The Hot Topic: Money…All Or Nothin?

Rob Taylor


Welcome once more to THT, a lot has been going on within the WZ forums recently, but the Columns Lounge is back in full effect. Check it out and you can contribute your ideas to the IWC.

On another note, I have been asked to re-launch the E-Fed section of the forums in the coming weeks. As someone who played the game for 10 years, I hope to bring some real fun fedding to the WZ fourms in the not too distant future… I also want to make the E-Fed section somewhere where players can get information as well as help and advice on playing the game to get the maximum from their E-Wrestling experiences.

To that end I am assembling a top team of experienced Fedders to write articles for the new E-fed section.

If anyone is interested in being involved in the new E-Fed section of WZ Forums, then contact me on the mail addy at the end of the article. I am particularly keen to hear from Match Writers, Roleplay Judges and most importantly Players…

With regards to my columns, I will soon be launching a companion column to THT… The ReHeat will look back at the storied history of the Wrestling business, the matches, the feuds, the wrestlers themselves. The ReHeat will be a WZ Forums exclusive for the time being, so make sure you check it out!

Keep tuned to www.wzforums.com for all the events as they unfold!

Now onto this weeks Hot Topic, and boy has it been a turbulent week for the WWE… 2 Major events have rocked the business, firstly, Stone Cold’s “removal” from his highly hyped return against Coach and secondly, Christian’s “shock” decision to walk away from WWE.

At first glance, Austin’s loss to Taboo Tuesday was massive…after all much of the hype around the event was based on Austin’s return. The net was awash with rumors Austin had balked at losing to Coach…If this was true, then it would indicate to me that WWE was testing Steve Austin…to see if A) He could still draw hype for a match and B) How serious he was about the WWE…

Most people watching would accept Coach is not in Austin’s leauge, he is a commentator, not a main event level wrestler; Some would argue Austin had every right to refuse to lose to him, even with assistance from a Mark Henry, a Goldust or even a Vader, who despite being a legend 10 years ago, has been away so long it would be unrealistic to expect him to lose to Austin. Indeed in the aftermath of the alleged refusal of Hulk Hogan to lose to HBK, why should Austin lose to anyone, much less The Coach?

However, Stone Cold’s problem here, is that his compatriots have all lost high profile matches when required to to lesser opponents, more so that ever in recent months. Triple H, at one time derided for refusing to lose, stared at the lights for Jim Ross…A Commentator… Kurt Angle jobbed to Eugene… HBK took the loss to Hogan on the Hulkster’s terms…more importantly, those who are termed Legends, put over new talent, Roddy Piper, Mick Foley, Ric Flair have all done their share of losing to young upstarts like Randy Orton, Eugene, Hassan amongst others…

The WWE that Steve Austin left had almost an entirely different ethic… Main eventers only lost to main eventers… One or two midcarders a year would rise… This is not a part of today’s WWE, where a wrestler can go from debut to wrestling a RAW or SD main event within 6 months Ken Kennedy or Chris Masters? How many saw them both being in main events already on back in January? How did it happen? Cos people put them over!

If Austin didn’t compete cos he refused to lose to Coach, he would have failed that test… Which raises the question does someone who doesn’t pass that test, deserve a place in WWE? Whatever they have done previously? Does WWE need them? Or to put it another way, do they need WWE? If Austin realised has nothing more to prove to WWE fans and is secure enough in that to accept he has little to gain from any match WWE can offer…that sounds fair to me.

This does lead onto the 2nd major event of the week…one more disturbing for WWE in terms of echoes of the past.

Christian leaving WWE came as no surprise to many, the nature of it did however. Christian is seemingly the 4th major superstar WWE has allowed contracts to expire on in the last 18 months… The Rock, The Dudleyz (despite protestations that they chose not to resign them, they allowed the contract to run out), Chris Jericho and Christian.

Christian’s reasons for leaving, much like Jericho’s remain their own, but it is eerily reminicent of 2000 when Chris Benoit, Eddy Guererro, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn quit WCW.

For whatever reason those 4 men chose to jump ship, arguably they did so at just the right moment. Benoit and Eddy in particular were able to not only seize the spotlight with their defection, but over time change the focus of the business for a time, indeed to become the two top attractions in WWE for a time.

Christian is exactly where Benoit was at that time he chose to walk out on WCW career-wise. Just ready to break into the main event on talent alone. The only difference being, Vince chose to let him walk rather than throw a title at him to try and keep him as WCW attempted.

Indeed it is difficult to blame WWE if their rumored reason for De-pushing Christian, that they could not copyright his “Captain Charisma” gimmick but it was hardly Christian’s fault either.

Where Christian goes from here is debatable, he may choose to return to the WWE after a time, he has done the right thing but showing up for RAW and Taboo Tuesday and professionalism is a big plus. However TNA must seem awful tempting right now…reduced travel…a guaranteed NWA Title reign, and the chance to work on Primetime TV and PPV with some of the stars of tomorrow like AJ Styles and Chris Daniels. With his history of matches in WWE being a perfect match for the X-Division style, two years of blistering matches with those two now, could not only make TNA real competition, but prelude to a World title run for Christian, perhaps even against them in WWE in 3-4 years time.

If that occured of course both Christian and WWE would have won in the gamble…but the worrying sign that WWE has to face right now is two of their most charismatic and popular performers have chosen to walk away from them in the last 3 months. The Rock shows little interest in even talking about WWE these days, Austin’s relationship with them is back to being rocky and Brock Lesnar openly defied a WWE lawsuit to win his first title match in Japan.

For a Ken Kennedy or Chris Masters, WWE right now is a land of oppurtunity, but they too will be concerned a veteran, with so much history and a perfect record in the backstage stakes, chooses to walk cos he can’t quite break the glass ceiling. Other stars nearing the end of their deals will now be analysing what a new 5 year deal would really hold for them and wonder if the grass is greener…

Indeed, this generation is the smartest wrestling has had. They have heard all the horror stories told by the veterans that WWE have hired. They have heard the Rock’s tales of his childhood and from Rocky Johnson on the perils of living paycheck to paycheck. “Locker Room Leaders” like JBL, are openly savvy and it would be hard for anyone in their company not to pick up hints on how to handle money. In today’s WWE even a modest run for a couple of years is enough to secure a wrestler for life… In the case of a Christian or Chris Jericho or Steve Austin, they have no need to ever set foot in WWE again should they choose not too…even a Christian, a mid-carder can afford to take a sabbatical or afford not to accept WWE’s offer.

This is a peril WWE cannot ignore, because their top line of stars is ageing ,diversifying and dissenting.. HBK, Kurt Angle and now Austin have been reported to have expressed unhappiness with angles and roles lately… If WWE is gonna let a Steve Austin walk now, Undertaker retire or Cena go off an make a Predator movie for example it cannot then let a Christian walk too, soon there would be no replacements!

Money is not the be all and end all for a wrestler these days, promotion, legacy or as my fellow columnist Mike Steele called it “The MacGuffin”. is very important to everyone in some ways… For wrestlers, they want that main event once..that title once… If WWE cannot or won’t give it to them, then why sacrifice your body for them when there are other options like TNA or Japan? It’s a question WWE is going to be asked a lot in the next 2 years as more contracts come up for renewal.

What do you think? Am I crazy? or does this all make sense? as ever contact me on robwilltaylor@hotmail.com with any feedback…AND don’t forget about the E-Fed Forum!

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