Cheap Heat 4.03.01: WrestleMania And Other Thoughts


I didn't come in with a column last week. The primary reason was: EVERY Internet writer who wrote last week was contractually obligated to submit a WWF/WCW column and, apparently, rant on how Vince soiled the name of WCW by not letting the WCW guys have the spotlight. So, I didn't feel like being one of those.

Also, I couldn't think of a good use of the word "surreal."

Not that I agree with them, mind you. The reason no one was given a sayonara bow is because: it's not over. The entire point of having Shane buy WCW from Vince is so there's still a semblance of "competition." So, to generate some sort of interest in WCW, they put a storyline to it. You know, storylines… the things WCW forgot about last two years. I mean, the WWF is so storyline driven that they taped a segment with Mick Foley FOUR MONTHS before they aired it.

WCW being bought by the WWF is no different than WCW being bought by Eric Bischoff and Fusient. Vince forgetting WCW's history? Vince now OWNS WCW's history. What could Vince possibly do to besmirch (heheh) WCW's history that Bischoff hasn't already done? Bischoff seemed to forget the fact the NWA/WCW title lineage dates back into the Forties, and the first champ held a title that dated back to the mid 30s. The only difference between Bischoff and Vince is the fact that hardcore WCW fans hate Vince McMahon. What they forget: the WWF, and wrestling in general, wouldn't exist in the form it's in today if not for Eric Bischoff. Conversely, WCW wouldn't be in the shape it is today if it wasn't for Eric Bischoff. Eric can be credited for opening Pandora's Box, and not being able to keep ahead of what he let out.

The things that bother me with everyone complaining? A couple of things. First, at least with Vince, WCW is still alive. Eric's show was getting booted off of Turner networks as soon as last Monday was over. What would you prefer they do? Not let people know that WCW is still going to be watchable? Secondly, everyone is condemning this venture BEFORE IT EVEN STARTS! You're not beating a dead horse, you're beating the colt before it's born. The people that are complaining about what Vince is going to do with WCW once it re-airs are no better than the Religious Organizations that opposed the movie Dogma before they saw it. And we all know they were out there. Can we give it a chance before we condemn it to be trash?

I mean, at the very least, David Arquette won't be champion again… right?

Think about it. Anyone who says what Vince McMahon MIGHT do with WCW really has no idea. Did ANYONE foresee an Austin heel-turn last night? Did anyone predict it? No, not really. So, if they can protect the ending of the biggest PPV of the year in the Internet age, they sure as hell can protect what the new look of a PROMOTION will be.

Speaking of Wrestlemania, that was the point of this week's column. I guess, since I didn't write in last week, I feel the need to give a double dose of opinions. So, anyway, I'd like to humbly retract what I said about Wrestlemania last month. I was wrong, this year's Wrestemania kicked so many different kinds of ass, I can't really count them all. I'm guessing you all won't be reading this till Tuesday or Wednesday, so Austin's heel turn will have come in to full effect by then.

Regal v Jericho: Not nearly long enough, but still a great match. Both guys managed to show they've earned the spots they were given. Regal is a great commissioner and really didn't need a belt. And Jericho is quivering with potential, waiting for a shot at the top to open up.

RTC v TAPA: I called the winner, but I forgot the Bradshaw/Texas connection. The right team went over here. I just wish there was some more forwarding of RTC falling apart. They've run their course. I think the WWF's only stalling tactic with them comes from the fact they don't know what to do with Bull, Stevie, or Val once the group finally folds in on itself.

Raven v Big Show v Kane: I really didn't think they'd give Kane the Hardcore Title, because he doesn't need it. Did anyone else find the shot of him at Axxess kind of funny… with the street clothes and the Kane mask? As a general rule, I'm sick of the Hardcore matches that go backstage, although I think the car chase spot would have been funny if Raven and Show didn't crash their cart.

Test v Eddy: Was an OK interim match. I thought they did really good with the time they were given. I'm not really sure what's going to happen to the Radicals now that Benoit is on to bigger and better things. Out of the three of them, only Eddy could be a superstar if he dropped the insulting accent. I think Eddy may wind up down south.

Kurt Angle v Chris Benoit: Unbelievable match all around. Angle actually made us believe that Benoit could match him on the mat. That, if nothing else, should make you understand how good these two guys really are. I think it also was meant to say something when ANGLE was the first one to break out of the mat sequences. The Texas fans seemed into the match. It was like a 68,000 fan ECW crowd. I know this was meant to set up a Submission Match at Backlash, but the finish left me kind of sour. They'll fix it at the end of the month, I'm sure.

Chyna v Ivory: The best saving grace of this match? Chyna only had to be on the screen for two minutes. Let's see if Lita or Molly can pull a good match out of her.

Vince v Shane: Rob Van Who? Shane is really an unbelievable spot machine for someone who doesn't have to be. My guess is he wants respect from the wrestlers. It's gotten the point now that I anticipate Shane McMahon matches, just to see what he's going to do. I think anyone who's watched wrestling for more than six months saw the finish coming, but I'll be damned if it wasn't cool anyway.

TLC II: The mid-air spear was the spot of the night. Anyway, what can you really say about this that hasn't been said about these guys before? They're willing to put their bodies on the line for the show. Gotta love them for it.

Gimmick Battle Royal: People are going to say this sucked and it was pointless, and the ones who say that are the ones who weren't wrestling fans in the pre-nWo/pre-Austin era. They're the ones who never knew what it was like to hide the fact that you were a wrestling fan. They never got up on weekend mornings to watch Superstars or All-American. This match wasn't about the wrestling… obviously, it was about getting a chance to see these guys, and let them hear their music in front of 65,000 people. But, I liked it, and it was nice to give the guys another few minutes in the spotlight. And seeing the Gooker Footage on WWF television again was fun. As an aside, I'd forgotten how cool Earthquake's Music was… and I'm upset they decided against using Doink's heel music. I'll have to go download both now off of Evil Napster.

Undertaker v HHH: Not only did HHH job out, he jobbed out clean. There really must be incredible respect for the Undertaker backstage. Of course, I would guess after getting a clean win over Austin, some concessions are expected. These guys put on a good show, though I think any audience fighting was badly done in a crowd of this magnitude. Back when Wrestlmania used to draw this many people, fighting in the crowd wasn't done, so it wasn't a problem. Live and learn, I guess.

Austin v Rock: What do you do when you don't have to bother competing with another show anymore? Any damn thing you want to. Hence, the big Austin heel turn comes to fruition. They had to keep the music damn loud so we wouldn't hear the people still cheering Austin. I think tonight's selling of the heel turn is going to be a big part of whether it works or not. It was about time to do something different with Austin, and this is it. The only person I see getting lost in this mix is HHH, mainly because now he's the second heel and, if he makes a face turn, the second face.

Where they can go from here? The storyline deck usually gets shuffled after Wrestlemania. They already have Benoit lined up for big things in the new year, as long as the crowd gets behind him. Obviously, the feud with Angle isn't over yet, and it's going to culminate at Backlash with a submission match between the two. The only question now is whether they'll do the right thing and put Benoit over.

Jericho. They can go anywhere with him, as he's been left feudless with his clean win over Regal. The issue there is settled. Jericho has all the crowd reaction he needs, he just needs some big wins to finally establish himself. Every match he has with the upper tier guys ends with a loss, so what's the point?

Test. I think big things could be planned for him. Same thing… every time he ends up against a top-carder, he loses. He can't establish himself as a force to be reckoned with if he never wins.

Triple H. He's the only one I can kind of see getting lost in the shuffle here. Austin is going immediately to top heel, and Rocky is the top face. That leaves H as the second banana whatever side of the fence he's on. I think he wanted to stay heel originally BECAUSE he didn't want to compete with either of those guys. Now, he doesn't have a choice. I guess, after seeing him on Smackdown in oldschool, DX face gear, he could be turning on Vince soon. Of course, a divorce angle from Stephanie would work over into him getting f-ed by the McMahon and Austin, and probably turn him babyface by default. The crowd already pops for Motorhead (ugh), so getting him to be a full-fledged good guy wouldn't take too much effort.

Austin. There better be a damn good explanation as to why he aligned with the guy who tried to screw him seven ways to Sunday over the last four years. I know JR was selling it as selling his soul to the devil for the title. I simply hope it doesn't turn into "no one but Vince cared while I was in the hospital."

The Raw after Wrestlemania is usually one of the best of the year. All new stuff happens. I'm looking forward to it and, I hope, as you read this, it was as good as I thought it'd be.