Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Hardcore Legend Mick Foley, pundits say the enterprise has got plenty of room for new blood." />

 

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   Sun, July 4, 2004



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Who's the next big star?
By TAMMY MARLOWE - Winnipeg Sun


Who's got that certain something and is on the verge of skyrocketing to wrestling superstardom? With the recent departure of WWE heavyweights Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Hardcore Legend Mick Foley, pundits say the enterprise has got plenty of room for new blood.

"They refer to it as 'lightning in a bottle,'" said Joe Aiello, a Winnipeg radio deejay and host of one of the few wrestling call-in shows in Canada. "They're waiting to see which one of these stars will catch the lightning in a bottle."

While Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and local phenom Chris Jericho have all been solid draws for WWE over the last couple of years, Aiello said they've now become the veterans of the lineup.

He puts his money on current Intercontinental champion Randy Orton -- as well as Dave Batista and 27-year-old rapper John Cena -- as catalysts for the next big WWE storm.

"They've got so much young talent," said Aiello. "You're going to find they're pushing the young talent to make stars."

One of North America's most respected wrestling journalists Dave Meltzer said he also believes officials are grooming Cena, Orton and Batista for the big time. But he's not sure if any of the guys have the right mix of ingredients to spawn WWE magic.

"The Rock or Steve Austin, I don't see anyone like that. You need one or two guys at a higher level ... it's a star-driven business," said Meltzer. "Randy Orton is very good and will be a top draw as long as he doesn't get hurt. John Cena's a great talker, but he's not a super wrestler. He has a great look and great charisma -- he's already a star, but I don't see him elevating any more."

Meltzer, who publishes the popular Wrestling Observer newsletter, said the independent wrestling scene has also not been as lucrative for harvesting raw talent as it used to be.

The WWE needs to start sinking more resources into development if they hope to catch the next shooting star.

"I think it's going to be really tough unless they really start recruiting," he said. "There's got to be another Steve Austin out there somewhere."


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