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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Sure To Be A Classic
December 28, 2006 by Avi Krebs


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In the world of professional sports, there has been more than your fair share of quality (and some would say epic) battles that you know that based solely on who's involved that you would be getting your money's worth. You can pick just about any sport you can think of and there is bound to be at least two individuals, or teams that helped define what a classic would be in that respective sport. Try boxing, you have Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, baseball" How about the Yankees and Red Sox of the 1920, basketball" There's the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks of the 1970s, hockey" How about the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the 1950s, even tennis has most recently had some amazing bouts involving Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. All it takes is the culmination of two distinct entities competing for something (such as a championship of sorts) and a little bit of hunger and desire and you have something that could stick with you for the rest of your lives. It is almost as if you are there experiencing it all first hand. This is assuming you keep yourself up to date with what has gone on in those other sports that are not named pro wrestling.

What about the classics that have come and gone in the world of professional wrestling you ask" Well naturally you cannot leave out those memorial WrestleMania matches such as Jake the Snake vs. Rick Martel (WM 7), or Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice (WM 8), or most recently Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg (WM 20). Now for those of you who have either seen or know of the matches listed above, you might be asking yourself what made these matches so great" If you are thinking this, you are probably about to draw to the conclusion that these matches mentioned above were actually pretty darn bad. Finally, you are going to ask yourself, so what the heck makes them classics" Well, you remember them so vividly don't you" You can recall just what made these matches a punishing ordeal for your eyes when you witnessed them. Well not all classics are considered as such because of their greatness, this article intends to shed light on an upcoming wrestling match that is very well bound to be labeled as a classic. Unfortunately the match I am talking about is going to be bad on so many levels that the only good thing going for it is that it will not tarnish what could be an excellent WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. Did I forget to mention that this match is going to include the WWE heavyweight champion John Cena" Despite his critics, he is not what is going to be the cause of relegating this classic to the crapper. That honour goes to a man who needs no introduction, Kevin Federline.

The instant he showed his face on Raw, K-Fed was given an opportunity to expose himself to a crowd that he was not otherwise familiar with, wrestling fans. The irony of this situation being that Federline looks like your typical wrestling fan based on his physical appearance. In other words, he looks like your typical mark. Those of us who even sparsely keep in touch with the latest celebrity news know him better as Britney Spears's babies' daddy. Oh and he also has a few kids with someone who use to star on some WB show back in the day. So what happened when K-Fed came out was something that Vince McMahon knew would happen, and that was that this poor shmuck got booed more than the Gobbledy Gooker did. The only significant difference between these two characters is that K-Fed was expected to be a magnet to the fans' ire and he could have tossed out $100 bills and the fans would still roar their disapproval. So this being Kevin Federline and all, he would attract the attention of a particular superstar on Raw, the heavyweight champion John Cena. Now, things are starting to get interesting. What followed was some back and forth confrontations between the two. Cena punked Federline with an F-U that was seen around the world, and exposed by the WWE as being as big as the pope making an appearance on Raw. K-Fed would get revenge at Cyber Sunday costing Cena the Champion of Champions match and the following night on Raw, Kevin Federline would "throw down" the challenge that we all feared was coming when he challenged Cena to a match.

Now atthis point in time, anyone and everyone have voiced their opinion about what is wrong with this blockbuster of a disaster waiting to happen. Cena is getting the shaft in regards to having to work with someone who is not only a wrestler, but an absolute failure in every other venture he has gotten a hold of to boot. The fact that K-Fed's world has gone from bad to worse lately probably has a few people in the inner circles of Titan Sports wondering if this match will be worth all the trouble. It might not come across as a big surprise that the WWE has done little in regards to promoting or hyping this match as going down as one of the greatest in wrestling history. There is even the possibility that this match very well might not even go down, what now with K-Fed having to pay his own way to get to the event he probably will not even have enough money to take the bus to the arena. Then again he could use whatever money he made from that CD he brought out to pay for expenses to boot assuming he has any money left after the divorce settlements have been finalized. This is of course not the first time the WWE has gone along the route of bringing in someone who is NOT a wrestler into the mainstream. The WWE has been known to bring in professional athletes who at least can compare to wrestlers in girth and athletic ability. These matches are usually more a novelty than anything else but during one pivotal WrestleMania, this novelty was being hyped as a co-headliner of what was at the time defined as the greatest WrestleMania ever (Of course everyone knows you cannot sell tickets if you say this will be the absolute worst abomination of a WrestleMania ever) Remember how in some instances, the truth hurts people.

So without having to go over it in great detail, WrestleMania 11 among many critics went down as one of the worst pay-per-view events in the history of the WWE. Now to blame it on the one match that most people were curious to see happen (or fail) would be an inaccurate definition of what made WM 11 so bad. As a whole some viewers just felt that the WWE spent more time putting the exposure on their B-list celebrities over the actual talent and many of the matches just did not garner much in the way of excitement or amazement. Then again who wouldn't have wanted to get a glimpse of Pamela Anderson in her prime" The other main event between Shawn Michaels and Diesel was rated anywhere from terrible to average which some could say is a little unfair. It is not like it was the worst match on the card, it just was that no matter how hard Michaels and Diesel tried to make the match a success most people were likely ready to just get up and leave after what had been a mediocre showing thus far. Plus as this match went on it should not come as too much of a surprise that there was another match coming up that had gotten the majority of the attention, spotlight (deserved or not) and that if we were impressed with what we had seen so far then we had seen nothing yet. The wrestling business is just funny like that.

So finally it is time for the main event, a match that at the time was considered comparable to that of Mr T's involvement during WrestleMania 1. The competitors for this historic bout you wonder" Perennial mid-carder but all around hard worker Bam Bam Bigelow versus former Pro Ball and NFL All Star turned wrestler for one night only Lawrence "LT" Taylor. Those who remember the nostalgia that is Saturday Morning Wrestling might recall that a lot of time and effort was put into making this match look as legitimate as possible. You really could believe that these two guys hated each other and were ready to duke it out tooth and nail in the ring. We got to see "behind the scenes footage" of both combatants training, Bam Bam with the Million Dollar Corporation and LT with his band of fellow Pro Ballers. Even if he did give up about eighty pounds to Bam Bam, LT did not look too out of place standing next to Bam Bam and the other wrestlers. One could say that for a guy who had retired from professional sports not too long ago at that time, he appeared to be in pretty good shape. Even though there was always that risk that Bam Bam might come to the realization that he would look like a complete idiot having to put over a football player in the ring and in turn smack LT around so bad he'd have wished he stayed in the football ranks. The match came and went as scripted with the anti-hero LT vanquishing Bam Bam with a pretty stiff looking bulldog and from there the aftermath was obvious. LT leaves the world of wresting with a heavier wallet albeit at the cost of being considerably battered and bruised. As for Bam Bam, he pretty much took a plummet into a dark, dank hole so deep that he only got out of it once he retired from wresting all together. For those who want clarification, this was not the worst match on the card either, as for what was well you can take your pick of many matches that had no business being in a WrestleMania but that is a story for another day.

So that brings us back to the New Year's Day slobberknocker between Cena and K-Fed. Although the roles of antihero and evil miscreant appear to be reversed this time around with anyone among everyone wanting to see Cena take apart K-Fed piece by piece to the point where K-Fed is never heard from again in any medium of entertainment. Or at least until he is able to woo another A-list celebrity with his charm and um, dance moves" The difference between this match and the WM11 is that this time you have the Heavyweight Champion of the world in John Cena, a man who has more or less had a firm grasp on the title for the past year and a bit. He is riding the wave of celebrity onto the mainstream with his movie the Marine which clocked in at under $20 million (as of this writing). He has been a fighting champion destroying everyone in his pass and is solidifying himself as a potential Hall of Famer down the road. Seems kind of scary saying that right now does it not" These accolades cannot be said about one Kevin Federline. For all intensive purposes he is using the WWE to get himself a little bit more clout when it comes to attracting that next (first") great movie script which would change K-Fed from a laughing stock to well, less of a laughing stock perhaps. For most wrestling fans out there, the prospect of seeing Federline in any wrestling ring is bound to lead to severe cases of nausea. We all might have been able to stomach seeing Federline for one night only on Raw but unfortunately the wrestling gods would do us no favours when K-Fed made himself present at Cyber Sunday and helped hand Cena one of the few losses he has garnished since he moved over from Smackdown to Raw. Then there was that absolutely disastrous waste of time of K-Fed "throwing down" the challenge to John Cena. I cannot remember word for word what Federline said but from the best of my recollection I think it went along something like this.

"Yo, Jo-Ce, this is your boy K-Fed, bet you did not think you would see me at Cyber Sunday, yeah I know I am amazed I actually was able to get enough money to take the bus up to the event. Plus getting past security was no picnic either because they did not believe I was actually married to Britney Spears (flashes the ring that she bought him to give her before he pawned it and had to buy it back with his allowance). Bet it got you really fired up to see me holding your spinning novelty championship belt in my hands. You know I could go to any pawn shop in the world and be able to put at least one of my five, I mean four kids through elementary school with the money I would get from that belt. However I was advised by that Anglican sounding American King and the Walking Refrigerator who you competed against in that match that it would be a nice gesture to give you back your belt. Then I remembered the F-U you gave me, and I thought I would show you why I could have been a major league baseball bat boy by swinging that belt as hard as my scrawny arms could in your direction. I think it is safe to say I hit a home run on Cyber Sunday because you found yourself in the same position that I am very familiar with, face down on the mat. So now that I proved I am the better rapper and better actor, I am going to prove to you that I am the better wrestler too and I challenge you to a match on New Years Day. So bro, I see how you look at me, and I can tell how bad you want to get your hands on me and now I am going to give you that chance to "play with fire". All you need to do is accept my challenge and if it is not too much trouble, maybe you can pay my ticket up to wherever this fight is going to be held because I just spent the rest of money making this big-screen video, Holler."

Okay, I changed the channel shortly after Federline was shown on my television screen so I have no idea what he said. To anyone who does know what he said, was I close" So how about the New Year's Day Massacre that is Cena versus K-Fed" If there is a silver lining hidden here it would probably be that this match is not being included with the Royal Rumble which is certainly a wise decision. The WWE probably would prefer to start of the fiscal year with a profit which is usually what a Royal Rumble event would bring in. Then again, would it not be downright hilarious if one of those thirty participants in the Royal Rumble was K-Fed himself" In other words, the WWE which has more than thirty competent, talented, worthy individuals who can be in the Royal Rumble allows one of them to step aside so Federline can embarrass himself a little bit more. You could bet the pay day would be just lovely for whoever decides to skip the rumble for Federline. Then again would the WWE be okay with the prospect of hundreds upon maybe thousdands of calls, e-mails, and practically harmless death threats sent their way" Well as long as Vince is running the show you can bet that none of that would matter. If Vince wants K-Fed at the rumble, he will be there. If Vince wants K-Fed to become an active member on the Raw roster, he will be. If Vince wants K-Fed to become the new Heavyweight Champion..wait, now I am getting my Vinces mixed up. Sure Vince Russo would see dollar signs with K-Fed as the champ but McMahon knows better than to put over a guy who is not a wrestler (or much of anything in retrospect). Then again, anything can happen in the WWE and John Cena has been practically indestructible as champion and has steamrolled through pretty much everyone. Who really knows what to expect with so many intangibles on the table" Be afraid faithful readers, be very afraid.

Remarkably enough, the WWE has chosen to not over hype this match between a wrestler turned rapper turned actor against versus an actor turned rapper turned wrestler. Anyone can come up with their own conspiracy theory in regards to why the WWE is choosing to just let the feud simmer as oppose to boil between Cena and Federline. There is a good chance that this match could be a one time deal and for the majority of people out there wrestling marks or not, this is probably a good thing. Yet if I can play devil's advocate for a sentence or two I would like to come up with my own theory as to why the WWE is not beating us to death with a match that involves the WWE heavyweight champion, aka the supposedly #1 player on Raw. I believe it is because Kevin Federline is just not such a hot commodity anymore. The man, who passionately dubbed himself the world's most hated, should change his moniker to the world's most overrated, underachieving, not worth the price of his CD, untalented and now not married to Britney Spears over the hill before he even got up the hill jabroni. Honestly, who wouldn't love to see the Rock tear K-Fed apart with one of his classic over the top rant/promos" Prior to his first appearance in the ring, K-Fed was the man. Well the man who could lay claim to fathering the two of Britney Spears's kids and was riding the luxury train without having even paying for a ticket. Now he is but a shadow of his former self without his multi million dollar wife by his side. Sure he might have more friends in the WWE than Cena, and powerful friends at that such as Johnny Nitro, King Booker, Armando Alejandro Estrada with Umaga and the departed Big Show. Then again, there is a good chance that none of these so called friends could care less now that K-Fed is about as significant as the depleted women's division. However, K-Fed has been known to "sweet talk" people in the past to get himself ahead in the world and unfortunately for Cena, who claims K-Fed would need a whole army to beat him might be singing a different tune if Federline can get a couple of guys from the back to act as an insurance policy. Hey isn't there an opening in the Spirit Squad now that Kenny has moved on to bigger and better things" If anyone needs another reason to laugh at Kevin Federline than I think making him a male cheerleader would probably be what the doctor ordered. Now that is a stroke of marketing genius that could bring in the greenback for the WWE and nobody would have to put K-Fed anywhere near a championship belt of any kind. Just bury him on Heat where he can help pad the stats of all the low-card guys on Raw who have all done more to earn their dues in the business than Federline ever will. If that fails to work then maybe there is hope in bringing back the Gobbeldy Gooker who if my recollection serves me correct felt the wrath of thousands of people by just hatching from an egg. Even Federline had to work harder to be hated than that!

So when it comes to the two types of classic matches that can occur in not just wrestling but in any sport, there are some clear similarities that exist. Both are bound to be remembered and easy to recollect. They can be talked about, analyzed and dissected by anyone who has an opinion. The people involved in these classic bouts are often linked to this particular showcase more than anything else they may have done prior or go on to accomplish. To put in retrospect, for a classic in wrestling to be remembered as something that could be admired and praised, the two or more individuals involved usually go out and not only bring their A games to the table, but go above and beyond to put on not just the best match of their careers but are able to set the bar just a little bit higher for every other competitor who would love to go out there and try to get themselves compared to others who have gone on to put on some incredible matches. It is something that the best of the best in the world of wrestling are able to do more often than not and that is why these guys are usually are at the top of the wrestling mountain.

On the other side there are the matches that are remembered for all the wrong reasons. The wrestlers involved look sluggish or have no chemistry in the ring. The crowd is quick to chant boring or perhaps be even more direct with voicing their displeasure. Sometimes it is possible for one guy (or more) to just have a bad night and it would be hard to gauge their career based on just one match. Then there are those matches that just make you shake your head because you know they are going to be bad. With all due respect to John Cena who has gone through quite the tribulations to win over fans as the champ, he will have to work twice as hard to make this match with Kevin Federline anything more than atrocious. Maybe he can ask Bam Bam how he was able to move on after his match with LT back in Wrestlemania 11. Then again, maybe there is something more profound when John Cena tells us, "You can't see me" After January 1st, we very well might not see him the same way again. Only then can Kevin Federline truly take back his self proclaimed title as the world's most hated.

by Avi Krebs..


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