I see these children with their boredom and their vacant stares
God help us all if we’re to blame for their unanswered prayers
They roll the sidewalks up; at night this place goes underground
Thanks to the Condo Kings, there’s cable now in Zombietown
– Billy Joel, “No Man’s Land”
(Yes, the irony of me quoting the author of “New York State Of Mind” is not lost on me, okay?)
And how did you make it through the most heavily-hyped return since Christ? Me, I’m fine. So let’s get right into it, shall we?
THE PIMP SECTION
Buy The T-Shirt. Look, a lot of you have money from Christmas, or from year-end bonuses, or from the market going up instead of down lately. You can get off your duffs and pump US$15.95 plus shipping into Buying The T-Shirt. It’s comfortable, it’s fashionable, it makes a statement, and it’ll pull chicks in like marks to a Flex promo.
Columnwise, let’s see what we’ve got…
Thank you, Flea and Grut, for the nice words said about me in your columns of the past week. Your remarks are reciprocated, but the both of you know that already. Flea has the Excess recap, while Grut has a hangover.
Double Pimp With A Firebird Splash for Mahaud. His Heat Report is better than the teasers might make you think. Also, a great article on the Mind Games main event.
Unexpectedly nice recap for the WWA PPV from the one we all follow, Scott Keith. Just don’t tell me you’re getting mellow, Scott. Otherwise, the sequel to “Fear And Loathing In Houston” will be on its way.
Nason pulls out his crystal ball (the other one’s perfectly normal, so I’ve heard) and checks in on who the big players of 2002 might be.
Brower has his usual Jakked report.
Daniels teaches you how to take it to the Man, and does his weekly recap on top of it.
Here’s something rare: an off-site pimp. Last week, one of wrestling’s most interesting websites came back from the dead, Xavier Doom’s Slayground, with its own domain and a major refocus. Instead of just the worst in wrestling (something they were only second to Wrestlecrap in covering), they’re now focusing on the worst of pop culture as well. My buds BFM and Mickey Alderson are contributing writers there, so it’s worth pimping. Welcome back, Xavier.
THE SPORTS TICKER
I predicted the Bears would finish 13-3…well, no, I predicted they’d finish 3-13, but I got the numbers right, and that’s all that counts…Memo to the Noo Yawk Midgets: Your task was simple. Keep the Packers out of Lambeau for the playoffs. You, like all things Noo Yawk, suck. And Favre gave the record to Strahan, no ifs, ands, or buts…Keith Traylor’s interception was the WWA PPV of the NFL season…Bucs/Eagles Part One, however, must have made Vince very proud to see the XFL’s legacy live on. But where was He Hate Me? Only two carries for six yards, dammit…Speaking of the XFL, Tommy Maddox looked pretty good, didn’t he?…Thanks to the marvels of computer simulation and the generosity of the people at Access/Microsoft, I was able to replicate the playoff at the Mercedes (Links 2001 contains both Kapalua Plantation and a Sergio Garcia computer player). I birdied the 18th, Garcia parred. This puts me one up on David Toms…Friday night, four NCAA men’s basketball teams were undefeated. On Sunday night, none were. Those people who played Who Let The Dogs Out? with their cash this weekend are happy, happy, happy, happy…What’s Sebastian Janikowski’s biggest problem: cellulitis in his foot or cellulite in his head?…Bears. Patriots. New Orleans. Flashbacks. Destiny. Sorry, Pittsburgh and STL fans, but Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You…If, for some reason, New England doesn’t get there, Miami makes for a nice substitute…Spurrier to Tampa (not Parcells). Dungy to Minnesota. Shanahan to Florida. Put money on it…Hope the Irsay family doesn’t nuke Jim Mora. No one does an on-camera emotional meltdown like him, and that’d be missed…My Lord and Personal Savior Hunter Thompson’s picking the Bears. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for you, dammit…
Next Sunday, The Fantasticks will close its doors Off-Broadway. Big deal, right? Well, The Little Musical That Could ran continuously at the Sullivan Street Playhouse for nearly forty-two years and over seventeen thousand performances. It gave us the career of Jerry Orbach, among many others. It’s been performed by any small theater company short on budget and people, and will be a fixture of the stage from now until the end of time. The phrase “end of an era” is overrated and misused, but in this case, it’s appropriate. We, the audience, will simply “try to remember”.
Apple got a bit of a shock when their big unveiling of the new iLamp…uh, iMac was upstaged by Time Canada’s website spilling the beans late Sunday night/early Monday morning. Leave it to Steve Jobs to have Apple make a computer that greatly resembles Luxo Junior, the mascot of his other company, Pixar. Cross-promotion, that’s what it’s all about. But US$1800 for a computer with a built-in DVD burner and a decent set of internals might just be attractive, retro-desklamp look or not.
Yves Saint-Laurent has announced that he’s retiring, ending his half-century career in fashion. It’s a slow news day, folks, but I have to admit that YSL suits are pretty damn nice and look good on me. The pre-Gucci ones, that is.
You know what a fooferaw an asteroid nearly colliding with Earth would have caused three years ago? The one this weekend was barely mentioned, thus proving beyond the shadow of a doubt Bruce Willis’ ability to kill the heat of anything he’s involved with.
YOU’RE A MORON: THE RACISM CHARGE
Told you this would be a recurring feature. This week’s complete idiot is Steve Toma, who has no balls since he’s mailing me from a Hotmail account (email@example.com, to be exact). Here’s the kind of crap I have to put up with, people:
I guess it just eats you up inside that the Rock, a black man, has become one of the most popular wretlers ever. Im sure if you had it your way all black wrestlers would be jobbers and stereotypes like the Godfather. Your a sick asshole.
First of all, arrange a meeting with Mister Grammar so that he can explain the proper use of contractions and the difference between “your” and “you’re” to you. And what’s a “wretler”? Now on to the dubious content.
So, if a white guy happens to hate a black performer, it’s automatically racism? Sharpton’s Law; how nifty. You know, there’s a statement that I try to live my life by. You may have heard it, jackass: “I have a dream that my children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. Let me give you an example that’ll freak out some of the conservative idealogues who write me:
I don’t like Jesse Jackson. It’s not because he’s black. It’s because he’s a sanctimonious, self-absorbed, hypocritical fraud who uses religion as a tool of manipulation for the ignorant. I feel the same way about Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and most Southern Republicans, possibly the whitest group you could assemble this side of the clubhouse at Augusta National. Content of character, not color of skin.
Or maybe it’s that I’m prejudiced against people of mixed African and Asian ancestry. That’d explain why I hate Flex. Then how come I dream of having Tiger Woods’ swing?
I don’t like Akira Taue, one of the most popular Japanese wrestlers. Does that mean I’m prejudiced against Japanese? If so, I wouldn’t be an Iron Chef fan or like Godzilla films.
I don’t like the Undertaker. Does that mean I’m prejudiced against tall, red-haired people with lots of tattoos?
I think that the five most evil people of the Twentieth Century were Hitler, Stalin, Reagan, Thatcher, and Mao (ooh, can’t say that, otherwise I’m prejudiced against Chinese). Compared to them, Idi Amin was just another guy with a bad choice of diet. And in case you think I’m prejudiced against cannibals, I happen to think Hannibal Lecter is God, so get that thought out of your mind. Oh, sorry, he was a white cannibal, so I guess I’m still prejudiced.
I’d love to know where you got the impression that I wanted all black wrestlers to be jobbers and stereotypes. Apparently, it’s a complete fiction that, since April, I have been bemoaning the fate of one Booker Huffman, driven like Miss Daisy from dead-end feud to dead-end feud, put in some of the lamest skits ever conceived in Sports Entertainment, and in general mistreated and misused. I sure remember typing that stuff, but I must have been mistaken, because, gee, I want all black wrestlers to be jobbers and stereotypes.
I happen to feel the same way about Charles Wright playing the Godfather as I feel about Willie Best, who had a long movie career in the 30s, 40s, and 50s playing stereotypes: they were doing what they did to keep themselves in the public eye and to keep the money coming in, and made the best they could of it. The roles were repugnant, but they were willing to take them on (I’m shocked that you brought up Wright and didn’t mention Papa Shango, oogums. Of course, your memories of wrestling probably don’t stretch back that far.).
If I had my way, every wrestler would be pushed to the extent that their ability, both in-ring and out, would take them. Norman Smiley and D’Lo Brown would have received bigger pushes than Test in my world. La Parka and Masato Tanaka would get bigger pushes than Albert. Chris Benoit would still get the biggest push of all, though.
The question to be asked here is, are you a racist or simply an ignorant little twerp of a heatseeker (my fascist bud John King thinks that a vast proportion of my mail is from those types; not true, only about five or so a week)? I’ll assume it’s both and just say that you’re not only a moron, you’re a brainless moron. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a white hood to iron.
Let me close this off the section by doing a variant of an old Lenny Bruce joke: Test how racist your attitude really is, all of you white people. You’re given a wish by some supernatural power. You’re to be stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life with one woman, and have the choice of two to pick from. They’re roughly the same age, both very famous and rich. One of the women is Halle Berry. The other is Rosie O’Donnell. Who do you choose?
And speaking of lack of choices, let’s all give our Hosannas to Trip and see what happened on Raw, shall we?
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Van Dam over Test (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash): Van Dam’s matches are starting to become formulaic. Inevitably, the heel opponent will try to bring a chair into action. Inevitably, he will get a Van Daminator for his troubles. You think they’d know better by now. Also, the burgeoning Test/Tim White feud should really produce its share of ***** matches, shouldn’t it?
Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo over Albert and Scott Taylor (Pinfall, Gunn pins Taylor, Fameasser): Okay, so let’s say, just for argument, that Gunn and Palumbo are…how to put this…offensive to the stereotypical image of masculine behavior. Who comes out to defend the WWF against this scourge? The man who was once Bossman’s leather bottom and the guy who was supposed to do a gay marriage angle with Brian Lawler. The straightest guy in that ring was Lil’ Naitch, and I’m not too sure about him either. It’s going to take more than one glass of good Merlot and three aspirin to get rid of this one, folks. Someone, somewhere in the back got too big a dose of the WWA PPV, and we’re paying for it.
Edge over Lance Storm, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, Edgecutioner): And there’s your two minutes of Canadian content for this evening. Geez, Edge and Storm and they get two minutes. Even as an excuse for a Regal run-in, that’s still ridiculous. And people wonder why serious fans dislike the WWF.
Flex and What? over Monsignor Booker Huffman, S.J. and Reverend Ray Bossman, B.I.G., End-Of-Hour Ratings Booster Match (Pinfall, Austin pins Bossman, Stunner): A beautiful moment on exactly why I hate Flex came about. He’s in there with Booker and is doing rapid-fire imitations of offense. Suddenly, he hits his shitty DDT and collapses on the mat like something happened to him. From a DDT? When Van Dam does it with the Five-Star Frog Splash, it’s believable because that move is liable to at least take the wind out of him. But a DDT? Come on.
Chris Jericho over Rikishi, Undisputed Title Match (Pinfall, Greco-Roman Belt Shot): Nick Patrick overselling the Stinkface doesn’t show why he’s a great ref (even though that’s an above-and-beyond thing). What points out how great the guy is, especially as a heel ref, is his more subtle moments. For instance, in this match, Jericho was kicking Rikishi while he was down, and Patrick went over and warned Rikishi about rulebreaking, not Jericho. One of the best refs ever, period.
Spike Dudley and Tazz over Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, and My Beautiful and Beloved Dudley, Tag Titles Match, Hardcore Rules (Pinfall, Spike pins Buh Buh Ray, Acid Drop through table, New Tag Team Champions): Well, the universe is about to end; the Dudleys don’t have the belts. What can you say about a match where the primary focus was on Stacy’s ass…well, other than “Good for that”?
Let’s Play Dress-Up: It’s a little disconcerting to see Vince dress up like Flair. It’s a little more disconcerting to see Vince beat the crap out of Flair to the point of crimson mask. Yes, we know that he, unlike certain other backstage personalities, can actually beat up people and make it convincing. But it still gives a little bit of nauseating flashback potential (see Bischoff, Eric and Russo, Vince).
Kurt Angle, Music Critic: He’s right. U2 hasn’t done a good album since Achtung Baby. Screw the eight Grammy nominations. And it certainly points out how bad music was in 2001 when an album released in January garners that many nods.
Jerry’s Super Soaker Is Leaking: Personally, I don’t care that Jazz did the run-in during the wet T-shirt contest. Right now, a feud with Lawler might be better for her than one with that Polythene Pam Trish…wait a second, did I just say I didn’t care that a wet T-shirt contest was interrupted? Oh, God, I’m getting old…
“Why can’t you listen to the classics? Mozart, Mendelssohn, Motorhead?”: Good for Angle; he needed a high-level feud. Good for Trip; he needed some good matches for his comeback and he’s booked as face. Good for us; Nash and/or Steph didn’t show up. Bad for the WWF; they couldn’t think of anything better to do than to repeat what they did with Flex back in July.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
Howard Brody officially resigned as president of the NWA on Sunday, citing his divorce and other personal problems making him unable to bring his full focus to his job. What exactly that job was is still being determined.
Well, well, well, someone finally caught Mark Madden in a major act of hypocrisy that doesn’t deal with wrestling. Madden’s Saturday column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dealt with the way that the fans of the Steel City had treated Kordell Stewart prior to his recent on-field renaissance, and in the typical Madden inflammatory fashion. Jim Wexell of the Steelers’ radio pregame show objected to Madden’s column, claiming that Madden had done the same actions he was condemning the fans for, particularly in regard to the “Kordell is gay” rumors and the perceived racism of Pittsburgh not being able to accept a black quarterback. Madden, when informed about the statements, said that he’d get Wexell fired. Milord is threatening a column about this sometime today. He says that he’s going to write it because he knows Madden so well. I think he should write it because he’s an expert on the subject of hypocritical public statements.
My apologies to any fans in the Toronto area who read the Raw recap before the show could be broadcast there. The Maple Leafs game occupied Raw’s normal slot on TSN, and a good portion of the Canadian audience got that instead of Raw. So, sorry.
Anything else, Ashish has already covered. The man’s God, let me tell you.
AN EARLY MAILBAG
Okay, here’s the deal. I won’t be in tomorrow. I have to head into Chicago for some business this afternoon. On Wednesday, I have a very early flight to catch for Atlanta, so I’m just staying in town overnight, away from a computer and thus unable to provide. Therefore, I’m going to do an early Mailbag this week. Live with it.
Just wanted to tell you I love your site! I know you guys usually do news on
past wrestlers as well as current. Did you guys notice Chyna is in the new
Playboy? Please write back to firstname.lastname@example.org if any more
information is needed about the article.
Oh, where do I start? There’s so many places…
1) Do we know that Chyna’s in the new Playboy? Yes. Do we care? No.
2) Yeah, when I think of “past wrestlers”, Chyna’s name is right up there with Lou Thesz, Ray Stevens, etc. I think that someone should be gone for more than a year before the term “past wrestler” is used.
3) Then there’s the issue of calling Chyna a wrestler in the first place, but I’ll leave that to others to speculate.
So, go off into a corner and spank your crank, and leave us adults alone, okay? Does Grut get mail like this? Does Flea? Does Artie Martie? No, it has to be only me being victimized by the Idiot Brigade.
Someone who is definitely not a member of the Idiot Brigade is Ken Howard, a.k.a. Killer Ken of Philly’s best wrestling radio show, Wrestlethis! (on 1360AM out of Philly from 7PM ET to 8PM ET every Monday). Sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you via e-mail, Ken, but yours was bouncing when I tried to respond. Turns out that Tommy Fierro’s offered Ken a slot at the abomination that Grut graciously gave column space for me to respond to last week. Don’t do it, Ken. Start shooting smack through your eyeballs; it’ll be less harmful and less painful. Ken also asks me of the best way to get rid of Fierro. Nuke ’em from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.
Nicolas Azizian asks me if I read Ben Morse’s column on Flex from a few weeks back and what I thought of it. Yes, I did. Ben’s entitled to his own opinion. It’s wrong, but it’s his opinion and he thinks enough of it to devote an entire column to it. I did the same thing a year and a half ago viz. my opinion of Flex at another site. His division of fans into Mark, Smart, and Mean, though, really doesn’t cover all the bases. Am I a Smart or a Mean? I don’t attack Flex simply out of the principle of drawing heat or that I’m obsessed with seeing him taken down (despite what Jeremy Botter thinks). I have a heartfelt belief that he’s bad for the world of wrestling, and I express that when given the opportunity.
David Swenton asks me what kind of music I like. Actually, David, my tastes are so eclectic that it’s easier to answer the question “What music don’t I like?”. That can be broken down into two basic categories: 1) Country (with George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Steve Earle being exceptions) and 2) Pretty much everything recorded since 1992. I got older, the demographic got younger. Of course, there are exceptions to this one too.
Karl Barker echoes a number of writers who responded to last Wednesday’s exhortations to Buy The T-Shirt, where I said that I’d alter some column content if people would Buy The T-Shirt: The whole thing about getting paid is a good incentive to buy the t-shirt. The whole thing about taking out all the non wrestling content of your column isn’t. As you pointed out, that is what everyone seems to enjoy. It is what makes me come back to this website every week. It also guarantees a differing opinon in the current climate of the United States and much needed perspective. Keep up the good work. I am still on the fence about the T-shirt. I’m just playing to the audience, Karl. A lot of them want a column focused on wrestling only, the poor deluded children. I’m glad that both you and a great many fans out there like the non-wrestling content, though. It makes me realize that I made the right decision about the focus of the column. The offer still stands, though, and get off the fence and Buy The T-Shirt.
I’m gonna close this out. See you next Tuesday. Until then, rock on.