August 22, 2000
Will Tazz's mood ever change?
The anticipation was overwhelming at times. I couldn't wait for his debut at the Royal Rumble. The mecca of professional wrestling, Madison Square Garden, would be the place where his career took off. The lights would go out and the music would hit. The crowd would work themselves into a frenzy. The "Human Suplex Machine" would burst threw the curtain with microphone in hand. He would rip into the ever famous "Beat me if you can ... Survive if I let you" promo. He would then proceed to rip into Kurt Angle, tossing him around like bags of Cheetos in between takes at a Richard Simmons' Sweating to the Oldies infomercial taping. The Tazzmission would be locked in and his hand would be raised in victory. This was to be only the beginning.
Well. It didn't exactly work out like that. Sure Tazz got a nice pop that night in January. He also got the tap out victory. But since that night, not much has gone right for Tazz. I think he would agree with that sentiment as well.
His injury notwithstanding, Tazz's WWF career has been disappointing. His won/loss record can be no better than 50/50. He has had no real feuds, no discernible program and worst-off, no consistent stick time. Is it a case of the WWF creative team mis-using him? Is it a case of bad timing? Was Tazz over-rated and over-hyped? I think you can make a credible argument for a YES on all three counts.
When I hearken back to watching Taz in ECW, he was larger than life. Although he was second string to Rob Van Dam, his popularity was as enormous as his ferocity. He was almost unbeatable and was a multi-time ECW Heavyweight Champion. He threw people around like rag dolls and he worked the stick well. He looked massive on ECW television. He was an "American Bad Ass", that "Damn Good" and a tough S.O.B. all rolled into one.
Whether it's the fault of ECW camera angles/production values or relative talent, in the WWF he looks downright small. In the company of a roster full of horses, he looks like a pony. The unbeatable persona gets thrown right out the window when you are smaller than every upper-card wrestler. It's just not believable.
Throw into the mix Vince McMahon's insistence on humbling the new talent. Time and again, Vinnie Mac does not push WCW or ECW defectors right out of the blocks. They have to wait their turn. Logically, this is fair and reasonable. But give the guy a program! Let him have a real and meaningful feud. Give him some promo time. Let him beat some people. Putting him in programs with the Bossman demeans him. Losing to the Bossman is a slap in the face. But oh no, the Bossman helps develop his character say the WWF bookers. We see that Tazz is a tough guy. He can take a beating, get up and come back for more. WELL ... SO COULD RODNEY KING! What a waste of talent.
Talent itself is a problem when it comes to Tazz. I'm not saying that he has none. My point is that the WWF has too much talent. Not everyone can be pushed. The mid-card is huge. Tazz, like others, can fall through the cracks.
Since his return from injury, Tazz has had a more focused program. He has been laying out wrestlers with cameras and Tazzmissions in an unpredictable fashion. This interference led to a feud with Rikishi. This was the beginning of good things for Tazz. But it does not appear to be going anywhere. Right now I am more interested in what outfit Tazz is going to come to ring in this week then what he is actually going to do in that ring. Tazz is being wasted.
I have a hard time comprehending why the WWF can get over non-talents like Tool Cool and Steve Blackman (Head Cheese!!!) yet are unable to do anything with Tazz. Give him the microphone for crying out loud. He's better on the mic than 80% of the roster. Give him a real feud and do the unthinkable -- let him win a few matches. He might actually generate some heat.
In all of this though, there is a bright side for Tazz. The proverbial silver lining is that ECW and WCW only wish they had the WWF's "too-much talent" problem. Tazz can sleep well at night on his mini-mohawked head with the knowledge that he could be cutting promos on Jack Victory in some barn outside of Des Moines. I think Tazz would agree that the grass is greener ... maybe it just needs a little more fertilizer.
Bio: BioMore on Tazz
Scott (Lumpy) Williams is from Toronto and can be reached by e-mail at Previous guest columns