EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the very first professional wrestling column by Jan Murphy, published 14 years ago today in The Kingston Whig-Standard. Jan’s regular column, first biweekly, then weekly, ran for more than five years in the pages of the Whig, before going on hiatus, and later returning as a sporadic feature in the Whig. Jan’s work continues to be published in the Whig, and here. Please enjoy Jan’s debut work. Also, Jan would like to publicly thank former Whig-Standard editor Steve Lukits for having the vision to allow Jan a space for his work. ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEB. 5, 2000. All rights reserved.
Editor’s note: We introduce today a new column by our resident professional-wrestling aficionado, if not fanatic, Jan Murphy. He will provide insight and key results from what has become a huge industry – the World Wrestling Federation. His next column will appear on Friday, Feb. 18, and will settle into a bi-weekly pattern.
While announcing Thursday that World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. is launching its own professional football league, WWF chairman Vince McMahon stopped just short of calling anyone and everyone a jabroni.
During the news conference to announce the plans for the XFL – in McMahon’s words, the X-tra Fun League – McMahon cursed, swore, said he thinks figure skating sucks and told the good folks on Wall Street they could kiss his proverbial backside, if you smell what I’m cookin’.
Oh, and Vince had some words for those wondering whether the XFL will be scripted and its outcomes predetermined like the WWF.
“The WWF is 100-per-cent entertainment. The XFL will be 100-per-cent sport,” he said.
McMahon, known for transforming wrestling from a “fake” sport into equally “fake” entertainment, does not know what the word failure means.
The WWF, virtually non-existent five years ago, is arguably the hottest television program – yes, Vinny Mac is more popular than Regis Philbin – the hottest merchandise and the hottest live show on the road today.
And why is the WWF so popular? Two words: Vince McMahon.
He is the WWF. He writes scripts, looks after bookings, hires talent, scouts talent, merchandises, advertises, helps with character development and even stars on his program now and then. Most important is the fact that McMahon has great business smarts.
McMahon simply wouldn’t have launched such a league if he wasn’t confident that it would be both successful and profitable.
The league will basically work as follows:
There will be eight teams – the six confirmed are Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., New York, San Francisco, Miami and Washington, D.C. – divided into two conferences. The teams will play a 10-game regular season, with the top two teams from each conference playing a playoff game. The winning team from each conference will play for the championship at a neutral site some time in April. The league begins play in February 2001.
Will this venture be successful?
Well, I like what I have heard so far. Helmet-cams, players sporting microphones, referees with cameras … that all sounds absolutely fantastic and, more important, it sounds fresh.
McMahon will use the next 11 months to promote his league, be it through TV advertising, magazine advertising or through his onslaught of WWF wrestling talent.
I can almost hear it now:
“The Rock says, you turn on your TV next February. It doesn’t matter what your favourite team is. I want the millions … and I mean millions of The Rock’s fans to tune into the XFL – the most electrifying variation of football in the industry today. And The Rock says, if you want to watch burly men, equipped for battle, lay the smackdown on each other in front of thousands of screaming fans, chanting their names, then, next to watching The Great One himself beat some poor jabroni senseless, The Rock says, the XFL is the only other logical choice.”
Even if the XFL doesn’t grab the ratings spotlight or draw players from either the NFL or CFL, it is sure to do one thing – it will offer potential viewers a different perspective of the game. Like the WWF, it will be chock full of attitude.
Highlights from Thursday night’s WWF SmackDown!
– Y2J, Chris Jericho, defeated Gangrel with help from Chyna;
– The Big Show produced video footage proving The Rock’s feet touched the floor first at Royal Rumble, therefore convincing Triple H to set up a Big Show-Rock match at Feb. 27’s Pay-Per-View, No Way Out. The winner will meet the WWF champion at WrestleMania in April;
– Jacqueline defeated Harvey Wippleman to become the new WWF Women’s champion;
– The New Age Outlaws defeated Perry Saturn and Eddy Guerrero;
– In the main event, Triple H defeated newcomer Chris Benoit.