Welcome to the newest edition of Wrestling's FACT or FICTION. Last week's column was well received, and millions of thanks to all of those who sent in feedback. I, Mr. Tito, am really happy with the way the column has made its comeback and I really have fun doing it every week.
This week, Optimus Schwab, the 3rd participant introduced last week, wasn't able to write up his part of the column. He should be back next week to bring back the 3 way dance, which gave readers a pretty good read last week. This week, it's Mr. Tito and Da Ref, so enjoy! I highly encourage anyone and everyone to e-mail BOTH of us your thoughts on the column, and links to our e-mails are at the bottom of this page. Thanks!
1) FACT or FICTION: Kevin Nash's return will overshadow Bill Goldberg's WWE debut.
Da Ref: That's like asking whether or not the return of the Bubonic Plague will overshadow the debut of SARS. Oh boy, I'll go with FICTION. Goldberg got his debut in a very prestigious way. He got it right after Wrestlemania, which usually signals the start of a new "season., so to speak. Meanwhile, Nash debuted the following week, which is just another RAW. Plus, Goldberg is new to the company while Nash was coming back from an injury. Personally, I see both men just falling after their PPV matches. In his return, Nash pretty much gave us one of his matches in that beatdown. He hit his couple of big moves and posed to the crowd. After that, what's left? I find it hard to believe he's learned any new moves. As for Goldberg, the word is he's already getting into fights backstage. This week, it's Chris Jericho over what happened in WCW. By the time of Backlash, who knows how many people he'll have pissed off?
Mr. Tito: After watching RAW, I can clearly say FACT. Despite probably agreeing to the Goldberg signing, you just know that Triple H will do everything in his power to sabotage Goldberg's credibility. He can easily do that by feuding with Kevin Nash and giving Nash every opportunity to look good. But aside from that, just look at RAW. Kevin Nash came in and hit several good power moves and hit his finisher. What has Goldberg done so far? 2 weak looking spears. The WWE isn't letting him whip out the Jackhammer, as they SHOULD HAVE on Christian, turning Goldberg into another Scott Steiner or Nathan Jones: they won't let him hit any moves until a "special match", leading fans to believe that the wrestler just isn't ready to wrestle yet or can't at all. Besides that, Goldberg doesn't equal ratings right now, leading me to believe that the WWE will lose confidence in the WCW star they finally got on their roster.
2) FACT or FICTION: NWA-TNA will one day become a viable form of competition against the WWE.
Mr. Tito: Please, this is FICTION. Until NWA-TNA gets rid of Vince Russo and STOPS signing WWE leftovers, they'll never get off Pay Per View and they'll never come close to being legit competition to the WWE. Vince Russo is a cancer to any company these days, and his ridiculous storyline writing isn't getting TNA any extra buys. The NWA MUST go the route of ECW, and that's by either dipping into a talent pool nobody has seen yet or just create their own unique stars. Of course, they'll have to figure out a way to keep them from jumping to the WWE, but that's the route they must go. They must give the viewing audience something new instead of recycled Crash TV storylines and former WWE wrestlers that nobody cared enough for the WWE to keep around.
Da Ref: I'm going to do something unusual for me. I'm going to have a positive attitude and say FACT. As I have said on the message boards, the main thing this business needs is competition. I think the whole "cyclical" theory about why business is down is just an excuse to hide the fact that WWE has nothing new in terms of angles. The reason why they don't have anything new is because they have no motivation, which is what WCW provided them with. For the good of the business, I want NWA-TNA to succeed. I want them to be real competition for WWE. I think the problems they have can be fixed.
3) FACT or FICTION: The WWE should NOT use the French as a gimmick to get over a new tag team.
Da Ref: I'm saying FACT. However, my reason why is a different slant on what Tito is probably get at. I'm guessing that WWE is playing off the whole thing with France not helping the US in Iraq. My reason isn't about that in particular. It's what happens after the war is over. These two guys are going to be riding the cheap heat bus for a while on whichever show they're on. After the war, what happens then? Take a look at Sgt. Slaughter when he was a heel in 1990-1991. They played off the Gulf War for all it was worth. When the war ended, what happened? General Adnan and the Iron Shiek were gone while Sgt. Slaughter was asking to get his country back. What about these guys? If you look at things nowadays, the heels that were based on countries that the US opposed slowly lost their heat and most ended up becoming faces. After a while, what will Grenier and Dupree do? Their version of The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers?
Mr. Tito: Although my hatred of the Iraq angle of 1991 may seem like I'd hate this angle, it's not the case. I'm going with FICTION, saying that it's OK for the WWE to bring in a heel tag team that represents France. Why? Are we at WAR with France? No. France and America differ politically over the war, as America is a world superpower and France is a key member of the European Union, which in France's mind, would rather see America lose ground politically through the war in Iraq. We are NOT at War with France, so it's entirely different than bringing in the Iron Sheik to ride off the Iranian Hostage Crisis or Sgt. Slaughter for Desert Storm. Not only that, but France has angered the world on other things lately, such as how their judges tried to rig the Figure Skating competition at the Winter Olympics a few years ago. There is no bloodshed over France, so why not use their country as a basis to get NEW talent over? It would be the same exact thing as having anybody from Russia or Cuba coming into a fed.
4) FACT or FICTION: The Women's division should have a place on WWE television every week and on the Pay Per views in the WWE.
Mr. Tito: FICTION, fiction, fiction. Get this crap off of RAW! The matches are boring, the crowds are never into it, and there's much more deserving talent on the RAW roster to get more television time than these ladies. The flaws of the women's division are that we've seen the same matches, over and over again (take your pick: Jazz vs. Trish or Trish vs. Victoria), and even worse, the WWE's only other option with the women's division is to do mixed tag matches, which follow the same formula every week. I personally feel that Trish Stratus is fine, but the heels need serious work. Jazz? Please, see Chyna for how "butch" women are responded when WRESTLING (notice I said WRESTLING, not being a valet!!!). Victoria tries, but it just isn't there. Sadly, none of the heels hold a candle to Sable, who sucked as a wrestler, but was at least a character you wanted to hate. All of the current heels in the WWE everyone hates just because they don't want to see them.
Da Ref: In its current state, I'll say FICTION. Last RAW's Women's Title match put me in that direction. Like many other women's matches, I just find them to be very sloppy and not really interesting. It's natural that your opponent cooperate when executing moves. However, Jazz pretty much picked Trish Stratus up to execute the Stratusfaction. Plus, how many women does WWE have? Besides Jazz and Trish, the only other regularly featured women who wrestle are Ivory and Victoria, who is supposedly going to be out for her knee. Jacqueline keeps disappearing every couple of weeks while I can't even remember the last time Molly Holly was on TV. Four women make up the whole division? Plus, how many times have the fans seen a combination of Trish, Jazz, Ivory, and Victoria?
5) FACT or FICTION: John Cena is ready for a main event feud with Brock Lesnar.
Da Ref: That's 100% FICTION. I'll admit that I enjoyed Cena's thing on Heat. (It may have been the fact that he took a shot at the XFL, which I still find funny because Linda McMahon said it wasn't a failure. I don't know.) I think the gimmick has done what it's supposed to do and that is get him over as the annoying white rapper heel. It's definitely made his promos better. With that said, I still don't think Cena is all that good in the ring. His style just seems so, for lack of a better term, vanilla. Plus, you have to consider all of the jobbing he was doing before his injury. How do you take a guy that was going under to guys for months and suddenly push him straight to main event status? Sure, that's what the tournament is supposed to do but that's just three wins. What happens after that?
Mr. Tito: FICTION, but only for the fact that he needs a few more months of work for the big push. Actually, he needs several more good wins over wrestlers to build him up. Beating Eddie Guerrero CLEANLY was a good start. Brock Lesnar is the man who has wins over the Undertaker, Big Show, A-Train, and Kurt Angle, all 4 of the wrestlers whom the WWE wants you to consider as "elite". Cena just needs to start beating some faces, and he'll be set. Although he's not a talented mat wrestler, he sort of has that style that Sting wrestled with, which many people compare Cena's style to (I believe Cena and Sting were discovered by the same guy?). I think he has the ability to make something look good up top, and he definitely has the mic skills needed for it as well. Fiction now, but in 2 months, probably a fact.
6) FACT or FICTION: Bringing back Sable was a good decision for the WWE.
Mr. Tito: Some people may suggest I'm on crack for saying this, but FACT. I'm very sure the WWE is getting her for cheap, so with that being said, it's not a bad idea. Plus, it appears as though she's there to help "put over" Torrie Wilson in one way or another, which is a good thing, even if they aren't wrestling(??). Sure it's been, what, 4 years since she's been around, but while she was around, she drew some good heat as a heel. That says something and she just disappeared from the WWE before she was ever in a decline. After her feud with Torrie, she can simply become a heel valet for someone, and that would be effective. The only problem I have with her is her looks, as she looks to be much older than we last saw her. Hopefully, the modern miracles of make-up will "save face", so to speak.
Da Ref: Absolute FICTION. One question. Why? Why is she back? If she's back for a angle with Torrie over Playboy, it'll last a month until the next issue is out. After that, what is there for her? She obviously can't wrestle. She looks like she's aged a bit. What kind of business can she help do for the company? It's just another example of WWE trying throw money at people in hopes that they help bring fans back.
7) FACT or FICTION: "Willie the Worker" is an actual WWE employee as he claims to be.
Da Ref: I'll have to go with UNDECIDED on this one. I look at WWE right now and I see a lot of similarities to WCW during its final days. You have a lack of direction in the company. It appears that the company is more interested in spending money on signing guys because they can rather than because these people have enough talent. One of the things I remember about those days is how some of WCW's talent would go on radio shows and really tear into the company while still under contract. I remember when Billy Kidman went on Mike Mooneyham's show here in Charleston and went off on WCW, Hogan, Brad Siegel and so many others. "Willie The Worker"'s comments remind me a lot of those interviews. A lot of the things talked about on the radio were brought up by "Willie" in his columns. Mind you, it could be chalked up to someone who doesn't even live in Stanford much less work for the company basically repeating all that has been said on the Net. On the other hand, it could be an actual worker writing these columns to get his frustrations out. If he is, he's smart about it. Nowadays, everyone assumes that everything on the Net is just a rumor. So, who will even care whether or not what he says is the truth?
Mr. Tito: This topic is only being discussed because the readers requested it, so we deliver. I'm saying FACT just because Willie isn't providing me any proof to believe that he's actually in the WWE locker rooms or he doesn't give hard details of what it takes to be a WWE wrestler. All he does is rant like any other internet columnist about the current state of the WWE or giving ideas like anybody else (his idea about Eminem was a good one, I'll give him that). Plus, I find that ranting on the internet for a wrestler is very counter-productive. It does nothing, given that the internet wrestling community is 5% of the fans, IF that. You'd have a better chance of getting your gripes across by talking to a wall. I believe if he's going to back up his claim that he's a WWE employee, he needs to somehow prove it with legit, hard evidence, and he can do that without revealing who he is. Just mention a detail about the WWE lockerroom that he can see that nobody else can. Besides, with "Willie", if he wants to create more buzz than ranting on ONE website, he can just be like the other WWE disgruntled workers and get on their cell phones and dialing up the newsletter writers, giving them all of the details about WWE storylines, morale, and other stuff that would create more buzz than an internet column. It would be more damaging as well.
8) FACT or FICTION: Brand extension, splitting the WWE roster into 2, was a good decision made on the WWE's part.
Mr. Tito: I say this is a FACT, but hear me out. The WWE was already in decline with the combined roster in early 2002. They would be in lower business today, anyway, if they kept up the pace. So what did they do? They split the roster and gave us 2 different rosters to watch. The FACT comes from the "fact" that I believe splitting the rosters has flushed out the talent I don't want to see from one show or another. Take Smackdown, for instance. As much as I can't stand Big Show, Undertaker, A-Train, or Rikishi, I can tolerate all 4 before I can ever tolerate Triple H these days. Therefore, I actually look foward to Smackdown on Thursdays, especially since Smackdown has given an outlet to newer guys, such as Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and Team Angle, while giving us some great matches from Edge, Mysterio, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chavo, and Eddie Guerrero. We wouldn't ever have that if the roster was just "one", as we'd see Triple H hogging time on both shows and never giving us great matches from the Smackdown 6 or letting OVW wrestlers ever shine. Just look at how younger wrestlers aren't shining on RAW and there's your proof. RAW sucking and the constant pushing of hosses on Smackdown are the reasons the brand extension can't be more successful.
Da Ref: Gotta go with FICTION on this one. One of the biggest selling points for the brand extension was that it would get more guys over on a grander scale. The reasoning was that before the extension, you had guys taking up space on both shows while a lot of guys were kept off of TV. With there being two separate shows with a roster for each one, it meant more opportunity for the guys to get over. However, you take a look at the "Main Event" matches for Wrestlemania(Hogan/McMahon, Helmsley/Booker, Austin/Maivia, & Angle/Lesnar) and there's not a huge number of new main eventers. As a matter of fact, one of the eight participants is the owner of the company.
-E-Mail Da Ref and Mr. Tito
-E-Mail Da Ref
-E-Mail Mr. Tito