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Tom Dean




Know what you should do this week? You should vote in the RSPW Awards! If you want to read someone else's suggestions, you can check out my award thoughts. That's what Zachary Rearick did, and he took issue with my picks for (I'm assuming) Best Worker. Remember, write me an e-mail, and it WILL be printed in this column... yes, YOU will be a PUBLISHED WRITER on the INTERNET! I chose Steve Austin #1, Kurt Angle #2, Chris Benoit #3 for Best Worker. Zachary sez:

Ahem.But Angle had better matches with RVD than Austin,better matches with Tazz[Not saying much,but still],better matches with the Undertaker,the only good match with Kane,and Austin took a vacation during this period[Not that it matters,Angle wrestled WAY more than Austin in this time frame].I'm sorry,but anyone who takes a vacation FOR ANY REASON should be immediatly disqualified from this award.

Tazz squashes don't count as matches. I'd agree that Angle had better matches with RVD than Austin did, and that match with Kane was super. I would disagree that Angle was better against Undertaker than Austin was... the UT/Austin brawls during that UT push FROM HELL were as good as UT got this year, I felt. Bottom line, though... Austin had Match of the Year candidates against FOUR DIFFERENT GUYS (Rock @ Wrestlemania, HHH @ No Way Out, Angle @ Summerslam, Benoit on Smackdown, not even counting the tag match with HHH against Benoit/Jericho). Angle didn't do that, and I don't think he can make up for that by whatever else he did. I can't argue that Angle wrestled a lot more than Austin... Austin had a lot of dates when he did backstage skits, but didn't wrestle. That's a legitimate criteria that, if you weigh it heavily enough, certainly would swing it to Angle.

And where was Essa Rios in your High-Flyers category?
I like Essa a lot, actually... but he hardly wrestled after Invasion, which is like missing half the year, and the rest of the time he was on Jakked, which is like being half there.

Hey! That's not nice.

Now then. Prior to Survivor Series, I did a poll here asking you to predict what would happen in the big main event. I gave you three options to choose from. The first two choices were WWF wins (and the invasion ends), or Alliance wins (and the invaders are finally a serious threat). The third choice was that the Survivor Series main event would not determine the fate of the invasion storyline. All three choices got a good amount of support. But, that third choice -- effectively, that the WWF would not live up to its stipulation -- ended up with the most votes, 44% of the total. I understood how people would think that, but I felt that the Alliance was dragging so badly that they had to either kill it, or make one last desperate stab at getting it over.

Who was right? With three post-Survivor Series shows... well, we still don't know, do we? The WWF DID win, and the Alliance IS gone. That suggests that the "WWF wins" folks were right. The Alliance is gone, but... is the invasion over? After all, Ric Flair -- the living symbol of WCW -- is now the 50% owner of the WWF. Booker T and Lance Storm are still hanging around the edges of the programming. And furthermore, the WWF's management continues to state, at every opportunity, that they plan to split their business into two promotions. When they first said this, I thought it was just throwing a bone to the Internet, much like JR's "we're gonna push the light heavyweights" schtick. But when they're still saying it at this point, I'm starting to believe them... and it's scaring me.

Because, friends... it's not smart business to take over a company, hire most of their employees, and put out the same amount of product. If you're gonna hire their employees, you damn well better make sure that the new company you acquire is going to create more demand for your services. And the WWF has not done that. Their ratings are actually WORSE now than they were when Nitro was on. The people who used to watch Nitro are now not watching wrestling, at all. So what the heck is the point of doubling your payroll, to put out the same product, to the same number of people? That's potentially suicidal, is what that is. You can't just pretend your business has doubled, when it's actually decreasing!

The ONLY way bringing Flair in makes sense is if, ultimately, he attracts the old WCW fanbase. That means that, in the "dueling owners" storyline, Vince can't defeat Flair. That also means presenting OTHER WCW guys strong, since as much as WCW fans love Flair, few will watch every week solely to see him. And, after SIX MONTHS of WCW wrestlers being on WWF television, not ONE of them has been presented that way. THAT is what needs to be fixed. (And yes, I will continue using CAPITAL LETTERS until it IS.) Flair got the WCW fans' attention... but they will want, and need, more.

By the way, the need to bring the old WCW fans back into the tent also means that the oft-discussed idea of doing a "draft" to split up the promotions is not going to work. I'm not suggesting that there should be "WCW Smackdown", necessarily. But one of the promotions -- presumably the one led by Flair -- needs to at least be tied to WCW in spirit, if not in name.

I'm telling ya... if they split into two promotions that amount to WWF#1 and WWF#2... I would have (what was the phrase from the WOW financial reports?) "substantial doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern." It seems appropriate, in so many ways, that WCW would be the vehicle that (inadvertently, naturally) brought about the death of American wrestling. But, the poetic justice wouldn't make up for the loss.

Tom Dean
from the ezboard: Teenage Riot

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