Austin's win over Angle wasn't the biggest highlight, says Mike Flaherty
Chris Jericho
Credit: Chris Jericho: Rich Freeda/WWF

Wrestling titles change hands on ”RAW”

”The rematch that could change the course of history.” Thus did the newspaper ads hype the Oct. 8 main event on ”RAW” (Mondays, 9 p.m., TNN) between Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

And, technically speaking, history was made when Austin recaptured the WWF heavyweight title. The problem is, this year has been such cataclysmic one for the wrestling world that even a title change of this magnitude doesn’t mean as much as it used to. After the WWF’s live takeover of Turner’s WCW on March 26, and Heyman’s ECW insurrection later this spring — two events that will be forever burned into the memories of grappling fans — it’s only reasonable for marks to have high expectations when they’re promised earth-shaking developments.

Nevertheless, Monday night’s raucous show, held before a way-hot audience in Indianapolis, held lots of surprises and made for one of the year’s most action packed efforts. In addition to Austin’s triumph, the Hardy Boyz snagged the WCW tag belt from Booker T and Test. Even more intriguing, both Chris Jericho and Commissioner Regal made from-out-of-nowhere heel turns, the former going off on The Rock after their tag match against Shane McMahon and Rob Van Dam, the latter walloping Angle with the title belt and paving the way for an Austin pin.

In more frustrating news, X-Pac finally put his WWF light heavyweight belt on the line against Scotty Too Hotty (who, when you take the worm out of the equation, has actually turned into a slick in-ring worker) only to retain it — along with the WCW cruiserweight belt, which he also holds. What is the purpose of this? It’s bad enough that the guy just won’t get off our TV sets (he does suck, in my opinion), but does he really have to tie up titles?

However anticlimactic last night might have appeared in the context of wrestling’s new world order, one superstar actually DID make history: That would be Diamond Dallas Page, who, with an outrageous promo featuring his motivational-speaker alter ego, Positively Page, actually made us laugh. You know, maybe the WWF didn’t overstate things after all.

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