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Tom Dean




On this week's Raw is Zone, we discovered that there really ISN'T dissension among the ranks of the WWF and the Alliance! You thought there was... but there really isn't! Ha! They sure had you fooled! Well, whatever. I felt Smackdown did an excellent job of getting the angles across in an entertaining matter and keeping things moving, while RAW was a little talky and self-indulgent. I have liked Smackdown so much more than RAW for the last few months, for pretty much that exact reason.

Anyway, I hope we can all agree that whatever they're doing -- whether you find it entertaining or not -- is basically killing time until Survivor Series. Let's look at what YOU, the readers who took last week's poll, think will happen in (as JR would say) Greensburra, North Caroliner...

WWF wins - 11 votes (29%)
Alliance wins - 10 votes (26%)
The Survivor Series main event will not determine the fate of the Invasion angle - 17 votes (44%)

Well, if I agreed with the plurality of voters and thought that this main event was not going to end up meaning much, I probably wouldn't even bother to buy the PPV. I can't blame you for choosing that one, though. It's hard not to, when the Invasion main event only three months ago was almost the same exact match with the same exact stipulation, and yet the Alliance's win didn't end up determining anything. (Although maybe it's the reason the WWF is still letting the Alliance enter their building, compete for their belts, etc. That'd be a pretty solid explanation, really... if they ever used it, which I don't think they have.) Other recent promises, such as the "biggest RAW ever" where Austin beat Angle for the title, have also fallen flat. So, I certainly understand why you're skeptical. I still feel, though, that the business will not permit this invasion thing to continue to meander on. Something big has to happen here. (You mean like the ECW heel turn, which we all marked out for, but ended up not meaning a whole hell of a lot?) Yeah, could be. But it'll be something that they at least INTEND to be dramatic and change the entire complexion of the angle. Whether they follow up on it well... who knows.

If one thing has been made clear in the last few months, it's that Vince is NEVER going to put on a WCW program that relies on the stars of the old WCW and appeals to the fans of the old WCW. If the Alliance does win, I think you will see a Vince turn. The explanation would basically be "I said I would do ANYTHING to keep the WWF alive... so I did, by re-uniting with my ungrateful children and my worst enemy... *I'm* the WWF, dammit, and that's why I couldn't afford to be on the losing side!" (So basically, the explanation will be lame?) Yeah. But it could lead somewhere cool... I'm sure we can all see that.

If the WWF wins, of course, it's simple... whoever they want to be part of the future of the program is accepted into the WWF, and the rest disappear. There might or might not then be another, more successful invasion later, when they can get more people under contract (Hall, Nash, Steiner, Flair). Personally, if they decide to kill this invasion because it was a failure, I dunno why they'd then want to try another one... but maybe they're optimists.

Lemme speak on who I would keep if they do fold the Alliance back into the WWF. I'll cut down to 50 people, to be on TV regularly, whose primary job description is "wrestler"... so that's not including people like Shane, Stephanie, Debra, and Foley. That sound reasonable?

Austin, HHH, Rock, Angle, Undertaker, Kane, RVD, Jericho, Benoit, Hardys, Lita - Obviously, you're not gonna drop people who could be considered main eventers, or the wildly popular Team Extreme. (And that's 12 right there.)
Edge, Christian - Unfortunately, neither of them is on the fast track to singles stardom at this very moment, but I can't imagine they would have anything to worry about. (14)
Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley - Another easy decision. (16)
Booker T - As of now, the big name acquired from WCW, and has found a niche in the WWF for sure. I think it's pretty clear that they like him and would certainly keep him around. (17)
Rhyno - Someone (Heyman) REALLY likes this guy (Heyman)... he has nothing to worry about (Heyman.) (18)
Tajiri - Not as over as he used to be, but still pops crowds. (19)
Big Show - Yeah, I know, but WWF is never going to stop trying to get their money's worth out of him, so let's be realistic. He does get a big reaction... sometimes. (20)
DDP - It's almost hard to believe now that he was arguably the biggest star to come over from WCW. If someone were to say that his credibility has been damaged beyond repair, it'd be hard to dispute. But, he does still have that history and a recognizable name, and no one can dispute that he is a company man. Anyway, if you lose him, you lose the possibility of KIMBERLY~! (21)
Tazz - See DDP, except substitute "ECW" for "WCW" and "JOEY NUMBERS~!" for "KIMBERLY~!". (22)
William Regal - Definitely an asset in SOME capacity... no reason to think he'd be cut. (23)
Faarooq & Bradshaw - I hate them, but they're not going anywhere. (25, and we're halfway there.)
Rikishi - His lame fat ass is probably not going anywhere either. (26)
Hurricane Helms - Extremely talented wrestler and can do comedy. (27)
Al Snow, Hardcore Holly, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ivory - Tough Enough 2 trainers, so let's guess they're not getting dropped, not that it worked that way for Tori. (31)
Scotty 2 Hotty - Has done some really nice stuff, and gets away with being sloppy sometimes because he connects with the crowd so well. (32)
X-Pac - Love this guy. He can get anyone else over. I would utilize that ability so much more than they do. (33)
Kidman - Was over when feuding with X-Pac... although like I just said... but no matter. He deserves to stay, and we've put together a very nice little light heavyweight division here. Also keeps Torrie happy. (34)
Kanyon - Here's the type of guy who could quite easily get the ax if the invasion angle is coming to an end. It'd be a damn shame, though. The dude was getting over very, very quickly when it seemed like he was going to be put into a program with Jericho. Then they pulled the program and buried him for no apparent reason. (35)
Lance Storm - See Kanyon, except substitute "Edge & Christian" for "Jericho". (36)
Stacy Kiebler & Torrie Wilson - You KNOW they're not cutting them, and let's face it, it's tough to blame them. (38)
Mighty Molly - 'Cuz she can wrestle. (39)
Trish - Can wrestle somewhat, and is articulate, so is a good person to do public appearances and such. (40)
Test, Albert, Jazz, Victoria, Maven, Nidia, Sean O'Haire, Mark Jindrak, Brock Lesnar, Mark Henry - The Potential Gang (or the Huge Salary Gang for that last guy). (50)

And so we're cutting, by my count:

Steve Blackman (sorry), Bossman, Brooklyn Brawler, Bull Buchanan, Crash, D'Lo Brown, Tommy Dreamer, Sho Funaki, Goodfather, Billy Gunn, Haku, Jerry Lynn, Justin Credible, Mike Awesome, TAKA Michinoku, Chuck Palumbo, Perry Saturn, Raven, Spike Dudley, Steven Richards, Essa Rios, Val Venis

A lot of those guys are extremely talented, but it's just too much of a stretch to imagine that the WWF will ever make it their business to maximize those particular wrestlers' potentials. Raven is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers, so don't even say it. Again, I'm trying to be realistic. If you don't like it, YOU cut down to 50 and see whether you can avoid making tough decisions! A guy like Dreamer could be retained in a backstage capacity, if he wanted that.

Overall... Are you cutting anybody who is contributing much of anything right now? No. Would you call that roster cheaper, leaner and meaner? I would. But hey... I can also see a big Alliance win at Survivor Series that turns the invasion topsy-turvy. I just hope they choose something interesting, and go with it full-force! Can't hardly wait.

Tom Dean
from the ezboard: Teenage Riot

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