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WWE feels cold without Austin

By TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun

  With ratings slipping and interest lagging, it seems there's little WWE won't do to recapture its lagging popularity.

Bra and panties matches, a Hot Lesbian Action theme and bloody violence, WWE is pulling out all stops, trying to find a magic elixir.

The solution seems simple.

But, in this case, simplicity has been complicated.

Stone Cold Steve Austin is the answer to WWE's woes, at least as a short-term fix. But he's got more on his mind these days than a return to the squared circle.

Austin is facing an Oct. 9 trial after being charged with beating his wife, Debra, also the former wife of ex-NFLer Steve McMichael.

Austin is not one of WWE's best technicians, but he is the best entertainer. His visit to Vince McMahon's hospital bed, his charge to the ring in a Zamboni and his appearance in a beer truck are among the most memorable out-of-ring wrestling highlights -- for pure entertainment value.

WWE needs Austin more than ever. It needs a hell-raising, beer-chugging SOB -- a character the audience can relate to.

Polls have shown Austin runs neck and neck with Goldberg as characters fans most want to see. But Goldberg is merely a wrecking machine, much like current champion Brock Lesnar.

Neither has much personality, an element Austin never fails to provide.

- Kane won the intercontinental title over Chris Jericho and will now get a RAW championship match against Triple H at the No Mercy pay-per-view. RAW GM Eric Bischoff announced that there will be just one title, with the winner taking all.

- Lesnar will face The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at No Mercy. That was set up on Smackdown! when Lesnar dropped a propane tank on The Undertaker's hand. Later, in the show, it was revealed that the hand was broken, at least as far as the storyline goes.

- Hulk Hogan has been absent for a couple of months and there's no telling when he'll return. Hogan says he's already fulfilled his obligation to Vince McMahon, a deal which was done by handshake, not on paper. The door isn't closed to his return, but he was unhappy with his money situation.

- Nash says he's hoping to return for next January's Royal Rumble.

- Wouldn't it be great for WWE to bring back Papa Shango, a character once played by Charles Wright, who also gained notoriety as The Godfather?

- Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis has collaborated with Martha Hart for a biography of Owen Hart entitled Broken Harts -- The Life and Death of Owen Hart, which has just been released.

- Jerry Lawler's gem of the week, speaking about Bubba Ray Dudley, who lost to Triple H with help from Ric Flair: "In the Dudley gene pool, there was no lifeguard."

- The Rock's next movie, Helldorado, could soon get a title change.

- Lisa Moretti (Ivory) testified at Nicole Bass' lawsuit hearing against WWE and said she refused to do a lesbian angle with Bass.

- Brian Adams (Krush) will make his pro boxing debut at a pay-per-view in Las Vegas next month. Reports suggest he'll have Macho Man Randy Savage in his corner.

- What's with the big push for Randy Orton, the youngster with the strong wrestling roots? -- his father Cowboy Bob and grandfather Bob Sr. were also grapplers. The younger Orton defeated both Lance Storm and Christian back-to-back on RAW, but hurt his shoulder. There was even a promo on the show, adding to the hype. It just seems too soon, until the young lad develops some charisma.


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