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  June 29, 2000



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

SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: Five angles to ditch
By ALEX RISTIC -- SLAM! Wrestling

No, this is not part II of John Powell's editorial of last week, more of an additional segment of what should, and what should not, be going on in the squared circle.

Let's start with a pretty standard statement. You're not going to like absolutely everything you see, in terms of angles, in any of the feds you like, no matter how hard you try. It's nearly impossible.

It doesn't matter if you're a Jeff Jarrett fan. Last year, when he was at the end of his WWF tenure, he had the unenviable task of being known as a woman beater. Even if you like his stuff, beating on women is never tolerable, sports entertainment or not. Had his antics been against female wrestlers, like his feud with Chyna, well that's a different story. But to beat on his defenceless female valets is quite another.

This piece isn't on Jeff Jarrett though. The above is just an example of an angle or storyline that has been taken too far. It's what most normal humanoids call crap, and some of us just shouldn't stand for it.

It doesn't always have to be of a serious nature either. Some of the comedic elements of wrestling detract from the overall product as well. Isn't it fridge time for you whenever you see Brisco and Patterson lock horns?

The following are the top five angles I think that should be removed from television, for various reasons, such as their insulting natures, uselessness, and overall factors of believability, as in you can't believe them. They are in no particular order.

1) Gerald Brisco vs. Pat Patterson

In their heyday, these competitors were very strong names in their respective territories, having garnered their own followings in the past. Paterson was the first ever WWF Intercontinental Champion, while Brisco made his mark with his brother Jack, with a modicum of tag-team success in various territories throughout North America.

But they've since retired, and should have stayed that way. They no longer have the skills, they do not have the proper charisma for today's day and age, and they don't have a compelling story.

Their feud is only harming the WWF, specifically the hardcore division, because no one can take their actions or antics seriously. Even if wrestling is about a myriad of forms of entertainment, including comedy, don't you get that when you see Crash versus his cousin Hardcore Holly? This has gone too far and needs to be axed immediately.

2) Misfits In Action

A stable with all mid-carders, or lower, should not be in existence. What reason is there for you to watch? They'll squash anyone lower on the totem, but always, always, lose to the top talent. What's the point? If you know they're going to lose why would you bother tuning in?

Fact is, any faction or group that's created in any fed has to have impact players, no pun intended. The McMahon-Helmsley faction has HHH and basically DX, the New Blood have Jarrett and Mike Awesome, the Millionaires Club has Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash, and Cyrus's network has Rhino and Jerry Lynn.

It doesn't matter if you personally like these characters. They have drawing power, and are compelling depending on who they wrestle. Nash may now be lazy, but you'd love to see him in a power bomb vs. power bomb match with Awesome right? Can you say the same with Major Stash and Nash, or Awesome?

You can say Booker T was in the group for a few weeks, but that's just a ploy. You need more than one person of note to be a part of a group, otherwise all the other members just end up being bodyguards or run-in specialists. That's like having Hollywood Hogan re-start the NWO, but with Horace, Stevie Ray, Hugh Morris, and Jim Duggan. Who cares?

3) Dale Torborg vs. Vampiro

This is the hard one. Both are decent wrestlers, in fact, they're well above much of the people they face in terms of talent, but why are they facing each other now?

It would have been smarter had they connected the two when the Demon character first started. They either could have had feud to see who was the baddest monster in WCW, or teamed them together to form a dominating tag-team. But with Vampiro's elevation and subsequent destruction of Sting, this feud makes no sense.

You now have a reasonably able heel in Vampiro, who may get as many cheers as he does heat, but when Torborg shed the Demon character, there was no longer need for a feud. Unfortunately, talent doesn't always factor in these decisions. It doesn't matter that Torborg has skills; right now he's not anywhere near Sting's status. Is this not a step backward for Vampiro?

And what of Torborg's status? Going nowhere. Vampiro's feud with Sting was his truly first high profile angle. Vamp now looks inconsistent because he hasn't engaged with someone else of Sting's stature. While he's gained some ground, his foothold is still dubious. He's still at a point where he can slide down the ladder, unless his exposure continues to increase with the higher profile talent. Why isn't he wrestling Scott Steiner? Hasn't Steiner gone on record as saying he's a freak? It would have made better sense. It also doesn't help Torborg that Vamp has been totally dominating him, and that the slight success he has had was with the help of Sting, suggesting he can't get the job done by himself. And if that's the case, why is there even a feud if Torborg can't take care of himself?

4) ECW vs. TNN

While I sympathize with ECW and their plight of being a low priority for TNN, their actions help them not at all. If you're trying to get out of a deal with a company you don't like, slagging them won't help. I'm not saying they shouldn't be unhappy -- far from, but you have to look at the big picture.

You're USA Network, looking for a wrestling product and here comes ECW. You've already been burned by the WWF, and ECW is slagging TNN. Do you take a chance on a deal, when you know they'll trash you if they don't like something? With ECW's antics, I see many networks having second thoughts. No one wants to deal with perceived troublemakers, and if ECW continues that's the reputation they will get.

Second, unfortunately, right now their actions do make them look like a bush league federation as well. I realize you don't want to help TNN if they're not helping you, but once again the big picture needs to be looked at. Not bringing lights and other effects to your show only turns viewers off. If anyone has caught the last month of ECW for the first time, they probably won't tune in if they move to another network because the perception they now have is based on lack of a polished product. Whether it's right or wrong, people assume things without all the facts. There are people out there who think recent ECW broadcasts are the norm. As of now, they're basically alienating any new viewers they could be picking up, all in the name of ill will. How does that old saying go? "You'll bite your nose to spite your face."

5) The status of the WWF's women's title

Well, there is none. I would much prefer the belt scrapped then have it around Stephanie MacMahon's waist. This isn't even an anti-Stephanie's commentary, more of an anti-angle commentary.

WCW got rid of its token celebrity champion in David Arquette, for two basic reasons. One, he can't wrestle, and two, they would have received hell from the fans if they didn't. It's okay to use Stephanie to elevate a feud, or to interfere, or to even hold onto the belt for two WEEKS, maybe. After that, it's just ridiculous.

I can't speak for many of you out there, but I personally have seen tremendous women's matches in the past. The Jumping Bomb Angels, Wendi Richter, Leilani Kai, Luna Vachon and others put on some fine matches. Today, their legacies could still continue if the WWF let them. Lita does many high risk moves, Ivory is somewhat of a mat technician, Jacqueline has brawn as well as in ring talent.

Whether it's the women wrestling, or the men, titles and particular divisions should not be treated as a joke. That means fans will also treat them as a joke. I like ogling just as much as the next guy (or girl), but women's wrestling can be just as artistic and fun to watch as their male counterparts, without having to resort to gimmicks, nudity, or stupidity.

Of course, there are many other angles and storylines that are just as questionable as those listed above, but these are what stick in my craw right now. If we cut the crap, maybe we'll all get something that we like. After all, the WWF is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and for now WCW has Turner/AOL to turn to. They have to have some money to actually pay a decent scriptwriter and people to poll fans on what they want to see.

In reality, the feds have no excuses for what they're doing, so let's get rid of the dead weight, and watch what we all want to see.


Reader Feedback

  • June 22:Money for nothing


  • I have to say I disagree with your assement of Stephanie McMahon. I like her a lot. She has a real condescending tone in her promos that makes her very easy to boo. And you have admit she gets a lot of heat. Granted she does have a lot of TV time but so do Road Dogg and X-Pac and they get no heat at all. I especially liked the promo she cut the day after she turned on Vince. It made that she would turn on him after the hell he put her through during the Higher Power angle. I don't see why you object to the drugging part, I assumed when she turned that she had only faked being drugged and was in on the plan from the beginning. I also liked the fact that Stephanie is hot looking in a very natural looking way; you can't say that about too many other woman in wrestling. As far as her having the title goes, I can understand how that would piss some people off but I don't mind cause I don't like women's wrestling. Lita is okay, I guess, but Ivory and Jackie are very boring to watch. Personally I think they should just drop that belt completely.

    Brendon S.

    I am stunned at what you wrote in this column. I don't think I've ever disagreed more with anybody on this subject, or any other subject for that matter! I'm not angry at you, everybody is entitled to their own opinion, I'm just so shocked. After an objective introduction, you then continued right off the bat to name two of my absolute favorite personalities in wrestling today: Jack Victory and Stephanie McMahon. I am a huge mark for both of these characters and some of my friends are two. You didn't think we existed did we?! The first two! And then you named a couple of others that I am fans of: Tank Abbott and Prince Albert. But your column was unbeliveable! I'm usually a person that is conversative in his emotions but when I was going through your "list" I choked on my fruit punch and cheese doodles! Let me do some explaining:

    I don't understand how anybody could not like Jack Victory; he's such an eyesore! I love him, and he has charisma... tons of it. Just the way he rolls his wheelchair to the ring and plays the part of the "stooge" so perfectly. On a more shoot note, Jack Victory is a good worker. A good worker and a good wrestler can be two different things. Although Victory hardly possesses any wrestling talent, he can work. He knows how to play his character. He sells, and then sells some more (sometimes I feel like nobody appreiates that art). And believe it or not, he can work the crowd a little too. And even more seriously, I know your comment about how Victory should be on ring crew was in jest, but even though Victory isn't on ring crew, he is one of the heads of ECW's promotional dept. and street team along with Sign Guy Dudley (or Lou E. Dangerously). So he does earn his pay. Surprise!

    And I love Stephanie McMahon. I think I'm infatuated. I can't explain it further. I love her facial expressions. And if she's so bad an actress, why does she have so much heat?!

    Listen, Tank Abbott has only been in the business for a few months. He's doing really good so far. And I love watching that bewildered look on his face. Sometimes I think nobody told him that wrestling is scripted.

    And finally, Prince Albert. He is the Scott Norton of the WWF. He's an innovative wrestler. He has really good energy (he growls and sneers every time he does a power move). And he works. You can't ask for more than that can you? I don't understand why you can't appreciate a wrestler like that just because he looks like a disaster.

    And concluding, why haven't you mentioned David "don't call me Erik Watts" Flair? Or the useless Godfather? Whatever, I hope I persuaded you a little... half the fun of reading an editorial is disagreeing with it. Good luck.

    Louis Garuccio

    Just a couple of quick comments on your article this week:

    1) Mark Madden is damn funny. WCW needs a funny heel announcer. I'm a big fan of The Brain, and I know he COULD be a fantastic heel announcer but for the past year he's been pretty lack-luster.

    2) I agree Tank Abbott sucks the big one. He can't wrestle, every match is punch-kick..... exactly like Stone Cold, which is why I cringe at the thought of Austin returning to wrestle. One Tank Abbott is bad enough.

    3) "The Kat, Major Gunns, Elektra and Torrie haven't established that they can do anything but look good. Whoopie." What are you thinking here? What's wrong with Major Gunns? Beautiful valets have always been a part of wrestling. I can't even begin to tell you how GAY this statement makes you sound.

    Darryl McCool


    Although I agree with your assessment of Tank Abbott's current performance in the pro wrestling ranks, I felt that your editorial did no justice to his potential as a superstar.

    Abbott was originally from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranks, and not from "Ultimate Tough Guy Streetfighting" as you termed it. One can tell from your guess at its name that you are not that well informed about the UFC, which has been banned from performing in almost every state. It is where the top fighters in the world, from Martial Arts masters to professional kickboxers, compete in genuine (i.e. NOT choreographed) no-holds barred fighting. Although the UFC is hardly a money maker, it has given guys like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn the reputation of being among the toughest and most dangerous pure fighters in the world. Abbott was one of the best in UFC, both in the ring and on the microphone, and his reputation as a top fighter was carried with him into WCW.

    The problem with Abbott's pro wrestling tenure has been his promotion rather than his ability. Abbott's UFC legacy has been disgraced under the cheap bookings and ill-advised gimmicks from WCW bigwigs, who (in my opinion) have a reputation of turning big name grapplers and perennial superstars into virtual shadows of what they could be (i.e. the tenures of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in WCW) or what they used to be (i.e. Bret Hart, Randy Savage, etc.)

    If you want proof, just look at the way the WWF marketed Ken Shamrock when he made the jump to pro wrestling. They used the 'tough fighter' image (punching, kicking, submission moves) for a little while to get him over, and then built a series of fresh angles around his character as he became more familiar with wrestling moves and microphone etiquette. Tank Abbott? With his personality and pain threshold, he could become the same --- but only with some proper promoting. Do you honestly think he limits his wrestling moves to punching and kicking out of his own choice? It is not likely.

    On another note, I completely agreed with your assessment of the other performers, especially Stephanie McMahon.

    Thank you for your time, and keep up the good work!

    Ben K.

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