Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 01.15.03

Here’s a hint:  never, ever, EVER try upgrading your operating system while you have the flu.  I knew I’d forget something when I decided to push this puppy up to XP SP1 Corporate (pirated, natch) on Monday.  I left work early due to symptoms making themselves known, so I decided “What the hell”.  I’d already done the upgrade on a friend’s system, and I took her box from Millennium to XP without a single glitch.  Hell, if it’d go from a piece of shit like ME to XP without any problems, 2K to XP would be a cinch.

And here’s where that one little thing I forgot comes into play.  I was using a hacked BIOS that improved RAID performance, and one of the first things that XP (and 2K, for that matter) asks for is drivers for a RAID controller.  The drivers and BIOS agreeth not.  Installation complete, barf, perpetual reboot.  What should have been a one-hour operation turned into a six-hour operation involving me grabbing updated RAID drivers and then a proper copy of my mobo’s BIOS using a laptop that I’m refurbishing for the boyfriend of said friend above, and then finding the right combination of install that would keep all my settings.  Unfortunately, that kept me occupied until the middle of Raw, and there was no way in hell that I was going to do a One-Hour Special with the flu while missing enough of Raw to make the Short Form null and void.

So here I sit, sucking down honey-lemon throat lozenges and coughing up phlegm + blood as the lymph nodes in my throat try to purge and go down to a size smaller than a kiwi fruit.  The sick part is that I have to find time between prep and the Raw Tenth Anniversary Show to finish doing a mock-up of a label that I was dumb enough to e-mail to myself to finish at home due to lack of time (both at work and time remaining on this job).  Why the hell am I so dedicated to a job that I have eight working days left at?

(Update:  I finished the label mockup just after the Tenth Anniversary Show.  Only took me about fifteen minutes because, unlike anyone else there, I HAVE A FUCKING CLUE!)

So now that I’ve done the typical “pour out my misery” thing to get people to bitch at me (and to explain why there was no column yesterday), let’s move on.

THE PIMP SECTION

Memo to Flea:  I do have a plan that might keep me doing these columns and saving you a little work.  However, it hinges on three things:  1) whether they give me Internet access at work (and I’ll bitch and moan if I don’t have it, because my job requires it), 2) taking along the cheap laptop that I mentioned above along with some floppies, and 3) having cable at whatever place they put me up at.  I just hope it isn’t the motel they put me up at for the interview.  That place made the Bates Motel look like the Crillon.  And as for where I’m moving, it isn’t somewhere nice in Iowa like Des Moines, Davenport, or Ames.  I’m going to be moving to Iowisconsota, which, I swear to God, was Paul Henning’s inspiration for Hooterville.

Dymond does a mild spark of the flame for controversy.  However, the only other name you can connect to his list of criteria is Flair, and he does justify his choice quite well.

Why would Williams be surprised that the fans would turn on Flex?  Hell, it just confirms my position as the IWC’s John the Baptist, preparing the fans for what is yet to come.

Nason is slightly late with his year-end, but that doesn’t matter, because he always kicks ass with his columns.

I don’t think I’ve ever pimped Hubbard before.  If not, shame on me and/or bad timing.

Mansfield pimps me, I pimp him.  That’s just the way it is.  Not to mention that he deserves every pimp he gets.  And I’ve already mentioned my guilty moment:  liking Moose Cholak.

You know, let’s throw in some offsite pimps for once…

BFM, that intrepid reporter for Reality News Online, lucked into something.  The link will take you to an interview done at the time of Tough Enough I with Daniel Lue, who made the final 25 for TEI, and who is now a finalist for the next Survivor.  For someone doing news at a reality-show-related site, that’s the equivalent of getting an interview with Kurt Angle when he was doing pizza pimps.

I’ll also throw in a special plug for Cory Nealy, who is brave/stupid enough to come to Chicago in January for a performance here in town this weekend.  If you’re in the Chicago area and you love sketch comedy, here’s his details:

I am in a sketch comedy group in Seattle called “Flaming Box of Stuff” and we are coming to Chicago this week to perform in the second annual Chicago Sketchfest. We perform dark comedy, with a slight surreal bent.  We are also into exploring complex banter and wordplay (somewhat in the
same vein as, oh say “Nichols and May”). In a desperate attempt to reach as wide a Chicago audience as possible, I would like to offer you a comp to our show in exchange for a plug in your news update.

Here is the scoop:
Who: “Flaming Box of Stuff”
What: Chicago Sketchfest 2003
When: Friday, January 17th @ 10pm and Saturday, January 18th @ 7pm
Where: Theatre Building, Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont
How: Box Office 773-327-5252, Tickets are $12.50

And here is a quick blurb about us:

Flaming Box of Stuff will be bringing to Chicago an all-new hour long show that pushes the boundaries of sketch comedy by showcasing their unique character driven approach and penchant for finding humor in all subjects no matter how dark, bizarre or sublime. With a desire to create
comedy that dares to go further, Flaming Box of Stuff was formed by some of Seattle’s best comedy writers and actors. Flaming Box of Stuff members have cut their teeth with some of the west coast’s most notorious comedy troupes, such as Seattle’s Bald Faced Lie, Up In Your Grill, Some Kind of Cult, The Disgruntled Bit-Players, Portland’s The Third Floor and LA’s The Class Project. Members of Flaming Box of Stuff are also responsible for the establishment of the Seattle SketchFest, North America’s first ever festival dedicated entirely to sketch comedy
now in its fourth year! For more information about Flaming Box of Stuff, please visit www.seriousdogs.com and for more info about the Chicago Sketchfest please visit www.http://www.chicagosketchfest.com.


Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it this weekend due to me going by friends to do the farewell thing.  However, it does sound great.  Just one caveat:  parking around there is a real bitch, so be careful.  However, Cory, you’re within walking distance of Ann Sather’s, so definitely go there for the apres.

SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE WORTH CONSIDERING

Frequent correspondent Jesse Baker wrote me last week and said that I should retire, at least temporarily, You’re A Moron.  Well, to be truthful, YAM has put itself on Special Appearance status due to the fact that people are, shall we say, afraid of sending me outright hate/troll mail due to the fact that I’ll put it on public display.  But then some newbie pops up who hasn’t seen YAM and attempts to deliver a broadside, and, BOOM!, there goes the counter-shot.  YAM’s become a favorite of my audience, and I don’t want to purposely go out there and say it’s on hiatus or being dropped, because that opens the floodgates.  Call YAM the IWC’s equivalent of the threat of a nuclear retaliation, if you weeeeeel.  It’s only the Saddam types of the world who dare to cross the line, and I’m not a pussy about going nuclear.

HOW MY ALMA MATER WASTES RESEARCH MONEY

The University of Chicago School of Business revealed a study that showed that people with African-American-sounding first names get less responses to cold-call resumes than people with Caucasian-sounding names.  The research group sent out resumes with fake names and similar qualifications to employment-wanted ads in the Chicago Tribune and Boston Globe, and found that the “white” prospective employees got one call per ten resumes, while the “black” prospectives got one call per fifteen resumes.  Yeah, it’s enlightening, except for one thing:  they used Chicago and Boston for their research.  There’s so much residual racism in both cities that the only thing surprising about the results is that the “black” prospectives got that many responses.  So let’s get a little more realistic in our case studies, shall we?

AND SPEAKING OF JOB DISCRIMINATION…

What sins did Marvin Lewis commit to deserve the Bengals’ head coaching job?  The guy deserves better than that.

EXPECT AN EXPANSION OF SPORTS COVERAGE…

Now that golf and tennis are underway again (what’s an off-season?), I’ll be pontificating more about those particular endeavors.  I’ll wait until next week for the Aussie, once the cream rises to the top (oops, sorry about that, Jen-Jen).  However, Ol’ Dullard’s record-breaking performance at Kapalua definitely deserves some praise.  Of course, Tigger wasn’t there, which is a caveat that should be placed on any big tourney where he’s not present.  However, good for Ernie.  Get your wins in while you can.

JOHN THE BAPTIST STRIKES AGAIN

Dubbaya’s approval rating is starting to drop, according to the latest CNN/USA Today polls.  It’s below 60% for the first time since you-know-what, and Americans are saying in polls that, yes, indeed, it is the economy, stupid.  For those who are about to write in indignantly saying that the economic mess was Clinton’s fault, guess what?  It doesn’t matter to the public.  They’re only looking at the guy whose hands are on the wheel.  In fact, with less than a year before Judgement Day, the numbers are evenly split, yet again, 1/3rd in favor, 1/3rd against, 1/3rd undecided.  Shit, we saw how this one played out in 2000.  If the Demos put up someone who doesn’t look like an axe murderer or a child molester, it’s OVAH!

AND SPEAKING OF OVAH!!!…

Let’s talk about the Tenth Anniversary Special, shall we?  I’ll even do it in Short Form format.

Category Winners:

Diva Of The Decade:  Trish Stratus.  Of course, her competition was a man-beast, a crack whore, an egotistical bitch, and…well, you can’t really say anything bad about Lita.  So it’s pretty much default for Trish.  She deserves it too.  If there’s anyone who’s improved the most since her debut, it’s definitely Trish.  I’ll never forget the “deer in headlights” expression she had when she cut her first promo.

Don’t Try This At Home:  Kurt Angle’s moonsault off the top of the cage.  Raw hasn’t been too noteworthy for classic bumps.  They save that for PPVs.  The fact is, though, that bumps are unnecessary in matches involving Angle, Lesnar, and Benoit.  They’re exciting enough as is.

Tell Me I Just Didn’t See That:  Mick Foley and his near-schizophrenic identity crises.  Yeah, Bisch was a little correct in saying that Foley’s overrated.  However, when Austin/McMahon started to bog down a little, he kept the entertainment factor going and got people to keep their asses in their seats.  Raw, unlike Nitro, was not a one-trick pony, and it was mostly due to Foley.

Gimme The Mic:  Flex.  And, just to remind us, he pulled out every single f*cking cliche out of his trick bag.  Thank you to the fans at the World who started chanting “Boring” during this bullshit.  I love you all.  As for the rest, it reminded me perfectly of August 9th, 1999, when Jericho was cutting the promo of his life after that incredible entrance and f*cking Flex had to whip him down because he was the newbie coming from WCW and, oh gosh, we can’t have him outpromo a WWF guy.

Shut Up And Kiss Me:  Trip and Steph.  Oh, yeah, they’re still together, and what they did on stage is probably considered foreplay by their standards.  I was surprised that the Bitch of the Baskervilles, not being what you’d call a good actress, didn’t crack up during the litany of bullshit she’s been through on Raw.  God knows I was, just hearing how ridiculous everything seemed when taken out of time and out of context.

Network Difficulties:  Mae Young giving birth to a hand.  Actually, my winner would probably be an event not even nominated in this category:  “Choppy Choppy Your Pee-Pee”.  At least that one wasn’t played for a really sick pun.  Out of the nominees, definitely Pillman/Austin should have won, because in those days, the kayfabe line was still blurred enough to not know how much of it was work and how much of it was…well, shoot.

Superstar of the Decade:  Steve Austin, as if no one had any doubt about that one.  Vince, however, perfectly set up his return with his “He wasn’t invited” comments.  I’ve explained many times that I don’t want to see Austin back, and this demonstrated the most important reason why:  if WWE turns to nostalgia to try to boost ratings back up, they’ve officially declared themselves creatively dead, not merely creatively bankrupt as they are now.  There’s nothing new they can do with yet another Austin/McMahon thing, even five years down the line.  Just let go and try to come up with something new, for all our sakes.

Match of the Decade:  TLC IV.  Uh…no.  How about Austin/Trip versus Benoit/Jericho, one of the greatest free TV matches ever?  Too bad that one other wasn’t on Raw, but only on Action Zone:  the Clique tag-team match that everyone who’s ever seen gives it at least four and a quarter snowflakes?  But not TLC IV, that blatantly choreographed overrated bumpfest.

Best Moments As Counted Down:

10) “This Is Your Life”:  Anyone else remember the reaction to this at the time?  I believe “interminable” sums it up nicely.  And it involves Flex.  Great moment my ass.

9) “Monster Truck 3:16”:  Ah, back when Flex was still The Rock and Austin could still commit vehicular mayhem without it becoming a cliche.  Memories…

8) “Shane On Nitro”:  This one was even more of a mindf*ck than Bisch showing up on Raw.  We all knew weeks before this that Vince had clinched the deal to buy WCW.  What we were all waiting for was the angle that he’d present on it.  When Shane showed up on Nitro that night, we thought we were in for something terrific yet to come, the ultimate angle that we, as marks at heart, had been salivating about for years.  Little did we know the hell that we were to experience.

7) “Bedpan 3:16”:  Not to mention the introduction of Mister Socko during the same set of sketches.  A truly great night of television by any standard, much less Raw’s lower set of said.

6) “The DX Nation Parody”:  Deserves to be seen in full if only to take the piss out of Flex.

5) “Austin versus Tyson”:  Probably the greatest piece of hype for a Wrestlemania ever.  That skit sold a helluva lot of PPVs, and credit to everyone for pulling it off and not making it seem that Tyson was just there to be celebrity hype and nothing else.  People became interested in watching WM because of what might happen between Austin and Tyson.  So why can’t they bring back that excitement today?

4) “DX Annoys Nitro”:  It may be a great moment, but it came at the point of greatest desperation for Raw, when WWE wasn’t quite sure whether Austin/McMahon would work and Nitro was still a threat in the ratings despite having fallen back a bit.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes creativity shines through.  But it’s still interpreted as an act of desperation to this day.

3) “Flex Calls Out Hogan”:  Thus proving how stupid the fans, who voted for this, truly are.

2) “Raw Is Owen”:  I think I can safely say that every time footage comes up from that night, the memories start to come back, and they still hurt.  Raw Is Owen was one of the most surrealistic experiences I’ve ever had.  It was a night when I didn’t want to watch, but merely doing so would have meant more to Owen than anything.  I felt that it was more than just sitting down for two hours of entertainment (or nowadays because I have to do a column on it), it was an moral obligation.  Anything less would be dishonoring Owen.  Personally, I think that Raw Is Owen shouldn’t have been in this competition.  It should have been Number Zero.  Being put alongside some of these moments…well, cheapens it a little.

1) “Beertruck 3:16”:  The sine qua non moment of Austin/McMahon, even more so than the monster truck or the concrete mixer or even the Zamboni.  It was a moment where you could truly laugh your ass off at the antics (and if you look carefully, Shane and Vince have to really hold their composure).  Decent choice for the top.

As for the show itself, Chris Arrington has some words about that:

I can’t believe they gave us the “Slammies” instead of something that actually seems like they appreciate their fans.  And I had to see HHH’s butt.  He is a dead man.   Vinnie Mac dead.  Stephanie!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m sorry for the corny rehash of a famous line but that was just how I felt after seeing that piece of shit.  The jokes were not funny and I don’t think they even attempted to get some of the people that helped to make Raw.  It is small things like this that can’t make you never want to watch again.  Why couldn’t they possibly have done like a joint Smackdown-Raw show at the Manhattan Center where the show started, with no storylines and some of those clips?  Just my simple opinion.

Sounds like a good idea, but I kinda miss the Slammies and this gave us a nice little psychological flashback to that, only without Todd Pettingill’s alleged singing voice.  I would prefer them to bring back the Slammies, because, once upon a time, with one person in particular, they could spin angles off of that (read:  Owen).  The closest we got to that on the Tenth Anniversary Show was TBS and Jericho.  Personally, if/when Flex gets back, I don’t want to see Jericho in a feud with him.  I like Some Other Guy.

SLICK RICK HAS MORE FAITH IN BOOKER CREATIVITY THAN I DO

The Slick One came up with a mighty good scenario for a possible angle.  Of course, now that I’m going to print it, it won’t happen, but it shows you how fans, doing pissy-wissy fantasy booking, can come up with much better crap than anyone employed by WWE right now:

Here’s my prediction for the Raw Bisch/Shane angle. We get a full WCW swerve. They brought up the fact that Shane bought WCW tonight. I’m going to guess the following:

1) at some point in the next 30 days, Bisch follows through on the Schiavone/Ventura Raw-is-Nitro tease, but without the name change.

2) Vince inevitably fires Bischoff. Shane takes over the reins.

3) SWERVE. Shane re-hires Bischoff, and renames the show WWE Nitro or something to that effect. I’d like to believe the WCW name gets reincarnated here, for continuity sake, but that’s kind of a long shot…unless they engage in some really unprecedented continuity, worthy of the soap operas that Sports Entertainment sometimes gets compared to. All this time, after his “honorable surrender” to Vince after the Alliance gimmick, Shane has secretly kept the WCW name, and brings the “brand extension” to its final end, and “rekindles” the war.

Yea, a long shot.


True enough.  But a great idea nonetheless.  It’s a helluva lot better than the crap we’re going to get from them, unless the Shane/Bisch FCA match at WM turns out to be pretty good despite what everyone’s thinking.

SMACKDOWN PAST ITS SELL-BY

This puppy got taped on Sunday so that some of the SD guys could be on the Tenth Anniversary Show.  Spoilers are all over the Net (I think Rajah had three or four of them alone).  So if you don’t want to watch SD or simply don’t care to see Al Wilson’s wake (and the angle that leads up to the Twenty-Buck Tramp/Ten-Buck Tramp match at RR)), read one of those.  I’m not going to bother you with stuff like that.

And that’s it for me this week.  Remember, I’ll have all of next week before any hiatus of any sort kicks in.  Until then, enjoy Grut, Ashish, Daniels, and Flea until I make my return next week (barring the Round Table, of course).  Hopefully I’ll be healthy and with a working computer this time.