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  " The Gravel Pit "

Wrestling

Moving Right Along
Posted by Mark Goodhart on Jan 16, 2003, 21:08

What am I thinking?

Why are people putting so much stock in what the fans in New York think about The Rock at that RAW celebration thing? Listening to the live crowd is an okay idea in theory and all, but it sure isnít perfect. After all, it was thinking like that which brought about Hulk Hogan winning the World Title last year. And I think we all knew how well that turned out, donít we? Donít forget folks, as much as The Rock ruled as a heel a few years ago, it was the outstanding face responses he was getting that finally made him a face. Iím just not that sure the majority of fans are going to be willing to boo him now, regardless of what movie roles he takes or what the people of New York say.

Boy, that A-Train sure got some monster push huh? My goodness, I wonder how many people are still thinking he stole something big from Matt Hardy after winning that one match against Rey and then losing every other one thereafter? Slow down big fellow!

Meanwhile, no one can stop Bill DeMott. Yes, the man with the name that sounds like a brand of applesauce is now unbeatable despite being the closest thing to being Rick Steiner in the last days of WCW I have ever seen. Heís got it all; the boring mat work that goes nowhere, the crappy finisher, and most importantly, the complete and total lack of a personality. And speaking of pushes that make no sense, what have John Cena and B2 done to get a tag team title feud with The Guerreros anyway?

Rhetorical Question: How come when Brock Lesner was getting his monster push, everyone was all up in arms about how he didnít earn it, but now that Team Angle is beating up Chris Benoit and Edge two weeks into their WWE tenure, no one seems to mind?

Quick idea for a wrestling gimmick, get yourself a really fat and ugly wrestler in the style of King Kong Bundy or The One Man Gang and have him wander around all the time saying that it was men like him that built the industry. And now all these little short, healthy guys are ruining it for the company since they arenít drawing the same as the big fatties were against Hogan in the eighties. I smell gold baby.

For those of you that enjoy the DVDs that all the kids are watching, let me just say that The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season is well worth the investment. Not only do you get a whole bunch of classic episodes that feature the first appearances of such luminaries as Dr. Nick Riviera (Hi Everybody), but you also get director/writer commentaries for each and every episode. And, boy do you learn stuff! Well... actually you donít but its fun anyway. Buy it now.

You should also buy our fearless leader, The Dames, stuff. Just because he is so damn neat and tidy! I think the world would be a better place if everyone would send our favorite NWA recap master a little bit of their appreciation. I recommend lots and lots of photos of Jeff Hardy merchandise. Because when you think of The Dames, think skinny ass white guys with questionable sexual orientation and body paint.

WHO DA MAN

Letís go to the mailbag and a fascinating letter from George Telse.

You are right three months having the World title shouldnít be sneezed at, but we all know that presently it doesnít mean a whole lot in the hands of Kurt Angle since itís primarily used to push Brock Lesnar. Basically we may end-up with a meaningless three months reign with the worth of the belt tarnished once again.
Bottom line, personally I feel that it should be time that the WWE make Kurt Angle their flagship wrestler and get behind him. But for some reason theyíre not doing it. For one thing Brock Lesnar is a better heel than baby face, we feel no sympathy for the guy. He will never be the "against-all-odds" type that Steve Austin was. What they should have done is end the whole thing at Wrestlemania with Angle making Lesnar tap, win the title, and become baby face amongst the cheers of the crowd. After that, this enterprise could have turned into a well-oiled machine maybe carrying the company at least most of the year. That wonít happen if Lesnar wins: there wonít be a great wave of enthusiasm from the fans that will generate good ratings.

Itís great that the company has finally pushed a new guy in Brock Lesnar, but I think right now, thatís all theyíre seeing right, Lesnar. Everybody says that Angle has everything from (microphone work) to wrestling and that heís always the first to lie down for the company. Well, thatís the problem, theyíve taken him for granted because heís so good that no bad storyline or bad booking can hurt him. But thatís what they always felt toward Jericho, and these days nobody can stand the sight of him. And Iím not saying all that because Iím an Angle fan: itís just that it is the right thing to do to make him the top guy and right now, and the WWE is shooting itself in the foot by ignoring it. He could be the solution to their problems.

George Telse


Thanks George! George here raises a very interesting discussion regarding the use of Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle and their places on the SmackDown pecking order. But I do have some disagreements with George regarding his booking strategies for these two very impressive athletes.

First off, I cannot see Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar changing affiliations at this point and pulling off the double turn since I consider both perfectly suited to their positions in the company. Kurt Angle is quite possibly the most fun-to-boo wrestler on the planet. Heís got a perfect blend of arrogance that makes you want to see him get his comeuppance while, at the same time, enough humor in his character that you actually enjoy his promos and enough skill in the ring to enjoy his matches. Thus, even when Kurt wins, the fans are not put off the product or given the sense that the face will never catch up with him. You can see the heel that always comes out on top on every edition of RAW to see what happens when Triple H escapes once more. The crowd visibly deflates. This does not happen with Kurt Angle. Brock Lesnar is also suited for his role right now of unstoppable face wrecking machine. By keeping the number of promos down and the number of impressive beatings high, the WWE has managed to get fans ready and willing to see just how Brock will destroy his next opponent. This didnít work quite as well when Brock was a heel simply because the fans liked the people getting pounded and because Brockís offense (when its not rest hold intensive) is pretty pop worthy. And while it is true that Brock is not the most sympathetic of characters, neither was Hulk Hogan back in the 1980ís and that period was very successful for the WWF. Basically, Brock is more of the superhero than the everyman and by playing to those strengths, he can be a very profitable influence for WWE coffers.

So, in short, I think the fans could totally get behind Brock as an invincible face champion like Goldberg portrayed in WCW. But I also think the fans would pay good money to get an opportunity to see Angle finally get beaten for his title. In my view anyway, what WWE has right now is almost the modern day equivalents to Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. The problem is that they have both of them at the same time and itís very difficult to give both men the ball and let them run with it due to their characters. Honestly, you cannot have the sneaky as all get out, yet still dangerous wrestler hold on against the superhero face indefinitely or the fans will tire of the chase and the superhero will lose his aura on invincibility. And you cannot have the superhero just crush the sneaky wrestler time and again or it will look like the smarter wrestler is not learning anything from past confrontations. Quite frankly, these two are were I see the future of the business and to mishandle them now that they are exactly where they should be could be a disastrous mistake.

So the question becomes, how do you juggle these two? Well, I think one of the things WWE needs to do is inject the fans with some sort of doubt as to who is going to go over in the Wrestlemania show down that had better be on its way. The best way for my money would be to allow Angle to go over Brock in some sort of tag team situation at No Way Out with the Olympic Slam or a roll up of some sort but make it obvious that Angle was using his smarts to get past Lesnarís physical tools. Then at Wrestlemania, when Brock goes over, have it appear as though Brock learned something from the first encounter before putting Angle down with the F5. Now, post Mania gets a whole lot trickier, since you do want to keep your top guys entwined with each other to bring in the most dollars. But, by the same token, you donít want to overexpose the match up so it never draws after the initial stage. So, having Angle tied up with the returning Rock would be a great way to continue to have him keep the main event label as Brock deals with the likes of an Edge that is trying to get to the next level (with that being Edgeís expressed motivation) or a Chris Benoit. Having both men come out ahead in their respective feuds allows them to get a new coat of varnish on the feud and have it continue to draw for a longer period of time as they continue to draw back to each other again and again. Until finally, Kurt goes over Brock once again and reclaims the title that he really should be carrying. Anyway thatís my plan.

What do you all think? Can Lesnar vs. Angle become the Luger/Flair of our generation or will the Wrestlemania loss propel Angle right back to the upper midcard for another long rebuilding session? Send me e-mail at and let me know how you feel about it. Youíll be glad you did.

Make sure you check out my archives, including the Albert article!!!




 

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