The Week In Wrestling 5.12.02

I almost didn’t do a column this week, but a couple of the newsboard posts made me want to I find myself less interested in the shows, and feel like I’m watching them out of habit ESPECIALLY Smackdown. There are a couple of columns I want to write about the state of wrestling right now, but they don’t really fit into the format of this particular column. When I finally graduate next week and have NOTHING to do while I look for a job, maybe I’ll finally get to them.

I wrote a review for Luigi’s Mansion. Drive up the hit count of mine to show Hurtado THAT I AM THE FRIGGIN MAN! Click Here and skew the hit count on the video game column way into my favor. You don’t have to read the column, although I suggest you do, just click over to it and come back I’ll wait.\

Excellent welcome back. I was informed that I shouldn’t use letter grades because the site doesn’t support a standard grading system. I however find it a quick and dirty way to give an overall opinion. I’ll have to post a standard disclaimer next time that the letter grades may or may not represent the opinion of 411 as a whole.

Oh yeah Do Ashish and the site a favor and Click Here. It’s the link for our new partnership with THQ. Phat cash for the site, apparently. I expect commission.

My comments on the E –> F thing I’ll go into at the end of the column.

Raw

I’d like to point out that I would have went to this show if finals didn’t intervene. Could have visited some buddies from University of Hartford. Bah, exams.

The show opened with a Women’s Title match that became a hardcore menagerie with just about everyone from Ex-ECW and Crash Holly winning the belt. I think it was just an excuse to drive the WWE name into our heads as Lillian announced “Your NEW WWE Hardcore champion” approximately four hundred sixty-two times. I will point out that Trish got beat second worse than any yak on television (minus Lori Fullington getting pile driven, by Rhino, off the ring apron, though a table which is still the sickest yak bump of all time) she got a fierce Stevie Kick followed by Bubba not being gentle at all putting her through the table. All was for naught as, after 12 title switches, Stevie Richards walked out with the belt anyway.

Big Show came out to explain his turn, which is that Austin has been holding him back. When Austin was gone, Show was main eventing Wrestlemania (*coff* First man eliminated in a fourway match, but who’s counting, right?*hack*) and this year he wasn’t even in Wrestlemania he was on Heat. Not a complexy woven plot, but believable none-the-less. Believable enough for him to bury the hatchet with the nWo maybe. Hall announces a “big surprise” for later in the night.

Regal beat Spike in 30 seconds to regain the Euro Title, but D-Lo returns to TV to challege Regal’s claim that he is the Best European Champion ever.

Booker T and Golddust had another one of their segments, which is quickly becoming one of the few reasons not to miss Raw. Transcribing them doesn’t do them justice, as you won’t find it funny without the visuals of Booker T “getting’ his Slurpee on,” saying “Thank Heaven, Seven-Eleven,” or Golddust’s “Elaborate Disguise.”

“Goldberg” chants started up during the Brock Lesnar match. Idiots. Brock squashed Staziak again.

Hogan and Undertaker had a segment that would have been OK if Hogan didn’t have a problem with a Manual Transmission motorcycle. He tried to get the cycle up the ramp, but couldn’t seem to get it moving. Seemed like he didn’t know how to drive a standard, but that was just on a quick look. This led to a visual with the Undertaker’s “precious bike,” which he has a new one of every other month, getting run over with a tractor trailer.

The ending of Raw seemed like a complete clusterf*ck. Reports came in that Vince wasn’t happy with the way things were going and just ended the show. They showed Nash arriving in a limo and then did nothing with him. Big Show (or, as we can hope, the Giant) finally got to have some offense in a match, and took Austin to town, after choke-slamming Bradshaw through a table. Apparently, Big Show woke up and realized he was seven feet tall and could hurt people. Flair also turned heel during this match, which would have been fine and dandy except for the fact it was so predictable, I actually thought it wouldn’t happen. They had Flair finding an APA hat in the nWo locker room, then the Kane mask in Bradshaw’s locker room. I mean it all would have been well and good if they let it ride to Judgement Day. Build some sort of “Can we trust Bradshaw” thing. Maybe no one would get into it, but then some people might. You know build to a logical story? At the very least, this was something that needed to be done over the course of more than one show.

The aftermath of this show saw Hall getting fired, which they decided to take the normal wrestling route and not take any effort to write him out on Raw. I see no reason for them to do it and I hope he does file the Wrongful Termination lawsuit he’s considering. Why fire Hall? I guess because everything they’re doing is working so well, they can take hits in their storylines, right?

Smackdown

The show that’s so good I can’t even stay concious during. We open by showing that, even if you only watch one show, you’ll get to see the same storyline. Over here, we have fan favorite H feuding with Evil owner Vince. Over on Raw, we have fan favorite Austin feuding with Evil Owner Flair. See, the whole brand extenstion was just an evil conspiracy to run the same show twice a week with different people. They test it on Raw, then run it on Smackdown.

Cruiserweight Title match, which are quickly becoming the only reason to watch Smackdown, ended with Torrie getting damn near naked. OK, two reasons to watch Smackdown.

Test vs Mark Henry is where I lost the battle of staying awake for about an hour, and I apparently missed the debut of Leviathan somewhere in there. Come to find out later he’s a disciple of D-Von and is Deacon Bautista. The creative meeting must have went something like this:

“Ok, we got this guy, Leviathan he has arms the size of most people’s heads and looks like a monster he can probably get over instantly.”

“Yeah probably.”

“What can we do to prevent this?”

“Well, in the past, we usually saddled them with stupid gimmicks, you know like a wrestling dentist. But it didn’t seem to work too well with Hurricane, you know?”

“Hmmm, good point maybe if we made him a sidekick of another heavy gimmick the one that doesn’t seem to have any chance of getting over.”

“You don’t mean ?”

“Oh yes, I do make him the sidekick of Reverened D-Von.”

“You want to make Leviathan with his big tribal and demon tattooes and red eyes a deacon?”

“You bet I do.”

“That sounds awful let’s do it.”

Small voice from the back of the room: “What if we let him destroy people and go undefeated on Smackdown, and let Brock go undefeated on Raw let the two of them get over huge, and have a “Battle of the Undefeateds” at SummerSlam or something?”

“Who the hell was that?”

“I don’t know that idea they had sounded good though”

“Yeah really good. Screw that, I like the gimmick better.”

“Yeah, seriously.”

Or something along those lines. Of course, it could be a setup for a Bodyguard turning on the employer or something but that would make FAR too much sense.

Randy Orton lost his first match already, with help from EVIL ref Bob Holly. Color me unimpressed, I guess.

The Week In Wrestling

Deacon Bautista? Come on they couldn’t have found ANY other way to introduce this guy? In case you didn’t know you can see what he looks like by Clicking Here. They guy has DEMON in his domain name for God’s sake.

Smackdown is completely becoming a missable show. I usually stay up till three in the morning, and if I can’t stay awake for Smackdown, something’s dreadfully wrong.

I think a lot of the more important things happened off-camera this week like the trainwreck that was the end of Raw. Nash shows up then doesn’t do anything. Flair has a completely foreseeable turn without them even making any sort of attempt to cloud it. And now, what does it leave us? It leaves us Austin feuding with a heel owner (again), Austin vs the nWo (again), and Austin making the nWo his complete and utter bitch (again) when he beats both Flair AND the Giant at Judgement Day. And now, to make matters even happier, they fire Scott Hall for no reason I can see, and blame it on his behavior. Folks, maybe his backstage behavior isn’t the best but they lose the ability to blame it on backstage behavior when they plan to invite Goldberg and Scott Steiner with open arms. Scott Steiner has been arrested within the last few years, beat up a couple stage-hands, AND shot his mouth off on live TV. Goldberg has the largely publicized refusal to work with Chris Jericho and the complete dick-ness of no selling his heel turn. They want to bring in THESE guys, but Hall’s backstage behavior is intolerable. Whatever.

Someone from that company (*coff*Austin*ahem*) had it in for Hall the second Vince and JR brought him back and I don’t quite know why. Hall’s ring work has been up to par with everything he’s done in the past and her CERTAINLY wasn’t drunk when he was delivering his in-ring promo that night. Now, after the highly publicized return of the nWo, which had the balls cut out of it before it even started up completely, the nWo has the guts ripped out of it by firing Hall and no television explanation will be given. Now, the nWo consists of Nash, X-Pac (oooooooohhhh), The Giant, and Ric Bischoff. The WWF is stupid plain and simple. They have these friggin storylines set into their lap they spike the ratings and then they let things slip out of their hands. There is absolutely no excuse to let things slide they way they have, and it disgusts me.

Now, they have the unmitigated gall to start running ads like this, promising people the best drama on television, when they can’t even keep a storyline lasting for more than two weeks, or that they beat into the ground until no one gives a damn anymore. For instance: the nWo invading and destroying the WWF from within. OK, fine then the nWo makes the comment they only take orders from Vince McMahon. Dandy. Then Flair suspends Nash who OBEYS the suspension, even though he only takes orders from Vince. The simple storyline is Vince trying to Sabotage Flair’s Raw. The nWo ruins matches, beats up and tries to cripple Austin wrecks the Undertaker etc etc etc. What’s the problem with all these storylines? The big eventers looking bad at Ex-WCWers benefit. We can’t possibly have the nWo be dominant. That would upset the precious locker-room balance that, I’m convinced, is a myth to begin with.

But then, even failing to work that SIMPLE f*cking thing into events, they pull the ultimate in insanity and have Ric Goddam Flair turn nWo. So, wrap your mind around this, true-believers, the nWo only takes orders from Vince the entire “brand extension” is the cause of Vince and Ric Flair’s failure to get along so, in response RIC FLAIR JOINS THE STUPID F*CKING NWO. Makes perfect sense. Ric Flair joins the group who was brought in to destroy the WWF because of him. To those of you who read this column, and say I complain too much THIS IS WHY! They can’t even put together something simple enough to MAKE SENSE. And it’s THIS stuff that pisses me off when I watch the shows. And, to top it all off, rather than try to salvage something and make it work they fire one of the guys who is ESSENTIAL to making the nWo story both plausable and legit.

And they have the NERVE to say they have the best drama on television by ripping off ER’s logo and ad style. Hey, check this out Dr Edwards is leaving the show at the end of this season know what they’re doing? They’re actually taking the time to WRITE HIM OUT OF THE SHOW. And it doesn’t involve someone coming to the hospital in an attempt to destroy him from within, and then going to open a clinic with him somewhere. You know why? BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE F*CKING STUPID, THAT’S WHY! They thing they’re going to get professional, episodic writers to help them with this shit? Yeah, maybe for two weeks or so… then they’re goddam heads would explode with the stupidity of it all. Television writers work with actors, who realize it’s all a show. When they write something that’s good, they expect it to be done… not vetoed by a Prima Donna who’s afraid to look bad on television at the cost of making the show more interesting.

I hope I hope I hope that the NWA can manage to pull off the impossible and become a normal show that doesn’t invovle PPV. No one is going to put four PPVs a year on their cable bills that are roughly in the ballpark of $70 – $100 anyway. You’re talking an extra $40 a month for wrestling, if they actuall charge 9.95. I’m not going to order a PPV per week, and I get half-price PPVs because my roommate works for the cable company AND I can claim them as a business expense. They’ll get the curiousity factor on show one, and will have to work like hell to get people to buy show two. They have the problem of making people think that EVERY match is PPV quality. I wish them luck.

And then, to top it off, you have the WWF changing their name to the WWE, and their logo to the WW. Can I ask what the problem was with changing their logo to WWFE and continue to call themselves the World Wrestling Federation? Yeah, fine, the pandas get WWF but they don’t get the brand name recognition that the Vince has. Drop the F of the logo if you have to, but make people continue to say World Wrestling Federation. Dude, at the very worst, keep it as the WWWF or the small fact THAT YOU OWN THE WCW INITIALS. Hello, WCWF can’t do that, though that would be acknowledging that WCW once existed.

The small fact is, Vince McMahon spent 20 years ingraing the WWF name on the world’s population. To give up is just plain silly. I think he’s banking on the fact that everyone will continue to refer to them as the WWF while just his TV shows don’t. I, for one, will rarely refer to it as the WWE while typing but I may not refer to it as the WWF either. Maybe I will refer to it as the WTF or WCW.

Regardless, I’m done for the week. Let me know what you think, and read the game review. Hopefully, I’ll finally bang out one of the three Cheap Heats I want to write but I wouldn’t bank on it.