Here's a possibly new look at the WWF having problems. Aren't all the main-eventers stale? How long has Austin, Rock, HHH, etc been doing the same gimmick?
Compare that with WCW. How many main-eventers got an overhaul? Hogan was turned into Hollywood. Sting was turned into the "crow" Sting. They even turned Hogan into Stone Cold Hulk. Hey, they -tried-. But when you look at WCW, they altered a -lot- of gimmicks. Scott Steiner became Big Poppa Pump. Jeff Jarrett became the Chosen One. Alexander Bagwell became Buff the Stuff.
By comparison, who's had a true overhaul in the WWF? Kane is getting one and its probably the best thing going on in the fed right now. 2002 may be Kane's year. Billy Gunn got turned into Chuck's friend. DDP got jerked around into a goof. Hulk doesn't really count since he got turned back into a previous gimmick.
The more I look at it this way, the more it makes sense Rock should've gone nWo at Mania. His character would be making a statement in doing that. It could be a new direction, as long as its not just Rock being Rock in a new shirt. Fresh and interesting.
Anyway, with all these main-eventers running around, it makes sense for one of them to smarten up and form an alliance to give themselves an edge instead of mindlessly hitting the ring solo in random fashion like is going on now. Austin's heel turn made sense in that regard. But it was still Austin being Austin. If you turn a guy like that, he's got to change more significantly or its been there, done that.
The WCW alterations were for the worse. Public Enemy turned from The Dudleys' lost cousins to hardcore fools? Booker T turned into GI Bro? Sting being turned from the most enthusiastic wrestler ever into Mr. Major Depression? Scott Steiner and Marus Bagwell turned into The Roid Rage brothers? Jeff Jarrett turned from popular straight shooter to Mr. el-kabong? Disco Inferno turned from best dancer in wrestling great to bad mobster? And these were supposed to be examples of positive altered gimmicks? Hell, I only saw Worldwide but I knew that all of this was going on. WCW turned from world-class organization into a regional outfit.
I'll disagree about the Sting thing for sure. Sting's transformation from bouncy surfer dude into brooding bad-ass in the rafters was THE thing that put the nWo angle over the top and really made WCW the top promotion at the time. Did the blow-off for the angle suck? Of course it did, it was WCW. But the actual build-up was generally fantastic, and Sting looked like a total bad-ass until he actually, y'know, had a match.
I'm not sure about gimmick alteration. There's a difference between a tweaking of the character over time (such as Taker did in his slow metamorphosis from undead zombie to his current kick-ass pissed off biker) and then there's just totally changing someone. If "gimmicks" are changed, it has to make sense. Rock going nWO would be a gimmick change, but it doesn't really make a damn lick of sense. NOt that that's ever stopped the WWF, but let's not encourage them.
Rock could do with a heel turn, I agree. The "What?" bit is getting overplayed. HHH just needs to get back into the groove he was in in 2000, and his promo on Smackdown looked to me a good step in the right direction. But complete character overhauls are just kind of jolting and rarely work well.
"All I ever asked for in life is an unfair advantage." Microchip, Punisher Annual #2
Rock going nWO would be a gimmick change, but it doesn't really make a damn lick of sense.
I think it makes perfect sense. There are 235434124234 main eventers in the WWF. The Rock is jobbing more than others it seems. He needs an edge. The nWo can be that edge. With Hall and Nash (if not more like XPac) helping him, Rock can get that world title back and be the Man again.
And for the 235434124234th time TheRock doesn't need the belt to get over and he sure as hell doesn't need the NWO to help him get it. He needs it so little that he can tell the "people" that they really want Hogan to have it. And of course the sheep agree. Baaaaah HOGAN! baaaah HOGAN! baaaaah.
Yeah, I am in a pissy mood tonite.
Bubbles? Oh come on Sharon! Iím Ozzy Osbourne the Prince of Fucking Darkness. Evil, evil, more fucking evil not a boatload of fucking bubbles man.
No more Rock title reigns. No more Austin hissy fits. Austin tried to change at least but went and turned into Merchandising 3:16 again when that failed. The split does seem to be interjecting some new into the WWF, but when Austin/Taker ends up on PPV again you KNOW they need more originality. A little effort bookers? Please?
WCW better at altering/changing gimmicks?? 3 letters...nWo. Some more letters: WCW hung on to what once worked for waaay too long. Riding on old glory of names that no longer had wheels. The example of Buff you gave? Buffy was changed into the Stuff, started sucking yet was never tweeked again.. Disco stuck to the little dancing ways for way too long as well. Even when he joined a heel nWo all he cared about was dancing.
The WWF tries to change some characters every now and then. Jericho(face-heel, and no his char isnt his old wcw one) Angle (funny whiner vs intense asskicker) Billy Gunn from Cowboy to degenerate to pompous ass to funny gay-ish heel. Etc..etc..
The WWF makes/made the same mistakes as WCW though. Jericho was kept face much longer than was needed. HHH was a heel so long, against what the people wanted that he doesn't make sense as a face now. Hardyz..nuff said. Face Dudleyz, who went through the motions every match. Wassup after 30 seconds, get the tables, chaos ensues. Blah.
"...And I use that to fuck them some place fairly uncomfortable." "What, like the back of a volkswagen ?" -Mallrats
And for the 235434124234th time The Rock doesn't need the belt to get over...
Well, I'm talking strictly in making sense as a storyline. Trying to get the belt is a solid motivation for joining the nWo. I'm not talking about who should have the belt put on what. I suppose -anyone- could join the nWo to give themselves that edge but the Rock made the most sense because he was the one involved with them the most.
Look at it this way--Having NWO names at Wrestlemania was a step away from "Taker vs. Austin" type of matches. Hogan will be main eventing Backlash and not as Hollywood Hogan. And let's wait and see who might be added to the NWO and get a major match at Backlash. I don't think things are as "stale" as you think. And as far as making over Austin or The Rock, right now that would make as much sense as making over Hogan in 1987. It just isn't the right time to give them major overhauls, I think. They are the big faces that fight the bad guys.
Looks like the brand extension applies to WWF.com as well. Raw's got its own subsite for its show previews, recaps and superstar bios, here...
And before you ask, I checked... there's no smackdown.wwf.