In The Locker Room v.14 – Re-Gaining Focus by Jordan Prill
Hey everyone! I’m Jordan Prill, and I am one of the newest writers on the WresleZone team. And, dare I say, I am most likely the youngest! Here’s a little background on me. I am from a little town called Melrose Minnesota. I have been watching Wrestling since 1998 (in fact I can give the exact day, the morning of WrestleMania 14). I am a home grown boy here, in other words, I got my start by reading JOhn Wilsons columns, emailing him, and one thing led to another, and after 3 Wannabe contests and months of writing for WZ, I have now accomplished my goal. That’s it for me, any other questions you can email me yourself.
Over the last few months, with the end of basketball season, and the beginning of baseball, I have become very busy, and haven’t exactly given the time to my wrestling sites as I once did. Then one day, as I was sitting in Math class, looking around aimlessly as always, I realized something – I missed writing. I missed being able to express my opinion in a way not many can, and in a way that many people prefer – In my columns. I had been called a “top prospect” by many great writers, and after a broken ankle that I suffered healed in late March, I was in a sense throwing all that potential away by not continuing to step into The Locker Room. I lost focus is a simple way to put it. Losing focus happens everywhere. Pro athletes lose focus on the game and focus more on how much money they are making, often holding out on a contract dispute. Lawyers lose focus, sometimes not seeming to care as much about a certain case they are dealing with. There is, however, another profession that many lose focus in, but yet still come back to do great things, and that profession is the great entertainment we know as Pro Wrestling. I’m going to dig into what wrestlers have lost focus, only to regain it and become great successes, while others did not.
People who Re-gained Focus
The icon, of icons. The main event, of main events. The man who is often credited with putting pro wrestling where it is today. He was an amazing star, selling out arenas all over the United States in the late 80’s with the then WWF. But by the time the 90’s came along, he began to get stale, and after a short reign as champion in 1993, Yokozuna defeated Hogan and he vanished from the WWF. Now, how can the arguably biggest star in wrestling history just vanish? Well, in some ways, I believe he lost his focus. He took just about a year away from the business, perusing a career in acting. As it states on the “Monday Night Wars” DVD (I recommend picking it up), he was filming for a TV series called “Thunder in Paradise” which he would be the star. All accounts would show he was done with wrestling, throwing away what had brought him all his fame and fortune, the thing that had made him the most well known professional wrestler ever, and many were scratching their heads. Interviews about this have both McMahon and Hogan stating along the lines of “Younger stars had to be made, and Hulk Hogan was not a younger star, he was getting stale, and the World Wrestling Federation had to move on”. This may lead to the point that Hogan was losing focus BEFORE he ever left the company to try to be a full-time actor. He had been doing the same thing for close to a decade, saying “Say your prayers and take your vitamins brother”. Now, maybe it’s just me, but don’t you think if he was very interested in what his character was becoming he would have tweaked it ever so slightly? To show what I mean, look what he did after he arrived in WCW in the Summer of 1994, only to beat Ric Flair in his very first match! He first arrived in the yellow and red, but it wasn’t long before it started to get old in WCW too. So, Hogan made a drastic decision- he turned heel. Bash at the Beach 1996 was the place Hogan switched to black and white, and the place the wrestling world was turned upside down and was ready to go on the largest stage it could have ever imagined. Maybe that year off helped Hogan, giving him some new life in WCW, but he really seemed to regain focus in 1996, and as you can see, it helped him, and the wrestling world, more than anyone could have ever imagined.
A lot of people know, if you ever have a question about Shawn Michaels, I am the man to ask. Those same people also know that you should not get me started on bragging about HBK’s accomplishments. What not many people know at all though is that I will also be the first to say that he did not seem to care for a while, in many different instances. The first would be one that is documented on the “From the Vault” DVD, when in 1986 Shawn and partner Marty Jennetty were being looked at by WWF at a TV taping, but were fired the next day because Vince had received word that The Rockers were a little too rowdy (although Shawn denies it) at a night club. After returning to the AWA The Rockers were given another chance with the WWF the next year and this time they behaved. Shawn had very good success for about 7 years, teaming with Jennetty, feuding with Jennetty, and winning the Intercontinental Championship. But then something happened in mid-1993. Shawn was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship for not defending the championship within the 30-day limit. The real reason? From what I have read, the Heart Break Kid and the WWF were in a bit of a contract dispute. It seems that once again Shawn was losing his focus on what really mattered- wrestling.
Shawn returned at Survivor Series 93, and after that he went right after the IC championship again, and we all know the great matches he put on at WrestleMania 10, SummerSlam 95, and WrestleMania 12, which just goes to show how good this man really is when he is focused! Shawn again had a good tenure of “being focused” until February of 1997, when after winning the WWF championship back from Sycho Sid, he forfeited the title because of “injuries and having lost his smile”. The real reason? No one is really quite sure, but a lot of people, including myself, believe he wanted to join his buddies Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman in WCW. Once again Shawn returned around WrestleMania 13, and made a few more HUGE impacts, those being the “Screw Job” (you will hear my views on that in a later column) and the beginning of DX and the Attitude Era. However, The Showstoppa was stopped once again, this time perhaps not because of losing focus, but rather his back injury that kept him out for four years. Now, this may be taken the wrong way by some, but it is not meant to be. Shawn again may have again lost his focus right now, as he is now a devoted Christian (as am I) and it may or may not get in the way of storylines that the writing team may throw at him. Lets hope not, and hope that he continues to put on great matches like his match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania, and continues to entertain his huge fan-base for some more years to come.
People Who Didn’t
This story has been very, very well documented. But just incase you’ve been in a coma, or maybe have a severe case of amnesia, I’ll run through it for you. Brock Lesnar, A.K.A. “The Next Big Thing” was brought into the WWE in 2002, where he quickly won the King of the Ring, and at SummerSlam defeated The Rock for the Undisputed Championship. After Brock took the championship and became exclusive to SmackDown, he defeated Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 19 to win the WWE Championship (but not before almost breaking his neck attempting a shooting star press). He then spent most 2003 as the top man inside the blue ropes, until No Way Out, one month before WrestleMania 20 when he lost the WWE Championship to Eddie Guerrero, with a little help from Goldberg. Now, a huge match was set for WrestleMania, which was almost a lock for Brock to win because of Goldberg’s contract up the night after WM. Then, a few days before I myself set out on the road for my trip to WrestleMania, I came on WZ only to see a title along the lines of “Breaking News: Brock Lesnar leaving WWE after WrestleMania”. I, along with everyone else, was shocked.
Brock went on to lose to Goldberg at WrestleMania, and the rumors were proven true, as Lesnar did not appear on SD the following Thursday, and an announcement was even made by the GM that he was gone. Now what could make Brock leave the money and the fame that the WWE had brought him? He was “The Man” in the wrestling world at the time, the one to bring wrestling into the future, and suddenly, he was gone. I heard the news before many, on the local 830 WCCO radio station, as Mike Max broke the news on the late night sports show. “Former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar is apparently going to try out for our very own Minnesota Vikings,” He said in an almost sarcastic voice, “Now, I admit I am a wrestling fan, but Brock will only make our terrible defense look even worse”. I couldn’t have agreed more. Brock made it with the team into the pre-season, but was cut before the regular season even started. Then, when it looked like Brock would come knocking on the door, WZ posted another story that shocked me.
Now I don’t remember the specifics on this and couldn’t find them anywhere so correct me if I’m wrong. It stated in the post on the news board that Brock had signed a no-compete clause for the next 10 years, and that Vince was not interested in bringing him back. Ouch. This to me is like Johan Santana walking away from the Twins after the World Series, and then deciding to come back. Do you really think the Twins would object? I think in any other sport, we would see the “big star” back on the field. Has Brock re-gained his focus? Will he ever be allowed back into a WWE ring, or any ring at all for that matter? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Goooldberg! Goooldberg! Goooldberg! I’m sure we all remember that chant. This man was so huge, he put up 173 wins before finally being beaten for the first time because of a tazer from Scott Hall. He was the staple of WCW for a good two years, in the prime of wrestling. I remember his first match actually…. He came out, I had never heard of him, and I expected a total squash match. His opponent was Hugh Morrus and it was on Monday Nitro. Needless to say he totally demolished Morrus, and I sat looking at the TV saying “This guy is really cool!”. I did, admittedly, become a HUGE Goldberg fan for the next year and a half or so, and found myself watching WCW more than just the first hour of the show many times. Goldberg continued to go on his record tear through the company, winning the United States Championship from Raven, and a few months later, defeating none other than Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship, another match that is on the “Monday Night Wars” DVD. Bill was the number one man in the number one wrestling company at the time, and that being World Championship Wrestling. Soon after losing the title however, he was put on the shelf for about 6 months with an arm injury. Of course, we all know where WCW ended up not too long after. For two years, there was no sign of Goldberg in a wrestling ring.
As WrestleMania 19 came around, rumors began to circulate of a possible return from The Man. A promo then aired, and all rumors were now reality. Goldberg WAS coming to WWE. The only question was: Who’s Next? We soon found out, as the next night on Raw he started a feud with The Rock which lead to a win by Goldberg at Backlash. Bill then had a couple months of basically nothing, until Unforgiven 2003 when he defeated Triple H for his first championship outside of WCW. It didn’t last long though, as he lost the title just three months later at Armageddon to none other than Triple H. The reason for this was soon revealed that the WWE wanted to set up an inter-promotional match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WMXX. I’ve already gone through most of that, but it was quite clear that Bill did not want to be there. He has not made any sort of appearance with the WWE, TNA, ROH, or any other wrestling promotion since then, the closest thing being playing a role in “The Longest Yard” alongside Kevin Nash and Steve Austin.
Goldberg was a huge success in the wrestling business, but has since fizzled to well, just about nothing. I hate to say it, but I am beginning to agree with those who say “All Bill Goldberg was was hype and good timing” because after his 1998-2000 run, he has been basically nothing, aside from being handed a WWE Championship.
ON THE BENCH
On The Bench is taking a new role inn my return. Instead of touching on little manners that have been going on lately, I’m going to give everyone a little sneak peak into my next column. So, thanks for reading my return column, and I hope you stick around to read this next one.
In The Locker Room v.15- “The Greatest of a Decade”
There have been many stars in the wrestling business. Some because of their great wrestling ability. Some because of their charisma in the ring and on the mic. Some because well, they were so bad they made you laugh at them over and over again (see “Katie Vick”). But what separates a star from being the greatest of his time? What was it, that made Michael Jordan better than Karl Malone? What was it, that made Terry Bradshaw better than Warren Moon? It’s that little something that makes you never forget them. That something that when you see an old tape of them, or see them in action on your TV, you stop and take notice. In my eyes, there has been one star from the 80’s, and one star from the 90’s that stands out to me, and one wrestler who I believe could be the greatest of this decade. Who are they? Come back and see, because now I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave The Locker Room.
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