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Wednesday, January 26, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 81


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WCW lets Benoit and Saturn go; Rumble lives up to hype

The Wrestling Report

Ed De La Garza

Right about now, hundreds of people are finding it harder and harder to be World Championship Wrestling fans.

The demotion of Vince Russo has left WCW in shambles. Deciding to return to a more traditional wrestling organization, the company made much-hated Kevin Sullivan the head booker. Sullivan has a history of refusing to push young wrestlers in favor of the older guys. He also has a history with Chris Benoit.

Benoit had an affair with Sullivan's wife during an angle in which an affair was involved. Since then Sullivan has made it a point to keep Benoit from becoming a superstar.

It wasn't until Russo joined WCW that Benoit's full potential was realized. He was the company's future, until WCW agreed to release him.

Benoit and Perry Saturn have been granted their releases and are both expected to sign with the World Wrestling Federation shortly. The only condition on the releases is that neither wrestler is allowed to say anything negative about their former employer. The WWF could begin its own "invasion" angle.

Of the other disgruntled WCW employees who were offered their releases, namely Dean Malenko, Shane Douglas and Eddie Guerrero, only Malenko is expected to sign elsewhere. The WWF doesn't seem to be too high on Malenko, so expect the Ice Man to sign with Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Speaking of ECW, I'll finally begin adding more ECW news to this report, especially since the company finally has a national audience. No, it has nothing to do with Tommy Dreamer being Students' Association President Tom Cassidy's uncle.

Rumble wrap-up

The Royal Rumble 2000 found the WWF capitalizing on WCW's woes with its best pay-per-view since its Valentine's Day Massacre in February '99.

Cactus Jack returned to challenge Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the world title in a "street fight match." The no-disqualification, no-rules match also saw HHH put on his best match since Summerslam '98.

The Rock interfered, hitting HHH with a chair. Cactus Jack then piledrove Helmsley onto the Spanish announcing table. Helmsley was able to escape a running clothesline and backdropped Cactus Jack onto a pile of thumb tacks. Cactus Jack then kicked out of a pin attempt. HHH then executed the Pedigree onto the tacks, this time pinning Cactus Jack to retain the title.

The main event saw the Rock emerge as the winner. He also won a World Title shot at Wrestlemania 2000.

Entering the match as wrestler No. 24 out of 30, the Rock escaped being thrown out of the ring by the Big Show. He held onto the ropes while dragging Paul Wight over. It was a great spot.

The biggest surprise of the match was Rakishi Fatu, who dominated the first part of the rumble and the inclusion of Bob Backlund.

In other matches, Chris Jericho finally won sole possession of the Intercontinental Title in a three-way match against Hardcore Holly and co-IC Champion Chyna.

The New Age Outlaws retained the Tag Team Titles in their wretched match against the Acolytes, the Hardy Boys defeated the Dudleys in a table match and Kurt Angle suffered his first loss at the hands of the debuting Tazz.

The only true abomination of the evening occurred when PPV customers were treated to nudity -- via Mae Young. I can complain all I want about there being no place for this kind of crap on wrestling shows. I can complain all I want about men vs. women angles. I can complain all I want about demeaning women in angles. But it just doesn't matter.

Why would the WWF let a spectacular PPV be marred by letting an 80-year-old woman flash her breasts? Oh, that's right. Sports entertainment.

Other than scarring fans for life with the Miss Rumble 2000 contest, the WWF put on a great show. It showed that even without any competition (until ECW catches on nationally), Vince McMahon isn't going to take things for granted.
 

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