The Hot Topic: The Way Forward…

Rob Taylor


Welcome one and all to another THT… My Chris Benoit columns have continued to gain large numbers of replies and I thank everyone who takes the time to share their views on the column.

I am going to dispense with the usual “round up” on recent events this time round in favor of cutting straight to the chase…

The Hot Topic is how WWE moves forward in the wake of arguably it’s most difficult period ever…

The Queen once referred to her “Annus Horriblis” and this is also how you could describe Vince McMahon’s year to date…and I don’t mean we have seen his ass…

2007 has seen several of his top stars go down to injury or be caught “cheating” publicly, the death and disgrace of one of them, the messy aftermath getting the US government onto his case, legends like Ric Flair seemingly getting pissed off one too many times AND Hornswoggle for a son? The only bastard in the situation is Vince, a poor one at that…

You could forgive Vinny Mac for feeling a little beleaugered right now, but true to form, he will brazen it out… WWE has come close to the brink before and always pulls something out of the bag… however, this time, the situation is not able to be blamed on a boogeyman in Ted Turner… Many of the problems are seemingly down to a fatal mixture of the McMahon swagger, bad luck, and WWE’s policy to keep things “in house”

The WWE Wellness policy at heart is a fallacy, not in how it works, is designed or implemented but WWE should really not need it… You don’t see movie sets or TV drug testing routinely… Indeed en-route to reprising Rambo, Sly himself had some issues related to “getting back into shape”, yet the trailers are on the TV and it is largely forgotten now… How many movie stars or musicians have died of drugs or substance issues younger than the magic 50 number that Wrestling’s version of the Dead Pool seems to rarely rise above? Chris Farley…Speedball and Heart issues, Belushi ditto, River Pheonix,Jim Morrison and a few weeks back, nearly Owen Wilson…is Owen suspended from his movies for 60 days? no he gets to ask “for time to heal”…

Yet WWE is the one with Congress to appease and the Press crawling all over them like ants on a disguarded hot dog…

WWE has been caught out yes… Their wrestlers have let them down and they have not been as “clean” as good clean fun demands for many. But this is not going to kill wrestling… It is also not going to help TNA…but there are a lot of good things the WWE have done with the Wellness Policy… MVP having a heart complaint? Who saw it coming? WWE with the Wellness Policy… arguably his life has been saved by it…

So how does WWE deal with all this negativity… Realistically we know the era of the big man is over for now at least… Rumors swirl that Chris Jericho has been offered a major deal, and it is certainly the right move for WWE… A proven talent, with the majority of the positive favor of the media coverage of recent months… he is known in the mainstream, but as a wrestler first and foremost…and his physique is realistic and more importantly, attainable without juice…

There are other men on the books who are of similar talent and will now step up… Matt Hardy and MVP are both in prime position to move into the World title picture over their feud… Jeff Hardy seems to be revitalised since his return… We always knew he would eventually slip…he got over it and is clearly ready to knuckle down…

Deuce and Domino have taken more of a role in recent weeks… a Tag Team in a prominent role is certainly a good thing…

WWE also has a trump card it is seemingly keeping close to its Hart…

Those who have seen the videos of the new Hart Foundation in Florida will agree there is something very special on the horizon with them… Harry Smith has a good enough level of Charisma and ability, plus the name to carry over…but more importantly, he is lanky but athletic, not built… he is like his dad was in the 80’s… ideal for a non-roid WWE… Teddy is clearly an amazing flyer… and Nattie is hot enough to turn heads when she does that Hart Attack clothesline…

The Hart Foundation could be the key to WWE’s long term future.. 3 young stars who have the genetics not to need roids…the name not to need push…and the support of pretty much every fan who ever watched their older parents and uncles perform…

WWE has always adapted and never more so than the proposed expansion overseas… I would love to see a UK WWE arm… indeed, that Seamus O’Shaugnnessy has been signed is a definite indicator that it is on the cards… the 6ft 6″ ginger is a good big man, but again, not so built that he looks un-natural… He could easily be a poster boy along with Finlay and Regal…

Expanding into Canada is likely, though Benoit may have delayed it…Japan would be too much of a risk right now… but Europe/UK is a dead cert and I for one would pay to go and see the shows regularly provided WWE priced them reasonably…

WWE will adapt in that PPV is clearly going to change… We will without doubt see a major WWE PPV (and I mean big 4) at Wembley Stadium next year…likely Summerslam again, but I would go as far as to say we will see The Big One there in ’09… nothing would bolster WWE and blast a new generation off than breaking WM3’s record at Wembley, which could easily hold 95,000-100,000 for a WWE event. That it happened in the UK would spark interest in the US as they “missed something big”… WWE also needs to adjust it’s PPV policy in the UK, particularly in price… a 90 minute game of Football on PPV costs £8, that includes an hour of analysis either side and 15 minutes of half time talk too… WWE shows here cost £15 (£30) for the same time of action that to watch live means a sickie… £10 is fair for WWE events, with £15 reserved for the big 2 (WM and the Rumble)…

In the meantime, WWE may choose to cut some PPV’s in number, Cyber Sunday being a likely casualty… Let the US market unsaturate a bit…particularly with MMA exploding…

The best thing WWE can do though…is to listen to the fans again… that may mean working with the Net fans rather than against them… They like Punk… give him the run… They clamour for Cena to lose… do it… let them see new title feuds like Matt vs Jeff or Edge… Let Cena go bad again like he clearly wants to, the fans want to boo him anyway… What’s the worst that can happen? WWE could not be in much of a worse situation than this moment…

Am I wrong?

As ever, send your feedback to robwilltaylor@hotmail.com… Till next time… Have fun…

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