If you old queens are finished down there, this old queen would like a drink. – Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, to her attendants.
Apparently, the Reaper has decided to stuff the channels at end of quarter like software companies do (oh, BTW: Heroes of Might and Magic IV, excellent. Might and Magic IX: nice use of the Lithtech engine, decent storyline. Dungeon Siege: Sweet.). Suicide bombings in Israel (dismaying), Dudley Moore (painful), Milton Berle (very painful), Billy Wilder (very, very painful), and then the big one, the Queen Mother. So, let’s comment about all of those, shall we?
HOW NOT TO CELEBRATE PASSOVER
Okay, if you’re absolutely surprised at what’s happened in Ramallah, go into the corner and put on the dunce cap. Remember 1982 and the alleged atrocities that went on in southern Lebanon at Israeli-run detention camps? Anyone remember who the general was who was prosecuting that particular little war? Ariel Sharon has had a hard-on for Yasser Arafat for decades. He’s taking his opportunity at ridding himself of that nagging little problem once and for all. The level of support he has in his own party is phenomenal. According to one poll, not only do the majority of Likud members support his policy, but a fourth of them outright said that they’d like to see Arafat assassinated. And nary a peep came from this country, Israel’s biggest financial supporter, about that. Imagine if a survey of Republicans in 1995 on that very question vis-a-vis Clinton. Obviously, it wasn’t done, but I can easily believe the results might have been similar. Of course, they might have just blown it off at that point by saying, “Well, look who he’s married to. He’s probably begging for assassination.”
That being said, this is a situation where everyone’s in the wrong. Last time I wrote something about the Palestinians that didn’t outright condemn them for their actions, I got a few nasty letters from the Zionist hoodlums (tm Vanessa Redgrave) telling me how blind I was. No, I’m not blind. I think that it’s another case of religion-induced blindness on the part of the suicide bombers. Please tell me exactly where in the Qu’ran it states that blowing up innocent people guarantees you a place in heaven. “Islam” might mean “submission”, but anywhere else in the world, if someone tells you “God spoke to me and said that if you sacrifice your life and kill people partying at a nightclub in Tel Aviv or a restaurant in Haifa, you get seventy-two virgins and twenty little boys to screw for the rest of eternity”, you’d call for the men with the white coats that tie in the back.
Religion is not a problem. The perversion of religion for political purposes is. It’s been going on since mankind first invented the concept of a supreme being, so I don’t think one column on a wrestling website is going to do anything about it. I’ll go with my previous suggestion: cordon off the entire country with armed UN blue berets with live ammo surrounding it and let them fight it out. Last faction standing wins. Hell, put it on PPV. I’d buy it. It’s probably the only PPV main event that you’ll get for the next year without the prospect of a Steph run-in.
REVERSIONS TO CHILDHOOD
Dudley Moore is going to be known for two things: 10 and Arthur. In fact, he got stereotyped into horny drunk roles for the rest of his career thanks to those two films (undeniably great that they are). If you want to see the Dudley Moore Stereotype at its best, though, rent a copy of Foul Play. Okay, I know what you’re going to say. Yes, I am recommending a Chevy Chase/Goldie Hawn movie with a theme song by Barry Manilow to my audience. Normally, I don’t do anything like that. However, Moore stole the show. Just watch his scenes and ignore the rest. However, his greatest work was undoubtedly his stuff from days gone by with the late Peter Cook. They’re the bridge between the Goons (and shame on me for not doing an In Memoriam for Spike Milligan a couple weeks ago; baliff, whack his pee-pee) and Python. It showed that the American destruction of the comedic duo in the Sixties (Allen and Rossi, anybody?) didn’t spread to England.
AUNTIE MILTIE, QUEEN OF TELEVISION
What can you say about Milton Berle? I mean, he and Lucy are the reasons why television became popular in the US. He and Bugs Bunny are the reasons why cross-dressing is considered acceptable (with a nod to Charley’s Aunt, of course). The amazing fact of his life was that his movie career started three and a half decades before he came to television. He and Chaplin started the same year in films, in fact. There is one thing that every encomium about him didn’t mention, though, and it’s worth bringing up in case you don’t know about it. According to well-substantiated rumor, he was the second-best-equipped man in Hollywood in his time (only Forrest Tucker supposedly had a larger unit). For all the jokes he stole from others, he provided a lot of humor fodder for the bluer comics courtesy of his endowment. It was a great open secret that he never denied but never acknowledged. It was very fortunate that women’s fashions were toward greater lengths in his day. Imagine if he’d tried doing his routines ten to fifteen years later when the miniskirt started to come into fashion. He couldn’t have hid the damn thing, could he?
AND SPEAKING OF CROSS-DRESSING…
Billy Wilder has to rank up in the Top Five of Greatest Directors In Film History. That can’t be denied. Everything he directed from Double Indemnity to The Apartment was magnificent (that’s a sixteen-year run without, oh, a 1941 or Last Temptation of Christ on the CV, just to short-circuit you Spielberg and Scorsese fans). He could do any genre from farce (Some Like It Hot) to film noir (the aforementioned Double Indemnity) and make it work. He even got Bogart to do light comedy in Sabrina. But he was even better as a writer than as a director; John Huston and Woody Allen are his only competition in the category of writer/director. The thing that made Wilder better than Huston or Allen, though, was that no one could do as good a job on a Huston or Allen script as they themselves could (maybe John Ford could have directed Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and maybe Mel Brooks could have done Sleeper, but we’ll never know), while other directors could take a Wilder script and make a kick-ass movie. Your proof is Ninotchka (and I find it wonderfully ironic that it took two refugees from fascism like Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch to make the greatest comedy ever made about Communism). His films will always be a case study for wannabes, but he can never really be imitated.
NOW FOR THE BIG CHALLENGE…
Oh, no, I can hear you say. He’s going to go after a woman who lived in three centuries, who provided moments of true heroism that caused Hitler to declare her “the most dangerous woman in Europe”, who was an inspiration to people all over the world and provided a unifying force for a country, a woman who made her husband into a king and her daughter into a queen, the first woman from the British Isles to be Queen Consort since…hell, Katherine Parr, I believe. Yep, I’m going after her. But only in one facet, really. I do have some respect for the dead. Not much, but some.
Let’s talk about how Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother treated the Duchess of Windsor, shall we? It’s no real secret among royalty watchers that the then Queen Elizabeth was the main force behind the denial of the title Her Royal Highness to the Duchess of Windsor, even though by custom and law, it was hers to have. She was also the one who prompted her husband to dis the Duke of Windsor during WWII by not giving him a military post and making him governor-general of the Bahamas. It could be said that she was just following the lead of Queen Mary, who was a major-league battleaxe (and someone who you don’t piss off if she’s your mother-in-law). But she played a major role in keeping two brothers who were very close to each other alienated for the rest of King George’s life. And what’s the excuse for Queen Elizabeth the younger not speaking to an uncle that she really loved until he was on his deathbed (can’t blame Queen Mary for that one; she’d been dead for almost twenty years by that time)? Reportedly, the only thing she ever thought bad about Prince Charles was the fact that he treated the Duchess like a human being during the funeral for the Duke instead of as a pariah who almost brought down the monarchy, which has been the Windsor spin since 1936 on that issue.
And if that wasn’t enough, she played the same game on Diana and Fergie. Apparently it was on her insistence that they were denied the HRH during the divorce negotiations. It was only by Fergie raising holy hell that she was able to keep her status as duchess (and gave a precedence for Di to keep her title as princess). You see, she had more skeletons in her closet than the boozing.
Now that I’ve disrespected the dead, let’s give a little on the other side. No matter what you might think of the Royal Family or the monarchy, you’ve got to feel really sad for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Mountbatten-Windsor right now. She herself has said that the only thing she ever feared was losing her mother and sister, because then she’d be alone in the world. She lost both of them seven weeks apart. Add this to the fact that all those celebrations this summer will remind her of the fact that she lost her father fifty years ago. There’s going to be reminders that this year is the tenth anniversary of her “annus horribilis” as well. Is the Golden Jubilee something she’s really going to want to celebrate? There she’ll be, surrounded by her family: her philandering husband, her twice-married daughter, her eldest son and his mistress, her second-eldest son and his ex-wife whom the family’s been trying to shut out to no avail, and her third-eldest son and his beard. If I was her, every liquor cabinet in Buckingham Palace would be drained on a nightly basis and there wouldn’t be Prozac to be found in any chemist’s within a five-mile radius of St. James’ Park.
Here’s a couple of interesting royal factoids:
Every spouse of the monarch in the Twentieth Century (Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and you can include the Duchess of Windsor on this list too) lived past the age of 80. Only one monarch’s spouse prior to that lived to that age, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who’s best known these days for being played by Katherine Hepburn. Do a Google on Eleanor, folks. She was one helluva woman. She essentially invented Machiavellianism three centuries before Machiavelli, and practiced it on her own kids.
When Brenda took the throne, there was a Queen, Queen Mother, and Queen Dowager at the same time (Elizabeth II, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Queen Mary). Before that…hmmm…James V of Scotland’s mother (Mary of Gueldres, I believe, or was it Margaret Tudor…too many goddamn Jameses of Scotland in a row to remember who married whom) might have been alive when Mary, Queen of Scots took the throne (at the age of one week, so it’s possible even with the short lifespans back then). My reference books are still packed, but I believe she was dead; if someone could look that up while I unpack, I’d appreciate it. If it isn’t that, it’s definitely 1199 (unless there was some clusterf*ck during the Wars of the Roses that I don’t remember). The aforementioned Eleanor of Aquitaine would have been Queen Mother, Berengaria of Navarre would have been Queen Dowager as widow of Richard the Lion-Hearted (actually, Richard’s widow would have been Berengaria’s brother Sancho, if you know what I mean), and whichever Isabella John was married to at the time would have been Queen. I’m bringing this up because of the fact that this won’t happen again for a long time. The next person who will be qualified to be Queen Mother will be whoever marries Prince William, and she won’t become Queen Mother in my lifetime barring accidents. In order for the Triple Whammy to occur, Camilla would have to marry Charles and live a very, very long time. Fat chance of that happening.
All this talk about death and royalty naturally brings me to NitRaw. NitRaw is now under the control of King Richard the Second of Charlotte, but the spectre of the heiress presumptive of the previous monarch still haunts Castle TNN. And might the heir apparent of said previous monarch, Shane the Black Prince, show up to possibly cause trouble? All we know is that there are very few Prince Ruperts of the Rhine around to cause trouble for our little Cromwells. Let’s take a royal look, shall we?
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Van Dam over Booker T, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash): Hold on, we’re starting off with a match? Well, that’s not been as unusual as a couple years ago, so I’m not surprised. What I am surprised about is that they gave two of the best in-ringers the WWF has ten minutes to do their stuff (an action-packed ten minutes, mind you, with only one badly-blown spot by Van Dam). Then, on top of a damn good match, they bring back Rudo Eddy to do the Frog Splash Feud that we all expected him to have with D’Lo Brown back in the day. Okay, the purist in me is creaming my jeans right now…well, sweat pants, actually.
(Okay, let’s deal with it before someone calls me out on charges of hypocrisy. I said that I wouldn’t bring back Eddy Guerrero in my “how I’d book the split” column a couple weeks ago, and it’s true, I wouldn’t bring him back if I was holding the book. I’m a lot less tolerant of f*ck-ups on the scale of Eddy’s than Vince is. It’s good to have him back, but I wouldn’t have done it if I were in a position to do so, period.)
Spike Dudley over Billy Brass Knucks, Non-EuroTitle Match (Pinfall, acid drop): The moment that a match is made non-title, you know the non-title-holder’s going to win. However, it’s always entertaining to watch Regal dish out punishment, and Spike’s a master bump artist and seller. However, what the hell’s going on with the refs? First Earl Hebner “decided to join” Raw (Ross’s words, not mine), now it’s Nick Patrick. Who’s senior ref for Smackdown, Chioda? Robinson? God bless Nick Patrick for being there, though; he can turn anything into a dramatic moment, like he did with the knucks. However, it would have been nice to see him do it rather than have Ross and Lawler just tell us about it. Spoon-feed the sheep again, why don’t you?
Buh Buh Ray Dudley over Raven, Hardcore Title Match (Pinfall, Buh Buh Bomb, New Hardcore Champion): This match was just so…Heyman. All through it, though, I was wondering when the Brock Lesnar run-in would happen, and was disappointed that it didn’t. The question, though, still must be asked: this is why they broke up the Dudleys?
Matt and Jeff Hardy over Curt Hennig and Ray Traylor (Pinfall, Jeff pins Bossman, Swanton Bomb): Ah, there’s the Brock Lesnar run-in. And he gets to beat up the Hardys too. I’m liking him more and more with each show.
Trish Stratus over Terri Runnels, Paddle On A Pole Bikini Match (Trish grabs paddle after bulldog): Welcome back, Vince Russo. You know, this really IS NitRaw…
Kane over X-Suck, Former Tag Team Champions Collide Match (DQ, NWO-ference): And this show started off so well too. Now the descent into hell is complete. How long do you think the guy who f*cked up Kane’s pyro at the end will hold his job? My bet is that he’s already fired by the time this is posted.
General Comments: Nice new set. Decent new logo. Too bad it’s the same old musty announce team.
This Isn’t Your Damn Show Anymore, Vince: After building up all that goodwill with Van Dam, Booker, and Eddy, they piss it all away by having Vince on. Come on, don’t they realize that the only person we want to see less of than Vince is his little bitch daughter? Never have I been so glad to see Paul Wight. And who exactly was he talking to on the phone?
Office Space Is At A Premium, Apparently: Notice during the “NWO takes over APA’s old ‘office'” sketch that Waltman and Nash took beers, but Hall didn’t? That is truly playing to the smarts. Triggering a feud with Bradshaw, though, really isn’t. The NWO is feuding with Kane and Bradshaw. That’s a real high-level pair of feuds for the group drafted second, huh? Well, they’re used to dealing with lumbering lummoxes. They had to feud with Goldberg and Luger.
Catharsis: So the big baby returned to his playpen and beat up 1) the guy who mentored him and 2) the guy who made him rich. There’s a line here about killing your fathers that would seem appropriate. However, the decision to put Austin on Raw was logical. Raw was very, very short of star power (let’s face it, when Bradshaw is involved in a near-main-event-level feud, you’re short of star power). However, who the hell do you feud him with? UT’s screwing around with Trip, the NWO is otherwise occupied…you know, I think Austin might have had a point about being shafted by the booking. His reaction to it wasn’t acceptable, but he has a point.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
People always ask me why I hate the marks. Well, how about the results of the WWF poll on their website that says that 55% of respondents want Steph back? That alone is enough to get any sane person to hate them.
According to the Observer, the announcement was made that Heat will exclusively carry Raw wrestlers, and thus next Sunday’s Heat was taped before Raw instead of the normal Metal/Jakked matches. The new team on Heat will be Coachman and Raven (apparently Coachman got Raw, which was definite by his appearance on last night’s show, and Cole got SD…another good reason not to watch, I guess). Apparently, this means that Jakked/Metal will feature the SD crew. We should know more about hosts tomorrow night as presumably the syndie matches will be taped prior to the SD taping. Ashish is probably bursting to give you the results from the Heat tapings, so I’ll let him do that. On second thought, screw Ashish. I’ll do it, since 1bullshit has them up:
D’Lo Brown over Chris Harvard (Pinfall, LoDown): What did I say about bringing Chris Harvard in for SD purposes? Nice to see that D’Lo’s allowed to go over him, though. Return to TV for both soon, you think?
Justin Credible over Inferno Kid (Pinfall, swinging neckbreaker): And what did I tell them to do with Credible? Start listening to me, dammit. The guy deserves a little better than this, even though he won the ECW title apparently by blackmailing Heyman in some nefarious manner…hey, that’s what I thought at the time he won it (I believe I mentioned something about donkeys), and I still can’t figure out another reason.
The Big Show versus Goldust (Pinfall, chokeslam): Thank God I don’t know where MTV is on my new cable system.
Jazz over Jackie, Women’s Title Match (pinfall, rollup): Now why couldn’t this have been on Raw instead of the crap with Terri and Trish? We’ve been treated to some great women’s wrestling on Raw lately, so why revert to T&A-fests? It wasn’t that great a match, from the descriptions, but these two really can wrestle. How about a Four Corners at Backlash between these two, Molly, and Trish? Give that thing fifteen or twenty, and it’d be a winner.
Shawn Stasiak over Tommy Dreamer (Pinfall, modified DDT): Next.
So now you can regain your Sunday nights.
I’ve got to get some sleep right now, desperately, so I’ll reserve pimps and other things for tomorrow. Congrats to the Terps, and see you in twenty-four.