Now tomorrow’s back claiming redemption is on your heels
And a toothless past is asking you how it feels
– David Bowie, “Zeroes”
You know, you fans…well, what can I say? You are my moon, you are my sun, heaven knows what you are…well, most of you, anyway. There are some fans out there who I happen to know exactly what they are…
YOU’RE A MORON: AN AOLUSER, A STEPH FAN, AND A SPAMMER; THREE STRIKES, YOU’RE FUCKED
My apologies to the 411 staff for reprinting this; obviously, you’ve all seen this one, since AngelicHauteur@aol.com spammed this to every member of the staff (Sorry, Gamble, but I’m moving in the next few weeks, so I can’t get you Brewers tickets), but I thought everyone should see this just to demonstrate, yet again, why I have no respect for wrestling fans. This was, of course, written prior to WM. I think McCluskey’s response just about covers it: “What the f*ck?”:
I’d just like to say, as far as the future of the WWF is concerned, and this
is directed particularly to Eric.
Why to me? Just because I’ve been bashing Steph longer than anyone else here, and am now being acknowledged as being right? Of course, directing it particularly at me leaves you open to You’re A Moron, but you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.
I hope Stephanie stays on television for the rest of her life, and agonizes the hell out of you all.
She will (as long as she remains a McMahon), and she does.
Enjoy WM-X8, or not.
Seeing as your website should be remained “StephKillsMe.com” instead of anything with the word “wrestling” in it,
I don’t write the typos, folks, I just print them.
you’ll probably be counting the moments till the doomsday that you consider Steph so generously graces your stage and initiates the pain you will have to suffer for 35 minutes.
I wouldn’t say “doomsday”, exactly. “Festering tumor”, perhaps. “Itchy hemmorhoid” is a definite possibility. “Moral equivalent of an angina attack”, if you want to be pretentious. But not “doomsday”.
And I get to laugh at your complaints about Monday.
I hope so. Myself, PK, and Scott do try to put some good elements of humor in our columns…oh, that’s not what you meant, is it?
Everyone is so down on wrestling right now, but in reality, Vince is just being a sadist.
True. Just ask Bret.
He knows how much you can’t handle the intended torture that is his daughter, and in doing such, has barred you from actually reporting anything worthwhile on your website without marring it with a mention about the little princess herself.
So, we can’t talk about the WWF and mention Steph. Let’s see, she’s only the booker, the major character in an upper-card angle involving the world title, and gets twenty minutes of camera time each show, so she must be negligible, and our mentions of her are totally out of proportion to her alleged significance. What a yutz.
And so, I am proud to announce, that the 2003 Time Magazine Most Mentioned Person Of The Year is none other than Stephanie McMahon, with 9 million, six hundred and eighty thousand, four hundred and twenty mentions. (Editor note: 9 million, six hundred and eight thousand, four hundred and seventeen if these mentions are credit to 411wrestling.com. When we investigated further to determine the source of the remaining three votes, we stumbled upon a
secret cult in Scotland who spends it’s time individually counting the threads on Stephanie’s skirts by television magnification only.
Oops, you got your math wrong. You lost seventy-two thousand mentions in your desire to be as sardonically witty as the staff here. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I’ve known people, though, who’ve slipped up and forgot a “y” here and there in an equation (hey, my degree’s in Physics; everyone who’s ever studied that subject has to confess to dropping a variable at some time), so I’ll be forgiving.
The first, second, and third place winners were awarded the prize of appearing on the
Scot Tissue ad that was indeed filmed in Scotland.
Of course, the fact that it’s really Scott Tissue blows the whole joke (I’m looking at a four-pack of asswipe in my bathroom right now, and there it is, two “t”s). Of course, Scott Tissue is made by Kimberly-Clark, and that must have something to do with Page’s wife, right?
These were, however, walk-on roles, as it takes a keen eye to see the winners riding donkeys through the hillsides with signs praising Stephanie’s attire. Careful
examination did in fact reveal that they *were* mouthing the words “Stephanie,” thus qualifying her for three more votes, as we couldn’t penalize their need for a speech class. These are the only known mentions in the last year *not* attributed to 411wrestling.com, and we apologize if they feel we have marred their record by discovering the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.)
Please, leave the Hunter Thompsonesque free association to us professionals who know how to do it correctly, will you?
Let the Stephanie bashing commence, my brainwashed friends.
Brainwashed by whom? Me? I exert so much influence on the 411 staff that I could change their minds about Steph and brainwash them into a negative opinion about her to further my own unstated aims? If I had that much influence on the staff, wouldn’t you think I’d be working on PK’s rampant markdom first, or Ben Morse’s affection for Flex? Please.
I look forward to your site-wide special appearing next week on “Stephanie McMahon is really Osama bin Laden After a Trip To Elizabeth Arden.”
No, because that would destroy the illusions of some of the mentally-deranged people who write me and tell me that I’m a bin Laden-lover.
Let’s make this perfectly clear. Recently, a number of writers here at 411 realized that they’re as sick of the sad, shoddy, pathetic booking in the WWF as I am. They, like me, decided to place the blame for the bad booking squarely on the shoulders of the person responsible, namely the person holding the book. That person just happens to be Stephanie McMahon. Our bitching about Stephanie is identical to the comments made three years ago when Kevin Nash was using WCW as his personal ego dildo, or the comments made about Vince Russo two years ago when he was doing things like putting himself over Ric Flair. The difference with Steph is that we don’t have a WCW or ECW around anymore to dilute the comments. For better or worse, the WWF is the only game in town. Therefore, the spotlight is going to fall disproportionately on them and their actions. What’s going on here with the writing is not an obsession; it’s an appropriate level of commentary by what is being seen by more and more people as a disaster in the making.
Hey, it isn’t only us 411 writers who are going after her. Just read to what Joel Geraghty wrote to me about Raw last week (after the Torch refused to print his much-more-mild comments; they’re pussies over there):
Stephanie was at her absolute worst last night, even worse than her transformation into Wonder Woman last week when, in the span of about five minutes, she knocked out a referee, busted open Triple H, then destroyed him with a chair and dragged Kurt Angle out of the cage to singlehandedly win the match for Our Olympic Hero. She was absolutely WRETCHED, first threatening the dog, then expressing guilt and remorse after the mutt was “run over”. For his part, HHH pretty much ruined (for me, and I’m sure at least a few others) the last two and a half years of establishing his character as a ruthless competitor who will stop at nothing to be the WWF Champion. I was really digging him as a face, too. Now he’s just like all the other f*cking morons in my apartment building who treat their dogs like their kids; I hate him and pity him at the same time. Also taking a giant, football-sized shit on his credibility by pushing this most retarded of angles was Jim Ross. How f*cking stupid did Good Ol’ J.R. sound as he lamented the treatment of “Lucy”? It made me shudder and long for the days of Ross calling Mae Young matches. Honorary mention goes to whoever decided we need a f*cking closeup of the dog shit on the floor. I don’t care if it was fake poop or not, I think we all know what dog shit looks like; I know I end up tracking it in the apartment at least three times a week. The only bright spot in the whole mess was the interaction between “Lucy” and Chris Jericho when Y2J first entered the room; the dog licking the Undisputed
Champion’s hand, followed by the Living Legend’s classic expression and delivery of the line, “What…is THAT?” were hilarious to me. Even this, combined with Jericho’s edited-by-TSN sledgehammer assault on The Game, were not enough to save this from being the most FUCKING RETARDED angle ever in the WWF. Don’t even bring up any of the cartoony stuff the WWF did
in the early ’90s; we expected that in those days. Couldn’t they have just had Stephanie lure Hunter out to the ring, allowing Y2J to sneak-attack with the sledgehammer? I guess not, since that wouldn’t have showcased the wide range of Steph’s “acting” skills, nor taken up 90% of the show. Hopefully, the WWF will erase this bullshit from the history books starting
on Smackdown, but I fear they won’t. GOD, that whole thing pissed me off. And nothing in wrestling really pisses me off, because to me, “it’s just wrestling.” It might have been a cute mid-summer angle to use when everyone is outside enjoying the weather, but as a last RAW before WrestleMania, it was really f*cking dumb. And don’t even get me started on Vince McMahon getting the “vote of confidence” from the board of directors after spending
the last four years trying to end the careers of the WWF’s top two draws, not to mention bringing the NWO into the WWF to kill the promotion, and all the on and off-screen legal problems he’s had.
So how much are we leading fan opinion and how much are we reflecting it? Personally, I don’t go out of my way to convert anyone to my way of thinking (and I’d appreciate it if you did the same). If you agree with it, great. If you don’t, and you don’t try to shout me down (as was attempted in the case of Flex, a situation which has caused me to keep the heat on full boil), spiffy neato. I do, however, express my honest feelings about matters. If they happen to be ahead of the curve of fandom, that’s the best thing of all, because people tend to remember that sort of thing. The only positive thing people remember about Sean Shannon, for instance, is the fact that while everyone else was predicting doom for the WWF in the immediate aftermath of Montreal, he was the only major columnist to say that the real winner in the situation wasn’t Bret, but Vince. He may have said it simply out of his dislike for Bret, but it was sweet vindication for him when it became clearly apparent six months later, after WM, that he was right all along. Now I’m feeling that sense of vindication on the subject of Steph after a year and a half of complaining about her. And I’m also starting to get that feeling regarding Flex, but more about Wrestlemania later. Personally, I don’t need my opinions to be validated, but it’s still a good sensation when they are.
I decided to start with You’re A Moron this week because there’s really nothing else to talk about except WM. My brackets were sent on a one-way trip to the glue factory courtesy of Gonzaga and Miami (but I was right about SIU and most of the 10 seeds, wasn’t I?), Tigger won at Arnie’s again (youngest ever to 30 tour wins and the only player ever to go back-to-back-to-back in three different tournaments; impressive, even for Tigger), the Palestinians and Israelis are still acting like schwantzes, the balance of power in Portugal is now held by a bunch of guys who look like the Christian Coalition’s wet dream personified, FARC has decided to up the ante by offing the Archbishop of Cali, more-Conservative-than-anyone Dave Hume has turned against Dubbaya due to the passage of the Illegal Alien Amnesty Bill, and Tipper’s not running for the Senate. All in all, pretty normal and nothing to get excited about. So, it’s to WM we go.
JUST BECAUSE I DIDN’T WATCH IT DOESN’T MEAN I CAN’T COMMENT ON IT
My choice was simple: WM or sleep. Sleep won.
They figured out a way to make the Hardcore Title even more irrelevant than it already was: cluster-f*ck it from Maven to Spike to Helms to Molly to that loser Christian back to Maven. The Hardcore Title has had actual moments of great humor in the past (the airport carousel, Crash in the kids’ play area, “The Winner: One of the Godfather’s Hos!”). This wasn’t one of them.
Of course, the European title is even more irrelevant than that, a point which underscored the fact that they had a match simply to set up a Christian tantrum. Can we please retire the belt, and can Page go with it?
The ultimate irrelevancy, though, has to be the tag titles. Keeping the belts on Gunn and Palumbo shows they have no idea what to do with the tag ranks. Audiences are sick and tired of the Dudleys and Hardys, APA isn’t considered relevant because we’ve seen them beat up everyone under the upper-mid-card level, so that leaves Gunn and Palumbo as the least stale of options. I still think it’d be better to disestablish the belts and wait until a time when there are enough fresh teams available to create a viable tag team scene, then just hold a tournament.
I’m completely sick and tired of the whole Gay Boys thing as well. Yes, you can give the WWF points for going further than WCW did with Lenny and Lodi, but that still doesn’t erase the fact that despite mainstream entertainment moving beyond gay stereotypes (Will and Grace is an adequate example), the WWF feels like they still have to play with effeminacy and narcissism as shorthand for gay. Here’s some news for you: most gay men (at least the ones I know) are not effeminate narcissists, they’re perfectly Average Joes who just happen to be sexually attracted to other men. BTW, if you want to know my feelings about homosexuality, I think that the preponderance of evidence proving it’s biological speaks for itself. I think that it’s a Darwinian method of population control. If a species develops enough to have no real predators as threats (except for each other), why shouldn’t a method of population control evolve that makes 10% of the population unwilling to mate to produce offspring? Makes perfect sense to me. Would you rather have people being gay or people jumping off cliffs like lemmings? Of course, being biological rather than a “lifestyle choice” brings up the issue of politics and equal rights…
Why am I getting into this? Back to WM.
Did Angle-Kane really need to go sixteen minutes? I think you could have swapped the times of the Angle-Kane and Booker-Edge matches without any complaint from anyone, quality matches though they appeared to be. I want to see how Unca Ed backtracks from his MOTY candidate remarks, though; the guy’s a grandmaster at wriggling out of tight spaces, and I admire him intensely for that ability.
It’s like I said in the Roundtable: no one takes a royal ass-kicking like Ric Flair. I never expected the WWF to give this one thirty, though; talk about a pleasant surprise. If UT wants to retire now, he can do it with a pretty clear conscience. When you team up the master at taking an ass-kicking with the master of dealing them out, you expect something like this.
Hmmmm, I was one Dusty Finish away from a totally successful prediction on the Hall/Austin match too. Not bad for someone whose thought processes viz. wrestling run totally counter to WWF philosophy.
Whoopie, so Steph finally got the Pedigree. Everyone knew then exactly what it would lead to: Steph going full camera-hog on Raw. The fact that it was a dull match (made quite clear by the crowd still coming off the catharsis of Hogan/Flex) didn’t help things any. To quote a very wise man, “The WWF is a well-oiled machine working in synch for one purpose and one purpose only. That purpose is to get Stephanie McMahon over.” The scary part about that quote is that I wrote it after Royal Rumble 2001. Fifteen months later, and the situation’s worse than ever.
Boss, do you write taglines like the one on the WM recap just to piss me off?
All in all, Daniels was right (yes, I find myself as amazed to write that as you are to read it). Moderate success, but nothing substantial to take away from it. BTW, I never did Spring Break in Panama City, but I did do one at South Padre, and it was pretty much a carbon copy of your description, only more deviate because we were more worried about herpes than AIDS in 1983. Plus, donkeys are easier to get in Texas than in Florida.
Now, let’s talk about the “Rocky sucks” chant. Believe it or not, I was getting e-mail from people before WM even ended about this. “Justin” made an incredibly important point: the moment that Hogan and Flex started to respond to the crowd, the chemistry and dynamic of the match changed. It altered from Hogan/Flex to Hogan/The Rock, and with both men in their proper roles, the quality of the match improved and the crowd’s response grew. But then the WWF went and screwed it all up.
What the hell’s wrong with them? Why didn’t they pull the trigger? It would have been so simple. Ross gets instructions from the back to tell the ref during the bump to tell the guys to keep it up, they’re going to do a turn and beatdown, and for Ross and Lawler to keep selling Flex as a face. Hall and Nash are given instructions to do the run-in at such-and-such a time from whoever was in the Gorilla Seat. No problem with the reasoning for it; they’d retrocon everything on Raw after sleeping on it and coming up with a good rationale. Jeff Fernandez wrote to tell me that they should have done a Hall-Nash attempted beatdown of Hogan, Flex helping Hogan at first, then having The Rock join in, leaving Hogan a bloody mess (I like it, Jeff). It would have increased the impact of the match by a factor of ten, made the NWO a credible threat (which they are most certainly not; at least everyone agrees on that), and would have made everyone salivate for Raw to see why it had happened. They want to find something that could break a 5 again, that would have been it.
So why wasn’t it done? You can possibly state that Steph and Heyman were a little gun-shy about turning an upper-carder heel after screwing the Lucy with Austin last year. Except that this situation was a little different. If you remember correctly, Austin was getting the face pops and Flex the heel pops leading up to and during that match. The crowd in Toronto would have bought a Flex heel turn, just like the crowd in Houston would have last year. The crowd would have done the initial selling for the skeptical among the audience. The fed wouldn’t have had to try as hard in this case and not be as tempted to slip into the completely ludicrous like they did with Austin.
Or was it not done due to the fact that the final sequence would have resembled Bash at the Beach ’96, and God knows the WWF can’t credit WCW for doing anything remotely good, can they? Maybe they were thinking of the reactions on the Net (no matter how much Vince says he doesn’t care about us) saying that the whole thing was a ripoff of BATB. If anything, the reaction from Net correspondents would be a positive comparison between the two, karmic payback for what Hogan did six years ago. Remember the remarks I made last week about institutional memory? We have one, but it’s very selective and is used for the type of situation I described. If anything, this might have got the Net on their side. The afterglow from the “success” of WM will only last a week or so. Heel turns last a lot longer than that, especially if they’re successful. They have living proof wearing black T-shirts on the roster.
Was it not done because it would hurt the box of The Scorpion King (Eric Dohlon posited this possibility to me last week)? I don’t think the WWF really cares about that except that it provides a little free publicity, and publicity is ethos-neutral. Besides, they could have pulled a Coachman/Cole interview marking the contrast between Duane Johnson’s two characters which could have provided a boost for The Rock. Instead, they’re stuck with Hero Flex and Movie Hero Duane. Boooooor-ing.
Was it not done in order not to overshadow the main event? The match did that anyway, so no big loss.
Was it not done in order not to overshadow Steph’s participation in the main event, and jeopardize her status as the fed’s Number One Heel? I wouldn’t put it past her infinite self-aggrandizement for her to want her face being plowed into the mat to be the indelible image the audience takes away from WM this year. But the proof was right there Sunday night when that event happened. Total nothing from the audience. Steph has finally worn out her welcome with the marks. It’s an old saying, but it’s true: let the audience love you, let the audience hate you, but if an audience is indifferent to you, you’re in trouble. She now officially has major X-Pac heat. If an event which could have attracted back the audience that they’d lost in the last year was not done because it would have wounded Steph’s ego and put an actual in-ring performer back as top heel, then the WWF’s root problems are a lot bigger than any of us had supposed.
The one reason why it was not done was not because it was a bad idea. It’s a very good idea. It’s an idea I’ve been pushing for over two years now. You marks won’t lose your familiar, comfortable, almost security-blanket-like promos; he’s been doing the same promos, face or heel, for three years. You get the same personality. You’d even get to keep the suck-ups to “The People”, which you feel are so important for your own self-worth, since the character of The Rock is ideally suited to be a self-deluded heel thinking he’s still loved. And you’d get your “Rocky sucks” chant back on a permanent basis. Feel bad for me if it had happened. I would have lost my prime whipping boy. I would have lost the ability to use the name “Flex”. But, honestly, I would have gladly traded that in because I would have regained something by a Flex heel turn: my interest in the WWF product.
And speaking of not being interested, time for the Short Form:
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Van Dam over Christian, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash): Pretty much a Van Dam squash, but if given a little time and a little inclination to give Christian some offense, these two could really click. Too bad Page had to show up to wreck everything.
Lita over Trish Stratus, Return The Job From Last Night Match (Pinfall, Litasault): Okay, a nothing match compared to the comparative-workrate-fests we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, but still some nice moves exhibited. Of course, Ivory’s return to Raw has opened up the opportunity for a high-workrate women’s tag match, which should be interesting to say the least. How long has it been since the Jumping Bomb Angels?
Edge and Kane over Kurt Angle and Booker T, Rematch Tag Team Special (Pinfall, Edge pins Angle, Edgecution): Surprisingly spry tag team match for the night after a major PPV in which all wrestlers participated (against each other). Nice fast pace, good offense, but good reason why it didn’t last very long. This is a match I’d like to see redone with more time given.
Memo to Mistah Keith: With the advent of Justice League, we animation fans have the luxury of pretending that Superfriends never existed (with exceptions made for the Legion of Doom episodes). So I’m afraid that I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I think Angle’s new tights are pretty nifty.
Maven versus Al Snow versus Spike Dudley versus Brock Lesnar, WWF Hardcore Title Match (No Result): Oooooh…kay. When Lesnar ran in, I honestly thought for a second that Sid had gone on ‘roids, but it was an optical illusion caused by Lesnar being next to Spike. It’s very strange to think that when I was writing an extended response to a question for tomorrow’s Mailbag on Monday, I used the names “Brock Lesnar” and “Paul Heyman”, and now they’re on the screen. Let’s see if that works in other cases: “Flex heel turn”…”No more Steph”…”big-titted blonde waiting for me when I get home from work today”…
Queer As Them over Buh Buh Ray and D-Von Dudley, Tag Titles Match (DQ, My Beautiful and Beloved-ference): Okay, let me get this straight. The Dudleys were just turned face by plowing My Beautiful and Beloved through a table. There’s something a little bit wrong about that. It’s the standard way the Dudz are turned face, true, but it hasn’t involved My Beautiful and Beloved before, and that’s just plain wrong, darnit!
Flex and the Goblin over HallNash (COR…COR?!): I FFed through the match to the end, waiting to see if they’d pull the trigger now. The safety’s still on, and so the game continues.
Curse of the Bambino: Yeah, Ross’ comparison of Hogan and Flex to Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds is quite apt. Ruth is a beloved figure and a name still known around the world over a half-century after his death, who will be loved eternally by sports fans (even though the public eventually found out about his disreputable behavior off the field). Bonds is generally disliked by his peers, considered to be a clubhouse cancer, and treated coldly by the fans. He’s someone who, if he didn’t do the seven-three last season, had a really good chance of being treated like Jim Rice when HoF time came. Despite the fact that he’s going to retire as no worse than third on the all-time home run list (his sole motivation right now, other than money, is to get more homers than his godfather Willie Mays), a lot of voters are going to be holding their noses as they write his name on their ballots. So, yeah, JR, I’ll go for that analogy.
Rotisserie Wrestling: So the Split happens next week. Thank goodness. You know, I will miss Vince’s promos on Raw. It just won’t seem like Monday nights without them. Yeah, I can watch them on SD, but there’s nothing like bile, invective, and rampant ego to start your week off right. I hope that I can provide a good enough substitute for that for you, the wrestling fan. And God bless you, Montreal fans, for breaking out the “You Screwed Bret” chant. No, we will never forget that.
Cervical Collars As Haute Couture: You know that Steph believes every word she said about herself in that promo. And you know that the solution to next week is that Steph gets pinned, but gets picked by Vince in the draft since she’s on the active roster. So our personal little hell continues.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
This took my pal BFM to point out to me, since I don’t watch Tough Enough and he covers it for Reality News Online. As we all know from reading Birdwell’s column, Aaron collapsed after taking “special pills”. They didn’t contain ephedrine as Birdwell said (which is a nasal decongestant and a precursor for high-quality crank; that last fact is why drug companies stopped putting out ephedrine decongestants a long time ago and came up with pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed and Actifed, although if you hit your average large gas station or truck stop, you can still get ephedrine tablets, since they’re the closest thing to legal speed that truckers can get these days). They did contain ephedra, a variant of ephedrine which is more street-legal and still provides an energy boost. Ephedra is the active ingredient in Stacker 2. We can kinda guess what those special pills were now, huh?
To be fair, ephedra is the active ingredient in a number of products of that ilk. But wouldn’t it be just like a TE contestant to overconsume an OTC supplement that’s endorsed by WWF talent in some kind of demented version of a suck-up?
During the commercial after the Flair/Vince promo, Vince was confronted by another “You Screwed Bret” chant and told the audience directly that he’d do it again. Well, of course he would. That screwing directly led to him making hundreds of millions of dollars and increasing his public visibility. It’s nice to remember, but I don’t think that Vince has had any second thoughts whatsoever about what he did at SurSer ’97. Chanting “You Screwed Bret” to Vince is as ineffective as chanting “Rocky Sucks”: nothing will be done to change the situation.
Here’s some Jakked/Metal results. BTW, after the Split, who gets Jakked and Metal?:
Randy Orton over Justin Credible
Tommy Dreamer and Billy Kidman over a pair of local talent, possibly from Rougeau’s organiation?
Taylor and Albert over Crash and Funaki
Test over Tajiri, presumably not for the Cruiserweight championship
Val Venis over Lance Storm in a Canadian Not-Too-Violent match
APA over Perfect and Bossman. You know, Bradshaw was the youngest guy in the ring in that one, and I think he’s older than I am…
THE PIMP SECTION
Left it for now because it would have blown the flow of the column otherwise.
The Voice Of Sanity. The Voice Of The Deluded Mark. The Voice From Beyond The Grave. That just about covers WM right there. BTW, now that he’s back, can you idiots who knew nothing about my career prior to 411 shut the f*ck up and stop calling me a ripoff of him?
Screw it, I’m gone until tomorrow, where I’ll have a long essay on how the WWF can be saved from itself, just by adding one key element: me.