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Volume 68, Issue 150, Monday, June 23, 2003 

Arts & Entertainment

WWE identity crisis should confuse fans

Men in Tights

Ed De La Garza

Professional wrestling fans are some of the most stupid people on the face of the earth. Stupid and forgetful. Well, at least thatis what World Wrestling Entertainment writers hope.

Kane came unto the then-WWF as a mute, horribly disfigured monster. The Undertakeris little brother was a hellion to say the least. Fast forward more than four years later and the Big Red Machine has suddenly developed vocal chords and his horribly disfigured face is no longer completely covered up by a mask. Triple H exposed Kane as a necrophiliac and damn near drove him to suicide, but suddenly, he wants him to join Evolution.

Speaking of Triple H, he belittles Booker T prior to their match at Wrestlemania and jokes about his five reigns as World Championship Wrestling Champion. He does this while he drapes the same WCW belt across his shoulder.

Raw announcers Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler spent the better part of two hours wondering about who the fourth member of Evolution would be. Anyone remember Batista? Prior to his injury a few months ago, Evolution was composed of Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista.

Steve Austin walked out on WWE. He wasnit dismissed, wasnit on the shelf with an injury and didnit request time off to film a new episode of New Bridges. He didnit like the direction of the company, picked up his gear and walked out. During his "hiatus," the Texas Rattlesnake hit his wife Debra in their San Antonio home and fled the scene. He turned himself in days later. Debra, being the good wife she is (and perhaps frightened out of her skull), dropped the charges. Now itis all good, and itis back to beer binges in the middle of the ring.

Vince McMahon banishes Hulk Hogan from WWE. Hogan returns with a new gimmick, this time with something that covers up his wrinkled leather face. He obeyed the letter of the law. Hoganis not back, but Mr. Americais kicking butt. Funny how he has the same rivalries, moves and build.

Rey Mysterio lost his mask to Eddie Guerrero back in WCW, but he re-emerges in WWE with a new version of the mask. Now itis a matter of life and death. Now no one can take it away. Now he and Guerrero are boys.

Continuity be damned. This is professional wrestling, a world where common sense and booking donit meet. Donit think too hard, lest you end up craving the good old days when Tony Schiavone was calling the plays.

Slow builds donit happen very often anymore. People donit have the attention spans needed for WWE to pull them off. But WWE doesnit have the writers needed to pull them off either.

If it did, the brand extension would be working.

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