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ET CETERA - Where's the beef?
by Jay Spree on 2002-08-29

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

Where indeed.

There’s a problem with the WWF right now. Okay, there’s a lot of problems, but I was relating to one in particular that hasn’t really been exposed until now.

Look at the WWF main event right now and what do you see? More specifically, WHO do you see?



Exactly. Now that SummerSlam’s been and gone, and The Rock has had (what was, for all intents and purposes) his swansong, The Fed is going to feel – perhaps for the first real time in the post-Attitude era – the repercussions for it’s self-imposed glass ceiling and refusal/inability to develop new stars. For all JR’s bullshit in the Ross Report, all Linda McMahon’s propaganda about the brand extension, all Vince McMahon’s creative genius, there is a big, gaping, vacuous fucking void at the top of the card right now. Stone Cold. The Rock. Hell, even Hulk Hogan – the company’s top draws, all on hiatus. And who’s in their place?

Triple HGH.
The Undertaker.
Brock Lesnar.

And you know what’s really ironic? Not ONE of those guys deserves to be there.

All the opportunities they’ve had with Chris Jericho, with Rob Van Dam, with Booker T – all squandered, fucked up the ass, hogtied, hazed and left in the showers thanks to the WWF’s beloved “locker room leaders”, who both just happen to be right at the very top of the card. Gee, coincidence?

Every time Jericho jobbed to Triple H, we (the smart marks) yelled out. Every time Kurt Angle got shuffled further down the card, we yelled out. Every time Rob Van Dam’s pops got turned down, we yelled out. Every time Booker T got put into another pointless fued, we yelled out. And what was the WWF’s response? The old “smart marks ain’t so smart – in fact they know jack shit” song and dance. And look at them now.

LOOK AT YOU NOW, VINCE, JUST FUCKING LOOK AT YOU.

Look what’s happened to your fucking company. You’ve got a champion who’s greener than hell, a guy who should’ve hung it up years ago, can’t work for shit and living off a stale gimmick, and another guy who’s already of a shell of his former greatness who’s bullshit politics have put you in the very mess you’re in right now. Remember all those stories doing the rounds when Stone Cold left, how Hunter and Taker were at Vince’s door within five minutes volunteering to “step up” and fill the void? They weren’t fucking kidding. You can’t really blame Brock for all this – they’ve got him out there working “WWF style” punch-kick bullshit, when he could be lighting it up with technical mat-wrestling and busting out shooting star presses. Instead, he’s out there looking completely lost, just to satiate the company’s crippling desire to have all their workers work the same way as Rock, Austin, Hunter and Taker did. NEWS FLASH, ASSHOLES – Rock and Austin are gone, Taker and Helmsley should be. It’s time to move on.

The saddest thing about this whole situation is the way they’re trying to remedy it – not by moving forward, but by taking steps BACKward. Instead of developing their own new stars the way they always promised they did and would, they’ve got Shawn Michaels out there blasted out of his mind on pain killers bumping like a madman trying to make the fans care. They’re courting Goldberg and Scott Steiner in some vain attempt to recapture successes they never had. They’re booking TAKER vs HELMSLEY for the millionth fucking time, and they’re wondering why the company can’t draw for shit.

Pathetic, halfassed, half-hearted efforts with guys like Cena and Batista are nothing but typical WWF means justifying the ends tactics to convince us that they’re “creating fresh new stars and exciting new rivalries”. Just like the self-fulfilling prophecy that was Jericho’s “unsuccessful” title run (whereby the situation is BOOKED to be a failure, therefore it BECOMES a failure, therefore giving the WWF license to say “see, we TOLD YOU it’d be a failure”), they are just hollow efforts to make it look like they’re trying to fix the problem, when really they’re doing just the opposite. I’m not by any means arguing that RVD and Booker T are main event-level wrestlers – believe me, they are NOT – but when the alternative is watching snorefests featuring any combination of Taker/Helmsley/Lesnar, that doesn’t matter. I’d sooner watch psychology-bereft RVD spotfests and Booker’s generally sloppy matches than that. On the other hand, of course, Jericho and Angle are very much main event level wrestlers, so what possible excuse can there be for them being mired in the mid (or in Angle’s case, the under) card? Surely, with Austin gone and Rocky out of the picture for the foreseeable future, now would be the time to elevate these guys before the main event is completely exposed as the cesspool it is?

Jesus God. It’s just so fucking frustrating to watch because you KNOW they aren’t going to do a damn thing about it, and even if they do, they’ll only fuck it up again. I used to think that signing someone like Steiner would make a big difference – I truly bought the bogus idea that his “star power” would add some spice to the picture. But I’ve come to realise that he answer is not to be found in hiring over-the-hill forty year-olds for shitloads of money that they’ll never draw back. The answer, in fact, is that when you’ve got a guy like Rob Van Dam whose heat is so great that you actually have to turn it down because it’s louder than your main eventers, the answer is actually NOT to turn the damn heat down, but to jump on it while it’s there and throw him as far up the card as the fans will accept. Do you think fans would really be unwilling to accept him at the top of the card battling Taker and Hunter in main events? Get real. Christ, Rey Mysterio’s so insanely over right now that you could start a phantom title reign for him with an upset win on Smack!Down and I GUARANTEE the fans would buy it. I know that would never happen in any promotion in North America due to this antiquated notion that cruisers and heavyweights can’t mix, but fuck, it’s sure better than another boring Undertaker reign. The Fed needs to be REAL careful, because sooner or later, I can see the fans turning on Brock and forcing him back down the card. Sooner or later, it’ll become obvious to the brass that (once again) Taker-Triple HGH programmes just DON’T DRAW MONEY. And then where will they be?

The last time the WWF lost all its true superstars (to Turner’s chequebook and WCW), it ushered in a new era of guys who could actually WORK. The main event style of old was replaced by the fast-paced, psychology-filled encounters between the Bret Harts and the Shawn Michaels. The lack of star power forced them to develop new stars out of guys who could wrestle, who could show something different. Again, a new era of stars was ushered in, and the main event style was again redefined by guys like Foley, Austin, and Rock. Yet while that era of stars has now come to pass, their style of wrestling is still here, merrily overstaying its welcome. Now the WWF finds itself in the same position once again – the old stars are gone, and it’s time for new stars to rise and a new main event wrestling style to emerge. Let’s hope that this means the Jerichos, the Van Dams, and the Angles will rise to take their rightful place (and yes, under this new style, there will more than likely be a place for Brock, too). But in all actuality, it will be Taker and Triple HGH maintaining the status quo, driving the industry back ten years, and happily spit-polishing the glass ceiling for years to come.

What happened to that company that used to be so hot it drew bigger numbers than the NFL every Monday? Attitude? Get the F out.

Peace.
Jay


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