Thursday, June 14, 2001
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
A modest proposal for Canadian PPVs
It's time to bring pay-per-views back to Canada, and I know just how to do it. In order to have the WWF we must first destroy it.
On May 29 the WWF returned to Alberta for two TV tapings, which can be fun I suppose. I was at the last Canadian RAW in Vancouver, and I must say I had a blast paying scalper prices to sit behind the Titantron -- through interminable interview segments and infinite commercial breaks -- so I could be assailed with Kid Rock's "American Badass" five times in two hours.
Enough with the irony: attending a RAW taping is only marginally more fun than watching it on TV, at best. The pay-per-view is the real payoff in this fan's perspective, and judging by the recent guest column (Canadian shows could cure WWF woes, by Frank Warsh) I'm not the only Canadian wresting fan wondering when the heck the WWF is bringing a PPV show back to Canada.
The mid-'90s was a golden age for Canadian PPVs, averaging up to two a year, not counting TV tapings. It began in Winnipeg, then Vancouver in approximately a year. Hamilton, Calgary and Montreal would all host big WWF events, culminating in 1998 with Rock Bottom in Vancouver, the last Canadian WWF pay-per-view (if I'm missing any others, please let me know).
When asked, WWF officials say the drought in Canadian PPVs is due to the high cost of moving their production past the border. Strange, this didn't seem to be a problem in 1996. Coincidentally, that was when the WWF was at its lowest point, when Canada was the only major market outside of Texas and the northeastern USA where the WWF was more popular than WCW. For a decade of loyal support -- of enduring Savio Vega, Max Mini, and the Bodydonnas -- Canadian fans get tossed aside like a trophy wife on her 35th birthday.
But fear not. I have a plan, simple in conception yet complex in execution. As Canadians we must conspire to bring the WWF back to its days of disgrace, so that the 'Fed will once again turn back to Canada out of sheer desperation (watch out for my upcoming book on Romantic Relationship Tips, kids!).
To simply boycott the WWF is not enough; in fact we must maintain or improve RAW's Canadian numbers. But we must do this while undermining the WWF's American fan base. The real Canadian conspiracy begins here: The following is a step by step guide for all fans to help bring down the WWF and into our waiting arms.
Step One: Trash the product.
This first and most important step must involve Canada's most read wrestling publication, online or otherwise: SLAM! Wrestling. The columnists of this site must wage subtle psychological warfare against the common American fan, casually belittling as moronic rubes anybody who cheers for Steve Austin or The Rock, whilst stating that if you were an intelligent fan like us you'd root for Chris Benoit. I know this is going to be a radical departure from SLAM's usual editorial position, but we really need you here, guys.
Step Two: Support the competition.
No, I don't mean WCW, I mean this mythical third federation that Hulk Hogan has in mind. Seeing as how it involves the Fox Network, the federation's name will likely be the WSAA (When Shaved Apes Attack). While I would not want to subject fellow Canadians to a federation comprised of lugs like Hogan, Lex Luger or Sid Vicious, we must at least pretend to join the inevitable, incredible hype machine and convince as many of our American cousins as possible to switch over.
Step Three: Bring back gang warfare.
The WWF seems to be taking fan criticisms to heart, which is where we strike. One of the characteristics of Depression-era WWF was the large number of four-man gangs organized on ethnic lines. As fans we must lobby the WWF to bring back the days of interracial warfare. I urge fans to write in: re-forming the Nation of Domination is easy enough, as most former members are still around, but the WWF needs to look at other minority groups. The "Pride Alliance" can include Billy Gunn, Chyna and Bradshaw, and all the other wrestlers who look like refugees from a gay porno movie. Tajiri and Kaientai can form "Squatting Tiger, Hidden Brownies". Just imagine Paul Heyman and Bill Goldberg in "It Would Kill You To Call Your Mother Some Of The Time?".
Step Four: More kissing in the women's matches.
This has nothing to do with this column. I just wanted to put it out there for discussion.
Step Five: Petition to bring back the Godwins.
No other two individuals better represented the state of the WWF's 1996 tag team division than good ol' Hank and Phineas. For the record I prefer them in the old outfits, as opposed to the shirtless look they adopted during the team's twilight years. But heck, Dennis "Mideon" Knight can start wrestling naked again for all I care.
There you have it, a simple five-point strategy to drive the WWF back to the near desperate state it was in for much of the 1990s. I cannot think of another cause which should -- nay must -- unite all Canadians. So I'll see you in Regina on May 2002: the WWF presents Victoria Day Massacre!!!!
Vancouver freelance writer Tom Yeung is former staff reporter with Xtra West and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.