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SLAM! Speaks: Readers respond to hirings and firings


Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist


The masses have spoken - literally.

This edition of SLAM! Speaks garnered the most e-mail responses of any of our topics (okay, we've only done three but still...). There's no question that "who should go and who should come" debate is the hottest topic in any wrestling circle, and we're very pleased with the response we've received from this topic.

Here's a look at what you thought:

Kevin Rupert
I have multiple people to get rid of, such as Scott Steiner,(haven't seen him in a year, haven't missed him for longer than that), Albert (Same as Steiner) and of course Test (Unlikely due to Stacy ).

The WWE should try once more to bring in more cruiserweights and make a real division out of it, it was the one saving grace in the old WCW days. The WWE misused a talent like Ultimo Dragon, while giving us multiple Rey Misterio/Tajiri matches which were very good but nothing like the old days,(La Parka anyone)??

The one guy I would bring in would be X-Pac or Sixx or whatever, but it would be as a face so he could get beat down every week by the heels ( Any Heel would suffice)

Andrew Loyer
- If the WWE were firing somebody, I would get rid of Billy Gunn. What has he ever done but ruin every push that he's had?
- I would hire "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels. I think TNA has given him a raw deal and underused a great wrestler with a great gimmick.

Chris Warburton
Interesting comments about Luther Reigns but if you saw him in OVW, you would realize he is the most underutilized talent on Smackdown save Booker T or Rob Van Dam but I digress. Luther as Inspector Impact in OVW was very entertaining and his promos were unreal. His wrestling is not great but his promos more than make up for it. I don't watch much WWE but in the bits I've seen he has never talked which shows me no one watches OVW in creative unless they are forced to go to Louisville twice a year.

Aikfletch4@aol.com
Who should go is Vince and the writers. They were doing good a few years ago; now it is the same old same old. HHH is the champ? Really, wow; didn't see that coming. It is like not seeing Monday following Sunday.

Bring back the ministry and corporation days; The fights off-scene (grocery stores, parking lots). No more pay per views; cut back to 3. The hardcore matches and title. Bring back all the cast of characters to challege who ever get the rating stays; if not bye.

Alan Omelia
I honestly think that they should get rid of both Luther Raines and Tyson Tomko. To me, they both have no skills and Ihave only seen them in a few times where they actually wrestled.
As to who to bring in, I would love to see Cowboy Bob Orton, cast and all, as maybe a mystery tag partner for Randy Orton at some point against Flair and HHH.

Paul Harvey
As for firing you have a long list, at the top is Eugene. How many more main event matches do we have to suffer through with him in it? He is dreadful, misses badly with most of his contact moves, his wrestling is pretty slow (almost early season Tough Enough like) and the mentally challenged part doesn’t make me cheer, it makes me cringe in horror. There are a lot of honorable mentions though, such as Coach, The King, Rosie, Albert, Big Show, Luther, Stevie Richards and Jazz.

I am not all that sure with NWA or anything else since I only get WWE on TV so I can’t comment on them; I am sure there are many good ones out there too. I would want to see some of my old faves like Sting, Randy Savage, but I have a more interesting angle for you. How about this:

* Some big young monster joins the WWF, sort of like a Brock Lesnar clone but with a bit more of a personality, and better mic skills.
* We find out that he is financed from the outside by a very rich man with a lot of power – yep it could only be Ted Dibiase…..but…he is not alone.
* With Millionaire Ted is a dark mysterious figure who has a tendency to take guys out, before the opponents hit the ring to take on the big new kid.
* This dark figure after a long time is revealed to be Sting, with his “Crow” make up on, nailing people with baseball bats and acting all scary, nasty and bad.
* From there the new kid can turn on Sting (which would make the most sense), Dibiase can inherit the GM title somehow, Bischoff inherits RAW ownership (thus creating a nasty feud with McMahon, perhaps involving Stone Cold) and Sting can kick butt and improve the ratings by finally dispatching HHH from the title hunt.

Victor Rajic
First off, I would get rid of clowns like Test, A-Train, Tyson Tomko, Steven Richards (for the love of God, please!!), Scotty 2 Hotty, Gangrel, Viscera, Luther Reigns and Rosey. These jabronis have 0 talent, serve no purpose in wrestling, and have done nothing to change their image or make themselves better. Then I would make all the Smackdown! Divas valets or can them as well. They have not improved themselves over time like the RAW divas and are only there to titillate some of the fans.

If I had to hire someone, the list would be very small. I like AJ Styles. He’s exciting to watch and could do great in the WWE. Oddly enough, I also used to like Vampiro since he had a pretty good gimmick and (at least I thought) some good wrestling ability. I just hated that he brought the Misfits in during his dying days in WCW which ruined everything for him.

What the WWE needs is to get some ‘gimmick’ characters. People like the Undertaker, early Mankind before they started to reveal the Mick Foley aspect of him, or even the black and white Sting (although not Sting himself since he in my mind is very limited in wrestling ability). Come on, didn’t it make you excited when Sting appeared out of nowhere and kicked some NWO ass? Didn’t Mankind send shivers down your spine? The only gimmicks that the WWE has come up with recently in Eugene and cute as it may seem, they need some dark, tough guy to run roughshod through some of the talent and lay people to waste (good, bad or both). Forget the old retro has-beens. I have no interest in seeing the Macho Man, Lex Luger, Jeff Jarrett or heaven forbid, X-Pac. All of these ass-ponies were poison to the business and we don’t need them bringing their hang-ups and dirty laundry with them.

Jason Skidmore
If I had to get rid of one wrestler it would be Spike Dudley. I mean he can take bumps like no other; I remember Show chokeslamming him to the outside of the ring onto the floor. But really I find him boring and tired of the same thing all the time from him.

As for bringing in someone I would say The Road Dog Jesse James, reform DX with Shawn Micheals and take on Evolution. He had amazing mic skills and the Outlaws were great as a tag team and to have three members of DX take on Trips with his gang would be fun to watch.

David Sharp
I would get rid of Test, Luther Reigns, The Coach, Kane (useless without the mask, it hurts to say that) and Carlito Cool who I can tell will suck already.

Instead of hiring new talent I would actually use Rhyno and let him goar everyone in sight and let Hurricane and Tajiri tear it up in the Cruiserweight divison. I would also let Jericho and RVD run with the World Titles for a year.

Jayson Doak
I desperately wanted to say get rid of Albert...but I think he would be a good fit in the tag team division again...he just needs the right partner. Speaking of partner, it's one of his former teammates that needs to hit the bricks...Scotty Too Hotty. Aside from that daft worm, he serves no purpose. He could have been a credible addition to the Cruiserweight division, but really he's less useful than Jamie Noble, and look where he ended up.

Who would I bring in? Might surprise a lot of people with this one, but I have to go with someone like Chris Sabin. I think Sabin would be able to add just the right flavour that SmackDown needs. He has pretty good ring skills, and though is similar to Noble in size, would be a decent fit in the Cruiserweight, or U.S. Title division. His mic skills are also decent, though the WWE machine could make him even better....look what they did with Benoit.

Trgamble1972
If I were to fire one person in WWE it would most likely be Test. The reasons being, that he is constantly injured and it would make good business sense. Even when he was healthy he could never get any crowd reaction. If I could hire people into the WWE, I would bring back Raven and Perry Saturn. I feel that if WWE used the Raven character properly, like ECW did, that he would be a great asset to their company. If I were to bring them in, I would start a storyline where some WWE mid-carders mysteriously get attacked and no one can figure out who is behind it. The locker room is in a uproar. They finally catch a masked man attacking someone like Cena. It turns out to be Saturn. This would set up a Saturn/Cena match. During their match, Raven begins speaking from the balcony and distracts Cena. Saturn rolls him up for the pin. Raven's Nest is reborn and more wrestlers are added. A Raven/Cena feud would begin.

Craig Gillespie
The SmackDown roster could really use an influx of intrest and the removal of some deadwood. There are a number of candidates to vote out, but none offer less in terms of entertainment value than the FBI. Would anyone really miss Johnny 'The Bull' Stambolli and Nunzio? Not likely.

In return, I'd like to see the WWE bring in what could have been a huge success if not mishandled in the past - Raven. But not just Raven on his own. Raven requires followers. I would also look into the return of Jeff Hardy. Packaged with Raven, Hardy could form the basis of a new Flock. The Flock was a brilliant use of mid-card talent (which SmackDown! has plenty of). Raven's less than impressive run in WWE was totally due to mishandling of Raven's strengths i.e. his charisma. Who knows, maybe Johnny Stambolli could even be re-packaged as one of Ravens followers? Maybe throw in the Bashams? It's not like they've got anything going on these days.

If nothing else, we'd get to see Raven and Hardy on regular TV again and some mid-card talent could be put to use. Feuds could be built up with Kidman and London, due to Kidman refusing to follow his former leader. RVD and Raven for old-time ECW's sake. Maybe we could see Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio Jr.do their thing? Stranger things have happened.

Harold Daniels
Gee, who to kick to the curb and who to bring in. May be a bit long but there are sooo many choices lol.

Kick List 1.Rodney Mack (doesnt move me) can him!
2.Simon Dean (Nova) can him!
3.Mark Henry (no awe factor anymore) can him!

Bring-'em-on List
1.The Stinger! - If only for the shock value. In my opinion he is the only one who can come close to Hogan as a franchise player.
2.Vampiro - One of the best goth type angles i have seen, and he is Canadian!
3.Alex Wright - Someone to compete for the ladies with Shawn Michaels or any of the other prima-donnas like Chris Jericho lol.

Gerald Powless
I would take all the so called "divas" out and get back to the true nature of the sport...which is wrestling! They could learn a thing or two from watching the old stampede wrestling, they did it right; all the feuds seemed to be real and the storylines were believable. Lita pregnant by Kane? Oh please! And this joke of a champion HHH; Benoit, Orton, Y2J or Edge are much better wrestlers.

Just my opinion!

Russell Fournier
Many people I believe should be fired, not necessarily for being a bad worker, but for just being horribly uninteresting. I can't believe this guy was not in the other suggestions, Hardcore Holly! What a piece of crap he is; feels he should be getting the shots for moving up in the company (note: if anyone has trouble sleeping watch a Hardcore Holly match). I think JBL is a mistake.

This is not a wrestler, but a theme that should be fired is the brand extension. WWE's attempts at cashing in even more as turned away fans, like myself. Ultimately, if anyone should be fired from WWE is its owner Vince McMahon. WWE has a way of taking something that could be good and absolutely destroying it.
(Editor's note: You definitely won't want to watch the main event of Smackdown! this week.)

-- compiled by Jon Waldman, edited for grammar and content where applicable.