New angles, old favorites
return WWF to former glory
By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff
Never say never.
Suddenly it's fun to be a wrestling fan
again. World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling
exist in name only. The World Wrestling Federation has a
virtual monopoly in the business.
The WWF's Vince McMahon,
whose much-hyped rivalry with son Shane failed to bring ratings, looks
confident that wrestling can be exciting again.
New federations are welcome to try their
hands at creating a legitimate No. 2 corporation, but without Vince McMahon's
muscle, none are likely to succeed. Wrestling has yet to return to its
glory days when 7.0 was a usual overnight rating for Raw. But none of that
The WWF is running its best angle since
Steve Austin was first chasing the World Title, and it will work so long
as they don't run it into the ground. t's like watching the first
stages of WCW's New World Order storyline.
For the uninitiated, the WWF bought rival
WCW (for as low as $10 million according to some reports). It basically
only bought the brand name and its extensive video library.
Not all wrestlers under WCW contracts were
brought over to the WWF. Some — namely Goldberg, Ric Flair, Sting, Kevin
Nash and Scott Steiner — were bound to TimeWarner
and would require buyouts.
Steiner may be welcomed in as soon as a
shoulder injury heals, Sting retired and Flair may be brought in for name
So the WWF chose to bring in only a select
few. It then turned the purchase into an angle. It put Shane McMahon in
charge as the fictional owner of WCW. Always wanting to
one-up his father, the younger McMahon
"invaded" the WWF, crashing Raw on numerous occasions with run-ins.
But the angle didn't captivate the audience's
attention as planned. Matches featuring WCW stars were ratings killers.
So Paul Heyman — former ECW head honcho
and now a WWF announcer — turned up the heat by waging war on both the
WWF and WCW with former ECW talent. But it
turned into a swerve (and a huge mark-out
moment) when Heyman teamed with Shane McMahon to form "The Alliance" and
revealed Stephanie McMahon as ECW's new
Vince McMahon's brood wanted to bury the
old man and the WWF. Add Austin's funny-as-hell comedic heel turn and you
have some very good television.
There was a time — before ECW entered the
picture — when the sole reason to watch Raw was to see Austin and Kurt
Angle trade barbs. Angle wearing a little cowboy hat
stands out as one of the funniest moments
in WWF history.
Austin had been a cool heel and a cool
face before, but never a funny one. Nobody knew he was that good an actor.
As of now, the WWF has lined up a Saturday-night
slot on TNN for what it plans as a highlight show.
That could all change if The Alliance establishes
itself as a true ratings draw. Then again, the plan had been for WCW to
get either Raw or Smackdown following the invasion
What the blue hell?
The Rock is back, The Rock is back, thank
God almighty, The Rock is back. Yea.
Actually, no one can electrify an audience
like The Rock. While he'd still be better as a heel, his re-appearance
(he finished work on The Scorpion King) certainly re-ignited the
WWF. And his new "What in the blue hell?"
catchphrase will never get old.
He now begins a long-awaited feud with
Booker T. It's one of the match-ups people wondered about had WCW and the
WWF ever been able to produce a joint PPV.
Booker has done a good job of getting over
with WWF fans — in spite of the "spinarooni." He's the WCW Champion Sucka
for a reason.
The WWF isn't likely to put Booker over
The Rock, but having him drop the WCW title wouldn't be a good idea. Besides,
a Booker/Rock program will keep Rocky busy until it's
time for a revenge feud with Austin.
There is in fact a new wrestling federation.
Main Event Championship Wrestling, owned by alleged wrestling fan John
Collins, has already produced a free live show and is
looking for a TV deal.
Among the talent Collins and MECW claim
to have (or are pretty close to signing) are: Dusty and Dustin Rhodes,
Chris Daniels, Buff Bagwell, Steve Williams, Brian Christopher,
Viscera and the Rock and Roll Express.
Only true superstars need apply.
Without a TV deal, MECW is doomed. It probably
won't get a deal without any star power.
Randy Savage was rumored to be a part of
the organization, but he's also been rumored to be developing his own company.
Any company that thinks Bagwell is a star
is going to fail miserably.
The WWF knew this and got rid of the crybaby
just one match into his "New WCW" career. The old WCW never realized this
and look what happened to it.
Yes, The Wrestling Report is back. I'd
say by popular demand, but I'm not sure how much of a demand there is for
it anymore. It was set to end (partially) because there just
wasn't a reason to watch wrestling anymore.
It had gotten stale — and there wasn't
any competition for the WWF. One can only hope the invasion angle is carried
out with more thought than the NWO story.
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