The Eye on WRESTLING

by Jeremy Hartley

At long last wrestling fans, I believe I have figured out the motive of the WWF. It must be since they have a lack of starpower within the federation these days, they need to make up for it by including stars in other areas. These other stars you may ask? The * sign in the record books have replaced the stars in the ring. Sure. Steve Austin won the 1997 Royal Rumble. However... Sure. This passed Thursday night, Sid should have been awarded the WWF Championship belt via forfeit, when Michaels was unable to defend. However.... And finally, Bret Hart can now say that he is once again, and for the fourth time, World Champion. However.... It is these "howevers..." that are killing the WWF, and the WWF title picture.

Although nobody has ever seen the World Famous "wrestling RULEBOOK," the "rules" have been followed through the years, with not that much variation. According to this "rule book," if a Champion is unable to defend his title against a specified opponent, the title is forfeited to the champs opponent. For years, none have questioned, or restructured this rule, and for good reason. I will say this as plain as I possibly can. Sid should be champion tonight whether you like or dislike the big man. The fact is, Sid arrived to the arena, primed and ready to fight for the title, and Michaels was unable to fulfill his contract against this contending monster. What bothers me is that none of these so-called commentators on the broadcast, or even Gorilla Monsoon,seems to realize the simple truth. You don't screw with wrestling tradition.

In my opinion, this "final four" match was a complete farce,and an insult on the intelligence of the true wrestling fan. Correct me if I am wrong here, but it wasn't too long ago that a title, no matter what the circumstances were, was to be decided with a elimination tournament. With a tournament, the competitors were on an even playing field. Championship match rules were always in effect, and if one was thrown to the floor, the fight would continue until there was a pinfall, or dq or other means of winning a fall. The "final four" encounter did nothing to determine who the better man was. All it did was show that someone could get clotheslined over the top rope to the floor. That display, does not make a champion. The over the top rope elimination rule is wonderful, but only for battle royals and Royal Rumble matches.

With all that said, allow me to touch on a few quick points. First, as I noted above, Sid should be champion right now. I guess I should make the point, that I am not a Sid fan. The title needs to be held by a representative who is a good interview, as well as a good package in the squared circle. What bothers me about this, and why I keep harping on Sid as champ is simple. Wrestling promoters such as Vince McMahon are now getting away with changing the "rules" to push a storyline. Whatever happened to the storylines fitting into the rules?

Probably the thing that sticks out in my mind, is the fact that a prestigious Championship was allowed to change hands with the Over the top rope rule. During the "Final Four" match, not one shoulder was pinned to the mat. Back a few years ago when Ric Flair won the WWF title in the Royal Rumble, his victory was justified a bit in my book, only because he stayed in the ring for over 60 minutes. Bret Hart can now walk around and parade up and down with that belt all he wants. In my opinion, he lucked into that belt. Now that he has it, let's hope he will bring class to something that is in dire need of some touching up.

And with that..

The Eye on Wrestling is closed until next time.

Note: If you wish to contact me on any of my columns either past or present, please feel free to do so. Comments, questions,criticisms, ETC. can be mailed to: rthunder@cris.com.

Jeremy Hartley is a regular contributor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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