The Week In Wrestling 5.19.02

In an amusing twist of fate, pro-education, I-care-for-NY, Hillary Clinton, is charging SUNY Brockport so much for the “honor” of having her speak at their graduation ceremony, that they’re charging all students a $10 speaker fee, or they aren’t allowed to walk at graduation. I’m not sure if I’m more disgusted at the school or at her. Oh wait, I can’t stand her… so I’ll go with her.

Anyway, big response to last week’s column. When I read over it again, I had to agree… it was a decent little rant. If you didn’t read it, and this is your first time reading me… I suggest you read that one first, because this one probably won’t be nearly as good. In fact, the response was, I believe, 100% positive for the first time in the history of my time here at 411. Basically because everyone is as sick of looking at garbage as I am. It’s good to see someone voicing what you’ve been thinking for the last couple of months. That’s what I’m here for.

Big props to the RPI cleaning crew, too… who not only did a damn fine job cleaning out my suite, but also managed to “clean” two of the three sets of shoes I brought to school with me. One of them was my shower sandles… which made a shower an unpleasant experience this morning. I guess the dirty, wet boots and the wet shower sandals in front of the door with the big “Housing Extension” notice wasn’t enough for them to put two and two together. Now, for the first time in the history of college, I get to send them a bill. They probably won’t pay it… and I can’t threaten them with disciplinary action… but it will make me feel happy.

Saw Episode 2 over the weekend. I have to say, it was better than Episode 1, but I was mildly disappointed with some of it. Primarily, too much drivelly yak-stuff and not enough ass kicking. Spoilers Following feel free to skip, else highlight the paragraph to read it:

The entire scene with Anakin slaughtering the Tuskan Raiders needed to be shown, especially with him slaughtering women and children it would have given us a better sence of the demons that make him Vader. Secondly, the Dooku/Yoda fight needed to be about 5 minutes longer. People waited the entire movie for that fight scene, which was less than a minute long. One thing Star Wars movies have always had is One Big Fight Scene, to cap the movie off. Vader/Kenobi in Star Wars, Vader/Luke in Empire, Emperor/Vader/Luke in Jedi, and Obi-Wan/Qui-Gonn/Darth Maul in Menace. Dooku/Yoda SHOULD have been the big fight scene to cap off Clones, but turned out 30 seconds long. Yes, it’s a big scene in the development of Darth Vader, but I would have been satisfied if they ditched some of the gooey love scenes between Anakin and Amidala, and extended that fight scene by five to ten minutes.

Also, I can’t see any way around the next movie being 7 hours long. Is there going to be an Episode 3.5 which Lucas isn’t mentioning yet? How much time and story have to pass to get Anakin from marrying Amidala and being happy, to catching Leia aboard her ship and destroying her planet? A whole freaking lot, that’s for sure. I mean, in the next movie, we still have to have Anakin make Luke and Leia, then turn to the dark side, then slaughter ALL of the Jedi (probably including Dooku, since there can only be two Sith at any given time and the whole arm thing), get in the fight with Obi-Wan that turns him into Vader, AND have Yoda escape to Degobah, and possibly have HIS fight with Vader on Degobah. Lucas is leaving an AWFUL lot of movie for Episode 3.

All in all, it kinda dragged, but I’m a Star Wars fan, so I kind of liked it. Overall, I give it a mild thumbs up, with points off for Lucas trying to appeal to the yaks, rather than the core Star Wars audience. But then, he knows any male born in the 70s or 80s is going to see it anyway, so you may as well try and attract more audience. How else would you explain the idea of putting N’Sync in it, even for five seconds?

So, is anyone out there reading me? Obviously not, because the insanity that was last week became sillier this week. Let’s get to it, shall we?

The WTF

Raw

Smack me in the face and call me Mushmouth… Flair stated on camera that he fired Hall for not being able to get the job done. It was only one sentence, but it was one sentence more than I expected. Congratulations to them for doing something right.

Lesnar lost his first match. Well, so much for him being a monster. Consider his push suspended until further notice… and welcome him into mid-card hell with the rest of the roster. Nice to know you Brock, hope you weren’t expecting anything more. Better to keep him with his head on his shoulders than to do something new. This sets up what I thought was going to be a stipulation match where if they Hardyz lost, they’d never tag together again or something. Instead, it’s Lesnar/Heyman vs the Hardyz at the PPV. Does anyone else notice how incredibly useless the Hardyz are with no tag belt on Raw? Which leads to: how much does the tag division suck now? I mean, it’s been Billy and Chuck vs Maven Al for what, like, a year and a half now? Make the Tag Belts available to both shows… like… yesterday… or cart some tag teams over to Smackdown to make it interesting, at least.

As an aside, can you imagine what would have happened to the WTF if that plane went down over the Atlantic. Think about it… Lesnar, HHH, Austin, Debra, RVD, the nWo, etc etc etc. That would have been a serious loss… and I’m actually not being sarcastic this time.

Flair explains that he turned on Austin because Austin kept turning on him. Fine, perfectly beleivable… MINUS THE FACT HE DECIDED TO JOIN THE NWO. You know, those guys who slammed his head in the cage, put him out for a while, feuded with him and the Horsemen for (I think) A YEAR AND A HALF, was brought into the WTF specifically to hurt him, and any other random friggin inconsistancies. Feel free to point them out to me if I miss any.

Tommy Dreamer has a gimmick to gross people out. No problem here… I like Tommy and anything (for now) that get’s him on TV is fine with me.

There was a WTF world title match between Flair and Hogan. It was as good as you can expect a Flair/Hogan match to be. Poor Ric… in WCW, he was slave to Eric Bischoff who was convinced Hogan could turn the entire company around… so he fed Flair to Hogan constantly… and now in the WWF, it’s Hogan’s company… so he gets fed to him again. Shame. Flair lost the match when Austin gave him a Stunner.

Undertaker dragged Hogan behind a motorcycle in one of the more maligned segments of the week. I don’t know… the WTF had a lose/lose situation here. If they did it, they can’t drag Hogan very fast, so people will make fun of it… and if they used a stunt double, people would slam them for using a stunt double. So… I say: Good idea, tough execution.

The World Title Lumberjack match (by the way: the Visual of Booker T in a lumberjack outfit with a fake beard from earlier in the night was priceless. One of those other things that transcribing just doesn’t do justice to. Booker T & Golddust segments are quickly becoming one of the few “don’t miss” segments of Raw… too bad there’s no f’n point to tag teams on Raw… because, you know, a new tag team feuding for the belt would be a good idea and stuff) was decent… but everyone watching pretty much knew Booker had no chance… and that was WITH an entire ring of Lumberjacks on his side. It says something when Steve-o has to win a 15 on 1 match… and Booker T can’t even be given a win with those kinds of odds. This would be one of the primary problems with the product currently. Hardly anyone new is being given a shot and, when they are, they are just pretty much pounded.

Smackdown

HHH opened the show with a returning beard. Well, it’s tough to turn him heel at Judgement day against Jericho, unless they’re planning on a double turn… but the return of the Hunter Heel Hair (which is what HHH really stands for) means a heel turn in his future. I PREDICT IT NOW! Well, shades of the old H came through last week when he cleared the ring over everyone with the sledgehammer. The return of the sledgehammer is also a sure sign… a fact which Edge came out to remind everyone about. Edge said they were both good guys, and the good guys are supposed to get along. I find it necessary to point out that usually it’s the good guys who “just can’t” get along. A la Rock/Austin, Michaels/Austin, etc… the heels usually unite quite peacefully.

Regardless, Edge wants to play the Game after Judgement Day. Too late, blondie… Steph already has a monopoly on playing the Game. It ended with Angle and Jericho rushing the ring and Angle cutting off a lock of Edge’s hair.

Does anyone else have a problem with the rampant stupidity in calling Val Venis “Valbowski.” Valbowski… it sounds like a disease… it also sounds retarded.

Some people may think the Orton stuff is boring, but I will also defend it by saying it’s the most coherent storyline they have going on Smackdown right down. Logical progression, different interactions. If they could book the main event like this, their ratings might not spike everytime they do something cool and then slide down as it starts to prove itself as sucking.

Hogan proved himself to be a true wrestling superstar by selling Monday’s injury all the way to Thursday. Hobbled into the building, to the ring, around the ring during a segment which touched even my cold, blackened heart where the whole audience just paid tribute for a good five minutes… then he completely forgot about the bike thing and hulked up, beat up Vince and posed. Well, he sold it more than HHH sold getting killed, so I guess I can’t fault him TOO much.

I have to admit, I skipped out on the tag match to go say a final goodbye to my friends at Siena College. This week was the final party I’ll go to there. I guess it’s high well about time, too since I graduated in 2000 but the final generation of friends from there are gone now. I wish them well in the future. Besides, if you’ve seen one of these “pre-PPV” tag matches, you’ve seen them all.

Judgement Day

I have to say, minus a couple of points, I was pretty impressed with Judgement Day as a whole. Much like Episode 2, it dragged at some points, but was overall good.

The RVD/Guerrero match I think was the match of the night, and I think it’s also good they let Eddy keep the belt. I’m not sure if it was good to have him do it at the expense of RVD, but details. RVD is in the seventh level of mid-card hell, and I don’t see him getting out anytime soon.

I fell asleep during the Trish/Stacy match, and came back just in time to watch Austin defeat the entire nWo at once again furthing proving the bringing back of the nWo was the most useless thing the WTF has done since the last useless thing they did. The nWo has quickly become the biggest joke of a faction since the return of the Varsity Club toward the end of WCW’s days. Wow Austin can beat the entire faction at once, including a 7’2” monster they must be REAL tough. Way to put some interest back into the show.

The Angle/Edge match was really good too and you could smell Paul E’s booking all over it. That is: any match that sees both wrestlers kicking out of finishers, and then the match ending on something odd, like a small package. Angle lost and eventually got his head shaved, even though it took a while for Edge to catch him backstage and put him in a sleeperhold. The Edge Sleeper is apparently the most devastating since Brutus the Barbers, since Angle slept through both a buzzer across his head and a straight razor.

Another great Booker T and Golddust segment that saw a hot yak bringing Booker back to a hotel room, where Golddust was waiting in bed for him. I’m also pretty sure I got to see Booker’s junk which I could have really gone my whole life without seeing, and not felt any worse for the wear.

HHH and Jericho also had a fantastic match which saw Jericho jobbing clean. Another “Big Friggin Surprise” on the list of the night. HHH kept Jericho firmly beneath him by beating him fully clean at least per the stips of the match.

In the BIG TWIST of the evening, Rikishi’s mystery partner was

wait for it

RICO! Yes, your reaction was about that of the in-house audience, who didn’t seem to give a damn. Now, if his partner was JUST Rico’s Sideburns, then people may have cared I know I would have. Regardless, Rikishi and Rico beat Billy and Chuck by mistake so now we have ANGST in the tag title scene. This will brign the interest back.

And, in no big surprise, the Undertaker took the belt off Hogan.

NWA

So, the NWA is startign to get some names. Apparently, they’ve got Ken Shamrock, and are in discussions with the Ultimate Warrior. Well, I got to say, it’s going to be tough to get a PPV only federation going with Vince’s rejects. Right now, they have maybe two names that can draw money. Scott Steiner and well Scott Steiner. No one is paying to see Sid anymore no one is dropping a dime to see Bagwell, and no one, in the history of the world, has dropped any money to see Jeff Jarrett. I guess I’m still reserving my judgement on this federation until I see the first show.

I can’t promise I’ll watch the second, but I’ll at least watch the first.

The Week In Wrestling

As I watched Judgement Day, and watched the interaction between Flair and Vince, I had to ask myself if they purposely do some of this stuff to mindf*ck us. I mean, Vince and Flair not only talking to each other shaking hands and hugging but Hugging each other?? I mean give us some sort of credit, will you? If this is the case, why not just fire the whole nWo? I mean, they were brought in with the specific purpose of destroying Flair’s WWF, so they’ve done their job. Why are they still there? Besides the small fact that we’ve got the same owner on two shows now just one has blonde hair and one has salt-n-pepper.

All this must be is some moronic excuse to give up on the whole brand extension thing and put the two shows back together. Since Flair and Vince are buddy-buddy now, they can agree to one roster again, and we can do another mindwipe like the Invasion thing. You know, like pretending the whole past year didn’t happen. This is what their moving toward, I think. “Brand extension? What was that ah, I remember, that was back in our old WWF days. We never split the WWE brand, you silly mortals.”

After this angle is gone, what do they have left? Not too much. Invasion gone. NWo gone. Outsiders gone. Two rosters gone.

Yeah, let’s brign in Goldberg! Why? Even if they did bring in Goldberg, you’d see much of what you saw in the Invasion. Put Goldberg over WTF workers? Persih the thought. That would mean there are *gasp* other federations out there. We can’t have that. We’ll have to repackage Goldberg and make him work “WWF Style.” While we’re at it, why don’t we completely WWF-ize him and give him a gimmick that will SURELY get him over. I was thinking along the lines of a wrestling member of the WORLD WILDLIFE FUND!!!! He’s all for animals, we can make him come out with Roosters and put him in a PANDA SUIT! That won’t only sell, but it will be FUNNY!

Actually, scratch that Making Goldberg wrestle in a Panda Suit WOULD be kind of funny.

I currently watch the WWF and fall asleep. That’s not good. I can watch One Life To Live and Port Charles on ABC Daytime, where nothing happens for six months at a time, and stay awake.

A show for yaks can better hold my interest than a Federation I’ve watched since I was four.

Not a good sign, ladies and gentlemen.

End Transmission