer? Done. A wrestler? Done. A manager? Done. He’s a man of many talents and he does them all with a flair (woo) that is quite rare these days. I personally feel the best role for him in TNA would be as a manager. Sadly, it’s mostly a lost art these days and although he’s a good ring worker, I don’t think he’d do enough to stand out in a company filled with amazing ring workers like Roode, Aries, Richards, Edwards, etc. His best bet would be to try and bring back some meaning to being a manager in 2014. Managers used to be one of the most important parts of any show they were a part of and people like Lou Albano and Bobby Heenan being in the WWE Hall of Fame proves that. Often times you can end up being more important than most of the people on the show: Look at Paul Heyman right now. He’s the best example of a manager these days and he was the focal point of a majority of 2013 for the WWE. He proves that when it’s done right, it can still be the best thing about the whole show. Cage has this very opportunity.
I hope one day he seizes it.
Photo Credit: Matt Cage on twitter.com