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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Past Does Dictate The Future
May 17, 2003 - by Emer Prevost



I, a fan of almost 13 years, have seen a lot of things in wrestling, but I never thought that I would ever see some of the excrement from the early to mid 90's come back to haunt today's fans with a vengeance. I'm not talking about Ric Flair or Hulk "I'm Really Not Mr. America" Hogan making their umpteenth return to the wrestling ring. I'm talking about bad gimmicks and storylines that should have stayed dead.

Now, we shall gas up the Wayback machine and take a look at some of these less than stellar memories of wrestling, and show you their modern day counterpart or counterparts.

Who here remembers this moment in history: We are just getting into the Gulf War, and super patriot Sgt. Slaughter says that Saddam Hussein is in the right. Soon, Slaughter is waiving the Iraqi flag and teamed up with his archest of arch enemies, The Iron Sheik (now known as Col. Mustafa). This kind of rotten gimmick can only be taken for a short while, and the WWE took it a little too far. They even gave Slaughter the WWE Title so his feud with mega patriot Hulk Hogan. While fans hated it back in the day, this trend of booking has had a boom in the last few years.


I feel that it all started when "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan joined Team Canada. In what was quite possibly the stupidest thing Vince Russo ever booked (excluding the whole David Arquette thing, but that's another story for another time), he took a flag waiving patriot that everyone loved, and they changed him into something that couldn't be loved. I have nothing against Canadians, but it would be a little off if Lance Storm came out on RAW this Monday waiving the stars and stripes humming the "Star Spangled Banner" on a mic while he steps into the ring in new red, white, and blue tights. It just isn't something you want to see because it goes against all forms of wrestling logic.

But, even more recent are the WWE's two, two, two mints in one approach of booking. Now, rather than have one bad gimmick, we now have two. It all started a month or so back. The "Great Debate" (which sucked royal, in case you haven't seen it), featuring "Big Pappa Steroid" Scott Steiner and Chris Nowinski, was Steiner's defense to comments Nowinski made about the US involvement in Iraq a week before.

Just like Slaughter, our Harvard grad tells us all that the war is wrong (an obvious point that doesn't have to be made), and that any American's who are for it should be ashamed of themselves. Now, I'm not going to tell the WWE how to write their shows, but good God, why the hell try to capitalize on another war when the last time you tried it, it blew up in your face?


After the debate, the debut of La Resistance added even more fuel to a fire that should never have been started. I feel that Sylvain Grenier and Rene Dupree should have jobs in the WWE, they both have a boatload of talent and enough skill to become something someday. But, now, we can't pay any attention to their talent for too long, because their gimmick is that they are French. But, if they had debuted just after France became a thorn in the ass of America, this gimmick might not have been as bad. Mind you, I said as bad, there is no way in hell you could make a good gimmick from this. What's worse, they are feuding with Scott Steiner, who couldn't have a good match today if his life depended on it.

This is just the worst of the atrocities that the WWE have resurrected. Let us look back at some more turds that the WWE have polished.

I know that everyone is sick of hearing about Mr. America, but he too, is nothing more than a spit shined dung heap. This one has been done to death. Charlie Brown, Yellow Dog, The Black Scorpion, The Midnight Rider and the Machines instantly come to mind. These are all big name wrestlers with very cheap masks on swearing up and down that they aren't who everyone claims they are. Granted, Hogan saying that he isn't Mr. America is funny as hell, but that joke grew old after the second week. There are also talks of having "Rowdy" Roddy Piper feud with Mr. America as Captain Canada, another masked joke. Let's hope that the WWE gets their heads out of their asses and pass on that idea.


Another flashback, John Cena's rapping isn't very original, even though he is the best of the bunch. His gimmick has been time tested by PG-13, PN News, and Men On A Mission, and it is still a washout. While Cena is the only one of these individuals to actually get a title shot, that still doesn't mean that it's the gimmick that is getting him over. People are always saying that Cena should be fired, but that isn't the case. I feel that we should keep the talent and lose the gimmick. Hell, having Cena wrestle in a chicken outfit cutting promos consisting solely of him clucking would be better than having to hear about "word life" and "thuganomics", but not by much.

A lot of people are a little peeved by the latest WWE fad, bringing tried and true talent who were really good years ago, but aren't up to snuff anymore. Well, this one is a recent rehash, but this time, the old guys are staying. It happened in WCW shortly before they met their end. Jeff Jarrett, fresh into his "Chosen One" gimmick, started to beat on wrestling legends. Everyone from "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka to Greg "The Hammer" Valentine felt the musical sting of Double J's silver painted guitar. But, where Jimmy and Greg were one night deals, Hogan, Piper, and Flair are permanent fixtures in the WWE. Sure, "Classy" Freddy Blassie and Snuka have made cameos in the last month or so, but that is barely even noticeable. Let's just hope that the rumored talks with Randy Savage, The Warrior, and Lex Luger (which I think was killed when a certain someone else died), are all ended soon and the WWE gets in some fresher talent.

WRITER'S NOTE: I now retract my opening statement, it seems that I did have a beef with Flair and Hogan. Oh well, mistakes happen.

And, what about NWA:TNA? Have they rehashed any rotten crap from the old days. About the only thing they have done wrong is bring in their own version of The Corporation, The Corporate Ministry, The Network, The New Blood, The Magnificent Seven, The McMahon/Helmsley Era, The Bischoff Administration, and the Black Army. TNA has SEX, a super heel group lead by Glen Gilbertti. They have one job as a stable, make life hard for the faces, and get as much heat as physically possible (okay, that's two jobs, sue me). But, SEX is at least still entertaining.

If TNA can end it before it gets old, then it won't be part of the abyss that is bad wrestling. But, even if they do fall, the WWE is filling that chasm up more and more with each passing week.

And, after writing this, I think to myself, "what can Vince McMahon possibly bring back, now?" After pondering this, I think that the only thing Vince hasn't done yet is give a celebrity one of the WWE titles. He had a chance when he put Drew Carey into the Royal Rumble, and he did give Arnold Schwarzenegger (guessed the spelling right on the first try, folks) a special world title, but it wasnt the world title.

If Vince really want's to drive away fans with bad flashbacks, let's see him bring in Repo Man and give him the world title. I know that if this happens, about the only person who would still watch the WWE might be me, but that is just because I am a huge mark for the Repo Man.

by Emer Prevost


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