In Memoriam: Alan Lomax, without whom a great amount of the US’s, and world’s, native forms of music would have died out in this era of mass-produced entertainment.
You know what? I’m not upset at the result of the Vengeance main. After all, it was a fait accompli, given the magazine cover and everything. However, let me just say right now that PK’s logic (and those in the Round Table who agreed with him) was flawed. They “need” him on both shows? For what reason? Ratings? Smackdown’s ratings have kept declining despite his estimable presence. There’s no reason to believe that Raw’s ratings will do otherwise. You’ll get the normal Two-Week Bump and nothing else. Promoing? Against whom? There’s no mega-heel on Raw for him to promo against except for one person: Bischoff. The last thing they need right now is for Flex to promo against Bischoff unless they have a plan that does not involve going into the well-trod territory of Austin-McMahon. There was no reason to throw the title back on Flex, and that makes it sad, not upsetting.
Of course, the booking for Vengeance made no sense all around. Everyone’s already had their shots at this, so I don’t need to go into detail. The whole show cried out “We don’t know what we’re doing!”, which, of course, doesn’t make it any different from any show that they’ve done over the last fifteen months.
A week ago, I was actually excited about the possibilities inherent in the WWE. They pissed that away in twenty-four hours, and flushed the crapper on Sunday night. How many more auto-da-fes can we, the audience, stand? How many more acts of self-destruction? For the WWE, the words of Walt Kelly suffice: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Let’s move on…
THE PIMP SECTION
Memo to Flea (gosh, it’s good to be able to write that about a news column): yes, ten bucks a week is too much to spend on PPVs. I’m cheap.
Rivett takes on the Undertweener and wins.
Vandenhorst answers some questions still lingering from ECW.
Nason got knocked off the main page by Raw coverage, so he gets a plug here to make up for that disgrace.
ADMITTING THE INEVITABLE
Well, the Damn Vaninator has Illinois plates on it now. I’m carrying an Illinois license and insurance. The Illinois title is on its way. I milked this sucker out as long as I could, dammit. To me, this is an act of unconditional surrender. I’m back here for a while now. However, I still haven’t unpacked most of my stuff. I still have hope.
Gang, I’ve been trying to get away from Chicago for twenty years in one form or another. College didn’t work. The Army didn’t work. Out-of-state jobs didn’t work. This city has a pull on me that somehow defies the laws of electromagnetism. I keep getting pulled back. Somehow, when I try to set roots somewhere else, Fate pulls out its can of herbicide and determines that the only way I can flourish is in my native soil. Life truly does suck.
MY LONG-DISTANCE SERVICE HAD BETTER REMAIN UNAFFECTED
WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 yesterday, a move anticipated by the Street, which essentially broke through the bottom of the barrel on Friday in anticipation of this one. A hundred-billion-dollar company files for bankruptcy with forty-one billion dollars in debt…makes Enron look like a drop in the bucket in comparison. Sheesh.
I remember a time when people were shocked that a third-world country could accumulate forty-one billion dollars in debt. Now, it’s nothing. We’re numbed. Financials don’t mean a damn thing anymore. They haven’t meant a damn thing since Cisco had a net worth on paper greater than that of the Roman Empire at its peak. It even affects the meat industry, which is surprising because that industry should be stable unless the entire world goes Vegan overnight. Farmland, the third-biggest meat processor in the US, filed for bankruptcy a few months ago.
Gee, didn’t Dubbaya say that we’d turned the corner on this whole recession thing? Seems to be that we’ve turned a corner, and right around the corner is Depression. Any chance we can see some “Bushburgh” tent cities popping up before the November elections?
I have to admit, it was fun watching the Open Championship this weekend. The sheer amount of sadism displayed by Mother Nature on Saturday beats any episode of Raw or Smackdown. There was certainly schadenfreude to go around watching the wheels of Tigger’s Buick fly off on the front nine Saturday. Given a course like this, it’s obvious that slow and steady wins the race, and it’s only appropriate that the terminally-boring Ernie should cash in. Sunday was a death march, especially during the playoff. You could do hole-by-hole bets on who’d f*ck up next and have a great time with that. It wasn’t as enjoyable as Carnoustie, but fun nonetheless.
I could have blown off watching the Open and attended the Senior Tour event here in Chicago. My company had tickets available and I was invited to attend, but blew it off (our plant is less than a mile from Harborside, where the event took place). It was a great ending, with Bob Gilder pulling it out over Hale Irwin in a playoff, but I don’t regret it. It was a hundred f*cking degrees on Sunday, and if I’m out on a golf course in hundred-degree weather, I’d better have a club in my goddamn hands and be hitting a ball, not watching fat old guys do it. So it was AC, a glass of Diet Pepsi, my couch, and the warm glow of a television for me.
THE CONSPIRACY CONTINUES
This column exclusively brought you the true tale of how War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, a feat so brave and so wide-ranging that the Dubbaya Junta had to cancel plans for the Triple Crown and have him tank the race. The cover-up is now beginning, as Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, War Emblem’s owner, dies of a “heart attack”. Oh, how convenient, a forty-three-year-old guy dying of a heart attack. I don’t buy it, and neither should you. If I should end up suddenly dead, you know who’s responsible.
WHAT’S FRENCH FOR “PHILLY”?
So Lance Armstrong is making the rest of the field look like his bitch again at the Tour de France. So the French fans have started up “Doped!” chants. So is anyone surprised? The attitude seems to be that if an American starts winning in a sport in which Americans don’t dominate, he or she must be on performance enhancers. If Brad Friedel didn’t have cred among the Euro soccer fans, we would have heard cries for peepee-tapping at the World Cup too. Americans get no respect from the world. Is it any wonder that we tend to be domineering bullies?
And speaking of domineering bullies, let’s turn to Raw and the Short Form. As usual, Scott and PK have all the sordid little details. Actually, let me quote Scott here before moving on: JR verbally fellates HHH for a while, because lord knows HHH appearing on RAW is more important than giving the opening slot to, say, the Rock. Uh, far more important, because it keeps f*cking Flex off my screen and gives some mic time to someone far more entertaining and talented. What, Scott? You want to hear Flex do a post-championship promo? He’s done six of them already, all of them interchangable with each other. Just whip out a tape from your collection, pull it out, and watch one of those.
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Van Dam over Jeff Hardy, Intercontinental/European Championship Unification Match, Ladder Match (Duh): Anyone who was crowing about the Hardy/Undertweener Ladder Match, maybe now you realize what I was talking about when I said it was deficient. No gaps, no rests, no contrived spots. Not technically great, but damn, damn nice. First time I’ve enjoyed a match involving Jeff Hardy in years.
Billy Brass Knucks and Molly Holly over Buh Buh Ray Dudley and Trish Stratus, Intergender Tag Match (Submission, Stratus submits to Regal, Regal Stretch): Hmmmm, Trish in an STF…sorry about that, got distracted for a moment. Well, better the distraction than another comedy match. Raw may be getting a facelift with Bisch, but it’s times like these that make you still realize that Gewirtz (or as Rick McBride calls him, the Banshee Creature’s castrated writing thrall) is still writing it. Damn.
Brock Lesnar over Tommy Dreamer, Kendo Stick Match (Pinfall, F5): If Dreamer is such an innovator of violence, how come he can’t think of anything to beat people up with other than a kendo stick?
Shawn Stasiak versus D’Lo Brown, Let Me Entertain You Match (ND, Island-ference): Van Dam, Harvard, now Stasiak…hell, it’s Polish LUV! Night on Raw. Well, if it really was Polish LUV! Night, Flex wouldn’t have shown up, but back to the point. Well, the Island Boys are finally here, just like everyone’s been screaming for, and if they’re introed as Bisch’s special enforcers, well, the same routine actually got the Harrises over a bit in WCW when they did it for Russo. Couldn’t hurt.
Our Lord and Savior Chris Benoit over Booker T, Best of Seven…sorry, wrong fed (Submission, Crossface): Benoit/Booker, Nick Patrick as ref, the announcers overselling psychology…is it any wonder I thought it was WCW for a moment? Good of Bisch to bring up the Best of Seven series, naughty naughty on Ross and Lawler not to. Not up to the level of any of those matches, but definitely not disgracing them any.
The Big Show over Spike Dudley, Bisch Is A Sadistic Bastard Match (Pinfall, Chokeslam): Since when is seeing Dudleys go through tables not entertaining, Ross? You guys had a match on Sunday night based on the pretext that Dudleys going through tables is entertaining. Hell, Heyman built a mini-empire on the basis that Dudleys plus tables plus going through them equals entertainment. So yah, boo, sucks to you.
That Fucking Bitch Flex over Eddy Guerrero (Pinfall, People’s Abortion): FFed through this one, natch. A million Eddys isn’t enough to make me watch a Flex match, especially one that ends with THAT move.
Tonight, I, Eric Szulczewski, Present To You… That opening promo was a thing of beauty. It’s been long enough to forget exactly how entertainingly smarmy Bisch can really be given the right material. If you can isolate Raw from Smackdown completely, Raw might actually be worth watching week after week, simply due to Bisch’s presence. The real gem, though, was the post-promo backstage scene between Trip and Michaels. You could tell there was honest-to-God affection between the two. In fact, Trip showed more true affection for Michaels than he ever did for Steph…you gotta wonder who he’s really sleeping with, folks.
Memo To Eddy Guerrero: Check’s in the mail, ese.
Kings and Queens: And your check’s in the mail for that Don King impersonation, Mister Huffman. It’s great to also see some character progression as Booker is not only resigned to the fact that Goldust is his tag partner, but seems to be enthusiastic about the prospect.
Well, It Was Fun While It Lasted: DX could have been the ever-entertaining thorn in Bisch’s side for a few months while providing an audience attraction and being a nice transition device. Too bad that its revivification was simply to finally turn Trip heel (yes, it was overdue, but not like this). Another missed opportunity.
Aaaaaah, My Eyes!: The Bitch of the Baskervilles returns to my screen, God help me. And she steals Lesnar away. You know, if the plan was to put Lesnar on Smackdown, why in the name of hell didn’t they just make Heyman General Manager of SD like I suggested? It would have saved us months and months of visual and aural trauma from the presence of the Bitch.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
Since Ashish hasn’t put it up yet (but I’m sure he will before this column gets up there), I’ll post the dark and Heat matches, courtesy of the Observer:
Raven over Crash Holly
Goldust over Justin Credible
Stevie Richards over Matt Hardy…hold it, Stevie Richards over Matt Hardy? Hell, Stevie Richards over anyone? I might just try to figure out where MTV is on my cable system for that.
Bradshaw over Johnny the Bull, Hardcore Title Match
Everything else has been covered.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff, including Spoiling Smackdown, You’re A Moron, Mailbag, and those other Wednesday features you all know and love. Until then, I’m off to work. Have a good one, because I won’t.