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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Stone Cold turning heel?


By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
  Steve Austin is back and riding high. But is he the most popular guy in the World Wrestling Federation?

There are those who think The Rock is No. 1 in the hearts and minds of fans and that Austin's act is wearing thin. And there is some speculation that Austin is going to become an all-out bad guy in the coming months, giving him more of an edge than he has now.

To be honest, it would not be much of a switch.

If you recall Austin's early days in the WWF, he really wasn't a hero, per se, at least not in the old sense of heroes and villains. He always has advertised himself as the meanest S.O.B. in the WWF, he always has been referred to as a rattlesnake since he took on the Stone Cold persona. So, he really never has been a babyface, but he has been hugely popular for pounding people, including Vince McMahon, during the past three years or so.

The bizarre scene the other night on Raw which had Austin locking Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a room with a rattlesnake was intriguing. Helmsley's well-staged freakout on Smackdown Thursday night was quite an entertaining ruse. So don't worry, Triple-H and Austin will battle for the title at No Mercy tomorrow in a match that most wrestling fans hope Austin wins because as a champion, Triple-H is lame.

ZEROES OF WRESTLING: The idea was a good one, getting some of the former top stars from the WCW and WWF together on one card. The execution of the show, however, left lots to be desired.

The Heroes of Wrestling pay-per-view last Sunday was a disappointment. We never did get to see the Yokozuna-King Kong Bundy match because for some weird reason it was turned into a tag-team match. And while we did not expect TBS-style television production, at times the show looked like the old shows once produced out of a smoke-filled Montreal Forum in the mid-1950s. It was enjoyable to see some of the old faces, including personal favourite Abdullah the Butcher, who, as usual, bled all over the place.

If another one of these shows is produced, it needs better commentators, better lighting and a better game plan. And if the promoters are going to advertise a match, they should deliver it.

HERE AND THERE: WWF Canada is trying something a little different this weekend. It is opening the doors at the Paramount Theatre in Toronto tomorrow for fans to watch Sunday Night Heat and the No Mercy pay-per-view. Well, they'll open the doors for you in exchange for $14.95. The Paramount is at Richmond and John Sts. ... Bret Hart was in town to hawk tickets for WCW's Nov. 21 Mayhem pay-per-view. Hart will battle either Sting or Hulk Hogan ... Hogan has given 30 days' notice to WCW officials, which is no doubt a plot to renegotiate his contract ... Former ECW wrestler Mikey Whipwreck, who was released by the WCW recently, may be WWF-bound to feud with X-Pac ... Jake Roberts did not look well on the Heroes of Wrestling card ... Apparently retirement does not sit well with Terry Funk. Toronto-area fans who thought they saw his retirement match this summer will no doubt be interested to know that Funk, who is in his 50s, will face that wacky Sabu Dec. 27 in the WWA's card at the Medieval Times ... The RWA is alive again and staging a card at Dr. Flea's QEW and Trafalgar Road Flea Market. Pro-Pain, Ricky Sky, One Man Wrecker, Joey Kross, Kwan Chang and The Mongol are listed to be on the show ... ECW has welcomed Tammy Lynn Sytch (Sunny) back to the fold ... Chris Jericho no longer has Mr. Hughes as an ally ... Pro Wrestling Illustrated is out with its annual Top 500 ratings. Austin is No. 1 followed by the ECW's Rob van Dam. Japanese star Misuharu Misawa was third, Rey Mysterio Jr. of the WCW is fourth and The Rock is No. 5. Rounding out the top 10: Diamond Dallas Page, Kieji Muto, The Undertaker, Bill Goldberg and Taz. Edmonton's Chris Benoit checks in at No. 20 with Val Venis a surprising No. 25. Jericho is No. 29 while Hart is No. 56.