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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Re-Emergence
November 2, 2006 by Jacob Kuhn


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Even with the challenge of TNA to WWE's superiority, professional wrestling has gone through what Sigmund Freud would probably refer to as the latency period. In psychoanalysis, where Freud believed everything was about sex, the latency period was a time of life from about ages 6 to 11 when not much happened. Ever since the beginning of 2006, I believe that wrestling has gone through an equivalency of this.

Now, I am not saying that there's not a lot of sex in wrestling. For my tastes, there is way too much. I would appreciate it more if these overtones were actually undertones. I doubt that will be the case though.

What I am saying is that there has been a lack of excitement in the sport and I think that's bad. A little over a month ago, the biggest wrestling story of the year hit many of us like a surprise. Kurt Angle decided to sign on with TNA. That was a dream come true for many fans who would like to see him wrestle some of the more amazing wrestling in the business today; most of these are in TNA.

Since this revelation, not much has really happened, however. Yes, Sting has wrested the NWA World Heavyweight Championship away from Jeff Jarrett. However, did anyone really doubt that this was going to happen" It was extremely predictable, as is often the cases with championship versus career matches. Even before that, though, back when Jarrett won the belt again, it was obvious that this match was being set up for Bound For Glory. It took the passion out of it for me.

The rest of the year has been rather slow. The Cena show was tired in my view over a year ago, ECW has already used up the small reserve of excitement that it had going for it and Smackdown is just - well - Smackdown.

So, getting to my point, the few things that have been making me very happy in the past months on RAW have been the re-emergence of older wrestlers whom I watched all the time in my youth. As loyal as I am and as much as I love the sport, I very often long for the days when Ric Flair was ruling the NWA, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were the big thing in the WWF and ECW really hadn't been heard of yet. In those times, it was easier to get excited about a wrestler without the big production of their ring entrances.

A few weeks ago, I was rather thrilled to see Money Inc. back on RAW. Sure, Ted DiBiase is old and no longer evil and it looks like IRS has put on quite a few pounds, but it was still great. The only thing that would have made the situation a lot brighter for me would have been to see DiBiase put the Million Dollar Dream on a member of the Spirit Squad.

Tonight on RAW, I got to see Sgt. Slaughter, Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes stand beside my all time favorite wrestler Ric Flair. It was good to watch, even though every single one of them are way past their prime. Other than Flair, none of them will be able to still hold their own in the ring. The match at Cyber Sunday may end up being some sort of nightmare. I hear Dr. Freud calling again.

Still, there's not a lot to hold onto now. None of the champions in TNA nor WWE are thrilling me much at the moment. I definitely think Big Show and Booker T deserve the title reigns and it may be their respective last reigns (Show is still rather young, but he has been around for quite a long time. Unless he jumps to TNA and wins the NWA belt, this may be his last run with gold), but neither of them inspire me much to look up from my homework.

In spite of all this, I looked up to see some of my old favorites. I recalled a day before Titantrons, Divas and old DX members. It felt really good and I thanked God for the invention of tapes and DVDs. I am sure that wrestling will soon enter another period of excitement, but watching some of these older guys made me remember that I have them immortalized in tapes to keep me busy until things pick up.

Here's hoping that Vince will keep reminding us of these great legends of the sport. It may not be great to see them wrestling at this stage of their lives, but it's always good to remember what wrestling was like when I was younger.

by Jacob Kuhn ..


Tony Nguyen wrote:
I couldn't have said that better myself. I have felt the same way about wrestling years ago. I do long for those old glory days of Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart, but I realize that those days are only memories. However, no matter how dull wrestling may seem to be, it still has some excitement, like what you said about Money Inc. For me, I find it easier to stop watching wrestling for a while, and then pick it up again in weekly or monthly intervals. That brings back some excitement for me. Anyways, thanks for writing that column.
Kevin L. wrote:
It's taken me a while to come to this conclusion but I really dislike the brand extensions and I think this adds to the lack of excitement and creates confusion. I understand that it is a way to expose more superstars and everything but I'd like WWE to find another way to balance this problem out. I know it's easier said than done. Back in the day the WWE champ was 'the man' and the IC champ was often on his way. There was one set of tag champs and that was it. These days the real champs are disputed. Is it Cena, Book or Show" Is it the Spirit Squad or London & Kendrick" Is it Jeff Hardy or Benoit" For example some people don't care that much about the SD or ECW champs because they think Cena is the man and the WWE title is the 'real' title. So what happens is if you don't book Cena or the WWE title in the right way then no one cares about anything. That's just my opinion, I know it's out there but I hope it makes sense.
Kilo Charlie wrote:
Is there a re-emergence going on"" Not as far as WWE, and I'm not knocking WWE, but it's just that RAW their flagship is flailing about with no real direction. Smackdown is my good ol' standard. Between Booker T (who is not just deserving of a title run, but is doing a bang-up job at being a heel), Finlay, Lashley, Batista (every big guy can't be as physically gifted Lesnar, but still entertaining), and the rest they put on decent shows on Fridays.

Brand splitting has to be due to an abundance of talent. With only two hours on Monday night, there's no way to showcase the amount of talent between Smackdown and RAW. The brand split was good for the wrestlers as well as a way for Vince to make some more money. I don't even count ECW, because it lacks any real point in the whole scheme it seems. I like Big Show, but it seems the ECW Championship lacks any real weight. I Ioved ECW back in the day, but it's doesn't have the same impact as before (no Impact Players!, Mike Awesome or Masato Tanaka).

TNA keeps me tuning in, even though they don't have the big budget. Some matches are getting played out (Christian and Rhyno hardcore matches) and they need some mid card titles. Bring back the old U.S. title, or at least a North American title. Besides that I think they are creeping up on WWE. They have some great talent and tag teams are kicking ass. They are definitely more bang for the buck, whereas WWE puts big money into lackluster shows.

Overall, things are moving in the right direction I think. Once TNA starts to give WWE some real competition, then we'll see better product from both sides, and that's scary for WWE seeing as how TNA is putting on some good shows with a smaller budget.
Danny Bamburg wrote:
Are you kidding me" Do you honestly think Vince McMahon has been HONORING most of the older wrestlers he has been bringing back" Hacksaw Jim Duggan has been nothing more than a punching bag for Umaga, as have been Kamala and a few others. If Vince really wanted to honor these men and their contributions to the sports entertainment industry, he would have them in matches that werent jokes. Vince McMahon has about as much reverence for history as Rosanne Barr has for the Adkins diet.
Jen wrote:
Very well written. I do miss the old days also. Now it seems like the storylines are more confusing than they used to be. It was nice seeing some of the old timer on Raw the other night. I also I agree that Cena has run out of gas with the fans. When you repeat a story line over and over again it gets old. Like John Cena going against the odds on Raw or a PPV. Don't get me wrong I like Cena but it's time for a change. We will see what happens at Cyber Sunday.
Doug M. wrote:
I totally agree with the lack of entertainment in WWE, although I will always be a supporter of the business. I do indeed miss the gimmick days. I think a lot of the newer wrestlers now days just don't fit their roles very well and they just aren't entertaining. Another thing I agree on is the fact they have the same storylines and matches week in and week out. No matter what I still enjoy going to LIVE shows and being a supporting fan. It's sad to see the older wrestlers grow older, and well all I have to say is hopefully one day WWE will rise up to be entertaining once again!
Ashaki wrote:
In my opinion, the older guys that have returned need to hit the gym before coming back. That's the bottom line. Look at Hardcore Holly now. Remember when he was Race Car Holly" That was ages ago and now you look at the guy 20+ years later and he's awesome. Rick Flair looks pretty good. Hulk looks pretty good. Arn Anderson looks pretty good. Shawn Michaels is decent again. Hacksaw Jim Duggans... he looks aweful.

Some of the vetsshould consider managing! I really think Ted Dibiase should consider it, as well as Rick Flair and Jim Duggans. That way, these guys could bring into wrestling guys that were seemingly like themselves. Ted could bring in the newest of billionaire babies... Rick Flair could've brought Kennedy and managed him, biggest mouths of wrestling... And Hacksaw could've brought in the newest hics and lumberjack type of wrestlers. Then, the old school could've gotten into matches by way of cheating... causing matches with younger wrestlers.

I can't really understand the story writing behind bringing guys out of nowhere and saying "these are legends", while everyone knowing the younger wrestlers would have to act like they can't win. It's not believable enough. A storyline such as Macho Man's son(a wrestler with similarity) coming up to Hulk Hogan to start mess, would've been great! That would've been better than us having to see Orton's son or the Rock coming at Hogan. There was no reason for Hogan to fight either one of those guys. The respect was much too high. There was no bad taste to either of those matchups. And since when does Hulkamania not work during the match" Hulkamania was a spirtual, deep down strength. Age doesn't kill that. In my opinion, the Ultimate Warrior was Hogan's only realistic loss. All of the other loses he's had seemed very fake and unrealistic. After all, Hogan beat Andre the Giant. Andre would've destroyed every wrestler today, including the Rock. Andre would've laid on the Undertaker. Andre would've tied Jon Cena in knots. And the King Booker" He wouldn't have even had the guts to step in the ring. Boogyman" Andre would've squashed the worms out of him. Hogan is the best living wrestler and the only way to prove it is match up anyone with Andre the Giant. Hogan Rules. I understand this column isn't about Hogan, but I just had to get this one off of my chest.

The feuds of the past should be recreated in different wrestlers today and linked to the older wrestlers.

Also, why not recreate similar wrestlers to today's world" Why not create a new Honky Tonk Man" Maybe create a Michael Jackson or a James Brown kind of wrestler instead who brings his own microphone to the ring, who sings and does the james brown... yet claims he's the godfather of soul" He could claim to have missed American Idol audition show due to illness and brag about how great he really could have been if he'd been on the show. Have the guy use his microphone stand and microphone as a weapon.

How about creating another Hulk Hogan" We saw Superstar Billy Graham. We saw Jesse Ventura. We've seen Hogan. Now, who gets the torch of a long haired, fu-man-chu mustache wearing Rock n roller with giant muscles" A fan favorite... There has to be another one of those kind of guys out there. In the 80's Hogan praised Superstar Billy Graham, well, he's at that stage of getting that praise from another younger wrestler. I can't think of anyone else in the WWE that has that "Superstar" about them. Somebody that preaches what's right about living.

In my opinion, I do like these older wrestlers returning, but if they're not back to pass the torch and they're older than Vince McMahon, they have no business being full time.
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