Another FACT or FICTION is upon you, and this time we're on time here on the weekend. Thanks to one and all for the feedback, as it's very much appreciated. I highly encourage ANYONE to send feedback to all 3 of us, or individually if you'd like, regarding this column. We will most likely respond!
Our emails are at the bottom. Also, if you go into the "Feedback" section of LoPforums.com, when you log in, you can post any topic ideas that you'd like us to discuss. I probably used about 3-4 ideas this week alone.
1) FACT or FICTION: Kevin Nash will be out of the WWE in the near future.
Mr. Tito: This is very much FACT. That loss to Test is the writing on the wall. The WWE won't be pushed around when it comes to Kevin Nash, now, because when he was in the feud with Triple H, it brought down business. Bringing in Mick Foley was total damage control on the WWE's part, and I thank the wrestling Gods that somebody realized what a washed up performer Kevin Nash has become and how large his ego has become with the heavy paychecks he's getting. My guess is that he'll receive the same kind of release/buyout that his drinking buddy, Scott Hall, received last year. Nash doesn't put over talent, he's forced to, and whether he's released, released because he hated doing that job, or just walks away, I'm betting he won't make it to Summerslam.
Phantom Lord: I'm gonna say FACT on this one. Don't get me wrong. I think Nash could be of great use in a commentators role, but his best days in the ring are far behind him. Vince and company do not know how to plan long term anymore. Once Nash and Triple H did their 2 month/2 PPV feud that was it. Evidence that they have no idea how to use him was clear this week when he jobbed to Test in under 2 minutes. Other than the finger poke of doom, can anyone remember the last time Nash jobbed to anyone that quick? I sure can't. Give Nash some praise for coming back from what should of been a career ending injury. But he's either going to quit or they will fire him. I say he's had a good career. Multiple time World Champion, Multiple time Tag Champion. He's achieved everything anyone who wants to wrestle ever wish they could. When his demise comes, he should just hang up the boots for good.
Da Ref: I'll say FICTION. I don't think he'll be wrestling that much longer(as if ever really did *LOL*) but there will be a role for him in the company. Vince still has a thing for Nash because of his size. He'd make him an announcer, a manager, or something before releasing him.
2) FACT or FICTION: Jeff Hardy can one day return to the WWE and make a better impact that he did before he was released.
Phantom Lord: Total FICTION. I'm gonna get hate mail from Jeff Hardy fans, but I don't care. If Jeff was half as talented as his Brother Matt he would of adapted to what was thrown at him. Insted he just became a shell of his former self. Ok sure people will argue "Well Austin, Triple H, and The Undertaker squashed him and his potential". What a load of crap that is. Jeff isn't the first wrestler to have been made to look like a bitch during a match and he isn't going to be the last. If he simply would of spent time perfecting his moves insted of slacking off and forgetting how to even throw a punch, odd's are he would still be in the WWE right now making all the nerdy girls scream since they think he's GAWD.
Da Ref: Total FICTION. How much of an impact has his release done to the company? It has had zero effect on WWE's business. If he came back, what could he do? Go to Smackdown and be buried with the rest of the Cruiserweights? Reform the Hardy Boys and kill off the potential in singles that Matt has? Go back to RAW and immediately be put on Heat? Plus, he never had what it took to make an impact. He didn't have a real presence about him, which is very important. There was never anything about him that made the fans interested.
Mr. Tito: I'm calling this FACT. Why? One day can mean 1, 2, 3, or 4 years down the road, and so on. Right now, he's having a few personal problems and he wants to try his hand in a few other projects, such as music. Plus, after being on television for non stop for the last 5 years, it has burnt the fans out on his star power and getting them bored of his wrestling ability. My guess is that in a few years, he'll clean himself up and realize that professional wrestling, mature a good bit, and return to the WWE and reinvent his wrestling style. Not many wrestlers, in the United States, have the agility on the ropes or the fear factor that Jeff Hardy once had in the WWE, and I personally believe he can recapture it someday. Especially when some of the older farts decide to leave the WWE or retire (Undertaker, etc.).
3) FACT or FICTION: Sunday Night Heat is a show that can't be helped in the ratings, no matter what superstars wrestle on it.
Da Ref: That's FACT. You can put anyone you want on the show. You can have all of the titles on the line. You can have a Hell In The Cell Match, a TLC Match, and a Barbed Wire Match on the show. Yet, it still won't matter. Why? There's no serious hyping for the show. Besides editions before PPV's, there's no real reason to watch the show. They don't advance any storylines nor do they use guys that are considered among the big time. Most of the show is used to recap what happened on RAW, which fans already know about. Sure, they show a quick ad for Heat on RAW but other than that what else is there?
Mr. Tito: I say FICTION. What hurts this show is that everybody and their mother KNOWS it's a throwaway show. Aside from one match with some starpower in it, you're going to see no-name developmental wrestlers, squash match involving locals, or boring midcard bouts. The way you help Sunday Night Heat is to simply make it a concept show, such as having one division wrestling on it only, such as the Women's Division. In my opinion, that division would blossom if they could run their own angles and build their own feuds in an hourly show. Da Ref has an excellent point about the Pay Per View preview show, which throws everything off if you're going to focus a show on a division, like the women's division. Argh!
Phantom Lord: I'm gonna say FACT on this one. Heat's a good enough show, but it has a horrible time slot and it get's little to no advertising what so ever. Sure TNN promotes it, but that's only on TNN. At any given time during the week how many people could possibly be watching TNN? Not even a tenth of what RAW pulls in during a bad segement. But this week's show should be a sign of how well Triple H draws. The World Champion in theory is the best worker in the company and he should be the one pulling in the ratings. If Triple H can't pull in at least somewhat of an improvement on the ratings for Heat, then that will show his worth as champion. But in the long run, they could have The Rock on the show each week and it still wouldn't help.
4) FACT or FICTION: WWE creative team won't care about Sean O'Haire now that Roddy Piper is out of the WWE.
Mr. Tito: This is soooooo FACT. Although Piper didn't help O'Haire that much, O'Haire was once considered the possible cornerstone future superstar that WCW was looking to push as their "next big thing". However, the impending sale of WCW ended that and O'Haire is now being taught the "WWE way" on how to wrestle like a pussy. Any former WCW wrestler of the last 4 years won't be looked at favorably, especially one that WCW saw as a potential superstar just so Vince can prove the boys of WCW wrong.
Phantom Lord: FACTomundo. O'Haire was getting over with his "I'm not telling you anything you don't all ready know promos", but for some reason they decided to stick him with Piper. Maybe it was Vince just not wanting a former WCW prospect to be massively over, but him and Piper ended up making a good on screen pair. Now that Piper is gone the creative team sure as hell won't let him go back to his old gimmick. He'll just be Sean O'Haire "The future of this business"...blah blah blah. It's a shame since him and Jindrak were such a great tag team. But it's like I said. God forbid something that worked in WCW work for Vince in the WWE. O'Haire will end up having to put over Billy Gunn in his first U.S. Title defense.
Da Ref: Absolute FACT. Take a look at before he was with Piper. The guy got a lot of buzz because of the "I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know" bits. Then, he debuted with little to know fanfare. After a week or two, he wasn't on TV again. When he was put with Piper after Wrestlemania, everyone thought that would be his big break. However, they never really did anything with him there. So if they didn't do anything with him when there was some buzz for him, what makes you think they'll start now that he's dropped to the background?
5) FACT or FICTION: WWE Confidential exposes too much of the wrestling business and actually has a negative effect on the WWE.
Phantom Lord: Total FICTION. Much like any debate on CNN, the show is very one sided. Confidential only does maybe 15 minute segments for the main story and in that 15 minutes, the WWE usualy comes out looking great while everyone else looks horrible compared to them. As for exposing the business, it gives an insite into it but it's hardly exposing it. I mean I was shocked to find out that the Rev. Tully Blanchard was a big coke user back in the day. For it to "expose the business" as Triple H was rumored to have thrown a hissy fit about, Mene Gene would have to shoot on every single topic. Further more, everyting would have to be a shoot on the show. The show is so scripted to make things look good in the end, it's not even funny.
Da Ref: Regardless of what some people say, that is FICTION. In An Evening With Kevin Smith, Smith talks about how he read an interview with an indy filmmaker. In the interview, the filmmaker says that he doesn't want to be associated with Smith and claims that Smith "lowered the bar" for independent films. Smith replied by saying how could he lower the bar when no one sees his films. It's the same here. Take a look at Confidential's numbers. This past week, the show did a O.9 with a 2.2 cable share. That's not exactly something to fear. Plus, the show has become almost as kayfabe as the other shows. They did a story where they linked the RAW World Title lineage to the WCW and NWA World Titles. They have that segment with Josh Matthews asking questions to guys while they're in character. While they do show a few things with guys somewhat out of character, it's not enough to damage the industry. Besides, there's things on the actual wrestling programs that expose the business more.
Mr. Tito: Hardly. FICTION. If anything, Confidential is more of a tribute show than exposure, with the small exceptions of the embarrassing segments about Miss Elizabeth/Lex Luger, among others. If you're willing to watch WWE material on Saturday night at 11 pm, why not be treated to some nice behind the scenes segments? It doesn't hurt the treat the most hardcore fans.
6) STEINER or GOLDBERG: Which is the bigger WCW bust in the WWE?
Da Ref: I'll say SCOTT STEINER. Steiner was looked at as the guy that would be one of the major players in the company. After Royal Rumble, he slipped out of that position and hasn't really done anything that meritted all of the hype that he got. On the other, Goldberg has been going through the same thing but Goldberg has drawn good numbers for RAW.
Mr. Tito: I'll go with SCOTT STEINER. Steiner was given 2 freakin' months in a row of main eventing and couldn't get the job done, whatsoever. He entered the WWE in terrible cardiovascular shape, meaning he was winded within 3 minutes of wrestling in the WWE. Bill Goldberg isn't a bust as much as he's been sabotaged by WWE creative or those who influence creative (Triple H and other WWE Good Ol' Boysİ). Goldberg was brought in with ZERO hype and then booked in ridiculous situations, such as the Goldust segment, and then having the man who brought him in, the Rock, turning on him instead of helping him. Steiner is just too old for the sport now and can't show ability to match the impressive physique.
Phantom Lord: I'm gonna go with BILL GOLDBERG on this one. Steiner has made the most of his time in the company. Goldberg has been screwed over since day one. Granted I'm not complaining that they have handled him poorly, why I'm sure Bret Hart is smiling somewhere over how much the company flip flopped on his direction. But we all know Goldberg is very injury prone (He's out with some sort of arm injury right now). They knew this but decided to wait 3 months before realizing he can only do so much, so have him win in squashes. For the money they are paying him they should of pushed him to the moon from the start. He's a bust because McMahon can't book for shit anymore unless it's an angle involving himself.
7) FACT or FICTION: Without ECW, wrestling wouldn't need as many high spots or chair shots to keep the crowd interested.
Mr. Tito: This is FICTION. ECW's storylines are the major influence on professional wrestling, not its wrestling. From watching the WWE Hardcore Division, you can pound the shit out of each other with weapons and that doesn't mean the crowd will get interested or keep watching. Characters and the thrill of a big victory, say maybe for a title (like someone actually beating Triple H cleanly in a match!) is what keeps fans interested. The recent highspots attempted in the WWE have failed, as the last TLC matches weren't as interesting nor were the recent Hell in the Cell or Ladder matches. Besides, not everyone watched ECW back in the day... only a small fraction of WWE viewers used to watch it.
Phantom Lord: I'm an ECW mark, but even I know this one is a FACT. ECW brought back the fun of wild bloodbaths and brawls. Along with that they brought the highspot to new levels and the 1980's style of Spot, Rest, Spot, Rest, Spot, Spot, Finisher just couldn't cut it any more. The fans got bored because promo's took center stage and guys who couldn't cut it were still being pushed. The style of wrestling Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit use now is the style of the future. That's the style that will bring the fans back. The chair shots and high spots are just a welcome bonus.
Da Ref: That's FICTION. That's like blaming rock music for teenage suicide. The fans still enjoy matches that aren't heavily reliant on chairs and spots. They tuned in for angles like the NWO and Austin/McMahon and it wasn't because of the violence. It was because the storylines were interesting. They captured the attention of the fans and drew them in to watch more.
8) FACT or FICTION: The WWE has bottomed out in popularity, and there's no where to go but up now.
Phantom Lord: They haven't hit rock bottom yet. So this is FICTION. They are nearing rock bottom as we speak especially with Smackdown. RAW is making the trip to the bottom slower since it's putting on better shows. But with the matches announced for Vengence especially the McMahon ones, I feel the bottom is very near. Once they hit the bottom in theory they should go back up, but that's going to be a while. They will never have Austin/McMahon peak era numbers, but they will do good enough to break even. But right now it's only down. For them to go back up, it would take a huge fluke occurence to get the fans to really care and an a Roided up old man fighting a cripple isnt gonna cut it.
Da Ref: That's asking two questions in one. Has the company bottomed out in popularity? FACT. Only a couple of venues have done large numbers with the company. As far as there being nowhere to go but up, that's FICTION. They can remain stagnant while only having very brief spurts of a resurgence in popularity.
Mr. Tito: This is FICTION. There's plenty of more distance for the WWE to go right now. Why? Because by continually pushing stale and old characters such as Triple H, Undertaker, APA, Steve Austin, Billy Gunn, Big Show, Albert, any McMahon, and anybody else who has been a WWE veteran for over 4 years now, there is NO development in the younger aspects of the WWE. When will the younger guys, such as John Cena (who jobbed to Billy Gunn lately?!?), Sean O'Haire, Randy Orton, and many more OVW guys have to come in with no character development to begin with, and then they get squashed (or paying their dues by the veterans no-selling their offense). What the WWE is doing right now is taking a gigantic dump on their future talent, and not only that, the Jerichos, the Rob Van Dams, the Kanes, the Kanyons, the Booker Ts, and the Benoits are getting unfair treatment. You watch, if NWA-TNA gets their head on straight and starts picking off talent and actually acquiring revenue, they could be in the position to make the WWE suffer financially as they did in the mid 1990's. The WWE hasn't nearly bottomed out as long as there's no upward movement among wrestlers other than a select group of guys who have ruled the WWE for the past 5 or more years now.
RETRO FACT or FICTION: If he Owen Hart wasn't killed in the ring, he would have been a WWE World Champion eventually.
Da Ref: As sad as it is to say this, I'm going with FICTION. At the time of Owen's death, the WWF was riding high off the popularity of Steve Austin, Rocky Maivia, and Mick Foley among others in the main event picture. They were winning against WCW and could operate on cruise control with the guys that were on top. Owen wouldn't have fit into those plans. One more thing to realize is that according to people that talked about Owen after his death, he would've retired a year or two later. So, there might not have been time to build Owen up to where he could be a serious contender.
Mr. Tito: I loved the guy, but I know this would have been FICTION. As long as Bret Hart is out of the WWE and showing pure hatred for what occurred at Survivor Series 1997 when Vince McMahon screwed Bret by changing the finish to his match against Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart wouldn't win the title. What says he might just retire the second he wins the World Title in honor of his brother, maybe screwing the WWE by creating an instant paper champion? Not saying Owen would do that, but what if? He did want to get out of the WWE when Bret was screwed in 1997. Some have suggested that Owen would have received Triple H's push in late 1999 if he didn't die, but I don't know. Triple H signed a big contract with the WWE before Wrestlemania 15 and was in line for a big main event push to justify the new contract, so I don't know about that. I know the WWE frowned upon Owen for not wanting to fight over Debra with Jeff Jarrett, which some suggest made the WWE break out the Blue Blazer gimmick once again. Who knows? But my opinion is that as long as Bret was against the WWE, Owen wouldn't get the World Title.
Phantom Lord: Very much a FACT. I think Owen would of been given a main event push by the fall of 1999 and he would probably won the WWF World Title around the Royal Rumble. He was one of the best wrestlers in the entire company and despite what was thrown at him, he stayed. McMahon rewards loyalty in the end. Owen was a very loyal worker and he was very much deserving of a World Title reign. Would it have been long? Probably not, but he would of had a reign going into Wrestlemania. Owen/Triple H would of been a solid main event for back then considering Foley would of been retired and Austin still would of been out with the neck surgery. But fate is cruel and the worst happened and wrestling just hasn't been the same since.
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