Dan Titus makes a fairly valid point -- not to mention a commonly-echoed one -- in his latest article. An alarming number of fans are losing interest in the offerings of the Big Three-in-One, and no other promotions have yet stepped up to the plate as a viable alternative.
As per normal, it falls to me to find the silver lining. It's easy to piss all over those things we don't like, but there are any number of positive things about wrestling these days. All you need to do is think them through.
THE ÜBER-PUSH OF ROB VAN DAM
Could you have predicted a year ago that RVD, perhaps the most exciting in-ring performer in North America, would be main-eventing WWF pay-per-views? Of course not -- a year ago, they were saying outright that they didn't want him, and vice versa! Yet here he is, the center of an important angle and putting in a good showing in his No Mercy title shot, as well as bringing respect back to the Hardcore Title. Now if only Jerry Lynn can get the same thing when he returns, the feud that revitalized ECW can be played out again for a new audience.
THE UPCOMING HOGAN/HART PROMOTION
Apparently, this is back in the cards. Even WWF talent have said that their product is better when they have strong competition. So even though I can't say I'm drooling over the prospect of Hulk Hogan's return to the ring, I do recognize that it will be a positive thing for the industry overall. And so should you.
THE REVITALAZATION OF THE WWF WOMEN'S DIVISION
Holy gynephobia, Batman! For far too long, the women of the WWF have been stuck in demeaning sexist gimmick matches. So imagine my delight when Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler were booked for a much-hyped Lingerie Match at No Mercy, with male announcers constantly drooling over them, only to throw it straight back in the bookers' faces by putting on a quality wrestling match! Then a great women's tag match the following night, and a phenomenal singles match on Smackdown that left me absolutely breathless and speechless. And the most stunning part of it all: the fans were popping the whole way through! Imagine, someone finally taught the WWF fans to appreciate women's wrestling, a task which would heretofore have stumped Mugumi Kudo herself. Can the WWF capitalize on this trend? Time will tell...
THE RETURN OF BILLY KIDMAN
He's been a favorite of the Internet crowd for years, and was the sole WCW babyface after the entire promotion turned heel in the WWF and before RVD arrived. It can't be a coincidence that his return has brought renewed interest in the Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight Division. A match between him and RVD (or even a three-way dance including Lynn) would be a Match of the Year candidate.
THE TERMINATION OF THE EDGE/CHRISTIAN BREAKUP
Granted, this one's a bit backhanded, but the whole "will they or won't they" bit was dragged out far too long. By months. Now that the trigger has been pulled, we can expect some excellent matches.
THE IMPENDING RETURN OF HHH
This is currently the most interesting intellectual exercise surrounding the Alliance vs. WWF angle. Few people still seem to care about the McMahon soap opera, but there is rampant speculation about where HHH will fit into the whole thing. At least two magazines have described him as a "wildcard". A heel HHH is always a wonder to behold, but a return to his babyface days might be fun for a while as well.
THE IMPROVEMENT OF DOMESTIC FMW PRODUCT
A personal bias on my part, no doubt, but a lot of fans were upset by the treatment this amazing promotion got from TokyoPop entertainment. Bad jokes, lame Hollywood storylines that had nothing to do with the real thing, bickering announcers... oy. Thankfully, one of them has been replaced and the other has been given free reign to call the matches properly. I now look forward to new FMW DVDs, rather than buying them out of the desire to support wrestling outside the mainstream. I cannot recommend these highly enough, especially to those fans who miss the one true ECW.
So to all you naysayers: yes, things are bleak now. But with the right elements falling into place now, that won't be the case for long. Verily I say unto you, I have spoken.