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Cody Monk's pro wrestling column (Oct. 29)

THE SHAKEDOWN: The WWF's protector doesn't like to get physical

10/29/99

By Cody Monk / Special Contributor to dallasnews.com

Monk appears on The Ender with Mark Followill and Doug Anderson on KTCK 1310 AM "The Ticket" every Monday at 10:35 p.m.
Jim Dotson, the WWF's director of protective services since 1996, stirred his coffee and took a quick sip before cracking a big smile.

He knew the question was coming. Finding a different way to answer it was the challenge.

"I don't get involved physically," Dotson responded. "That's the simple answer."

That's why Dotson doesn't get in the ring. His physical stature, however, suggests he should be wrestling the federation's top stars, not protecting them.

RANKINGS
Cody Monk's Top 10 Wrestlers
Rankings based on charisma, fan appeal and in-ring ability.
1. The Rock - WWF
Millions and millions of fans can't be wrong.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin - WWF
Still one of wrestling's hardest workers.
3. Mankind - WWF
His book makes Foley even hotter.
4. Bill Goldberg - WCW
New writers finally got it right. Put Goldberg on top.
5. HHH - WWF
Is back with DX. Good move?
6. Chris Jericho - WWF
Falls in the rankings only because his push has lessened.
7. Chris Benoit - WCW
Program with Malenko will be entertaining TV.
8. TAZ - ECW
Already looking forward to the WWF.
9. Shane McMahon - WWF
Doesn't wrestle much, but will do anything in the ring.
10. Kane - WWF
With X-Pac in DX, Kane gets big singles push.
Dropped Out: Ric Flair (9)

Cody Monk's Bottom 5 Wrestlers
Ranking based on charisma, fan appeal and in-ring ability...or lack thereof.
1. Sid - WCW
Just go away, please.
2. Ernest Miller - WCW
Can't find the remote fast enough.
3. Mideon - WWF
Signed a one-year contract extension. Believe it or not.
4. Viscera - WWF
Mideon's partner. Enough said.
5. Norman Smiley - WCW
Is he really getting a push?
Dropped out: Moolah/Mae Young (4), Rick Steiner (5)

Cody Monk's Top 5 Tag Teams
Ranking based on charisma, fan appeal and in-ring ability.
1. New Age Outlaws - WWF
Will be even more popular with DX back together.
2. Harlem Heat - WCW
Have WCW straps. That's the way it should be.
3. The Acolytes - WWF
Powerful, entertaining workers.
4. The Hollys - WWF
One of the most entertaining tag teams in the business ... allegedly.
5. Edge and Christian - WWF
Getting better every time out.
Dropped out: None
At 6-0 and a chiseled 260 pounds, the former Mr. Tennessee is an imposing presence at live WWF events. Dotson is highly visible at WWF events. He's the large man with the strange hat leading wrestlers through the crowds and making sure nothing or no one in the audience interferes with them.

Dotson, 34, has been hit with so many beer cups he can almost name the brand on contact. He's been pelted with food and all sorts of other objects. Most of the time, WWF fans are well behaved, Dotson said. At times, though, he has had to draw the line between the audience having fun and protecting a wrestler.

"In our business, the last thing you want to do is get physical," Dotson said. "That's a last resort. But I have had physical confrontations before."

Dotson is a full-time WWF employee who worked 300 shows in 1998. Before coming to the WWF, he owned his own protective services company in Nashville, where he still lives.

Growing up in Nashville, where he went to a private Christian school from kindergarten through his senior year, Dotson was a passive wrestling fan. He got turned on to the business in earnest while playing linebacker at Middle Tennessee State.

"I was in a bar one night during school," said Dotson, whose nickname is "Big Jim." "I was about 225 (p