EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.
Friday, March 24, 2000
Saturday Night's allright for wrestling
This weekend, at the NDR Center in Montreal, local Quebec fed NCW will be putting on a show that looks to be something special.
On the surface, the reason for that is the special appearance - an appearance as a competitor in the main event, no less - of one Pierre-Carl Ouellet. Given the onslaught of new post-WWF Attitude fans, I guess some may not remember Mr. Ouellet. He's gone by several names to date, in both the WWF and WCW.
Ouellet was also known as the pirate, Jean-Pierre Lafitte. Lafitte basically wore a patch and some pirate garb and ran around the ring, kicking butt. I especially remember his finishing move, a spectacular guillotine leg drop from the top rope, which I couldn't imagine anyone his size even attempting.
This isn't a bio of Ouellet, exactly, just a reminder.
Anyway, he'll be at the NDR center, 955 Villeray East, on March 25, 2000, at 7:30 pm, along with the rest of the NCW gang.
I've seen them in action, and believe me, it's a treat.
These days, though, it seems like any real wrestling is a treat. I mean, you can't fault what the WWF is doing with their programming, because now even the technical wrestling is as good as anything out there, but given the sheer volume of wrestling television to watch, you'd think there would be more emphasis on what goes on in the ring. And I don't mean those half-hour interview segments that open up Raw.
More and more, I find myself drawn to alternative programming. I'm even starting to enjoy WCW Saturday Night, if you can believe that. Sure, I've never heard of their wrestlers, and the closest thing I can find to a meaningful title defense is Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the television title that Scott Hall threw in the trash, but still - guys get to go out there for five or ten minutes and do their thing. New guys, guys you haven't seen, guys who haven't been beaten into your brain repeatedly and without end. Guys without gimmicks.
A lot of the good of WCW Saturday Night, but without all the bad, can be found at an NCW show. Sure, it's and indy show, and it shows, but in many ways that's a good thing. The guys are young, they're hungry, they want their chance in the spotlight and know they have to do their thing here to get there. The booker, and basically the guy who runs the show, Bertrand Hebert, is a very creative guy with a lot of ideas and no marketing guys or television writers to bog him down. The finishes go from his head to paper to realization.
Many of the guys there have some good talent, though like any other indy fed, some lack in size. Increasingly, though, talented workers in the big leagues are showing us that that doesn't quite matter so much anymore.
Tickets for this weekend's show are a measly eight bucks, and with ten matches on the card (which you can check out here at SLAM!), you're bound to find something you like.
Quebec used to be one of the prime spots on the continent for regional wrestling, back before there were major national carriers and we weren't just another speck on the map. Now, that's not so true anymore, but it doesn't have to be that way. Go out and support your local indy fed - wherever you happen to be.
All-Pro Wrestling over in California is gathering rave reviews for their shows, not to mention big audiences. XPW, also out of California, is on the verge - barring a few obstacles - of getting their own national television show. ECW is a well-known indy success story. Shawn Michaels' Texas Wrestling Alliance looks to be up and coming, too. Indy wrestling is back, and you might want to go check out what your local area has to offer.
And if you're in the Montreal area this weekend, go watch the NCW show. Take my word for it, you'll get your money's worth, and that's more than some feds can say right now.
I lost my chance to see what looks to be a great Hardcore Wrestling Federation card at the end of this month in Guelph, featuring Sabu and Rhino, and I won't be able to get to this weekend's local show. That really bugs me, so I want at least someone to be able to get out there and have some fun.
Or, if you're somewhere else, check out what's going on near you.
I'm looking forward to focusing a little bit more on such indy federations, and hopefully I'll have a chance to hit more shows in the future.
That's all for this week. Remember - NDR center, 955 Villeray East, on March 25, 2000, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are eight bucks.
Here's the mailbag.
Danny Middaugh, from firstname.lastname@example.org, writes:
"I have to disagree with what you said in your column on Thursday about TSN not showing Mae Young being powerbombed through a table off the stage (which I saw on Smackdown!). I think people should have the choice to choose what they want to watch. If you don't like seeing old ladies being powerbombed through tables, then change the channel (at least it's better than watching Edge's TitanTron video 5 times).
But even if TSN can't show it because of the CRTC, which seems kind of sexist since we can see men put through tables but not women. You can tune into HeAT and see it which is on a Canadian station Sportnet. It can also be seen on ONTV when they show Metal. So do the rules only apply to TSN? I don't think so. So TSN better smarten up."
Don't put words into my mouth, I'm not pro-censorship or anything. But firstly, Mae Young is just not someone I need to see, and secondly, I just said I could understand their position, I never said they were necessarily morally right to do it.
But if I were TSN, I wouldn't relish such a choice. As a viewer, I respect their decision.
Eric, from email@example.com, writes:
"You f***ing loser...wrestling? Are you kidding me? Get a life, you always were a complete idiot, this just proves it."
I don't usually post these types of letters, but this one kind of made me laugh, and I thought I might share it. First of all, "Eric," what exactly do you mean? Are you attacking that I wrote a column about wrestling at all? If so, why do you go around reading wrestling columns? Are you specifically attacking the Mae Young article? I can't even tell. Was there even a message in there for me? Can anyone decipher that?
Geez, if you're Mr. Canada, as your email address alleges, then I fear for the nation.
That's all for this week. To everyone - Eric included, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing. Have a great week!
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.