As a youth, I really enjoyed the ApterMags. Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler, Pro Wrestling Illustrated…even though they were kayfabe, they were invaluable during the territorial days. If someone was coming to the WWWF, I already knew who they were and (kind of) what to expect.
My first exposure to Ric Flair came via ApterMags. I knew right away he was bad-ass. Every picture tells a story, don’t it?
I loved the ratings page. It listed the champs and contenders, and it crossed promotions to list most popular and most hated. Flair was occasionally in both. Like I said, bad-ass. A trend-setter who got over organically.
That’s not allowed today. Right, Daniel Bryan?
But today, the most hated men in wrestling are hated for a different reason, and they’re hated by their own company, WWE.
Rey Mysterio is one of the most hated men in WWE. Edge is one of the most hated men in WWE. Jim Ross. Chris Jericho is No. 1 on that list.
These are the most hated men in WWE because they don’t need WWE.
WWE is about control. The family gets off on in-house humiliation, whether public or private. The family wants to own you. Megalomania to the max.
But Rey Mysterio doesn’t need WWE. The family used to love Rey when he was a novelty. But now he’s that little guy who too often sits home because he’s injured, but he never has to rush back or work hurt because he cleans up via merchandising. Rey’s T-shirts don’t stop selling when he’s sidelined.
To his credit, Rey is very conscientious and if he can go, he will. By all accounts, he came back a bit early to appear on this week’s Raw.
BTW, why did WWE do country music night on Raw, bring Rey back early and schedule Michael Strahan to host next week’s show? Why all the hot-shotting?
Edge has a semi-regular gig on the SyFy network, which he got with no help from WWE. WWE would doubtless love Edge to come back and put himself at risk despite his career-ending neck injury. But Edge won’t. WWE doesn’t own him.
BTW, remember when Triple H emasculated and belittled Edge when Daniel Bryan was on The Cutting Edge this past September? That was payback for not being indentured.
At one time, Jim Ross needed WWE and, perhaps, loved wrestling too much for his own good. J.R. ate a lot of excrement. But now he’s pursuing other career opportunities and enjoying Oklahoma football. He’s got money and a legacy as the best ever at his craft.
At one point, WWE might have owned Ross. But not anymore.
BTW, after I got fired from WCW and the company folded in 2001, I communicated with Ross about the potential of working for WWE. Ross was very cordial, but said, “You’d have to quit radio and move to Stamford.” I’m confident no job offer would have been forthcoming – I don’t exactly have the required look – but that made it simple. WWE wants to own everyone. No options allowed.
Which is why WWE hates Chris Jericho most of all.
Why WWE Hates Chris Jericho
Jericho is so good that WWE will use him when he’s available. But he doesn’t care about doing jobs, so WWE can’t get under his skin that way. And Jericho has never been afraid to say “no.” He won’t allow himself to be abused.
BTW, you’re allowed to say “no.” It might get you fired, or minimized. But it might not. Sometimes saying “no” merely calls a bluff. It can save a performer humiliation, that’s for sure. Embarrassment for the sake of a storyline? No problem. Embarrassment for the sake of embarrassment? F that.
Jericho doesn’t need WWE. He’s got money. He’s a part-time rock star, and legitimately so. He’s not pretending. Jericho was a game-show host. He did “Dancing with the Stars.” He’s always pursuing other opportunities.
More than anyone else, WWE doesn’t own Jericho. And never will.
The ongoing Hulk Hogan situation is interesting. Hogan has had money problems since his divorce. He’s old, immobile and long since burnt out.
This is WWE’s chance to finally own Hogan. WWE couldn’t do it when he was the biggest star in wrestling. But now WWE has a chance. No more creative control. No more dictating terms. No more big money.
Remember Dusty Rhodes in those slimming polka dots? Hogan could be Bad Grandpa.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX
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