Mike Flaherty watches ''Attitude'' win, Heyman lose, and a new era begin, and likes what he sees
The WWF starts fresh with a return to the past
Like a parked car that has to back up before it can move forward, the WWF, fresh from its victory over the Alliance at Sunday’s Survivor Series, began its reinvention on the Nov. 19 ”RAW” (Monday, TNN, 9 p.m.) by looking to the past. Vince McMahon’s firing of Paul Heyman as color commentator, and his re-hiring of Jerry ”The King” Lawler, were moves meant not only to please the fans (with whom the obnoxious Heyman never really caught on), but to return to a simpler, more colorful time — the age of ”Attitude.”
In case anyone missed the point, Vince later dropped his drawers so that an out-of-work William Regal could, literally, kiss his naked ass in order to get back on the payroll. Taken with a return to the near-profanity that marked the WWF’s most bristling vignettes (take THAT, PTC), one could be forgiving for turning on their TV last night and thinking they were watching a rerun from 1999.
While that was no doubt comforting to the WWF loyalists who’ve resented the ”invasion” of WCW and ECW superstars on WWF turf, it was WCW fans who really have something to cheer about in the return of the legendary Ric ”Nature Boy” Flair, who strode out in front of a hometown crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina, to interrupt Vince during an in-ring promo. And guess what? Turns out Flair snatched up the WWF shares that Shane and Stephanie liquidated when they formed the Alliance, making him Vince’s defacto business partner.
Hopefully, appearances do not decieve, and the masterful Flair will go on to become not just a thorn in McMahon’s side (and hey, a head-to-head feud between Vince and Flair is the stuff of smark wet dreams), but also the cultivator of a growing insurgent faction that will lead to the creation of a second, mostly free-standing, promotion. In addition to recruiting those disgruntled Alliancers who are now out of work since the WWF’s win at the Survivor Series, the new group hopefully will also lure some celebrated superstars of WCW past. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott ”Big Poppa Pump” Steiner anyone? Let’s also keep in mind that December’s pay-per-view is entitled ”Vengeance,” and its promotional poster features the soon-to-return Triple H. I say, let the Game begin.
How did Monday night’s happenings change your feelings about the WWF?