June 17, 2002
Welcome to the first edition of the Execution in over 2 years! If you ever read the old Execution, please disregard every single word that I wrote because I did not know my ass from 3rd base. I was looking through some of my old columns I have saved and I really can not beleive some of the awful ideas I had. I would share them here, but I am trying to make a good impression.
Anyway, before I start, let me briefly tell you all a little about myself. If you are not interested, just skip on down to the next paragraph. My name is Joel Zimmerman and I am 18 years old from Louisville, KY and am a freshman at Miami University. I write under the name ZIM81, 81 because that is my number from ice hockey. I watched wrestling for years as a little kid, but quit right around the time Hulk Hogan's feud with Sid Justice was over. I got hooked again when I watched the King of The Ring PPV where Billy Gunn won.
But enough about me. Lets get to the news.
Obviously the biggest story of the recent week is Steve Austin's problems with WWE management and his consequential walk out. At first, this seemed like an incredible work and I thought it was just the thing the WWE needed to turn the ratings around. Last week's RAW was suprisingly good and would have been with or without Stone Cold. But the only people who knew the show was good were the people who were watching it. Yes, it was good enough for me to make sure I tuned in this week, but what about those people who did not watch; how should the WWE get these viewers to come back and see how much better the product has gotten?
The WWE needed an angle that would trancend the 4 hours of main programing they have a week. When Austin's story first broke, I thought that this was just the angle they needed to get people to come back and check out the WWE again.
The fact was I was realitively sure that this was an angle. When the WWE has real problems with their employees, they usually do post an article about it on WWE.com, like the situation with Scott Hall for example. But, unlike Hall's article, the Stone Cold article was very specific and that is uncharacteristic of a shoot. This would be perfect. Stone Cold, the true bad ass, does not feel like working so he simply leaves. Then, he comes back, yells at Vince for running the company that Austin built into the ground and we are one stunner away from Vince/Austin 3. While we have seen this before, it is a tried and true formula and with new stars like Brock Lesnar and Eddy Guerrero to side with Vince, we could actually have a pretty hot feud on our hands. This, coupled with NWO/Booker T and Golddust, and we have a product that leaves fans exicited for when Monday Night rolls around.
Then I saw Confedential.
What we saw on Confedendial was a Jim Ross, not good olde JR, who was genuninely hurt by the actions of his friend. We even saw him take some of the blame for the hard times the WWE has fallen on. Both Vince and Jim Ross painted Austin as the true bad guy in the situation. Not a bad ass who walks out on his job, but an inconsiderate person who abandons his friends and his fans. This convicned me it was definitely not a work; if they wanted Austin to come back and boost ratings, he would have to be a bad ass, not an asshole. When Jim Ross, the biggest face around to casual wrestling fans, says that Stone Cold is a jerk, I can see no possbile way to bring Stone Cold back as a face and a heel Stone Cold is obviously no good to the WWE at this time.
While at this point I was convicned that the situation was a shoot, the WWE did cover it's ass. While they did paint Austin as the bad guy, they also sympatized and showed why he might have been distraught. While this is certainly no excuse to walk out on your job, if they wanted Austin to look like a total ass, then they wouldn't have taken any of the blame at all. But, in hopes that the WWE and Stone Cold might be able to work out their troubles, they left that little bit of sympathy; a glimmer to us that Austin still has a good heart, just a sometimes misguided one, and a glimmer to Austin that the WWE is still his home and family, and that while all families have problems, they can be worked out.
Then the sky fell.
Stone Cold beats up his wife. What in the hell is going on here? This act of cowardace is inexcusable. Reports surface of Stone Cold's image being removed from WWE.com and from the Raw Intro (but stangely, Stonecold.com still works). Yep, Austin is done. I would have bet a million dollars that Stone Cold Steve Austin would never be mentioned of WWE television again. And good riddance. If you beat up your wife, you should not be heralded as an athlete who is supposed to beat up 300 pound wrestlers.
But through all of this, the WWE accomplished their main goal. I could not wait for Raw this week. I wanted to see not only how they handeled the Austin situation, but I was also was interested in the NWO/Booker T angle. With all of the attention being paid to the WWE this week over the Austin situation, this week's Raw should bring in killer ratings. They need to strike now with one of the best Raw shows in recent history.
And they did it.
It is 11:08 PM eastern time and I am still shaking from the excitement of the Rock's return. This show was executed perfectly from start to finish. I am actually excited about King of The Ring and might actually make an effor to see it, as for the last few PPVs I was content to read the recaps on the internet. The only part I disliked was the Undertaker/ Hardyz segment, but they have to have their World Champion some where in the show. Hopefully, the WWE will wise up and get the belt off him, but that's another column all together.
The WWE pulled it all together when the needed to. When I saw Vince's Austin tribute at the beginning, I was about to get very pissed, as I thought the whole thing was a work and if they worked the Austin/Debra beating that actaully involved the REAL POLICE, that is going way to far. But, appropriately, they did not even mention that and simply used the Austin walking out story to attract ratings and keep viewers with the show. They did a good job with that, constantly teasing the fans who were waiting for the glass to break and Austin to come out. Bringing The Rock back was great idea and shows the consumate professional that The Rock is and in his shoot-like promo at the end, he really seperated the 'boys in the back' from Austin, and Austin from the fans.
The Rock has no reason or responsibility ever to wrestle another match again. His popularity carried the WWE for over a year and I certainly do not blame him for pursuing oppertunities outside of wrestling. The fact that he would come back and vocally state his devotion to the WWE shows his professionalism and even though he is not the greatest wrestler in the world, old Flex Kavana sure knows how to entertain a crowd. He's okay in my book.
Well, this news update turned into a rant, but I guess the only big news going around was the Austin situaion, so I've got all of my bases covered.
If you are reading this, I want to sincerely thank you for coming back to The Execution. Send me feedback. I usually am a lot more vulgar, funny and self promoting, but I was feeling especially inspiried about the Austin situation, not to mention long winded. Next time, I will try to use the F word more because it's so darn entertaining.