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Defection Inspection - wrestlers' career management

Wrestling Digest,  Oct, 2000  by Steve Anderson

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Grade: Benoit, Malenko and Guerrero, A; Saturn, B+


Change: ECW to WWF

When: January 23, 2000

Why: Both the WWF and WCW courted Tazz in the summer of 1999. Yet, every indication pointed to him remaining in ECW. In September, he shocked the wrestling world with his announcement that he was jumping to the WWF based on an offer that he simply could not refuse.

Result: Tazz had an impressive and surprising debut at Royal Rumble when he beat the previously undefeated Kurt Angle. The WWF also created a series of video vignettes to hype his character. However, he has yet to cut an ECW Taz-like promo in the WWF and is mired in mid-card matches after a brief feud with Big Boss Man. In an interesting sidenote, an agreement was reached between Vince McMahon and ECW's Paul Heyman that allowed ECW to use Tazz as its political tool to help maintain the lineage of ECW's world heavyweight rifle. Tazz returned to ECW on April 13 (his gimmick number in the WWF) to defeat Mike Awesome for the championship.

Grade: C


Change: WCW to ECW

When: October 23, 1999

Why: What a difference a year makes. After portraying a rich snob and a hardcore brawler, Hak was released from WCW. A return to ECW seemed unlikely after his rancorous departure. However, wrestling bridges are mostly flame retardant, and he made a shocking return as the Sandman.

Result: Like Raven, Sandman is a former ECW world heavyweight champion, but he has yet to wrestle again for the tide. His feud with Rhino has consisted of two canceled pay-per-view matches; the "Rookie Monster" seems to have moved on to other things. Sandman's role in ECW has largely been to run in, drink beer, and celebrate with the crowd.

Grade: D

Chris Jericho

Change: WCW to WWF

When: August 9, 1999

Why: WCW offered Jericho a lucrative deal to stick around, but he preferred the creative control the WWF offered him. Mired in WCW mid-card matches, Jericho saw an opportunity to become a main-event star in the WWF. Thus, Y2J was born.

Result: For weeks, the "Millennium Clock" counted down to Y2J's debut in the WWF. Jericho immediately confronted established WWF stars with verbal warfare. Ring warfare resulted in a WWF intercontinental rifle and a victory at Wrestlemania for the European championship. However, Jericho is still awaiting a main-event opportunity.

Grade: B+

Jeff Jarrett

Change: WWF to WCW

When: October 18, 1999

Why: The WWF lost the services of Jeff Jarrett--who was the reigning WWF Intercontinental champion--in one of the few times the federation can be accused of slipping up. With former WWF creative whiz Vince Russo heading to WCW, "Double J" followed him in hopes of a main-event push.

Result: Dubbed "the Chosen One," Jarrett swung his mighty guitar all the way to the WCW world heavyweight rifle. He now embraces his heel status, unlike his contemporaries in the promotion.

Grade: A

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