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  March 6, 1999

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Raunch sells, but how long?

By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
  World Championship Wrestling is trying to distance itself somewhat from the World Wrestling Federation.

While adults seem to enjoy the WWF's raunch 'n' roll approach, as reflected by the ratings -- WWF had a 6.4-3.9 edge in the U.S. on Monday night -- the southern-based WCW has told its boys to clean up their acts.

"If you look at their show on the air, it is down and dirty," Mean Gene Okerlund, a former WWF announcer now working for WCW, said recently.

"But they have sponsors like Milton-Bradley, Hasbro, Mattel. They are coming right out and saying they are targeting men 18 to 34 yet are selling their product to children six to 11. To me that is a big philosophical conflict.

"Make no mistake. We are shooting for kids and teens and we have guys 18 to 34 too. We think we can do it by keeping the product above board," Okerlund said.

Next month, a few of the sponsorship deals will expire for both groups. Who renews will speak volumes about whether sponsors agree with the WWF's approach or that of WCW. Right now, the WWF is cleaning up in TV numbers. They had an incredible 7.54 rating in the U.S. for a Stone Cold-Mankind match. And the bottom line is numbers equal dollars.

SOLD OUT: The Air Canada Centre sold all of the tickets for the WCW Nitro show on March 29 in short order.

Some fans bought because they wanted to see something a little different. Others bought to do some comparison shopping between what WCW's live show is like versus that of the WWF.

There were a number of complaints about the Raw is War show at the SkyDome a few weeks back, including the lack of a Stone Cold-Mankind battle. That match, by the way, will take place this week on Raw.

It would behoove WCW to make a strong showing when it comes to town. Nitro, of late, has been flat.

HERE AND THERE: Wrestling returns to St. Catharines for the first time in 15 years tomorrow afternoon. Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart and Tiger Jackson, formerly known as Dink the Clown, will be among the performers. For further information, call Barzooka's Tap & Eatery, 262 Banting Road, St. Catharines at (905) 687-8882 ... Ring N Ears 3 goes tonight at the Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., starting at 8 p.m. Joe E. Legend, Skull Ganz and Bloody Bill Skullion are among those on the card ... Doink the Clown and the Brooklyn Brawler are on a card at Lulu's in Kitchener tomorrow at 2 p.m. ... AWF's next card is March 14 at the Guvernment Warehouse, 132 Queen's Quay E. at Jarvis. Terry Funk vs. Abdullah the Butcher is the main event.

OFF THE TOP ROPE: WCW's Chris Jericho is scheduled to appear on TSN's Tuesday at 6 p.m. ... Terry Funk appears on The Fan 590 on March 13 ... Sable graces the pages of Playboy's April edition, which appears on newsstands next week ... WCW's Renegade was found dead in Atlanta. Police said the 33-year-old took his own life.