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SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

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Wednesday, January 30, 2002

What is the deal with 'what?'

By JASON A. TETRO -- For SLAM! Wrestling

What is the deal with 'what?'

A few months ago, Steve Austin, the heel of the Alliance, asked a question that changed wrestling history. If anyone has seen a WWF event recently, they know the question all too well.

What?

It's interesting. The goal of almost every wrestler is to have a connection with the audience. Whether heel or face, they have to be able to say something that will cause the audience to react. Sometimes, it's a catchphrase. Other times, it's an insult towards the local sports team. There's even the cheap pop now immortalized by Mick Foley.

But now, we have entered a new realm of connectivity. With one simple word, the entire face of wrestling has changed. The Rock can sing his way to stardom. The Undertaker can ride his chopper to the cheers of fans. Rob Van Dam can do his finger points and hear his name. But with Stone Cold's 'What?' chants, the fans have crossed the barrier between performer and audience. Each and every fan that screams 'What?' can now truly be considered a part of a promo. And, should you not believe me, just watch Stone Cold when he doesn't get his What? chant.

Over the next year, much like the Road Dogg's "Ladies and Gentleman..." promo, the What? chant will probably start to fade and eventually disappear. But there will be no doubt that the fans will expect something a little more each and every time they come to a WWF event. Whether it be What?, Woo!, and that ever used A-word; from now on, if the wrestlers don't give the fans a chance to be part of the promo, they may find themselves losing the connection they so dearly need to stay on top.


Jason A. Tetro is from Ottawa and can be emailed at jtetro@cyberus.ca. He has written for SLAM! Wrestling three times in the past:

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