The Monday Edition 3.25.02

Happy Monday Ladies and Gentlemen. Are you looking for Oscar? Well the Grouch does the Tuesday and Wednesday News reports. Oh, the other Oscar! The award! Well on Thursday and Friday we have an “Award Winning Columnist” to entertain you. Which leaves me. I’m Flea and I do the weekends around here.

Woody Allen gets treated like the second coming of Christ. And what in the hell is he going on about – “CLICK”

Weekends which now are over, if you hadn’t noticed. Hope yours went well and you had a marvelous time.

It could have been warmer down here but that cold front dropped those daytime temps to the high 70’s. With a breeze that puts it down to around 72 which is just not acceptable for the beach or the pool. Warmer days are coming, so sayeth the weatherman. Sure hope so.

And know that your weekly weather report is out of the way, let’s talk some Wrestling! And on Page Six today is, well you’ll make it there. Check the other stuff out first. I wrote it in order this week.

Come on, let’s go

FIRST OFF

According to most accounts we are a year behind on this but Monday Night will finally getting around to splitting the promotion into separate brands in what has now been officially deemed brand extension. Flair and the group he selects will be on RAW leaving Vince and his cronies Smackdown to hold court. That alone would be enough for an entertaining show but don’t forget this – The Long Awaited Supposed Final and Forever Blow-Off between HHH and Stephanie and Some Other Guy. Stips are this: H wins, good bye forever (or as long as forever is in the WWF). Question is will this set up a return to facehood for Guy, who seemed to have the old “light bulb” go off in his head as he appeared to realize he’s being played for a schmuck. I think in the end H is going to have to make a heel turn, just to keep from getting stale. He is way down on the good guy food chain list, Brand extensions or not. Hunter the Prick is one of my favorite things in wrestling and could get a hell of a lot more mileage out of that as opposed to the namby pamby nice guy bore he’s become. As far as Some Other Guy, his run as the smart ass heel didn’t go over so well and I’m not sure they are going to stay with it. Crowd is just as willing to cheer for the guy and he’s headed straight back to the mid card anyway, so does it really make a difference if he’s a good guy or bad guy? I think either way he will end up with the Smackdown group, where Vince will need him more as an “entertainer” than Flair needs him as a “wrestler.” Which is fine with me, I like Guy when he’s talking, just not when he’s wrestling.

And poor Stephanie McMahon. This could be the end of her television era. How long do you think it is before everyone starts writing about how much they miss her and how much the product “needs” her to shake things up. Shit, look at the treatment Russo gets now; you would think the guy invented the f*cking question mark or something. So if they do go through with the “Exile from TV Stipulation” just remember how much you hate her. Don’t give in to nostalgia. And don’t read in to that nostalgia statement meaning that I’m against Hogan’s treatment as royalty. I’m happy for the Hulkster.

As far as the draft? Vince has first pick and per Vinnie Mac the n.W.o can be selected as a “package deal” I think that’s a no brainer. After that I’m lost. I’m horrible at the whole “fantasy booking” thing even though my educated guesses work out quite often. So maybe Flair picks the UT, seeing as he ain’t feuding with Hall Nash or X-Pac. Vince needs Hogan and Rock on his shows, which leads to Kurt Angle being with Flair. And Kane. And a couple tag teams. Some Other Guy can go to Smackdown and take Regal with him. Aw, f*ck it. Forget everything I said after Vince picks the n.W.o, I can’t figure this shit out. If there was justice in this world, Flair would take Arn with his first pick. They are best friends and Arn took a beating on Flair’s behalf. Who knows.

What about Stone Cold? According to all reports, he still pissed off about something or other. I hoping those whole thing is one of those “work the smarts” angles, just like it was back when Austin and Vince first started feuding (think back and if you were around back then EVERYONE thought Austin’s new “attitude” was shoot). If there is any reality to the stories then in my book Austin can go f*ck himself. I don’t like saying it because the guy is my favorite all around performer but walking out like that is just uncalled for, in my opinion. Oddly, but not surprisingly, many people are taking Austin’s side in this, which I just don’t understand. If it was anyone else they would be raked over the coals for “backstage politics” and “refusing to job or go along with the story lines”. There are dozens or hungry young wrestlers who are about to get their big break courtesy of brand extension, this is no time to be trying to play hardball with Vinnie Mac. EVERYONE is expendable and I wouldn’t expect Vince to bat an eye if Austin quit. And if Austin does quit he can go hang with Mick Foley at the “Home for Crippled Ingrates”. And let him play that stupid guitar as musical accompaniment to the new books from Cactus that no one is going to buy. Good riddance. But as I said before I hope the whole thing is an angle cause Austin’s the best and I would hate to see him go out like that.

So be sure to tune in Monday for a night of twists and turns. The sure are promoting the hell out of this, I haven’t seen this many ads for RAW in quite a while. And hopefully this will give the net something to talk about other than that letter that called all of us dopes, liars and thieves. For more on that, go and read my news report from yesterday. Saturday Evening Post. Page Six.

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Everyone’s favorite underdog, Jerry Lynn was once again singing the blues about his life as a wrestler. The story never changes with this guy. I have said countless times that he must just give off a vibe that turns people off to him. I’m sure you know someone like that. What I find odd is that Jerry manages to have personality in these interviews as opposed to the rest of his promo work. Something just doesn’t translate for whatever reason. All the best to him in the WWA or wherever because the guy is a talented wrestler. I’m sure he’ll find a place if he quits burning bridges

Another Jerry as in Jerry Lawler also was out and about talking about WM, the Brand extension and life in general. The most interesting part of the whole thing was King flat out said that Heat and Excess will become “wrestling oriented” moving away from the “recap” format. That is the first time I have heard anyone in the Fed come out and say that. A fresh Saturday Night Wrestling Show would be cool, as EXCESS has stalled a over the last few weeks. Let’s shake things up a little bit. King has no idea where he will end up, but I think he’ll might end up on Smackdown.. Mike Tenay would be a perfect fit for JR on RAW, especially if they move to a “wrestling first” format. As far as anyone else, I doubt they are bringing Heyman back to the announce table and Joey Styles just WENT OFF on Vince McMahon over in his hotline report, so I guess we can count him out, too. Rumors abound that Raven, Hennig, Regal and of course Tazz are some of the talent that would move from in ring to color commentary duties. Remains to be seen.

Well that worked out to be quite the tangent, but King’s not as interesting as last year when he was pussy-whipped and despondent.

Also making news is the WWF appears to be doing the job to the World Wildlife Fund, who happens to share the same initials of our favorite wrestling company. But it looks like Vince and the Gang have a backup plan – changed EVERYTHING over to WWFE, including the website. Let them nature freaks HAVE the WWF logo and web domain. Maybe all the hits they get of the redirect and confusion will warp the young minds looking for Rock-E into animal lovers. And maybe they can get those kids off of the whole “non smoking” campaign and into nature walks. Fine by me.

ANOTHER WEEK OF THIS CRAP

The biggest RAW in the history of the world happens live on Monday Night from Penn State University. Ah, a drunk college crowd to make the night memorable. I hope they remember to cheer Hogan. If not, it may be a long, long night. We can count on them, I’m sure of it. Paterno is GOD~!

On the other hand, it’s the jaded to smart for their own good PHILLY crowd for Smackdown. Look for them to show us how f*cked up those Canadians were for cheering The Hulkster. They’re on a mission, rumor has it. Of course those freaks may SWERVE us and CHEER the guy out of the building. Oh, if that happens, I would LOVE to channel Brian Pillman into Hogan and just bust all of their balls. “SMMAAAAARTTT MMAAAARRK”!! ha ha ha ha ha. Pillman ruled. Anyway, this is the pulse of the wrestling world and what they say, goes.

THE LINKS ARE ON ME

As of 8:45pm Sunday Night (now quit bitching)

Brower has JAKKED and ponders the same thing I think with EXCESS. What the hell are they going to do to our shows!?! Anyway, go check him out.

Speaking of EXCESS, I have that available for you. Go read it when you have time.

And even though he’s not here yet, I think Carlos may have Heat for you. Also, there just happens to be an opening for a moderator over in the 411 Forum. Now’s your chance to be famous. Right-o.

PAGE SIX

Here’s something that I think you night like. It’s a little thing I wrote that takes a look at addiction Flea style. Seems that Scott Hall seems to be everyone’s whipping boy when it comes to someone to blame so just read it and let me know if any of it makes sense.

Here we go enjoy your week.

*** *** ***

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.

– Frank Sinatra

Do you know someone who is an addict? And by “addict” I do not mean just an “alcoholic” or “druggie” but someone who is addicted to anything that causes them harm in a way that is not natural. Addiction is something that at first appears to be part of an everyday routine, something that you crave to feel complete or to make up for a deficiency in your life. Eventually what happens is that this everyday routine creeps step by step into a habit, then eventually into an addiction, where the vice is no longer something you simply “want” but something you “need.”

The wrestling community at times receives unwarranted critisism for causing what could be “normal individuals” into a lifestyle filled with constant travel and long hours of “waiting to perform a task that they consider to be their life’s goal – The performance art of professional wrestling. In addition to the travel, the fans, the constant “on the go” mentality these men and women face, their fate lies in the hands of a handful of cynically judgmental individuals who write and plan to the detail how their life’s dream is translated to the general population. Sure, there is a modicum of control by the individual, but their talent can only take them so far. A large majority of their perception by the public is kept under tight scrutiny in an effort to present a production, where all individual talents are woven together to showcase a product that will be appealing to the paying customer.

Why are these individuals so dedicated? Who can say. Mick Foley has put into words the struggles of someone who was not genetically gifted or appealing but succeeded in achieving his life’s goal through hard work and dedication. Let me rephrase that – Cactus Jack made a living abusing his body to a sickening degree (raising the bar for many to follow in his footsteps) in order to live his life’s dream. In essence, he himself was an addict – addicted to personally sacrificing himself in order for Professional Wrestling to be taken seriously and to cement his legacy as someone who went “just a little bit further” to become not only a “Hardcore Legend” but a legend to the sport itself.

Again, what makes these individuals so hell bent on committing their lives to a career that, for the most part, they have no control over their fates? Hulk Hogan is one of the few exception to this rule – he has made a living being larger than life in a cartoon era, reinventing himself to appease an increasingly cynical fanbase, and then coming full circle to once again be the hero that vanquishes the forces of evil. What would make a 50 year old man risk the very serious possibility of permanent physical injury and the strong chance of a life’s worth of work building an image of “immortal”, take a chance on flushing that legacy down the toilet when the viewing public can no longer “suspend disbelief” i.e buy what you are selling? Hulk Hogan is an addict – he is addicted to his own quest for fame and need to quench and insatiable ego.

And how about Vince McMahon himself? To say he is a “genius” I thought has always been an overstatement. Vince is not a marketing genius, he is not a promoting genius, hell he is not even a wrestling genius. What Vince McMahon is can be classified as the modern day equivalent of PT Barnum; he realized at an early age that there is indeed a sucker born every minute. His greatest accomplishment in life was coming to the conclusion that if he could make a ton of dough in the northeast then why can’t his travelling circus play in Peoria? After all, a dollar is a dollar and the unwashed masses are willing to fork over the money in Kansas City or Sioux City and quickly as they would in New York City. And at great risk to his own public image he took this plunge and created an empire. For over twenty years Vince McMahon has been scrutinized, chastised, demonized, indicted and ridiculed for his life’s ambition but has never quit. His failures have come when he attempts to improve his public image or transcend the empire he has created in an effort to be worshipped by individuals that would not piss on him if he was on fire. Does that make him a genius? Of course not. Vince McMahon is an addict – he is addicted to his own need for approval. As much as he tries to insulate himself in his own private fantasy circus world, he cannot hide the fact that just like a junkie or that drunken bum on the corner that crave their vices, he needs his fix of self worth and recognition. And just like any other addict, (or the addicts listed above), self destruction occurs when that “fix” just can’t be satisfied.

What usually saves an addict is one of two things – he or she hits rock bottom and realizes that no matter how hard they try or to what lengths they go to that “fix” will never be truly quenched or that their “talents” are so unique that many of their shortcomings are overlooked and their behavior towards others is ignored.

Take Mick Foley for example – his addiction has led countless others to attempt to follow in his footsteps, taking unnecessary risks in an effort to “get over”; attempting to make up for their unwillingness to perfect a craft by taking a shortcut. Foley himself turned this into an angle in ECW, where in my opinion his finest work occurred. His promos chastising the fans for being “sick sons of bitches” came from the heart but failed to hit home or even follow his own advice. Case in point – just 3 years later Foley threw himself off the top of a cage in what he later described was an effort “to make history” in a sport that is, no matter how you slice it, fake. His addiction nearly cost him his life and according to Foley himself put the love of his family in jeopardy. All due to an addiction.

Hulk Hogan has managed once again to satisfy his addiction. He has placed himself at the center of the wrestling world’s attention (by hook or by crook, depending on who you believe) and for the time being has managed to get his “fix” of ego and self-gratification. His addiction has cost countless individuals their moments of glory and quite possibly will force the exodus of a man who himself became larger than life, Steve Austin. That is only one example of the trail of bodies left behind by a “fiend” who’s sole purpose is to feed his addiction, no matter what the cost to those who are around him.

Vince McMahon’s most recent attempt to satisfy his addiction for public acceptance resulted in the abysmal failure (not only financially but a direct shot to his credibility and his so called “genius” stature) of an upstart football league, The XFL. Needing an immediate “rush”, Vince came out irrationally and with all guns firing to force his addiction on the public that, ironically enough, is the only source that can feed his craving. Not to mention, Vince did still-untold damage to not only himself but those around him. I equate this to a cocaine addict who has become so paranoid that he would force his last line onto an unwilling participant rather than have the feeling of having to be alone as his addiction is only temporarily fulfilled but never fully satisfied. Vince’s next trick? The “Kiss My Ass Club”, which was his response to those who would not give him what he needed. I equate this to a drunk who begs and begs for that liquor store owner to open the door just a little bit early and then promptly burning that bridge with a booze enhanced slur of “FUCK YOU”, in essence, biting the hand that feeds him.

Only this time, as mentioned above, Vince was not only harming himself but harming the shareholders that placed faith in his “genius” and went with him out on that limb, most likely feeling if the junkie can get his fix THIS time, maybe NEXT time they could placate him with a lessor dose. And as anyone who has dealt with an addict before, that just don’t f*cking work. There is always a next time.

Where does Scott Hall play into all of this? What has happened to Hall can happen to anyone. Good times and a party atmosphere can sometimes get out of control and have an outward effect on one’s life and those that surround them. Some of the common phrases used when describing Hall have been “waste” “hanger on” “user” and “piece of shit”. And why is that? Because he let himself fall prey to something that a large majority of the wrestlers partake in? Ric Flair’s status as a drunk and party animal is legendary, not to mention fellow “good time boys” and fellow legends Harley Race and Terry Funk. And don’t forget abou the “Hardcore Icon”, Jim Fullington, aka Sandman. Was it the fact that Hall let his addiction get a little out of control or was it due to the fact that many of the hypocrites in wrestling simply used that addiction to take a “holier than thou” stand and great pleasure watching someone on Scott Hall’s level get knocked down a peg or two. Much easier to get to the top of the ladder when you cut the rungs out from someone directly above you. This is not to say that Hall did no wrong. He did indeed let his life get out of control but the fact that his addiction is frowned upon and judge to be “reprehensible” while others with their various addictions are considered to be looked upon as “looking out for number one” is something I find oddly ironic.

The same groups of people (both fans and those in the wresting community) also use Kevin Nash and the “powers that be” in wrestling as a whipping post, wondering “how much longer are they going to associate” with Scott Hall? “How many more chances can we give this guy?”, all the while patting ourselves on the back that yes indeed Hall is a drunk and BY GOD are we smart for picking up on that fact.

Quick newsflash – Hall knows he has problems and even exploited them in wrestling angles. But how is this any different than what Foley did to satisfy his cravings? Or Hogan? Or Vince? Hall biggest crime in all of this is the fact that he is a very talented individual but simply can’t handle the pressure of being in that position. So he turned to another source to ease that pressure but simply couldn’t maintain control.

Kevin Nash and anyone who employees him knows that Hall has issues but are willing to keep Hall in the spotlight. Why? Employers like talent, at least until the bad outweighs the good. As far as Nash goes. He’s a friend. Period.

Will Scott Hall prove himself this time around to his fellow wrestlers as well as the cynics who say he doesn’t deserve to be there? I think he will. Anyone who has been addicted to something knows that there is, in fact a “moment of clarity”. I think that Hall may have come to this conclusion and will therefore try to maintain his well being. Most predicted (including his opponent in said match) that Hall would not make it as far as Wrestlemania, but he did. And performed very well, considering the position he was put in. I wish the guy all the luck in the world and hopefully this time around it works out for him.

The flip side of addiction is when a person gets well, there are casualties, nearly on the same level as when the downward spiral was in full effect. A person who beats their addiction is normally shunned by their former “good time” friends or questioned as to why the sudden change of personality, as well as the feeling that those around you are just “waiting for the other shoe to drop” or in normal speak “waiting for you to once again become a f*ck up.” And that is what makes addiction so hard to conquer. The addict must decide whether or not casualties of beating an addiction outweigh what it was like feeding that addiction.

The early casualty in Hall’s case appears to be none other than Steve Austin, who according to most sources threw what could be described as a “temper tantrum” and walked out of his job. While this would be a shame (especially to someone who is a “mark” for him, like me) you have to ask the question –

Is Scott Hall’s well being as a sober and sane human being more important that Steve Austin wrestling main events?

If you need help answering, just ask that monkey on your back. He’s smart.

Thanks for reading THE MONDAY EDITION, I’m Flea.