SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

SLAM! Sports
SLAM! Wrestling

April 28, 2000

Arquette's reign an insult to wrestlers


Ladies and gentlemen, making his way down to the ring, accompanied by the WCW booking team of Bischoff and Russo, is the reigning WCW Heavyweight Champion of the World...David Arquette! How does that sound to you? Silly?! Unbelievable, you say?! Absurd?! Well in the words of a true champion, "It's true, it's true." Yes, wrestling lovers worldwide, the same weird little man that brings you those silly little "1-800-CALL-ATT" commercials and the star of WCW's box office flop "Ready to Rumble," is now your world champion. And if you the wrestling fan are not insulted than I can name several men who should be.

Bischoff and Russo have taken a turn for the worse with their latest move. Whether it was from corporate pressure to help their ailing movie, or just a cheap ratings ploy, the "Dubbya See Dubbya's" saviors have sold out not only the fans, but every hardworking young man (or old man in WCW's case) that has ever risked life and limb to entertain you.

Before I begin my rant, I want to state that I'm well aware of the lack of meaning wrestling titles hold these days and that they are mere tools for advancing the "storylines." You know it, I know it, and every wrestler knows it.

Now imagine you're a wrestler who's come through the territories that have come and gone. Or maybe you are "new school" wrestler, brought up in an expensive training camp. Either way, you've sweated day in and out in the gym making your body a temple for punishment. Risked your life and others for the sake of cheers and a paycheque. And you have known the annoyance of some drunk fan throwing his beer on you and call you an @#!!hole! But you do it because that's your passion. And one day, your passion will be rewarded with the opportunity of being the top dog in your company if only for a day or two. Meaningless or not, you are now an unforgettable part of that company's history. But that day never comes because you're not "over enough."

Now imagine coming to work the next day and finding your dream being given away to someone who'll never know what you went through. Never once had to worry about whether or not he'd be able to walk home of his own accord after a match or have known the humiliation of having to job to a lesser athlete.

It's that feeling you get when that guy that you trained at work is made manager! Sure it's meaningless, but it hurts all the same that you were just looked over again.

I'm no wrestling purist who longs for days of 30-minute matches and heroes and villians. I am however a wrestling fan of 19 years and the one thing I've never forgotten is how much skill it takes to do what they do. While fewer and fewer fans may appreciate good work ethic (like most customers these days), the one group of people who you would expect too, don't either. That's truly sad. And if this is the direction the new regime will continue to take, then the WWF can expect a long run at the top, and they'll have plenty of top name talent to go with it, care of WCW.

Remember when Vince McMahon made himself champion, it was acceptable only because he is one of the reasons if not the reason wrestling...well..."is!" But the one thing he's never done is disrespect his employees by giving away their dream to someone who's never known the struggle to be a wrestler (of course that doesn't mean the belt has always gone to the right person either). Take a lesson Eric and Vince, while the new generation of fans may think belts don't matter and they probably don't, in the hearts of every wrestler that has risked their lives...they do. If you don't believe me, go ask Bret!
Michael Washington is from Chicago, IL and can be emailed at

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