April 9, 2005
Pondering the state of wrestling
By "Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
So Wrestlemania is in the books and I have to admit I was surprised at the outcome of a lot of matches. I think it's a testament to the WWE that they are really trying to create new main event talent and bring in new viewers by putting the titles on newer young (ish in Batista's case) stars and see if they can draw.
I will not speculate on whether or not they will have good title runs, as only time and the fickle wrestling audience will tell. But I will wish them both good luck and hope to hell they signal the start of an upswing in business in general.
The opening bout with Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero was good as expected. I heard there was a problem with Rey's mask early on, but to me it didn't take away from a good wrestling match. The ladder match was great as well, kudos to all the men in it. Props to Chris Benoit for a great performance. But then most -- if not all -- of his matches are great. I really liked the finish and the way it leaves the door open for the future and a good Edge/Batista feud. I was perplexed with The Big Show/Akebono sumo match and why it was so milked. Wayyyyy to much time wasted in that one.
Of course match of the night has to go to Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels. They had a fantastic WRESTLING match and one can only hope that the day of "wrestling" has actually come back. The finish was excellent and left both men stronger for it. And you can't ask for more in a show like that one.
The less said about the ladies match the better but Trish Stratus just showed that she has become a GREAT worker.
To me though the night was made with Piper's Pit. Roddy Piper and Steve Austin had a chemistry that if Piper were younger would have made millions! Their banter was neither forced nor contrived and was refreshing in a "too over-scripted promo" world. Line of the night for me was Piper to the "What" crowd. "What's the matter, you can't understand him either?" Pure gold. Maybe I'm just too big a Piper fan.
Overall I thought it was a 3 to 3-1/2 * show with some real highs but some definite lows. Oh and Hulk Hogan is still the man.
On the TNA front I was at the last Impact tapings in Orlando this week and was there to hear the reaction of the boys to the announcement that the April PPV Lockdown will entirely be held in a six sided cage! That's right, the whole show, all eight matches in the cage.
In my own words boooooooooooooooo!
But I am not the only one to think this. To me and most a cage match is something to be built towards and is the finale of what should have been a bitter and ugly feud. To put eight matches in a cage in one night, to me at least, seems ludicrous. Now I have heard the reasoning that this will be a TNA signature PPV, a la Royal Rumble, Summer Slam, etc. But I don't think that justifies doing it so soon. I could be wrong though; God knows I have been before.
So as it stands the matches and each stipulation I have heard are
In indy news this weekend is the ECWA Super 8 (http://www.ecwaprowrestling.com/) and my money is on Tyson Dux or Petey Williams to dominate. Gotta back the Canadians! I was supposed to be in it but this damnable knee took care of that. If you are close enough to Newark, Delaware I would strongly suggest checking out tonight's second round. This is a career-making tourney.
I read an interesting write up on my friend Chase Stevens' website the other day and I think I will share it with you now. In no way does the following reflect the views of SLAM! Wrestling or its other writers but I think this needs sharing.
Why isn't wrestling drawing big numbers again? Well I have a few reasons why. First off wrestlers are too nice anymore. We let everyone run us over, from the promoters to the fans to the people who just don't belong in the ring. All of this has effects on wrestling as a whole. Wrestling is a sport. Anyone can do it we have proved that from a fat guy to a one legged guy but how many can wrestle the game as a sport and understand it? Just a handful of talented wrestlers today can do this. Promoters today would rather bring in what I call #### talent to save a buck. Put money in his pocket for that night. Well I believe the wrestlers are the ones still in control we just don't know it. Without us, there is no show. We shouldn't allow promoters to run shows like that and we the wrestlers should take a stand. If a guy doesn't belong in the ring then we should show the world he doesn't belong in the ring. Not lower ourselves to work to this guy's work rate. The promoter should pay our fee no matter what the house draws. I don't know how many times I have heard well we expected this many fans and didn't get it so we have to cut your pay. All wrestlers hear it. If we are true talented wrestlers then it's not us that's not drawing, it's the promoter not knowing how to promote. When was the last time you heard about a wrestling show advertised on the radio? Besides WWE. That's because the promoter doesn't promote. When was the last time your children came home talking about a wrestler that came to his school for a talk and to promote a show? That's because the promoter doesn't promote. Why are all the promoters now just that lazy and satisfied with what they have? I can name most of the fans by name. That's because promoters rely on a set few fans to show ever week to pay the bills and the promoter never goes after new fans. There is always an excuse to why the fans don't show. There is no excuse - it's either the promoter not promoting, the booker not running good angles, or the talent not pleasing the crowd.
An interesting read if nothing else. But it definitely made me think.
That's it for this week kids. Time to do some more healing. For those of you who've asked I will be out until probably September, if all goes well. Emails and well wishes as always can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to get to as many as possible and answer. If you just want to comment on the column please hit www.johnnydevine.net and my message board. Take care all and stay hot.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run on Saturdays on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit each week!
For more on Devine's career, see his biography in our Canadian Hall of Fame.