TIME FOR A CHANGE
About a month ago, just before No Way Out, I wrote a column about Stephanie's position on TV. Like most of you - I don't agree with the fact she constantly is booked for 20 minute interviews, and countless backstage vignettes. The problem I had last month was the fact her being dumped overshadowed the n.W.o.'s arrival to the WWF.
Come RAW the night after No Way Out, the WWF seemed to get it right. Stephanie was hardly a major factor, aside from a backstage vignette or two where Ric Flair ordered she stay away from ringside.
It seems that while the WWF occasionally "gets it" - more often than not they revert to their old ratings grabbers. Once upon a time, Stephanie's role in the WWF was an important one that directly influenced viewers. I'll tell you straight up, I did get an old girlfriend of mine watching wrestling temporarily in the summer of 2000 while the Stephanie/Triple H/Kurt Angle triangle played out. It sucked viewers in.
However, the WWF did what it's always done when something's worked for them - and that's simply not to give it up. One of the major complaints about WCW for so long was the fact they turned back to the same old tricks. Well take a look at the current state of affairs in the WWF.
1 - Steve Austin is drinking beer and feuding with Vince McMahon, or Vince McMahon's cronies.
2 - Stephanie McMahon is taking up a significant amount of TV time.
3 - The Rock is spouting catch phrases, and coming out on the losing end of the majority of his feuds, yet seemingly never weakened by it.
4 - Kurt Angle is a funny, dorky heel.
5 - Rikishi and Scotty Too Hotty are dancing like it's 2000!
6 - The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz are feuding.
That's just a quick list off the top of my head. While some things have changed since the early part of 2000 - the major things we remember when the show is done have not. And the parts of those characters that HAVE changed are not for the better. The "what?" chants have made Steve Austin all that more annoying. Stephanie's TV time continues to increase as she gets whinier and whinier. Rikishi and Scotty's pops are getting quieter. The Hardys and Dudleys have done it all before.
The WWF changed with the times when WCW refused because they HAD to. In the span of a year and a half they lost Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Bret Hart, Sid, Vader, and Shawn Michaels. That's a whole crew of main eventers right there. What they were left with was Steve Austin, and The Undertaker.
In that crucial time, they did everything they could to build the promotion around Steve Austin and work from there. During that time Mick Foley, The Rock, and others were able to rise up and take pieces of the main event pie.
The WWF is flat out boring today. There is no excitement - and no chance of seeing anybody surge ahead into a big main event slot.
But there could be. Strangely enough - even with about 15 surefire main eventers on their roster, WCW managed to find a perfect balance and still get the World Title onto guys who'd never had a chance to shine with it in DDP, Goldberg, Booker T, and Scott Steiner. They were able to mix guys in and out from pay-per-views and still make it work. So why can't the WWF? Because these guys seem to think a month going by without a title shot is ludicrous!
The split is going to be a very interesting time in the WWF. We'll see if the new crop of stars can compete when the main eventers are cut in half. We'll see how the main eventers are willing to deal with the new guys. We'll see if new fresh storylines are put in place - or if they turn back to what made them money the first time around.
And hopefully, we'll see Stephanie McMahon's time drastically reduced by 100%.
At this time, you guys know the deal! It's Pay-Per-View picking time. You e-mail me YOUR picks and sometime next week I'll update the list on my website (link will be provided in the column) for the leaders. As always, here's my picks so there's no cheating on my part.
Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
MY PICK: The Rock
WWF World Heavyweight Title
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Triple H
MY PICK: Chris Jericho
Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall
MY PICK: Steve Austin
Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker
MY PICK: The Undertaker
WWF World Tag-Team Titles
Billy and Chuck (c) vs. The Acolytes vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz
MY PICK: Billy and Chuck
WWF Intercontinental Title
William Regal (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
MY PICK: Rob Van Dam
WWF Women's Title
Jazz (c) vs. Lita vs. Trish Stratus
MY PICK: Lita
Kane vs. Kurt Angle
MY PICK: Kurt Angle
Booker T vs. Edge
MY PICK: Edge
WWF European Title
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Christian
MY PICK: Diamond Dallas Page
Good luck - and I'll talk to you next week.
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