Trouble looms whenever the writers think they can act. – Unca Ed Ostermeyer in a letter to Yr Humble Scrivener
And it’s Nothing But Trouble as we kick off Wrestlemania Week here at 411. The High Holy Days of the Wrestling Calendar are upon us as we wonder what the WWF will try to pull this time. So let’s get started…
UP YOUR BRACKETS
Eric’s Final Four: Kansas, Duke, UConn, and…Gonzaga. The West Region is wide open, and the Selection Idiots gave Dan Dickau and company some great bulletin board material by dissing them with the #6 seed. No real surprise here when they make it, though; #6 seeds make the Final Four as much as #2 seeds do. Duke wins it all; hey, I always go for the other famous Polack from the Southwest Side of Chicago with the unspellable name.
First-Round Upset Specials: Valpo over Kentucky, SIU over Texas Tech (my cousin’s a Saluki alum, and I f*cking hate Bobby Knight), and, just to support the homeboys, UIC over the Oklahomos. Also, take all of the #10 seeds.
There’s nothing quite like seeing Dick Vitale go apeshit. It’s incredibly scary to watch (even more so than Flex trying to sell). His rant about the snubs the NCAA delivered to Gonzaga, Butler, and Bowling Green was a true classic. Jericho should take notes.
I’ve finally figured out what RPI means: Resistance to Potential Infections. I know that mine’s low, because I’ve got my second goddamn cold in a month right now. I’ll give Sudafed a #3 seed.
PEERING OVER THE GUILD ENTRAILS
Okay, so far so good. Crowe and McKellen nailed down the SAGs in their categories, so I’m on the road to a two for two on the male categories for the Academy Awards (see my February 13th column). Opie got the DGA, which is a good indicator of success in Best Director, a category I blew in last year’s predictions. Best Picture usually follows Best Director like a kid follows a Good Humor truck, so I’m already looking at bettering the three for six of my last at-bat. My blind spot here is the women. I still don’t think Halle Berry’s taken seriously by the voting membership of the Academy, so I’m still confident about Spacek. However, that nod at the SAGs to Helen Mirren has me worried for Dame Maggie’s chances…no, I must stand firm on my word as a prognosticator, even if it should blow a perfect night at the Oscars for me.
ECONOMIC STIMULUS, MY ASS
The “economic stimulus package” is, to simply put it, welfare for Noo Yawk. But it’s oh, so popular because of September 11th. “Oh, my, the unemployment provisions for those poor displaced workers are about to expire, so we have to extend them.” You’re not sucking on my tit, Seymour. Stand on your own two feet and get a goddamn job somewhere else. You’ll also have the benefit of getting out of that open cesspit and to a city that’s livable and affordable. And good for the Demos blocking those asinine tax cuts. For a group that fought so damn hard for a balanced budget, the GOP is sure reluctant to use taxes to pay down the deficits that were caused by twelve years of spending like there was no tomorrow during the Reagan and Bush Senior juntas, huh? Hate to admit that you were wrong, guys?
Look, I’ve actually received mail wondering where the political slams have been recently, and my Crypto-Commie Credentials were up for renewal, so I had to find something good to work with. It was either this or going after a Republican representative for saying that PETA is a major funder of ecoterrorists.
ANOTHER STUDY I’D LOVE TO BE A PART OF
Scientists in a National Institutes of Health-funded study said in a report that women who have a few drinks can lower their risk of high blood pressure by 15%. Men in a privately-funded study at various bars around the country responded by saying that women who have a few drinks also lower their levels of resistance to them getting into their pants and are more receptive to certain activities, especially those involving domesticated animals. Photographic evidence of this can be found at any Internet site dedicated to Mardi Gras pictures.
THE PIMP SECTION
PK on Raw. PK on Heat. Get your minimum daily requirement of mark in one easy trip.
A href=http://411wrestling.com/columns/article.phtml?columns_id=851>Grut made my dialogue from last year’s “Fear and Loathing In Houston” look coherent in his latest Wrestling Tale. Bravo.
Unca Ed is, as usual, the voice of reason among this insanity.
Unfortunately, Flea, Jar Jar is in there, but he’ll only be in about fifteen minutes of the film. Following in the tradition of other cartoonish, ridiculous, and asinine characters, he’s a Senator. And you could have played a little Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to go from Jimmy Smits to Susan Dey to the Danny Bonaduce/Barry Williams boxing match on Fox tomorrow, you know. Fans appreciate that kind of effort.
Blake Norton is, as usual, right, but the WWF would only screw the pooch again by making Albert a member of the Horsemen.
Nason and his Indy Update exists for your benefit. So read it.
Who the f*ck put the uranage as performed by Flex in that poll for Best Finisher? Geez, wreck our credibility as a site even further, why don’t you?
THE SHORT FORM
And so we finally come to the last Raw before Wrestlemania. Get your air sickness bags ready to handle the hype.
Rob Van Dam, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy over Billy Brass Knucks, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, and D-Von Dudley (Pinfall, Van Dam pins Regal, Five-Star Frog Splash): As formulaic as you can get, right down to the person who grew up nearest to the arena winning the match and the final two guys involved facing each other Sunday in a title match. Add in the fact that these teams made no damn sense, and it’s fast-forward material.
Test over Rikishi (Pinfall, Big Boot): Oh, did this one get fast-forwarded.
Al Snow over Goldust, Hardcore Title Match (Pinfall, brainbuster suplex on garbage can, New Hardcore Champion): Apparently, they realized they blew all of the budget for gold spray paint in this match and had to have Dustin job in order not to have to customize the garbage cans, fire extinguishers, etc., again. Nice to see Snow holding the Hardcore Title again, though. Too bad he only gets shots at matches when Tough Enough is running.
Kurt Cool Angle and Booker T over Edge and The Big Show (Submission, Angle makes TBS submit, AngleLock): What a downfall for Paul Wight. First of all, no match at WM after top-carding a few years ago. Then he had to submit in a tag match in a town where he once not only main-evented a major PPV, but no-sold death at said show. However, knowing the money he’s making, I don’t feel that bad for him.
Christian over Billy Gunn (Pinfall, DDP Diamond Cutter): Oh, who cares? The match was only there to turn Christian for the EuroStrap match we all knew was programmed. So no big shock.
Jazz and My Beautiful and Beloved Dudley over Trish Stratus and Lita (Pinfall, Jazz pins Lita, rollup): Bullshit ending, but until then, another women’s match with palpable workrate, continuing the trend started last week. How freaky was it to see Scott give a North American women’s match on free TV two snowflakes? That’s unheard of. As I say in the Mailbag, they may be on to something here.
HallNashHogan over Flex and What?, Handicapped In Every Way You Can Think Of Match (Pinfall, Hogan pins Flex, leg drop): You know, I should be giggling like a little girl right now seeing Flex suck down a pinfall from Hogan, but all I can think about is the fact that Hogan’s return to a WWF ring should have been a major event, hyped to all hell and back, and instead, it’s blown on Raw in a tag match that did nothing to advance its purpose, which was to sell WM. I wasn’t going to buy it, and this match justified my decision instead of making me change my mind.
Reality Check: Who thought that Linda was going to go nuclear on Vince for wanting full power? That would have been sweet to see, but, alas, ’twas not to be. Nice way to set up the Big Split after WM, though. Also, Memo to the Fans: it’s kind of a waste chanting “What?” to a pretaped vignette, you idiots.
And They’re Stuck In The Mid-Card?: Angle’s and Booker’s promos viz. the WWF fans: shoot. Brilliant trio of promos from them and Edge, and that Booker/Edge match should be one of the few highlights of this dismal WM.
Lucy In The Sky With Dumbass: The last time two people in the WWF fought over the custody of a dog, the dog ended up stir-fried. This time, it’s being run over by a limo. In the grand tradition of the WWF, expect Lucy to no-sell it on SD in a match against Hall. Speaking of that, given that last ECU in the first promo of Lucy, it’s obvious that she has more emotional range and better acting skills than Flex.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
The Metal/Jakked matches taped at Joe Louis encompass the following (info courtesy of the Observer): Lance Storm over the Godfather, Yoshihiro Tajiri over Crash Holly (Tajiri got booed when he came out without the Ten-Buck Tramp), Hurricane Helms over Sho Funaki, and Val Venis (no, I will NOT call him the Big Valbowski, official ring name or not) over Perry Saturn. Yes, they’re spoilers, but who really wants to watch Metal/Jakked?
The Observer is also reporting that there was a lot of high-fiving in the stands when Hogan pinned Flex. The people in Detroit have taste.
Kiyoshi Sagawa, the largest shareholder in New Japan, passed away at the age of 79. I’m going to throw it over to the great Zach Arnold at Puroresu Power, because he’s got some really vicious things to say about Sagawa and his business practices. I love Zach, despite the fact that we don’t agree about too much. But he’s the expert on this subject, and I defer to him.
According to 1bullshit, the Canadian censors got a little button-happy when they thought Steph was going to get Pedigreed and cut to audience reaction shots. The Canadian censors need to become educated on WWF booking. The chances of Steph taking a Pedigree are about the same as My Beautiful and Beloved showing up at my door right now begging me to nurse me from this cold. They also cut away from Jericho’s sledgehammer shots, after allowing Trip’s over the years to stay on camera. Someone was awfully touchy tonight, huh?
Well, my mention of the death of Pop-Up Killer triggered a flood of mail. The program that most people wrote in to recommend (nearly a majority, in fact) was Pop-Up Stopper. I’m currently using Pop-Up Stopper Pro (cracked, naturally), and it’s working perfectly. It gets my full recommendation. So thanks to everyone who wrote in on this issue.
Memo to Joel Pease: I’ve been a customer of cracks.am and Astalavista for a long time, so I’m quite aware of their existence (I have both bookmarked). cracks.am is where I got the keygen for Pop-Up Stopper Pro, in fact.
Maybe the WWF might be on to something with that Trish-Jazz match from last week (reinforced by this week’s eight-pack tag match). Frequent correspondent Kurt Dieckmann has a lovely, pregnant, non-wrestling-fan wife (hope you’ve decided who gets custody of the kid during Raw and Smackdown, Kurt) who noticed the match and sat down to watch it (after first wondering why Trish was wrestling a man). Steph’s soap opera bullshit isn’t working to attract the women; maybe women performing good wrestling matches might just work, huh?
Phil Watts covered for me on the hideous Flex-related Smackdown moment, since I have a bedtime right now that most parents would consider too strict for a five-year-old and had no impetus to tape it: Does Flex have know no shame? God! That match with Scott Hall was the most hilarious moment I have seen in a long time! The announcers keep going over how he’s supposed to be crippled, all while Flex does all his usual crap he does in every match. All with one or two moments of “Oops…I forgot…I’m supposed to be recovering from an accident! MUST…CLINCH…CHEST…RIB…HURT…ARGH!” See, folks, I’m not the only one looking for stuff like this. Flex has two selling modes: no-sell and oversell. He usually ends up doing both in the same match, like in this one. So, no surprise he did that kind of routine on SD last week.
Staying on the subject of Flex, Steve Rogers wrote me a wonderful essay dealing with why Flex seems to be immune from criticism. My advice on this, Steve, is to expand on what you were saying, turn it into a column, and get it up at some site. It’s that damn good, and definitely makes for a great exhibit in The Case Against.
John of Eastern PA says that SD is preempted in his area for Philly sports, and asks what the Bears will do at QB. Well, they resigned Miller, but a draft pick looks unlikely in the light of the fact that they’re talking to Chris Chandler (didn’t the Bears knock him out of the game last season, or was that simply an illusion?). There’s enough of a second-string QB market out there to possibly enable them to get Kurt Kittner in the second round (I wouldn’t spend a first-round pick on him) to groom him as QB Of The Future. If Kittner’s gone by then, I’d cream my jeans to see them take Antwan Randle-El. Of course, he’d end up being Kordell Lite due to John Shoop’s ineptitude at crafting an offense that can gain more than five yards at a shot.
Memo to Doug Hills: One of my most famous columns at the Smarks was about Jamie Kellner and how he totally destroyed Kids’ WB in his Peter Principle ascent up the Time-Warner ladder, written when he was made Gerry Levin’s hatchet man in Atlanta to combine and streamline the Time-Warner and Turner TV operations to make the bottom line look good for AOL. I warned everyone that Kellner’s arrival meant Very Bad Things for WCW. Thirty-six hours after the column went up at TSm, Kellner axed WCW programming. Made me look like a prophet. And Memo to MattTheRat: Yes, I think that Brad Siegel is ruining CN, but at least he doesn’t have Betty Cohen’s Scooby-Doo fetish and he’s willing to try different things. So I’ll give him a little slack for now. But canning Late Nite Black and White is no way to get me on his side.
Additional Memo to John King: Ask Mike Awesome about fat chicks and hummers (but you’re right; Lewinsky looked like a bus on CNN). And you’ll never get to see those post-bomb scenes with characters looking like Al Jolson on CN anymore; they’ve cut all of them out as being possibly racist. As for Trip’s future after he and Steph break up, I’d say your conclusion about jobbing to Tajiri is accurate. You’ve got to stop watching Sean Hannity, though; it’s been proven that he induces suicide in lab rats.
KalEl15 reminded me of the fact that during his infamous testimony to Congress in 1987, Oliver North recommended to Al Gore that an assassination team be formed to take out Osama bin Laden. I wasn’t paying attention to that statement, I must admit. I think I was busy trying to form a team to take out Ollie North for his treason. My question to this would be simple: the GOP had five more years in power after this, so why didn’t they do it? See, the Demos aren’t the only ones who dropped the ball on bin Laden.
olympichero writes in response to last Wednesday’s rant:
The idea of an institutional memory is all well and good, but don’t we already have a social memory of sorts through archived reports and forum posts. I take your point that news reporters/columnists/WWF writers can have selective memories, but this doesn’t mean that their readers/audience do, or that forums display the same forgetfulness. Draw a line between pessimism and fatalism regarding your views on the American public/wrestling public.
The problem is that the Internet Wrestling Community has those resources available, but choose en masse to not utilize them. What’s the use of a library that no one visits? We have a social memory about wrestling’s past, but it’s mostly built on the purpose of deification of those past moments rather than their utilization for purposes of comparison and criticism. Too much writing on wrestling focuses on the present as an absolute, with no indication that it’s either influenced by or informed by the past. To return to a statement I’ve made numerous times, each show is taken on its own merit instead of being considered as part of a continuum of effort. Only in retrospect is anything like that done. Look at the Invasion as it was in progress. Most writers came to the conclusion that it sucked while it was going on, but the moment that ECW became involved, somehow, those same writers zero-based everything and forgot about the previous months.
My point is that in order for criticism to be seen as valid, proper techniques of criticism should be used. That isn’t being done in the IWC.
Also, re: the poll on American/Middle Eastern views on the war in Afghanistan/Islam. I agree with your general position, but don’t feel that a poll of 863 adults is significant evidence for your argument. I acknowledge that a representative sample may have been used, but 863 seems a remarkably low number to discover the feelings of 300 million Americans (if a similar number is used for election polls then I apologise, but I’d expect the number to be higher).
No, similar numbers are used for election polls. The way pollsters make a living is by using statistical modeling, where it’s been found that if you take X number of items randomly, it can represent an entire population within a given margin of error. The “given margin of error” thing is what enables polls to be conducted without having to ask every single person their opinion (that would be a poll with 0% margin of error). Sampling 863 random adults out of the adult population of the United States gives a confidence level of +/- 4% on results of that poll. That’s why you sometimes see election polls that have one candidate with 52% and another with 48% resulting in a commentary saying that it’s “too close to call”; the results are within the margin of error.
Ben Willans, being a good Brit, wants to clarify some stuff with my comments about the Liberal Democratic Party in Blighty: Currently the Liberals are considered to be a third major party here in the UK (at least by the majority of the country) and in fact many are predicting that they will take over from the Tories (Conservatives) within a generation. The main problem the Lib Dems have in this country is shrugging their image as a bunch of pollitical opportunists who basically look to find and occupy the shade of opinion not represented by the big two. Well, it’d take a Kim Campbellesque level of disaster on the part of the Conservatives for the LibDems to become the new second party in Britain because of what you said. They really don’t have a platform to work from. Labour ninety years ago was in the same position as the LibDems today, except that they actually had a political philosophy to work from that was considered to be different from the Tories and Liberals and espoused their beliefs in such a way that made Socialism (before it became corrupted) appeal to voters. I don’t think they have a chance until they actually believe in something that isn’t just a nay-saying of the other parties.
I’ll be back tomorrow night to see what they put out on Wrestlemania’s Alleged Greatest Hits, have some comments on SD (since Ashish will have the results up before I mail my column in), put out another Mailbag, etc. Enjoy.