Tuesday, January 12, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Ipso facto lame-o
It's not about the triumph of evil over good ... Nasty `90s over tradition ... rude and crude over apple pie.
There is a much more basic reason as to why Vinnie the Mac's WWF is laying the big-time smack down on the heads of Eric the Bischoff's World Championship Wrestling: WCW is lame.
Ipso facto lame-o.
That's not to say that everything WWF is golden. The language bothers even me; the 'ho' thing is ridiculous (though not necessarily the ho's themselves); they've used up every possible Austin-Kane-Undertaker angle, and no matter what name they give him, Too Flash Scorpio is barely a Junkyard Gerbil, let alone a Junkyard Dog.
But - with the painful exception of Shawn Michaels' back - these are curable problems.
As for WCW: In the `70s, GM and Ford were still convinced that real Americans wanted large, shoddily-made, gas-guzzling land yachts. Along came an Oil Crisis and Detroit was caught with its pants down. Moral of the analogy? WCW was convinced that real Americans still wanted to see Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior.
What's wrong with WCW?
Pin the tail anywhere on this donkey. But let's start at the bottom. You hardly expect Walter Cronkite or Foster Hewitt to be sitting at the announcer's table at a wrestling event, but what a collection of tools this is. It's fitting that Tony Jabrony is at the helm. Even their only hope for redemption, Bobby "My Brain Hurts" Heenan, has fallen into a coma.
To buy into WCW you would have to buy into the whole Goldberg thing. I never have. If Goldberg was just now ascending to the throne, I could go for it. But he was 'made' before he had a chance to make himself. WCW has to tell you, announce it to the crowd even: "This is a man who has captured a nation." It's the old theory: "If you have to keep telling someone, maybe it's not all that true." When you hear the sound of breaking glass and Stone Cold stomps out, the moment speaks for itself.
You'd also have to believe in Ric Flair. Yes - I believe that overblown mid-carders with bad hair can someday rule the world.
That's the WCW way: Take an idea and cram it down your throat. And in doing so, they waste the rest of the roster. They've worked Sting from a headliner to a spare part. And the Giant ... 7 feet, 500 pounds of going-nowhere-fast.
Supposedly their strength is depth. Load 'o' crap, that is. Saggy-breasted 45-year-olds; Not-Now-and-Never-Will-Be's like Norman Smiley and Didn't-You-Used-To-Be ...?'s like Curt Hennig. Please. Nothing says WCW better than The Four Horseman. Horses? Benoit, Malenko and McMichael? Smell the glue, baby.
One Fit Finlay is too many. A house full is, well ... it's not even funny. What is funny about this recent era of the WWF is the big guy himself. All those years, Vinnie boy tried oh-so hard to endear himself - to become "the people's announcer."
It never worked. He always seemed like a bit of a doofus, the goofy rich kid who wants so desperately to be loved. He wasn't really a pain, but mostly he was tolerated because, well ... he owned the company.
Now Mr. McMahon is huge. He swiped Bischoff's schtick and took it to another level. By being the biggest bad-ass of all, the Vin-man finally got what he wanted: To be as famous as his wrestlers. And he's got Eric in the figure-four leg-lock of life.
Dave Cameron is the automotive editor at the Edmonton Sun and a long-time Road Dog himself. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org