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SLAM! WRESTLING: And Nothing but the Truth

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

Friday, September 24, 1999

Big Tests still to come

Eric Benner
By ERIC BENNER
Special to SLAM! Sports


A weekly
SLAM! Wrestling
Editorial Column

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For the record, Nitro was a great show this week. I may have even enjoyed it more than Raw. Not the point, though. See, the news was happening over on the USA network. I'm not talking about the unprecedented five matches and three wins for Triple H, and I'm not talking about the elevation to main event heel status for the British Bulldog. I'm talking about the two inter-gender tag team matches.

It's not that I have something either for or against women participating with men in tag team matches, or that these two matches either blew me away or sucked. The reason I feel these two matches held such importance this week is that for me, watching them, a star was born. It was almost like a metamorphosis of some kind, as into the show walked Test, likely rookie of the year, and out walked Test, beater of both the Intercontinental champion and the defacto former heavyweight champion.

Test had arrived, if unspectacularly, onto the scene of those we call the main eventers.

If you look back at his recent history, this move really shouldn't be surprising. Most recently, Test has been feuding with Shane McMahon and the Mean Street Posse over the affections of his fiancee Stephanie McMahon. This may not have been Steve Austin-Vince McMahon or anything, and perhaps retrospective shows in the year 2025 won't look back fondly on this as one of the biggest feuds in wrestling history, but you have to admit that no McMahon feuds with a low mid-carder. They feud with Austin, The Rock, Mankind, the Undertaker, and so on. And now Test.

Test poses for SLAM! Wrestling. -- Greg Oliver, CANOE
To be brutally honest, I'd have to tell you I can scarcely remember any other angle that Test has been in, save for the Union, which was a long time ago, or when he was The Rock's bodyguard in the Corporation. That may say more about my long-term memory than it does about Test, though.

If you take a closer look at the man they call Test, I think that this move still shouldn't really be surprising. Canadian Andrew Martin hails from somewhere in Ontario (well, he's as Canadian as you can get without being from Quebec - just kidding). He's huge, at a legitimate mid-six feet (6'5"ish), and saying he was 275 pounds wouldn't be much of an exageration, I think.

In addition, his technical skills are sound. Despite the fact that he hasn't really refined his approach yet, he's still young, and he's still green, so we won't hold that against him for awhile. His finishing move is complicated enough, it's sort of a pump-handle slam that turns, mid-way, into a power-slam. It's also the finishing move of Wrath from WCW, if I'm not mistaken, and though it sometimes looks a little contrived, it's one of my favourites.

Finally, at the very least, he's new blood, something the WWF has always known just what to do with, so long as said new blood is big and over. If so, then the WWF pushes the new blood, and push they did. They thrust him right into the midst of a no-lose situation. I mean, come on, he's the fiance of the daughter of Vince McMahon. They could have cast Barry Horrowitz in that role and he'd be over, especially after that SummerSlam barnburner against Shane McMahon.

So if you aren't surprised and you aren't aghast that Test has been pushed up a few ranks, then you'll probably want to join me in evaluating his chances for success.

First, it should be said that Test isn't quite there yet. We probably won't be watching him take on whoever wins the Six Pack match at Unforgiven the following night on Raw. Nor are we likely to see him take on the champ at No Mercy, Survivor Series, or Armageddon. Probably not the Royal Rumble, either. But six months is a long time, and I think that if he's ever going to get the push, it'll happen between the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam of the year 2000.

That isn't to say, though, that he won't participate in some high-end feuds. If Chris Jericho gets the upset win over Ken Shamrock this weekend, then maybe as restitution to all the people whom Jericho has infuriated, he'll lose clean to an over upper midcarder face like -- I don't know -- Test! A feud with Mideon or Viscera, while curing insomnia, could lead to a clash with the Undertaker. Of course, by then, the Undertaker's metamorphosis from Death Incarnate to Biker Guy could be complete.

Anything's possible for Canada's Andrew Martin, but the way I see it, anything's plausible, too. Hey, that line sucked. Anything's possible for Canada's Andrew Martin, but the way I see it, the sky's the limit. Ack, that line was horrible, too. Anything may be possible for Canada's Andrew Martin, so expect big things to come from the very talented Test. Alright, that's my final offer.

Here's the mail. Only one letter this week due to technical difficulties on my part:

Dean Simon, from dbernstein@romac.com, writes:
"'I think that a year from now, we'll see Eric Bischoff's termination as either the saving grace or the last nail in the coffin for WCW, depending on how his replacements fare.' Eric, you're THE wrestling reporter for the site...and you can't offer up an opinion as to how this HUGE story in WCW will play out...people read your columns because of your opinions...get off the fence and take a shot at it..."

Dean, you do make a fair point. This column is an editorial by nature and thus I should probably add commentary to everything that's happening, but in all honesty, this is just one of those times when I'm on the fence. I really have *no* idea how this particular move is going to affect the grand scheme of things, but if you really want a shot in the dark, here it is. Don't hold me to it.

Bischoff's removal is going to have no discernible effect on WCW for a long time. Frankly, those competing for the job of booker are the same as they were before -- Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, and so on. If they end up in charge, we'll have the same screw-job finishes to everything we had before. I'm hearing that some minor changes have already started, such as a lessened emphasis on booking on the fly. A screw-job planned a week in advance is still a screw-job, though.

I desperately hope that WCW picks it up from here, but if you're asking for my gut instinct, it's that something else has to happen for this situation to become a really good one. For example, if someone with some balls and a brain were to take charge, then we might see some improvements. Until then, I fear the worst.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Sorry for the delay in posting - that was my fault. The column was written but sending it was impossible until late Friday. Have a great week, thanks for reading and thanks for writing.

Send email to ebenner@hotmail.com.

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