BOOKER T AND KURT ANGLE - ONE AWESOME FEUD
You know, I've been hearing nothing but a collective online groan since Kurt Angle won the WCW World Heavyweight Title last Thursday night. And when Booker T regained the strap last night, the groan's volume increased. Enough already!
Listen, I'm no advocate to the Vince Russo school of booking - hot shot title changes that cause the title to get whored around until it means nothing. But come on, a couple title changes are not the end of the world, in fact if anything I tend to believe it fuels the Invasion angle. Take a look at history, there have been several incidences in it where the title changed hands a couple of times inside of a week. Did the federation ratings collapse and cause it to fold? Well, in WCW's case, perhaps the constant hot shotting had a little to do with it, but you've got to recall the constant pointless storylines, over the edge hype, and just flat out idiot booking.
This feud has none of that.
It's a case of Kurt Angle getting established as one of the top 2 babyfaces in the World Wrestling Federation. It's a case of Booker T cheating his way and using everything he's got to hold on to the gold that he's worked his whole life to capture. And it's a case of the fan's being treated to 2 of the hardest working top of the line wrestlers in the world fighting over a once credible strap.
"But Chris," they cry! "by changing it so often they're not repairing the damage Vince Russo worked so hard on creating."
Give me a freakin' break. Booker T was a credible champion in WCW. He's in the WWF now, where no one knows about his 14 year climb to the top, the struggles he encountered, etc. He can tell the story all he wants. Why would the fans care? They don't know him from Adam. He's not an over the top personality. He's not Ric Flair (and he never will be if JR doesn't lay off, but that's another rant), he's not Hulk Hogan, he's not Sting. He's never had the chance to be any of those guys. He's too new a face to the WWF crowd. Booker T holding the strap means nothing to the WWF fans, because they have no idea who the hell he is.
Enter Kurt Angle.
The fans know very well who Kurt is. He won't let them forget. He's had the WWF hype machine behind him for the past 2 years of his career. Now they've recently turned him full fledged babyface. They need a heel for him to play off of.
The fans take a look at Booker T, and he's holding a strap. A piece of gold. This whole feud is about getting as many belts for your team as possible. The fans want it. They had it. They lost it.
Now they'll want it a whole lot more.
Are you starting to see where I'm going here? It's a strap they've managed to get off the waist of Booker T. They know he can be beaten, but they know he'll do anything within his power to keep it. And the fans are going to be drooling wanting it more, cursing out that damn Booker T for being so difficult to defeat. Now that he has been defeated on national TV, they'll be sitting back and waiting for the next time he loses. And it won't happen. But fans have now taken notice.
The title change did Booker a world of good. Everyone's talking about Kurt getting elevated. He certainly benefitted from the change. But Booker did even more so.
Which is probably why fans are so deeply angered. They don't want to see Booker T anymore. He was much more fun when he was getting held down. Now he's being pushed too hard for our ever fickle crowd.
You think you hate him now? You'll grow to hate him even more. I can't wait for him to score his first victory over The Rock. It'll happen.
Oh, and as for Kurt? He's going in to SummerSlam facing the WWF Champion with more momentum than he's ever had to date.
So to that collective groan - cheer up. It's a great time to be a wrestling fan. Just enjoy it.