The Little Things 12.25.02: Steiner, Jericho, Tag Teams, More


Merry Xmas to all! As a reminder to all of the readers who have not yet graduated from college, let me warn you – the holiday season is a monster once you graduate into the working world. That does not mean, however, that I’ve left my daily allotment of vitamin wrestling out of my diet. So, in the spirit of the season – On dasher, prancer, trancer and nixon to the readers’ picks!

It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right

Chard Pervier picked up on the pick from last week concerning the Dudleys and offered further elaboration on the Dudley’s 3D:

Gone are the days of tag teams with signiture tag moves and most importantly to me……the Tag Team FINISHER! Dudleys have the 3-D, 3MW have a samoan drop/top rope splash that is pretty cool. No other tag team right now has a team finisher. The days of dominating tag teams that stay together for years and compete against other established tag teams are over

He brings up several good points here. Anybody remember Demolition for crying out loud?! The Bushwhackers? Slowly over the past 10 years, WWe has phased out such long-standing tag teams that have their own common theme. Call it a fascination with singles wrestlers or a breakaway from the often campy gimmicks that tied the teams together in favor of “Attitude”, it seems to me the fed is giving up on a very useful building block for stories and character development.

For example, I will say this and let it sink in – I honestly think that Shawn Michaels was the first true “Attitude Era” wrestler. Furthermore, he laid the foundation for it in its most fetal form in late 1991/early 1992 when he ran Mary Janetty through the Barber Shop window. This moment, which from a standpoint of violence and shock stood out from all other incidents the WWF had attempted, set the stage for the infamous “Heartbreak Kid” whose role in Degeneration X and performances in pay-per-view main events among other things helped make the company what it is today. This all came about as a natural progression in the long-standing relationship between The Rockers, a popular tag team duo.

Today’s tag team scene is a mess because too often teams thrown together without a rhyme or reason, broken up and put back together without any explanation and given no reasonable time to develop memorable characters, ring chemistry or any of the Little Things needed to make audiences care (like the signature finishers Chad mentioned). The Dudleys might be the last great relic of this era in spite of a failed effort to break them up and develop new characters on different brands (and they were not a product of WWe, either). While there is some hope to continue the genre in 3 Minute Warning and the odd pairings sometimes produce great relationships (see last week’s column), I think WWe needs to use tag teams once again to tell stories and create enjoyable characters that do the Little Things to entertain us.

Finally, since I’m on the subject, while it worked well for the The Rockers I am not of the opinion that tag teams have to necessarily break up because they’ve been together for more than a year or won a lot of titles. Singles wrestlers do not habitually form tag teams when they have won a lot of titles, so why should tag teams do the reverse? Why not have them change gimmicks or turn heel or face like singles wrestlers? Wouldn’t it make them more interesting?

So many questions and so few answers. When my head hurts like this, I know it is time to concentrate on the Little Things and enjoy myself. So, let’s kick back, pour some ‘nog and see how the Little Five turned out for RAW 12.23.2002:

1. Pump Up the Volume

Bring on the hate mail, because I am not afraid to admit that I am a fan of Scott Steiner. I also fall into the camp that believes his feud with HHH is going about as great as it possibly can. Here, to explain to the unenlightened, I will invoke the often unexplained “Ultimate Warrior Clause” to clarify why I will mark out for this guy.

Simply put, I can find Steiner amusing for the same reasons that I later found the Ultimate warrior amusing – he has a grotesque, comic book charcter physique, a natural (I’m sure) charisma and mic skills that create lots of intellectually biting commentary. Plus he has his own little things to keep me on my toes. The bicep kiss/elbow drop, the catchphrases that introduced the terms “Freakzilla” and “Boomshakalaka” into our lexicons, the push-ups during matches I am entertained by all of this. Plus, I have a soft spot for wrestlers that pay some degree of honor and respect to past wrestling stars (even HHH when he is waxing Flair) and Steiner’s tributes to Superstar Billy Graham are well noted. So there!

2. I see London

As insignificant as it may seem, I thought Molly wearing an extra long Santa skirt was pretty funny. Although they have done nothing with her character in weeks and have given us little reason to care about her, I am glad to see that they still remembered she had something resembling a personality (and, gasp, even used it as a device during the match!).

3. But Seriously Folks

I am becoming a big fan of the Chris Jericho “Serious Promo”. I have and always will be a Jericho mark for his cowardly heel antics during his WCW days, but they do not seem to have caught on as well with WWe fans. Call it creative stifling from the WWe creative staff, lack of motivation on Jericho’s part or him simply losing his edge, but Jericho has had trouble establishing himself as the heel he was during WCW. During the past two weeks, some very serious promos directed towards HBK and Goldust have not only generated some quality mic work, but have led to one outstanding match last night on RAW and a potential five-star match down the road with an established legend. I can’t say this enough – a little thing like a backstage vignette can add mountains of drama to a match. You are not a fan of wrestling if you were not engrossed watching Jericho and Goldust go at it last night to see if Goldust would overcome the heel who called him a weak link.

4. Monday Night’s Main Event

I found this to be true while I was watching and so did Scott Keith so there must be some validity to this: If the fed keeps cutting to commercials during high-profile matches and segments, they will devalue said matches and segments. I can’t think of anything more annoying considering that WWe has pay-per-views, “Boots of the Week” and other segments brought to us by corporate sponsors, shills books and cds throughout the shows and so on. Once you start inserting this type of stuff into the actual product we are watching, fans will take notice and take it less seriously.

5. F- You

For the first time ever F-view was properly used to set up a segment later on in the show. Instead of just showing Test and Stacy making out or the girls getting dressed in the locker, F-view finally allowed us to see some dialogue that was exploited for a main-event match with lots of crowd heat. If we can gain glimpses into characters’ thoughts and/or actions, we learn more about the characters and have an interest in what happens to them later on. In this cae, it also had a Orwellian Big Brother feel since Bischoff used it to spy on his employees, which helped further the heel/face conflict.

Merry Xmas to all! See ya next week.