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  Sun, June 2, 2002



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

Wrestling still rules

By TIM BAINES -- Sun Media

 WWE is taking plenty of flak for its product these days. Internet hacks and some fans say the roster split has destroyed the show.

 It says here there's no problem with wrestling.

 Anyone who grew up watching Maple Leaf Wrestling in the 1970s would have to admit there's no comparison to the show then and now.

 We would tune in and watch a grappler like Silent Brian McNee or Terry Yorkston get squashed by a star of the squared circle.

 The tomato can would have momentum for about two seconds, maybe delivering two punches, or if he was lucky, a flying mare.

 The matches were one-sided and the between-match banter was amateurish.

 The highlight would be an appearance by self-proclaimed "Canada's greatest athlete" Iron Mike Sharpe. With his muscular build and grunting ability, he could have been a superstar, but was reduced to laughable heel.

 Before Maple Leaf Wrestling hit the airwaves, the wrestling schtick was worse. The highlight of a show would be host Lord Athol Layton delivering a chop to one of the heels, or an appearance by Pampero Firpo and his collection of shrunken heads, or The Sheik.

 When the WWF began to grab its niche with a product that combined comedy, acrobatics, T & A, high-impact bumps, athleticism and cutting-edge banter between the grapplers, the audience lapped it up.

 So, why criticize now? It hasn't changed. Vince McMahon and his circus of stars still are delivering big time.

  • Tommy Dreamer must have a cast-iron stomach. He was forced by The Undertaker to drink a glass full of tobacco spit on RAW. A gross enough looking substance to begin with, it was topped off by a big gob of tobacco by The 'Taker. Dreamer, to The Dead Man's horror, drank it and said it tasted good. That didn't sit well with the big biker, who put a beating on Dreamer, the former ECW star.

  • Rob Van Dam is the new Intercontinental champion, defeating Eddie Guerrero in a thrilling ladder match. There were a couple of unscheduled spills during the bout, with RVD tumbling from the ladder to the mat as he was about to deliver a five-star frog splash. A fan also ran in during the match, somehow avoiding security. And after the match, Stone Cold Steve Austin raced to the ring to get his own shots in on Latino Heat. But, Chris Benoit, who was sitting in the front row in his hometown of Edmonton, shocked the fans by attacking Austin. With Benoit and Guerrero once again aligned, could Ric Flair be set to put the Four Horsemen back in the saddle again?

  • The Apocalypse Wrestling Federation presents its International Implications show today at 4 p.m. at the Birchmount (462 Birchmount) Fabulous Firebird Phoenix (accompanied by Jason Sensation) faces Japanese star Sumie Sakai. And, with both the AWF and NCW Quebec titles on the line, Jackal faces Franky the Mobster. There will be several other feature bouts. The AWF has released its list of top contenders, behind Jackal, the champion. Sparkling James Champagne is ranked No. 1, followed by Jaguar Vijay Singh, Slade, Squeegee Kid, Joey Knight, Codfather, Silk, Asylum, Robin Knightwing and Danny Dynamic.

  • The CWA has a card on June 9 at 4 p.m. at Charlie T's Gentlemen's Club (Dufferin and Finch). The show includes a Buck-Naked match.

  • Scott Hall's life has taken another twist for the worse. Recently released by WWE, Hall got news that his ex-wife Dana is trying to gain custody of their children.

  • Goldust looked bizarre with an nWo costume on RAW. You've got to think this alliance will end soon.

  • Word is that Maven has a leg injury, which could be severe.


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