Welcome, one and all, to the Phat Daily Column, the column that is taken very seriously by some. Yesterday, I had planned on discussing the possibilities of labor unions in professional wrestling. However, I was called into a double-shift at work, so no column yesterday. I'll do that column next week sometime. But for today, I'll discuss some of the famous "Too late" angles, meaning events tried years too late, such as HBK vs. Triple H.
Oh yeah, that feud... It appears that I've struck a nerve on the subject of Shawn Michaels. Plenty of internet fans love HBK, as I found out, and their dreams of seeing former Clique members wrestling don't go along with what I say on a daily basis in the PDC. That's fine, as it's just my opinion. I've listened closely to the past 2 interviews that Triple H has done on RAW, and in my opinion, the crowd at the arena appeared to be very silent to me during the promos. That's just what I heard, and I said it.
Maybe saying that nobody cares about the feud probably took me overboard, but hey, I'm an asshole sometimes and I'm not afraid to admit it. But the ratings did come in, and folks, it did a 3.7 rating with a low second hour of 3.9. So delivering the mystery of who attacked HBK didn't do much to rise intrigue of the show? Yes.
My whole point about how the feud has less impact now than from previous years was from HBK's two screw ups with the WWE in 1999 and in 2001. Again, HBK ripped Steve Austin for not giving Triple H the World Title at Summerslam on WWF Byte This! in 1999, and Michaels either showed up drunk, drugged, or in a bad mood at a RAW before Wrestlemania in 2001, which had him sent home and off television until coming back with the NWO in 2002 after Wrestlemania.
Maybe if it was done in 1999, where HBK and Triple H could be a duo and then have Triple H turn on HBK to become the big heel then? Maybe in 2000, HBK could have helped Triple H even become stronger as a heel during the Stephanie-Triple H era? Maybe the HBK vs. Triple H feud would have been a good extension of the Wrestlemania 17 momentum in 2001? But in 2002, it's just a little too late, IN MY OPINION, to really generate interest from this Clique feud.
And I have to talk about this... So, the WWE took off Hulk Hogan from the Australian Tour, despite being advertised. Now, I do sympathize for many fans down there who really want to see Hogan live, as that's one of my personal goals. But understand this... Before the WWE even had Hulk Hogan, there were signs in Australia that wrestling fans were willing to pay whatever it took to see the WWE live, finally, in their native country. It just so happened that Hogan joined the company in February 2002, and that was a nice added bonus to seeing the show live. Now that he has been taken off, to apparently keep the old man healthy because of recent back problems, fans are screaming! But so what... the WWE is coming to your country when they never had to in the first place. They were making enough money off of you guys through their television deals to even bother touring for you. Besides, you'll just have to see guys like the Rock instead, who is on every level just as popular or as big as Hulk Hogan. Hey, either take a WWE tour without Hogan or take no WWE tour at all.
By the way, I'll try hard to pump out some specialty columns in my final month writing PDCs, and I'll also try to keep a good attendance record, with the exception of things that can happen, like yesterday. Speaking of specialty columns, look for a special "confidential" column during the weekend about the story of myself and good ol' Crash Holly. For anyone who keeps asking me about that internet feud, don't miss that column.
On to the PDC!
Bret Hart wins WCW World Title in late 1999 - Why wasn't this done previously? No, I'm not talking about in 1999, where Bret Hart suffered through some injuries and the loss of his brother, Owen. I'm talking about in 1998, where he wasn't taken very seriously by the WCW creative team. This is the guy who got screwed from the WWF in 1997, yet he only gets a serious World Title push in late 1999, thanks to Vince Russo's World Title tournament. Sure, it was nice to see Bret finally win it, but fans had to suffer through seeing getting buried after many face and heel turns just so that Hogan wouldn't have to ever wrestle him.
The Warrior arrives in WCW in 1998 - After the Summer of 1998, the WWF was clearly in the driver's seat and Hogan's drawing power was dwindling at that point as the heel Hollywood Hogan at that point. So instead of bringing in the Warrior, say in 1997 when WCW was red-hot, he was brought in as a desparate way to spark ratings. It was too late by then, and the Warrior-Hogan feud was a complete embarrassment. Proof of this was how quickly the Warrior disappeared out of WCW after one of the worst matches in history!
"Special" ECW Surprise at Pay Per View - During its final heydays in ECW in late 2000 or early 2001, ECW hyped a special surprise for fans on one of their final, if not final, ECW Pay Per Views. Behind the scenes, Rob Van Dam and Paul Heyman were having some money issues, which had RVD staying off television for quite some time. Then, a hyped surprise was made for the Pay Per View, which had Rob Van Dam showing up and fighting Jerry Lynn once again. But by then, ECW was in bad, bad financial trouble, and quickly died after this show.
Tommy Dreamer wins ECW title! - After years of being one of ECW's top face and vocal leader backstage, Tommy Dreamer finally won the World Title off of Tazz in 2000. This was like 5 years too late, as Dreamer did great deeds in putting over any heel that came along the way, such as Raven, Rob Van Dam, or Sabu. Dreamer WAS ECW. Then, he finally won the title, only to quickly lose the belt, Hogan-Wrestlemania 9 style to Justin Credible, a wrestler clearly not ready to be champion yet. But for Dreamer, he went through years of not ever getting crowned champion, and when he won it, it didn't last long. I've heard that Dreamer never wanted to be champion, though, which shows you what kind of a great man he truly is.
WCW revives the Cruiserweight division in late 2000/early 2001 - The Cruiserweight Tag Titles, baby. Thanks to several independent signings and promotions from the Power Plant, the Cruiserweight division became the only thing watchable on television. Finally, some great and entertaining matches, especially when Bischoff came back in early 2001 to run the company for the 3rd time. Great tag matches occurred for those Tag Titles, and the Cruiserweight singles title finally meant something. But by then, WCW was about to be sold, thanks of years of high-cost spending and catering to top, yet old, talent. Also, Johnny Ace was the head booker of the company by then, and he only put his good friends over in the main event scene, such as good ol' Rick Steiner. WCW shows had great Cruiserweight action, yet bad main event action.
Vader arrives in the WWF! - Some can argue that Vader's prime ended once Hulk Hogan arrived in the company in 1995. The great heel that helped hold WCW together, despite some REALLY hard times, was apparently on his way down. When he arrived in the WWF at Royal Rumble 1996, everyone and their mother expected Vader to make a big impact in the company. But he didn't. He was, at one time, the top heel in the Summer of 1996 during his feud with Shawn Michaels, but after that, he flopped. Vader gained plenty of weight during his WWF run and just lost the heel magic that made him scary in 1992 and 1993 during his tenure in WCW.
Ric Flair, New World Order, and Eric Bischoff join the WWE. - Why not during the WCW Invasion? The reason many argue that the Alliance failed was to lack a big, big name, although I'll argue that a properly pushed DDP or Booker T would have been strong for the Alliance, but we won't go there. Flair came in after Survivor Series 2001, gave a spark at first, but probably would have been doubled if he was a WCW personality in the Summer of 2001. The New World Order came in in February 2002, provided some good interest at first, but again, having Hogan, Nash, or even Hall for the Invasion would have helped. And Eric Bischoff... he would have been HUGE if he was leading the Invasion. At least now, he's a good personality for RAW to now have, although his impact was one week of television in the ratings. He's still fun to watch every week.
Pushing Booker T to the top in WCW - In 2000, WCW suffered plenty of injuries to their top stars and talent jumping ship to the WWF at that time. Booker T, a loyalist since the early 1990's, was still around and waiting for his shot. It never came until Bash at the Beach 2000, when the hardcore WCW fans were begging for Booker T to get pushed (thanks Terry Taylor for pushing him!). But before that, the few months with Kevin Sullivan booking produced some very bad wrestling television, and Russo had no idea how to use Booker T when he came back later that year. WCW had a star in the making since 1997, yet they never considered pushing him fully until 2000 when it was too late.
And finally, Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels in 2002, for reasons explained above.
I'm sure there are many other angles that came "too late", especially some in the early 1990's when business was failing for both companies. Otherwise, these angles come to mind quickly, for at least me, and it gives you a sense some wrestling companies are flawed in delivering something big or waiting to push somebody. I'm sure it's very hard to call that from the other side of the curtain, though.
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