But it takes a lot of positive thinking to help Mike Flaherty get over his exasperation with the show
Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson
Credit: The Rock: Tom Buchanan/WWF

The right attitude can make the WWF seem great

Aw, shucks.

Maybe I’ve been a little harsh in my criticism of the WWF in recent months. Last week I announced my refusal to do any in-ring analysis until they got their act together and made the product something to run home for again.

But at some point during last night’s ”RAW” (Mondays, 9 p.m., TNN), as if in a dream, I had an epiphany, brought on by the most unlikely of sources. You may know him as the world’s number three motivational speaker (now that ”Bob Patterson” has, mercifully, been eighty-sixed). He calls himself Positively Page, and through his message of forgiveness, understanding and, most of all, optimism, I’ve discovered that all is not lost; in fact, the WWF is in a golden age. Read on, and dare to disagree…

?As if last night’s show wasn’t suffering from too much shtick and a lack of heated ring action, and as if Tazz weren’t adrift and ineffectual enough already, his non-title bout with Austin — which on paper should have been the best fight of the night — turned out to be a 43-second squash. A pathetic, insulting, and pointless segment? A bad thing? Nooo, a good thing!

?At first, you might say, Why the hell break up Edge and Christian? They were the most entertaining tag team on the show, with priceless chemistry and impeccable comic timing, and they can put on a helluva tables, ladders, and chairs match. After their split, the brilliant Christian is missing a comic foil — and an interesting plotline — for his wacky banter, and there’s no compensation in the futile attempt to add some importance to Edge (now with new, extra-lame theme music!). Who knew that he would be so uninspiring as a solo performer? You think you know him… But, that’s not a bad thing; that’s a good thing!

?Within the first half hour of last night’s show, both the U.S. and tag belts changed hands — this in spite of the fact that the WWF’s ever-shortening title reign is part of the reason why its short-sighted, weakly booked storylines have lost so much credibility with the fans. They, however, must be mistaken, ’cause that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing!

?Some would say that pop music is wrestling’s last refuge; when a show has to resort to rock ‘n’ roll star power to get viewers excited, it’s a sorry state of affairs (not to mention one of the many symptoms that led to WCW’s embarrassing demise). Not only that, but when Rob Zombie is employed to help hype a show (on tape, no less) and to prop up the flailing Edge push (see above), it shows the depth of the WWF’s desperation and cluelessness, and it’s a very bad thing, right? Nope, good thing!

?Then there was Austin and Rock’s musical finale. See, it would be easy to slag this segment, which featured the Rattlesnake and the Brahma Bull taking turns in a serenade and then joining for a duet. Some would say that it diminishes the two of them; that, besides breaking character — supposedly the most cardinal of all booking sins — it was a mushy, wussy way to end the show, and could only further confuse already exasperated fans. But no: That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing!

What other good things can you think of in recent WWF programming?

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