EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.
Friday, September 28, 2001
Kronik's hiring/firing a lesson
Let me explain this a little bit. On the surface, it may sound like I'm unhappy about the WWF and Kronik parting ways. Nothing could be further from the truth. Kronik is a terrible tag team. Their involvement in any match comes at the expense of another WWF tag team's participation, and aside from the fact that pretty much every tag team is superior to Kronik, the WWF's tag teams are especially good. So I'm obviously glad they're gone, because the idea of watching more pay-per-view matches between them and pretty much anyone elicits yawns and groans.
From the WWF's side, I think they were silly to hire Kronik. Look at the facts. Kronik put on a terrible match at Unforgiven against Kane and Undertaker, but it's not like the match was their worst ever. It was maybe just under par for the course for them. The WWF must have known that pitting them against Kane and Undertaker wouldn't help matters, either. After that horrible match, the WWF wanted to send down Kronik to a developmental territory, or at least they said or did something to make Kronik want out.
If the WWF was so displeased with what was an average match for Kronik, then it was stupid to hire them in the first place. WWF officials must have expected Kronik to consistently wrestle their best match ever, over and over again, if an average Kronik match was enough for them to be cast out. That's simple logic. Also, they must have known that two stars as established as Bryan Clarke (formerly "Adam Bomb" of the WWF and "Wrath" of WCW) and Brian Adams (also a WWF and WCW alumnus) would balk at such an assignment. So they were basically firing them. If an average match is grounds for firing, then hiring was not smart.
From Kronik's point of view, again assuming that the news of the sequence of events between the WWF and Kronik is true, quitting the WWF is equally silly. They have nowhere else to go. I doubt either has a particularly useful vocational skill or professional degree. I would imagine the wrestling-intensive Japanese federations won't be incredibly interested in this semi-popular, untalented duo.
They should have taken whatever opportunities they received, including primarily putting some effort into a strong pay-per-view showing, but also accepting whatever WWF assignments they receive.
The WWF, lately, has prided itself on hiring strong workers and non-disruptive talent both in general and specifically from the remnants of WCW. Kronik is neither. While I'm glad the WWF did the right thing and got rid of them, the fact that they did it so quickly and willingly suggests to me that they shouldn't have been hired at all.
All of this to say I hope the WWF doesn't hire every bad former WCW wrestler for a three-week tryout with the intention of dumping them. Nothing good can come of that. Aside from airing bad matches, however infrequently, they're also disrupting their locker room, not to mention messing with talent by hiring them knowing they probably won't last long.
Let's hope the WWF learns a lesson from this, and that this wasn't a pilot test for their 'let's throw all of the old WCW guys against the wall and see what sticks' program.
Here's the mailbag.
Lindsay D., from firstname.lastname@example.org, writes:
"I think that both will be successful, but Edge more the breakthrough star. Both are very talented and both have great charisma, but Edge has more of an 'edge'. He seems more rugged than Christian. Anyways, if both are not very successful, they can always go back to tag teams."
I think that the consensus, when the tag team was formed, was that Edge was the dominating presence, and I don't think that ever really changed, though Christian has improved. So in many respects I agree with you there. Still, I'm not so sure they can go back to being a tag team. Whenever teams split up in a high-profile feud, their getting back together cheapens the whole thing and ultimately costs them credibility. Also see: James, Jesse and Gunn, Billy.
Kenshaka in Vancouver, at email@example.com, writes:
"I have a different opinion than most on the Edge & Christian breakup. Most think, that like past major tag team breakups, that one member will achieve a much higher status in the future. With Edge and Christian, however, I believe this is not so. Is it impossible for the two 'brothers' to climb the wrestling ladder with similar success, enjoying a competition of sorts that goes on for several years? Not with constant matches against each other, a more subtle feud if you will. Just some thoughts."
That answer to that depends on what you mean by "impossible". If you mean "if this were to happen, could it work?", then yes, I believe it is possible and your idea has merit. If you mean, "would the WWF try this", then I think not.
The WWF threw subtlety out the window years ago when they introduced seven new pay-per-views under the guise of that whole "In Your House" trick. Since then, feuds have been rapid fire, coming and going five times faster than they ever did before. If the payoff is more than a month away, they probably wouldn't even know how to write such a feud into their show now. So no, I don't think a subtle, long-time feud could ever work. Our collective attention spans (us as Raw viewers and them as writers) have become far too short.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend.
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.