ON THE SOAPBOX
Well, last week CRZ took a week off and I wound up doing so, too. I'd been working on a column and wound up scrapping the whole thing. Count yourselves lucky. It really stunk.
Wrestling's not exactly number one on the list this week, but I feel like I owe both my readers a new column, so here goes...
Are you looking at the People's Strudel? --The Rock
Well, sure he was, Rock! Michael Cole's a busy guy! He doesn't know where all the great bakeries around town are like you do! I think he'd like to - No. I'm not doing that joke.
Anyway, I was looking over the board and saw a response to my last column where I talked about the Rock's days as the top face being numbered. The writer talked about why he thinks that the Rock was nowhere near the end of his run in that spot. I just realized that I may not have defended my position as well as I would have wanted to, so that's what I'll try and do here.
The biggest point is time. I don't expect Rock to just suddenly next week be the second-biggest face. It may not be for months. The fact is this: Think about how long Rock's been doing basically the same thing.
Austin was basically the same guy for over three years. He started running with his "DTA" personality back in late 1997. That's who he was until Wrestlemania this year. When he started coming back on TV, ratings actually dropped. Austin knew he had to change. That's what happened at Wrestlemania. Austin did a complete 180 with his character. He started hugging Vince and got mad at anyone else who dared to. We got a guitar-playing Austin who sang Kumbayah to a worried Vince. It got Austin going again so people cared when he jumped to WCW.
Let's go back a little further in history. In 1996, Hulk Hogan had been playing the same character for over 10 years. He managed to rejuvenate himself by aligning himself with Hall and Nash. The NWO gave Hogan another few years in the favor of fans. Of course, he later tried to return to his red and yellow roots and nobody cared.
Wrestlers have been reinventing themselves for years. Every time something's not working, the wrestler has tried something different.
By saying that, I don't mean that the Rock's gimmick is not working. It obviously is, otherwise the crowds wouldn't cheer for him like they are. The thing is, Rock's been doing basically the same thing since early 98, when he started using "Do you smell what the Rock is cookin'." The clock's ticking. Add to that the fact that guys like RVD and Angle are on the way up. Then remember guys like HHH and Benoit are on the way back. You've got to wonder where the Rock'll be in a few months after all these guy are a hundred percent again. And it's not just the Rock. Jericho-Steph is getting kind of stale, and I think the only suitable resolution may be Steph dumping HHH for Jericho. Christian recently flattened Edge after they'd been doing the same thing for years in another example.
Wrestlers are either on the way up or the way down. Obviously the way they're going can be changed with a word ("What?"), a catch phrase ("If you smell...", a dance (Too Cool), or a keister (Rikishi). Just remember that the fans are always watching.
Next week I should have a column that may help to change the way that you watch wrestling. It's part one of 2 that I'm calling "Inside the Indies" and may help you see what some of these guys fighting to get on the ladder go through.
There's a lot more I want to say but I don't think that this is the proper place or time. I guess I'll just cut it off here. God bless America. See you next week.