May 2, 2000
Arquette as champ a good move
"An absolute disgrace" ... "Completely inexcusable" ... "A slap in the face..."
Now, you might be asking, what event could warrant such reactions out of common everyday internet users? What ungodly occurance could inflame so many horrible reactions from wrestling fans world wide? The travesty at last year's Over the Edge PPV when Owen Hart fell to his death and yet the show continued? The consistant portrayal of women as nothing more than sex objects on prime time TV? The racial overtones that can be consistantly found on a weeks worth of WWF programimng??
No, none of this.
All of the phrases listed above are directed at what happened last Thursday on Thunder, when actor-turned wrestler David Arquette won the WCW world heavyweight championship in a shocking tag team match with buddy Diamond Dallas Page.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm just as much a wrestling fan as the next person. I've been an avid watcher since I was six, 14 years of my life given to the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, and countless others. But never have I heard of such a commotion made over a simple title change.
Sure, I understand it is a silly move made by Russo...but can you blame him? With WCW's ratings in a consistent funk, and what had happened to his job prior to his inability to raise WCW's ratings, he needed to pull out a surprise. And how many of you out there can tell me that you guessed such a title change would occur? I didn't, in fact before Thursday night I hadn't watched Nitro in about a year. After reading the results via the wrestling insider sites, I felt I had to see how a scrawny weasly punk like Arquette could pull off such a feat. And I'm sure I'm not alone in that category.
Plus, look at all the publicity Russo has received. Sure it's not "good" publicity, but it's there nonetheless. Arquette was featured in Entertainment Tonight along with other shows, giving wrestling fans who DON'T read internet reports a reason to switch over as well. And all those columnists who berated WCW for this move will I'm sure be tuning in to see how it all plays out.
One of the biggest complaints I've heard which has been the most frustrating has been the comment that having Arquette hold the strap "devalues the title." Many beleive that having an "actor" is a joke to the belt. But then again, wrestling is fake. Sure many people fight to attain the WCW belt, but it's not like Arquette is getting a Goldberg-eque push. He pinned Bischoff. I could pin Bischoff. WCW isn't making people believe that the CALL-ATT man is some kind of super-hero giant, he's just a guy who got lucky. Now if Arquette KO'd Jarret with one knockout punch to win the title, yeah that's ridiculous, but Arquette's win should be seen as just that, a ridiculous twist of fate for a lucky guy.
And to even consider the title would lose value anyway is ridiculous as well. It's a fake sport, remember? To complain that the title has no value is the same as being irate that the new member of Ally McBeal gets too much airtime, or that George Clooney's ER character hasn't been made chief of staff yet. I understand that many other wrestlers have fought all of their lives to accomplish the dream that Arquette is living right now, but at the same time, is Arquette really getting that push that wrestlers dream for? To pin Bischoff in a fluke match, only to inevitably have the belt taken away from you in a few days? Arquette knows he's not serious, Russo knows he's not serious, and if the WCW locker room doesn't know it's not serious, that's their own problem. And with WCW morale at a high, I don't see how a publicity stunt -- which has succeeded -- could crumble the company. Seeing the improvement in the few weeks alone, all the reporters calling for Russo's head should take a step back and realize what's really going on. Think about it...Arquette...or Sid? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Arquette has gotten more publicity in his five days as champion than any other in the past six months.
The same complaint has been made about the WWF Hardcore title -- that having so many people hold the belt, makes the belt seem useless. Well I don't know about you, but I've heard the pops that Crash Holly has been getting lately, and aside from that, having people like Matt Hardy and Vicera taste championship gold adds to the surprise of everything, which would be nice in this day and age where internet reporters act more like big-mouth friends that ruin surprise parties.
So all in all, enough with the WCW bashing. I know I've heard enough and I'm sure many others can agree with me. In fact, if I was Russo, I'd keep him the champ. Sooner or later, enough people are going to watch just to make sure he loses it. Think about it...it's not that bad an idea. All in all, having David Arquette as champion may not be the best thing to ever happen to wrestling, but it's not the end of the world.
Oscar Rollo is from Reading, PA and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.