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Mr. T




Thank you Chris: the purple on whaddever-you-call-that-other-dark color was REALLY killing my eyes. And to think, you call *my* colors funky.
Shill Sequence: Errr---nothing on the radar, except to go visit Rant Central [the link's by my name at the bottom], because I fixed the join button! Cool, huh? No?Okay then, go tell Rebecca & Sharon how cool they are for showing up every week and hating X-Pac. Oh, tell MX2 thank you for bring us the WWF's UK PPV, [however that PPV's name is spelled here], and Tanvir the WorldWide Recapper Guy turns out to be a good columnist, natch! What a week, in Kings-Purple-O-Vision, no less, for the [Slash].
Da Butchster in Quotes: "Dear Mr. Vince Russo: For the longest time, I have put off my feeling RE: your mis-handling of the World Title situation. I have had to drink and drink just to keep every other word from being a reference to you and propositioning a goat for sexual favors. And here's what I've got.

You, sir, are a legitimate moron.

No, you are not an idiot savant, because idiot savants have moments of brilliance between lapses. I can understand what must have been your crack-headed reasoning behind this: getting people to talk about WCW.

We're talking, all right, sir. We're JUST NOT WATCHING."-His ultra-cool column, Word From the Butchster, 5.2.2000

*That* work of art deserves another reprinting. I channel D'Von Dudley: TESTIFY!

Will I EVER get to the column?: If you insist.

T in Quotes: "Mr. T, in association with (insert whatever site's name you're reading this on here), would like to remind you that these (pic of various wrestling titles here) are really only props for these (logos for various wrestling shows here), and mean diddly outside of here (picture of wrestling arena.). " -My very first column, Go Lemmings Go

An interesting thing happens to me after Smackdown: after all this hubbub over you-know-who nabbing WCW's world title, I was looking back through my 30-odd [slash] columns for an old quote for the next Rant Central update, and I, unable to remember when I wrote said column, went back to the beginning using top-[Slash] secret number #412 [decrease the column number in the URL to go back in your column history] and re-read my first piece. The quote above is the ending of said column.

Then, I think to myself, "Whoops. I've slammed the WCW title decision and the very first column I ever wrote online was defending a decision to put the title on a non-wrestler." Having now painted myself into a corner, I'll write yet another article about you-know-who, but most of what I've read is "oh my god, I can't believe Ru and Bisch were so stupid, put the title on Booker T, etc. etc." While I agree with most parties, I think this will be an different look at it- the REASONS why Vince was okay and Arquette was "Arrgh, somebody choke Eric with Meng's afro, PLEASE!"

The History Books: A little background on both matches, as a reminder/mental refresher:

WWF: The WWF was seemingly in a main event holding loop leading into September 1999 PPV Unforgiven. The six top main eventers were in the "Six Pack Challenge" match for HHH's WWF title. Speaking of Mr. Game, he was not quite the Game yet, still on his second try at getting over as a heel despite getting a clean [well, as clean as Austin's ego will allow] win over Austin at No Mercy a month prior, following snagging the WWF title on the RAW after Summerslam from Mick Foley. The scene: Monday Night RAW, two weeks until Unforgiven. Steve Austin takes a bump wrong or something, hurts his oft-injured neck and is shelved from wrestling until the RAW after Unforgiven for medical reasons [the injury would turn out to be serious enough to put him on the shelf for good after reinjuring it yet again in November, thus leading to the infamous "hit-n-run" rent-a-car incident at Survivor Series '99.] He is inserted into the Six Pack challenge as a "special enforcer/referee", but the apathy of the fans was more than evident. The WWF needs something for Austin to do, and Vince desperately needed an hook for his PPV main. Speaking of Vince, due to the Undertaker's loss in a First Blood PPV match [and the WWF's IPO, which prevented Vince from public statements regarding such for 60 days or so], he was currently off TV, per stipulation. To put a final period on the deal, Vince Russo and Okie jump ship just a day after the Unforgiven PPV, changing the face of the wrestling world as we knew it then.

WCW: Russo's jump would do little to help the sinking promotion. Crash TV roared into WCW mark's living room but no ratings turnaround of any note and plummeting buyrates cause Bill Busch to yank Russo/Okie just a mere three months into their reign of terror [despite many statements by Russo that it would take 6 months AT LEAST to even start turning around the ratings.]. The old regime [sans Eric B. and longtime WCW exec Craig Leathers] was returned to power. However, a lot of the midcard stars had a huge problem with that, particularly Chris Benoit, who had finally received what the Internet screamed was a long-overdue main event push. Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, then-injured Eddy Guerrero and Benoit were gift-wrapped and hand-delivered to the WWF following Busch's refusal to remove Kevin Sullivan & Kevin Nash [co ringleaders of the booking committee] from power. The dornward spiral would continue with Bret Hart, Sting, and Ric Flair "sitting out" until some sort of order was restored within the company. Finally, in face of the lowest wrestling buyrates EVER, Busch gets the hook, and the tandem of Eric and Vince are brought in to stop the bleeding. Ever the egotists, E & V decide to start a new era, based around a nWo-styled "Young vs Old" angle. All the titleholders are stripped, and tournaments are started. While all this chaos goes on in WCW, Chris Kanyon, DDP, and others are off playing parts in the "Ready to Rumble" movie starring David Arquette. DDP returns to WCW, and is immediately inserted into the World Title picture, coming up short of winning the title at Spring Stampede thanks to wife Kimberly's heel turn.

How It Happened:

WWF: RAW 9.13.99: Linda McMahon returns to declare a five way #1 contendorship match for HHH's WWF Title [Rock, UT, Big Show, Mick and Kane] and to give Steve Austin a WWF Title Rematch from No Mercy, due to the fact that bad ol' Triple H used a sledgehammer in procuring said win. Triple H gets upset like he tends to, and tries bullying Linda around: "No Chance" fires up and Vince powerwalks out to take exception! Vince throws his coat and Austin attacks in the confusion. Austin is DQ'ed for being a general ass and slapping Hebner around 'cause he's pissed at HHH. On Smackdown, HHH is ordered to defend the WWF Title - he agrees, but only if he picks his opponent. He chooses Vince McMahon! Shane [tweener at this point -still buds with HHH, but fighting alongside Test as a babyface against the Posse] is the referee and turns full face by siding with his father. Vince gets the unholy crap kicked out of him, but Austin runs in, stuns HHH, puts Vince on top and revives Shane to count the 3. On the next RAW, Vince vacates the title, declaring his title the spoil to the winner of the Six Pack challenge [HHH].

WCW: Jarrett takes the WCW title at Spring Stampede after Kimberly turns on DDP. Arquette somehow gets involved and is booked into a match with Eric Bischoff on Nitro, where DDP gets a title shot if Arquette wins. Arquette is indeed the victor, thanks to an errant guitar shot, leading to DDP's title win inside the three-tier cage. Fast-forward to Thunder, where by various happenings [Jarrett kidnapping/beating up Arquette, evil stuff by Kimberly, New Blood evil things by Bischoff], a tag match is booked where the WCW title is on the line, whoever gets the pin gets the WCW Title -Jarrett/Bischoff vs DDP/Arquette. Kimberly was declared guest referee, but the good ol Greco-Roman kiss by DDP is your ref bump for the match, and we end up eventually with Jarrett covering DDP [following guitar shot] and Arquette covering Eric [Diamond Cutter]. Mickey Jay runs to the ring, runs by Jarrett's cover and counts Arquette's. The circumstances in the match led many to believe the decision would be reversed on Nitro -but it was allowed to stand, and Dewey is now part of the WCW title lineage.

Whew!: Are you still with me? Good. Okay, may God rest Chris Hyatte's soul, cause here I go ripping off one of his favorite routines:

Fact: Both switches happened on the B-Show of choice [Smackdown; Thudner].

Fact: Both switches were done with the intent to help build interest in a PPV main event [the Six Pack challenge; the three-tiered cage thingy]

Fact: Both switches involved the company's top heel at that point in time and a non wrestler.

Fact: Both involved the owner/booker wrestling in some capacity.

Conclusion: As far as execution, the switches are practically identical. Examine the differences, however, and it's a whole new ballgame. Time for Round 2: are you ready?

Fact: David Arquette is a puny little skinny guy: Vince is roided up, has muscle tone, and at 53 is in fairly good shape.

Fact: The WWF's business was booming at this point [by no means good as now, but business was picking up, to quote JR]; WCW is at rock bottom, trying to rebuild their promotion.

Fact: Vince McMahon has wrestled before, in two PPV Main Events [St. Valentine's Day and Armaggeddon] and has been in the wrestling business all his life: Arquette wrestled one godawful match against Eric Bischoff before his title win.

Fact: Vince's title win accomplished the two things it was intended to do: revive the "anything can happen in the WWF" magic & build interest for the Six Pack; the publicity the WCW has gotten for the Title win is laughable at best, if they've got any at all - and they only succeeded halfway in getting the fans talking. 2 for Vince; 0.5 for Vince R. & Eric B.

Fact: Vince winning the WWF Title didn't hurt HHH's image at all [or very minimal damage], because Vince was an appropriate avatar, due to his many battles with Steve Austin and because of the execution of the change; Jarrett's chances of being a dominant heel champion fade with each day Dewey holds the strap.   

Fact: The WWF switch set up a Vince/HHH feud that would, believe it or not, coast the WWF out of 1999 with some decent TV; Arquette's impact beyond this Sunday is projected to be minimal at best and the issue between DDP and Jarrett will more than likely wrap up at Slamboree, what with Ric Flair getting a title shot at the Bash.

Conclusion: Identical execution; polar opposite situation. The round peg doesn't fit in the square hole and vice versa, and *THAT* is why, more than anything else, Vince was "right" and Arquette was "wrong".

Parting Shotz: It really does baffle me. Where does WCW go with the title after they give it back to Jarrett? Even generously spotting WCW a)all the publicity in the world from the title switch and b)some hope in hell of pulling off a good match at Slamboree with Dewey in there, neither one does WCW any tangible good unless they can build on it. If the publicity gets people to tune in, they gotta LIKE WHAT THEY SEE ENOUGH TO STAY TUNED.

Scenario: They decide to do a story on Entertainment Tonight or your show of choice about Dewey and the title. 100 more people [casual fans] tune into Nitro as a result of the story. If 99 of them doesn't like what they see and change the channel, what is the result? 1 new viewer, at the cost of alienating your longtime loyal fanbase. Ergo, for publicity to do any good, they have to have something watchable, something to capture that casual viewer, a HOOK of some sort. Without any appeal or captivating quality, it's absolutely useless.

Congratulations, Vince & Eric. You've just mortgaged WCW's future. Every day you continue to hotshot angles, devalue titles, and book-on-a-whim, the price you'll have to pay in the future rises just a little bit higher. You know, during his first reign of terror, many Time Warner insiders called Bischoff "ATM Eric" for his loose purse strings [especially when it comes to celebrities] and spending habits and it's time to start it again: cause if the current direction is anything, he'll be paying for a long, long, time.

Surely enough, you *can* quote me on that.

Mr. T
King of Vague References, Co-Founder of Rant Central, and Boycotter of WCW
[slash] wrestling

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Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission