Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 5.14.02

I’m not interested in opening weekends. I’m not interested in setting records. – George Lucas.  Two words, George:  Bull.  Shit.

In Memoriam:  Joe Bonanno.  Someone to whom you’d BETTER give an In Memoriam to.  Or else.

It’s Tuesday here at 411, and I’m debating on whether or not to make the obvious joke that one of Dionne Warwick’s psychic friends should have known she’d get busted in Miami.  Too easy, I think.  Saving you from bad, obvious jokes…hey, that’s what friends are for.  You know, she’d have been a lot better off if Customs had told her to walk on by…

Oh, to hell with it.  Let’s get on with the usual mess, shall we?

CLONE THIS

Question and Answer Time…

I’ve seen It.

By “It”, I presume you mean a certain movie coming out Thursday.

Yes.

How?

Usenet and a cable modem are great powers that should only be used for evil.

Okay, the usual way, then.  So, how is it?

Natalie Portman’s hotter than ever.

You’re not answering the question.

I’m answering the question that most of the readership of this site wants answered first.

You have absolutely no respect for the 411 readership, do you?

It took you this long to figure that out?

Okay, ignoring that, let’s get into details.  Start naming positives, if you’re able to.  We know you.  You start in on the negatives, we’ll be here all day.

Fine.  No Jake Lloyd.  Very little Jar Jar.  Ian McDiarmid is as wonderfully oily as ever.  Jango Fett is extraordinarily cool.  The chase scene through Coruscant is really going to be something on the big screen, as will the asteroid field scene and the droid factory battle.  Christopher Lee is God.  Lots of whiz-bang visual moments.  Yoda kicking serious ass.

That’s definitely a good thing.  Now, you want to get it out, so start spilling.

Hayden Christiansen is straight out of the Stephanie McMahon School of Acting.  He’s horrible, and since he plays the central character of the film, it brings the whole thing down.  The love scenes, in particular, are fingernails-on-blackboard-level painful.  Every damn scene with him showing even rudimentary emotion is like watching a bad heel promo, and when he’s not overemoting, he’s being p-whipped by Portman.  The loads of whiz-bang visuals are all well and good, but there’s no substance behind them.  They end up becoming a distraction.  They feel like padding.  Loads of plotholes abound (One big one:  why doesn’t Dooku detect Obi-Wan hiding during his big “reveal the whole plotline” scene?  Jedi can detect the presence of other Jedi, you know.)  The asinine Ray Harryhausen tribute near the end.  Laughed my ass off during Shmi’s death scene.

You taking joy in people dying is normal behavior for you.

This wasn’t taking joy, this was laughing my ass off because it was so over-the-top.  And, oh, yeah, Jar Jar is essentially responsible for the creation of the Empire.

As if Star Wars fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate him.  Your summary?

Worth seeing once in the theater.  It’s better than Phantom Menace.

That’s not saying much.

True.  It’s about at Return of the Jedi level, I’d say.  Definitely no Empire, though, which is what we were expecting.

What do you mean by that?

Well, in Empire, we had a number of scenes which whetted our appetite for more.  The first appearance of Yoda, Han encased in carbonite, “Luke, I am your father”.  We don’t get those moments in Clones.  It’s more about filling in gaps.  We get the origin of the Empire, the origin of Boba Fett, the origin of the Death Star, finally understanding why Vader didn’t go after Luke, and other stuff which would blow the plot completely.

Why not blow the plot?  People keep bitching at you for printing Smackdown spoilers.

Fuck ’em.  Smackdown deserves to be spoiled most of the time.  But if I spoil this, people would really go after me.

Understood.  You can have your column back now.

Gee, thanks.

THE SHORT FORM

Yep, overslept again, so a lot of fast-forwarding going on tonight.  As usual, consult PK and/or Keith for their views on said subject.  And Memo to PK:  O’Hare doesn’t suck, but getting in and out of it does.  Trust me, I’ve been involved in enough traffic jams around that place to know that for certain.

Match Results:

Matt and Jeff Hardy over Brock Lesnar, Handicap Match (DQ, Paul E.-ference):  Let the gay-bashing jokes begin.  One of the many bad tendencies that Heyman brought to WWE was his “mastery” of just-in-time PPV booking (yes, WWE was doing that before he arrived, but Heyman established it as policy rather than expediency).  This match was booked in the wrong direction.  It should have been the Hardys making the challenge and Heyman accepting out of egotism.  With Heyman making the challenge, he’s making himself and his man look like crybaby bitches, a situation that doesn’t bode well for Lesnar unless they’re planning to turn him at JD.

Eddy Guerrero over Shawn Stasiak, Non-Title Match (Pinfall, frog splash):  What did Eddy expect?  Cut a promo involving pot, and naturally Van Dam’s going to show up.  However, he became part of a disturbing trend of the promos being monopolized by whiny bitching.  First Heyman, then Flair, now Eddy’s incoherent babbling.  Not a good showing by Guerrero, who has to carry the promo load for this feud given Van Dam’s stoner rambling.

Molly Holly over Terri Runnels (Pinfall, Rollup):  Well, there goes that streak of pretty good women’s matches on Raw.  This was booking straight out of the Twilight Zone.  Terri gets the majority of the offense and the big spot?  Okay, hooking Molly up with Regal is good, but only if Spike Dudley starts mentioning the fact that they’ve got a woman in common now.

Hulk Hogan over Ric Flair, Undisputed Title Match, No DQ (Pinfall, leg drop):  This match was so wrong on so many different levels.  X-Pac saving Flair?  Bradshaw saving Hogan?  Lil’ Naitch hitting Flair?  The fact that it was taking place to begin with?  Let’s face it, the only time we wanted to see this match was when Flair came to the WWF in 1991.  We didn’t get it until both were in WCW in 1994, and the way that match was booked totally put the entire audience off of any rematch since.  The analogy here…well, it’s not really a Rolling Stones concert, because Jagger still works his ass off even though he doesn’t have to anymore (kinda like Flair).  It’s the section of a Rolling Stones concert where they play the tracks from the new album.  As long as the new album was anything between, oh, Between the Buttons and Tattoo You, that was cool.  But once you hit Undercover, it’s cringe time.

Buh Buh Ray Dudley and Trish Stratus over Steven Richards and Jazz (and Justin Credible and Crash Holly), Hardcore and Women’s Titles Mixed Tag Match (Pinfall, Trish pins Jazz, Stratusfaction, New Women’s Champion):  My head hurts…we haven’t had anything this overbooked in a long, long time.  Asinine rules, run-ins…the sad part is that this was the best way they could figure out on how to get the Women’s Title off of Jazz.  Some classic f*ckup moments, though:  Trish not being able to throw the trash can in, the refs getting mixed up as to which wrestler they belonged to during the Hardcore run-in, the mic not working on “Get the tables”.  All in all, a complete mess.

X-Suck and The Big Show over Bradshaw, Mentally Handicapped Match (Pinfall, X-Suck pins Bradshaw, TBS chokeslam):  FFed from start to finish, so no comments, but vestiges of sanity saved in return.

Steve Austin over Booker T, Lumberjack Match (Pinfall, Rollup):  Brock Lesnar gained more credibility through his actions in this match than in all his Hardy beatdowns combined.  As for the match itself, bleh.  We’ve seen better from these two.

Angle Developments:

Kayfabe Lives!…uh, maybe…:  Okay, the Scott Hall firing was successfully disguised as a Flair “get rid of the deadwood” move.  But then they unsuspended Nash (just like I said) and admitted he was recovering from surgery.  I’ve said it many times:  you can’t have it both ways.  Either kayfabe or don’t kayfabe, but don’t do both, especially five seconds apart.

All The Small Things:  It’s the little moments in life that bring joy to the soul.  One of those things for me is a Flair heel promo, and although it was cliched as hell, he’s still the greatest at it.  It’s one of those times when you can ignore the content and admire the form.  Wonderful.  Whiny, but wonderful.

Another Flair Analogy:  Thanks to the VCR timing out and me hitting Cartoon Network by accident, I figured out what Ric Flair is vis-a-vis cartoons.  Flair is Tom and Jerry.  Flair won God knows how many world titles (sixteen is what he’s saying, but it’s anywhere from fifteen to twenty-one depending on who’s counting); T&J won seven Academy Awards.  Flair’s career arc mirrors T&J as well:  greatness for a long period of time (Flair’s NWA and WWF work, T&J as directed by Hanna and Barbera), followed by a period of misbooking and moronic behavior (Flair’s WCW run, T&J’s Gene Deitch cartoons).  Now Flair’s in his Chuck Jones period, where the director became more important than the characters and the action, and every little wet fart of a recycled idea was considered genius.  The thing is, Jones admitted that he’d f*cked up Tom and Jerry and apologized for doing it.  Are we going to see Steph and Heyman do the same?

The Conversation You Didn’t Hear During the Camera Switch:

“Hey, Mark, this is really fun.  You’ve gotta try this.”

“They wax the floors enough?”

“Yeah, totally smooth.  It’s not even scuffing my jacket.”

“Great.  I’m slowing down for the turn.  You ready?”

“Yeah.  Right after you slow, I prop my elbow, turn over, and plow into the empty boxes and aluminum conduit.  Shouldn’t hurt a bit.”

“Be sure to sell it this time, okay?”

“Look who’s telling me to sell.”

“And who didn’t put enough gas in the bike last week?”

“That was cold, Mark, really cold.  Okay, here I go…”

And Then There Were Syxx:  Bringing Booker and Anderson into the NWO brings us one step closer to the point that a lot of people have been speculating about since last week:  the official renaming of the NWO to the Horsemen.  Booker is second on everyone’s list to Benoit for membership in a Horsemen revival, and his membership in the NWO is credible in all facets.  Arn being there, naturally, makes perfect sense (although I did get a couple letters last week saying that they should have teased Anderson as a face supporting Austin and breaking with Flair, then have him turn during the match at JD).  Nash, Waltman, Wight, and Booker as Horsemen, though…it would take a lot of getting used to.  There’s not as much mental disjunction in that concept as there was with Paul Roma, but it’s still a major stretch.

AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…

Your Heat taping results:

Goldust over Crash Holly
D-Lo Brown over Justin Credible
Spike Dudley over the Big Bossman

Recommendation:  avoid MTV on Sunday.

That’s just about everything Ashish hasn’t covered.  I’ll be back tomorrow for some commentary.  Enjoy your day.