March 9, 2003
Awesome Austin guaranteed draw
By DON \'Cyrus\' CALLIS -- For SLAM! Wrestling

Raw rebounded strongly this past week garnering a 4.5 rating, by far its highest in memory. Not coincidentally, Steve Austin and The Rock were both on the show and had a confrontation to hype their WrestleMania match this month. This just confirms the notion that above all other performers, Steve Austin is money, money, money.

Austin, while not as big a mainstream star as The Rock, is undoubtedly the biggest draw and wrestling star of the modern era -- eclipsing perhaps even Hulk Hogan for historical importance. Austin has sold more tickets, pay-per-views, merchandise and advertising revenue than any other performer, by far. He more than any other one wrestler has become associated with the success that WWF enjoyed starting in 1997 and running through until today.

Austin came to the WWF after being under-utilized in WCW for years. He had been fired while injured and came to WWF with the trademark Austin attitude, which fitted in nicely with the WWFs change in direction and their own \"Attitude\" campaign.

After being introduced as the Ringmaster, a lame gimmick to be sure, Austin caught fire, largely after a phenomenal interview he did after beating Jake The Snake Roberts in the King of the Ring, during which he first used the phrase \"Austin 3:16.\"

By the time he fought Bret Hart at the Survivor Series in their classic matchup, he was the company\'s hottest commodity. The match with Hart was a unique \"double turn\" establishing Bret as a heel and Austin as a full-fledged heel. The match was also a great example of how when business is handled correctly, a talent can get more from losing a match than by winning. For the record, Austin technically lost the match, passing out from the pain of being in the Sharpshooter. Really you couldn\'t put someone over stronger, and Austin, bleeding, still got a tremendous standing ovation as he left the arena.

Austin\'s incredible subsequent run on top of the WWF where he drew most if not all of their huge pay-per-view buy rates with the likes of Vince McMahon, The Rock, Mick Foley, Undertaker and others, looks like it is set to continue, hotter than ever.

K-5 NEWS

Some were speculating that Paul Heyman could have been in some jeopardy employment-wise with WWE after his \"demotion\" two weeks ago, along with his being booked in a cage match against Brock Lesnar on Smackdown, the show he used to write. My opinion is that Paul is too valuable to be let go, and that if he was arguing with Vince over something he believed to be true, then the issue will likely blow over. Rumours on the Internet this week suggested that part of the problem was that with Paul on the road as a talent, it was sometimes difficult for Vince to contact him for TV ideas, etc. I have no idea about any of that, although it was a running joke in ECW that it was sometimes impossible to get Paul on the phone. I remember Steve Corino being completely shocked once when I called Paul on my cell phone and he picked up right away. \"I can\'t believe you can get him on the phone!\" Steve exclaimed. Paul is a great talent and has a fabulous mind for the business and I expect he will come out of this OK.

....NHB March Mania comes to the Coliseum in CanadInns Windsor Park on Thursday, March 27th for another great NHB Wrestling show. Already booked are the legendary Sabu (back by popular demand) and \"The Franchise\" Shane Douglas as well as several other surprises. Tickets are available at Jabronis Wrestling Store as well as at CanadInns locations. With the purchase of the ticket you will also get a coupon for free admission to the NHB Radio Show\'s fourth anniversary party to be held at the Beach at CanadInns Express Fort Garry on WrestleMania Sunday. Sabu and Shane will be in attendance.....Kurt Angle joined Edge as the latest WWE stars scheduled for neck surgery. Reports indicate that this is the seventh WWE star who has had similar problems. All the best to Kurt for a speedy recovery....You can email me at Cyrusofecw@shaw.ca for any details on how you can become a pro wrestler, manager, valet, announcer, writer or referee at the NHB Training Centre...Goldberg is apparently very close to signing a deal with WWE.....

CANOE.CA SLAM!