Laura and I value our friendship with you – George W. Bush to Kenneth Lay, 1997
Release the hounds!
In Memoriam: John Gardner, who certainly wouldn’t have thought very well of things viz. the quote above.
And it’s another joyous Tuesday here at 411. I’m back to bring you the wide variety of things in this world and, if you’re lucky, some wrestling-related material. Let’s start off with some of that, as I give you an opinion on the results of No Way Out…
NEVER TRUST A PPV NAMED AFTER A JEFFERSON STARSHIP HIT
Silly me. I actually believed that the WWF still believed that titles meant something. They went out of their way to rub it into the fans’ faces at No Way Out that titles these days mean less than nothing, and they managed to magnify that feeling on Raw. Jericho/Trip is better than Jericho/Angle for the straps at WM, but no matter how good a match it will be (and it’ll be almost as good as Benoit/Angle from last year), it wouldn’t be better than Trip/Austin, and is a slap in the face to fans who still want to believe that belts are important. Jericho’s heel turn is a failure. Angle’s is as well if you don’t count the fans finally learning to chant “you suck” in unison to the music. The match at WM is so obviously telegraphed for Trip to win that it’s not worth watching. The sign of a bad WM is a world title match that plays second fiddle to some booking monstrosity like Hogan versus Flex. The results also prove, yet again, that I’m a more creative thinker than anyone on the booking committee, but that’s an issue I’ve slammed into the ground on numerous occasions. This PPV sucked so hard that not only am I glad that no one comped me, but that PK, one of the biggest marks on this site, predicted it perfectly (I actually did consider writing down the possibility of Regal having a second set of brass knucks, but I didn’t think they were that dumb to do it; again, silly me). I wonder if he’s embarassed by that fact. God knows that I, as a serious wrestling fan, am.
Maybe I should start reading my own material again. Two years ago, after Wrestlemania 16, I told everyone that it’s time to end the farce, to stop thinking of WM as something “special” and as just another PPV. Since the WWF persisted in the fiction (and did return to more of an old-school format for WM17), I let that drop. I think it’s time to start bringing that up again. The WWF has killed the “specialness” of WM through asinine booking and forgetting what made it special. And the situation won’t change any time soon for one simple reason.
The two people holding the book right now for the WWF are a guy who hasn’t had an original or creative booking idea in four years and a woman who, quite frankly, has never had an original or creative booking idea. They’re a matched pair of egomaniacal spoiled brats whose primary consideration in any booking is to get either themselves or “their people” over (mostly themselves; think about how much of ECW was about getting people to not say “this federation is great” but to say “Paul E. is great” instead). They masterminded what might be considered in the future to be the worst booking ever with the Invasion. They blew the biggest sure thing in wrestling history. Yet they remain in place, apparently bulletproof.
And now, we have the spectre of the biggest infant of them all, Kevin Nash, joining those two Howard Roark-wannabe retarded squirrels in their playpen. I’m sure Big Baby has some ideas left over from the Summer of Suck that he’d want to implement, and they’d let him, just for the sake of something different when the audience still stagnates around a 4.0…
…and that’s the rub right there. The audience isn’t growing. They’re pulling in the same numbers week after week. Viacom is still so excited about having something on TNN that gets those numbers in the first place that they don’t care about growth. And speaking of the numbers, I wonder how good those numbers really are for Viacom. No one ever releases the demographics, but I can assume that the biggest segments of the audience are 18-24 males and 11-18 males (after all, the WWF and Viacom have targeted Raw’s advertising for that audience). Those demos aren’t the first choices for any network. How long will it be before someone at Viacom like Mel Karmazin realizes this and starts to ease TNN away from the WWF? UPN’s already deemphasized them, even though it’s pretty much a given that there are only three reasons that UPN still exists: Smackdown and Jeri Ryan. Viacom may be looking for someone to take that 10% of WWFE that they own off their hands, and then where will the WWF be?
Last year after WM, the WWF lost 20% of its audience in six weeks. They haven’t regained any of it. Why? Because people saw a substandard product, and the two people primarily responsible for that substandard product are still creating it. In order for the WWF to start getting its audience growth going again, two things are necessary: 1) a refocus on the level of Attitude and 2) getting the book out of Paul’s and Steph’s hands. And they have to do it now. The NWO certainly isn’t going to get that done. Jericho/Angle at WM for the straps won’t either (unless it’s part of a push of new, vibrant talent that doesn’t involve Austin, Flex, UT, or even Trip). Unless they get their act together, the WWF is well and truly f*cked.
OFFICIAL OLYMPIC BONER BABE OF THE DAY
Cammi Granato, captain, US ice hockey team. First of all, she’s a local girl. Second, she’ll kick your ass if you don’t consider her a Boner Babe. Third, are you going to argue with the captain of a team that won their first three games by a combined margin of 28-1, with the one goal coming on a fluke (I saw it; it was a fluke)?
Honorary Boner Babe: Apolo Anton Ohno, short track speed skating. He may not be a babe, but he certainly has a gash. And speaking of that, memo to that young punk Ahn Hyun-soo: If not for us, your grandfathers would have ended up being commies, and this is how you repay us? On our home soil yet?
“WELL, WE COULD BURN ‘ER OR BURY ‘ER”…
No, I can’t make fun of that. My plans for the hereafter include cremation, and it’d be just my luck that, when I die, the person in charge of the crematorium will be a Flex fan and I’ll end up stacked up in an outside shack somewhere. So this one gets a pass.
WOULD IT KILL THEM TO MAKE ONE RIGHT TURN?
The Daytona 500 would have been a lot more fun if it had been Burt Ward winning instead of Ward Burton. Of course, the Batmobile probably moves like a slug on restrictor plates. I have to commend them on booking the crashes as well as they did, though; very entertaining. And anyone looking for a reason why we in the North make fun of they in the South, just listen to Ward Burton speak. The guy needed subtitles for his post-race interviews.
WE’VE GOT A GRUDEN KIND OF LOVE
Just when I think that Steph and Heyman are the living incarnations of Dumb and Dumber, along come the Glazer brothers to show me that, compared to them, the Twin Terrors Of The WWF Book are Mensa members. Jon Gruden or no Jon Gruden, they’ve turned the Bucs into a complete laughingstock again thanks to their antics. They also made Al Davis look good, which is a major sin in and of itself. There should be intelligence tests to own an NFL team. With luck, the Bears can rid itself of Mike McCaskey that way.
THE PIMP SECTION
Memo to Flea: Honestly, it takes a certain kind of talent combined with a certain mental state. You have to completely disregard the alleged fact that others have feelings too and be able to communicate the fact that you don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself, and you have to touch the hot buttons. Politics and religion are regarded as the two topics to stay away from in any civilized conversation, and my level of hate mail goes up with each Dubbaya insult or any comment less than damning about the Palestinians.
For instance, confining ourselves to the political area, someone asked me a couple weeks ago about what I feel viz. Cheney, Powell, and Rice. The answer: I hate Powell more than Dubbaya, I hate Cheney more than Powell, and I kinda liked Rice until she decided to be the spin doctor for the “axis of evil” comments (for my feelings about Rice, I have to quote Eric Idle on someone who once held the same job as Rice, Henry Kissinger: “You’ve got nicer legs than Hitler, and bigger tits than Cher”). That should guarantee at least one “you’re racist” comment viz. Powell and some bad taste remarks about Professor Rice.
In other words, you have to work at getting good hate mail. Ever since I started You’re A Moron, the quantity has decreased, but the quality has increased, because people are vain enough to not want to be exposed in public as being an idiot. And I’ve attracted very few trolls (Marco the Moron is just about the only regular). Try it and see if it works.
I’m kinda actually glad no one comped me to No Way Out or Raw (thirty-minute trip to one, forty-minute to the other for me). Considering my work hours, I would have had to go without any sleep, and with a cold on top of that. No thanks.
PK is the good twin. Scott is the evil twin.
Daniels is just evil, period.
Never apologize, Gamble. They can sense weakness and feed off of it.
And can we have a moratorium on the term “Wrestlemania X-8” (or “X-7” for that matter)? It makes you look like complete fools when you write it.
THE SHORT FORM
Let’s transition right into the weekly farce, shall we?
Matt and Jeff Hardy over Lance Storm and Christian (Pinfall, Matt pins Christian, Twist of Fate/Swanton): Team Canada versus Team Advocate. Total by-the-numbers Hardys match with the most ridiculous, humiliating Christian tantrum yet. Complete waste of time.
Kane over Curt Hennig (Pinfall, chokeslam): Just to remind you, fifteen years ago, Curt Hennig was a champion of a federation with an acknowledged world title belt (the AWA, in case you never heard of it). Now he’s reduced to cheating at chess and playing Kane’s bitch. This is almost as sad as watching the late Chris Adams being a JTTS in WCW a few years ago. How the heroes of my relative youth have fallen.
Booker T over the Godfather (Pinfall, superkick): Dammit, Booker needed the tag titles in order to salvage something for him. Instead, his burial continues.
Rob Van Dam and Edge over Goldust and Billy Brass Knucks (Submission, Edge forces Regal to submit, reverse Sharpshooter): Whatever happened to the concept of a good old-fashioned blowoff? Instead, PPV matches are rerun the next night as tag matches or as, in the next case, rematches. Both of these feuds produced no excitement whatsoever, so the smart thing would be to just ditch them and forget they ever happened.
Trip over Kurt Angle, Number One Contender’s Match (Pinfall, Pedigree): See above for my comments on that.
Various Thoughts About The Eternal Opening Promo: I agree with HallNashHogan not wanting to stand there and listen to Austin ramble on and on accompanied by the audience. I thank God I’m taping Raw now so that I can hit the FF and get on to more important things. And memo to Kurt Angle: those are off-duty Rosemont cops, a bunch of Republican-appointee pussies. All you GOP-backers out there can now try to defend the existence of Don Stephens, Rosemont’s dictatorial mayor, to me. The man named the convention center in Rosemont after himself. Please.
Restaurant Critiques With the NWO: Where the hell are they going to go around the Horiz…dammit, Allstate Arena…to eat? It needs to be somewhere with booze for Hall, and somewhere within fifteen minutes’ drive in order get the car back for Hogan in thirty minutes. Shoeless Joe’s, maybe? Hooters on Higgins and Cumberland? There isn’t much to eat around there, believe me, and certainly nowhere with sushi. Maybe for historical purposes they can hit McDonalds #1 (the very first franchised Mickey Ds) in Des Plaines, which is about fifteen minutes up Mannheim…hold it…duh. Heavenly Bodies at Higgins and Route 83. That’s fifteen minutes away. Of course they’d head to a titty bar, and they have a good menu there. So I’ve heard. Remember, for more tourism tips for the Near Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, keep reading this space.
Hitler and Stalin at Lvov: My pal BFM (who will be covering Tough Enough 2 over at Reality News Online) warned me about this promo and said that he started agreeing with Flex. For me, this was the ultimate test. The question will finally be answered: who do I hate more, Hogan or Flex? The answer came quickly, as I considered this an NWO face turn. I do hate Flex more than Hogan, mostly because Hogan’s damage has pretty much been already done, but Flex has years of carnage yet to come. How uncomfortable was it for you, Flex, to look in that ring and see what you’re going to be in thirteen or so years? You’re going to end up a pitiable figure trying to hold on to his glory, remembering his years of dominance, while your face slowly and slowly starts resembling a bad rubber Halloween mask. Hogan is your Norma Desmond or Baby Jane, Flex. Your only salvation is to not postpone your heel turn until it appears to be an act of desperation forced on you by the apathy of the fans.
As for the aftermath sell by JR and Lawler…oh, for a lit cigarette near that ambulance. Of course the EMTs would be on the scene; they wrecked a paramedic ambulance, numbnuts. What motivated them, JR? Hey, this is MY town. E to the Izzer, I to the Izzic owns this bitch. If I want Flex put out, Flex gets put out. To summarize, though, BFM was right; this needed Schiavone to sell properly.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
I’m still getting together that list of local markets where SD is preempted, so submit yours today. Please, no more letters from Detroit and Atlanta.
Jeff Jarrett is still uncertain as to whether or not he’ll be facing Savage at the WWA PPV this upcoming weekend in Vegas. According to the Torch, there’s some ego problems there that need to be smoothed over before anything can be done; however, things look good at this point in time that the match will go on. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t, though.
According to the Observer, William Hill, one of the largest bookie chains in England, dropped their odds of Hogan being Undisputed Champ at the end of the year from 25-1 to 16-1. I’d still take a bit of that action at those numbers. Steph and Heyman will do anything to pop the numbers, and if that means Hogan gets a sixth run at the end of the year, so be it. Nothing at this point would surprise me.
I’m going to sign off and get to work. Ashish will keep you up to speed throughout the day