The worship and boundless cult with which the population surrounds Stalin is the first thing that strikes the foreigner visiting the Soviet Union. On every corner, at every crossroads, in appropriate and inappropriate places alike, one sees gigantic busts and portraits of Stalin. The speeches one hears, not only the political ones, but even on any scientific or artistic subject, are peppered with glorification of Stalin, and at times this deification takes on tasteless forms. – Lion Feuchtwanger, Moscow 1937
Just in case you were wondering what inspired the ad campaign for The Scorpion King.
(By the way, for you newbies, this is not the first time I’ve compared Flex to Stalin, and probably won’t be the last, so don’t start writing in with sputtering denunciations and claims about mass murder, etc. They will be ignored, or printed tomorrow in You’re a Moron.)
Well, it’s yet another Tuesday here at the New 411. The news staff has now officially become the Three Monkeys. Ashish is See No Evil, Grut is Hear No Evil, and I’m Evil. So let’s get right on with another session of spurious speculation and strong opinion…
DON’T CRY FOR ME, VENEZUELA
In three days, Hugo Chavez went from President to Former President to Former Former President. I just hope the guy didn’t fill out change of address cards. The whole fooferaw was caused by problems with the state-run oil company and its chimp-level mismanagment of the only thing keeping Venezuela’s economy running. Oh, if only Enron could have caused a little rioting in the streets…ah, but I muse. Guess that you can take the bananas out of the republic, but things won’t change. You know, when we’re done caring about the situation in the Middle East, we Americans should take a much closer look at our own backyard, especially when it’s a major oil producer that’s involved.
MEMO TO ALL READERS IN THE UNITED STATES
If you haven’t filed your 1040 by now, you’re f*cked. This has been a public service announcement from 411.
Justice Byron White. He’s the reason why, if you get a blowjob in Georgia, you’re committing a felony. Speaking of deviate sexual acts in Georgia…
First of all, just an observation: Does Hootie Johnson exist just to support us Northerners’ stereotypes about Southerners, or does he have another purpose in life?
There are two ways to win a golf tournament. One is to shoot the lights out. The other is not to f*ck up when everyone else does. Tigger didn’t f*ck up, while all around him, his competitors ran like scared little girls. Ho-Thay-Can-You-See blew it late Saturday. The Goose cooked himself with his first three holes on Sunday. Veej lost it with that three-putt in Amen Corner. Lefty couldn’t sink a putt to save his life when it counted. Ernie somehow mistook Rae’s Creek on 13 for a ball washer and the Snowman paid a visit (although that wasn’t as bad as Veej taking a nine for the same reason at 15). All around the town, the corpses fell, and Tigger was left standing alone. It’s only appropriate that Arnie said goodbye this weekend.
I have nothing to be ashamed of with my prediction from last week. My picks finished second and fourth, after all (and I was right on the friggin’ money about Bob Estes; finished last among those who made the cut). It’s just that…well, watching Tigger play Augusta, it’s like categorical proof of the existence of God. I’ve only felt that way twice before concerning athletic endeavors: watching Jordan in his prime live at the old Stadium, and seeing Benoit/Regal at Pillman 2000.
So, Greatest Ever? No, not yet, but think about this: out of the last ten majors, there have been five different winners. Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, David Duval, and David Toms have one each. The other six belong to Eldrick Woods. That alone is mind-boggling.
AND A RELATED YOU’RE A MORON, SOON-TO-BE-HALL-OF-FAMER EDITION
So, Charles Barkley, going to take those comments about Augusta modifying the course because Tigger’s black back now?
LET’S GO WITH ANOTHER YOU’RE A MORON: KEEPING IT SHORT AND STUPID
Whifler52’s mail, in toto, reads:
Who the hell is Trip?
Well, duh. Trip is, of course, Commander Charles Tucker III, Chief Engineer, USS Enter…sorry, that’s Wednesdays on UPN, not Thursdays. But that does remind me that the Star Trek universe and the WWF do have things in common other than two networks and Flex appearances. Both, for instance, have what in the WWF is called, for lack of a better term, the Stephanie McMahon Ecological Niche: the character that is so aggressively annoying to watch and/or listen to that you want to turn their face into bloody mush. Chekov, Wesley, Bashir, Harry Kim, and now Commander Redneck (who pisses me off the most because he gets to play teasy-weasy with T’Pol)…a thirty-five-year unbroken line of fingernails grating on blackboards. Makes the WWF look good in comparison, really.
Oh, yeah, memo to Rick Berman: if you really want to claim that Enterprise is a major break and a refocus, how about not having Trek regulars guest-star like Ethan Phillips, Jeffrey Coombs, and Rene Auberjonois did over the last few weeks?
THE PIMP SECTION
I think I saw you in an ice cream parlor, Scots. You were drinking milkshakes, cold and long. And I missed you too.
La Grutman does another magnificent job. Honestly. It’s damn good. Read it. That’s why I’ve linked to it, for Christ’s sake.
Daniels with another Week In Review. I think he liked my idea of each show getting every other PPV, but something got edited out and I’m not exactly sure. However, I definitely know he liked some of my other ideas because he cited them verbatim, like the rosters meeting twice a year (I had it at WM and Starrcade, which would become the normal December PPV, though). Memo to Daniels: You know, for someone who slammed my ass good when I first came here, our minds are starting to mesh pretty well. It’s good to work with you, kid.
Both of us had a really good point about assigning the PPVs, though. Look at the Trip interview on Raw. Hogan can’t appear on Raw, so we have a PPV main that has to be promoted on one show by proxy (which will be the case for every world title main event for every PPV until they drop the “world champ appears on both shows” stip). This makes for a very uncomfortable situation. I don’t think that we, as an audience, want to see feuds conducted by proxy on one show and face-to-face on another. Separate belts and separate PPVs is the only way to get out of this and keep some focus. The WWF will refuse to do that, though, out of sheer belief that they know us better than we know ourselves.
One final thing: if The Smarks had an all-out Invasion of 411, would everyone think that I’d be the first person to turn?
The 411 Store, for all your shopping needs. Speaking of getting well-deserved perks, someone on this site had better buy me the large coffee mug ($11.99 + S&H) if they want this column done in the future. Trust me, it’s necessary.
THE SHORT FORM
Longer results can be obtained from Keith and PK, who seems to be turning slightly cynical. Come to the Dark Side, my son. There’s power there.
Buh Buh Ray Dudley over Raven, Tommy Dreamer, and Stevie Richards, Heyman Earns His Paycheck Hardcore Title Match (Raven pins Buh Buh Ray, Evenflow, New Hardcore Champion; Dreamer pins Raven, DVD, New Hardcore Champion; Richards pins Dreamer, Steviekick, New Hardcore Champion; Buh Buh Ray pins Richards, guitar shot, New Hardcore Champion): Ah, a match full of people I’m not able to take seriously. Buh Buh Ray and his dancing (and the yelling to himself for the tables…that’s not an attempt to revive a catchphrase, that’s a cry for serious psychopharmaceuticals). Raven and his Adam Ant circa “Stand and Deliver” outfit. Richards and the memory of the RTC. Dreamer and…well, any Dreamer match after 1998, really. All of which adds up to something that should have been fast-forward fodder, but was too short to be.
The Big Show over Shawn Stasiak (Pinfall, chokeslam): Another match too short to FF. Is TBS gaining weight again? His neck’s starting to disappear.
Jacqueline over Crash Holly, Intergender Rematch From Heat (Pinfall, sunset flip): I warned Crash last week, didn’t I? You know, the only way this could have been saved would have been to start a Jackie/Molly feud, and I was waiting for the Molly run-in to happen, but they cut to the interview with Regal and left that possibility untouched.
Billy No-More-Brass-Knucks and Eddy Guerrero over Rob Van Dam and Spike Dudley (Pinfall, Guerrero pins Dudley, Frog Splash): Shouldn’t this match have taken place next week? It is a tradition for two lower-card matches at a PPV to be reprised in tag form the next night on Raw, after all. However, Spike’s T-shirt is the first WWF shirt I’ve ever had a desire to wear, so I’ll give credit for that. However the Second, I outweigh Spike by 35% (6 foot even, 205 pounds, DING!), and I’m a lot more than 35% tougher than he is, so there’s no mathematical correlation.
Trish Stratus over Molly Holly, Number One Contenders’ Match (Pinfall, reverse rollup): Let’s examine the issue of Molly’s virginity by tracing back the guys she was involved with. Helms…okay, no chance of sexual activity there. Spike Dudley…possibly, but still open to question due to the general dysfunctional nature of any Dudley. Hardcore and Crash…the character’s from Alabama and has male cousins. That settles it.
Booker T and Goldust over Matt and Jeff Hardy (Pinfall, Goldust pins Jeff, Booker kick): Bleh. They really have to go back to the original Goldust theme if they’re going to keep him heel, though.
Steve Austin and Bradshaw over the Undertweener, Scott Hall, and X-Suck, Handicrap Match (Pinfall, Bradshaw pins X-Pac, Clothesline From Hell): Oh, yeah, this one got FFed. There’s only one explanation for the result and for the push that caused it: during bear market conditions, you need a good investment counselor. John Leyfield is undisputedly a great investment counselor. He must have saved a LOT of portfolios backstage to get this kind of push.
An Important Observation: There are numerous agricultural universities across the United States. But it’s only the one in Texas whose attendees automatically receive the sobriquet “Faggies”. Tonight’s audience proved to everyone why this is so.
Overloaded Opener: I still think it’s a bit strange to see a twenty-minute opening promo without a McMahon involved in it. But three Texans, two morons, and Flair? That’s front-loading to an extreme, even for the now-desperate Raw.
Ack: If Buh Buh Ray gets his hands on the psychopharmaceuticals I mentioned earlier, could he share some with Stasiak? That was one of those “intense” promos that had me laughing my ass off at its sheer ludicrousness. Just team him with Hennig already, okay? But be sure to bring up the whole “Perfect-Shawn” stuff that went down in WCW.
Suspending Disbelief: Paul Heyman as a manipulator? Fine. Paul Heyman as a predator? Okay. Paul Heyman as a heterosexual? Now I’m having problems with this.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
Ashish has you covered with taping results, house show results, and various other items of sundry interest, so I’ll let him do his thing.
Tim Cerjan of Virginia Tech (I’m pretty big on campuses across the country…maybe some speakers’ bureau could start setting up Raw Nights with me as guest commentator) writes in with some observations viz. Flex, the lack of turn, and a certain bomb about to be detonated:
My friend and I were sort of jawing over whether Trip and UT were going to try and pull a double turn sometime soon (note: this was before Hogan got sucker-pumped into the main event),
Good idea. Both of them need to do it. Trip’s face turn is a failure, and Steph’s absence is making it worse, since there’s no one around to make him look good in comparison. UT playing the heel against Flair is just wrong in every sense, including the metaphysical.
and I sort of posited that the Rocky turn is far more plausible and necessary.
And has been for two and a half years now.
I wanted to run this buy you on this theory of why Rocky WILL turn heel but NOT before the Scorpion King is released and get your read/feedback.
Please do. As I’ve said in my column, there are people making the argument that the movie was the sole reason that the turn wasn’t done, something I find a little disingenuous. A reason, perhaps, but not the sole reason.
I think they are going to hold off any major turn for a while so there isn’t a lot of side shifting until the big one. Specifically, I think they’re holding off because they’re going to turn Rocky heel once the Scorpion King opens, not before because they’re trying to preserve the opening weekend with the fans. (I think someone to effect said, the fans won’t go out on opening weekend if he’s a heel at the time. Sort of like how Superman couldn’t marry Lois in the comic until it happened on the TV show, that kind of “synergy crap”).
I think that’s BS, and here’s why. This movie wasn’t made and marketed for wrestling fans. It’s being made and marketed for the suckers who forked over money to see the first two Mummy films, a much larger audience. You don’t spend a hundred mil on a film whose main audience would be the four to six million people who watch WWF programming on a weekly basis. That’s dot-com-level foolish. That main audience doesn’t care about whether Flex is face or heel. They care about him as an actor. Here’s an example of that viewpoint. This is a quote from Reuters’ story over the weekend on the optioning by Paramount of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels and their assignment of the Mummy team to prospective projects under that option:
An offshoot of that franchise, “The Scorpion King,” which Alphaville also produced, opens this month — though Jacks noted the “Mars” books were not necessarily intended as a starring vehicle for “King” star Dwayne Johnson (aka the Rock).
The identification of Johnson takes precedence over the identification of the character he plays on WWF television (an identification made by a respected worldwide news service, mind you). That’s how the mainstream views acting wrestlers: actor who happens to be best known as a wrestler, not necessarily what ethos they happen to be playing as a wrestler at that moment. Unless the WWF believes they’re in a self-contained little world, they have to realize that whether he’s face or heel doesn’t matter to the audience at large.
And as for Clark Kent and Lois Lane, John Byrne opened up Pandora’s Box and destroyed a half-century of tradition in the process out of sheer egotism and allowed that ridiculousness to eventually take place. If you ever want the comic book equivalent of Vince Russo, it’s Byrne. The guy’s ego was completely out of control, and he’s pretty much responsible for the deification of comics creators by the comic-smark audience (something that wrecked my enjoyment of comics due to the glut of self-indulgent jackoffs foisted on us in the mid-90s). But enough of that. Back to the letter.
The question he had was, “How”. And here’s where your input would be appreciated.
It should have been done at WM. If it’s done now, it’d be a damp squib.
If it makes a lot of money, Rock will get a swelled head and threaten to leave wrestling for movies full time (cause we all love shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments – plus it’ll be a lot easier to corner and bag Wynonna now that she is in a cell).
There are two problems with that line of thinking: 1) He’s going to end up doing that anyway (huzzah!) and 2) They could have done it last year at this time and failed to do so, and for the same argument you’re trying to make. We know that he’s going to be shooting another movie soon, so it’s becoming a self-perpetuating cycle.
OR if it bombs, he blames….THE people. “The Rock comes out day in, DAY OUT. Puts his BODY ON THE LINE! And you punk candy asses can’t buy a damn ticket to a Saturday matinee of the Rock’s movie?” or something to that effect.
I’d buy that. Of course, it fits my conception of the character. This means, of course, that the WWF will never do it.
I didn’t want to go TOO far into the explanation cause then that gets in to fantasy booking and we both know how scary that gets when “smarts” do it.”
Yeah, we do stuff like give Chris Benoit the world title and have Lance Storm hold all the secondary belts…wait a second…
Anyhoo- it just makes sense given their “protect the outside wrestling interests at all costs” mentality,
Their mentality is more of “protect the WWF’s bottom line at all costs”, which means protect their money wrestlers from a downhill slide at all costs. I’ve said that a number of times when discussing the booking of Flex, UT, and Austin.
plus in the long run there is some perverse LOGIC to the booking cause they can get the big Rocky-Hogan match with Hogan as the de facto-face and Rocky as heel sometime around Summerslam or SurSer. You know, however early they feel the need to do it, given Hogan’s health and/or popularity.
Agreed that they’re going to have to have a payoff match for that, and very soon, for the reason you gave. Who knows how long Hogan’s welcome with the audience will last this time?
Plus, it’ll be better to have the clear heel/face instead of just someone turning face just because of getting more cheers in Canada.
There were very clear face/heel lines going into WM13 between Bret and Austin. Bret was the face, Austin the heel. By the end of the match, that had changed (with help from the Chicago area crowd). That had been planned going into it. However, the WWF had indications in the case of Flex/Goblin that a double-turn would be feasible. Hogan was getting mammoth face pops going into WM, and the audience would have clearly accepted a Flex heel turn considering they were ready to do so at WM last year. There was enough substantiation there over and above the Toronto audience.
All in all, an interesting musing.
Well, that’s it for me. Enjoy your Tuesday, and I’ll be back tomorrow with more crap, including SD reflections. Remember, pick your scabs and your friends with the same amount of caution.