Big Apple takes bite out of Lita, Masters
By Rennie Detore
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Vince McMahon often uses the New York City crowd as the ultimate
litmus test when deciphering just what works in his world of sports
entertainment. After last Monday, two glaring truths were revealed:
WWE fans favor Matt Hardy over his ex-girlfriend, Lita, and Chris
Masters should change his name from "Masterpiece" to "Mess-terpiece."
The always savvy, and often biting Madison Square Garden crowd
bombarded Lita with "We Want Matt" chants during her segment on "Raw"
alongside her on-air rival, Trish Stratus. Lita attempted on several
occasions to regain her composure, but the Big Apple remained rabid.
Even Stratus, the WWE Women's Champion, seemed stunned at the
overwhelming response to the personal-turned-public breakup of Hardy
and Lita. To Stratus' credit, she didn't break from character, but
instead attempted to use more traditional heel tactics to settle the
Upon the conclusion of "Raw," Lita reportedly was very upset over the
What did McMahon think was going to happen? Did he honestly believe
that Lita would be met with a standing ovation or perhaps a polite
Lita lied to Hardy and hooked up with Edge, who was married at the
time. Somehow, I have to side with NYC on this one.
Furthermore, do you really blame WWE fans, not necessarily just those
in New York, for latching on to the Edge-Lita-Hardy love triangle?
That storyline, albeit a private matter, sounds more intriguing than
anything WWE is scripting these days.
The debate of who is right in this personal situation isn't up to
wrestling fans to decide. What was wrong was WWE putting Lita in front
of 20,000 intellectual wrestling fans and not expecting to get an
overtly negative reaction directed toward her.
Another superstar who hasn't endeared himself to WWE faithful is
Masters, the muscle-bound rookie who shares the same finishing move --
the full-nelson -- of 1980s mainstays Billy Jack Haynes and the late
Unfortunately, Masters also matches them word-for-word in charisma.
Masters, known as "The Masterpiece," sports a chiseled physique but
can't wrestle. And last Monday, he tried to cut a promo on "Raw" as
part of his ongoing storyline. He's offering $1,000 for anyone who can
break out of his full-nelson, an painfully obvious setup for a future
He stumbled over his words, and MSG practically ignored his incoherent
rant. The hip New York audience knew immediately that Masters is more
likely to be the next Lex Luger than Brock Lesnar. Masters is a
glaring example of McMahon's "big-man" mind-set of favoring glorified
body-builders over world-class workers.
Masters never is going to be the kind of superstar who will prompt
fans to buy pay-per-views or watch television shows based on wrestling
ability. Often overlooked by McMahon is the importance of five-star
matches and the subsequent buzz they create.
The smarter fans, like the ones in New York, already knew this.
Perhaps after last Monday's MSG test-run, McMahon might finally be up