EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for Donnie Abreu's column every Thursday.
Thursday May 7, 1998
Questioning McMahon's 'genius'
Fans and wrestlers alike believe that no one can promote an individual better than Mr.McMahon. I agree, BUT why doesn't anyone ever question the mistakes? Steve Austin is the world's most popular wrestler, but what was The Ringmaster? I ask the same question of Rockabilly, The "Real" Double J, and the 1-2-3 Kid. All of these individuals were extremely talented with boat loads of potential, but they were given a gimmick with no room for growth, and were vastly under used. Now, they all have different names, different attitudes and are doing incredibly well.
The reason I bring this up is because I feel Vince is currently making another mistake ... that being my fellow Torontonian, and WWF blue chip prospect, Adam Copeland. If you've seen him, you know why I'm such a big fan ... If you haven't, you will.
Copeland has been compared to Chris Jericho, but only in facial resemblance ... He's actually closer to Hunter Hearst Helmsley's size with the natural charisma of Shawn Michaels. Several WWF officials are raving about this kid ... guys like Jim Cornette who said "This Canadian boy will likely make history" ... or WWF Magazine's Vince Russo who called Copeland, "The next Ric Flair". Jim Ross has already stated on his hotline that Copeland will one day be World Champion. This is all very high praise for a guy who hasn't wrestled a televised match yet. So, with all this support, WHY are they locking him into a stupid gimmick with a dumb name?
His first video promo ran this week on RAW (though it was edited out of the TSN package -- mind you, NOT by TSN) and his new name is "THE EDGE". While I'm sure the morning men at Toronto's local alternative radio station by the same name are gonna try and get a T-shirt on him ... this sucks!
Ken Shamrock is out for several weeks with a bum ankle ... But hey, we still have Steve Blackman. Other than the colour of tights and mustache, they're essentially the same person. That's why it made so much sense to the suits to team them up ... But singles stars NEED their own identity, or they'll get lost in the shuffle.
Blackman is a talented rookie with a lot of potential. He seems willing to do whatever it takes to move up in the promoter's eyes ... But that "soft" attack on Jarrett this past Monday served to just make him look like meathead. Steve should stay off the mic, since he struggles with it., and follow in the footsteps of the great, Ricky Steamboat.
"The Lethal Weapon" reminds me a lot of "The Dragon" ... especially Ricky's early days with the WWF when he hadn't really found his niche. The martial arts style, the quiet confidence, the muscular build, the high flying ability. It's all there. Now it's a matter of what Titan decides to do with him.
I like the direction of the "NEW" Nation of Domination. Younger, Stronger and more diversified than ever. There's just one problem. Only 2 of the 5 members ever get to wrestle. "The Godfather" Kama Mustafa is a gifted performer who has proven himself in the past with epic battles against The Undertaker, Yokozuna, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels. Yet, since Fall of '97 you could count his televised matches on one hand.
Mark Henry, "The World's Strongest Man" is young and unproven, but the limited action he has seen has been entertaining. He was signed to a 10 year contract ... Is he gonna spend that entire time arguing with Commissioner Slaughter about having to leave the ringside area? Sure, he's a big lumbering thug with a limited repetoire, but so was King Kong Bundy. So was Andre The Giant. So was Hillbilly Jim. So is Hulk Hogan.
D-Lo, the young prodigy, as J.R. likes to call him is an enigma. Formerly Faarooq's righthand lackey, the only original member of the Nation is now serving as water boy. His frog splash has been compared to Eddie Guerrero's, and his natural power has been compared to Bam Bam Bigelow. With a combination like that, why is this kid sitting on the side lines? Why Vince Why?
If a punk like Fit Finley, the man responsible for about 55 wins on Goldberg's streak, can be WCW's TV champ, why can't guys like Brian Christopher, Tiger Ali Singh, The Jackal, or Chainz be given more of a chance to develop, to gain a following and to either impress us or disappoint us? It seems that the owner of the WWF is more concerned with developing his own TV character, and isn't paying attention to his workers ... a mistake Eric Bischoff has been making for the last year. That mistake has cost WCW some of their top talent and has lead to a very negative locker room.
Sometimes Vince will cover his mistakes by taking these midcarders and turning them into something ... like he did with Glen Jacobs - Big Daddy Kane, DDS. But sometimes, he drops the ball and talent will leave his company and flourish elsewhere ... Like Shane Douglas, Justin "Portuguese Man O War" Credible, Al Snow, Konnan, Chris Benoit, and others.
Yes, Vince McMahon is a genius ... but this genius has also made his share of head scratching, inexplicable moves. I do believe, all this being said, that the WWF is back on track to become #1 ... but that doesn't mean that every broadcast has to consist of "Gimme a Hell Ya!" or "Oh you didn't know?" or "Sable! Sable! Sable!". Remember the "little" guys Vince ... the ones that give you the program depth and ability to hold the banner as truly being #1 or it may come back to bite you in the ass ... again.
Agree? Disagree? Think I'm completely out to lunch? E-Mail me your response and let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll sample some responses in next week's column.
Push Blackman, Christopher: PollIn his May 7 column, Big Daddy Donnie talked about all of the underused wrestlers in the WWF. So our poll asked which of the following -- Tiger Ali Singh, The Jackyl, Chainz, D-Lo, Kama Mustafa, Steve Blackman, Brian Christopher -- should get a bigger push.
The Lethal Weapon Blackman came out on top with 30% of the votes. Jerry Lawler's kid, Brian Christopher, was second at 22%. Kama brought up the rear with 7%.