What's wrong with Wrestlemania?
Big Daddy's Beefs
By DONNIE ABREU --
For SLAM! Wrestling
This year's edition of Wrestlemania is receiving a lot of attention because of the number of main eventers involved in 4 different matches but think about the number of main eventers or former World Champions on the current WWF roster who have not been given a match with less than two weeks to build a feud or proper backstory. It would appear to me that the writers have been so busy setting up hot programs for the top three bouts, they have completely forgotten about some very important members of the roster.
I'm sure that most (if not all) of the following men will be added to the card soon -- some may be added as soon as tomorrow's live Smackdown! but in my opinion they are just cutting it too close.
Kevin Nash recently referred to himself and his NWO brothers as "three of the biggest stars in the history of wrestling". With a year long WWF World title reign, the Intercontinental and tag titles as well as WCW World and Tag straps, he is certainly a major star with some sort of drawing power. The WWF has done a nice job of setting up a program for Hollywood Hogan and Scott Hall but big Nash is starting to resemble the role he had when he first entered the Federation -- a big bodyguard who doesn't compete and just stands behind other great men. He's got all the momentum in the world behind him right now and yet he's just standing around.
"Five time - Five time - Five time" WCW Heavyweight Champion Booker T has started to carve out his own niche separating himself from that Rock parody he had started to become. After picking up some big wins, and maintaining every bit of heat Booker still stands matchless. Why?
Kurt Angle went from being in the main event to not having a match on the show all within a twenty-four hour span. Of course, none of us expected to see Angle take on undisputed champion Chris Jericho but as hot as he is right now he really should have some sort of feud going. His biggest rivalries over the last three months have been with Steve Austin and Triple H -- both already booked. It seems to me that unless they do something spectacular before the next episode of RAW, Angle's match will be an emotional letdown. I'm hoping that no matter who he faces he gets on the mic and runs down the Team Canada's hockey team. Something along the lines of, "Sure, they have their gold medal -- but it took 25 of them to win one! I did it all by myself."
Canadian WWF superstar -- Christian. (Photo: Greg Henkenhaf -- Toronto Sun)
No, he hasn't been in as many pay-per-view main events as the others I just listed but there are very few members of the roster who have been as over as Kane for the last 5 years. He walks through the curtain as someone's opponent after an errant open challenge is thrown out -- heels everywhere cringe and look for cover. Kane is still considered by the fans to be one of the top stars the company has. Yet, he's been forgotten. What has he done on TV over the last month that has had any sort of impact on the show or on his Wrestlemania standing? Nothing.
Diamond Dallas Page has headlined more than a few pay-per-views over the last few years and is currently the company's European Champion. Shouldn't all championship belts be defended on a show of this magnitude? The same can be said for Hardcore Champion, the very hard working Goldust.
And what about The Big Show? Ummmm, nevermind.
No matches have been announced for Toronto's own Edge, Christian, Test, Val Venis or Trish Stratus. Edge in particular has been red-hot as of late and should be facing Regal for the Intercontinental Championship. It was starting to look like one of those old school chases for a title -- shades of Ricky Steamboat hot on the heels of Randy Savage before Mania 3. Apparently, that was the plan but various WWF officials were unhappy with the match those two had at No Way Out. Aside from the fact that I've never liked 'Gimmick On A Pole' matches -- I really enjoyed theirs and was looking forward to the final showdown at the Skydome. Apparently that won't be happening.
Other Toronto natives Christian, Test and Venis have made tremendous strides as of late and certainly deserve prominent positions on the card. It's doubtful they will receive anything more than mid card or curtain puller -- due in large part to the space the nWo are taking up at the top.
I'm assuming a Trish Stratus verus Jazz match may be added -- though I don't know why. That match has been on pay-per-view and given away on television three or four times.
Aside from the Toronto born stars who would surely receive huge ovations from the home crowd, another great Canadian star has been lost in the shuffle. Lance Storm.
Storm is the best technical wrestler in the world today. Period. Please don't throw him into the show at the last minute in a match against Crash Holly or Funaki. Give him a chance to shine!
Here is the line up I would suggest for Wrestlemania if I was booking the show.
WORLD TITLE MATCH
- Jericho VS. Triple H
- Steve Austin VS. Hulk Hogan
- The Rock, The Undertaker VS. Hall and Nash
(special referee Shawn Michaels)
- Kurt Angle VS. Ric Flair
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH
- Edge VS. Regal
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE #1 CONTENDER MATCH
- Rob Van Dam VS. Lance Storm
EUROPEAN TITLE MATCH
- Dallas Page VS Christian.
Tazz VS. Tajiri
WWF TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
Rikishi (for an injured Scotty) and Albert VS. Test and Mr. Perfect
Chuck VS. Billy VS. Goldust
WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH
- Jazz VS. Trish VS. Molly VS. Lita (In a TLC Match -- Oh Yes!)
Bret 'Hit Man" Hart swarmed by hundreds of fans as he arrives at P.I.A. Terminal 2 on his way home to Calgary in 1997. (Sun Photo: Mark O'Neill)
On a final note, props to Bret Hart. In his last column, seen right here on SLAM! WRESTLING, Bret talked about the fact that he was made a significant financial offer to appear in some capacity at Wrestlemania -- either as a special referee or just make an appearance and perhaps take a shot at Vince McMahon. Bret showed a lot of character by standing by his convictions and not accepting the offer. Certainly no one would have faulted him if he had accepted -- money talks. There is also a long line of individuals who have spoken despairingly about the company's CEO, only to return in exchange for the proper dollar amount. Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan and Gene Okerlund, just to name a few. Way to go Bret. Never fear - knowing Toronto's wrestling fans -- you can almost gurantee that a "We want Bret!" chant will break out at some point. And if poor Earl Hebner comes out for the main event -- expect him to hear "You Screwed Bret!" as he has every time he has returned to Toronto since November 1997.
Till Next Week.
Feb. 28 ... Random targets
Feb. 15 ... I hate 'WHAT?'