Behind Door Number Two...
[slash] Wrestling: Put The Women And Children To Bed
OPEN THE DOOR YOU BEST BELIEVE WE'RE SLIDING THROUGH IT SWIFTLY: Me: 4 of 8. TNM: 5 of 7.... Good choice for an opener... Whoa! I think Christian blew that one... Hey, it's Mick!... REFEREE RUN-INS... I don't get putting the Acolytes over here... Wow. X-Pac gets booed AGAIN... Torrie, stop doing that. Stop doing that. I said STOP... This wasn't on the card... And what the hell is the point of this?... You know, Albert's at WORST the third-best guy in this match... Looks like the hardcore match has started... Kidz love the highspotz... Angle said "bullshit"! Well, he's turning... Look at Mick grinning like an idiot... Watch yourself, Trish!... What's with Austin's knee? That looks somewhat suspicious... Belt shots! Nothing but belt shots!... Uh-oh... I'm not sure how I feel about this...
When Austin turned at the end of Invasion, I wasn't sure I liked it.
After Raw, I didn't. It looked like the WWF had booked itself into another corner. With a heel Austin as WWF Champion in the WCW/ECW Alliance (and thank Foley we've finally got a name for it), the obvious money match for SummerSlam is Austin/Rock. Sounds good, right?
Sure it does... until you realize Rock had to lose.
Think about it. After teasing the fans with an apparent face turn, Austin commits an even bigger sin and leaves the WWF for the Alliance, with the WWF Title still in his possession, giving new momentum to the Alliance. If Rock beats him at SummerSlam, then what? The WWF gets its prize back, and the angle's basically over. If Rock loses, you've pissed away the buzz from his comeback.
So what else COULD they have done?
Alternate Ending #1: Chris Jericho turns and jumps
A tough sell. The only way you make this work is if... well, Pat McNeill at the Torch basically said Jericho would have to spin it that he was tired of being held back in the WWF by Vince and Austin. When cornered with the knowledge that that was why he left WCW in the first place, he could respond that he likes the new leadership of the Alliance and has a feeling that things will be different.
While a heel Jericho that the fans actually hated would be something different, I don't think this would have worked as well. Given the star power on the WWF's side in that match, Jericho might not be seen as a big enough name among them that him turning would have that 'impact' that you want when you're doing something like this.
Alternate Ending #2: Kurt Angle turns and jumps
For my money, the most logical way to go at the time. Angle had been lobbying to be the leader of Team WWF, but been ignored by Vince. His attempts to fit in with Vince and Austin were met with Scorn and Ridicule, and he's been competing with Austin for Vince's attention the whole time, particularly when they were both heels. Ah, memories.
So Angle turns at Invasion and gives basically the same speech Austin gave on Raw - how he's felt unappreciated by Vince and the others despite his best efforts to fit in and help out, how he never got any respect from the wrestlers and fans when he was WWF champion, and how he was flat-out rejected on Smackdown when he was left to be killed DEAD by the Alliance team. So he's going to join the Alliance, where he'll get the respect and Olympic treatment he thinks he deserves.
Alternate Ending #3: Angle turns and jumps; Austin turns, but does not jump
If I'd been inclined to turn someone, this is the option I would have picked, and here's how I would have done it: Angle Olympic Slams Jericho during the Inaugural Brawl, costing the WWF the match. Afterwards, Austin snaps and starts passing out Stunners like so much government cheese.
Angle gives his speech as outlined earlier, then Vince and Austin come out later and complains about how weak and pathetic the other Team WWF members are. How an Olympic Slam from some "pathetic little mealy-mouthed nobody" like Angle could cause the whole thing to break down. He THEN goes on to single out Jericho (who took the fall), claiming that he had no business being on Team WWF because he couldn't hang with the big boys or something to that effect. (Don't think the WWF can have heels? Ask X-Pac.)
Events lead to an Austin-Jericho WWF Title match on Raw, the end coming when Rock walks through the crowd to the ring. He doesn't get into the ring, just stands at ringside until he catches Austin's eye. Bulldog by Jericho, then - how about a corkscrew moonsault? - and we have a NEW WWF Champion. An infuriated Vince orders an Austin-Jericho rematch at SummerSlam just to screw with Rock, and adds a "Win Your Way Back Into The WWF" match for Rock. (maybe against Regal or a handicap match of some kind)
Alternate Ending #4: Jericho AND Angle turn and jump (are you waiting for someone to cough?)
Now we're getting into bizarro territory, but you do this by combining #1 and #2 and extending Jericho's "we were held back" argument to the "old guard" of the WWF - Austin, Undertaker, and Kane. Jericho: "I beat Kane in a Last Man Standing Match, and what did it get me? An Intercontinental title shot! Well, WHOOPTY-DOO!" Bring back Rock, and you've got an easy 8-man: Booker/DDP/Angle/Jericho vs. Austin/Rock/Taker/Kane.
Anyone who even thought about turning Undertaker or Kane is talking crazy and needs to be put through a table for his own good.
Of course, Kurt made all of this relatively meaningless last night. And I feel better about Austin's defection now.
As for The Rock?
The roof once blew off of the old Spectrum in Philadelphia. I hope the First Union Center has better bearings Monday night.
But they BETTER NOT turn him heel, either.