ON THE SOAPBOX
Did he just say sweet asses? --Edge
On that note, let's go ahead and get going on the soapbox for this week. I was working on a column about ECW guys who the WWF should pick up when I got an idea for another column and felt obliged to start over. On Invasion this week, did you notice anything about when the WWF stars came out? Every one of them was cheered except for one. Albert, the Big Show, and Billy Gunn were even cheered. X-Pac was the only one that the fans hated.
Now, as I write this, I know I'm on dangerous ground because this is a topic on the EZboards, but I just want to try my take on it. How can the WWF really get X-Pac going again?
First, let me admit that I've been a fan of his for a long time. I think my liking of him was solidified by the way he came into the WWF on the day after Wrestlemania 14 and proceeded to say everything about Bischoff and Hogan that everyone had been wanting to say. Here's a sample from CRZ's recap of that event:
I heard Hulk Hogan come out on television sayin' I couldn't cut the mustard - well, Hulk Hogan, you SUCK, pal! So I don't think you have any room to talk about anybody cuttin any kinda muster. And Hulk, I got some - I got some more advice for ya. Ya better not stop short or Eric Bischoff'll go so far up your ass, he'll know what you had for breakfast! And now on to important matters at hand. I'm sittin' at home with my mind on my money and my money on my mind - and I get a call from one of my best friends o' my entire life, Triple H, and he says 'DX needs your help.' Well dammit, Triple H, any time you ever need anything from me, pal, you got it. And I got something else to say - Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would be standing right here with us....if they weren't bein' held hostage by World Championship Wrestling AND THAT'S A FACT ERIC BISCHOFF so put that in your pipe and smoke it! So the way I see it right now, this is a new beginning for D-Generation X, and we're here to rip ass on the World Wrestling Federation...AND IT STARTS TONIGHT!
Great stuff, especially when you recall how JR introduced him. All Ross had to say was "Well look who's back."
In 1999, we saw the excellent X-Pac/D'Lo feud over the Euro title. 'Pac also went to the finals in both the IC tournament (losing to Ken Shamrock) and the KOTR (losing to Billy Gunn). Both times, a solid fan favorite.
What happened? I believe that things started going wrong when the WWF became obsessed with keeping the DX storyline going. First Chyna leaves. Then Hunter. Then Billy Gunn. Now DX stands for Dogg and X-Pac. Then DX reunites again as heels. Then Hunter splits again as he chases the WWF title, taking Chyna with him. Through all of this, Road Dogg and X-Pac have been lost in the shuffle. Road Dogg finally gets shuffled off to tag with K-Kwik (and fired shortly thereafter) while X-Pac keeps the sam DX-related music and starts disappearing. Finally he shows back up with Justin Credible and Albert as X-Factor.
How do you fix him? The look's already changed a bit, but slowly like it did for Triple H. So far, X-Pac has changed the beard, changed the hair (looks like a partial ponytail now) and changed the style of his tights. Here are my suggestions to keep this going:
1) Keep working on the look. The beard and hair changes are pretty subtle. Maybe he needs to do something a bit more noticeable. Radically change the look of the beard. Pull the hair back into a full ponytail. LOSE THE HEADBAND. That headband is as ridiculous looking as when Jeff Hardy wears a baseball cap into the ring. You already know that the only thing it's going to be used for is something for the ref to kick out of the way.
2) Lose the Bronco Buster. This is without a doubt one of the gayest moves out there right now. The only one that can top it off the top of my head is the way Road Dogg used to do the pump handle slam. It's a stupid looking move, and it just looks worse when he does the little dance. Kill it.
3) Keep working on new moves. X-Pac has been doing some more flying lately (like the Invasion cannonball), as well as trying some new stuff (like the 2nd rope X Factor he used on Eddy G.). Keep this up. Look at how big it was when Rock started using the sharpshooter. Dust off the Japanese tapes and start learning some new moves and see how the crowd reacts. Maybe even play up the martial arts training. Hey, that's where Tazz learned the kata hajime (Tazmission).
4) Give him some mic time. X-Pac could tear the house down on the mic, but it's been literally months since we've heard him, other than the Heat guest hosting gig. Justin Credible, his tag team partner and good friend, jumps to ECW and we hear nothing. Come to think of it, I don't think he even talked when X Factor got started. Give him the mic! Let him talk about how mad he was when Credible jumped. Let him say that this is why he's going to bring the IC belt (or any other "captured" WWF title) home. Let him rip Kidman apart and maybe even spit on the Cruiser title to show how much it means to him (hey, it worked for Cactus Jack). Also, he may want to drop his voice a little when he talks. His real voice is a little high (worked for Raven).
5) Get him back into the Euro title hunt, possibly even IC. Let's face it. The light heavyweight title is pretty low on the ladder of prestige in the WWF. Hey, Gillberg took it home for months and nobody noticed. The LH title isn't at the level of the AWOL women's title, but it's getting there. If you want to build the interest, give it to somebody who can get the crowd going, like Kaientai or Scotty 2 Hotty. X-Pac holding the LH title is almost like a step down, kind of like when Triple H won the IC belt earlier this year.
Now, I'm not saying that this is a guaranteed formula for success. After all, the WWF has successfully gotten over 2 Japanese guys with horrible voiceovers, a mannequin head, a guy who loves a mop, and a sock. But still, I don't think this would hurt.
Drop me a line and let me know what you thought. I always enjoy hearing from you folks and getting your feedback (just so long as you don't send me the sircam virus again). Seeya next week!