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Tom Dean




I guess I have to talk about homosexuality in this column. Great... this is of course why I watch wrestling, so I can deal with the polarizing issues of our time. Sigh. Say what you will about Thursday's commitment ceremony, but, I do not get why WWE desperately wanted the mainstream media to cover it. Yes, it was a good wrestling storyline, and a great moment for people who have been watching the programming for months. (As great as you can get for a midcard angle involving people who haven't been over for months, anyway.) Yes, the groups whom the WWE "fooled" could have checked the spoilers, or could have guessed that the wedding wouldn't come off. So freakin' what?? None of that explains what WWE hoped to GAIN by trying to swerve people who don't particularly care about the product in the first place. Vince McMahon ain't Allan Funt, so he presumably wasn't doing it just to make others look like suckers. If they weren't actually going to do the "gay babyfaces" thing that they were promising the media, why did they TELL them that they were? I don't know.

The only explanation I can come up with is the ol' "any publicity is good publicity" shibboleth (love that word!!). Which is stupid, and I hope there is a better explanation. The best part of all this is that the stunt didn't hype the product too well either. Are Bischoff and Stephanie going to wrestle? Sure, it built up Billy & Chuck vs. the Island Boyz, but that is a midcard match if I ever heard one. Given the storylines coming out of Summerslam, the logical focus of the storylines should NOT be Bischoff and Stephanie. The focus should be Lesnar and HHH. An issue that almost seems to have been forgotten about!! Coherent, storyline-driven booking was a big reason why Summerslam was a great PPV. The lack of it since then is why I am afraid Unforgiven ain't gonna be.

(Even if RVD beats HHH for the RAW title, which I think is actually pretty likely.)

(Theory: Vince McMahon admires Bischoff's grapefruits, which is why Bisch is almost the only WCW-associated thing that has been put over by WWE as worth a damn. In fact, Vince sees such a kindred spirit in Bischoff that he is willing to have Bisch's on-air character greatly resemble his own. I dunno, can't prove it, but I wouldn't be surprised. If true, this theory leads to the depressing conclusion that Bischoff vs. Stephanie will never go away, since Bisch would effectively be an honorary McMahon, and we all know the McMahon saga never ends.)

I will quit bitching about the emphasis on Bischoff vs. Stephanie if someone would just give me a cool place where this whole thing can go. This is especially directed to all the people who were going "the two shows need to compete with each other" for months and probably gave WWE this lame ass idea. The only interesting thing I can think of is to have Bischoff make RAW into Nitro and do an invasion. And it's too late for that now! I could see having the shows be totally and completely separate, that makes some sense. (Could result in twice as much $, or at least so they'd hope.) What they are doing currently, I don't understand currently. Maybe it is working towards that goal of complete separation (seemingly at least somewhat likely), or towards some other cool goal (seemingly not all that likely.)

Some of you may know about my webpage dedicated to the late, somewhat lamented WOW (y'know, the one that's linked at the end of each of my columns?) I recently heard the first WOW-related news I have heard in a long time, and I was glad to hear it too. Apparently, UPW in California has picked up Jungle Grrrl, who is a tremendous talent, as well as Terri Gold and (this one was a surprise) Tanja the Warrior Woman. Unfortunately, UPW's relationship to WWE is not as close as it used to be, but it is still a very nice stage to play on. I don't know what the wrestlers' new gimmicks will be, but they can't be much worse than the ones with which David McLane saddled them! Best of luck to them. It is terrific to see them persevere in the industry.


While we're talking about the wimmin, I want to share that I have been impressed by Victoria. I saw some people compare the womens' tag match a week ago to the Jackie Gayda disaster. I think that comparison is totally off. Terri was as bad as she usually is, and there were some blown spots, but it resembled a wrestling match a helluva lot more than could manage. It was no one's shining moment... still, Victoria seems big and athletic, has shown signs of an impressive moveset, and looks like she can be sexy and strong at the same time. I think she can do a lot for the women's division.

Another guy I am really loving is Rico. His acting has been top-notch (I suspect Billy & Chuck will die on the vine without him), and I really enjoy his martial arts-based in-ring style too. Let's just hope JR doesn't start doing the "educated feet" thing every two minutes.

Speaking of announcing, do me a favor. If you've been to a Smackdown taping recently, tell me if Cole & Tazz appear to be calling the matches live, or if they just sit there like the syndicated show announcers do and tape the actual announcing later. It just seems so weird that they all of a sudden became so much better (which they have). Call me skeptical. (And call me Al, call me irresponsible, or call me for your lover's lover's alibi. But ya doesn't has to call me Johnson.)

Cole and Tazz REALLY, really need to stop using the following two phrases, though: "big ups" and "props". I appreciate the effort. Yet I make this request for the sake of us all.

I'm guessing Paulie Walnuts gets whacked this year, and Meadow rats on the family.

Tom Dean
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