Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 4.23.02

Now on to some happy news.  As I suspected last week, Olivia Claire Dieckmann made her ring debut (through the side entrance), and Daddy Kurt says that she already cuts a great Steph-style promo (namely, she screams loudly and incoherently; of course, she’s only a couple weeks old, so what’s Steph’s excuse?).  Kurt, just make sure that her first word is “Benoit”, that’s all we ask.  And congratulations to you and the beautiful, formerly pregnant wife…

Hey, look, anything to avoid thinking about the main of Backlash.  Let’s see, other stuff that can distract me…okay, Obligatory Flex Insult; that usually works…

Jon Katz liked The Scorpion King.  That’s enough to hate it by itself, huh?  And I was pretty much right on target with the opening weekend.  My money figure was a little high, but that’s because it was ninety f*cking degrees in Chicago last Tuesday and I thought it was Memorial Day weekend already…

Nope.  Not working.  Transition to computer-related insults…

Why is it that the only people with movies on Gnutella are also on dial-ups?  Why the hell are people with dial-ups running a Gnutella client in the first place?  Get off, morons; you’re slowing the whole network down.  Leave P2P file sharing apps to those of us with broadband.  Especially if you’re on AOL…

Nah, it still ain’t working.  Not even insulting AOLusers helps.  Okay, let’s just get it out and get it over with.  Like I said in the Round Table, this had better be the prelude to Hogan’s retirement.  Anything involving Hogan holding gold again has to involve some kind of ‘Lude, like the ones taken by the booking committee.

Drug impairment is just about the only excuse I can think of for this lack of judgement on their part.  It’s yet another “good for the business in the short term” decision by the WWF.  Yes, strike while the audience hasn’t become sick of the Goblin; it’ll bring in money.  I am sick and f*cking tired of companies taking that attitude and using that as an excuse, and I’m sick and f*cking tired of writers (both columnists and e-mailers) buying into that line.

Look, I work in Quality Control.  I make my money preventing companies from doing shit that’s good for business in the short term because their actions are stupid, illegal, or both, and will end up costing them big-time in the long term.  I have a lot of people pissed at me at work right now because of two separate instances in the past two weeks where I cost the company money because I stopped them from doing things that were both illegal and easy to get caught at.  They don’t understand, and neither does anyone praising the WWF right now for giving the belt to Hogan on the basis that it’s “good for business”.  The bottom line is nothing when you’re suffering Creative Chapter 7 at the same time.  We saw that in 1997 when WCW was making a profit yet couldn’t come up with anything from the creative side that didn’t involve the NWO.  They were riding high milking that cash cow to death, and ended up planting the seeds of their own destruction at the same time.

The WWF is refusing to learn from that lesson.  Why should they?  They’re the Sole Survivor.  They won the battle that counted.  They’re immune.  Without them, there’s no national wrestling promotion that a cable company or minor network could count on to bring in higher-than-average ratings.  And the main bookers think they’re bullet-proof too.  On the one hand, you have the emperor’s heiress who’s shoring up her position by f*cking the court favorite.  Talk about a scene straight out of Edward Gibbon.  On the other, you have someone who’s inspired Ernst Roehm-like devotion from a good portion of the roster.  Well, guess what?  Rome eventually fell, Steph, and your Night of the Long Knives will come, Heyman.

And what do we have to look forward to?  Goblin/Undertweener at Judgement Day (for once, I was hoping for a delayed Dusty Finish).  Oh, forgive me if I’m not all a-twitter at that prospect (as if we needed a revenge match from This Tuesday In Texas, one of the worst PPVs of all time), and of the prospect at having to look at Hogan on Raw.  Jesus, how can some of you NOT be cynical about the WWF right now?

You know, someone, somewhere is going to break out the “it’s only wrestling” line.  Well, let me tell you this, brother:  we are one major company away from there not being a national wrestling promotion (hell, make that international).  We had better care about their creative direction, because we’re damn close to ending the status quo that we’ve enjoyed for the last twenty years.  Do you know how nice it is to have some kind of common vocabulary among wrestling fans?  Have you ever read an Observer news report’s indie results and wondered “Who the hell are these guys, and why should I care?”  Well, someone does care:  the wrestling fan in the area who hits the high school gym for the monthly show.  But can you and that person talk about these guys on an equal basis?  No.  But both of you can watch Smackdown and discuss an Edge versus Jericho match.  Right now, the WWF is the only thing that makes the Internet Wrestling Community a community.  It’s our one common experience that we share, our one cultural commonality.  Without them, we become fragmented.  Do you want every website to be the electronic equivalent of an Observer news column or an 80s Apter mag, featuring guys you’ve never heard of and will never see in your life?

And the websites will be smaller too.  When WCW and ECW went into the toilet, they ended up taking out the big boys.  You can see the casualties here:  IGN’s Blake Norton, Wrestleline’s Scott Keith and Unca Ed Ostermeyer.  The next step is the big indies like 411.  The only way to survive is to either be agate-type completists like the Observer or to go local, neither of which can help germinate a community.  You can try to be complete and in detail, but it would take a helluva large staff, bigger than the one we have here.  We’d need twenty Josh Nasons to cover a post-WWF wrestling scene.

“Oh, someone will end up filling the void,” you say.  Yes.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  But who are the suspects?  The WWA, with its mix of Jimmy Hart’s Seventies-style booking and Jeremy Borash’s post-Russo nonsense.  A revived ECW, with Heyman trying the same tricks that we all got sick of the first time.  Hogan selling himself to a money mark like he’s been trying to do for a while.  Maybe NOAH trying to sell a one-hour package for syndication with translated commentary and subtitled promos (Hey, it worked for Iron Chef, didn’t it?  And if anyone would try that, it’d be Misawa).  How is this better than what we have now?

My point is pretty simple, I guess:  if the WWF’s stupidity continues, it’ll kill us as a community.  It’s up to us as a community to make our feelings known.  The WWF says they don’t listen to us, but that’s a lie.  Vince knows that the IWC comprises his most dedicated fanbase.  We mirror opinion, and we create opinion as well.  If you’re satisfied with the way the WWF is running things creatively right now, by all means, stay silent and you’ll get more of the same.  But if you’re upset, give those feelings a voice.

Geez, all that just from the results of the Hogan/Trip match.  Imagine what would have happened if it had been Flex going over Trip.  Well, I can’t really argue about the rest of the results, because I’m taking a wait-and-see with Eddy (I think the primary reason for getting the belt off Van Dam was his Spicolli-like promos (Sean Penn, not Louie)).  You know how some Raws or Smackdowns can be considered “placeholders”, something just done to fill time?  This was one of the few PPVs that was a placeholder.  Frankly, the news that Claritin might become OTC next year was more exciting than this PPV.

On to other stuff…

RIGHT-WING RACIST ANTI-SEMITIC PSYCHO POISED TO TAKE OVER MAJOR EUROPEAN COUNTRY, NEWS AT 11…

Okay, it’s only France, so no one cares.  But still…have I told the “couple f*cking on the Arc de Triomphe” story here at 411?  I’m not certain anymore.  But the fact that Jean-Marie Le Pen did strong enough to get into a runoff and knock the current Prime Minister into retirement is, to say the least, disconcerting.  Let’s hope that the couple involved in that story didn’t vote for him, because that’d really shatter any illusions I might still have about France being a civilized place.

IT’S MEL KIPER’S WORLD, AND THE REST OF US ARE JUST WONDERING ABOUT HIS JOWLS AND WISHING FOR HIS HAIR

Consensus is that the Bills (if you count Bledsoe as part of the package), Saints, Chargers, and Cowboys got the most out of NFL Draft Day(s).  Big hairy deal.  They’re not in the NFC Cent…sorry, NFC North, so they don’t matter.  I’m still expending enough energy trying to figure out Jerry Angelo’s Plan Nine From Outer Space for the Bears that I’m not concentrating on what perverse desires drive Mike Martz to want to retool quarterbacks into something different, or determine exactly what the Pittsburgh front office has against Antwan Randle-El that would want them to put him through what happened to Kordell.  I would personally prefer to see Chris Chandler still in Atlanta and Kurt Kittner on the Bears’ sideline…sigh.  Memo, though, to Joey Harrington, the man who should have won the Heisman:  Two words:  life insurance.  Especially when Mister Urlacher wishes to introduce himself to you.

Oh, yeah, let’s give a knock at Cleveland (as if the White Sox haven’t been doing that enough lately).  After being considered a haven for malcontents, both player and fan, what do the Browns do?  Draft troublemaker William Green, all while trying to trade all-around great guy and good citizen Jamir Miller.  Yeah, Carmen, that’s the way to bolster the image back after the pasting you took for your bullshit after the bottle incident.  Dumbasses.

BECAUSE I OVERSLEPT AGAIN, THE PIMP SECTION GETS SHORT SHRIFT

DanielsMorse.  And Widro.  All are wonderful.

THE SHORT FORM

Of course, Scott and PK have in-depth stuff, but they’re not half as witty as I am.

Match Results:

Brock Lesnar over Matt Hardy (Ref’s Decision, carousel powerbomb):  Okay, it’s official.  Lesnar will be Rhyno’s first feud when he comes back in a Battle of the Man-Beasts.  It should be interesting.

Rob Van Dam over Curt Hennig (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash):  Do you know how truly great this could have been?  The master of ludicrous offense versus the master of ridiculous overselling.  This match could have been Trash Deluxe.  However, both guys were definitely not on, especially Van Dam, who looked about as crisp as week-old lettuce.  And, Eddy?  Shut the f*ck up.  I get enough of Spanglish at work, okay?

Jazz and Molly Holly over Trish Stratus and Jacqueline (Pinfall, Holly pins Jackie, clothesline):  Match of the Night.  Fast pace, high action, stiff work from everybody.  It’s matches like these that show us clearly the false paths the majors took to women’s wrestling over the years.  Color me impressed.

Booker T and Goldust over Buh Buh Ray and Spike Dudley (Pinfall, Booker pins Spike, Scissors Kick):  Pretty much ran the way everyone here thought it would run the moment it was announced.  Nothing creative, nothing special.  It was your typical Dudley Boys match, only more melanin-challenged.  However, Buh Buh Ray’s “I can’t believe I’m doing this shit” look when Spike did “Get the tables!” was priceless.

Billy Brass Knucks Is Back over Shawn Stasiak (Pinfall, brass-assisted right cross):  The only statistic you need to know about Planet Stasiak is this one:  Escape Velocity:  Infinite.

Steve Austin and The Big Show versus Scott Hall and X-Suck (ND, “surprise” turn):  Oh, Jesus, not again.  I have no comment to make on this other than to say that was a very…well, gentle chokeslam.

Angle Developments:

Well, There Goes That Concept Out The Window:  Apparently, they’re still trying to figure out a way to do a revenge beatdown with one guy being exclusively on one show and the second guy exclusively on the other.  How about admitting that having the men’s and women’s champions on both shows was a dumb f*cking idea in the first place, guys?  You should have gone with separate belts and separate PPVs.  So what happens now?  Does Trip get fined or something for appearing on the wrong show?  I don’t think a simple fine would stop the more wealthy WWF superstars from doing cross-appearances (viz. Austin and Flex).  I think that a suspension without pay from all shows would be more appropriate and more deterring.  And why do I need to work this stuff out for you, WWF?

Siskel’s Rolling In His Grave:  Booker was shooting, of course.

Mea Culpa, and Other Enigma Songs:  You have to admit that Flair did make a good case for making an honest mistake.  UT is, after all, a pretty big guy and blocked Flair’s sight line of the ropes pretty well.  Of course, you could also make the case that if there’s anyone alive who’d know that little dodge, it’s Flair, who forgot more about cheating than the Undertweener ever learned.  In any case, it’s still a piss-poor make-up attempt.  “Here you go, Steve.  We’ll team you up with a guy that we’re pushing for no apparent reason against these two has-beens who are getting another major push starting tonight.  Apology accepted?”

The Question That Gives Hisa Cold Sweats:  So, does winning the Undisputed Title count toward Hogan’s WWF titles, WCW titles, or both?

Memo To BFM:  So, if you were in the audience, which part would you have gone postal on, the Hogan promo or the bullshit ending?  And I’d be happy I wasn’t at the Savvis Center either.

Nothing much of note that Ashish hasn’t kept you up on, other than one item.  If you’re in the Midland, Texas area on Friday afternoon, go and pay your respects to Wahoo.  The memorial service will be open to the public.  Details can be found at 1bullshit.

Tomorrow…okay, I’m seeing my new doctor for the first time today.  Will she give me the drugs that I so desperately need, or is she more the holistic type?  I know that you’ll be hanging on the answers.  Probable You’re A Moron in there as well.  Of course, there’ll be some wrestling content along with that (specifically SD commentary).  Until then, I’m off to work.  Enjoy.