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JaymeFuture

Fixing the WWF in 2002

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I'm actually just now watching the 2002 WWE PPVs for the first time as I was one of the hundreds of thousands of fans who stopped watching in late 01' through, in my case, the summer of 05'.

 

My biggest takeaway from the spring of 02' is that Austin was still the top act. Maybe not the freshest. Maybe not the best in-ring performer. But like Cena today, his crowd responses are the most consistently strong and emotional. His match against Big Show at Insurrextion (a nothing show if there ever was one) is a great example of how good and important Austin still was - that match screams "filler" but is essentially the best house show main event match you could ever want and totally gets the crowd engaged more than the actual main event (HHH/Taker). If there was any ego on the roster worth placating, it wasn't Hogan's, it wasn't Rock's, it wasn't HHH's...it was Austin's.

 

Somehow, keeping Hogan heel is kind of key too. I'd have had him tease a face run and then have him and the nWo screw HHH out of the title. Then, let Hogan be the heel champion he was in WCW while you find a way to give Austin a much needed break (say May through July). Then, once you've given Hogan his last real main event run (maybe he retains against HHH, Taker, and, I dunno, tags in an 8-man with the Outsiders & XPac against Hunter, Taker, Kane, and Flair in that time), you bring Austin back and have him beat the Hulkster for the title.

 

I don't think ANYTHING would've stopped the decline in popularity that hit the WWE in 2002, but if there is *one* potential feud that could've lessened the blow, it was Hogan vs. Austin.

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I want to thank everybody for the contributions, we got to read quite a few of them on the show, which is now available at the following link:

 

http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/web/qy4u6m/SCGRadio57-FixingTheWWFinApril2002.mp3

 

Join us as we attempt to re-book the early days of the WWF Brand Extension - considering all the issues facing the WWF in April 2002, discussing the entire roster, brand identity, and the titles in order to decide who goes on which show, who gets pushed, who gets downplayed, and all the directions going forward, as well as taking your suggestions on what needed to be done to bring a faltering WWF back on track. A really fun show this week, check it out and let us know what you think!

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FYI, a lot of 2002 TV is up on the network now. Some general takeaways:

 

There is A LOT of male on female violence. Multiple times in the same show sometimes. I'm glad we've moved away from that.

 

Their roster is so loaded. Great mix of longtime company guys, big stars, old vets and young guys. They seemed more willing to experiment with pairings back then so you occasionally get an odd match like Hogan vs. Regal or Undertaker vs. Tommy Dreamer.

 

I'm curious to see how Brock Lesnar would be handled if he debuted today. I have no doubt he would still be a big deal, but I wonder if they would push him as hard without the usual political BS/humbling that hampers everyone these days. It was very refreshing to see them push a guy to stardom so hard and actually stick to that plan.

 

At one time, John Cena was not the face of the company. This is hardly news, but its so weird in hindsight watching Cena in mid-card feuds with Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero.

 

I think they could have did more with A-Train. I think a big problem with Albert throughout his career is that he's always been the 4th or 5th on the list of big guys on the roster. It's hard to stand out as a monster when you have Big Show, Undertaker and Lesnar on the same roster.

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Keeping Hogan heel is unrealistic. WWF fans just didn't want to boo him. Same reason Austin's 01 heel turn didn't work out.

He was cheered as a heel in WCW, too. Don't see why it would be such a big deal to keep him heel anyway.

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Im watching some of the post Mania RAW from 2002 - this was during a period I was not watching anything, so this is all new to me. I have to say, I am enjoying it greatly. Nothing seems to drag, Everything is at a quick pace so does not outstay its welcome. Dont know if the good will will last after several episodes, but right now, for a first view, I like it a lot.

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Raw started getting real shitty when the brand split happened. Two hours with the best in-ring talent on the other show and HHH every other segment gets reallllllllllly dull with the quickness.

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Yeah, Hogan's popularity was such, that he was cheered no matter what he was doing, except for maybe those initital couple of months following BATB 96. But then, the nWo were cool, traditional wrestling babyfaces lack that coolness factor.

 

Any top, but stale babyface can revitalise themselves by doing a Hogan. I guarantee that if John Cena turned heel by beating the crap out of a beloved HOF'er or something to that effect, then started doing shit like walking to the ring smoking Havanas with Dennis Rodman, that more people would be cheering for him than they do now! That's his ace card if he really goes stale, although Cena lacks the ego of Hulk Hogan and is seemingly quite content to portray the same stale character (even if his in ring work has greatly improved in the past year) and embrace the mixed responses. Why? I get the impression that Cena's biggest sense of satisfaction in wrestling, comes from the charity work he does (he is, just a really nice guy at heart), and that's something he couldn't do as a heel to the degree he does now. He doesn't care that his character isn't cool or is desperate need of a shakeup, because it doesn't matter, he's still the top star, and he gets to do the things that mean the most to him.

 

As for 2002, they should never have gone with that whole unification of titles angle involving Kane and Triple H. It was easily the most boring feud of the year and resulted in nobody on the undercard having anything to work with. Raw was really just the Triple H show. Smackdown had Lesnar who was hot, and the tag team triangle feud, but really it was just Triple H.. Everywhere.

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For some reason I absolutely loved Test's second (maybe third?) theme, the one that was a straightforward riff that was kinda generic. I also never minded him much as a talent, it was just he was green as all hell and didn't have the charisma to back it up.

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