Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 3.13.02

Whoever wants to be happy, let him be so; about tomorrow there’s no knowing. – Lorenzo di Medici


I’ve been thinking a lot about the Medicis lately when I think of the McMahons.  Yes, I know, the more apt comparison is with the Borgias, blah blah blah.  Vince is a Lorenzo the Magnificent for the modern wrestling age.  Both are/were patrons of great artists (Leonardo and Michelangelo on the one hand, Benoit on the other).  Both survived an attempted overthrow (Lorenzo by a cabal led by the Pope, Vince by Ted Turner).  Both were able to coopt their opponents afterward (Lorenzo’s son eventually became Pope, while Vince bought WCW…for that matter, Steph sure seems to operate by the principle of infallibility when speaking ex cathedra about wrestling faith and morals).  Lorenzo had Machiavelli giving him advice; Vince had Russo giving him advice.  Lorenzo was the patron of Savonarola; Vince has Austin.  Will history judge Vince’s WWF as magnificent a construction as Lorenzo’s Florence?  I’ll leave that to future Net columnists to figure out.  All I know is that a lot of us are thinking of past glories rather than the Wrestlemania which is to come on Sunday, an impression made even more vivid by the TNN special (which was so content-free that I’m passing up on commenting about it).


Why am I going to order WM when they will just run the same matches the next night on Raw so the losers can get their heat back immediately? – my fascist bud John King


SMACKDOWN REFLECTIONS


I’d say that the results of the Fatal Four-Way would be an encouraging sign for Gunn to do the job back at WM to drop the titles, but there’s no one else I want to have the belts right now.  WM’s produced some tag classics over the past few years, but this is going to stop that streak cold in its tracks.


Will they book Maven as a heel or just taking advantage of an opportunity?  Probably the latter, which is a shame.  A feud with Maven gives Snow something to do until TE3 starts shooting.  What I don’t want to see is TBS beating the kid down for being the latest victim of the Fatal Dropkick of Doom.  UT I can see doing that, TBS no.  However, teaming TBS up with Maven might just be a decent idea…


Yippie, another extended Hogan/Flex promo.  Gives me a good excuse for blowing the show off.  Again.


Will someone please decide if Booker and Test are a regular team?  If you’re not pushing them for singles gold, you can at least make them a serious threat for the tag titles.  God knows the tag division needs enough help as it is.


I’ll reserve my comments about UT/Flair for the Roundtable.


Turning the title match into a “oh, my God, is Trip’s quad gonna tear?” spectacle oversold by JR and Lawler is so disrespecting to Trip and especially Jericho that it’s not worth commenting on.  Just another brilliant brainstorm by Steph.


THE PIMP SECTION


Letawsky is back, with a special guest contributor…okay, it’s me, but it’s still special.


Rivett is a good guy, but just a little bit misguided (The NWO off to a good start, Joe?  Come on.).


Flea has his Excess recap up.  Ditto Keith, who’s gathering fodder for his next book as we speak.


AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…


It’s Wrestlemania Week.  There’s pretty much jack shit going on other than that.  So let’s just get to the…


MAILBAG!


I’m not the only one who fell for the whole Ollie North/bin Laden scam; Gamble did too.  I’ll at least claim illness for my senses not being acute enough.  I, of course, remember that horrid face promo he cut challenging Abu Nidal to the equivalent of a steel cage match, but it was a far more innocent time, when Hogan could still play up the whole American Icon thing.  I like to think we’ve matured since then.


Let’s actually open with D Chhabra, who sums up nicely what we’re all thinking right now:


First off, I enjoy your columns.  Today’s agenda is a quick rant about Stephanie.  I’m sure you get tons of email so I’ll keep it short.  She sucks.  Period, end of story.  Stupid woman keeps on booking herself in the spotlight and it’s a crapfest.  Here’s the acid test: if she was off tv, would anyone miss her?  Obviously not, and it goes further than that.  If she was off tv, people would like the product more.  That two or three weeks where she was “gone for good” was a welcome relief.  She can’t act, her voice is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, and she adds absolutely no value to any storyline.  Jericho and HHH are more than capable of developing a worthwile program themselves – they have the skills and the history and they don’t need Steph in any capacity.  But she’s the boss’ daughter and she holds the book, so we suffer.  No wonder the ratings are in the toilet.


Bravo.  Well said.


The ever-present Barry Petchesky chimes in:  OK, on this past Raw, which segment better qualifies as “shoot that wasn’t supposed to be a shoot?”  Was it the Edge/Booker/Angle “stupid” segment?  Or was it the dog shit segment?  I think the dogshit segment was more symbolic than a shoot, but it was still appropriate.


Mike Bonsiero wishes to play Fun With Numbers against a grandmaster of the game:


I would like to point something out in regards to your comments about the ratings.  If WWF was drawing a 4.5 and WCW was drawing a 2.0, the overall rating might not be 6.5 as you suggest.  It stands to reason that a decent percentage of the wrestling viewership would be watching portions of both shows, therefore if the WWF is only drawing a 4.5 now, they probably have not lost 30% of the wrestling audience.  I have noticed that a lot of people overlook this when discussing ratings.  Keep up the good work.


Actually, if you want to look at the total wrestling audience from a year ago, look at the numbers during the hour in which Nitro ran opposite Raw and use those.  Since I didn’t have the time to look those up last Wednesday (overslept again and was already late for work), I just took the total audience figure.  Now that I do have time, let’s head over to The Other Arena’s Ratings Comparison Page For 2001 and look up the head-to-head numbers, shall we?  Let’s take the ratings for March 12th, 2001.  Total combined ratings:  7.05.  Raw Hour One and Nitro Hour Two combined ratings:  6.17.  For last week, which was the 6.5 combined audience that I cited, the total combined ratings were 6.64, the head-to-head combined was 5.82.  In fact, the final combined ratings were greater than the head-to-head combined ratings by about .7-.9 for the entire three months that WCW still existed in 2001.


Therefore, let me modify that statement I made last week.  The WWF has not lost 30% of the wrestling audience since last year.  They’ve only lost 22% of the wrestling audience since last year.  22% of the audience is still large enough to assign blame.  Therefore, my conclusion still stands.


Evan Sams wants to bring up a point regarding You’re A Moron:  I have no problem with your column or any criticisms you make regarding the WWF.  I have no problem with you making fun of people who write abusive emails to you. It makes for fun reading.  However, it’s pretty easy to rip the shit out of someone when they can’t respond, isn’t it…  Evan, let me quote the theme song from Super Chicken:  “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it”.  People know that by writing flames to me that they run the risk of being publicly humiliated in the column.  As for being able to respond, we have a message board here that they could post on regarding what I print about them.  I don’t read it, but it’s still there.


Speaking of hatred, Jason Verschage asks where the vitriolic political commentary has been lately.  Well, it’s been on the back burner right now due to other issues (with a slight reappearance yesterday).  We are less than a week away from Wrestlemania, after all, and this is still a wrestling column.  Besides, I need a good, fresh issue to cavil about.  Enron is all well and good, but too much of it would brand me a spoilsport.  Besides, I’m giving my conservative correspondents the chance to go after me via mail for Daschle’s case of foot-in-mouth disease.  I’m just shaking my head because the guy has the chance to take back the House in November and he’s blowing it as badly as a drunk Missy Hyatt.


Memo Back To Mike Sill:  1) I wouldn’t mind a Horseman revival, except for the fact of you-know-who booking it.  Who would I like to see in it?  Flair and Anderson as managers and promo experts, Benoit as the in-ring leader, Storm and Edge as the tag threat (or Booker and Test), and David Flair for the symbolic passing of the torch to the new generation.  2) I don’t think that Vince brought back the NWO to purposely make them look bad.  I think it’s complete ineptitude on the part of the bookers.  3) I’ve answered the question of who I like in the WWF a lot of times here.  In addition to the guys in Number One (with the exception of David and Test), there’s Austin when he’s not saying “What?”, Jericho, Angle, and a number of others.  4) What is this “Wrestlemania X8” you write of?  5) I do live in Wisconsin.  The problem is that the job I currently have is on the far South Side of Chicago, so I’ll be moving back to the Chicago area soon.  This could change due to a possible pending job offer, though.


Breezi2001 wants to go after me on charges of hypocrisy.  Hey, better people than you have tried and failed, so don’t feel bad when I shoot you down.  Specifically, he/she/whatever wants to go after me for not criticizing Austin, Trip, and Angle on the same basis that I nail Flex.  Let’s go charge by charge:


Austin:  Can you name me a clean job that Austin has done that hasn’t been a screw job (ie. Angle match with the hand under the rope thing or the RVD fluke roll up) or lost by a man not named Triple H ?


Ah, but I do criticize Austin on that basis.  In actuality, I criticize the WWF for booking Austin in this way.  To quote me from Letawsky’s column:  …the WWF is neurotically protective of certain performers for fear that jobbing them at the wrong time would be fatal to the organization (Flex, Austin, and UT are at the head of this class).  Put the blame where it belongs:  the bookers, not Austin.


Next, Trip:  …he has charecter growth my ass. Just because you start as a snob, then a rebel, gain fifty pounds and become a diabolical heel doesn’t mean I know shit about your charecter.  I didn’t say that the WWF’s process of creating three-dimensional characters is perfect.  I did say that with Trip, they made the effort to do so, and it worked.  We know a lot more about him than we do about Flex as a person.  I can relate to him more because he’s more fleshed out (as a character, so no ‘roid jokes).  He has easily-understood motivations and reacts in an understood way to his situations.  Flex just sorta glides across the surface of the troubled waters, not disturbing a wave and not leaving anything in his wake.


Angle:  will somebody see that Angle has stolen more move than Rock. Also, he’s stolen Owen’s whole persona. Angle’s charector is nearly dead on (no pun intended) Owen’s “nugget” persona. Not really a flaw just miss Owen.


We all miss Owen.  But how is Angle’s character a ripoff of Owen’s nugget persona?  Bitching at the audience for booing him is a standard heel tactic.  Lawler was a master at that in Memphis.  Being whiny when the audience booed him?  Barry Horowitz used to do that all the time when he was a heel JTTS.  Bone up on your wrestling history.  The fact is that Angle’s the best the WWF has had in that role since Owen.  As for stealing more moves than Flex, yes, he’s “stolen” more moves, but that’s due to the fact that he’s a much more talented wrestler than Flex is and can perform them well.  You might as well complain about Austin stealing Johnny Ace’s finisher or Mick Foley taking the mandible claw from Dr. Sam Sheppard.  Besides, you can’t invent many more moves these days without a major possibility of injury/death to yourself or your opponent.  The bar’s been raised that high.  So that’s a rather specious claim.


That’ll be it for me this week.  I’ll be back with the Roundtable for WM, but this space gets turned over to Grut and Flea as they try to work up a little bit of enthusiasm for Sunday.  Enjoy yourselves any way you can, and I’ll be back next week.