November 18, 2007
Mike Abitabile

The Devil’s Advocate:
Getting Some Things Off My Chest

Ok, here we go again. I seemed to get some positive feedback regarding my columns discussing various topics, so I’ll do that again. This week, I’ll hit on a few topics which seem to always bug me when they come up as well as some current topics.

Stephanie McMahon is, Supposedly, an Idiot

One thing that always gets me is that so many people pick on Stephanie McMahon. I believe their issues stem from the fact that they perceive the problems they see with the current product to have begun when she took over as head of the writing team. Officially, according to the Corporate WWE site (here) her title is “Executive Vice President, Talent and Creative Writing” which I’ve even seen people pick on in the past. Why? I‘m not sure, but that’s how bad it’s gotten. I’ve even seen them pick on her because she recently tried to help Candice Michelle after her fall by giving her water in a video posted from backstage after the incident. I’m not going to go into that again, as I hit on it in my blog, but, while I am sure water wasn’t the best solution, I am fairly certain she had the best of intentions and I am also positive if the video showed her standing there doing nothing, people would have picked on her for that and said she was heartless for it. So what are they picking on now? Well, a recent report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (discussed here) stated that Stephanie is becoming overly protective of the storylines and wants to rewrite contracts so that the writers can not speak publicly, among other changes. And yes, not surprisingly, internet writers and fans alike are appalled by this. I really don’t think people actually sit and think about these things though. I really think that they just hate it because it’s something Stephanie said. I actually think that if she wanted to do something great, they’d still pick on it, just because it came from Stephanie McMahon.

I am not surprised the internet writers are painting Stephanie out to be a bad guy with this. Their whole existence hinges on their ability to leak content WWE doesn’t want them to post. So there is no possible scenario for them to say this is a great thing. But, if you look at it from the standpoint of the WWE as a company, it makes sense. I have no idea who the sources are of the leaks, because the internet writers never name them, but constantly posting spoiler information is a problem for the business, no matter what any internet writer tries to tell you. And before I get called out because I defend WWE for posting spoilers, they post spoilers infrequently, only when they will cause more people to watch the show. They don’t do it every week and ruin their own storylines.

Think about it logically. Would you have rather had Mr. Kennedy or Hornswoggle as Mr. McMahon’s son? Yeah, me too. But once the information was leaked, WWE had to come up with a different twist to the storyline. Why? Because everyone would have said “Well, we already knew that was going to happen. The least they could have done was change it up.” And the same thing is happening right now with Save_Us.222.

Fans are actually getting mad because WWE hasn’t delivered Chris Jericho yet. Nowhere has WWE said Jericho is returning, or even when he is returning. If you tune into a show looking for him, it’s because an internet report assumed he would be back for that show. It’s not WWE’s fault he wasn’t there, it’s the sites’ fault. Take it up with them, not WWE.

That’s an extreme example, because as I talked about in my last column; it’s pretty obvious Save_Us is Jericho. But I agree with Stephanie elsewhere, and any way she can protect storylines from leaking is fine with me. Many fans should think about it logically, without bias and with common sense and they’d probably see her side of the story.

WWE is Ruining ECW’s Legacy

And speaking of “extreme”, I want to discuss something that has been bugging me for a while. Many people feel that WWE is trying to destroy the original legacy of ECW on purpose. Even the founder of the original ECW, Tod Gordon expressed these views on the World Wrestling Insanity radio show recently (here). Besides the fact that doing that would be a bad business decision, here’s the problem with this theory. I know a lot of diehard ECW fans aren’t going to want to hear this, but the ECW legacy you speak of isn’t as great as you make it out to be. Please, don’t bite my head off, I loved the original ECW. But again, think with an unbiased opinion.

On one the first episodes of the new ECW, they brought out The Zombie for Sandman to destroy, and everyone went nuts. For some reason, they assumed this guy was going to be a full-time character for the company. The first thing I thought, on the other hand, was that Paul Heyman was up to his old tricks and was mocking Sci-Fi and this guy was only here for that and would be gone when he was done. This had happened countless times in the old ECW. They’d bring a guy in for one show, do something like they did here, and move on. For example, they’d bring big guys in for one show to have Spike Dudley beat during his giant killer gimmick time. When people complained about The Zombie and couldn’t see take it for what it was, I knew they were just going to jump all over this show.

And where were all these people that loved ECW when they needed you? They’d routinely get 1.0’s on TNN. The way people make it out, you’d think they were rivaling Raw numbers. If there is one thing I’d give you, it’s that the new ECW needs more work rate and better matches. It’s not the talent, or really, lack of talent on the new show. Again, going back to the original ECW, which everyone seems to love, they’d make huge stars out of nobodies because they had good matches. Well, you have guys that aren’t huge stars on the new show. All I am saying is that the two are more alike than most people would ever admit.

The Holiday 2007 Issue of WWE Magazine is Making Headlines for All the Wrong Reasons

PWInsider broke the story earlier in the week that the new issue of WWE Magazine spoiled a huge return with the picture on the cover (which I found pretty funny, considering PWInsider does that all the time themselves). They did their usual routine, which basically amounts to “WWE is made up of incompetent fools”. However, I applaud the rest of the internet for not making a big deal out of it. Other sites reported on it, but overall, many people took the news with a collective yawn. Why? I’m pretty sure they realize it’s not as big a story as PWInsider would like to make it out to be. As I asked last month in one of my columns, is anyone surprised Save_Us.222 is (probably) Chris Jericho? If RVD was on the cover as the answer to the Save_Us stuff, then that would be a big story.

So, as for the cover, I feel everyone should calm down about the Holiday 07 issue of WWE Magazine. If you want to make a big deal about what is on page 35, however, by all means, go for it. While my humble webmaster, Graham Cawthon, recently has a YouTube moment (here), yours truly has had a WWE Magazine moment.

Since changing formats last year, each month, WWE Magazine finds an old (and, in retrospect, usually dumb) piece of merchandise or clothing and asks people to send in pictures of themselves holding it or wearing it. A few months ago, they asked if anyone still had the old tomato red, fingerless Shawn Michaels gloves from the mid-90s. I recently found my pair when I was cleaning my room, so I said, “what the hell” and sent in a picture. Low and behold, there I am with a bunch of other people who are apparently just as insane as I am.

Here’s a scan. I’m the guy in the white shirt on the right side trying to show off my Wrestlemania XII autographed plaque.

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If you’d like an autograph or something, you know where to find me! In all seriousness though, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy it and be safe.

Feedback is always welcome at figurefanatic@gmail.com or you can visit my blog here.

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