The following Mitchell's Take was originally published on PWTorch.com two years ago, on Sept. 22, 2002...
In a stunning coincidence, both major companies are running "mystery" storylines at the same time: the WWF's "Who ran over 'Stone Cold'?" angle and WCW's "Who fathered Miss Hancock's Baby?" question.
A look at the differences between the two reveals why, as usual, WCW's storyline is fundamentally flawed and will not work.
How can I say that? After all, Vince Russo trumpeted this angle on WCW Live as one of his best, with plenty of twists and turns, before a guaranteed payoff. He was, he is sure to claim time after time, the writer (if not the actual idea man) behind the epic Steve Austin-Mr. McMahon storyline that put the WWF on the road to an IPO.
For the sake of argument, we'll take Russo at his word that this Miss Hancock story will play out the way he planned it. That's not the problem. The problem is Russo's fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of a wrestling storyline: to prime fans to see a fight.
First, let's look at the WWF's angle, which has less potential for surprise than WCW's. Someone ran over one of wrestling's biggest stars, putting him out of the sport for almost a year. Now the Rattlesnake is back and looking for revenge.
Obviously, after some swerves and misdirections, Austin will find out who ran him over and attempt to open a can of beer, I mean, whoop ass on him on a near future $29.95 show. Pretty simple.
And pretty lucrative. While I don't know who the WWF has in mind (they may not know either, remember Vince as the evil genius behind the Undertaker's kidnapping of his daughter?), the suspect pool is pretty limited.
In other words, you can bet it probably wasn't Prince Albert or A Guy named Joe, or The Dupps. As surprising as those choices might be, they wouldn't make money. The culprit obviously will be a McMahon/Taker like major player.
Fans know what to expect.
Contrast that with the Miss Hancock angle. What difference does it make who slipped her while David Flair wasn't watching? Isn't David Flair a lunatic, anyway?
Is it supposed to be a shock that Miss Hancock, who's so full of unbridled lust she does the hootchie dance on the announcers' table every week, sleeps around? Isn't that the point of these women characters?
After all the airtime that goes to this, what's the end result? Gullible, inept David Flair wants revenge? So what. Will any fan pay to see him get it? Or Miss Hancock gets to be a bigger star's valet? Wasn't she going to do that anyway?
And look at the likely suspects. As opposed to Steve Austin's list of stars to the interrogate, WCW has the likes of Crowbar, who wants revenge, or the latest gay gimmick failure, Kwee Wee.
Or how about David's father, the Nature Boy? It fits his playboy callous-to-his-family character, after all. But haven't we just seen this feud? Does anybody want to see it for the third time, much less the first?
Okay, let's cut the crap. We all know, in the end, Vince Russo will turn out to be the father, just like he's David's "father." Russo is a mark who gets off on stealing the spotlight from star wrestlers (particularly if his homeys, who thought he was a nerd, might show up in the Nassau Coliseum to see what a big deal he is now).
Vinnie Ru can once again humiliate the Flair family. But then, he already shaved Ric's and his other son Reid's head. A week later, no one cared.
Russo doesn't understand the basic tenet of wrestling writing: build anticipation toward a wrestling match. That fact alone is enough to doom the Miss Hancock baby.
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