Cheap Heat 2.13.01: No Way Out Of WrestleMania


The next three paragraphs are random rants. Feel free to skip down to the wrestling stuff.

For any of you who happen to read this and aren't in college, I'm going to give you some quick advice. NEVER assume college offices have a semblance of sense. Here's a quick story. My school offers health insurance, which it automatically gives you every semester, for $450. That would be fantastic if I didn't already have health insurance. I finally get my bill (a month into the semester, mind you) and the charge for the insurance is there. I go to health services and ask for the charge to be removed. They say I have to fill out a waiver. I say: fine, give me the waiver. They say: it's too late. I say: I already have health insurance. They say: you need to fill out the waiver before the deadline so we know. I say: but I sent you a copy of my insurance card when I sent the results of my physical. They say: we know, but you didn't fill out the waiver. I say: If I send you an insurance card, doesn't it make sense that I might already have insurance and, even if I get REALLY hurt, don't need to be covered on TWO insurance plans? The lady looks at me dumbly: you'll have to deal with the bursar. I went to the bursar's office which, of course, is closed between the hours of 11:30 and 1. I hope I get an hour and a half for lunch when I have a real job.

Can I also tell you how much my mind was blown when I found out Napster has 50 million users? I had no idea. What further blows my mind is that 50 million users have no voice… because none of them say anything. People bitch that Napster is getting shut down, but what will any of them do about it? The record companies are only charging what the market will support. If millions of people are willing to go out and blow twenty bucks on a CD, then that's what they'll charge. People love file sharing, but until they realize complaining about CD prices, but still buying them, doesn't do a damn thing. Myself, I won't spend more than $12 on a CD unless I HAVE to have it, and not more than $14 EVER. I refuse to spend sixteen dollars on a two dollar piece of plastic… ESPECIALLY when a good portion of that money is now going to the lawyers who are fighting AGAINST Napster. Chew on that one a while, Napster users. Probably 75% of the cash YOU'RE spending on CDs is now going to fight your service.

Now… imagine what would happen if 50 million people STOPPED buying CDs from all the "big evil record companies." Especially us fools they love… namely teenagers and college students, who have no problem dropping twenty bucks because they have nothing else, like bills, to spend it on. Imagine what would be said if 50 million people, for the next month, didn't buy a single CD. Maybe the record labels, who are only doing what the market supports, would be forced to re-evaluate their stance. And maybe Marshal "if you can afford a computer, you can afford $16 for my record" Mathers would be forced to pipe down. If you really love a band, see them in concert. That's where the artists make their money anyway.

OK… enough of that. Wrestling column.

I was jacked to find out that Raw is going to be up here on March 19th. Does anyone have any sign ideas other than "Your Music Sucks" (wonder who that's pointed to) and a nice big "" sign?

For quite a few years, the WWF only had 4 pay per views: The Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and The Survivor Series. Back then, the current PPV would lay the groundwork for the feuds leading into the next PPV. When they invented the Royal Rumble, it made sense the winner would get a title shot at Wrestlemania. Then, the federation could build the feud for three months (when 'Mania used to be in April) and blowoff the feud at Wrestlemania. Then, the WWF decided they would start doing monthly PPVs, so they were stuck with the same Number One contender for two or three months.

Back in the day, when the WWF title was only defended on PPVs or Saturday Night's Main event, it wasn't a problem. Now, with weekly competition, all the big stars appear on television every week, there IS a problem. Everyone knows the title holder isn't going to lose the title when he's already scheduled for a Wrestlemania match, and they know the Number One contender is never going to lose. It makes for boring television.

So, the WWF makes the winner of the Rumble fight to keep the number one contendership through the months leading to Wrestlemania. The problem with this has been: sometimes it makes for more interesting television then 'Mania itself. Wrestlemania 14 (Michaels/Austin main event) was excellent, one of the best in recent memory. It was definitely the best since Wrestlemania 10 (Michals/Razor ladder, Owen/Bret, Bret/Yoko main event). The problem with 15 and 16 has been: the "blowoff" February PPV that preceded them has come off BETTER than the crown jewel itself.

Let's take a look, shall we?

No Way Out 2000 featured the following. Jericho/Angle, which would result in Angle's first (I believe) IC title. The Dudleyz/New Age Outlaws, which also resulted (I believe) in the Dudleyz first Tag Title reign. We had Viscera/Mark Henry, which was one of the most technically sound matches I'd seen in quite a while… and since, for that matter.

Just seeing if you were paying attention :-)

We saw the end of the Terri Invitation Tournament, which saw Edge and Christian winning the services of Terri Runnels from the Hardyz. We already know what these matches look like, just because they're so good, we STILL get them every once in a while. One of the early meetings of Kane/X-Pac, a good six-man tag match between the Radicals (Malenko/Benoit/Saturn)/Too Cool & Rikishi, and Rock/Big Show for the number one contendership. The "funny ending" to the Rumble of 2000 led to the match, when it was revealed that Rocky's feet hit the floor before he eliminated the Big Show.

Shawn Michaels, he ain't. Kind of funny when you think about it. The Big Show holds a Rumble victory, but the Rock doesn't.

Fully Loaded was a VERY strong PPV. Which led to Wrestlemania 2000. Let's take a look at the only Wrestlemania which didn't contain any serious singles matches. We start off with a Heat match in Godfather & D'Lo/the Big f'n Bossman and Bull f'n Buchanan where the future RTCers explode. Move into the godawful Hardcore Battle Royal. Well, it wasn't godawful, but it was still stupid. Into a second Heat match with T&A/Head Cheese. The next was the Hardyz/E&C/Dudleyz first ladder match, which I absolutely cannot rave enough about. This was a five star spotfest if there ever was one. Then we move on to kill the show with Kat/Terri Evening Gown match. No one got naked, so what was the point? Next is the Radicalz/Chyna & Too Cool. This would see Chyna pinning Eddy Guerrero, which makes it nauseating without discussion. The match would go on to be further made pointless when Chyna would fall for Eddy's Latino Heat. Next was the three-way EuroContinental title match between Benoit/Jericho/Angle. This was a great match, too. Then Kane/Rikishi vs Xpac/Road Dogg, which was nothing except to get Pete Rose on television again. And the main event, which wasn't even a singles match, and which saw the Heel win for the first time in WrestleMania history, which had to happen, because HHH never jobs (except last month) on PPV.

So, what we had was a February show which was just as good, if not better, than the crown jewel. In fact, Wrestlemania, for the most part, turned out to be re-matches (with an extra guy or two tossed in the mix) of the No Way Out card.

We go back another year, with hazy memory, to Wrestlemania 15. The Rock/Austin main event was good. A Hardcore Title three-way with Snow/Hardcore Holly/Billy Gunn… any match involving Billy Gunn automatically puts it in the toilet, though. A completely pointless tag title match with Jarret/Owen vs Test/D'lo. The payoff to the Brawl for All where Bart Gunn got completely embarrassed by ButterBall….err, Butterbean. A terrible Mankind/Big Show match. A four-way IC title match with only two guys anyone cared about. The Triple H/Kane match which would see HHH making a sudden face turn by reuniting with Chyna, only to turn heel a half hour later by turning on X-Pac who was facing Shane McMahon. Sable/Tori which was bad enough to draw a Nicole Bass run-in. Wrestlemania 15 also had the dubious honor of hosting the terrible Bossman/Undertaker cage match. So, for those keeping tabs, Wrestlemania 15 featured exactly 1 good match, a bunch of senseless (gotta love Russo) swerves, and a lotta crap.

As opposed to the February No Way Out which, thanks to the WWF No Way Out website, I kind of remember. I recall McMahon/Austin having a damn passable cage match which saw Austin winning the number one contendership from Vince, a VERY good Rock/Foley "Last Man Standing" match for the Title (No, this wasn't the 42 chairshots to Foley's head match), a good Venis/Shamrock match, and a bunch of other crap. But, we also had 3 good matches to 'Mania's 1, and better and more sensible storylines leading into it.

This year looks like it could end up as more of the same. So far, for this year's No Way Out, we're going to have Austin vs Triple H, which the "no contact" rule is really making interesting. It's also the only match we haven't seen ad nauseum in the three possible Wrestlemania main eventers. Triple H/Rock is overdone and Austin/Rock has been seen before. We're going to have Rock/Angle, which is pretty well a foregone conclusion, unless the federation didn't learn from last year's mistakes and decides against a singles match for the main even this year, too. We'll probably build to another Guerrero/Jericho match, Regal/Snow, and something with Benoit.

Where are they going with Wrestlemania X7? No one seems to know… which is odd, since the "Wrestlemania Stretch" started last month. It looks like we're leading to Austin/Rock. Now, don't get me wrong… Wrestlemania 17 has some potential. We have a returning Shawn Michaels who, I don't care what anyone thinks, is GOING to be at Wrestlemania, regardless of whether he's "in shape" or not… if Shawn can be at Wrestlemania, he'll be at Wrestlemania. We have a possible Foley/McMahon match. We have heel turned (?) Rock against Austin. There's a whole lot of things that COULD be done for this year's Wrestlemania to make it blow two years of mediocrity away. But Wrestlemania has been status quo for the last two years.

Here's hoping they do something about it.