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SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

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SLAM! Wrestling







Tuesday, November 24, 1998

SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column

WWF belts have lost all respect

By VINNIE BARTILUCCI -- For SLAM! Wrestling

Duane Gill vs. Christian (with Gangrel) for the Lightweight belt Dwyane wins with help from the JOB Squad's Scorpio.
(He later appears with the JOB Squad shirt and title belt)

So, the Light Heavyweight belt has been reduced to a prop in an angle. Great. Frickin' fabulous. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The division was sorta doomed from the start; if you're gonna have a division with young acrobatic wrestlers, it helps if you HAVE some young acrobatic wrestlers. Four guys does not make a division, especially if they're all heels. Handing the strap to Dwayne Gill basically says "this title means nothing."

They need to give the strap to someone who can actually give us a good match, and has some real mic skills. Someone like...well, like Al Snow. It's his group that's getting a push here, but this (literal) nobody gets the belt two matches after his return. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, that's our Al.

Just think, if he hadn't left for WCW, Barry Horowitz coulda gotten the strap. Now THAT'S an idea! Hearing the stirring strains of "Hava Nagilah" again, the blue and white trunks...ah, it'd be cool, in a twilight zone sorta way.

Look at X-Pac, a high flyer, and he's got the European belt? I mean, there's another dead title--it was basically invented for the British Bulldog, then HBK took it, and now it's like "Where'd you put that belt? Oh there it is, you want it?" That one doesn't even HAVE four guys, it's only got three -- D'Lo, X-Pac and Steven Regal.

Put a few guys in the running for it, give it a little prestige, make it more than an angle. Tiger Ali Singh could easily go for it, as could Regal, and if the Bulldog comes back, now you've got something.

The complaint's the same for the women's division too, really. Right now there's three women involved; Sable, Jacky and Luna. (Marlena and Debra McMichael aren't wrestlers, and as far as I know have no desire to be.) Chyna has yet to actually wrestle yet, but she'd probably be in there. So again, four people, all sorta passing the belt around. Fun to watch short term, but long term, boring.

So far the women's matches have actually been pretty good, more than the simple titty-tease matches they could be. While I'd still happily watch if they were just GLOW-fests (I'm as male as Val Venis and Steve Regal combined, I assure you). It's nice that they're able to give us both sex and action at once. But unless you add more players, long term it's about as exciting as a two-person game of Monopoly.

The old (80's old, that is) had Fabulous Moolah, Wendi Richter, Leilani Kai, god knows how many others, and my personal favorites, Ladies' Tag Team Champs the Jumping Bomb Angels (The "Pink Lady" of professional wrestling). Great workers, and although none of them would ever grace page 3 in a tabloid, at the time people were more interested in strong matches over pretty ladies.

Last time they revved up the women's division, they brought in Madusa (as Alundra Blayze) and about three million Japanese women wrestlers that worked like mad but had all the sex appeal of a bale of hay. And it was quite obvious that this time, WWF fans didn't want to see plain girls wrestle, so it kinda faded away (especially after Madusa tossed the belt in the trash on Nitro). And of course, we can see how well the women's division is doing in WCW, huh?

The best new belt lately? Easy--the Hardcore belt. It's held by a guy that respects it and we get great matches as a result. Ironic isn't it? The gag/angle belt is getting the treatment that the real belts should be, and the real belts are being used like props. I'm hoping they don't just drop it-I think it'd be fun to see Mankind treat it seriously.

At least ONE of these belts should get some respect.

Vinnie Bartilucci is from New York. He can be emailed at vinnieb@2020webworks.com

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