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Tom Dean




For those of you who wondered why I linked to my RSPW awards ballot last week... simply stated, I screwed up... there's no other way to put it. I apologize profusely to my millions of fans. What I was trying to do is show you that I had commented, well before the "split", on the dangers that it entailed. And yes, I can PROVE that I made that amazingly controversial and prognosticatory statement. See, I did say it. (Hey, that'd be a great name for a column!) Umm, it's near the end.

After all that worrying, though: I enjoyed RAW. A lot. Well, I didn't enjoy the "let us remind you again that you must wait till 11:00 to see our top star" stuff. I always hate that crap. But jeez, apart from that... Booker-RVD was great, and Eddy only makes it even awesomer... the Vince/Flair tension seemed more genuine, although Vince continued to take 20 minutes to make points that could have been made in two... backstage skits with Bradshaw, Jackie, and Crash?? awesome... Bubba/Raven had some terrific moments... the Trish-Terri insta-feud and match was kind of pathetic, but at least Molly's run-in was good... Kane/X-Pac had the dumb nWo ending, but it was an ok match, and man... Kane/X-Pac as the main event?? That's just cool!

Here's the thing about that: You can't have it both ways. Some people were complaining that "Kane versus X-Pac doesn't seem like a main event to me." Well, gee, that's because you've been seeing the same four guys in the main event for two years, and neither of them is Kane or X-Pac. If you hate the split because you like all the stars being on one show, fine; that at least makes sense. If you like the idea of the split, but you expect each split roster to look as impressive as the old one used to look, well, then you're not making any damn sense. Say "what" if you sleep with your sister. Speaking for myself, I WANT to see new faces at or near the top of the card... I want that a lot.

My original points about the split haven't lost any of their power, though. At least in this sense: I strongly feel that the WWF could have achieved these objectives -- creating new stars, and getting interesting angles and characters for everybody -- WITHOUT doubling their operating costs in the process. This could have been done via the magic of "being less concerned about maintaining the established hierarchy", "more focused promos", "using in-ring action as well as backstage skits to advance storylines", and generally, "better writing and booking."

So, even if this works, the WWF will effectively be spending a hell of a lot of money to fix a problem that could have been fixed a hell of a lot cheaper. Will this work (New York Yankees style), or is throwing money at a problem that isn't primarily financial only going to make things worse (Baltimore Orioles style)? I will be extremely interested to see next week's ratings. This week doesn't really count, because of the novelty factor, and also because of the men's college basketball final that was on against RAW. By the way, how frustrating must it be to be Indiana? They came in as big underdogs, yet they succeeded for most of the contest in making Maryland "play their game"... and lost anyway because they played "their own game" far more crappily than Maryland did. If Indiana had been solid from the very beginning of the game, rather than letting Maryland run to an early lead, then I think Indy would have won, the way things went.

Y'know, everyone says that the WWF signed Curt Hennig because he was the champ of WXF or whatever the hell lame organization it was. Given the way Hennig has performed in the WWF (i.e. not ready for prime time), that would seemingly be a quite plausible explanation. If that's true, though, here's what I don't get: Why is Vince not raiding the WWA, and the Jerry Jarrett startup? Those organizations seem like far more plausible threats to the WWF, wouldn'tcha think? I mean, they have managed to get their product on TV. Obviously, I understand why certain people haven't been signed away; Steve Austin and Vince both don't like Jeff Jarrett, and Bret Hart, 'nuff said. Still, you'd think that if Vince was concerned about the WXF (or whatever the hell it was), he would have at least made an effort to raid even bigger threats. I have to think there is some other reason they brought in Hennig, although I'm not sure what it is yet. I know why they brought in Goldust, though: 'cuz he RULES. Don't believe anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.

I have to agree with all the folks who are saying that Danny got screwed on Tough Enough. It's true that his promo was lame, but, did you hear any great promos there? 'Cuz I didn't. Here's the real issue to me: Half the people LAUGHED during their promo, which to me is an unforgivable sin, far worse than failing to be particularly interesting. It's possible to teach a bland person to do a character, but if you can't even take the job seriously, then there's no hope for you. There definitely seems to be more emphasis on mic work in TE2 than there was in TE1. Maybe they're unhappy with how Maven and Nidia are progressing in that respect... or maybe they want to do something with these people other than the "I'm a lucky rookie" gimmick that Maven's already got... ehhh, both theories sound kinda plausible. I think Alicia and Jessie are just being left in there at this point so we can watch them fight with each other and grimace in pain.

"Say 'what' if you sleep with your sister." Damn, heel Undertaker is a revelation.

Tom Dean
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