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WRESTLING COLUMNS

A Look at Recent & Future WWE Talent Cuts
February 13, 2004 by Mark Rose


Over the last week or so the WWE has been announcing some talent releases. Reasons for these releases have varied from cost cutting, simply not having a spot for the worker in question, making spots available to bring up new talent from OVW, and the general attitude of the worker in question. Most of them for the most part have not really been surprising. There has been one in particular that kind of surprised me. But i'll get into that.

Zach Gowen was released and I don't think anyone was really surprised by that. Taking nothing away from all the adversity Gowen has overcome to simply have a wrestling career let's face it, he was a novelty act. A one trick pony if you will. Given his obvious handicap and his size it's not really believable to have Zach Gowen competing in one on one matches with WWE caliber talent. Even looking past the fact he has one leg Zach Gowen looks like a 16 year old kid and not someone who could handle himself in a fight. WWE did try to get Gowen tanned and put on some size but they really couldn't find any use for him. The only thing I could even think of is to put him in a mid card tag team. In a tag match at least it would make sense with Zach getting some hot tags and some offense and getting a way out when under adversity by tagging his partner. Oh well. His 15 minutes are up.

Ernest "The Cat" Miller also received his notice this week. I was semi surprised by this as I have always found the Cat amusing and thought he did have a good personality. His in-ring work has always sucked but i'll miss his cool funny theme music. Word has it that some of the motivation behind this release is the fact that the Cat refused to work to improve his in-ring work when asked to do so. If this is the case I can't say I blame WWE. When your employer asks you to do something within reason you do it. If you don't guess what happens, you get your ass fired. If you ask me being fresh off WWE television and PPV broadcasts The Cat would make a good pickup for NWA TNA if the price is right. Even if not as a wrestling talent but as a commentator. I could live with the Cat replacing the incredibly annoying Don West.

The most recent release announced was Chris Kanyon. I was very disappointed when I heard about this. I really think Kanyon is a solid performer in the ring and could have been very useful in the midcard on Smackdown. Who didn't enjoy "Positively Kanyon" in WCW? I thought that gimmick was hilarious. I'd rather watch Kanyon on my television screen every week than Mark Henry or A-Train. Hell i'll even take Kanyon over the very green big guys like Matt Morgan and John Heidenrich. Chris Kanyon would DEFINITELY make a good pickup for NWA TNA. There are lots of TNA regulars that would have good matches with Kanyon and could probably learn a few things from him.

More to come?

I can say almost without a doubt that there are more WWE talent cuts coming. Here are my thoughts on what we may see coming with future WWE talent cuts.

Smackdown:

Shaniqua was recently fined for showing up late at the Feb 8 House show in Saskatoon and she even missed a pre show practice session that she was expected to attend. There has been talk that she is getting a lot of heat backstage because there are many in the company that feel she is not working as hard as she should be especially considering how new she is to the business. Don't be shocked if this puts her on the chopping block.

Sean O'Haire has been perhaps the most misused piece of talent on the Smackdown roster. I personally feel this guy has superstar potential and only really needs to work on his mic skills. O'Haire has basically disappeared off of WWE TV since Roddy Piper's departure. I have heard that WWE feels he has a lot of talent but if they can't figure out what to do with him right now could this mean he might get a pink slip?

Sho Funaki is a permanent fixture as an "enhancement talent" on Velocity. But he's been in that role for years now obviously somebody in the company likes him. But still you have to look at someone used in a limited role like this as a potential cut.

It's been no secret that WWE isn't very high on Ultimo Dragon. They apparently feel his style of work "looks too soft". What a load of shit that is. Ultimo Dragon is an innovator of the cruiserweight wrestling style and is a benefit even just keeping him around the locker room. I do however think Ultimo Dragon will make it at least to Wrestlemania XX to be in the cruiserweight battle royal. But he won't be around much longer after that.

RAW

Bill Goldberg has been on Vince's shitlist for months now. Just looking at recent stuff Goldberg was asked to not use the jackhammer as his finishing move anymore. WWE creative felt the spear is a much better finishing move. Goldberg has refused and continues to use the jackhammer in the ring, knowing his time is almost up anyway. Add to that the fact that the RAW that leads into right into Wrestlemania he's going to be in Japan wrestling because of his pre-WWE signed contract with Dreamstage Entertainment and what you get is Bill Goldberg jobbing to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania and disappearing. Thank god.

Gail Kim was brought to RAW with huge hype and was given the Women's title almost right away. After showing very poor ringwork and plenty of dangerous botched spots her push was quickly dropped. Given the abundance of much better women's talent they have right now I think Gail Kim's time in the WWE could be coming to an end.

Beyond those two I really can't think of any more RAW talent that may be in jeopardy of losing their jobs.

With that said let me say that I really do hope for the best for those who have been cut from WWE and for those who's job may also be coming to an end.Except for Goldberg of course because I hate the f**king douchebag. Nobody likes losing a job, it sucks. But as Raven and Spanky have shown there is a way to make money in pro wrestling and not be in the WWE. There is always good opportunities in Japan, NWA TNA, and american independents like Ring of Honor, CZW, 3PW and tons more. Having WWE television exposure enables you to make a lot more money on the indy circuit than the average worker.

Please feel free to send in your thoughts and thanks for reading

Mark Rose..


CanIBorrow50Cent adds a few names to the list:
Farooq: His in ring skills have depleted to almost nothing, and is playing the role of hype man to Bradshaw,something the WWE can do without.

Rhyno: The WWE are misusing him so badly, that he might as well be cut. He seems to be a backup for "Team Lesnar" and its only used to put John Cena and Hardcore Holly over.

Terri Runnels: She is only a backstage personality, but she is way past her prime and might as well hang it up.

Rosey: In my opinion, Rosey should be cut because his character is so goofy and feeble minded, that he will never be able to get over as another character. I also believe this super hero angle is holding Hurricane to just heat matches.

Rodney Mack: His ring skills are horrible, and is now out for a few more months. The only downside to cutting Mack is upsetting Jazz, who is pivotal to the Women's side of raw.
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