Wednesday, April 4, 2001
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
WWF gets a 'face' lift
Stone Cold Steve Austin is finally the heel he was meant to be since his arrival in the federation and the end of his lame "Ring Master" gimmick. The Rock is off to Hollywood to film his new movie and Shane McMahon, the new 'owner' of WCW, has scored the first win in the battle for supremacy.
Meanwhile on RAW Monday, we were treated to HHH joining forces with McMahon/Austin and destroying The Rock. While this is a logical decision with The Rock headed to Hollywood, who's left to fight?
The Undertaker and Kane are firmly planted in mid-card feuds. Kurt Angle is still a top heel (where the WWF will keep him if they are smart) and neither Chris Benoit nor Chris Jericho is ready for main event babyface matches. Vince could raid WCW, stealing WCW champion Booker T., but I don't see that happening for two reasons:
1) Booker T. is WCW right now. If Vince takes him away then WCW will have a very hard time establishing credibility as a separate entity.
2) Booker T. is currently nothing more then a Rock rip off. There are other possibilities but somehow I don't see Vince calling Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage to give them the top spot in the company anytime soon.
Then there's Bill Goldberg. Could this be the set up fans have been asking for the last 2 1/2 years? If so what would that do to the WWF and WCW? Certainly it would not harm the WWF but the WCW is a whole different subject. Besides Bill hasn't even signed with WWFE yet and there's a good chance we have seen the last of Mr. Goldberg.
Personally I don't see the WWF's choice to make Stone Cold a heel at this time to be the correct choice. They don't really have anyone in a position to stop his reign of terror. I believe the right choice would have been to give him the win and the belt at WrestleMania but save the heel turn for a few months down the road when someone like Benoit or Jericho was ready to stand in the spotlight but neither man has been pushed in that direction.
Then there is the fun angle. The Heel Steve Austin vs. the face HHH. all you have to do is look at the swerves pulled by the WWF in the last two years to see it coming. It only seems right that HHH is just waiting to screw Austin and McMahon taking the belt and the fans with him. HHH carried the Federation as a heel during Austin's injuries and it has been proven that the fans, if set in that direction, love HHH as much as they currently hate him. HHH screwing Austin would also bring true finality to this past years Austin/HHH/Rikishi angle giving HHH the upper hand, Austin his title reign, and solving the problem of the "faceless" WWF.
With wrestling entering hard times, The Rock the most popular superstar on the WWF roster away filming a movie, no real face power in the WWF, and Vince now trying to run the two largest wrestling promotions of all time at one time, maybe turning Stone Cold Heel at WrestleMania wasn't the best choice.
One thing is for sure. Vince better be careful for the next few months. With no competition, he is constantly in danger of becoming stale. Let us all just hope whoever comes out of the shadows to fight the evil Steve Austin leads to a better angle then the "Greater Power" or the WWF and wrestling could seriously be in trouble. As far as turning Stone Cold heel at WrestleMania, I believe that Sid Vicious sums it up the best: Vince, "RIGHT PLACE, WRONG TIME!!!!"
Drew Hoffman is from Eagles Mere, PA. He can be emailed at Bigpoppapump94@hotmail.com.