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Todd Thomas




Earlier this week, in exchaning emails with some noted Internet Wrestling Personalities, I stumbled across a couple of good ideas for columns. Being a lazy SOB, I was just pasting these emails together and re-editing them when Outlook Express crashed like the Hindenberg (or any Shane Douglas angle) and I lost the column I was working on and the original emails.

Being two days before I get the hell out of this no horse town (North Creek, NY) and into a better place (anywhere else), time is a little short to retype it all and be creative all over again, so I just want to toss out a couple of thoughts from the whole exchange...after all, I'd hate to deprive my reader of any incoherent babble.

I'm of a mixed mind about the WWF right now. I really got into wrestling while I was in college, just prior to the apex of the nWo angle. At the time, WCW had that spark that held my attention--who would be corrupted into the nWo, how badly would Sting beat Hogan (ha!) for the title, etc. Then, over time, the top of the card became static and recycled to the point where I actually couldn't watch the end of the show as the nWo would come out and beat down the faces each week and the faces never were able to get revenge. I still hung around WCW though, mainly because it was the company of Tradition, but also because some groovy things were going on in the undercard, with really good matches.

These days, after becoming more and more of a WWF fan as the changes have totally diluted WCW to a pale joke of a national company, I'm feeling like a bit of a hypocrite. The top of the WWF is increasingly stale. No, I'm not going to jump on the "Vince gives promo, Company doomed" bandwagon. But I am more interested in the undercard, where the good matches are happening, than the top of the card where the same vague feuds continue between the same five or six men.

I think the saving grace of the WWF is how they got to the point where they can bore us with their "superstars." The WWF, for the most part, built these characters from the ground up. In WCW, Hogan et al really believed that he was the "be all, end all" of wrestling stars. No one else was fit and no one else got a shot or even a push to get a shot. In WWF, they've made the mistake of being too good in making stars, where they now have six to ten stars that could be viable champions. Some people got pushed up because of injuries to the main guys, some people earned their spots clearly, and some are Rocky Maiva.

The WWF execs have created a situation where they can't help but ignore the undercard because of the sheer weight of talent that needs to be satisfied at the top of the pyramid. At one time, the reason I loved the WWF was the interconnectedness of the storylines. Events that occured in the main event level had repercussions down the food chain. This was new to me, coming from the world of the nWo, where the main event and upper card were involved in some huge battle for the soul of the company while midcard business went along if nothing was out of the ordinary. Sadly, the WWF is moving away from a comprehensive plotting to a much more piecemeal plan that isn't holding my attention nearly as well.

In its way, its no more defensible to have a political clique that keeps the belt on Hogan than it is to have a clique of five or six that pass the belt between themselves. I can only hope the WWF can find new things to do with the top of the card in the next few months, or their success could actually be yet another factor that causes people to look for other sources of entertainment.

Todd Thomas

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