Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 12.18.01


Say at last, who art thou?

That power I serve
Which wills forever evil
Yet does forever good

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

In Memoriam: Russ Haas. The saddest thing in life is unrealized potential and thoughts of what might have been had it been realized.


I mixed up how many times Hitler and Stalin won Time’s Man of the Year. Stalin won it twice, Hitler once (I was certain that Hitler had won it in 1939 as well). Also, I misspelled Howard Roark’s name, but since he’s a fictional character, I don’t think he’ll complain (the guy who spotted it, my Canadian pal spooge (no, that’s his e-mail handle), asked me “Is he the bastard child of Ayn Rand and Ricardo Montalban?”, so he at least got the reference; thus, no harm, no foul).

Speaking of that, The Fountainhead was on Turner Classic Movies early Monday morning, and I caught some of it to refresh my memory. Damn, talk about unintentional hilarity. How the careers of Gary Cooper, Pat Neal, and King Vidor survived this one is beyond me (and the fact that both Coop and Neal ended up winning Academy Awards after this mess can only be ascribed to divine intervention).

And further speaking of Man of the Year, other slimeballs who have won it include Khomeini, Nixon (twice), both Bushes, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr, Jeff Bezos, Ted Turner, Andy Grove (the Boss From Hell, according to a LOT of Intel people), Deng Xiaoping (twice; remember Tiananmen Square?), John Foster Dulles (the model for every GOP small-scale dictator), Charles de Gaulle (war hero turned megalomanic psycho), Pierre Laval (would-be Robespierre turned Hitler bootlicker), and the Duchess of Windsor (however, revisionist history has been very kind to her). Of course, Reagan gets his own sentence in the slimeball category. Depending on one’s perspective, you can also include Bill Clinton (twice), the Pope, LBJ (twice), Arafat, Queen Elizabeth, and Khrushchev on that list. So, Time has a long tradition of not appointing the best and brightest as Man of the Year. It just reinforces my statement that the critics of bin Laden for this choice have no room to bitch.


Apparently there are some of you out there who are still sans clue, so I’m going to state the ground rules again for the benefit of those people: it’s my column, so I talk about anything I want. Wrestling is covered in here, but if you want dry, boring, dull wrestling news, may I recommend the Observer?

Yet there are still some people who write me, even after last week’s screed, and ask when I’m going to say “nice things” about wrestling, or anything else for that matter. The answer to that question is “Never” (or more accurately “When I think something deserves it”). The reason for that is simple: I’m not a nice person. I’m the one who said he was glad that Barbara Olsen was “smeared across the Pentagon” (my words). I’m the one who said that Korey Stringer committed suicide and was enabled in doing so by the Vikings coaching staff (and how nice of the team to officially join him in auto-da-fe on Sunday by becoming the sole victims of both the Lions and Panthers this season). I’ve threatened to call my friends in the Outfit on certain critics of mine. Let’s face it, these are not the acts of a nice person. What I can give you is honesty, which is something refreshing in wrestling, a world where everything is a tissue of make-believe. Remember, escapism is fine if it doesn’t become your world, and that applies to more than wrestling.

That’s what upsets me about the “I can’t get over September 11th” crowd. They’ve traded one form of escapism (naivete about what the world is like) for another (web of paranoia where security is preferable to freedom). It’s those type of people who can only deal with everyday life through escapism instead of using escapism simply as a tool to decompress. It’s those type of people who have zero perspective on other people’s views and opinions. The entire world has to conform to their standards, and include that escapist viewpoint (before you say anything, you’re wrong; I don’t insist that people conform to my standards, just that I make them known). Let me give an example.

I received a pissed-off squak from someone who was upset at a throwaway joke I used last week about Dubbaya (see the whole Man of the Year thing above), claiming that since I included a reference to him alongside Stalin and Hitler, I was defamatory, unpatriotic, disrespectful, anti-Semitic (!), and that I “would have run home to Mommy if a real war had happened” while I was in the Army (hmmmm, amazing that I casually accepted getting my shots to go to Saudi just in case I had to go down there, but ended up being needed more in Germany, huh?; believe me, that typhoid vaccine was a bitch). All of this from what was a throwaway line and an in-joke to my readers who know that I won’t pass up a chance to get a cheap shot at Dubbaya. The thing that escapism does best is destroy perspective, and this is a terrific example of that.

To me, the act of writing this column is escapism. My writing in here is the exaggeration of certain of my personality facets (specifically, in bastardized Freudian terms, my rampaging id). My writing at other places and in other milleu expresses different personality aspects (even on the same subject; I write wrestling features in a different way from the news column, for instance). What you see with this column is what you get, but it’s not all of what you get. People who have written mail to me have been amazed that I seem so different writing personally to them than I do with this column. It’s not a persona, and it’s certainly not a work. It’s only part of the larger picture. I am, on purpose, destroying your perspective on me, and it’s up to you to figure out what’s escapism and what’s not. It’s audience engagement at a very deep level. That’s one big reason I’m pissed at the WWF; if I can put forth this effort at deep audience engagement twice a week, why can’t the writing staff? They certainly have more tools to work with than I do, and allegedly they’re more talented than I am. So what’s the problem?


Memo to Flea: I’ve got your back on that one. Three graphs, no problem. And if that person can get you backstage passes, I’ll go into the Religious Right. Also, I lived more of the 80s than you did, and I feel a big wave of nausea every time I see a promo for That 80s Show. It’s now my golden years being used for nostalgia, and that’s not funny to me, for some reason (the fact that Stuart Adamson of Big Country was found dead Sunday in Hawaii reinforces that; aging truly does suck). Bears/Bucs will be covered later, the same as Tampa is still planning for David Terrell. And thanks for pointing out that the Gooney Bird wasn’t always a pud. The sad part about this is that this was during his best period, the nWWWo days, and shortly after that, the Pod Person took over and disposed of the real Scaia in some landfill outside of Dayton.

Memo to Daniels: It’s a revelation that the Hardys are bad actors? Or that the WWF is turning back the clock to what worked for them in 1998? Well, sometimes the obvious needs to be said.

Mahaud on Heat. Brower on Jakked and socks, not necessarily in that order.

My pal from Mexico The Crippler HellSpawn points out that the link to my column last Wednesday was http://411wrestling.com/columns/article.phtml?columns_id=666. How oddly appropriate.


Now that the flashy bang-bang stuff in Afghanistan is over, expect the American attention span to kick in and treat the whole alleged war like the person thrown off of Survivor last week. The news reports that we’re getting now look and sound like National Geographic specials on “The Joy Of Limestone”. I’m telling you, if you want to keep CNN’s ratings up, get Tommy Franks out of there and replace him with Tony Scott or John Woo, someone who can keep up the major-scale action quotient. The role of Nic Robertson can be played by Hugh Grant; he’s not doing anything right now, as far as I know. That’s the problem with the military; no sense of theater. Even worse, this whole thing is ending up like a typical WWF angle: big bang at the beginning, petering out toward the end, no real blowoff.


The Prime Minister of Portugal has offered up his resignation. Apparently the press caught him lying about some stuff on his resume.

I had made a judgement a few years ago about Cleveland sports fans, namely that they’re the biggest bunch of sad, moronic yahoos this side of a Vegas breakfast buffet (my pal BFM is the exception that proves the rule). Nice to see them go out and prove it on Sunday. Every team gets screwed by the zebras at one point in time or another (say the word “Majkowski” in front of a Bears fan like me, and you’re going to get a long lecture ending with the words “His foot was over the line!”, despite the fact that it’s been eleven years since that little abortion of instant replay). The fans of those teams do not normally go out and behave like Latin American soccer fans. Besides, the replay was right, just a little late. Better to right wrongs than a rush to judgement. It was bullshit that the players and refs had to come back out after the league office forced them to; with the debris and the hostility, that was the definition of “unsafe working conditions”. So what could have been done to make it safer? I say that if the fans were behaving like Latin American soccer fans, then the police should behave like a Latin American police force and get out the water cannons and attack dogs and allow use of torture. It’d only serve them right.

Vivendi is buying up USA Networks for ~US$10B. Insert line here about the Frogs taking over everything. Hollywood’s swingingest bisexual, Barry Diller, will be getting 1.5% of the newly-created Vivendi Universal Entertainment subdivision, but will still have to report to Vivendi’s CEO, Jean-Marie Messier (Diller can stand it; after working for Murdoch, anything is paradise). So what does this mean for wrestling fans? Well, it would have meant a helluva lot a year and a half ago, and considering that Universal was one of the money marks that Hogan went after, it could have meant a lot now (wrestling back on USA, for one thing). All it means now is that USA will probably get exclusve broadcast rights to the Back To The Future films.

The Bears are in the playoffs. Green Bay got blindsided by the Titans (ex-Bear factor playing a major role in that one courtesy of Skip Hicks and coach Jeff Fisher; memo to BFM: Fisher was a d-back on the Bears 80s teams), and best of all, couldn’t clinch a playoff berth; they needed Tampa, Washington, and Atlanta to lose (which they all did) and themselves to win (which they didn’t). Tampon Bay went out of the NFC Central the way it went in: getting the shit kicked out of them by the Beloved. The Vi-Queens lost to a winless team. Matt Millen got his Kodak moment. All in all, a wonderfully magic day in the NFC Central, the only football that really matters.

One thing about the Packers/Titans game (as I still giggle about the result). According to cnnsi.com, “Security tackled a man dressed like Santa Claus with 1:32 left in the game.” The story behind this is that “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good” is now the exclusive province of the federal government under provisions of the anti-terrorism bill, and Saint Nick was arrested for obstruction of justice. There are also questions about whether Comet and Blitzen tested positive for anthrax.

I think that’s our cue to move on to Raw, don’t you?


Match Results:

The Undertaker over Jeff Hardy, Hardcore Championship Match (Pinfall, Last Ride): Guess that Jeff still hasn’t shown lately that he’s got an incredible pain threshold. Just done to project how evil, EVIL, UT really is by Last Riding Jeffiekins off the stage and pushing Lita to boot (all while Matt watches on from WWFNY). Big hairy deal.

Buh Buh Ray and D-Von Dudley over Scott Taylor and Albert, Tag Team Championship Match (Pinfall, D-Von pins Albert, 3-D): Sorry, watching AbFab again. Last of the new episodes tonight, though, so it’s back to watching most of the first hour of Raw again. Damn. To think that I willingly missed a Dudley Boys match. Shame, shame, shame on me and my desire to actually be entertained.

Christian over Tazz, European Championship Match (Pinfall, Unprettier): You know, I could catch either of the two replays of Justice League and devote my time to actually covering Raw for this column and for my readers…ah, hell, let ’em read Keith.

Lance Storm over Flex, Three Strikes And You’re Out Match (COR, Test-erference): Well, the mathematics is now clear: it takes two Canadians to defeat one no-talent. If you ever doubted that Flex gets carried to good matches, watch this one again. Storm set the pace and set the technical level (to low in this case). I would have loved to have seen Storm no-sell The World’s Shittiest Sharpshooter, but ’twas not in the cards this evening, I’m afraid. And by all intents and purposes considering the post-match shenanigans, Storm should now be a monster face, but, no, we can’t have that, can we?

Kurt Angle and Test over Edge and Rikishi (Pinfall, Angle pins Edge, Olympic Slam): You could see it in the looks on Angle’s, Edge’s, and Test’s faces. They’re wondering to themselves, “Weren’t we getting damn good pushes just a month ago? What the hell are we all doing in here getting Rikishi over?” And while we’re at it, let’s officially mourn the upper-mid-card career of Andrew Martin. The character of Test has Peter Principled his way into the death slot of feuding with Flex and having his heat killed, just like everyone else. So long, bud, it was good to know you.

Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo over The Big Show and Yoshihiro Tajiri (Pinfall, Gunn pins Tajiri, face-first slam): I think it’s going to take some time for me to get used to Tajiri playing Rikidozan Morton, but if this is the best they can do for him right now, fine, just as long as he gets some camera time. On the other side of that coin, one of the things I was most glad about covering Raw (and since I came to 411, Smackdown as well) was that I was very certain that I wouldn’t have to type the name “Billy Gunn”, considering that he’s King Of The Second-Rank Shows. I knew that that would be too good to last. Thank goodness that it was mostly the guys with talent, Tajiri and Palumbo, in the ring. I haven’t said this to the 411 audience yet, so it’ll be new to most of you: I didn’t like Chuck Palumbo in WCW, until he appeared at Pillman 2000. He was close to the top of the card there, performing with the HWA guys in their segment of the show. Considering that WCW was giving him a good push at the time, that might have seemed a comedown. However, he didn’t treat it that way. He was playing to the audience like it was twenty-five thousand for Nitro (yes, once upon a time, Nitro did attract crowds of twenty-five thousand). I was impressed with the fact that he was dedicated enough to take a booking position that was, frankly, beneath his level of celebrity and that he treated the situation as if it was the most important match of his career, and he gave it everything he had. You can’t help but admire someone like that. Ever since then, I’ve wished Palumbo well in his career. And that’s why him being stuck with Billy “Black Hole” Gunn upsets me.

Rob Van Dam over Chris Jericho, Undisputed Championship Match, Ric Flair as Special Guest Ref, Vince McMahon as Special Guest Mic Jockey (DQ, Vince-erference): Technically, a rather proficient match, only ruined because the Flair/McMahon angle had to be served at the same time. It’s a great sign that these two were given the main event to strut their stuff, even with the sideshow. It gives me a little hope for the future. Not much, but a little.

Angle Developments:

Bless Me, Booker, For I Have Sinned: It’s good to see Booker develop an edge to his character (viz. the cliched destruction of Austin’s truck). But it’s really, really bad to see him stuck yet again in another asinine sketch like the church bingo hall. It reminds me of the Booker’s Audition sketches from the summer. How can someone who’s been booked in top-shelf programs be given such consistently bad material? As an ex-Catholic, I found the confessional scenes to be in pretty bad taste, even for the WWF. I mean, it’s pretty much banged into me courtesy of a childhood of indoctrination that the confessional is…well, sacred, and using something like that to descend into the profane just leaves a sour aftertaste. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Elevation Circa 2002: First Lance Storm gets the crap beat out of him by UT. Then the same with Kane. Now he was used to further a feud between Test and Flex. The sad part is that some moronic mark out there is going to say that this is a good thing for Storm. Excuse me, he’s one of the guys that I like. He’s not up there with Booker in the Criminal Misuse department, but he should be doing a damn sight better than an extrememly-talented JTTS.


Milord’s reporting that Trip’s return date is a definite for the January 7th Raw from MSG. This is the same show that’s been rumored to have the split into two promotions. If both come off, that’s going to be one helluva night. Three weeks and counting…

Sooooooo…Disco says there’s going to be eight WWA PPVs next year, huh? Sounds like Brian Lawler and Road Dogg have been sharing their stashes again. Without a major TV deal somewhere with someone (syndication doesn’t cut it, we’re talking major cable network…say, does anyone speak French?), the odds of WWA lasting another six months is negligible. It won’t be an MECW-level disaster, but it’ll still be death. I was right about MECW, and I’m going to be right about this too. Prediction for PPV buyrate: .1 at best.

The WWF actually said something about the Billy Silverman hazing allegations. Essentially, it boils down to “It’s not true, you can’t prove that it is, and we can’t talk about Silverman because there’s litigation involved.” Full thanks to Chester the Molester and the gang at 1bullshit for bringing us yet another scintillating and informative piece of news.

Since Ashish covered most everything else during his news breaks today, I’m signing off. Besides, “The Best Of Both Worlds” is on TNN as I’m typing this, and that’s one of the few NextGen episodes I’ll go out of my way to see. I’ll be back tomorrow with more. Until then, nighty-night.