You’re excited?! Feel these nipples! – Bob Costas, BASEketball
Yes, there are reasons to feel excited despite the rather pathetic effort WWE’s put out lately. The NBA and NHL semi-finals are proving to be surprisingly exciting. The World Cup is nine days away. E3 just started in Los Angeles (Mecca for computer gaming fans, and I can’t afford to do the Hajj this year, unfortunately). Wrestling, though, isn’t providing them. Let’s look into a few of the reasons why not.
From Elvis’ REAL hometown (sorry, Memphis) via Rajah…
Is Trip really going to blade in his match against Lance Storm (“busted wide open” isn’t much to go on; sounds like he blades, though)? If so, will they sell it as reopening a cut that he suffered during HITC? No, that’d give them too much credit for an actual thought process.
(BTW: Got a wonderful piece of mail from my favorite obscurantist Sylvain Parent that pointed out something that totally slipped my mind: ever since Hogan came back, criticism of Trip has almost vanished (at least that’s what I think he said). Sylvain makes the case that the natural state for WWE is to have one dominant alpha male, and they tend to have their periods of greatest success creatively and financially when that’s the case; witness Hogan in the 80s, Austin in 1998, and Flex while Austin was out. When there’s a group of would-be dominant men at the top, their R-complexes take over and make them fight it out behind the scenes for alpha status. So, given that view, Trip banging Steph can be chalked up to the nature of the beast rather than bestiality. Also, Sylvain, I was very surprised that Lawler didn’t break out the piledriver on Monday and realized I forgot to throw it in the column when I was driving into work. I saved my “D’Oh” and banging of my head against my steering wheel for the next red light, though.)
Since I haven’t been watching Smackdown lately (again, sleep wins over wrestling, and 7PM CT is right at my bedtime), can someone inform me of what Maven’s done to deserve being involved with Angle and Edge, other than to attempt to justify to Viacom why there should be further editions of Tough Enough? And why are they restarting Edge/Christian? Are they really that hard up for ideas…oh, wait, I’ve answered that one too many damn times to count.
I hope they have a good explanation for Rico turning on Rikishi other than “Rico’s trying to impress the Gay Boys”. BTW: D’Von’s right, Rikishi. Put on some clothes and cover your ass.
How far has Jericho descended? Now Mark Henry is making him his bitch. Jericho still gets the win, but Henry gets most of the offense. What kind of a world do we live in where this kind of thing can happen?
With the final promo, they’re setting Hogan up for the Austin treatment: direct feud with McMahon. You know, if they did this ten years ago…no, kayfabe was king back then, but, damn, that would have been something.
BIG BABY STRIKES AGAIN
So Nash and Waltman threatened to quit due to the direction of the NWO angle. Oh, how the words “Good riddance” roll off the tongue at a moment like this. Let’s parse this out, though.
First of all, they pulled their power play at a time when Vince wasn’t around, because he was on location doing the Austin-Guerrero skits. Given the deemphasis of the NWO and the firing of Scott Hall, Nash and Waltman had every reason to be afraid of Vince on-the-spot retaliation. Vince has a worse temper than I do, and that’s really saying something. He also has a long record of immediate overreaction to a situation; witness Montreal. If they put out an ultimatum to Vince, all Vince would have to do is remember back to 1995, when the same people pulled the same shit and Vince gave in. What resulted then was the near-bankruptcy of the WWF. Most likely, he would have said “Get your ass out”, then told the writers to come up with something for Flair to say on Raw about them being fired for incompetence just like Hall was. So, the only safe time to do it was when Vince wasn’t around.
Next, Steph wasn’t there either, off somewhere on “personal business” (translation: more cosmetic surgery). Ah, the power of male bonding. Every guy over the age of fifteen knows a simple lesson: you don’t embarass a buddy’s girlfriend. We all know the result of that: embarass a buddy’s girlfriend, she won’t put out, buddy gets pissed, end of friendship. Their friendship with Trip got them back in when sane, unbiased advice would have said to keep them out (well, that and complete desperation to draw the audience they’d lost).
I was talking earlier about Trip and the alpha male syndrome. Well, he’s also the living example of Darwinian principles in WWE. He’s successfully filled the ecological niche left by Bret Hart: the company man who can be relied upon to pick up the pieces and salvage something from a disaster. Imagine if he hadn’t been injured when it became clear that the Invasion angle was bombing. In would have rode Trip on his white charger to save the day (shades of Ric Flair in NWA/WCW), and we possibly would have been spared all of the miscues of the last year. We shouldn’t dwell on what could have been, though, just on what is. And “what is” is that Trip has his grip firmly on the levers of power. He is the ultimate culmination of what the Clique attempted in 1995 and failed at, because he learned from the failures, bided his time, came up with a plan, and made it work. Alienating Steph would alienate Trip, and no one in WWE can afford to do that.
That left Shane to deal with the whining crybabies. Shane does have memories of what the Clique did in 1995. However, Shane seems to be more of a consensus type of guy than his father, so he let Nash and Waltman participate in a rewrite of the sketches, thus leading to our dual Hardys appearance and the warm-and-fuzzy moment in the ring. It also allowed the chance for Nash to be seen as the big hero again…uh oh. That sounds familiar. Let’s see…
And now, we have the spectre of the biggest infant of them all, Kevin Nash, joining those two Howard Roark-wannabe retarded squirrels (Steph and Heyman) in their playpen. I’m sure Big Baby has some ideas left over from the Summer of Suck that he’d want to implement, and they’d let him, just for the sake of something different when the audience still stagnates around a 4.0… – Me, February 19th, 2002.
Or stagnates below a 4.0 as Raw did this week and last. Meanwhile, poor old Heat does a .9, the exact same rating that ECW On TNN kept pulling week after week after week until TNN and Heyman had their game of chicken and Heyman blinked. 4.0 is the Mendoza Line, the basic demarcation between success and failure. And here comes Big Kev, the seven-foot vulture ready to pick away at the corpse for his own sustenance. You know, that crack I made yesterday about them putting the belt on Nash as part of the Sunset Cruise World Tour doesn’t seem as funny now. They might actually do it out of desperation.
There was once a moment when I felt sorry for Kevin Nash. It was at Pillman 2000. I was in the can taking a wazz when I looked out the window of the bathroom, which showed the side of the arena next to the backstage parking lot. There was Nash making his fashionably-late arrival. I was a witness to the painful sight of him trying to walk up a set of stairs. The guy’s knees are ground chuck, and it took him about thirty seconds to make it up the five stairs that were there. I actually admired him for being able to go into the ring and perform with those wheels. Then I put my dick back in my pants and got over it.
The upshot of this is that Raw was a setup for further NWO antics, and that setup was co-written and approved by the man who held the book in WCW during one of their worst creative periods, a situation of such desperation that they ended up bringing in Vince Russo. This was the same man who, as WWF champion, provided some of the worst moments that the WWF had experienced. His creative track record is abysmal, yet they let him become involved in trying to salvage his angle. What was the result? He put the NWO into definite tweener status courtesy of that little skit (and that damn face pop for his entrance), and if anyone knows about being a tweener, it’s Kevin Nash; the damn term was invented to describe him in 1995. Now that he has his foot in the door, he’s going to keep himself involved in the direction of the booking. It’s obvious he doesn’t trust the writing staff to “get it right” and will attempt to veto anything that doesn’t meet his standards.
The damage will be considerable, and not only to Raw (which can’t stand any more damage than it’s already taken), but the NWO members, by and large, won’t suffer a scratch. Waltman won’t be hurt seriously by his involvement in this; the audience doesn’t give a f*ck about him anyway unless he’s hooked up with someone more important. Wight won’t be hurt, because the audience doesn’t give a f*ck about him either. They’re at the stable eye of Hurricane Nash. However, how much more indignity can Booker take? He’s already at the precipice of audience apathy (and getting to be like Wight, only getting pops nowadays for laugh material (for instance, the Spinaroonie and the hotel room sketch at JD)), and this should easily drive him off into the abyss. Austin dodged a bullet by being transferred over to Flair and Guerrero, but his show is going to suffer. Anyone who gets involved with the NWO will have their heat sucked away at a pace so rapid it’d be like being shoved into a blast freezer. How much more can Raw take before the core audience starts to leave out of disgust?
Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman handed Pandora’s Box to WWE on Monday. And the damn fools opened it. We all have to deal with the consequences.
Well, I’ve got to shower and shave and head to work, so I’ll let Ashish bring you up to speed on any developments and give Grut an opening. If you’re in the US, enjoy the three-day weekend and don’t drink and drive. Buh bye.