NOT JUST PURORESU LOVE
Greetings, hello, and welcome to the show that never ends. Rather than focus on one particular topic, I decided to touch upon various subjects. Of course, the opinions of myself don't necessarily reflect the opinions of CRZ or anybody else's column on Slash Wrestling.
-AUSTIN STUNS THE WWE
Obviously, the big topic of discussion is Stone Cold Steve Austin and his likely departure from World Wrestling Entertainment. It's been no secret that Austin has been unhappy with the WWE and its lack of creative direction, starting from around Wrestlemania. After a two week hiatus, he returned and still looked uninspired and unmotivated. He then requested to work a program with Eddie Guerrero in hopes of regaining that fire, but this past Monday in Atlanta, Austin walked out on the WWE, Vince McMahon, and its employees. According to the Ross Report, we more than likely have seen Stone Cold in the ring for the very last time and it doesn't end on a good note.
I feel that while Austin has a beef with the creative direction of the WWE and rightfully so, walking out on the company is very unprofessional. Being a journalism major, communication is the key to expressing ideas or solving problems and Austin really showed bad judgment with his decision. It's going to be interesting to see if Stone Cold ever returns to the WWE and my gut feeling is that he will eventually when all the wounds heal. If he doesn't return, then this week marked the end of a historic era. Say what you want about Hulk Hogan and the Rock, but Austin sparked more interest in professional wrestling than perhaps anybody.
On a side note, three of the top WWE wrestlers that got them back to the #1 spot and eventually dropping WCW into the grave are either gone or on hiatus. Austin is gone for now, the Rock is making millions with his movies and who knows when he'll be back, and Mick Foley is happily writing books.
-KING OF THE RING
I'm sure I'm not the only one, but a Undertaker-HHH title match at one of the big PPV events of the year isn't exactly capturing my attention. Cool music and new t-shirt design aside, the Undertaker isn't the answer for the WWE right now. Since becoming the Undisputed champion, the only credible challenger he's had was Rob Van Dam and of course, we were teased by the writers about RVD as the champion. Title defenses against Tommy Dreamer and Randy Orton don't exactly help the cause of saying the WWE Undisputed Title is the most coveted belt in the business today. I have the feeling that whether we like it or not, Triple H will end up with the title at King of the Ring.
The King of the Ring tournament itself is a bit intriguing, but basically, the winner of the Brock Lesnar vs. Booker T match should be the winner. Sort of like in 2000 when you knew the winner of Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho would go on to win the crown. While I think Brock has a bright future, I think Booker T should be deserving of the crown this year. It would be a good way for the WWE to at least attempt to shed a little bit of the comedic persona of Booker T and show him as a legit title threat. While I say the WWE shouldn't get rid of Booker's comedic side all together because he is entertaining, his overall persona should be a mix of that comedic side and the competitive fire Booker T that we saw in the last days of the old WCW.
Kurt Angle is going to have to do some heavy workouts on his back because he's going to have to carry Hulk Hogan to a decent match at King of the Ring. As I mentioned in my last column, I feel Angle has been the Wrestler of the Year so far. This is going to truly test Angle as he has to pull a good match out of Hogan, who is obviously broken down and on the tail end of his career. On paper, it doesn't look good, but if anybody can pull miracles out of a hat, it's your Olympic Hero and mine....Kurt Angle.
-IS IT KOJIMA'S TIME?
Here's the Puroresu topic for this column. On July 7th, Satoshi Kojima will challenge Genichiro Tenryu for the famous Triple Crown in All Japan Pro Wrestling. For those not familiar with Kojima, he is considered one of the top workers in Japan today and has the look and charisma to go far in All Japan. He defected to All Japan from New Japan Pro Wrestling, along with shooter/wrestler Kendo Ka Shin and the legendary Keiji Muto, his mentor. At the ripe age of 31, many believe that it is time to give Kojima the ball and see if he can score a touchdown with it. Others say that it's too early for Kojima and that he should be given a Misawa-like push, chasing the title for a couple of years and finally winning it at a big show, perhaps a PPV.
Tenryu is a legend in Japan, the current Triple Crown champion and a former IWGP heavyweight champion. He has appeared in the WWF a couple of times, at Wrestlemania 7 in a tag team match against Demolition and at the 1994 Royal Rumble. In the past couple of years, Tenryu has been having good matches, impressive for a man over the age of 50. He beat Toshiaki Kawada to win the Triple Crown and eventually lost it to Keiji Muto last year in what many considered the 2001 Match of the Year. Ironically, Tenryu beat Kojima in Kojima's first match with All Japan on the 2/24/02 PPV event. He then went on to win the vacant Triple Crown against Keiji Muto on the 4/13/02 PPV event and that's where we stand today.
Personally, I feel Tenryu should win the match on July 7th and then drop it to Kojima in a rematch before the end of the year. It's apparent that Kojima is the future ace of All Japan and really needs a chance to run with the ball. Kojima then could have great matches against the likes of Muto, Kawada, and fellow future star Taiyo Kea.
On a side note, Muto and Kea will be defending their tag titles on the July 7th show against Brian Adams and Bryan Clark, better known as Kronik. Enough said.
And with that, this ends another edition of Puroresu Love. For those in the New York area, I will be attending the June 29th house show at Madison Square Garden and should be in attendance for the July 15th RAW event at the Continental Airlines Arena and hopefully for Summerslam 2002 at Nassau Coliseum. If you want to meet up and shoot the breeze, send me a line and we'll figure something out.
Know what the best part of this column was? No Sho Funaki joke! Wait, does that count? Even if it's the part of the end? Damnit.
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