Stephanie McMahon gets the boot. She was once an interesting addition to the WWF, says Mike Flaherty, but not lately
Stephanie McMahon, WWE Raw Is War
Credit: Stephanie McMahon: WWF

Stephanie McMahon gets the boot

Wrestling fans nationwide breathed a sigh of relief during the climax of Monday night’s ”RAW” (Mondays, 9 p.m., TNN) when, as stipulated in her triple threat title match against Chris Jericho and Triple H, Stephanie McMahon was removed from the Penn State arena — and future ”RAW”’s and ”Smackdowns” — after being pinned by her estranged husband.

‘Twas only two years ago that I wrote a glowing piece about the billion-dollar princess. And I meant every word of it: Landing on our TV screens in early ’99, the neophyte Steph proved herself an amazingly quick study in the dramatic art of sports entertainment. Later, her ”McMahon-Helmsley Era” segments with Triple H were a priceless comedic treat, as the newlyweds sparred and swooned like a latter-day Ralph and Alice Kramden.

Apparently, though, Steph took such accolades a bit too much too heart, her ego becoming nearly as absurdly inflated as her cosmetically enhanced boobs. Getting louder, shriller, and more intrusive by the week, she crossed that fateful line after which fans’ heel heat turns to exasperated disgust. For the good of the WWF and its fans, let’s hope she stays backstage for a good long time and reworks her character into someone the marks can once again happily cheer — or jeer — for.

Another intruiging development is the absence of Stone Cold Steve Austin from the WWF since ”Wrestlemania.” Reportedly irked by his mid-card placement in Toronto and the bulls-in-a-china-shop domination of the nWo, he’s appears to be remaining AWOL until the bookers pay him proper respect and airtime. Stay tuned….

For that reason, Austin was exempted from the week’s lead story: the WWF’s long-awaited promotion split — or ”brand extension,” as the WWF clumsily terms it. Monday night’s show featured a draft in which Ric Flair and Mr. McMahon chose the first 10 members of the teams that will constitute two essentially self-contained promotions, appearing on ”RAW” (heretofore planned to be a more physical, wrestling-based show) and Smackdown (where ”sports entertainment” will rule the day) respectively. (Also unelected were Triple H and Jazz since, as champions, they’ll battle within both groups.) Here are the results:

#1: Undertaker
#2: nWo
#3: Kane
#4: Rob Van Dam
#5: Booker T
#6: Big Show
#7: Buh-Buh Ray Dudley
#8: Brock Lesnar
#9: William Regal
#10: Lita

#1: The Rock
#2: Kurt Angle
#3: Chris Benoit
#4: Hulk Hogan
#5: Billy & Chuck
#6: Edge
#7: Rikishi
#8: D-Von Dudley
#9: Mark Henry
#10: Maven

Due to airtime constraints, the rest of the 30-man rosters were decided in a lottery on after the show. Check for the complete lineups.

Which show are you more excited about?

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