SLAM! WRESTLING: And Nothing but the Truth

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

Friday, November 19, 1999

Time for some 'maintenance'

Eric Benner
Special to SLAM! Sports

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I'd say it was 'that time of year, again,' but I realize I apply that moniker to just about everything now. That doesn't make it any less true, though, as it is that time of year again. The WWF is sweeping down to our little corner of the world, Eastern Canada, and will hit both Toronto and Montreal this weekend. In addition to that, WCW Mayhem will be taking place in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, the very same weekend that the WWF does their thing at the SkyDome.

As if that's not enough, SLAM! is practically giving away the whole weekend for free, with a private box, tickets, shirts, Nintendo games, and even some CDs all up for grabs in the big WCW-WWF Canadian Collision Contest. By the way, congratulations, Joe Giorgio, winner of the Mayhem private box tickets. Lucky dog.

Oh, yeah, and there are also about fifteen personal appearances to go check out, too. Good weekend for wrestling fans, that's for sure.

Of course, anytime you have live events coming to town, you can be sure to get the same new enthusiasm from me, as I get reminded once again why I'm a fan of this great sport. I'll probably follow up this weekend's event with a column next week to that effect, or maybe what great new superstar has impressed me beyond belief with a fantastic live performance. Last year it was the Hardys.

This weekend will be especially different, for me, as I'll be enjoying the show not from the sort-of empty journalist cat-walk high above the ground, but among the fans. I wouldn't say either perspective is better, but it's nice to have change - thanks, Greg. [Well, Eric, thank the WWF for the tickets, actually.]

Anyway, back to reality.

I was pondering recently, as I suppose one would have to in order to come up with column topics each and every week, and I've found that every so often, my interest in the sport wanes. I'm sure that's true of everyone, but believe me, if you were to sit down and stare at a computer screen until you not only thought of something to say but also said it in about fifteen hundred words, you wouldn't necessarily be in the mood to watch three hours of Nitro right after that, either.

I'm not trying to say something about myself, though, because that's of interest to about one person here, the guy who's writing. I think this applies to anyone reading this column right now. Unless you're really, really just a passing fan who watches the shows and happened to log into the site today, and I doubt that you are, then you're in the same boat as me.

The internet has changed the face of wrestling. There's no denying it, and I don't really need to prove it. I think it's changed wrestling for the better, helped support the boom wrestling's seen in recent times. But it has also changed the fan. The same people who populate the internet are really enjoying (I hope) a very different experience from the guys who don't have a clue what goes on on the net.

That's good, to an extent - it's a way to keep your interest in wrestling high when you miss shows or just need that fix later in the week, but it can also be bad. It's just easier to be a fan when being a fan entails four or six or however many hours of television-watching per week than when that same fandom also consists of an extra two or however many hours of reading.

Clearly, I'm not opposed to wrestling on the Net nor do I think it's a bad influence. I mean, I'm here, right? No, instead, my point is that like any other high-maintenance vehicle, online wrestling fans will every so often require, you guessed it: maintenance. Two thumbs up if you also guessed that my personal perception of 'maintenance' comes in the form of, that's right, live wrestling.

I'm not just trying to tell you that live shows are good, or even that live shows are maintenance for the online wrestling fan. Those are just stepping stones. I'm telling you to get off your keister and get to one of said live shows.

So if you live in Civilization - that is to say, Montreal or Toronto, or even somewhere nearby - then you have no choice but to do as I say. After reading the mail-bag, take a break from the internet for awhile. If you're at work, you know as well as I do that Solitaire is the number one productivity waster, not the internet, so you can survive for the rest of the day. If you're at home, go outside and get some fresh air. Either way, don't log back online for the rest of the weekend -- Except for SLAM! You can come and visit SLAM! if you want -- that's the only exception. Come on, what am I supposed to say? Regardless, get yourselves some tickets for a local event and then get yourself on down there, buy some meaningless souvenir for no reason, and watch the show.

Important: while watching the show, don't ponder anything about the state of the sport. Don't think about the opposing federation, about angles, about contracts, disputes, behind-the-scenes feuds, or out-of-work athletes. Just live the kayfabe, enjoy the show, and then go out for a few afterwards. Then, and only then, may you log back online to find out whether or not the WWF has been swallowed into a big black hole in the absence of Go ... er, Mr. Vincent Russo.

I'm not trying to sound supercilious. Heck, let's be honest, neither of us even knows what supercilious means. But we do know what arrogant means, and I'm not trying to be that, either. I'm as much of a wrestling-net junkie as anyone, and I'll be under doctor's orders, too.

If possible, hold off until Monday night and watch Raw and Nitro wholly unpolluted, but be sure to tune in early next week for my recap of the Montreal show. [Editor's note: Of course, TSN is showing Wayne Gretzky's Hockey Hall of Fame induction rather than Raw. Can't say we blame 'em.]

That's it, that's all. Mailbag:

Bloodthirsty Bob Kapur, one of our own, from, writes:
"Eric, I believe that "kayfabe" was originally a word used by 'Carny' folk and means "fake". They would alter the word, similar to the way English is manipulated into Pig Latin, to avoid the "rubes" from learning that the oddities/sideshow freaks were all fake.

Keep in mind that I don't know if that's definitely the true origin, but I've heard it from a variety of people. Interestingly, it was rumoured that KAYFABE was the personalized license plate of Gorilla Monsoon."

I've been getting emails all week about my so-called origins for the word kayfabe. Each and every one of you has pointed out to me that it stems from Pig Latin. I've been trying to do it all week, and all I come up with is "akefay." I'll take your word for it, though.

Somebody apparent named "5 Hillsteads", from, writes:
"My only response about I can honestly give is that he seems to be an over-grown baboon in need of some serious help. He has no angle (not yet that is worthy to be interesting) and his wrestling skills remind me of Hogan. Give him something anything!"

Well, 5, if you think The Big Show's that boring and I assume you mean for the comparison to Hogan to be insulting, then why would you want him in an important angle? Shouldn't you be calling for a new champion?

I personally like the big champion. I loved the old Andre/Hogan stuff, no matter how poorly executed it was. I was seven at the time, granted, but I'm sure Paul Wight and The Rock could do slightly better, anyway. I say give him a chance, just the way everyone gave Triple H a chance. He paid his dues in WCW, if nothing else.

That's all for this week. Thanks for writing, thanks for reading. BY THE WAY, and I never use caps so you know I mean business, it has been brought to my attention by some that my good friend Matt Gardner, in his recent Smackdown! recap, dared to utter "see you in 7," a catch-phrase which even if I choose not to use it, is nonetheless mine! Hands off, buster! Anyway, that's it.

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