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WRESTLING COLUMNS

It Could Have Been So Different......
December 2, 2005 by Matthew Jones


Now before I start my rant, please let me state this article is meant to be a bit of fun and purely based on my opinions, no offense is meant to those fans of the wrestlers who I've joked about. It's of a speculative nature.... ok, let's get going.

Often when watching my weekly wrestling shows I remember certain storylines that abruptly finished without conclusion, failed pushes and untimely injuries. A good example maybe the recent storyline with Eddie Guerrero and Batista. We'll never know if Eddie had turned babyface for good or in fact "Latino Heat" was tricking Big Dave before a timely attack on the "Animal" on route to a title shot. Or perhaps remember 2001 when Eddie had become the Hardy Boyz new best friend before being realised" Was he really after Lita" Or did Guerrero really wish to help the Hardyz against his former Radicals partners" I guess we'll never know.

One great mystery left from WCW was who did drive that Humvee" You know the white Humvee that crashed into Kevin Nash's limousine" A lot of people have suggested that on Nitro's dying days they tried to name the assailant, and maybe I was so numb during the Russo-era that I blanked it out, but what if they had named the deadly driver" At the time, WCW's main events were based around Randy Savage, Sid and Nash. Was it "Team Madness'" major plan to take out Nash or perhaps was it more sinister" Later that year Sting briefly turned heel on Hulk Hogan around Halloween Havoc. The heel turn flopped, as many WCW fans would always see Sting as their true top babyface and never really accepted Hogan as easily. But perhaps if it had been revealed that Sting or perhaps an equal heel partner in Lex Luger has driving the Humvee, it would have fueled Sting into being a cold, dark super heel. With Sting as a believable top bad guy for the first time, WCW would have had so many new options instead of being so stale. A heel Sting locking up with a babyface Bret Hart done correctly would have been a sure-fire Starrcade main-event. Sting could have even been used to give Benoit a main event "rub" that he so desperately needed back in 1999. The first time Sting and Goldberg feuded could have been worth millions if handled correctly. If WCW had reduced Piper, Nash, Savage and Hogan to still valuable upper mid-carders and pushed Benoit, Hart, Goldberg, Sting, Booker T and Steiner willingly rather than last minute fill ins it would have created a whole new batch of fresh, money making feuds. Instead one by one they got injured/dis-satisfied. Meaning Steiner and Booker T only really got their chance when no one was watching after Hogan walked out or Jeff Jarrett didn't make for good business. One small Angle could have been used for so much more. It may have even saved the company; unless you believe that it was doomed the moment Vince Russo got his hands on the product, maybe we wouldn't have had another "screw job" finish between Hart and Goldberg, and then another stale version of the now. Maybe just maybe we'd be talking about WCW being alive today, if only Sting has driven the Humvee. I know it's far-stretched but it's my fantasy rant and I still miss WCW a little!

But with WCW it became very easy to find things wrong with the company before its death. Even the WWF run WCW was badly done. From the moment Buff Bagwell and Booker T stunk up RAW you know the "company" was doomed. The whole invasion angle failed because Vince didn't bother to bring in the real superstars of WCW. Where was Steiner" Where was Flair" Where were Hogan, Nash, Goldberg, and Hall" Don't get me wrong, I preferred to watch people such as Lance Storm or Shane Helms, but for business needs they required top wrestlers to make the angle work" It could have been so much better with the real stars of WCW. McMahon-fans will make the point that he couldn't afford to bring in these wrestlers after buying the company, however with the exception of Sting all those wrestlers were brought into WWF within 2 years of WCW being bought. The angle came across as second rate as no one really knew who Sean O'Haire or Chuck Palumbo were. They wanted Flair, Sting and Goldberg. If Vince had bothered to bring in these guys perhaps now the brand wars wouldn't be RAW VS Smackdown! It would be WCW Nitro vs. WWE RAW. If Team WCW (there would have been no need for the alliance with ECW) had won at Survivor Series and claimed the rights to the Smackdown! show, then perhaps WWE TV ratings would be better today.

It was very easy to say when a wrestler is released by WWE that he could have been so much more. Was it really Maven's fault the fans didn't really cheer for him" We don't know" But one big fallout of the whole "Invasion" angle was Test getting a year's immunity from being fired. Test was everything WWE likes - big, strong, certain amount of Charisma. Shane McMahon's golden boy. Yet he was released after a neck injury recently and I often wonder how much better could Test have been. I mean the man had such bad luck. Going back years and years ago. It was late 1999 and Test was in an angle involving the then Stephanie McMahon, a marriage angle none the less. But as we know any wrestling "marriage" is doomed from the very start. Now you all know the story, Test never got his McMahon and HHH and Steph took over as the on-screen power couple. But the funny thing was did Test the proud wrestler step up to fight HHH at Armageddon that year" Was it Test who would take the title off HHH" No it was everyone's favorite billionaire, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Surely it would have made sense to use Test in this position" It may have even given WWE a new headliner in the days where the "Attitude" stars were a tad stale. Maybe now Test could be a former World Champion, just maybe. But what makes it worse for our man Andrew Martin is that in fact he had many other golden chances at stardom that failed, not necessarily because of his own actions. During the Invasion angle Test was batting for the Alliance, following WWF superstars believing he was in fact a "mole". Now the big story is that at Survivor Series 2001 Test won a battle royal. This battle royal would allow his "immunity" from being fired by either winner of the main event. (i.e. As team WWF won they couldn't fire him for a year due to his actions as an Alliance member). Now surely that would mean a big deal right" Test the new bad boy of wrestling could do what he wanted" Surely" I mean image t-shirt's with the slogan "You cant fire me" could have sold. Test could theoretically do what he wanted, when he wanted. Did he" Did he" Well no in fact after a month or two the whole storyline disappeared never to be mentioned again. Test found himself with Booker T (obviously the banning of the Alliance losers lasted long) losing to Spike Dudley and Tazz. The thing that really upsets me about this chance was even if it wasn't Test, just anyone, anyone at all could have been a success is this gimmick. It wasn't Test's fault it failed; the fact is it was just simply forgotten about. Test's bad luck continued, he was sort of making some headway in 2003; he had a big match with Chris Jericho coming up at No Way Out. Test's popularity had grown due to his "Testicles" fan base, thanks to his manager Stacy Kiebler. Y2J had been feuding with Shawn Michaels but still found the time to kindly knock out Stacy with a chair. It was going to be Test's big revenge. What happened" He missed his plane, now it may or may not have been Test's fault that he had, but then again went another chance for test to shine, if the match had gone well who knows if Test would have been included more into the Y2J/HBK feud that also included Jeff Hardy. We will never know because again Test's chance had gone.

Now some of these maybes might be a tad far fetched. But one realistic big maybe is how popular and eventful could the career of the Paul Wight have become" As The Giant he was young, agile for a big man and talented. He had it all; from the day he arrived in WCW he's been in a main event angle. The Giant could dropkick and there was even rumours of a hidden Moonsault that no wrestler would willingly take. But in his last days in WCW in 1999, he looked tired, he just didn't want to be there. I guess if you had a WWF contract coming up for 10 years you wouldn't be too bothered about working hard for WCW either. The only thing is ever since he joined WWE he hasn't really seemed like he cares about a lot. Since 1999 we've seen the now Big Show become a fatter, slower wrestler. His reduced mobility has affected his match quality that is a real shame. But the biggest shame is that despite his ever-growing weight (and its not muscles) The Big Show has received numerous amounts of pushes as many characters on TV, including multiple tag, U.S and WWF/WWE title runs. But what if Paul Wight had stayed in shape on arrival in WWE" There never was a huge Austin/Show feud to remember, but if he stayed in shape perhaps it could have been this generations Andre/Hogan, just by sticking to a simple format. Signs of his strong attributes can sometimes been seen on TV since 1999. His move to Smackdown! In late 2002 showed brief signs that again he was taking his career seriously. His association with Paul Heyman and his feud with Brock Lesnar right through into summer 2003 was one of the highlights of his career. The Big Show has such great timing and a great eye for comedy during backstage skits that is so unique amongst the normal angry "big man" wrestlers we see on TV so often, it could have led to some memorable events on TV. Fans will argue that The Big show is a success and yes he does receive a good pop from the crowd, but he could have been so much more. He could have been everything Batista is today, but he's bigger, he's a better talker, he's everything WWE loves. except he's lazy. When motivated The Big Show can still perform today, but image if he hadn't given up caring how great potential feuds with Goldberg, Lesnar, Angle or Austin could have been" Watch an old Nitro if you have one and remember ...it could have all been so different.

by Matthew Jones..


Jesse Lee wrote:
I loved your column. I enjoy reading the "What if" columns more than the "down-hard, technical facts." Actually, at first I was scanning through it, thinking it was just another "why WCW failed" column, but here and there, it was a pleasant read.

At the begining when you were talking about the humvee and then Sting's heel turn-granted I didn't watch WCW so I had no clue what you were talking about-I felt as though it could have made sense. Especially if they would show "recently discovered" video footage of Sting exiting the humvee. All they needed to do-even the person wasn't really supposed to be Sting when it happened-was rent another white humvee, one that looks exactly like the first, and have Sting leave the vehicle. Have it be caught on security camera and play with the time and date so that it'd be labeled as directly after Nash was hit. If shown after the turn on Hogan, it could have brought something to the table other than a Russo-popemobile.

I especially enjoyed the Test section of the column. Test has always been one of my favorites, because, well, he had what WWE liked as you said. Tall, ripped, decent mic skills, willingness to work within the system, and a great looking finisher. While he wasn't at a Rock or Austin fan-level, he was still filled with potential. I still say that the Un-American gimmick could have gotten big enough to give him the championship. An ultimate heel for the WWE, with three fellow members (Regal being the last one added) and a friendship between them and Jericho, the WWE could have had a strong heel champion with a "tiring gimmick."
Matt Jones wrote:
First of all, I must congratulate you on having a great first and last name....

After reading your article, theres 1 person who I think would have been a great peice of talent for WWE, and that is Sean O'Haire. It's a great shame they released him, as in my personal opinion, he had it all, wasnt bad on the mic (far from it), had the size and look, and in ring ability, not to mention great agility for someone who is 6'6.

I think it is on this site where someone touched upon where a writer has a bad idea for the wrestler, its the wrestler that gets the worst end of the stick, and the writer carries on with his/her job. Sean O'Haire is an example of this, maybe if he had been put into another angle, say, Kurt Angles protege, instead of Roddy Pipers "bodyguard" against an amputee and a wrestler who is clearly past his sell by date, then maybe O'Haire could have been champion (speaking of which, remember when Batista debuted as Reverend D-Von's bodyguard""")

Anyway, this is my first post on anything to do with OWW after reading it for the past year or so, so I'll leave it at that.
Kevin Coles wrote:
I thought about the Eddie one myself. It was kind of fitting that he went out getting cheers the way he did. At least we had one last chance to cheer for him even if we did know it was a storyline and it was all a trick. However, whilst it was going on I remember thinking what if he gets so popular they decide not to bother turning him back heel. I believe that's what would of happened and they would of had Eddie and Batista as tag partners and best friends for a long time as they worked so well together.

I also wondered the same after the passing of Owen Hart. He was just starting a new gimmick by bringing back his old character "The Blue Blazer". Only this time there was a slight twist to it. He was going to play a comic book style super hero. I think a lot of what they did with Kurt Angle as an American hero and Hurricane as a super hero is what would have been done with Owen. The backstage interview of him promoting himself as somebody children could look up to and telling them to drink milk like he does was truely hilarious. Sadly we all know what happened after that interview aired. But again we saw the best of Owen before his untimely death. We saw his great personality and sarcastic humour.

The last one I can think of off hand is something I have thought about quite a bit. It was the Undertaker v Ultimate Warrior fued. I know they fought in house shows but they never actually had a match on TV. The Ultimate Warrior left the company in 1991 after the incident at Summerslam 1991 which was addressed on the recent Warrior DVD. When he returned 8 months later at WrestleMania in 1992, the Undertaker was then a face so they didn't continue where they left off ... then the Warrior left again shortly after that so they never had a chance to do anything with this potentially legendary fued. I think it would of been one of the greatest rivalries in history. They matched up perfectly and had already put together some great segments building the situation. I believe their fued was going to conclude at WrestleMania XIII in 1992 so imagine the months of build up and mind games between these 2 deep and mystical characters. This also raises the interesting point that almost certainly The Undertaker would not be undefeated at Wrestlemania's as Im sure maybe Undertaker would of got a victory at the Royal Rumble or something but they would of almost certainly ended the fued with a clean win for the Ultimate Warrior.
Fraser Allen wrote:
A great article. I do remember the Eddie Guerrero angle in 2001 with the Hardy's and Lita, which was very entertaining. His character was taking a new direction and I think that it would of made some great matches with Matt and Jeff, as he would of turned on them. However, I reckoned he would not of turned on Batista purely because I believe the WWE writers realised they made a monumental mistake turning him heel. The fans on Smackdown found it very difficult to boo him, plus it would of been too obvious to have him turn on Batista. Sometimes the straightforward storylines are the best and the fact that Eddie's 'Viva La Raza' music/Lo-Rider had returned, plus his comical 'lie-cheat and steal' routine was going down a storm with the fans. A sort of poetic ending for Eddie, I really miss watching him wrestle and glad that Chavo is getting a push.

The Humvee angle had so much potential (like Stone-Cold's hit and run), but yet WCW had ran out of ideas by then and it was such a shame as it could have created so many good angles. Imagine if it was Sting, it would have been a great surprise and revived WCW's fortunes.
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