CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
  Dec 29, 2001



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER tapings


Alexia Nicole


Ox Baker


BCW Excellence


WWE in Montreal


ROH Unauthorized


Smackdown in Philadelphia







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




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

Holiday treats

Holiday treats

By T.J. MADIGAN -- Calgary Sun
 With no TV tapings, no house shows, and every active wrestler at home, it should've been a news-free week for the folks in WWF land.

 Instead, though, the holiday season was buzzing with rumours and excitement as Federation bosses prepare for the big Jan. 7 edition of Raw, on which Vince McMahon and co. will attempt to change the entire face of the wrestling business.

 As we reported several weeks ago, there are plans to split the WWF on that date, using the ongoing feud between McMahon and fictitious co-owner Ric Flair as the storyline catalyst. A televised draft will take place to explain the split, in which McMahon will select a group of wrestlers for his roster and Flair will lead his own new charges to form a different promotion. McMahon's stable will more than likely be keeping Raw as its flagship show, which leaves Smackdown as the Nature Boy's TV outlet.

 Eerily reminiscent of WCW's dying days, this is the umpteenth time the WWF has completely switched direction this year, in yet another attempt to win back the increasing number of fans who are tuning out. The events of the past week, however, have shown they're avoiding the mistakes that led to WCW's demise and also rendered their own previous makeovers useless. This time, they're planning ahead, keeping the plotlines coherent and, most importantly, preparing to bring in the big guns. This may be the angle that can lead to the WWF out of its slump and into its first profitable direction since the 'Attitude' campaign of the late '90s.

 The story, as it stands now, will see Steve Austin and The Rock each fronting one of the groups but it'll take a lot more than that to truly usher in a whole new era. In an effort to give the audience a feeling this is a legitimate fresh start, WWF management is looking to bring in some familiar faces that haven't been around for a while.

 Triple H is the most publicized of these, returning to television for the first time since a career-threatening leg injury forced him out of action in May. Babyface status is almost a lock for HHH, at least initially, and it looks like Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley will also be back alongside him. As one of the most solid all-rounders in the business, The Game's presence will give the split angle a much-needed sense of realism that has long been absent.

 He may have some company, too. It emerged on Tuesday that direct talks had taken place last weekend between Vince McMahon and Hunter's former Clique team-mate, Kevin Nash. Nash, who hasn't wrestled in a WWF ring since he last appeared as Diesel in 1996, was thought to have balked at an offer that demanded he wrestle the same schedule as the rest of the talent. It has been reported Nash is willing to increase the number of days he'll perform, meaning an agreement is now in sight. Insiders fear he'll be a cancer in the locker room, hindering the elevation of younger stars, yet as 2002 draws closer, Big Sexy's involvement seems imminent.

 McMahon is yet to confirm any of these negotiations, although the WWF.com homepage currently features a promo ad for the Royal Rumble Web site, picturing Kevin Nash and also detailing his battle with Shawn Michaels at the '96 Rumble. It's rare for the WWF to publicize any stars who are no longer with the promotion, especially when (like Nash) they may align themselves with another group in the future, so this may be a hint a deal is already in the bag and the talks are just a formality.

 Speaking of Shawn Michaels, it was leaked this week that he's also being considered by Federation management as a potential participant in the angle. The Heartbreak Kid is still under contract with the WWF and even though it's unclear whether he's medically able to wrestle again, he's free to appear as a manager/valet or in a commissioner-type role.

 For the record, there are no plans (yet) to reunite the infamous 'Clique' as an on-camera faction. Behind-the-scenes, though, there'll probably be substantial political manoeuvreing from whichever of its former alumni find their way back into the fold. It may be hearsay but with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash all on their way back, and X-Pac recently cleared to return to the mix as well, the WWF's backstage hierarchy could be unrecognizably different in just two weeks.

 * In ratings news, Monday's Raw delivered a 3.2 rating, its lowest number in nearly four years. The drop in viewership has little or no meaning because the show was a throwaway Christmas Eve special and wrestling never does big numbers during the holidays. This week's Raw is cancelled (WWF talent is enjoying a rare 12-day break from TV tapings) to be replaced by a three-hour 'best-of' special, highlighting the top 10 matches of 2001 as voted by fans at the WWF Web site. The next rating with any real significance will be the live Smackdown on Thursday in Washington, D.C., which will set up the massive Jan. 7 Raw at Madison Square Garden.


Know someone who might be interested in this page? Just type in their e-mail address to send them the URL.

Destination email address:


Your email address: