Pittsburgh Tribune Review 12.28.03 - Suggestions for a happy WWE new year

Pittsburgh Tribune Review 12.28.03 - Suggestions for a happy WWE new year

Post by Evad Seltz » Tue, 30 Dec 2003 07:00:31

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/sports/s_171893.html

Suggestions for a happy WWE new year

By Rennie Detore
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, December 28, 2003

While WWE featured a best-of-2003 show last Monday instead of "Raw,"
the company's thoughts had to be on 2004, more specifically what Vince
McMahon must do to win back lost viewers as well as creating a new
audience.
Here are a few suggestions:

1. Less Triple H -- A superstar who arguably was the best wrestler in
the business two years ago has dramatically fallen in the eyes' of WWE
fans. No matter what he says, his spot is protected by the McMahon
family, because he clearly doesn't have the same presence that made
him WWE's most profitable heel champion.

He's terribly overexposed, he doesn't deliver consistently quality
matches, and his victory over Goldberg and Kane at "Armageddon" a few
weeks ago is completely unjustified given his injury and subsequent
appearance -- his once chiseled physique is all but gone.

"The Game" still is young enough to be more than just a role player,
but he'll never reach the same heights unless he takes a decent amount
of time off to get himself back in shape and give fans a break from
his tired act.

2. No McMahons -- This one might be tough, given that "Wrestlemania
XX" is only a few months away. Professional wrestling's No. 1 family
can't resist the thought of the company's biggest pay-per-view drawing
huge numbers without them prominently featured.

Lately Vince, Linda, Shane and Stephanie haven't played integral roles
in storylines, other than Vince's surprise dance-off with Ernest "the
Cat" Miller or Shane featured on the cover of the "Survivor Series"
DVD.

One can only hope that the family continues with trend, even with
thoughts of "Wrestlemania" glory on the imminent horizon. It would be
nice if, just for once, "Wrestlemania" was marketed around the
wrestlers and not someone wrestling in a black sweatpants or a
baseball jersey.

3. Good storylines never hurt -- The Trish-Chris Jericho saga on "Raw"
is the first strong WWE storyline in years because it isn't being
rushed to a conclusion. Often, WWE maps out a can't-miss angle and
finishes it in a week or two, without sufficient time to build into
anything more than glorified filler.

The difference with Jericho's storyline is that he's actually playing
a character with more than one dimension, expressing frustration over
being "in love" and "loyal" to his friend, Christian. This type of
personality gives Jericho a chance to branch out from the same,
annoying, cry-baby heel he's played since 1999.

If WWE insists on making entertainment the focal point, then this
storyline should be used as the blueprint.

4. Dump the dead weight -- WWE officially released Dustin Runnels last
week and should continue cleaning up its flooded roster, sending guys
like Rico, Val Venis, Rosey, "The Cat" and Sable -- to name a few --
packing.

WWE has to ask itself one question: Is this superstar doing anything
other than taking up space? When was the last time Sable did anything
other than stumble over her lines or almost trip getting into the
ring?

The "Raw" roster, especially, has a shortage of interesting
characters, instead relying on overused tandems (Dudley Boys) and
silly, one-dimensional gimmicks (La Resistance, Super Hero In
Training).

5. Re-sign Goldberg -- This is a tough one, because it's hard to gauge
Goldberg's WWE run in just one year. He started slowly but recently
has found his niche. That said, his hefty salary isn't justified given
the ratings and buyrates before, during and after his run as champion.

He should, however, be re-signed for at least one more year. He's
finally connecting with fans, especially after losing the WWE title to
Triple H, and his once suspect mic work drastically improved from his
days as a screaming lunatic in WCW. He's no Ric Flair or Mick Foley,
but he's certainly better than the naive, neanderthal Goldberg from
1996.

Finally, the federation must remember that wrestling still matters to
fans, no matter how many times the phrase sports entertainment is
uttered.

In the long run, fans will talk more about Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar
wrestling a stellar 30-minute Iron Man match than "The Cat" dancing
with Sable or Venis and Storm scoring dates on "Raw."

The idea of featuring nothing but wrestling on a 2-hour show is
ridiculous but, then again, so is pretending like athleticism and
match quality don't matter, either.