The Week In Wrestling: 1.27.02

Oddly enough, I really have nothing to complain about this week. Nothing has annoyed me enough. Of course, I didn’t pick up a newspaper all week. BUT, I did hear somewhere up here in NY, that some county is trying to pass a resolustion in which, if you’re a smoker and your smoking bothers your NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR, they can ask the cops to intervene and not let you smoke on your own property. And people tell me I’m crazy when freedoms are taken away in incremental steps, until it’s gone. Chew on that when you think it’s no big deal when Best Buy or Wal-Mart want to search your bags on the way out of the store.

Oh yeah, and I started teaching this week and there’s only 4 hot, freshman yaks in BOTH of my classes. That’s just not right.

Raw

The Wrestlemania hype begins between Jericho and H. Jericho shoved his victory down our throats… then H came out to remind Jericho that he has yet to beat H. To all the folks out there who said that Jericho has beaten him, I say no. The decision was overturned, which meant Jericho never actually won that match H did. Therefore, when H says Jericho has never beaten him, he’s right. Little bit of lawyering there. If handled right, and IF Jericho beats Austin at No Way Out, it could make the Mania match HUGE. People would be all over Jericho for beating Austin, and make HHH a superhero for beating him. H also questioned Jericho’s ability to even MAKE it to ‘Mania as champ. Angle then came out and called Hunter a wuss for eliminating him from behind, then he and Jericho ganged up on H. Then, defying all laws of logic, The Rock came out to save his buddy, Triple H… or something. Since, they always get along so well.

The whole Regal “Power of the Punch” thing is absolutely fantastic. It’s REALLY going to piss people off. Edge and Regal had a match, which saw Edge knocking Regal out with the brass knuckles. Edge went for the pin, but made the classic babyface mistake of leaving the knucks on his hands. Nick Patrick caught him and DQed him. Then Edge snapped and took out four referees. I don’t know, I guess people are starting to like him now, or something but I’m still not particularly impressed not with the other talent they have in the federation. Besides, he’s Canadian and had a mullet in his high school pictures.

Billy and Chuck officially own now, because they offered Kane a “Kane” headband that matches theirs. They’ve bypassed annoying me to become my new heroes in the WWF. Basically, I need to pick a new set of heroes that are going to piss people off and they’re it! That, and I like saying “Jungle Kick.”

Mr Perfect is back as an active wrestler and back completely in character. He hit on Deborah. I have no problem with this, by the way. People are giving the WWF a hard time to flashing back to old characters to “freshen things up.” The thing is most of the WWF fans who are watching now are newer fans. They very damn well not remember who Mr. Perfect was, so to them it IS making things fresher. And, to the folks who remember him, nostagalia will keep him going for a bit, and by then, hopefully, the writers will have made him interesting again.

Flair cut one of his hometown promos, thanking us all for supporting him over the years. It was a good Flair promo. It included the photos his kids took at the Rumble last night, including one with a bloody as hell Vince with a classic Vince look on his face. Vince came out to interrupt. Vince said that “every WWF fan and employee lost yesterday at the Royal Rumble. How did they lose? You’ll see.” Cryptic foreshadowing of something. I’d like to note this is the official beginning of the N.W.O. Angle. It began on 1/21/02. If they do it right, it won’t even hit major strides until at least the end of March. Nothing abjectly huge needs to happen between now and Wrestlemania.

Val Venis made his big Raw return and resusitated “Hello Ladies.” RTC… what? He brought life back into Ravishing Rick Rude’s “pick a lady from the audience” thing. She came in, removed his towel, and he knocked her out with a kiss. Mr Perfect interrupted. Austin came out after a few minutes and levelled Mr Perfect with a chair, beginning the vicious Pefect/Austin feud? Then Val then stepped to Austin and got a stunner. Austin then went through the ENTIRE beginning of the Beverly Hillbillies, punctuated with “what?”s. No, I’m really not kidding. If it wasn’t dead before, it’s really dead now. Then, he moved into the point of his promo. He’s both entering NEXT year’s Royal Rumble, and going to Wrestlemania to whip someone’s ass… and he doesn’t particularly care who it is.

The two men who OWN (that would be Billy and Chuck, if y’all weren’t paying attention earlier) beat Show and Kane… who are, apparetnly OK with each other again… since the little tiff between them happened more than four weeks ago… IT NEVER HAPPENED!

The Godfather now runs a “perfectly legal escort service.” I guess the WWF’s Re-Attitude only extends so far. He also made his big Raw Return. This made a bit more sense, because the Godfather went a bit legit. Lance Storm interrupted and finally got some more mic time. He got the line of the week with: “Your business is about as legit as a three-legged donkey. Which we all know, is not legit, because donkey’s have four legs.” Scott Keith didn’t care for that I personally found it hilarious. He also restarted “if I can be serious for a minute.” This good hopefully Storm will get rolling now.

Goldust cut a good return promo… so I guess he’s back again? He said “he will not have his dreams shattered again… and the man to whom he speaks knows.” I’m interested… and I have a THIRD man in the federation to worship. I can now legitimatally make my new catchphrase… “You will never forget the name… DANIELS!” And people will know what I’m talking about.

The degradation of Steph and H’s marriage continues, as Hunter finally catches up to the rest of us in realizing she’s an annoying yak. Way to be H.

Smackdown

RVD absolutely squashed Regal in non-title match. Then Edge came out to spear Regal… I don’t get that one bit. Rumor has it there were major RVD chants in this match that got edited out on television. Now, to play devil’s advocate again, I’ve been to live events where things sounded deafening in the arena that didn’t sound loud at all on television or maybe I want to give Vince the benefit of the doubt on this. Of course, with the burying of RVD (besides this match) it could very well be possible. Then again, it took years for Vince to listen to the fans on that Shawn Michaels guy.

Jackie has applied for and received her referee’s license. There’s a test? Does it involve proving you’re deaf, pay no attention to things going on behind your back, and a stamina test? Does this mean she’ll get knocked out if someone breathes on her too hard now?

Lillian Garcia tried to comfort Steph because “she saw what happened on Monday.” The people in the back can’t even see what’s going on inside the monitors… but Lillian can… even though she’s out at Ringside live? Interesting. Steph ended the segment by throwing coffee, or hot water on her. The funniest thing in the world would be if Hunter came out in his Greenwich Snob clothes and told Steph he was thoroughly appalled by her actions.

Lawler picked on Tazz for most of his match. I guess their feud is back into “on” mode? Tazz killed Scotty with the Tazzmission by dragging him OVER the top rope while still in it. It’s going to be so fun when Tazz turns on Spike especially if he gets to keep owning people like he is now.

Steph and Hunter had a little tiff. Both discussing storyline inconsistencies and the like… and recalling things that haven’t been mentioned in months. I thought we were supposed to have forgotten some of them. This is actually quite a good breakup storyline they have going… other than the fact it came about all of the sudden. It took Hunter two years to realize that Steph was annoying? Hell, we figured it out when she delivered her first promo. I guess a face turn refocuses your family values. It ended with:

Hunter: You’re father has never thought I was good enough for you.

Steph: Maybe he was right. (Crowd: ooooohhhhhhh)

Hunter: You know, maybe everyone else was just right about you. (Crowd: ahhhhhhhh!)

The Rock further proved why he’s such a good guy by thoroughly embarassing Coach on-air. He’s so pleasant. Must be the guy who’s newest gets to interview the Rock. Kevin Kelly did his time. Then he did his thing, and pushed both No Way Out AND Wrestlemania in the same interview. Yeah, I really want to go straight to Hotjobs so I can be embarassed on-air by the Rock every week. National Humiliation sounds like a FUN past-time. Speaking of Hotjobs no response form the WWF. Not even a polite “f— you.”

HHH also showed what a stand-up guy he is by beating up Christaian for no good reason. Note to WWF Wrestlers, don’t comfort the guy who has more juice in his system than Florida. They snap sometimes.

Booker and Austin met in a reasonably good match to determine who goes to Raw to wrestle for the Number 1 Contendership. Austin got to cleanly kick out of Booker’s finisher. Booker got no such thing. Imagine. It looked like Austin may have hurt himself somewhere during the match. Whether it’s serious or not, I don’t know. Kurt and Rock had a similarly decent match, but this one had Angle winning after a little help from the Undertaker. The booking conversation must have gone something like this:



Heyman: Hey guys, remember when we had the Undertaker turn heel a while back?

Vince: Not really, it was a few weeks ago.

Heyman: Yeah, but we did it for a reason, I think.

Vince: He’s been kicking the hell out of all the good guys, and people cheer him for it. The lines are blurred between heels and faces, remember?

Heyman: Vince, you wanted to do away with that. And he’s been kicking the hell out of guys who it’s cool to kick the hell out of. You can’t be a heel beating up Spike Dudley.

Vince: That was months ago. I have no idea.

Heyman: Well, let’s remind everyone. Have him help Angle win. We can’t waste Rock/Austin on a Raw.



WWF Wrestling: The inspiration for the movie “Memento.”

Kane and Big Show teamed up. By the end of the match, they remembered they had some sort of issue dating back a month. It just seemed to dawn on them.

Goldust did another promo. Dustin doesn’t seem to mind the Goldust character so much anymore. I wouldn’t either. It got him a job. Goldust reminds me of Pennywise the Clown from the the movie “IT.” If you’ve ever seen the movie, listen to the tone of Dust’s voice and watch his face. It’s really creepy. I think I will refer to myself as Danielsdust. Anyway, Dust cut his second promo of the week on “him.” The last person I remember Goldust having an issue with was Mankind. Dustin had his last problem with Flair… but Goldust… don’t know. There is no reason not to start GDTV again now.

Vince spent most of the show talking to “someone.” He was telling this person the WWF was going to die, that Ric Flair was a terminal cancer that was going to destroy Vince’s creation from within. To stop the cancer, Vince would have to kill what he created Vince would have to kill it during the WWF. The end of the show was the buzz-spoiler people had been talking about all week. Vince reveals he’d been talking to himself in the mirror. He spins around to look at the camera, and nWo is spray painted on the back of his chair. He says he’s going to kill the WWF before Flair can, and he’s going to do it with the help of the nWo.

The Week In Wrestling

There’s no way to measure how much a GOOD ending to something can make you forget about the rest of the show. The nWo ending was something really cool, and I, for one, am looking forward to it. The secret to this angle is to do exactly what Bischoff did. Let it simmer. Don’t blow the whole wad as quick as you can, just to create a buzz. Make the story good enough and the buzz will create itself. Next week, have someone beat up in the back and spraypainted. Let the beginning mimic the storyline that went along in WCW. Why Not? It’s basically going to BE the same storyline. The only intense problem I have with this ENTIRE thing, is it being Vince that’s trying to destroy the WWF and not Ric Flair. Why would Vince try to destroy something that’s been his for 25 years and that made him a billionaire? The answer: he wouldn’t. Flair has more of a reason to want to destroy the WWF. He has no personal link to it, and it’s responsible for the destruction of the company he built. The nWo should be Flair’s tool, not Vince’s.

Speaking of the nWo, any of the writers who don’t know how to get Word to stop AutoCorrecting nWo into now, feel free to E-mail Me or IM me. That is unless you’re Grut, who I have blocked three times, just to make sure he can’t get to me. He’s out to get me, you know.

Making the Undertaker a heel who’s actually a heel is a step in the right direction as well. There’s starting to be an overload of upper level faces. Austin, HHH, and the Rock are pretty well the only faces you need. It’s much better to have foils for them. Besides, finding a match that doesn’t involve these guys facing each other is a full time job. Second besides, once this nWo thing starts up all the WWF guys are going to be faces anyway. My question will be: will the nWo be enough of a buzz generator to get some of the other WCW guys to get off their asses and come work for the WWF? The more people who get involved, the better it will be in the long run. The WWF is also going to have to drop their strict format, and things are going to have to go on outside the 15-minute blocks.

Test has already been forgotten about again. Do you know the secret to why he can’t get over? Because the WWF continually does this to him. They find something for him to do, then forget about him. Therefore, he’s out of sight, out of mind. If they could find something for him to do weekly, and make him the badass big-guy that they should, he would be over in a matter of weeks. Being Jericho’s Bodyguard, or playing “Diesel” as it’s come to be known, would work tremendously. Then, if Jericho still has the belt after Wrestlemania, you turn Test on Jericho and feud them. Instant top-carder.

Edge and Billy Gunn, on the other hand, continue their inexplicable pushes. They’re like Steve Blackman.

The WWF is doing good, good things with storylines now. The nWo thing is probably the best beginning to a storyline they’ve had in a long, long time. The fifth incarnation of the nWo needs to be the best of them, because it’s going to be the most criticized. But you can’t start it much better than it’s being started. The key is to take their time without pissing everyone off. Small, bite-sized chunks, that’s all they need to keep people watching from week to week. The key to the original nWo storyline was keep everyone guessing the When, Where, and Who. No one knew When the nWo was going to do something or Who it would be.

In other storylines, Golddust cutting cryptic promos to start him into an immediate feud is cool, too. Golddust is not the best character they’ve ever created, but he’s far from the worst. They key to him is not letting him get all this build-up, then immediately jobbing out his first match. Of course, if he’s cutting these promos on, say, the Big Bossman, the whole thing will pretty much be rendered pointless.

Thirdly, the Steph/HHH break-up. Yes, the re-instating of it at such a random time is very WWF-ish, but at least it’s going in a logical direction. It’s not an immediate hatred, which it very possible could have been done as or a “just forget they’re married” thing, which would also have been entirely possible, in WWF-ese.

Hopefully, what this week will be is the mark of time where someone who knows what they’re doing is writing the storylines. I don’t know if they added someone to the staff or not, but it certainly feels like they did. Or, at least put someone who isn’t totally focussed on revolving the show around themselves in charge.

It’s become apparent that Hogan is going to sign with the company, so the booking staff has to keep this in mind. Vince has to keep him from getting TOO out of control, and hopefully, they’ll keep him from a “creative veto” clause in his contract. I think Vince is smart enough to do this. In a smaller newsbit, Hogan is pushing the WWF to sign Jimmy Hart back as well. Expect Brutus Beefcake to follow. I certainly hope the WWF has enough experinece with Hogan to keep him under control. The last thing they need is for him to be the issue he was in WCW. Why in the world they would sign Jimmy Hart is beyond me. They have a good music guy, no need for more commentators, and they don’t do managers anymore. So what’s the point?

I completely agree with Flea that this angle could revitalize the WWF. It’ll get the fringers watching again. It may even get some of the WCWers to watch again. If my whole “good storyline = more viewers” theory holds up maybe we’ll be treated to good storylines all the way down the line! We can only hope.

Where do they go From Here?

On Raw and Smackdown this week, I wouldn’t expect an appearance by any of the “major” nWo names. If they really have signed Hall, Nash, and Hogan I wouldn’t expect to see them this week or, if they’re smart, next week either. This week should be Vince on the phone with people, talking about what he’s planning on. He should be talking to someone about coming to help him. Flair should talk to Vince and tell him not to anything drastic. Remember that Ric Flair has dealt with the phenomena that was the nWo before, Vince hasn’t. Multiple references to Pandora’s Box are in order. In fact, DDP’s opinion on the matter would be quite important as well.

This week is Vince setting the stage and getting the players. Smackdown ends with Vince sealing the deal for “someone” to be in the arena next week. Then, don’t even show them. Have one of the major WWF stars be beaten up from behind and left spraypainted. Be a real dork and have someone’s car get rammed by a Humvee. If you want to be really nuts without blowing any of the new guys, have Michaels make an appearance on a show where all these beatings are going down, and have someone point out the “coincidence” that, the first week Michaels is back on WWF television, the nWo starts up. Remember, Shawn Michaels spend most of 1996 “trying to get himself fired so he could go join the nWo.” We also can’t forget the fact in all this, that Shane McMahon still “owns” WCW and the trademarks. The argument of which could be that Shane owns the nWo.

If I were writing the shows, and knowing what I had to work with over the next few months, nothing major would happen until on or after Wrestlemania. Mania is only seven weeks away, which is 15 shows, including a PPV callend No Way Out, which conveniently has the initials NWO. It’s easy to spread out the beginning of a storyline over only 14 shows. Obviously, with February sweeps coming up, at least ONE of the major returns will occur then.

The Steph and HHH break-up has a simple progression. One of Steph’s other guys come and comfort her. If anyone even cares enough about it, the divorce can proceed from there. One would THINK that, after the marriage break-up occurs, Steph would have absolutely no reason to be on Television but I think we all know better. In fact, if she breaks with HHH, I thourougly expect her to finally reconcile all her differences with Jericho and align with him against HHH.

Because, Lord knows, we can’t have a week without Steph on television.

End Transmission