Jeez, nothing fires people up more than picking on a religious groups. A small paragraph I wrote last week generated almost as much mail as my fantasy booking of Raw. If you’d like to see either, check out Last Week’s Column. If you checked into the site after Tuesday, it was probably already gone. I think it only made two days on the main page before falling off… and since I’m pretty sure no one looks in the archives ((I certainly don’t)) a lot of you probably didn’t get a chance to read it. Religious types certainly call you interesting names between telling you you’re going to burn in hell and stuff. Then, some of them tried to psycho-analyze me. All in all, it was an interesting experience. Some choice comments:
And I really think you should do more research before you post misleading comments on your site. Journalistic integrity, and all that.
I don’t have any… I don’t get paid.
You are a silly ass! The Catholic Church burning books? Get real you bigot.
I am Catholic… I can’t be a bigot against them.
Take you hate & stuff it.
I hate all ignorance…
fool fool fooll! See you got me angry. this is why you must keep politics to yourself and report on wrestling like a good Internet nerd.
I am not a good Internet nerd… I AM A REBEL INTERNET NERD!!!! I have OPINIONS ON OTHER THINGS BESIDE WRESTLING.
One thing I will say I was wrong about is grouping Catholics with the groups who are actually responsible for this. Christian Fundamentalists. For that… I am wrong and I DO apologize.
OK, I’m getting into Eric S length of politcal discussion. Time to stop and move on to more worldly important things… LIKE WRESTLING!!!
Mick Foley “offically” left the company on Raw. We got to see the inside of the McMahon’s WWF Jet. That’s style. Foley quit. Vince was going to fire him, but instead just told him to “Have a Nice Day.” Then unleashed one of the creepiest smiles I’ve seen to date. This is everyone, not just McMahon. Just creepy.
Vince in the Ring #1: He fires Paul Heyman and introduces the WWF’s NEW color commentator. Jerry “The King” Lawler. I’ve never seen someone more happy to be back at work than the King. You couldn’t have punched the smile off his face. Good to hear him behind the mic again.
Vince informs us all title holders in the Alliance still have a job. So Christian and RVD aren’t fired. Nice of them to finally clear that up. Yet, he’s still stripping Austin of the title. Well, that’s all fine and dandy… but how about a little explanation as to why you didn’t do that THREE F’N MONTHS AGO.
Kurt Angle is magically a heel. Even though he saved the WWF. All the man wants is a little bit of thanks. Is that too much to ask? First he takes some crap from the Rock, then some crap from all the fans. You know, if I was going to this event, I would have had to steal someone’s “American Hero” sign when they thought Angle was going to be a good guy again. I would have given him some thanks.
Vince in the Ring #2: Calls out Shane and Steph. Shane owns up to defeat like a man. Steph whines like a yak and tries to blame it all on Shane. Vince has her removed by security, hopefully removing her from television for good, peaceful, quiet long time.
The WCW Title has been renamed to “The World Championship.” So long, WCW. It was nice to know you.
Rock and Angle had a match, which Rocky won. Jericho came out post match to throw a beaten to the Rock. He pretty well solidified his heel turn by laying the Walls on the Rock… breaking it… then coming back to the ring to put it back on. Rock did it a couple weeks ago to Jericho and got pops. Jericho does it and it solidifies a heel turn. Funny how things work out.
Vince in the Ring #3: Vince made William Regal kiss his ass. Well, I guess we discovered which of the two directions Vince would go with the Alliance loss. To be fair, he kind of went with a combination of the two. Mostly the second one, though, unfortunately.
Jericho had a match with Kane. The size difference was enough so that Chris couldn’t even put the Lion Tamer on Kane. OK, so the Walls is out as his finisher if he’s a main eventer. The Lion Sault is too Cruiserweight-ish to be a finisher… and he can’t seem to master the Breakdown. Finisher number 4? The eye-poke.
Tazz had two matches this week. Total match time 42 seconds… give or take 30.
Vince in the Ring #4: Comes out to award Steve Austin’s World Title to Kurt Angle in thanks for saving the WWF. Magically, both Vince and Kurt have morphed to heels since last night’s show. I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it did. The segment is saved when RIC BY GOD FLAIR comes to the ring. I got chills when I heard the music, kids. He informs us that, yes, Shane and Steph did, in fact, sell all their stock to him. Which, not to toot my own horn, I SAID IN THIS VERY COLUMN LAST WEEK. THE WWF IS STILL MY CREATIVE BITCH. EVERYONE WHO’S ANYONE IN THAT FEDERATION READS MY COLUMN. I BOOK THE SHOWS FROM HERE!!!!
Actually, to be fair, I’m sure a ton of you thought of this, and I’m sure there were other Internet writers that thought of this. It didn’t take rocket science… and it was a simple way to work him in. But, it’s fun to pretend I’m important :)
Flair and Vince are 50% partners ((ummm…)). As such, there will be no stripping of Steve Austin. Instead, Austin comes out and kicks some ass… then shares a beer with Ric. It must suck to spill beer on a five thousand dollar suit. Anyway, we’re left with Austin and Flair celebrating in the ring… which is actually a better ending than I came up with last week… but I was also assuming H was coming back. One serious plot hole I’d like to point out is: why does Vince have 50% of the company and not 25%? Where did Linda’s 25% go? This is just another one of those stupid dangling plot holes that could be resolved with two spoken lines, yet they don’t feel the need to do so. “When Linda was mentally incapacitated, her 25% of the company shifted to me. I own it now.” There, fixed. Even if they mention it six months later, it still clears up some things.
Ric Flair opened Raw, and we find out about Vengeance’s Main Event. It’ll be Rocky vs Jericho and Kurt vs Austin. The winners will duke it out for one, unified World Title. The Titles are being unified and H has nothing to do with it? I’m baffled. Hm… his picture IS on the Time Warner promotional art, like Rocky’s was on Summer Slam. Could he possibly be coming back on it?
Paisley’s an interviewer now. I don’t really care… but I thought you might like to know.
Tazz stood up to the Big Show… then got squashed. It’s really tough to make a guy look like a badass when he gets beat in less than a minute in every match.
Regal brought Austin out to yell at him for losing the Alliance. This brought on a Stunner, which brought out the Dudleys, Christian, and Test for the five guy beat down. Just in case there was any question, Austin took on all five of them for a bit before succumbing, so he’s definitely a face again now… so it’s OK for the crowd to play sing-along with him. After the beatdown, against all common logic, Vince welcomes the beaters into his little “family.”
Christian, Test, the Dudleys, and Regal. Vince, who just spent the last three months trying to rid the WWF of the Alliance, now sets up an Alliance with all the remaining members. AND Chris Jericho, who wasn’t in the Alliance, but made a good stab at helping the WWF lose the Survivor Series match. Are you kidding? You introduce a new 50% partner, who would have a reason to align with the ex-Alliancers, and yet, you align them with the guy who would have EVERY DAMN REASON TO WANT THEM PERMANENTLY OUT OF HIS FEDERATION!!!??? This is what keeps me awake at nights. All the people in the WWF who would align with the boss, and he chooses the only people he absolutely SHOULDN’T align with.
The Week in Wrestling
Well, the Alliance/WCW angle is gone, swept under the rug like it never happened. They have the means to continue it, with Flair having been added, but are choosing to take the show in an entirely new direction. In fact, with Lawler suddenly back as commentator, the last six months are like some sort of odd, evil dimension Raw from the beyond. The players have all been reset to the roles they were in before it started. Austin is the babyface, along with the Rock. Angle is a heel. Vince is a heel. Taker and Kane are… well… Taker and Kane. How they took a total money angle and turned it into, perhaps, the six most forgettable months in wrestling history is beyond me. You would think a monkey would have had to been in charge.
Oh wait… like I said last week… one was.
Flair returning is a bonus. You can’t go wrong when you throw Ric Flair on a wrestling show. He popped the biggest rating for Raw in, what, three or four months? Hopefully, this managed to teach the booking crew something we’ve all known for months. If you change things up, it makes the product interesting. If you make the show interesting, people will watch. Flair adds something to the saga we haven’t had in more than a year: a non-McMahon in the major storyline. He’s not Shane, and he’s certainly not Stephanie. And for that… we are grateful.
The Jericho heel turn is in full effect. I’ve been begging for this since he came over from WCW. This is how Jericho shines. The “cocky young stud” act got old by the end of 2000. Everything got pretty lame. Now is the chance to see what he can really do. Maybe he’ll fall flat on his ass… I don’t think so. I think he’s got it in him to be the next something big.
Still no H. I expected with him being on the poster and all, they might bring him back ASAP. Of course, the WWF is into setting up their PPVs the week before them, now. To be fair, they set up Vengeance the day after Survivor Series. Of course, Vengeance is only two weeks away now, so they’re right on schedule. I could be wrong, but is this the quickest gap between WWF Pay Per Views in recent memory? Maybe they used to do it, but when there were three PPVs a month, you didn’t notice so much.
I would say the writing has improved since Survivor Series, but I’d be lying. Flair saved both Raw and Smackdown this week… and the shows were the same meandering crap they’ve been for the last six months. They can’t write a coherent storyline to save their asses. The ones they try to write end up invalidating something they already did. And I guaran-damn-tee you, this Flair/McMahon thing comes to a head a Wrestlemania, where they each put up 50% of a multi-million dollar company in the hands of a wrestling match, which Vince McMahon will win. He won’t be able to stop himself from putting that final nail in the coffin of WCW’s legacy. Flair is WCW… beating him in the ring will be the same thing as putting the WWF Title on himself when Eric Bischoff got fired. He’ll be crowning himself champion. They got what they needed. They FINALLY got something for old Nitro fans to tune in for. If the story is still going to be crap, they’re not giving them any reason to stay. Right now, they have WCW fan’s interest. NOW is the time to stick Booker T back on TV. NOW is the time to get Billy Kidman back on TV. These WCW fans who are watching because of Flair, are not going to stick around only because of Flair. They’ll need something else. Namely, people they remember. Even Flair can’t bring a company out of the toilet by himself… which Eric Bischoff proved.
Raw needs to get away from “what?” moments. No, these are not when Steve Austin is prompting the crowd to say “what.” They are moments like the one I mentioned above where Vince is suddenly aligned with 5 guys who he tried to fire a week ago. They will be the moment when Steph comes out as H’s valet, even though Vince had her removed by security this past Thursday. “What?” moments piss people off. They piss longtime fans off… the ones who were asking what was up when Jericho teamed with the Dudleyz on Smackdown, after having been in roughly two THOUSAND handicap matches against them. The ones who were asking why, if Test was able to punk out Scotty 2 Hotty on Survivor Series to get entered in the battle royal, why EVERY MEMBER of both federations weren’t doing that to everyone else to get one of the twenty coveted spots. There is a simple example of a compelling story that could have been told in the month before the Immunity Battle Royal. They have a “random drawing” to see who gets into the battle royal… all WWF guys get picked. Shane and Steph call foul, saying Vince rigged the draft so he could have a mole in the company when the Alliance wins. Create a match for a new draft, supervised by both commissions. After someone is drafted, they can lose their slot if they lose a match to someone. They have to have their “draft card” on them to be admitted into the battle royal. The days leading up to, and Survivor Series itself, can be a mess of mid-carders trying get their asses saved in the match. Even some of the Main Event guys give it a shot… “just in case.”
The WWF and Hall & Nash seem to be too far apart to continue negotiating. Expect this to be resolved soon, depending on how the next few weeks go with ratings and whatnot. If the story stays interesting and ratings stay high, the WWF will stand firm and Hall and Nash will buckle. If the ratings start to plummet again, expect the WWF to offer them six figures each and give them one Raw and Smackdown off a month, if that’s what it takes.
Where do They go From Here?
Flair vs McMahon for control of the company is where the money is. The wrestlers should start taking sides soon. Problem is, the way things are aligned right now, some of the pairings won’t make sense Like Jericho being with McMahon. It’s going to turn into heels aligning with Vince, regardless of past relations, and faces aligning with Flair with the Rock in the middle, doing his thing, because that’s what he does and no one behind the scenes of WWF HQ has the balls to change the character in the slightest. I expect this Flair/McMahon storyline to start to Heat up big over the next week or so.
At this point, I don’t really see where they’re going to be working Triple H into the whole scene, so I really don’t expect to see him till after Vengeance. Then again, only three matches on the whole card are set in stone, so I guess there’s plenty he can still do. The problem is, the only return feud that makes sense for him is Jericho, since they could do a “you put me out for six monthsÃ¢â‚¬Â thing. Of course, when did sense ever stop the booking team from doing what they wanted? But then, to keep the Rock/HHH balance in check, he needs to return as a heel.
My guess is, this week, the wrestlers start to pick sides. Or, at least, the faces formally ally with Flair and the heels formally ally with Vince. As for the undercard the WWF doesn’t even really seem to care about it, so why should we, right?
Till next week.