EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for Donnie Abreu's column every Thursday.
Thursday, July 2, 1998
KOTR was the best in years
I hate to say I told you so ... but ...
The 1998 King Of The Ring was arguably the best pay per view put out by either company since Wrestlemania 3. Every match was a thriller. I even marked out for "Headbanger Taka". The New Midnight Express came within an eye lash of defeating the most popular tag team in WWF history, and X-Pac continued to impress. You had to love the Al Snow match! It was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time! Now I'm left wondering how will Vince bring back Snow? Will he be given the same job with Titan as Sable?? Is it just me or do Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor remind you of a couple of junior Buff Bagwell's?
Of course, years down the road, no one will discuss KOTR '98 and mention Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, or Kaientai. All memories of this huge gala can be summed up in "2 WORDS" ... Mankind - Kane.
The shock of the year HAD to have been seeing Kane walk out with the big blue belt. I'd heard rumors that Kane could win the title if Austin were accidentally cut ... but obviously, Undertaker smacking him with the folding chair wasn't an accident! At first, I was thrilled ... not because I'm a big Kane fan, but because I liked seeing the belt ripped from Stone Cold's hands. Then I started to think to myself: Is Kane a TRUE heavyweight champion? Can he carry the mantle of the WWF? For many that question was answered the next night on RAW when Austin reclaimed the crown. They feel that Kane is a joke! He never should've had the title in the first place. I've got news for you Kane bashers ... this won't be the last time you see the seven-footer wearing the gold! Remember, The Undertaker's first reign was only a couple of days as well. Kane has all the championship credentials of his "big brother": Size. Strength. Athletic ability. Fanfare. It's all in place. What the WWF did by allowing Kane to hold the belt for 24 hours, was create ANOTHER former champ who (for the sakes of selling tickets at a future show) could at any time win again. Brilliant.
The WWF has truly outdone themselves with an unbelievable pay per view, three months worth of impressive ratings in the U.S. and sold out house shows. All that and the best is yet to come! The stars of tomorrow are starting to shine while the present day icons hold down the fort. How long before Val Venis, Edge, Puke, Jackal and The Portuguese Giant are headlining? They continue to innovate and create new ideas. The "Brawl For It All" is a fantastic idea! While we're at it, I'd love to see Kane and The Undertaker play some one on one basketball ... maybe watch Owen Hart and Hunter play a little hockey, and let's get Vader, Golga, Mark Henry and a few others on the offensive line. The idea of taking these guys out of their element is a good one, that fans will LEARN to love. Sure, they booed, but what the hell do they know? They also booed The New Age Outlaws, Rocky Maivia, and Chris Jericho when they made their respective debuts.
Speaking of the tough man contest, Is it just me, or does Mark Canterbury, formerly Henry Godwinn, look great? Doesn't this guy look like he could be a real hot commodity? Mark has always been considered one of the strongest (if not the strongest) in the WWF, and now with the new look, attitude and manager, I see no reason why he couldn't challenge for ANY singles title.
That's it for this week's slightly scattered rant!!
Each week at the end of my article I will include a random selection of letters I received from the readers of SLAM! Wrestling.
You and your comments suck!!!!
Brett Hart would and will do wonders as the new leader of the Four Horsemen. Wait till he comes back to Canada you'll be the first person kissing his ass by tell people how great a wrestler he is through your column. You know nothing about wrestling why do you insist on writing about it, is it just a way to get a pay cheque or are you not good enough to write on real world issues. You like to put down great wrestlers to make yourself and your job seem more important than it really is.
First of all, If I were a big Hitman fan like you, I'd AT LEAST spell his first name right. Secondly, I can GUARANTEE that I will NEVER write an article kissing his ass. I love guys like you who tell me "You know nothing about wrestling". Ok, Einstein ... WHAT DO YOU KNOW? What bits of inside information do you have that the rest of the world doesn't? How old are you? 11? No wonder you think Bret is so great! You're too young to remember Hollywood as The Hulkster! Anyway, thanks for the letter ... it made me laugh.
I just finished watching Steve Regal's first match on Raw and quite frankly, it sucked. He is totally out of shape, even worse, it seems, than when he was with WCW. I thought WWF was going on this big push for the wrestlers to get in better shape. The way he looks, he should have never taken the layoff. I have to admit, I never found Mr. Regal very interesting, no matter what the pitch was. He is simply boring to watch. Definitely not even a mid-carder in the WWF...
Not surprised in Winnipeg
Got news for ya ... not only will Regal do well in the WWF, but he WILL win gold AND he could seriously challenge for the World Belt. No, he's not a pretty dancer, or a talker ... he's a wrestler! Isn't that what all you people keep saying you want? What about those signs "Shut Up and Wrestle"?? Then you get guys like Severn and Regal who CAN wrestle and you complain.
Most of the time, I agree with you on most things, like Bret Hart being there just for the money and having no impact on the sport. But when you said that a Benoit led Horsemen would be lame, it made me write this letter. Personally, a new Horsemen with Benoit, Mongo, Malenko, and someone with a sub-superstar status like Diamond Dallas Page would work. WCW would jump in ratings just by people tuning in to see where the storyline would go. Flair is not the only way the horsemen will revive. Four guys in a ring holding up four fingers on one hand would be necessary to peak my interest. The only problem I see is getting a fourth horseman who is popular but will be below Benoit in ranks. Maybe a guy like Van Hammer or the newly liberated Saturn would work in this position.
First off, I can guarantee that the fourth member would be Fit Finley. He is a very good friend of Dusty Rhodes (who is booking this whole thing) and Dusty wants Fit in! Simple. Flair is the Horsemen. Without him, it's just four men.
Can we now say for sure that WCW is in BIG trouble? WWF puts on an amazing KOTR PPV, whereas WCW's last PPV was a Great American Bust. Why do you think WWF is so much better these days? Is it the roster, the storylines, the actual matches?
Randy Simon firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the above article.
Well I just read one of your articles there about Ric Flair,you don't know what you are talking about,hey get with it, it is only sports entertainment,and I really liked the e-mail you got from that guy about you dis'in Bret Hart, he is exactly right, he would kick you little boney ass,and let me tell you, you should have your head on a spear for believing that wrestling is real!!!!!!!!!.
one person' opinion. email@example.com
When did I say wrestling was real? In what article? In what email? WHEN? I'll tell you when ... NEVER. Look people, if you wanna criticize me, at least do it based on the material provided. By the way Ms. Edwards, I've met Bret Hart more than once, I was very straight forward in telling him what I thought of him, and he never even lifted a fist.
When will Foley get some credit from McMahon. The hell in the cell match would have sucked if it wasn't for Foley. The Undertaker didn't do nothing in the match but yet he still won. Foley has good mic skills and can give a damn good show. I feel sorry for him, I don't think he will ever win a title. In my eye's Foley should be the WWF champ long before Kane.
What are you talking about? When will McMahon give Foley some credit? Foley was in the co-main event at King Of The Ring and he headlined the last 2 PPV's! What MORE do you want?? No, he can't be champ right now because Austin-mania is running wild ... But Mick told me himself, he's not concerned about belts, he enjoys making the product enjoyable and getting his pay cheque.
Dear Big Daddy,
Please don't let yourself get discouraged by the legions of Bret Hart fans who think that you're just "a stupid punk." I find your columns to be fresh, intelligent, and surprisingly, for a wrestling column, un-biased. Furthermore, you have several very legitimate points in your reasoning of Bret Hart not being the greatest of all-time. To sum it all up, keep up the good work Big Daddy. A lot of us appreciate it.
Shawn Freehling IconSMF@aol.com
Thanks Shawn! Feel free to write ANY time!
Man....why is it the truth hurts? I mean you are just doing your job...telling it like it is, an ya get dumped on 'cause of some little puke kid who loves their wrestler an you can't say squat about them cause they will beat you up????What the hell is all that crap. Like I care....I hate Goldberg. Could he kick the snot out of me? Maybe, probably....lets just go with yeah...he could. But do I give a rats ass? Of course you are a journalist and there is no way you can keep 100% straight without having some of your preferences....thats life. These ying-yangs should shut their cake holes, get their thumbs outta their ass and just watch it. Life ain't fair kids......oh and by the way it seems that when you tell a kid wrestling is fake....they dont know it, yet they know Santa isnt.....
Just find that funny.
Some people try so VERY hard to believe the hype created by the machine that they will swear by it. Like some guy who sent me an email saying Goldberg would kick Mike Tyson's butt!! Or Goldberg would kick the crap out of anyone in a "REAL" fight. I've got news for ya, in a back alley brawl I'd put my money on Savio Vega, Jim Neidhart, Jerry Flynn, Bradshaw or even Roadblock BEFORE Goldberg.
sorry but the Hart foundation was the best group ever and bret aint No Horse Men!! he will backstab the NWO and IMPACT WCW!
Forgive this Hitman fan for his short letter, but after using sooooo many words with more than 2 syllables (4 of them!!) he had to rest. In fact he would have overloaded on a 5th! This is evidenced by the fact that he decided to make Horsemen into 2 separate words! A mind is a terrible thing to waste HitmanX16.
I think all the people who complain about your wrestling views are just scared of the truth. Bret Hart sux now, the 4 horseman would suck even worse without Flair. You said it right with all those, "can you imagine.." lines. What would the reaction be if Dave Grhol was the lead singer of Nirvana, yeah, that would work. Keep telling like it is, and f-all them jokers who don't know shit about wrestling, later. Ryan Teds
Ya! Sing it brotha! You tellin' th' truth! Say it loud!!
I'm writing about your most recent article on the horseman and I agree with you totally, but I'm writing about your comment on receiving death threats from diehard Bret Hart fans. I'm a diehard Bret Hart fan but trust me, this is no death threat. WCW has officially killed Bret's career, and just about everyone else's. I no longer watch any of WCW's programs or order their pay per views for the soul purpose of that they put me to sleep. That all started back at SuperBrawl when the opening match put me to sleep and I missed the whole payper view. WCW is going down hill and this new horseman angle could push them off the cliff if it doesn't include Flair.
I agree 100%! Man these letters are easy to respond to this week! Everyone is so agreeable. Whoops, spoke to soon ... check out the next one!
If you can be considered a wrestling sportwriter....... then I should be a non-educated brain surgeon. You should perhaps interview people at the old home or maybe interview street crossing guards as your profession.
OK finch. Whatever you say. I stop inturvooing rasslers today ok? Me too stoopid. You smart. Maybe when u become a surjon then I see u and u fix my brain. Make better? That good. I like Bret.
Send your comments to me, Big Daddy Donnie. firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise that I'll respond, but I'll definitely read them all!