Fifteen Losses: The Changing Landscape
May 2, 2004 by Just S

Today I would like to discuss the changing landscape of the WWE. I'll focus on neither the Bradshaw push nor the Shelton Benjamin win streak. Instead today's column is going to focus on the WWE talent that has recently left the company, The WWE is constantly changing, talent leaves, talent arrives and you the consumer, purchase their T-shirt. Recently fifteen wrestlers (or thirteen and Terri Runnels & Zach Gowen) have left the WWE in search of greener pastures. These fifteen losses span from Nathan Jones (December 2003) to Lance Storm (April 2004) any earlier than Jones isn't considered recent any after than Storm I think I'd need a hand from my good friend Nostradamus. Before I begin I'll run down the list.

Lance Storm - Just one guy in a long list of who's had enough.
Steve Austin - The biggest loss to McMahon
Ultimo Dragon - The only one who might not be gone for certain?
Sean O'Haire - A young rookie who has a ton of potential.
Terri Runnels - Have you even noticed?
Ron Simmons - A missed opportunity to help give Bradshaw a credible heel turn.
Bill Goldberg - He might be back.
Brock Lesnar - I hope he doesn't come back.
Ernest Miller - Sure that makes sense, push him a week before you fire him.
Chris Kanyon - He wrestled for the WWE?
Zach Gowen - A mistake and I don't care if he's handicap.
Spanky - Almost as underused as Ultimo Dragon.
Kevin Nash - They sure as hell miss him since and Austin left.
Goldust - That's sweet, fire a guy just after he comes back from injury.
Nathan Jones - Pushed too far too fast.

So that's the run down of stars (and I use that term collectively) who no longer work with the WWE. However it's not all the WWE's fault. To make this column as fair and impartial as possible I'll weed out those who left of their own accord and thus even if the WWE is suffering because of their absence, well they should have tried harder to keep them. And if not well see the first name and decide for yourself.

Nathan Jones - he couldn't stand the travel regime of the WWE and so when Smackdown visited his home country of Australia he grabbed his duffle bag, flipped off Vince and hopped on the nearest train home. (In case your one of the masses who thought he quit because he was home consider this. He quit in Perth, Western Australia. He was originally from Brisbane, Queensland. So to get home, from Perth to Brisbane, it was the relative equivalent of travelling from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Not such a smart guy now is he?)

Spanky - he up and quit due to a lack of a push and not being used correctly (rumour has it he was going to be fired anyway). He headed home to Japan and good for him. I feel like he was misused after Brock Lesnar killed him one Smackdown day.

Brock Lesnar - said he'd had enough of the travelling life style of a WWE wrestler. So he up and quit on the eve of WrestleMania. He decided to try his hand at the NFL and I Just hope he succeeds because I never want to hear any WWE announcer say again "Well, here comes the pain" (Ya huh, it's the pain in my ass).

Bill Goldberg - he left when his contract ran out, no harm there. He just hates the WWE which would put him on par with oh so many internet wrestling fans.

Ultimo Dragon - he may not have officially quit but it looks likely he won't be back (if he has any sense) I think he quit for reasons similar to Spanky, and like Spanky returned to Japan.

Steve Austin - he left after problems arouse over who has the rights to the name Stone Cold. Austin probably thought since Goldberg and Lesnar where gone Vince would do anything he wanted. Man, did he ever pick the wrong horse? Still so far I don't miss the bionic redneck mainly because he never added much to the mix since becoming the sheriff.

Lance Storm - is the most recent of the fifteen wrestlers to announce he will no longer be working for the company. Hang on that's not completely true. I do believe that Storm is trying to become a road agent for the WWE. Storm heads the list (joined by Spanky and Ultimo) of guys sick to death of not being used correctly. I agree, and with the sudden departure of so many names I think Vince should at least try to plug the leak that is seriously affecting his company.

That's seven people who went of their own accord. Here's the list of people who are gone now because Vince fired their asses. For these eight guys I've added a Just S verdict to say if I think the WWE made the right decision. If you disagree with me feel free to email me, I always answer my fan mail.

Goldust - was released just when he'd recovered from injury. I believe he was told the writers didn't have anything for him at the moment and so he was let go. Lets hope WWE management don't continue this hard line of 'nothing to do, no job for you' cause if they do the roster split will be over in a heart beat due to lack of talent. Sorry Doug and Danny, the Bashams have no opponents at the moment I think you'll have to leave. Nope Rey we don't have a match for you at Judgement day but we do have some nice parting gifts. That's too bad RVD but at least you've got that comic book store to fall back on. We liked the return of the Undertaker as well Mark, but since we don't have any storyline for you currently we're going to have to fire your ass. Just S verdict: Should have kept him.

Kevin Nash - lets think about this one. Nash really isn't up to active wrestling these days. He's a bit past his prime. They won't look back on his career and liken his tenure to that of Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan (In terms of competing to a ripe old age) Still when you think about old Stone Cold it makes you wonder why, if Vince still had a good relationship with Nash, he didn't at least try to keep him around as an on air personality. After all Nash was always more entertaining outside the ring, unless your into watching a guy cripple himself when ascending the ring steps. Just S verdict: Should have kept him.

Zach Gowen - This guy was never that good to watch. I don't care what you say he didn't look like a wrestler, and to make matters worse once the Vince McMahon / Mr America angle ended Gowen was supposed to become an active member of the roster. Gowen was and forever will be, a MISTAKE. Just S verdict: Glad he's gone.

Chris Kanyon - Kanyon was never really used in the WWE. In all honesty I was very surprised it took them this long to release him. Its not that I'm not a Kanyon fan, because to tell the truth, I'm not. He was crap on the microphone and rather bland in the ring. It could have worked if he'd been pushed a bit more earlier on but as it stands Kanyon and the WWE parting ways hell they never should have gotten together. Just S verdict: Should have used him better.

Ernest Miller - I found out that Ernest Miller worked for the WWE a few weeks before the Royal Rumble. He was fired a few weeks after the Royal Rumble or at least never appeared on WWE television afterwards. I loved the cat back in WCW but never got into his new character. Just S verdict: I miss him.

Ron Simmons - It must suck to be Ron. You turn up at work to find out your skit for the day was to be fired by on air General Manager Paul Heyman and be abandoned by on air friend Bradshaw. After the director yells cut Vince walks over to you and tells you that you've been fired. You look at him and say the cameras aren't rolling anymore Vince and Vince looks at him and said nope this is for real. You look over at Bradshaw in vein and he fans himself with the new prop money that the creative department has given him. I think I went off track for a minute. So Simmons is fired and I believe that the WWE dropped the ball having Simmons be used in turning Bradshaw heel if only to postpone the Bradshaw Eddie match at the next PPV. In case you weren't aware they fired him because he was an alcoholic which is ironic when you consider the Bradshaw main event push has turned Just S INTO an alcoholic. Just S verdict: Should have used him to turn Bradshaw.

Terri Runnels - Terri Runnels was fired or she wasn't according to different sources. The ones who say she wasn't fired claim she quit. I think their missing the point. Terri Runnels no longer works for the WWE. That's all that matters. Just S verdict: Glad she's gone.

Sean O'Haire - Sean O'Haire suffers under the same stigma all former WCW stars did in the WWE. The highest one ever reached was Booker T and he never actuality held onto anything. Sure currently the top stars Benoit and Eddie are champions and former WCW talent but they changed leagues before WCW crashed and burned. So maybe O'Haire should try his hand in Japan and return when he's had some more experience. After all the WWE claim he was never that entertaining to watch in the ring. Yeah thanks guys and Vince McMahon is. Just S verdict: Should have kept him.

And that's a wrap. As you can see at least half of them shouldn't have been let go. Surely as the WWE attempts to push the likes of Bradshaw, Cena, Benjamin etc they wish they still had access to talent like Goldust and Kanyon if only to help elevate their current stars. It's strange but when I had this idea I always thought I'd be able to point out where a loss i.e. Spanky could have been used in place of one of the new acquisitions, however it seams that that's really not the case. Some of the loses are being felt heavily but it seams that the new talent is filling a void that was empty or at least none of the eight or so stars given their walking papers couldn't fill the roles of Eugene or Tomko. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as Vince enjoyed firing at least half the guys on the list. See ya.

NOTE: Brief note on a past column. A month or so ago I spoke on the lack of Tag Teams in the WWE. And look what's happened. Chris Benoit and Edge beat Evolution and for some strange reason Charlie Hass was shoved back into a tag team. (Granted it is one of the most entertaining things on Smackdown and I look forward to this angle every week) But I told you the WWE Tag Team division is in trouble and would you listen to me? NO you said Just S was a fool. I wounder what's happening with the Tag Team titles over on TNA?

by Just S..

Greg Helphenstine wrote:
Ultimo Dragon isn't permanently gone. He returned to Japan to take care of some Toryumon business and will return to the WWE in the fall.

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