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

Rock, Benoit will be dandy


By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun

  The best thing about tomorrow's WWF Fully Loaded pay-per-view card is that someone other that Triple H is involved in the main event.

 And you should expect a dandy battle when the Rock puts his heavyweight championship belt on the line against Montreal-born, Edmonton-raised and Calgary-trained Chris Benoit.

 Now it would be a major shock if Benoit wrested the title from the Rock's grasp. After all, the Canadian Crippler just joined the WWF in February. But there is little doubt that WWF owner Vince McMahon figures Benoit is worth the push. Why would he have assigned his son Shane to be Benoit's all-of-a-sudden best pal?

 Benoit now is where Bret (Hit Man) Hart used to be. Unlike Hart, Benoit gets over as a heel quite well. He has seized the moment. And isn't nice to get a slight respite from the seemingly eternal Rock-Triple H confrontations? Finally, the WWF has realized that you can get too much of one thing.

 At least we hope it has.

 TIME TO PUT UP: The perception has been that the WCW was being dragged down by the presence of too many old guys.

 After making a special effort to watch its two shows this past week, frankly it looks as though Nitro and Thunder will function quite well without Hulk Hogan, Randy (Macho Man) Savage, Ric Flair, et al.

 One of the reasons the likes of Benoit and Chris Jericho moved to the WWF is that they were getting buried as the oldtimers hogged the spotlight.

 It is no accident that all three have shined brightly under McMahon's spotlight because the talent always was there. Why not more of Billy Kidman, Lance Storm, Booker T., Mike Awesome and even Goldberg? Why not let them have a chance to leave their mark?

 There are those who are convince that Buff Bagwell would have been much better off had he left the Atlanta-based group. But now he has a legitimate chance on its stage, once he gets his legal problems out of the way for allegedly slugging a member of the WCW backstage crew. If WCW script wizard Vince Russo is as smart as he claims to be, the WCW now has a glorious chance to pick it up.

 Wrestling fans are looking for freshness and creativity.

 Lewd and lascivious behaviour is not necessary to be successful.

 OFF THE TOP ROPE: There is chatter that Stone Cold Steve Austin will be making an appearance on this week's Raw is War. Which is good news. The bad news is that appears that Austin is nowhere close to returning to the ring ... Jacques Rougeau's former partner, Pierre-Carl Ouellette, finally has found something better than the Quebec independent circuit and has appeared recently in the ECW. Remember a few months back that someone in Montreal was sending around e-mails on Ouellette's behalf as he sought work. As for Rougeau, he appears to be having success as an indie promoter in Quebec, where the scene appears to be stronger than the one in Ontario ... Look who is back on TBS on Saturday mornings. Tune into today at 11 a.m. and you will find the WCW's weekend morning show, at least that's what all the computerized TV listings say ... Wiarton is abuzz with the news that Powerslam Wrestling Extreme has a card tonight at the Wiarton Arena. Bell time time is 7:30. The same group is in Parry Sound a week from tonight at 7:30 at the Bobby Orr Centre ... A Miss AWF Bikini contest will be one of the features of the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation's card a week from tomorrow at Cactus Pete's, 462 Birchmount, near Danforth. Among the matches on the card are Tony Mack against Mysterious Mayhem while in a three-way match, Piranha battles Jackal and Franky the Mobster. Flesh Gordon grapples with Sinn while the All-Knighters also will be in action on the card that begins at 4 p.m. ... The Hardcore Wrestling Federation has shows set for Pembroke and Belleville on Aug. 11 and 12 before returning to London's Labatt's Park for an Aug. 13 card which will feature King Kong Bundy, among others ... No word on what kind of card can be expected from ECW when it invades the Hershey Centre in Mississauga on Sept. 9.