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ET CETERA - Jay takes a look at the split - and gives it the finger.
by Jay Spree on 2002-03-28

Well, looks like I’m over my pre-Mania PMT and back to the grind. Fan apathy or elaborate swerve? YOU DECIDE! (Hint: I never got bored of my best of Flair tape.)

Really not much going on with me – I’ve been pretty much living at my girlfriend’s house this week, which is always good. It does mean that I haven’t touched any kind of control pad in quite some time, which kinda sucks… but then, so does she, so it’s all good. Besides, I’m going to deepest, darkest Stoke-On-Trent tomorrow to pick up a new game or two for the mighty Cube. I’m VERY tempted by Resident Evil, even though I’m far too much of a pussy to play it on my own. Hopefully, there’ll be too much Japanese text to give me an excuse not to buy it. Soccer Slam looks cool, as does Doshin and Rave Groove Adventure, so I guess I’ll just have to spend all day “testing them”. Oh, woe is me.

I’ve just been watching the Empire: Special Edition. Man, Luke screaming like a little bitch when he falls down the Bespin thing is total crap. I mean, WHY do it? It’s nearly as bad as Han shooting first, or micro-goujons or midi-chlorians or whatever. Still, this is a column for wrestling geeks, not Star Wars geeks, so I’d better leave it at that. But I hope they include the cut Wampa attack and tests on the DVD whenever it materialises… anyway, on with the show.


Well, the split’s been and gone. And boy, what a mess they made of that – TOLD YOU. If anyone missed it, here’s what the new rosters look like:

Smack!Down (Vince McMahon)

The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Hulk Hogan, Billy & Chuck, Edge, Rikishi, D-Von Dudley, Mark Henry, Maven, Billy Kidman, Yoshihiro Tajiri, Chris Jericho, Ivory, Albert, Hurricane Helms, Al Snow, Lance Storm, Diamond Dallas Page, Torrie Wilson, Scotty 2 Hotty, Stacy Keibler, Christian, Test, Faarooq, Tazz, Hardcore Holly, The Big Valbowski, Perry Saturn.

RAW (Ric Flair)

The Undertaker, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, X-Pac, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Big Show, Bubba Ray Dudley, Brock Lesnar, William Regal, Lita, Bradshaw, Steven Richards, Matt Hardy, Raven, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Perfect, Spike Dudley, D'Lo Brown, Shawn Stasiak, Terri, Jacqueline, Goldust, Trish Stratus, Justin Credible, Big Boss Man, Tommy Dreamer, Crash Holly, Mighty Molly.

Ugh. Did they even THINK about those rosters, or did they just throw darts at a bunch of names and pick them like that? Sheesh.

I though the plan was to have one Sportz Entertainment roster and one Workrate roster to appease everybody, but instead they’ve given us a completely lopsided Smack!Down talent pool and a bunch of slugs and crap wrestlers on RAW that nullify any chance of RVD or Brock Lesnar putting on a good match. Oh well, at least S!D’s got a bunch of cruisers so we’ve got a glimmer of hope for a lightweight division.

And they broke up the Dudleyz and the APA. Um, WHY???? I don’t understand. The APA are totally over the hill, but I’d prefer them being over the hill together and moderately over rather than each of them stinking up both feds individually. And breaking up the Dudleyz is just so stupid. Why don’t they break up the Hardy Boyz for Christ’s sake? That would just have been so much more interesting… oh wait, THAT’S why they didn’t do it.

An interesting point that’s been raised is that, while the WWF hopes to bump its ratings by splitting the roster, thus forcing fans to watch both shows in order to see all their favourite wrestlers, it may have exactly the opposite effect. What if a household gets TNN, but not UPN, or vice versa? In which case, fans might be totally deprived of watching their favourite stars, and might subsequently lose interest in the product. I know how much of a risk this is, since I know a bunch of people who basicaly watch the WWF for Rob Van Dam, and if they weren’t able to see the show he’s on, I know for a fact that they would stop watching. And that’s exactly what the WWF doesn’t need. Rumour is that they’re tinkering with the formats for Excess, HeAT, Metal and so on – initially, these were to be more wrestling-based shows instead of the magazine-style recap format, but it now appears they may have to use them purely as recap shows in case people can’t receive one of the major programs. Y’know, it probably would’ve been smart to figure this all out BEFORE they committed themselves to the split, but that’s just me.

You’ll probably notice a few missing names from thise lists. The Men’s and Women’s World Champions, Triple HGH and Jazz, defend their titles on both shows. Ooh, that’s a surprise; Hunter gets the strap just in time to let him get his big nose on TV twice a week. Well done, roid boy – you just got yourself on the road twice as much as everyone else. Congratulations!

Guys like Rhyno, Mike Awesome, Kanyon, Eddy and Rey Rey, and Scott Steiner if and when he comes in are a different matter. Obviously in the case of Eddy and Rey, they can’t be announced until they’re announced, if you catch my drift. That is, if you even believe that they’re signed, given that the WWF won’t officially confirm anything – and of course, heaven forbid that the sheet writers should ever report stories based on INSIDE SOURCES. Ooh look, venting again. Well, when all these guys are ready to come back to TV, they’ll probably run some kind of “free agent” angle. In the case of Steiner, or arguably Mike Awesome (or even Brock Lesnar, if they would’ve waited another week or two), they could have them do run-ins on both shows, causing havoc and running things their own way.

Actually, if I might sidetrack for a minute, they could do far worse than re-debut Mike Awesome and Chris Benoit with Paul Heyman as their manager. It’s be great to have another awesome manager family, and it’s not like we’ve got any real stables apart from the nWo. Heyman could have all these killers – Lesnar, Awesome, Rhyno, Benoit – who wouldn’t have to worry about promos, and they could run rough shod over both promotions. Just an idea.

Steve Austin is another story. As you’re probably aware, old Cold Stone hasn’t been too happy lately, publicly blowing up at Vince before WrestleMania and boycotting TV the last two weeks. The bone of contention has been the way he’s been used lately, what with his not being too happy with feuding with Scott Hall, and being even more unhappy at being a midcarder at Mania. I wouldn’t want to suggest that he hated not being booked into the main event angle with Hogan as much as he hated Hogan being signed in the first place, but there could be some of that. He’s also apparently not too happy about the backstage politics, particularly Triple H, who now has his own, significant stroke, that of the nWo’s, and also of his horizontal mambo dance partner Steph. Y’know, maybe they should send Hunter to work in Puerto Rico for a week, and see how those boys deal with things (sorry, that was kind of low).

You can’t really blame Austin, though. He’s saved the company from total oblivion, been the most consistent, profitable draw over the past few years, and has proven to be one of the top three workers night-in, night-out – and then they treat him like this. They DID build him into RAW on Monday night, however, so things may very well have been patched up. To be honest, they need him – Hogan’s not gonna be alive much longer, The Rock’s Hollywood-bound, they’ve completely buried any chance of Jericho main-eventing, and Triple H is the most boring wrestler on the planet. Who else is there? Exactly.

So all in all, I’m not really that much happier about the WWF, but at least they’ve piqued my interest again. And while the product right now might be crap, at least it’s not predictable crap – and at least we’ve got rid of Stephanie… for now. The only downer is that, with her being off TV, she’ll have more time to book stupid, dog-related angles. Oh yay.

Still, with Brock Lesnar and Mark Henry (for real) back on TV, I’m moderately excited about things. Let’s see what they do next week.


Man, I love Mark Henry just as much as the next guy – actually, a whole lot more than the next guy – but “picking him” 9th? Come on……Ooh, another ECW “reunion” at Viking Hall. Jesus people, just let it go……And a “bodybag match”? Please. Say what you want about the WWF being a cartoon show, but even the Undertaker gave up that bodybag shit in ’93……Anyone noticed how all the WWF shows are now listed as “WWFE” on Sky? Guess they’re just bracing themselves for when the judge finally throws the case out……Oh God, please, DON’T SIGN CORINO!……Actually, as long as it keeps him away from wrestling, maybe you should sign him……I really don’t get the WWF. They go to all the trouble of signing Rey Rey and Eddy, in addition to Helms, Kidman, Tajiri, Pac, Crash, Spike and all the others, and then they go and bury the cruiser division? Well, I guess they had to justify cutting guys like York & Matthews, Jerry Lynn and Allan Funk. Let’s just hope that Rey doesn’t talk them into signing Konnan……And they kept Stevie Richards but fired Jerry Lynn? Way to go, JR……Taker/Triple H for Backlash? Ahh crap……They didn’t tell the boys when they were being drafted until they did it? Whoa, that’s, um, thoughtful……Get well soon, Steve Blackman……So, who wants to wager on how long it’ll take Stephanie to weasel her way back into things?……Um, they’re sending Al Snow to visit Wal Mart headquarters? Maybe someone should explain “irony” to Vince……I don’t doubt that X-Pac is a self-serving little jock-sniffer, but I don’t think you can really blame his joining the nWo on “kliq politics”. I mean, if anyone’s going to join the nWo, who better than one of the founding members? Bob Holly really needs to chill out……Steve Wilkos is working a show for MCW, and people STILL don’t believe that Springer’s a work. You would’ve thought that the Iron Sheik talking about extra-marital affairs would’ve been a pretty big hint……“Are you there God? It’s me, the KING of old school. Listen brother, I really need this job. I’m only twenty-eight for Christ’s sake, and my forehead starts to bleed when I watch Weakest Link and I can’t get the answer. I NEED BANDAIDS, DAMMIT!”……Oh wait, ANOTHER ECW Reunion, this time in Canada? And I never understood the fuss about Shane Douglas either. The guy can’t wrestle for shit, and his grunting promos are really annoying. Hey wait a minute, that’s Triple H……Christ, now Kawada’s hurt too? Aww, and just when Scott was getting back into Puro. That’s the CC all shot to hell, then……Actually, the most amazing thing about all these All-Japan and NOAH guys getting hurt is that they only ever seem to blow out knees and elbows – none of them ever seem to hurt their necks, which is absolutely astounding given the amount of head-dropping bumps they take……Props to Mike Johnson for landing the PCW gig……Hey John, I hope Shiela gave you the right tape – I can’t seem to find my goat porn tape……Ed Leslie……Ed Leslie……Ed Lesl……

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Quotes from the boys: Notorious T.I.D. says "Well, I guess it's time to start naming some names. Sweet Daddy stink.....go wash. Jamie stink.....go wash. Magnus.......quit shitting yourself."
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