"The WCW cruiser division, in my semi knowledgeable opinion, helped keep that federation alive. After all, was anyone really tuning in to see another Steiner vs Booker match? Or another mutation of the N.W.O/New Blood/Perfect Package/Stable with more thought given to the name than the members selected for it?"
First off, this is citing the dying days of WCW, where the problem was not how stale things were, it was how inconsistent stories and characters (not to mention bookers) were. Though WCW was blessed with many great cruiserweights, I don't remember anyone wearing Chavo Guerrero or Rey-Rey t-shirts. I do remember NWO, Goldberg, DDP, and Sting shirts being everywhere. Say what you will about the cruiserweights; when the heavyweights were directionless, the company went downhill in quality and fiscal viability.
"Rob Van Dam and Tajiri were showing the fans something new and the fans responded. Here was the chance for the WWE to break out of the rut. However, it was a chance not acted on. The same people were still in the main event. It started to seem like the booking consisted of putting the names Rock, Taker, Austin, Triple H, Angle and Jericho into a hat. Sometimes other names would pop up, but the song remained the same."
RVD is still being pushed upward, and I think for the most part the Fed is doing a good job. Everyone expects to see him in the main event before too long. Tajiri has the language barrier to overcome, but I agree that the Fed could have done more with him. As for the main event picture, Triple H wasn't even around at the time being discussed (Invasion and just after), Rock has come and gone with movies, and Angle and Jericho are still fresh to the main event (Jericho didn't even have a world title run until last fall). Austin is gone, and we're seeing the likes of Brock Lesnar moving to the top. Doesn't seem too stale to me. Even Hogan's title run was unique in that it was his WWF/E homecoming. Taker's been the only holdover.
"So in what looked to be a desperation move, the rosters were split and the N.W.O. members of Hogan, Nash and Hall were signed."
The Fed made well-known its intention to split as early as the Invasion...they just stuck with the idea no matter what (and IMHO it's generally a good thing). I don't think signing the NWO was a desperation move...I think Vince saw an opportunity to spark interest. The angle was botched, but that came later.
"Like I said above, the WWE has always been the home of the big man, the lumbering thug. ECW and WCW had room for the smaller and more innovative guys."
Hmmmm...this smacks of ten years ago. I seem to remember the midsize champ personified in Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the mid 90s. Austin and Rock aren't lumbering big men, IMHO. In fact, didn't the WCW guys remark on the faster WWF style? I recall reading that from the likes of Lance Storm, Chris Jericho, and Kanyon on their websites. Also, don't forget that WCW had a smaller ring which inherently made its occupants appear to run and leap farther. ECW was sure as hell innovative (that's why they had the success they did), but WCW? Most of the card was old farts, former WWF talent, or poor Power Plant graduates. Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Jericho...all from ECW originally, and WCW lost them all to the WWF anyway (so maybe WWF recognizes their talent after all, eh?). Booker was pretty innovative...but he's a heavyweight. The cruisers were not innovative for the most part; they just brought us a different product. I'm sure the luchadore marks can tell you that they didn't do anything that hadn't been done in Mexico. And like I said before, they may have been entertaining, but they didn't put asses in seats. I love 'em, but I wouldn't build my company around them because the average fan prefers the bigger guys.
"Let's have some high flyers and mat technicians."
Angle, Benoit, Hardy Boyz, RVD, Guerrero...seems like WWE has them. It also seems to me that they've been on my TV screen relatively frequently. Do you want mat technicians and high flyers or luchadores? There's a difference.
I'm not going to go into my criticism of luchadores here (lack of psychology in favor of spot-chains, no-selling, etc.) because I think a little of their style isn't a bad thing...it's a good thing.
WyldeWolf1 The Man of 1,007 holds, making him 3 holds better than Chris Jericho!
Welcome, everyone, to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED edition of Inside The Ropes, the column that is coming DANGEROUSLY close to becoming a TIRED CLICHÉ. I'm Canadian Bulldog (real name: "Canadian" Bill Dog)