Sunday, February 17, 2008

Big rasslin' coverage from UK Sun newspaper

By Rick Morris

The Sun newspaper in Great Britain has long featured coverage of the industry which has come to be known as "sports entertainment," but it is not generally known as a "go-to place" for reading about industry happenings. Give them credit; they are working very hard to become such a destination -- and quickly.

In anticipation of the new "Heyman Hustle" project they are launching this Monday with deposed ECW strongman Paul Heyman, The Sun printed a follow-up to the intriguing first installment of their interview with the Extreme Genius. In it, he reveals that his belief is that Vince McMahon has looked to the Queen of England of all people in terms of setting up a succession plan and he gives thought-provoking analysis of the entire US wrestling landscape.

His new "Hustle" project promises to be full of classic Paul E. con-man entertainment. The first episode will feature a wild quest to obtain footage of the new crew of SURVIVOR prior to the season launch against the wishes of producers. It sounds compelling and I'll be watching, that's for sure.

The Sun also printed an article that came out of an interview with Hulk Hogan, in which he makes the (probably) outlandish claim that he and partner-in-crime Eric Bischoff are on the verge of starting a new promotion to go head-to-head with WWE. In this account, Hogan takes some shots at WWE and claims that he's got a TV network ready to sign off on this project. Ooohkay. As Dave Meltzer has pointed out, Hogan postures every year for a big WrestleMania payday and with the big event just over a month away, the Orange Goblin's claims should be taken with an entire shaker of salt.

It is intriguing to contemplate the talent available to a startup promotion, even if you consider everyone at TNA and ROH off-limits due to their contract situations (and it is by no means certain that you couldn't use ROH wrestlers). Of course, with ego and politics involved, most of the individuals listed below would never attempt such a move (especially in terms of having to deal with the Hogan/Bischoff gaga), but it's fun to contemplate some possibilities nonetheless:

^ Billy Kidman (just kidding)
^ Heyman (maybe in a managerial/commissioner role, leaving aside the past hate between he and ATM Eric)
^ Randy Savage (assuming the latest round of Hogan hate is a work)
^ Rob Van Dam
^ Jerry Lynn (hook up RVD and him for another five-star match!)
^ Bobby Lashley
^ Brock Lesnar (or any other MMA stars who can be lured to a wrestling promotion)
^ wrestlers from Japan and/or Mexico in talent exchanges reminiscent of those Bischoff has forged before
^ Juventud Guerrera
^ Rikishi
^ King Kong Bundy
^ Terry Funk (maybe in a commissioner/part-time competitor role)
^ any of the WWE Divas who have been let go the past few years
^ The Sandman
^ Raven
^ 2 Cold Scorpio
^ Daivari
^ Ricky Reyes

Additionally, I've long believed that the Japanese concept of recycling young wrestlers under the "Tiger Mask" identity could work here. I think that young wrestlers under the banner of "Masked Superstar" and "The Super Destroyers" could work if explained as a tribute to the original stars and you could get away with giving spots to three young and cheap kids. Assuming any kind of bankroll behind a promotion with such grandiose plans, it's easy to see that individual egos would be the major impediment to getting an operation off the ground, not the lack of famous and/or skilled talent.

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