SLAM! WRESTLING: And Nothing but the Truth

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SLAM! Wrestling

EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.

Friday, February 2, 2001

The end is near, folks

Eric Benner
Special to SLAM! Sports

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A few weeks ago, I suggested that wrestling's successes and failures mirrored those of the stock market. Don't worry, I'm not going to continue elaborating that theory, it's just a convenient connection. You see, in finance there are things called indicators, things which themselves aren't necessarily bad but which tend to be bad omens. Lately, I've been seeing these indicators everywhere in wrestling and I'm starting to wonder if there's a trend.

First, you've got Dusty Rhodes making his grand return to WCW Nitro. There are so many things wrong with this. For one, I don't even think that many WCW fans know who Dusty Rhodes is. Clearly, the fans in attendance at Nitro did, but that's not the point. If this is a one-shot event to help build some heat for his son Dustin, then I have no problem with that. WCW's history jades me into thinking that they're going to parlay this into more than that, though. Even if they don't, it still fits the description of a bad omen, if you ask me.

Then you've got the return of Paul Wight. Don't get me wrong, I wish the best for Wight and hope he succeeds in all his endeavours, and I think he could be a great addition to the WWF, but just weeks before his return Jim Ross was writing in his Ross Report about how much more ground Wight had to cover. He was sent down because of his poor work and health ethic, and bringing him back before he's finished may not be the smartest idea. Either way, it's not a good omen.

Rumours of the Hardy Boyz breaking up have also been covered in this column, and I'm sure many would agree that The Hardy Boys breaking up would be a terrible omen, or at least a bad sign. Breaking up popular tag teams is a way of milking more marketable, singles stars from your roster, which you would only do if you needed them.

Shawn Michaels has closed up shop at his wrestling school because of other 'business arrangements' that will take up most of his time now. If those other business arrangements mean wrestling one last time in the WWF, then that's another omen.

Drew Carey wrestled in the Royal Rumble. I didn't exactly take the WWF to task when it happened, but in retrospect, after two years of yelling at federations for overusing and misusing celebrities, throwing one into the second-highest profile match of the year may have been an error. And certainly, a bad omen.

Made In America, or Misfits In Action, whatever you want to call them, broke up. And Eric wept. That's an awful sign of things to come. After all, if they can break up, then what faction is safe? To boot, General Rection is no more, which surely has to be the disappointment of 2001.

There's more, too. A legitimate (or formerly legitimate) Olympic wrestler holds the World Wrestling Federation title. The XFL is about to begin. No fair catch! Vegas is even taking (small) bets on the league. ECW may finally go under (check out John Powell's excellent column on the matter here). WCW has finally been purchased, or so Fusient claims -- we've seen no sign of it yet.

The end is near, folks. If Nostradamus the prophet were still with us, he'd look at these facts and predict armageddon. I think he may already have in one of his books.

Bear in mind this is all for fun, folks. But strange things, they be happening in the world of wrestling lately, and if I were you, I'd beware the unexpected!

Here's the mailbag.

Scott, from, writes:
"I enjoyed your column, and consider myself a long time mark. But I don't get why Steven Regal is a good addition to the WWF. I think he's a jobber-to-the-stars at best. His in-ring skills leave a lot to be desired for my taste. I feel that with his mic skills, he would be a good heel announcer for Jakked or Metal, but there are a lot of superstars who are much more exciting to watch. Maybe I need to be let in on the supposed (Ross report) brilliance of this wrestler, but he looks like a reject from the Johnny Rodz school of Jabronis. No physique, no gimmick, lousy forearm smashes-what am I missing?"

I understand where you're coming from. I often find myself asking what the heck people like about so-called master wrestlers for whom I can barely muster a yawn.

I don't find Regal riveting so much as amusing. Much in the same way as Bobby Heenan's shtick, I just find something funny about the way he behaves. There's a certain overacting to his performance, in and out of the ring, and I enjoy it. That's just my opinion, though.

Jim Harper, from, writes:
"I agree 100% that the Hardys shouldn't break up. For one thing, the general public doesn't particularly care for one Hardy over the other (unlike the internet gurus). That wasn't the same with the Rockers. Shawn Michaels was small but he looked bigger than he actually was, if that makes any sense. Also, Michaels had more personality, mic skills and overall talent than Jannetty. But forget that for a minute: the Hardy's are too similar when they aren't wrestling. They look too much alike, they talk too much alike, they act too much alike. Jeff Hardy may be the better of the two, but it's not enough to warrant him a better single's push in the eyes of the masses. The Hardys are also too small (unless they challenge for the Cruiserweight title). The Hardys should remain as a tag team.

In fact, even if the Hardys were placed in a division for the Cruiserweight title, they would, still, be better as a tag team. If I had the option of being either a midcard cruiserweight or a great co-tag team wrestler, I would pick to be the great co-tag team wrestler every time!"

Jim, the more I think about it, the more I agree with you. I had been operating under this impression that fans would get (and already have gotten) behind Jeff Hardy as their favourite. Though he performs greater than his share of pseudo-suicidal moves, I think the crowd would be pretty split between him and Matt. At least, they seem to be so far. So you're right, the dynamic that set the Rockers apart from other tag teams and made them ready for splitting doesn't seem applicable here.

That's all for this week. Thanks for tuning in, I hope you enjoyed it. Have a great week!

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