Cheap Heat 08.29.01: Unifying The Titles

I actually find myself faced with a multitude of thoughts for the first time in a while. I have some column ideas for the next few weeks. I know a couple of you have asked me for the Top Ten Faces that I promised a while back, but it keeps being put off by relevant issues for the time. A top ten column can be written at any time. Certain thoughts have to be put on paper when they’re timely. Like this one.

By the way. Can anyone tell me who at A&E thought it would be a good idea to replace Law and Order reruns with the Sandra Bernhard Experience? Replace reruns of the best show on Network Television with an ugly yak telling us about her favorite stuff. Oy.

On Monday’s Raw, the Rock came out and gave us some of the classic history of the WCW title. He mentioned some of the storied champions of WCW’s classic past. Rick Flair, Lou Thesz, and Ricky Steamboat. These are the guys who gave their all to WCW. They had no family, no life outside the ring, and most retired without much to show for it. It was nice to see the Rock give them their props. So what’s my problem?

Well, I understood when Vince McMahon purchased WCW, that we’d eventually see some WCW/WWF title unification matches. We’ve gotten our palettes whetted on X-Pac vs Kidman and the Brothers vs DDP and Kanyon. Back in the day of the territories, a unified champion was something special. It was the best in one federation wrestling the best in another federation. It actually WAS a title unification match. Two different promoters, two different federation, and two entirely different sets of fans.

Which leads us to today.

We now have one man owning the World Titles in both federations. The unification of said titles is still an event to the hardcore fans but not nearly to the degree it once was. To us, it’s still something special and something unique. Or, at least, it’s supposed to be.

By the looks of things, though, Survivor Series (or Unforgiven) is looking like a title unification match between Steve Austin and the Rock. This is wrong in so many different ways.

First: The Rock, granted, has grown on me a bit since his return from “The Mummy Returns.” People have had a chance to recover from the tired old string of catchphrases and are content in getting fed a tired new string of catchphrases. The Rock is fine wrestler and a very good champion. But not for WCW.

WCW is to wrestling what the Mets are to New York Baseball they’re the “workhorse” segment of the sport. They never fully adopted the idea of “Sports Entertainment” as it applied to the wrestling. They, till the day they went down, tried to be a wrestling federation, not a sports entertainment federation. The Rock, for all his glitz and Hollywood glamour is the dead-ass opposite of everything WCW ever stood for. The Rock is the poster-boy for sports entertainment. To have him representing WCW in the first WWF/WCW title unification match is just plain wrong.

Second: The WWF/WCW title match is unique in its presentation. It’s something we’ve never seen before and something wrestling fans around the country have had a hard-on for since the dawn of the “Big Two.” Is there any reason, at all, that we should have two brand name, WWF stars representing the first WWF/WCW unification match? The stars Vince has from old WCW has two legitimate world title holders. Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page. Now, they can’t feud with Austin at this point, because they’re all in WCW, but who’s to say, down the road, that the two of them have to stick to WCW? Why does the WWF feel the need to rush a title unification feud? Are they afraid people are going to turn the channel and watch the competition?

What competition?

The WWF has carte blanche to extend storylines for as long as they like. They have the power of a true soap opera now. They can have story arcs that last months. Unfortunately, with the monthly pay per views, they feel they have to build to a monthly climax. Over the long haul, it’s the fans who suffer. The WWF is about to blow their wad on a unification feud that SHOULD headline next year’s Wrestlemania.

In my own opinion, which is what this article revolves around, if you hadn’t notice, they should hold this title match off for as long as possible. When a WCW brand name finally hits the federation, like a Scott Steiner, a Bill Goldberg, or a Ric Flair, then have your unification match. Don’t burn the match on a headline we’ve seen at 3 major PPVs already. Granted, you may not see Scott Steiner until next year. You may not see Flair for another year and a half. You may not see Goldberg until he realizes he isn’t famous anymore after the free checks stop being FedExed. Yeah, it might take a while, but we’ve waited this long.

Besides, let the match the good fans have waited for be the dream match we’ve always wanted, not an after-thought thrown onto a blow-off PPV because you’ve got nothing else to headline it. And especially not a match between two guys we are conditioned to know as WWF brand names, regardless of how you package them.

The match should be historical, not a blow off.

And NOT between two WWF guys for the love of God.

Of course, the Rock could also drop the title back to Booker T on Smackdown, and I’d look like a complete fool.

Or just moreso than normal.

End Transmission.