March 21, 2004
WWE ready to shake things up
By TIM BAINES, Ottawa Sun
On the heels of a red-hot Wrestlemania, WWE is looking to shake it up a little. And that's a good thing. With Brock Lesnar quitting to pursue an NFL career, Bill Goldberg's tenure on hold at best, The Rock set to resume his movie career, Kurt Angle injured again and Mick Foley likely hesitant to return full-time to the ring, WWE is at a crossroads.
It's time to push new talent.
Enter the Draft Lottery, a scheme cooked up by WWE kingpin Vince McMahon. A scheme which could make tomorrow night's RAW one of the most interesting in a long time.
The idea of the draft is that wrestlers from RAW could be moved over to the Smackdown! roster ... and vice versa.
For instance, Evolution could be instantly split up ... perhaps Batista moves to Smackdown!, while Randy Orton and Ric Flair stay with RAW.
However they spin it, they have to give Flair more air time. The Nature Boy needs to be stylin' and profilin'.
It would certainly add to RAW's allure if there more frequent trades. For instance, Eric Bischoff calls up counterpart Paul Heyman and engineers a 3-for-3 swap.
Not lost in the excitement of the draft was Wrestlemania XX. I've seen some negative reviews, but other than a couple of disappointing matches, I give it a huge thumbs up.
As for highlights, let's start with Chris Benoit, WWE's new world heavyweight champion, who overcame the odds to defeat Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match.
As Benoit held the belt, tears streaming down his face, you couldn't help but cheer out loud for the Canadian Crippler, the Edmonton boy with so much skill.
And in all of this, some credit has to be given to Paul Levesque, Triple H, who tapped out to give Benoit the title. It would have been easy to have Benoit get the decision over Michaels. Triple H, who has been known to have pull as far as the outcome of matches, did the tapping, though.
But there was plenty of more punch in Wrestlemania.
There was the return of The Undertaker, led to the ring ... surprise, surprise ... by Paul Bearer and a group of torch-carrying druids.
The man from the darkside rose from the dead to beat Kane.
And there was the wonderful heel turn of diva Trish, who wickedly turned her back on boyfriend Chris Jericho to align herself with Christian.
- Other Wrestlemania results: Molly Holly was shaved bald after losing to Victoria; Eddie Guerrero defeated Angle; John Cena won the U.S. title over The Big Show; Rob Van Dam and Booker T kept their tag-team titles in a Fatal Four-Way match; Evolution beat Foley and The Rock; Sable and Torrie Wilson won the Playboy Evening Gown match over Miss Jackie and Stacy Kiebler (the real winner was ref Jack Doan after all the contestants stripped down to bra and panties before the match began); Chavo Guerrero won the cruiserweight open; Goldberg beat Lesnar with both wrestlers receiving Stone Cold Stunners from ref Steve Austin after the match; Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty kept their titles in a Fatal Four-Way match.
- Edge is on his way back soon. His return was touted on a promo which aired on both Smackdown! and RAW.
- Watch for Pro Wrestling Superstars -- Past, Present and Future, a Viewers Choice pay-per-view which will air March 23, at 8 p.m., with repeats at 9:30, 11, then 12:30 a.m. There are also showings next Sunday at 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 1:30, 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., then 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. Hosted by Aaron Weiss, the show features a blast from the past with Andre the Giant and Dick the Bruiser teaming up to take on Killer Karl Krupp and Ox Baker. Among the current stars are Red, Shane Douglas, D-Lo Brown and Chris Sabin.
- It was great to see Bobby Heenan on hand at Wrestlemania, his speech slowed. But did he really have to pop out of a closet with Mean Gene Okerlund? And did Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah have to then appear out of the closet and pull the men back in with them? Not saying Mae is old, but scuttlebut is she was a waitress at The Last Supper.
- Lesnar, in explaining his departure, said he had been unhappy for some time. He said the schedule was too hectic and he wanted to spend more time with his daughter. Having said that, it's certainly no sure thing that he'll earn a spot with an NFL team. Lesnar was with WWE for three years. His match against Goldberg was the lowlight of Wrestlemania.