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Blonde Ambition!

How long can Debra, Owen and Jarrett co-exist? By Harry Burkett

        It was sad to watch. Three charismatic personalities. Three enormous talents. One common bond.

        They couldn't win for losing.

        Owen Hart, the multi-time holder of the WWF Intercontinental and tag team titles, was mired in the mid-card doldrums. Once hailed as the "Slammy-Award Winning Owen Hart", the youngest child of Stu and Helen found himself showered with chants of "Nug-get, Nug-get!" Even a half-pint comedian, Jason Sensation, poked fun at his big nose.

        Jeff Jarrett, who slammed WCW for lack of opportunities, saw his career take a further nose dive in the WWF. After a brief reign as NWA North American champ, Jarrett never came close to the I-C strap he held three times before and failed to earn a shot at the WWF World title. Jarrett, who was considered superior in strength and scientific skill lost to X-Pac in a humiliating hair vs. hair march on August 30.

        Debra McMichael, following a rocky managerial career in WCW and a highly publicized divorce from Steve McMichael, found herself between jobs. At Jarrett's behest, the WWF granted McMichael a managerial license. Jarrett's career continued to founder and the verdict on McMichael was in: She may look like a beauty queen, but she's a flop as a manager.

        When the newly formed tandem of Hart and Jarrett faced WWF World tag team champions Ken Shamrock and Big Bossman in Phoenix, Arizona, they weren't given a chance to win. Both were on losing streaks and, surely, a partnership between the two would prove disastrous. It was taken for granted that neither man, despite their previous successes, was tough enough to succeed in the WWF's hardcore environment.

        "There was a real sense that the changing times in the WWF were leaving men like Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett behind," remarked broadcaster Michael Cole. "Hart and Jarrett, both of whom are second-generation stars, gained success by bending the rules when their opponents would not. That willingness to put a foot on the rope to gain leverage or grab the trunks in a pinfall attempt gave them a distinct advantage.

        "In today's 'anything goes' atmosphere, an occasional eye gouge or pulling of the hair doesn't help when someone is smashing your head with a chair. Hart and Jarrett must change their strategies to be successful ... and that's beginning to happen."

        Hart and Jarrett stopped trying to outwrestle opponents. Great scientific skills are of diminishing relevance as wrestling gives way to all-out warfare. Their new strategy? To out-think their opponents.

        That's where Debra McMichael is invaluable. Debra was a tremendous distraction during the January 25 match as she flaunted her feminine wares in front of Shamrock and Bossman. Thanks to distractions from Debra and the latest Blue Blazer, Owen scored the winning pinfall. The fans at the America West Arena were stunned as Hart and Jarrett walked away with the WWF World tag team belts.

        As the trio strutted back to the dressing room, Debra exclaimed, "They couldn't have done it without my beautiful body!"

        Jarrett glanced at Debra after she uttered the statement. Owen stopped rejoicing and wrinkled his brow. Those words didn't set well with the two men who had just sweated out a victory, but, in the euphoria of the moment, they let it pass.

        "Things aren't too cozy in that camp," insisted Team Corporate associate Pat Patterson. "That dizzy blonde may have everybody buffaloed, but mark my words, Hart and Jarrett are going to get sick and tired of her ego and her nagging. They will ditch her very soon. Then where will they be? Without Debra's sex appeal distracting their opponents, Hart and Jarrett can't last very long. Shamrock and Bossman will be there to pick up the pieces. Heck, Mr. McMahon and I might even make a run for the gold."

        Coming from Patterson, those statements could easily be regarded as corporate propaganda. According to the locker room gossip, however, he is probably correct. Considering the egomaniacs involved, it isn't much of a stretch.

        McMichael and Jarrett consider Hart a junior partner because he was the last to join the team. But if you eavesdrop on one of Jarrett and Hart's chat sessions, Debra is depicted as the no-talent hanger-on.

        The most telling indication of an imminent breakup between the blonds is Debra's own comments. "I am the most remarkable combination of beauty and brains this business has ever seen. I'm like the puppeteer pulling Jeff's and Owen's strings. And, sure, you can quote me on that, hon. They don't mind me saying stuff like that because they know it's true. I've got the gold to prove it, right?"

        Correction: Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett have the gold. And Debra McMichael might have a big problem on her hands.