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Ian Challis




Well, as you know, I've pretty much retired from the whole "weekly column" thing, now writing my WCW Lockdown show and doing monthly pay-per-view reviews for the WWF shows. However, over the past two weeks, something has specifically pissed me off enough to write this *EMERGENCY COLUMN* to see if someone, ANYONE, will pay attention to the voice of reason. Here we go.....

DISCLAIMER: I am a WWF fan, first and foremost. I do enjo WCW when it is good enough to enjoy. When it isn't, I do rip on it for being retarded. However, I also rip on the WWF when it enters the Retarded Zone. Okay, let' continue....

DISCLAIMER 2: If I lose my temper in the column below. Forgive me. I'm usually SO mild-mannered...

Right, little history lesson, shall we? 1996: WCW, under the guidance of Eric Bischoff, found itself in the dream situation-ruling the roost, kicking ass, being the best, and pulling in the biggest ratings wrestling had ever seen. Simply put, WCW was number one. Good angles, good wrestling, a red hot main storyline (the nWo), it all added up to big ol' dollar signs in Easy E's eyes. Of course, that didn't stop us internet types hating them...Yes, you see, while WCW still remained on top of the pile for a couple of months in the eyes of everyone, the folks with the keyboards got a little antsy with this situation, and started paying lip service to Vince's boys up North, their great writing, their top talent, their outstanding name it, Vince had it. Oh, never mind the fact that SID FREAKIN' VICIOUS headlined WrestleMania that year, oh never mind that Bret Hart was becoming the biggest asshole in the business, oh never mind the undercard was crowded with some of the worst gimmicks known to man, EVER-the WWF was the best in the eyes of those in the know. Why? Because they were the underdogs. Of course, WWF really did start kicking ass in late '97, when Attitude kicked in, when Austin became the top guy in the company and feuded with MacMahon, and when the Big Red You-Know-What constructed one of the best "Soap Opera In Spandex" stories with his pretend brother. But that's neither here nor there. Even when WCW's product was far superior, we computer sorts were hailing WWF as the second coming of wrestling.

Flash forward to today....WWF's been kicking ass in the ratings for a good two years, it's putting on top notch shows where-ever they go, and it's generally being the best wrestling company in the world. Nitro, and WCW in general, has fallen so far behind it's not really a two-horse race any more. And, suddenly, a couple of things that us internet folks don't like appear on WWF programming. Examples? "The One" Billy Gunn-a guy who, while not technically sound, is liked by the casual fan. Triple H's miraculous recovery from his near-death at Survivor Series-a lame angle, to be sure, but one lame angle from a promotion that's been busting ass for nigh-on two years. Vince's promos-long, true; boring, sometimes; pointless, maybe. Heat-gaining? Very. Beneficial for the wrestlers now associated with him (Angle, Edge and Christian)? You bet your bootie.

And while WCW is improving, it's still a long, long way to catching up. Nitro has improved, without a doubt. But being more enertaining than RAW? Gimme a break. Tell me this-does seeing Scott Stiner being jumped by a mystery guy get you hyped up? Does seeing Jeff Jarrett get to the main event AGAIN excite you? Does that make you wanna buy the pay per view next month? No? Me neither. Don't get me wrong-WCW have the best possible guy on top right now in Scott Steiner. But that's about all they've got going for them in the long run. Three Count and the like are stuck in the same damn matches, week in, week out. Lance Storm is mired in midcard Hell, being refused the chance to step up time and again. The Cruiserweight division is decimated. The tag title division, even worse. The US strap, while around the waist of a good worker, has ultimately been majorly devalued. The whole programme reeks of defeat. No-one is getting a consistent, long term shove up (or down) the card. I think it was Scott Keith who compared it to a giant Ferris Wheel-all the guys are on it, getting pushed one week and jobbed out the next, ensuring no-one keeps any heat. The men with the pen just can't seem to be able to string any long term plans for anyone together. The Goldberg thing? That writes itself. You see my point? The WWF programming, as a whole, is so much more entertaining, in production values, in wrestling standards, and, ultimately, in long term planning.

So why the FUCK are so many columnists hailing WCW's programming of late as a revelation, as the best thing since sliced bread? To be quite honest, it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. A lot of the time I get the impression it is intended simply to rile up people, to get them annoyed at such blatantly false statements. One guy-and I won't name names-ha ssais the WWF has almost removed the "sport" from "Sports Entertainment". What the FUCK is that supposed to mean? HELLO? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ON? The company that has given us, consistently, the best WRESTLING shows this year, puts on two weeks of Vince's soap opera, and suddenly "the WWF has taken the Sport out of Sports Entertainment". My God, that is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.

I can't remember where I read this, but it's always stuck in my head-"For all the charity work a man can do, for all the lives he can make better, if he touches one underage girl, even if she is 15 years, six months old, and he's branded a sinner for the rest of his life". In other words, people will gladly forget everything good in the rush to point out-and bitch about-the bad, however little bad there might be.

To be honest, I myself have not enjoyed Vince's promos of late-they seemed to have no direction, they were too long, and Vince, in my opinion, has exhausted his on-screen options. But after this week's RAW I can see their purpose, I can see where they're going. It may not be favourable to you I-Net guys out there (myself included), but I'm willing to bet the farm that it'll put butts in the seats, brother. And I'm also willing to bet that, even though this mystery opponent for Steiner will most likely be a let-down, WCW will get off lightly with a lot of people-because, in the internet's eyes, and in the words of the lat great Owen Hart, "Enough Is Enough And It's Time For A Change". That's exactly it-"no wrestling company can stay on top for this long, why, we MUST begin embracing WCW again!".

Because the smarks on the internet have gotten bored with praising the WWF, they've turned on them. Ah, the endless loop of wrasslin' companies. Don't get me wrong, first and foremost I am a WRESTLING FAN, and if WCW begins kicking ass legit again, I will start tuning into them regularly. But that isn't true right now. I don't know what this overwhelming passion to clutch WCW to your bosom is about, and frankly, I don't care. For all the shit they've put on this year, they deserve to languish in mediocrity for the next five years.

I'm Ian Challis, and I'm off to find mental help. Thankyou, you've been wonderful.

Ian Challis

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