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What the World Was Reading: WWF Magazine - August 2000

by Logan Scisco

The past two weeks we have spent time looking at alternatives to WWF Magazine.  We return to WWF Magazine this week, looking at the August 2000 issue.  On the cover is someone who Triple H says is a very unlikely candidate for the Hall of Fame:



Those who followed the product during the Attitude Era remember that the WWF gradually tried to make Chyna sexier for viewers.  She started as a serious bodyguard in a role unlike that of any other woman who came before her (or even since), but then started wearing makeup and by 2000 the WWF was presenting her as more of a physically gifted, attractive “diva.”

It should also be noted that our managing editor of the magazine is no longer Kevin Kelly.  Instead it is a woman named Laura Bryson.  By this point the magazine was a shell of its former self, at least in my eyes, and the pay-per-view recaps will show that.

In the Letters to the Editor, Dan Hayes writes an angry letter saying that Lita is not a potential legend since she is just attached to Essa Rios and is not pursuing a singles title.  Of course, that would change down the road and by the time this magazine was on newsstands, Lita had ditched Rios and joined the Hardy Boyz.  A few fans write in how they are fans of Jacqueline and how awesome she is.  And Rich Coleman writes an angry letter saying that the WWF is in danger of “turning soft” because babyfaces like Kane just walk off instead of fight.  It is probably a safe bet that Rich is no longer a fan of the product today.

This month’s “Tales From the Turnbuckle” breaks down the three greatest SummerSlam matches of all-time.


If you cannot see the list the selections are:  (1) Undertaker-Mankind from SummerSlam 1996, (2) Test-Shane McMahon from SummerSlam 1999, and (3) Big Boss Man-Koko B. Ware from SummerSlam 1988.  Yes, no Ultimate Warrior-Rick Rude and no Bret Hart-Mr. Perfect.  The company’s unwillingness to reference wrestlers who were still in WCW killed this list since that meant no Bret, no Hulk Hogan, no Randy Savage, and no Scott Hall.  Evidently, Big Bossman-Koko was a historic bout because “the contrasting styles of these two Superstars set the tone for many of the great SummerSlam matches that would follow.”  So next time you enjoy your favorite SummerSlam match, give proper credit to the Bossman and Koko.  Oh, and Frankie too!

Then we get an illustration of the haircuts available in the WWF Barber Shop:


And this month’s magazine is pitching your ability to get some WWF cards that are twenty-two carat gold.  Enjoy seeing Billy Gunn in all his glory, trying to avoid submitting to the Rock in a headlock!  Each card will cost you $9.95 (plus 95 cents of shipping and handling).


The “Rookies and Legends” column is still going strong, profiling Bull Buchanan.


Buchanan was initially brought in as a member of the Truth Commission in 1997 before returning a few years later as a partner of the Big Bossman.  He would then be part of the Right to Censor and had a brief partnership with John Cena before eventually departing the company.  The only highlight of his run was jobbing to Crash Holly in an upset at the 2000 King of the Ring.  He was also briefly a tag team champion with the “Goodfather,” but tag team title runs become a blur for me after 1999.

We are then treated to a list of five things we will never find for auction from “SteviE-bay” (in reference to Stevie Richards):


By this point, the magazine had a “Face2Face” feature that fills the part of the magazine formerly occupied by Vic Venom’s “The Bite” in the mid-1990s.  It is a debate column where Aaron Williams and Laura take opposite stands on an issue.  The issue this month is Vince McMahon.


Aaron rips McMahon for cheating and becoming an “impotent person.”  The comment about Vince having an Ivy League education is something that I do not think is actually true, as Linda earned her degree from East Carolina University and Vince was around her at the time.  Laura defends Vince as “in tune to the reality of the world we live in,” something that could not be said of the booking of the company now.  She also refers to Vince as an American hero, thereby explaining Stephanie’s 9/11 reference on Smackdown! in 2001.

It seems that every issue of WWF Magazine that I have reviewed so far, except for the June 1995 edition, had a piece about Chyna.  This one is no different, as she gets attention in an article called “Power Behind the Throne.”


I guess this is tied in with the “Chyna’s Secret” heading on the magazine, but the story does not really talk about a secret.  It recaps her partnerships with D-Generation X, Kane, and Eddie Guerrero.  Evidently she also had an alliance with the Kat sometime in the Attitude Era, but I do not recall that at all.  In light of Triple H’s podcast, one thing stands out:  “We [Triple H and Chyna] went our own ways, but that does not rule out our paths crossing again.”  It definitely seems like Triple H had put the kibosh on any plans to have their paths cross at a future Hall of Fame ceremony.  Still, though, why tell readers you are going to talk about “Chyna’s Secret” and then just write an article that merely reiterates what we have heard about Chyna in magazine pieces in the years up to this point:  she has worked with lots of great superstars and knows their strengths and weaknesses.

Remember the “Got Milk?” campaign?  Steve Austin is here to remind us!


A career retrospective piece is then provided for the Undertaker


In recapping the Undertaker’s big foes, Jimmy Snuka is even added to the list.  Poor Jimmy is portrayed just like Kamala, the Giant Gonzalez, and Yokozuna:  he wanted to bury the Undertaker’s soul and “erase his very being.”  And here I thought that all Snuka wanted to do was win a WrestleMania match in Los Angeles!  This is a pretty blah piece, just telling educated fans everything they already know about the Undertaker.  And this piece does not even talk about the Undertaker’s new biker persona!

The late Crash Holly gets profiled in this issue as well, as writer Mike Fazioli calls him “the king of Hardcore.”


Crash is best known for defending the Hardcore title on a 24/7 basis, which led to him being called the “Houdini of Hardcore.”  If you ever try to look at the history of that title it will make your head hurt as the 24/7 rule led to about three to four title changes on every house show.  We are informed that Crash’s toughness comes from his cousin Hardcore Holly, who used to beat him up when he would get angry.  After all, look what Bob did to Matt Cappotelli on Tough Enough!

We then get our customary, somewhat uncomfortable profile of Roots Genoa that we are bound to come across in a WWF Magazine of this time period


It highlights how Benoit has his sights set on becoming WWF champion even though there are concerns by the WWF promotion and marketing teams that he might do something big since he is not as charismatic as other superstars.  The article even draws a parallel about how competing in the WWF is more difficult than the past since Benoit cannot be like a wrestler “in the old days who could coast defeating perennial losers in easy televised matches” between big bouts.  Our big eerie line from this well-written piece by Keith Elliot Greenberg:  “Most likely, their [the WWF’s] efforts to convert him into a cut-out media darling will be unsuccessful…”

We get a listing of the toughest ten superstars in the WWF.  The list is purely kayfabed as there is no mention of Steve Blackman on this list.


Kurt Angle is criminally underrated, but he is given his ranking because he is not intimidating enough.  Tazz has to be in the top three due to his gimmick.

This month’s interview piece is with Terri, who was going by the nick name of “She-Devil” around this time.


She makes clear that she likes to be independent, although it is okay for men to buy her things.  She also says that she has no interest in pursuing a singles title and that she considers Bubba Ray a “bully” for putting her through a table.  I am concerned that she says Jerry Lawler is her “kind of guy,” though.  Dustin should have submitted this as evidence in the divorce proceedings for custody!

And when I talked about the pay-per-view recaps getting smaller and smaller, I meant it.  Look what we have been reduced to in the 2000s:


How can you adequately recap a match in less than three sentences?  This is really egregious for the Iron Man Match between Triple H and the Rock, which gets less than a paragraph.

Remember to drink your milk!


And we close the magazine with a Stevie Richards column entitled “Gettin’ Heat.”


In this column, Richards traditionally made cracks at a WWF superstar.  This month, though, he attacks himself for stealing other wrestlers personas when he came into the company.  He says that he wishes he sought out Shawn Michaels for advice and he writes him a letter asking for guidance.  I will bet that Michaels never answered it.


Of all the magazines that have been covered by this column this was the worst.  The only redeeming column was Greenberg’s on Benoit with the rest constituting very boring, dry reads.  The magazine lost a lot of its creativity without Russo or Kelly at the helm.  Next week we will move forward two years and recap the April 2002 issue of WWF Magazine, which features the New World Order on the cover. 

Comments

  1. *looks at cover*

    That's not a woman, it's a MAN, baby!

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  2. I bought the WWF and Raw Magazine every month from the Spring of 2000 through... god, was it really 2005 when I stopped? Let's just say I tossed them all out without hesitation. They really did lose a lot of luster. When they turned Raw from a "smark friendly" publication to just another version of the kayfabe heavy issue so that Raw and Smackdown had separate magazines, that was a real dick nose move.

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  3. I hate Bull Buchanan with a passion. The clumsiest lamest wrestler I've ever known.

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  4. That was when I cancelled my subscription. Stupid idea to expect fans to buy two magazines to keep up with 1 product. By this point in the magazine it was about 40% ads.

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  5. I actually thought it was pretty smart and WWE really could have done a lot more to sell the brand extension.

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  6. The idea was there, but the execution failed. They took away one product that was an alternative, and turned it into a new alternative that was the same as the old format.

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  7. Reminds me of Nintendo Power. I loved that magazine throughout all my childhood and into my teens, but then it became more and more like a generic game magazine and all the luster was gone... and I had subscription set in stone for 5 free years because I kept buying things through the magazine like a new game that offered free strategy guides and a year subscription.

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  8. "It should also be noted that our managing editor of the
    magazine is no longer Kevin Kelly.
    Instead it is a woman named Laura Bryson."

    So we're all in agreement? Never put a woman in a management position in the wrestling business.

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  9. Seriously, who in their kayfabe minds would say KOKO B. WARE vs. BIG BOSS MAN was one of the greatest matches in SummerSlam History? I'd rather articles like this be completely omitted from the magazine instead of resorting to such low standards of ignoring wrestlers who were under contract to the competition.

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  10. That was weird. I assume they did it as a rib or to be funny, but wasn't really funny. Maybe they should have picked a Bushwhacker match or something.

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  11. I can just see the conversation...
    "we need an article on the best matches in SummerSlam"
    "easy!"
    "But we can't use the following names."
    "... What does that leave us to work with?"
    "Uh... Bad NEws Brown vs. Ken Patera, Koko B. Ware vs. Big Boss Man, and The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez."
    "You're shitting me?"

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  12. Shawn did not answer Stevie, and the next issue Stevie claimed he was better than Michaels or ripped him or something.

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  13. I'm not sure if the omission of names was an issue. I remember an old article where they ranked the top WM matches (I think it was written by Russo) and he surprisingly ranked Savage/Steamboat as the greatest WM match ever despite Savage being in WCW and Steamboat having nothing to do with the business anymore, plus the amount of heat and bad blood the match had because they upstaged Hogan.

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  14. I'd say it was someone trolling the fans, but Russo was long gone. Remember when he trolled everyone by listing Hogan as the 10th best WWF Champ ever, and Diesel something like 5th? That was a cheap plug for the Premiere edition of Raw Magazine, but I forgot to copy the URL. :P

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  15. To be fair, the article was written like a few months after Diesel lost the title after Diesel was booked as one of the most dominant champions they ever had and it's only with the benefit of hindsight that putting Diesel in the top 5 of greatest champions ever seems like such a joke.

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  16. But it was supposed to be a smart/"mature" fan audience reading. Trashing Hogan for being (to date) the ungodly untouchable top draw of all time and then favoring the lowest anti-draw of all time was just awful. Obvious attempts at trolling, but awful. Smart fans knew Diesel was a sucky champion, who worked sucky matches, and didn't draw a dime.

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  17. While the magazine was a bit more smart than the WWF one, it wasn't total smart rag or anything as they still kept some form of kayfabe in order to sell angles and stuff. I likened the Raw mag to be like PWI where they might slip some smart references here and there, but for the most part was kept kayfabe.

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  18. "We then get our customary, somewhat uncomfortable profile
    of Roots Genoa"

    Ah yes, "The Computer" Roots Genoa. I remember when he won the Royal Rumble by eliminating "Neo Giant" Gigaton Joe, then won the title at Mania and had an emotional celebration with "The Mexican" Terry Nevelo.

    It's a shame that "Godfather" Madman Musci refuses to acknowledge his contributions to pro wrestling.

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  19. Say what you will about the wrestler himself, but "Bling Bling" Buchanan will never ever not be funny.

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  20. Not only was W.O.W. Magazine better than WWF Magazine by this point but even WCW Magazine was better than this mag. Of course, it helped that the WCW mag completely dropped kayfabe by then and was mostly guys being interviewed out of character and subtly burying the company.

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  21. Speaking of magazines ranking world champions, I remember WCW magazine did a article where they ranked world champions (think it was top 50) and they ranked Bret and Shawn somewhere in the 10-20 range.

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  22. I remember that issue. They also had a great interview with Scott Steiner in one of their final issues where Scott just buried the writing team and all of the title changes, including a great rant where he pointed out that if you're going to put the World Title on a celebrity, at least have a celebrity that's a big name and looks the part like Arnold Schwarzenegger or John Wayne: "Hell, even a dead John Wayne could have beaten David Arquette".

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  23. 15 years later I STILL remember being confused by that. I assumed it was some sort of rib.

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  24. MaffewOfBotchamaniaFebruary 6, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Glad I'm not the only one.

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  25. MaffewOfBotchamaniaFebruary 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Agreed on both WOW and WCW Magazines around this time.

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  26. MaffewOfBotchamaniaFebruary 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    What was Raw Magazine like around this time? Did it become the word-and-sense filled alternative to this?

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  27. Did McMahon give final say on this or were they free to do what they wanted?

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  28. Raw Magazine tended to be a bit more geared to older, smarter fans. That changed with the brand split when it became specifically about Raw and WWF Magazine focused on Smackdown.

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  29. I remember Russo saying in an interview that McMahon was pretty hands off, but could get really upset if the magazine got too "smart" or ran a story critical of someone getting a push.

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  30. I think I still have a W.O.W. magazine somewhere from around this time in 2000, it was pretty excellent.

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  31. I always wondered how Vince felt about the smart stuff. HHH makes it a point to reference something in every promo but Vince has never acknowledged anything smark related. He's kinda broken kayfabe before but never dropped something that was insider-y

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  32. Vince cared about the cover only basically

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