Welcome to LATE and latest edition of Wrestling's FACT or FICTION. Time problems affected this column from not getting published last week. Optimus Schwab needed a week off, so for today's edition, you'll see Mr. Tito, Da Ref, and introducing Villano 187 from the LoP Message Boards as this week's replacement of Schwab. Here's a brief description of Villano:
Villano 187: "My name is Villiano 187, and I work on the LoP Message boards at www.LOPForums.com. Iíve been a wrestling fan since the early 80ís, growing up watching mostly NWA until the WWF/E started to go national. Iím also a backyard wrestler, but our fed is more sports entertainment. It started before the WWE got a hold of it, so they stole another idea from us. LoL Check out our biggest star. www.geocities.com/thedirtyoldman2003."
Indeed. On to the column! First topic!
1) FACT or FICTION: Miss Elizabeth was the greatest valet ever in professional wrestling.
Mr. Tito: Definitely a FACT. For one, she made it OK for non-wrestling women to be marketed well and actually make the WWE some money as a non-wrestling draw for once. Secondly, she actually helped fuel several great money drawing storylines. She was always the main topic of Randy Savage's feuds, helped fuel Wrestlemania 5 between Macho and Hulk Hogan, and later, she'd fuel the hot Macho Man vs. Ric Flair feud for Wrestlemania 8. The simple fact that she was vital in helping big feuds draw makes her the top valet ever.
Da Ref: I'm going with FACT for this one. The two women that paved the way for future valets were Elizabeth and Missy Hyatt. When it comes to which one was better, you have to look at who helped get the main guy she was with over. It could be argued that without Elizabeth, Randy Savage would not have been as huge as he was in the WWF. Meanwhile, Missy was jumping from guy to guy(Insert joke here) and the guys were either already really over at the time(Eddie Gilbert, the Sandman, John Tatum, etc.) or really over without her(Sting, Rick Steiner, Jack Victory-HIGH SPOT!). Plus, Elizabeth created a presence without having to draw attention away from Savage or whomever to herself. That is a huge key to being a good valet or manager. You have to help get the guy you are managing/escorting get over while at the same time not intentionally trying to put yourself over.
Villano 187: This is certainly a FACT. Elizabeth was the original WWF/E Diva. She brought a sense of classiness to Randy Savage, which he really needed at the time. Sheís the main reason he got over as one of the biggest faces in WWF/E history. She also adapted in WCW as the heel valet, distracting her wrestlerís opponent or the referee while her guy picked up her shoe or other international object. She did her job well, and did it with a class like no other. Thatís why sheís the greatest valet ever.
2) FACT or FICTION: Bringing back the Intercontinental was a good idea.
Da Ref: Absolute FACT on that one. It actually gives the fans something more to care about. As I heard someone put it, there's now a title that CAN change hands often. Seriously, there's now a way for new talent to move up and show whether or not they can be major players. The Intercontinental Title has been a major stepping stone for a lot of the guys who became World Champion. Right now, there are so many guys that the crowd appears to be interested in seeing maybe get a better spot on the show. While they may not be viewed as World Title challengers, they can fit perfectly as IC Champ. Bottom line is they have given the talent a chance to move up.
Villano 187: FACT~! Now the mid-card guys have something to fight over. The IC Title used to be the belt that prepared the talent for the big time. Without that title, there was nothing to gun for other than the World Title, which already had too many people feuding for it. The IC Belt will bring a breath of fresh air to the Raw brand.
Mr. Tito: I seriously believe that this is FICTION. People fail to forget how quickly bored the creative team became with the IC title the last time. It traded hands way too much to have any credibility, and secondly, it can go to terrible midcarders who have no right to hold any title, such as Chyna, Godfather, Albert, and others. But the main point is that these soap opera writers, the ones who creatively put together the WWE shows we watch, DO NOT care about titles other than the World, which Vince McMahon takes personal care of. A prime example are the tag titles from RAW. Soap opera writers can't even keep those titles credible. The Smackdown titles work because of Paul Heyman's booking as head booker last year. Everyone needs to look at the past material of the IC title, especially from the last 5 years, to discover that while the IC title had its high points, it had some terrible low points, and it will continue to have them on the dry RAW roster.
3) FACT or FICTION: With the poor face reactions to Kevin Nash, Vince McMahon will pull the plug quickly on Nash's pending RAW World Title run.
Villano 187: Pure FICTION. Vince loves the big hosses, and with HHHís backstage pull, this will not be abandoned. As he has proven before, Vince could give two shits about what the fans want, as you can see with the way he beat Booker T with one finisher at WM this past year, while every other wrestler defeated at least kicked out of one finisher. Kevin Nash will win the World Title, then feud with HHH and Shawn Michaels the entire summer. Vince still wonít get the idea when the first RAW only PPV bombs with Kevin Nash in the main event.
Mr. Tito: I say this is FACT. Vince McMahon has lost trust in Kevin Nash before, insomuch that he went against the Clique and put the title on Bret Hart in late 1995 instead. It's insanely obvious that Nash isn't over as a face, and even the pull or stroke Triple H has can't help but notice that. Recent stuff on RAW dictates that Triple H will win since Nash is getting the better of their fights. This seriously suggests that Triple H will retain the title, knowing that you can't just throw a guy into a main event world title feud one month after he returns.
Da Ref: Come on. That's FICTION. There are a number of guys that got poor reactions that still got a push. At Judgment Day, Paul Wight is getting another shot at the WWE Title against Brock Lesnar. Vince McMahon is the guy that pulled Matt Hardy from the injury angle with Rey Misterio Jr and put Albert in his place in order to push him. In Vince's mind, he's not able to see that these big guys that he loves aren't drawing. In this match, he thinks that the fans will pay big money to see a guy with 5 moves and two very skinny legs challenge for the World Title.
4) FACT or FICTION: The internet ruins the enjoyment of wrestling for many fans.
Mr. Tito: This is FICTION, by far. Granted, the revealing of insider wrestling news may destroy possible surprises that could occur, but overall, the internet ENHANCES a wrestling fan's enjoyment of a product. On the internet, you can discuss professional wrestling with fans miles away in just a matter of moments. The internet is also good for introducing fans to wrestling they might be missing out on, such as independent feds or international ones. Plus, on the internet, you can read more about professional wrestling, which is not only good for you reading-wise, but makes professional wrestling like a hobby to you.
Da Ref: I am SO glad that Tito put this one for a column. The statement is undoubtedly FICTION and there is no argument going the other way. The key term for all of this is choice. I've been doing the Harris Polls for over a year and one of the questions that comes up at the end asks if I am overwhelmed by all of the information out there on the Internet or do I like having it available. That's the key term. All of the news, opinions, and whatever are available for people to read. However, they are not required reading material. If they feel that something is too negative, they have the free will to disregard it as simply the ramblings of someone with too much free time on their hands. On the other hand, they can also use that same free will as well as judgment to decide that there is some truth in the matter. All in all, it comes down to the reader. Blaming the internet for you not enjoying pro wrestling as much as you did before you logged on is just like blaming heavy metal records for teenage suicide.
Villano 187: This is FICTION. Only about 5% of wrestling fans follow wrestling on the internet on sites like LoP. I like knowing the inside information in the business. The Smackdown spoilerís are posted for people who want to know what happened before viewing Smackdown. If you donít want to know what happens, donít click the link. Itís as simple as that.
5) FACT or FICTION: A Steve Austin/Bill Goldberg alliance would work.
Da Ref: I gotta believe FICTION. For one thing, it would be replaying the angles where McMahon would throw his support to one particular wrestler to destroy Austin. Also, they need to build guys that can stand on their own in huge situations. Right now, Goldberg is pretty much starting over. Having Austin in an angle where they are close would show a lack of confidence in Goldberg getting over on his own.
Villano 187: I can see this as a FACT. They seem to have been able to co-exist during the Beer Bash the other night, and Iíve seen nothing that shows that they canít work with each other. I did a double take when they were face to face backstage on RAW, they looked so much alike. If the WWE reforms The Kliq and makes them heel, a face team of Goldberg/Austin feuding with the Kliq could be interesting.
Mr. Tito: Austin can't wrestle, so this is FICTION. Maybe if Austin wrestled, they could be built up as a dominant tag team, only to break up and feud from there. However, Austin is just a GM, a crippled one at that, so a scene with Austin and Bill Goldberg drinking over won't benefit Goldberg. The only way it could work is if Goldberg becomes Austin's special ring enforcer, but that goes against the grain of what those who politic in WWE want, and that's for Goldberg to have 8 minute matches with midcarders like Christian. Heaven forbid that Goldberg squash anybody, despite being paid millions.
6) FACT or FICTION: The WWE is going in the right direction by slowing down its product in giving each show its Pay Per View(which would give 2 months for each brand to hype a show) and by bringing back squash matches, while toning down matches on television.
Villano 187: This is FICTION. The splitting of PPVís will kill the Raw brand and show which brand has the better roster and the better team of writers. Iím not a big fan of the brand extension in the first place, so I just donít see this working. By this time next year the two shows will be back to doing PPVís together because the RAW brand canít sell on itís own.
Mr. Tito: The decision to go in this direction could save the WWE a lot of money in terms of star getting injured. The current schedule has workers going full bore on television and Pay Per View shows. By slowing down the product, wrestlers only have to especially put their bodies on the line for a Pay Per View, which can now be once a month. However, the Monday Night Wars got fans used to a certain style of show and product, so this is FICTION. Fans are used to seeing stars wrestling stars on television matches, and this style is what keeps the ratings the way they are. By slowing down the product, having more talk and squash matches, it will get the 1998 fans bored of the product, while those who are craving workrate in matches to become bored as well. It will lose viewers in the long run. I am very much for wrestlers going lighter in the ring for their own health, but this health problem would be solved if Vince actually gave his wrestlers more days off than what he currently does.
Da Ref: I'll say FICTION and I'm glad that this was brought up especially the part about giving PPV's two months for build up. If you think about it, not all of the PPV's will get the two months that was talked about. Let's follow the way the schedule is set up. After Judgment Day, the 1st RAW PPV is June's Badd Blood, which would give them one month for build up. After that, it's Smackdown's 1st PPV in July which I believe is No Mercy. That would give Smackdown two months. Here's the tricky part. In August, Summerslam would be the 1st joint PPV under this new system. Now, RAW would have between the show after Badd Blood and the RAW before Summerslam to hype that show while Smackdown would only have between the show after No Mercy and the Thursday before Summerslam. After that, RAW would have one month to hype its next PPV and the circle continues. So, what you're looking at is RAW gets two months to hype their card for the joint PPV's and one month for their brand PPV's while Smackdown only gets one month to hype the joint PPV's and two months for their brand PPV's. As for the squash matches, I think that is a wise decision. It allows the workers to get over what they can do in the ring while not doing it at the expense of another guy who is looking to move up.
7) FACT or FICTION: There is a wrestling federation out there in America that will seriously challenge the WWE in a few years.
Mr. Tito: This is total FICTION. Why? Because the way to challenge the WWE is to get on Cable television. There's no way out of it. The WWE, thanks to their war with the PTC (Parents Television Council) and other bouts with sponsors, has "muddied up the waters" so to speak for the cable industry. Feds can make more money on re-runs of old shows than professional wrestling, and it's shown that having a wrestling show on your network does NOT help out your net earnings. Ask USA, who is making more money with their current programming than before. Even if NWA-TNA gets big on Pay Per View, it's too risky for any cable network to pick up, thanks to the WWE's problems which surfaced in 2000.
Da Ref: I'm standing by FACT on this one. I still believe that TNA can get their act together and make some moves. The main thing they need to do is be COMPETITION, not just another WWE. They can't focus on "Sports Entertainment" with goofy angles and bizarre gimmicks. They need to be a wrestling organization. If the timetable is a few years, realize that anything can happen during that time. Maybe Russo will make one bad move and someone will come along that knows the business.
Villano: The NWA-TNA makes this FACT . Using the unsigned and misused talent that the WWE didnít care about turned out well for them. Their PPV buyrates keep going up, and their shows keep getting better. Eventually a cable network like USA will pick them up and give them a good timeslot. Maybe theyíll get big enough to start a show on Monday night and we can go back to the Monday Night Wars. The WWE will then get off their asses and have to make good shows to survive. I see pro wrestling getting very interesting and competitive in the next 2 years.
8) FACT or FICTION: Like any other lightweight that enters the WWE, the WWE will get bored with Brian Kendrick soon and start making him a Velocity regular.
Da Ref: Absolute FACT. The guy is a good worker. He shows that he has more charisma than a lot of the WWE roster. Isn't that reason enough for WWE to not push him? I wish I could get excited because of the whole thing between Cena and Kendrick. I thought they clicked in the ring during the promo on Smackdown. However, how many angles that got good starts ended up being killed? I remember the reaction from the crowd during the RAW when the Dudleys took Christian and Chris Jericho's bags and the Ass Cream. Where did that go? Kendrick is going to have his match against Cena and no matter what happens in the match, he'll be on Velocity within two months. It's sad especially when Kendrick could be someone that can help the Cruiserweight division make some moves.
Villano 187: This is an unfortunate FACT. Heís not big enough for Vince to care about, and he will be damned to Velocity in the next six weeks. The guy has tons of charisma and talent. Heís my favorite part of Smackdown. The pops this kid gets are amazing, but those pops will now move to Velocity.
Mr. Tito: A sad FACT. Besides being a lightweight, he's showing potential that his wrestling ability and charisma can steal the show at any time, and that's bad for the WWE Good Ol' Boy Network ©. Ask the many "flavors of the month" before Kendrick how much they enjoy wrestling on Velocity, when they thought they had potential to be a star on Smackdown. Besides, you watch with his wrestling style... he'll be kicking and punching like the rest of the WWE does, and also using spinebusters as transition moves (the WWE style of wrestling). It's sad, but it's the truth.
RETRO FACT or FICTION: The 1997 WCW roster, as a whole throughout the year, was the most stacked wrestling roster that any American fed has ever witnessed.
Villano 187: This is debatable, but Iíll say FACT. The reason I say this is because the WWE were stacked with talent during the WCW Invasion angle, they were all just misused. Look at this roster though. Big names from WWE came over like Hall and Nash. Hogan was already there too. The WCW mainstays like Sting, Luger, and Flair along with these guys made the main event scene great. The Giant was also healthy and young which added to the mix. WCW had a ton of luchadores in the mix, and the introduction of that style to the U.S. wrestling scene revolutionized it. Like I said though, itís a very close call between the 97 WCW roster and the WWE Invasion roster, but the 97 WCW roster stands out.
Mr. Tito: Phew, a tough one. Great rosters of the last 30 years... For one, the roster that Vince McMahon Jr. put together in the 1980's was pretty darn good, as he picked off the best talent from every territory and compiled it as a federation of one. Of course, that roster quickly diminished, as it was found he was only using the wrestlers to establish the WWF with his own created talent, many of which didn't pan out. The 2000 WWE roster was pretty nice, with Angle and Jericho growing as wrestlers, Triple H in his prime, the Rock of course, Hardys, Dudleys, and Edge/Christian doing great as tag teams, and the addition of the Radicalz from WCW was nice in Benoit and Guerrero (the other 2 no longer wrestle in the WWE). But the 1997 WCW roster was loaded, insomuch that there was so much good talent around to fill a weekly 3 hour television show and to eventually start a legit 2nd show of Thunder to fill as well. But 3 hours alone! Jeesh! FACT for sure! Firstly, you had all of that ECW talent that WCW stole in the Luchadores and guys like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Raven, and Perry Saturn. Then, you had some WCW wrestlers stepping up that year, such as DDP and Booker T. You had plenty of longtime veterans around in Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ric Flair, Sting, Curt Hennig, Roddy Piper, Macho Man, and much more, including Bret Hart by year's end! Now, you can say the roster was badly underutilized, but wow, it had a pile of great talent, which makes you wonder why WCW isn't around today.
Da Ref: I'll go with FICTION on that one. 1997 was a good year for WCW, talent-wise. You had the Lucahdores, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero, and others. Jericho was starting to move up. However, part of me wants to say that the WWF had the most stacked roster after they bought WCW. Meanwhile, I also think back to the NWA during the mid to late 80's and all of the guys they had especially when Crockett bought the UWF from Watts.
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