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Mark Coale



Three the Hard Way

On paper, Summerslam looks to be a kick ass show, right? Except there's one big glaring error that you can find at the top of the card. No, I'm not referring to the Hardys and Edge & Christian being forced to carry two over-pushed garbage wrestlers. I'm taking about both world title matches being held under "triple threat rules."

You just can't escape these stupid matches nowadays; they are now a staple of the "sports entertainment" era. They serve many purposes, many of which are for the wrong reasons.

First, it's a very convenient way for a champion to lose his belt without doing the job. You can go to your history books and see how many times this has been used in recent years. Of course, the need to protect people from doing jobs (or because they have creative control) is just one of the many things currently giving the business a black eye.

Second, the more people in a match means fewer dead spots. This is a plus, in that it allows one person on a rotating basis to get a breather and by the end of the match, everyone is fresher. On the other hand, one of the reasons it's necessary for there to be more action is that the majority of today's audience doesn't have the time or patience to sit through a match with rest holds or, god forbid, psychology.

A sidebar to this point means that you can also fill the match with people who can work along with those that can't. Book a three-way match with Chris Benoit and you can throw in any two stiffs (names withheld to protect the less talents) and have a fairly decent match.

Third, more people in the main event obviously means more main eventers. With the promotions have more and more people under contract (until the recent fiscal slashing done by WCW), there's a need to put as much of the talent on the screen as possible. Throw together a couple three-way dances or four-way matches and you've now put a lot of workers in the ring.

Call me old school, but I'd rather just see two people (or two tag teams) go at in the middle of the ring. Too many cooks in the wrestling ring spoil the match's broth.

Can You Care Too Much?

A number of net columnists have of late have taken to defending Vince Russo (better known to readers of this space as "Copernicus") by attacking his critics. "Give him a break," they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day." And the ultimate come back line, "If you dislike so much, don't watch it."

Let's draw a parallel analogy to a real sports situation. People in Philadelphia have been suffering with their baseball team for the last couple years. You hear many people calling sports radio and saying "I'm fed up with an incompetently run franchise and just can't take it anymore." But there are also people who are just as vehemently angry, but refuse to abandon a sinking ship that is on the verge of being the Titanic.

It's to the latter camp that I belong. I rail and rail and rail against Vince Russo (and to a lesser extent Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon) is because I DO CARE.

I care about the business and history has shown it flourishes the most when there is competition. I care about the dignity of the workers, who shouldn't be put in situations that make them and their business look foolish.

And I truly care about WCW or at least its progenitor, the NWA. Sure, right now, I much prefer (to an infinite degree) the WWF product, due to the talent they have right now and the way they are (for the most part) utilizing it. But, cut me and I still bleed Old School NWA - Flair, the Horsemen, and the Midnight Express. The lower WCW sinks, the sadder it makes me think this is the same company that gave us Flair vs. Steamboat and Dennis and Bobby vs. Ricky and Robert. Just like most Phillies fan see the current team are realize it's now light years away from Schmidt and Carlton and Tug McGraw.

I complain loudly and often because I want things to be better. I think talents like Lance Storm and Booker T deserve better from WCW, just like Scott Rolen and Bobby Abreu do from the Phillies. No matter how professional someone might be, coming into work day after day, week after week and being put in an unwinable situation must take its toll after a while.

So, I can't stop caring. And that means I can't stop complaining. Because turning off Nitro is saying No Mas. And too often, silence can be equal to acceptance. And I definitely don't want to send that message to "The Powers That Be."

Mark Coale
Odessa Steps Magazine

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