May 19, 2003
Nothing in this business surprises me anymore. I've seen a man called the King of Guano become champion of the third largest city in the great state of North Carolina. I've seen a respected broadcast journalist crack a midget over the head with a Haliburton briefcase. I've seen the greatest pure wrestling match in my lifetime go down in front of a hundred diehard fans in a run- down gymnasium in the Bronx.
I've seen Bob Ryder do the "Earthquake." I still have nightmares about that. Beverly and his nineteen chins is... probably closest anyone's come to making me think I was in the wrong business. But even that was tame. This past Wednesday, we got the word that Slaughter and Warfare each have one show left on the schedule, then things are getting switched up in a big way.
We won't be on television on the Sunday following the final Warfare... we'll be on TV... Monday.
Monday and Thursday.
I've been in this business for eight and a half years now, and I've done a lot. Managed Eli Flair to thirty- plus championships including a dozen World's. Won the EFW World Ladies' Championship in my first professional match. Proved that a woman could be a strong personality in the wrestling business and be a big part of the actual business, not just eye candy for the show. Appeared in over fifty promotions all over the world, in front of a hundred thousand in Mexico City to twenty nine... plus the homeless guy in the corner... in Baltimore one night.
But of all the promotions I've ever worked for, there's always been a line in the sand that nobody dared cross. Sure, it was something we mused about over drinks or trash- talked about in the locker rooms, compared to after a particularly killer show... but there were three things that always kept the idea from becoming a reality.
The American Wrestling Association.
World Championship Wrestling.
Extreme Championship Wrestling.
These are the three most famous, amongst hundreds or thousands of casualties suffered by people and organizations who dared to go up against the World Wrestling Federation and Vincent K. McMahon, junior. The three most famous casualties in a cutthroat war that's left a wake of destruction across the world, changing a business that operated largely the same for a hundred years, twice. I'll give credit where it's due - that Vince had a vision that nobody else could've seen... a vision that made himself, his family, and those lucky enough to be at the top of his promotion very, very wealthy people.
That vision had no room for hangers- on, no room for competition. I've never met the man personally, but stories I've heard from the boys who have, from the other insiders who have, tell me he's a notoriously paranoid man who can't deal with the possibility that anyone can be on the same level. The sad tale of Verne Gagne and the AWA has been dissected and discussed ad infinitum. The problems that World Championship Wrestling faced after their brief two years of dominance are very well documented... and Heyman simply ran out of money. But in both cases, take a look at what happened when General McMahon ran through the scorched remains of his opponents' strongholds. How many of those uber- talented wrestlers are over? How many of them are being used to their fullest potential? For that matter, who are the men on top of the promotion right now? Same ones that were on top two years ago. For the first time, Vince McMahon himself is either unwilling or unable to change with the times, and he's thriving - nay, surviving - solely because he has no competition.
It's not likely to change, either. He has the resources to sign away the top wrestlers of any promotion that attempts to make a run at his empire. He'll never ever make them a World Champion, but he'll keep them under contract just so nobody else can, either. It's playground politics, the person who dies with the most toys wins. And most of the promotions with national and international tours, with pay- per- view and television deals... still do their best to remain underneath the Fed's radar, because the business still weeps over the loss of the regional territories.
So you're telling me that the fWo Board of Directors has just decided that we need to take Vince and the Fed head- on? That we need to take our lagging ratings and falling gate to Monday nights and compete directly with the company that has a perfect record of murdering its competition? That this little company- that- could has the tools to take on the big guns of the wrestling business? I'll be honest with you, the odds are against us in nearly every way... and while I'll be able to survive the death of the fWo, while Eli Flair will be able to survive the death of the fWo, all too many people in this company have nowhere to go. Is Jon Crisp supposed to take the respect and success that's a good two years overdue for him and translate it somewhere that Sphere doesn't rule with an iron fist? Is Aimz supposed to go crawling back to the company that nearly destroyed her soul because the Board took a chance it didn't need to take? And what about the four product managers who have been able to keep the integrity of a wrestling promotion entact through all of the sports entertainment crap that's necessary to get people to tune in? Since November, Silver Fox has earned the respect of this entire company. And while he'd deny it to his dying breath, he's one of the most effective leaders the locker room has ever seen. Trust me when I tell you, this company puts on its best efforts, nightly, for Fox, Smooth, Twitch, and Thumper.
It's presumptuous as hell for this Board of Directors to risk all that we've invested into the fWo on a suicide mission against Vince and the Fed.
Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.
Maybe there's something I haven't thought of.
Maybe, just maybe... the fWo is the promotion that can finally topple the McMahon Empire. Maybe this company can translate the success it's had on a comparatively small scale into a worldwide leader of professional wrestling. Maybe the way the casual fans have stopped paying attention to Triple H, Steve Austin, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and Kurt Angle is a sign that they're looking for something new. Maybe the overpowering confidence and attitude of the Alaskan Juggernaut, Kodiak Vic Creed as the World Champion will capture their interest. That Team WTF~! is the most talented and creative tag team the professional wrestling world has seen in years. That between Aimz, Donaven Winters, and Eli Flair, the no- holds- barred Extreme style of wrestling has been revived and reinvented into something exciting and unpredictable. That the cookie- cutter style of talk and action that the Fed promotes is predictable and boring in comparison to the way men like The Deacon and Brand Frontier have stepped up as actual heroes. That Eli Flair remains the only man to do an extreme anti- hero gimmick the right way... since it's not a gimmick for him. That Scott Slugger is still the World's Greatest Athlete.
That The Flying Frenchie did it first and better than La Resistance could ever hope.
Now that the dead weight has been cleared from the Main Event scene, that the entire company got a refreshing switch- up at Cyberslam with new champions across the board, the fWo is overrun by a roster that's hungry, talanted, and motivated. And everyone with a belt, everyone looking at a program with the titleholders in the near future, have earned their success several times over. Now that the tag team division is as strong as it's ever been, with the Survivors waiting in the wings, maybe we've had all the lucky breaks we need?
Maybe it's not the fWo that needs to be worried about starting up another round of the Monday Night Wars?
I don't know what's going to happen on Wednesday any better than you do. I don't know what's going to happen next Monday any better than you do. But I know one thing, Vince... We are not afraid.
This is Ivy--no.
This is the fans Wrestling organizatio