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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Today's Significance of 3 Little Letters
March 7, 2005 by Chris Woodcock


I bought the 'Monday Night Wars' on DVD last month, and it left me fascinated and astonished at how the WCW managed to throw away the best chance of becoming the best promotion in the world. They had the financial clout, the talented roster and the unpredictability that could, and should, have toppled the WWF/WWE and cemented the WCW's place at the top of the table.

Look at the roster that the WCW had during their winning streak in the Wars. They had the pure wrestling talent wasting away in or below the midcard like DDP, Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Psicosis, Billy Kidman, Shane Helms, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Booker T. Hell, even Jericho, Benoit and Eddie Guerrero were refused a push to the main event, and they are some of the best wrestlers the business has ever seen!

Added to this talent was the market value of the New World Order, mainly Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and the Giant, along with Sting, Piper and Randy Savage as the other main attractions. These superstars must have made millions of dollars in ticket sales alone, never mind the merchandise and pay-per-views. Added to this was the fact that WCW was live on a Monday night and, excusing the underhand tactics of Eric Bischoff to hurt the opposition e.g. give away WWF/WWE's results before their taped show even started, this gave Nitro that feeling of unpredictability and the ability for surprises that wrestling fans crave for. Finally, the millions of Ted Turner gave the company the opportunity to bring in new stars, try new things, and always have the financial confidence to fall back on.

Looking at the past two paragraphs, you would wonder why the WCW failed and eventually folded. However, some major mistakes were made in the company that rendered all of the above irrelevant. The main and most obvious flaw was the failure to push the most talented workers on the roster. The likes of Benoit, Jericho and Guerrero were never given the chance to become stars because, although they obviously had the most talent on the roster, the older, more marketed veterans like Hogan always blocked them off. Look at the WWE at the time. They pushed Rocky Miavia up to the legend that is The Rock. 'The Ringmaster' Steve Austin, although suffering a severe neck injury against Owen Hart, still became the biggest superstar since Ric Flair - Stone Cold. The Undertaker became a legend in that period. Finally, the tag division became full of talented teams, like Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz (I know that Jeff is/was a druggie, but as a team they were entertaining) and the Dudley Boyz (maybe not talented, but their gimmick worked extremely well.)

Another main reason was the over-booking of the New World Order angle. It was blown well out of proportion, as more wrestlers got fed up of getting their ass kicked every week and joined the stable. Also, the World Heavyweight title was always within a certain group of old has-beens that blocked the younger, fitter (not in a gay way) and more talented workers. These two factors made the product boring, as if it was the same week in, week out.

What was the point in this history lesson that any good wrestling fan would already know" Well don't you think that the problems of WCW resemble a certain other big company that has three letters today" I have heard and read a lot of comments regarding the state of NWATNA and it is doomed to follow WCW, but I believe that the WWE bears more of a concrete resemblance.

Look at the potential in the WWE midcard. Kidman, Shane Helms and Chavo Guerrero are still wasting away and are coming to a dead end (Although Chavo has recently been given the Cruiserweight title). Paul London is a very talented wrestler, yet he barely breaks into the midcard! Tajiri, Rhyno, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are also highly talented individuals, yet they are being left to rot in the wilderness of the midcard (Benjamin may be Intercontinental champ, but facing Gene Snitsky every week isn't very much of a push!).

Also, look at who the WWE have lost in the past few years, some of which were big money raisers. Steve Austin, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and even Goldberg were big crowd pullers, yet they have all stopped appearing on TV, and in some cases left the company altogether.

Look at the titleholders on both shows. On RAW, Triple H seems to have a god given right to the World Heavyweight Championship. Now I like Triple H, both in the ring and on the mike, and I do believe that he is cruelly insulted due to his marriage to Stephanie McMahon. He is a worthy champion and he does his job well at putting people over, as I will describe in a bit. However, his seemingly constant hold over the main title on RAW may put people off the product.

On SmackDown!, the situation is even worse. John Bradshaw Layfield has had the title for such long time that I can't remember who the last champion was. And, as Triple H is quite a talented performer, JBL is extremely flat and boring, both in and out of the ring. He doesn't put people over, and doesn't give the fans entertaining matches to justify his hold over the main SmackDown! title, and I know for a fact that people are turning off SmackDown! due to this common occurrence.

However, for all of the similarities with the two companies, there are some welcome differences. Triple H does put other workers over e.g Benoit at WrestleMania XX, Batista at WrestleMania XXI, Orton, and even Eugene to some extent. Just being in a feud with HHH puts a worker over. Also, there are some welcome signs of midcard pushes, like John Cena versus Bradshaw at this year's WrestleMania. WWE needs more of this, and I would recommend the push of either Benjamin, Edge, Mysterio, RVD or Booker T.

Finally, a lot of people say that the WWE is suffering from a lack of competition. I totally agree with this statement, as it seems that NWATNA is not up to the standard of a very poor WWE.

Thank-you for reading my first article; I hope that I have made you think about the current state of professional wrestling.

by Chris Woodcock ..


John Knott wrote:
How the heck can you think that Triple H is a good champ. I dont care how many times people say "Its not because hes the bosses son in law". JBL on the other hand is entertaining, pisses the crowd of as much as he's ment to and he plays his gimmick to a tee. All Triple H does is lose a tag match to the person he's facing then at the PPV gets evolution (Rick Flair and captain sledgehammer) to create a duff end to a duff match!
Shawn wrote:
I agree with you WCW blew it big time. But I disagree with you about TNA and WWE.

I feel like TNA is getting a bad wrap,TNA barely been a fed for three years but people is so quick to put them down because they not on "WWE level". TNA is still a baby,they need time to grow. TNA is growing, they continue to get deals and trying to at least get on a big level. Sure they sign old talent like DDP,Nash,etc. but other indies bring in old talents but people don't put them down. If TNA wasn't on tv, people wouldn't even care about the old guys,in matter of fact people would think it smart to bring in the old guys. But since TNA enter TV LAND, the hate mails started to come. Impact is better than Raw,Nitro and Main Events when those shows were one hour. It seems like people forgot how bad Raw was before they switch to two hours. Impact is wayyyyy better,imagine how good their shows would be at two hours" All am saying, let TNA grow. They will make mistakes but what do you expect from a two year old company. As long as Panda backing them,they not going nowhere.

As long as WWE the only game in town,they will not go out of business. The only thing casual fans know is WWE, so as long as WWE the only game in town they will support them. WWE might not making as much money as they did in the late 90's but they still is making a good profit. Don't let the Wrestling websites fool you,WWE is making alot of money. They is pushing new stars,look at Batista(really old but new),Cena,Edge,Orton,Orlando Jordan,Shelton. JBL has been a great champion so far. His interviews is the best in the WWE. His matches is average but not bad.
John Asplund wrote:
Nice column. Tells facts quite well. It's true that the WCW did make a huge mistake by not pushing the younger stars. Benoit, Jericho and Guerrero should have deserved their pushes, because they truly worked their a**es off for WCW. But no. The Old Millionaire men with creative control clauses kept all the guys with REAL talent down. Hulk Hogan was good in one thing: Marketing himself, but his ring abilities...down the john. Nash, Hall, Savage, Piper, Luger... Oldies who should've allowed the younger guys to step up. Finally guys like Jericho, Benoit, Saturn, Guerrero and Malenko got too fed up and walked out. They ended up to WWE and became stars. Sh*t happened to WCW. Though guys like Jarrett, Booker T and Scott Steiner got pushed at the end, it was too late.

Second big mistake for WCW was truly the nWo. They couldn't end it in time. They had to make Wolfpac, Black and White, Hollywood, Reunion, Japan, 2000, LWo and who knows how damn many versions of it. Half the roster belonged into nWo by the end. Even the ECW had a parody of it, the Blue World Order. The angle that made millions for WCW, ended bringing it down.

Now we come to the state of WWE.They have, in my oppinion, had the most worst time for the last 6 months. Triple H winning the title time after time when some guys like Randy have nice 1 month title reign.Backstage politics truly is a b***h. Triple H has abilities and charisma, but the same 20 minute routine "I am the Game/that damn good/blah blah blah" talking in every RAW, combined with Evolution beating everybody around the arena, doesn't remind me of anything but the nWo. Good thing is that Randy and Batista are now on their own.Hopefully there aren't any new guys coming to reform the Evolution.

Then JBL. The guy who has always been sloppy brawler in the ring. No wrestling abilities at all, though he has charisma. He really has succeeded in pissing people off and is an ok heel. But that's not good enough, what's in the ring is what counts. And that America crap JBL spits. I thought this was wrestling, not politics.

What comes to TNA, they're doing ok. Though when the stable trio Kings of wrestling(Hall, Nash, Jarrett) was formed, I thought the beginning of the end for TNA had started. The script was exactly like the nWo in it's beginning. Nash threw Amazing Red to a wall same way he had thrown Mysterio Jr. in WCW 9 years ago. WTF!" Fortunately the Kings didn't last long. If the TNA learnes from it's mistakes, they won't suffer the fate of WCW. DDP in my oppinion is the only one of the "old guys" who still can wrestle quite good. TNA's ace on their sleve in my oppinion is the X-Division, good athletes with abilities. Still, they're not given enough tv-time yet. Takes some time to develop those guys, but they sure have potential to become major stars. AJ Styles, Chris Daniels and others have great talent. The heavyweight division also needs improvement, first of all, change of champion. Jarrett has held the belt too long. But if TNA keeps their eyes on the ball and stays focused, they may someday be worthy to challenge WWE. That's how I see it.
W D wrote:
hey man i agree with WCW blowing the whole NWO thing out of proportion and another thing were WCW messed up was that they were not giving to many guys a push like WWF/E was doing and are still doing today i mean WWF was giving guys like HHH Undertaker Austin Rock and i mean alot of other great superstars a chance i mean some of the former WWE champions were guys that were released from WCW i mean The Giant aka Big Show went to WWE and he won the world title HHH was in WCW for a while and they told him he was no good and then he went on to WWE were is now a 10 time world champion Undertaker is the same way and so is Austin BUT one thing that pissed me off is were you said teams like Dudley Boyz and Hardys wernt good what that is crazy Dudllys are one of the best tag teams ever WCW should have beat WWE cause WCW had everything they had a good roster full of young fresh talent but they were not giving them any chance to get up there i mean they did not even give Booker T a chance till wrestlers like Hogan Nash Hall DDP and superstars like that were out of WCW i mean look at WCW they have had African American champions but has WWE no so that makes people ask a good question if WCW was still around and if you were Black were would you go to WCW were you could get a world title or WWE were you will just be a Intercontinal title holder and TNA is not old enough yet look at WWE it took them about 20 years before they became a national trademark TNA is getting there but it will take some time they are trying to feaud with WWE now but they are not ready let them stack there roster up and they will be ready i mean i have always said that if wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Chavo Gurreo Billy Kidman Paul Londen went there there X-Divison would be awsome i mean they are giving guys chance every day Jeff Hardy would have never got a world title if he was in WWE and look his first month in TNA and he gets a title shot but as long as owners have relatives that wrestle in the orgnazation you wont ever see anyone have a fair chance
BigHustle233@aol.com wrote:
First off, in order for anybody to understand what was written before me, we need to use punctuation. You almost gave me a headache. Anyway i think this article is right about one thing, WCW did overuse the nWo. It should've just been left to a couple of guys like Hogan, Hall, Nash, maybe Sting could've turned on WCW and joined them and they could've run sh*t. But too much of a good thing leads to a bad thing.

TNA is almost at the level of competing with the WWE. Their PPV's are off the wall exciting and way better than any WWE ppv I've seen since Wrestlemania 17. Thats probably because the talent that they use is new and the matches are more innovative and in some ways lucha libreic. I don't mean that by saying that every match is a high flying, death defying match. However take one look at Galavision on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you'll see more brawls and more innovation within its technical wrestling. TNA is great for incorporating so many elements of wrestling from an international standpoint. So many of their wrestlers have either wrestled IN or wrestled people on the independent circuit who HAVE WRESTLED in other countries so that allows for more variety in wrestling styles. The WWE only has a few stars with this type of international exposure, mainly Benoit, Jericho, the Guerreros, Mysterio, and perhaps Kurt Angle. Also the one thing that i notice about thats different about the WWE product is that the risk is completely gone. The moves seem so safe and for that we no longer see a lot of holy sh*t moments like Angle missing a moonsault off the top of a steel cage or Shane McMahon falling off of that 30 foot entrance scaffold. The risk is detiorating and it seems like they've replaced it with your basic cut and blood job.
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