April 24, 2000
The Rock doesn't deserve the WWF belt
In today's captivating world of professional wrestling, the primary objective of every wrestler is to get over with the fans. Whether the wrestler is playing the role of the heel or face is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the fans' response to the gimmick or storyline being presented.
In pro wrestling today, there seems to be two ways to endear yourself to the fans: You can bust your ass in the ring, putting on a great show on a consistent basis, or you can rely on your charisma and mic skills. Both roads can lead you to fame and popularity with wrestling fans.
Right now, no one is as popular as The Rock. The mere appearance of his image on the TitanTron is enough to send the crowd into a frenzy. His mic skills are so well known that even the most casual of wrestling fans knows all of "The Great One's" signature phrases by heart. There is no doubt that The Rock has mastered the theatrical aspects of the sports-entertainment industry. Few men possess more charisma than he does. But the fact of the matter is, that doesn't make him worthy of the WWF's top belt.
Despite what some fans may believe, there is something more to professional wrestling than gimmicks and storylines. That something is work ethic. It takes more than getting on the mic and rattling off catch phrases. You also have to prove that you can put on great matches week in and week out. You have to get over in the ring, not just on the mic. The WWF's current champion, Triple H, does that. Rocky doesn't.
It seems that on most nights, "The Great One" puts more effort into his pre-match address to the crowd than he puts into the actual match. There's also been many nights as of late where The Rock has used as few as four different moves during the course of his matches, if you don't include the basic punches and kicks. It also seems that The Rock has avoided taking major bumps since he achieved main-event status. Meanwhile, as champion, and thus the major player in the federation, Triple H put on two very physical matches with Mick Foley earlier this year, and his matches from week to week on RAW have been impressive to say the least. In many respects, Helmsley has saved the WWF World Title.
It was a title that has over the past year changed hands at a very alarming rate. Sometimes the champion only held onto the belt for a little over a month before losing it. Triple H has held the title for nearly five months, and because of the hard work and showmanship he's put into his matches, he's been able to restore much of the credibility to the belt that was lost over the past year. To give the title to The Rock, an individual whose in-ring workmanship has approached Hulk Hogan-like levels (and that is not a compliment), would be to jeopardize everything that has been accomplished by Triple H so far this year.
As fans, I think we have to evaluate what aspects of professional wrestling are most important. If gimmicks and mic work are truly all it takes to get to the top, then give the belt to The Rock. But if actual wrestling still counts for something, if work ethic still means something, then keep the belt around the waist of The Game. At least until "The Great One" lives up to his nickname.
Andy Bloeser is from Sturgeon Bay, WI Island and can be emailed at email@example.com. He wrote another guest column (Fans ruined Hart vs Benoit) back in October 1999.