In the last year or so, the WWF has taken a more "adult"
approach to running their wrestling promotion. Since I'm
an adult, I guess that's a pretty good thing. There's been
a drop-off in the number of tax agents, models, African
princes (who happened to be a big white guy from Louisiana)
and alligator hunters; all of whom just happened to know
how to apply arm bars and body slams. In 1989, Vince
McMahon told Arn Anderson that having two of
the original Four Horsemen "gave credibility
to his company." In comparison to those days, Vince
has got credibility flowing out of his ears.
The last remnant of the late 80s is the Undertaker,
but they no longer insinuate that he's really a dead guy,
and more often than not, they show him out of costume. His
brother Kane is in full getup all the time, but there
isn't any other way to do it. He's been sold as disfigured,
and if he took off the mask, we'd all see that he used to
be a dentist named Isaac Yankem. Yeah, there are
still some gimmicks in the mid-card, like the Oddities
and Gangrel and the Headbangers, but that's
different. They're wrestlers who happen to have other interests
and lifestyles outside of the ring. They're not really circus
performers, vampires, and punk rockers, respectively, who
are bored with their vocational choices and want to try
wrestling to put food on the table.
But still, there's something about the WWF that flat out sits wrong.
Maybe it's the presentation, maybe it's just the history
behind it, but no matter how screwed up they do Hogan/Warrior,
WCW has stronger weight with me. Both promotions can, and
do, copy each other with frightening regularity. The World
Wrestling Federation just does the copy in such a way that
makes it tougher for me to perform the suspension of disbelief
that makes professional wrestling work in the 90s.
When Sting grabbed a stray forklift and turns over
a limo in the parking lot, I said, "Man, who left their
keys in the forklift, and how on earth is Hogan gonna
get back to the airport?" When Steve Austin
drove a cement mixer into the area underneath the Nassau
Coliseum and dumped a load into a Corvette, parked nowhere
near any other cars, I said, "I can't believe they
did that to a Corvette, but this was stupid." I had
the same reaction to Austin attacking Vince McMahon
in the hospital the week before, only worse, because the
timing was so bad. He was in the hospital for over a week,
with a regular old broken leg. My wife asked why McMahon
has oxygen tubes in his nose if his leg was broken, but
that might be a topic for a column in the New England Journal
of Medicine, not here at WrestlingClassics.com. But
a 52-year-old non-athlete went home from the hospital four
days after being brutally assaulted by their toughest S.O.B.,
including having been defibrillated?
I think Jim Ross and the rest of their booking committee,
and the promotion in general, have done a magnificent job.
In the last year, they've raised several guys who used to
be mid-card to new heights. HHH, Road Dog, Billy Gunn,
Bart Gunn and D-Lo Brown no longer need to be
on the first match of a house show. And Rocky Maivia
is on the verge of super stardom, a couple of years before
anyone could have predicted it. Overall, one can argue which
promotion has the greater depth of talent, an argument that
couldn't have been dreamed of at the beginning of this year.
But something still isn't right...if you can put your finger
on it for me, or just wanna say "howdy", drop
me a line.