Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Piece of my Mind April 11th 2009 by "The Big Cheese" Sal Corrente

I have seen many opinions regarding Wrestlemania and many say the same thing. If you judge the Shawn Michaels and Undertaker match most would consider it a five star match. The only other thing that saved the night was the Steamboat vs. Jericho portion of the Legends match. I am not surprised that Shawn and The Undertaker did their thing in the ring. When you talk about Shawn Michaels you are talking about an incredible performer. I am not the world’s biggest Undertaker fan but when the chips are on the line he normally delivers. I didn’t see the crazy bump that he took but at this stage of life it probably isn’t worth the potential risk.

In the case of the Steamboat situation, I somewhat compare it to The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan match from a few years back. In that match the people turned a heel Hulk Hogan babyface and started to boo The Rock. It was a situation where it was clear to guys in the ring that no matter what the plan was going in that it was time to adjust. I've know Ricky Steamboat for close to twenty five years now and I knew one thing for sure, a man like Rick was not going to go out there and embarrass himself under any conditions. What I didn’t expect was what actually happened. The fans were cheering Steamboat on during a performance that was surpassed only by the Shawn Michaels and Undertaker match.

This was one of those times when you could feel something in the air. There has been a lot made this past year about how Vince McMahon constantly is yelling directions in the commentator’s ear. How about whispering to the referee to change the finish in the Steamboat-Jericho situation? I don’t believe that you should book for the people but there are times you should let the crowd guide you. You have to be able to figure these things out. I can recall being told some sort of story about Bruiser Brody working a program with Ric Flair I believe in Kansas City. The people were ready for a Brody win and I think they went to a sixty minute time limit draw. I heard that it really hurt the territory at the time.

I was on a card one time, as the commissioner, where we were working a program. The Rock and Roll Express were going around with The Midnight Express (Condrey and Eaton). We did mix Stan Lane in once or twice, but mainly it was Eaton and Condrey. I was in the ring attempting to call for a Texas Tornado match for the following month. The feud had been ongoing these four great workers were doing it like they had for the past few decades. The crowd was screaming for a cage match and I wasn’t out there to deliver one. If we had went with the Tornado match people would have been horribly disappointed so we changed it on the spot. That packed house got what they want and we had a full house again the next time.

Any number of things could have been done with Steamboat and Jericho if Rick had taken the fall on him. The WWE is having a lot of trouble creating new stars. They have been given an opportunity now to have one recreated in front of them and, if used properly, they can get some real mileage out of him. I believe the WWE saw what happened with Steamboat and will continue to use him from time to time. I am just saying, with things how they are right now, when something presents itself as they did out of nowhere then you have to be ready to jump on it. Isn’t that what those ear pieces are in the referee’s ear for?

It was many years ago when Wild Samoan Samu #3 was working with Tito Santana in Hamburg, PA. In that match Capt. Lou Albano was NOT at ringside. In some way Tito was supposed to win the match. In those days referees didn’t have ear pieces. At the time Vince McMahon was still a commentator. He called for Gorilla Monsoon to send Lou Albano down there to ringside. The idea was for Albano to get to referee Dick Whoerle and change the finish. It was a situation where Vince was very happy with what Samu was doing and didn’t want to beat him anymore. If you see the match anywhere, at some point you see Whoerle down checking on Tito and you see him really jerk his head around. He was surprised at what he was hearing about the change of finish. At some point, Tito had Samu on the run. Albano came in and nailed Santana causing the DQ. It took a lot of guys doing something to make that change. The change I am suggesting would have taken a whisper in a microphone. I bet Jericho would have been thrilled and the fans would have been ecstatic. It would have created a magic Wrestlemania moment for all time. I know that hindsight is twenty twenty but the time was clear and opportunity was abundant. I am not sure if someone thought that a Legend taking a fall on Jericho would have been bad for Jericho’s career or not. If anyone has that opinion then ask them what they think a one punch knockout from Mickey Rourke did to help Jericho.

I had lunch a week ago with Jerry Jarrett he owned a territory for twenty seven years. I can honestly say that when you are in the presence of greatness it is clear. This is a brilliant man and, may I say that I appreciate the time he took with me. It is now very clear to me why Memphis Wrestling was so successful. It is refreshing to speak to someone who gets this business. I have heard his legend for many years and had spent some time with him in the past courtesy of Stan Lane but this one on one time was a great learning experience.

This has been a piece of my mind