The Monday Edition 01.20.03

Bucs 27, Eagles 10

Good morning, I’m Flea and what a wonderful weekend. I ain’t home, but instead in Houston, Texas but where I should have been is in Philadelphia, gloating first hand at the City of Brotherly Losers. You see, as I have mentioned before, I lived in the Philly area for 10 years and have seen my fair share of bullshit, but nothing took the cake as much as the “hype” for this game against Tampa Bay. Growing up in Florida, my number one team was, of course, the Dolphins, but Tampa was a close second. Especially when I started going to the games in the Big Sombrero – party time, even though the team was so rotten that it was fashionable to go to the games with a paper bag over your head. On the flip side, when I moved north, I was amazed at how supposedly loyal, surprisingly fair weathered and always with the belief that for some reason they are the best fans on the world the crowd in Philly was / is. Oddly enough, I have made more money betting ON the Philly teams (Eagles, Phillies, 76ers) with Philly fans, who were more than willing to bet AGAINST their own teams! Some loyalty. Of course, the best times are like this past weekend when they convince themselves that it is such a “sure thing” that they are willing to give up nearly a double digit point spread to PROVE how much of a fan they are and how great their team is. Naturally, the worm turned and, as per usual, the Eagles choked in the clinch – just as they always do. The only bet left is to see how quickly the fans and media TURN on the team and Coach Andy Reid. Don’t get me wrong, I harbor no resentment against the Eagles – Reid did a hell of a job with the team this year, especially with his quarterback out for the crunch time part of the season. Oh, that quarterback is Donovan McNabb, who the ever gracious Phlliy fans BOOED on the day he was drafted. I could go on and on with this all day long, and just wish I could have been there for the festivities, but it’s too f*cking cold. I’ll be their next month to regale in the carnage of a once proud and overly obnoxious fanbase, making sure to wear my Tampa Bay “NFC CHAMPIONS” apparel, and quite possibly “SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS” garb. Boy, that would make the scene in Little Italy, wouldn’t it?

“Flea, you could never survive – the Philly fans would kick your ass”.

No they won’t – that’s all hype. 99% of the stories you hear from the Vet are not true, or grossly exaggerated. Yes, they do have their own court because most of the fans are amateur drunks – and nothing is funnier than a drunk trying to throw a punch at someone wearing a Cowboys jersey. Once again, the fans of Philadelphia fell victim to their own hype and once again have a team that was good, but not good enough. More of this on PAGE SIX, probably – I’m just waiting for the Philly News columns to get on – line so I can see what all those hypocrites have to say this morning.

Besides, you are probably wondering what happened at the Royal Rumble. This will be quick and to the point – for the first time in a long time, I really do not care about a WWE PPV. Absolutely no vested interest in anything on the card, except maybe to see what Angle and Benoit do. Something seems amiss – I know what it is I don’t have a Saturday News column to hype myself up with! I love doing the PPV preview columns and thought about typing something out on Saturday to fill space here, but decided against it. So let’s breeze through this thing – as long as I don’t get sidetracked, you should be in the Have You Heard? section before you know it

Come on, Let’s go!

FIRST OFF

World Heavyweight Title Match – Triple H vs. Scott Steiner

What in the world happened here? I haven’t read any reviews as of yet, but something weird happened here. Things were moving along just fine, with Bad Booty Pump using his power offense and HHH selling very well and then BOOM! Daddy Poppa blew a suplex spot and next thing I know he is getting booed out of the building by the Boston Fans. Lawler tried to cover with something like “HHH is from Greenwich and Boston is close” or something equally lame (whoever fed him that line should be ashamed), but it didn’t work. Hell, HHH tried every trick in the book to be a smarmy heel, but the fans absolutely HATED AND TURNED ON FREAK POPPA DADDY!! Maybe they weren’t impressed that for someone in that good of shape to not be able to wrestle more than 8 minutes without gasping for air, I’m still not sure what happened. I like the ending, with HHH getting disqualified to continue the feud, but I don’t know if Vince will keep this one going. HHH is totally not to blame for this – unless it was his idear to have a match longer than about 10 minutes. It’ll be neat to see what kind of reaction Big Bad Pump gets on Monday – that’s enough to get me to tune into RAW.

WWE Title Match – Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

Talk about night and day. Absolutely brilliant match with Angle winning but Benoit validating himself as a legitimate contender. As mentioned before, I have never really been “sold” on Benoit, just because he ahs never took the time / effort to learn how to speak (and don’t say it can’t be taught, look at marble mouthed Matt Hardy and his transformation from yokel to one of the most entertaining performers on the roster – it can be done). But last night, Benoit won the arena over with his WORK, and received a well deserved standing ovation in return. I think it’s fairly obvious that he will end up as champion sometime this year, it
S just a matter of where. I’m sure people are already screaming about how he should go to RAW and clean up the mess that Poppa Booty Daddy left and that might not be a bad idea. HHH vs. Benoit would be worth watching. And if Angle and Benoit can have this kind of match (to this kind of reaction), I’m wondering what Brock vs. Angle will be like. Off the charts would be my guess. Match of the night, of course.

Winner Advances To The Royal Rumble – Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

This was quick and to the point. Lensar wins. Where the Big Show goes from here is anyone’s
Guess but Brock is on his way to the Rumble, which has no suspense and looks like it’s going to be a mid card extravaganza, which ain’t bad – I like just about everyone involved, but other than the HBK / Some Other Guy mini-feud, it appears that Brock is going to walk with it. In a related topic it would be nice if a certain person in Kentucky would contact me and send me some more OVW! I would like to know why everyone is so upset that they are not represented in the Rumble. Yes, I’m looking at YOU! You know where to find me!

World Tag Team Titles Match – William Regal & Lance Storm vs. The Dudley Boyz

Not to be overly negative here, but who gives a f*ck? Nice match but The Dudleyz as tag champs is played. It seems as though the Tag ranks is either sink or swim. Sometimes they have an abundance of teams and endless amounts of options and feud possibilities and then they have zilch. In the zilch times, the Duds usually win the belts and this is no different.

Stepmother vs. Stepdaughter Match – Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

I think this feud is blown off. Now then, can I have more Victoria and Mrs. Trish Hyatte? But keep Dawn Marie around, maybe as RVD’s manager. Hell, if I have to put up with him, at least I can bask in the endless charms of the former Mrs. Wilson.

30 Man Royal Rumble Match – RAW: Shawn Michaels , Chris Jericho , Jeff Hardy, Tommy Dreamer, Rosey, Jamal, Batista, Christian, Kane, Chris Nowinski, Maven, Booker T., Goldust, Rob Van Dam, Test –
Smackdown: Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Rikishi, Tajiri, Matt Hardy, Edge, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, John Cena, Bill DeMott, A-Train, B2, Eddie Guerrero, The Big Show OR Brock Lesnar, and one unannounced person

Unless you just got off the boat, the mystery man was no mystery – it was The Undertaker. Decent enough Rumble with HBK getting tossed early (and then coming back to get Some Other Guy tossed – I think I will like that feud) umm, Tommy Dreamer stiffed the shit out of everyone with Kendo sticks, with the arena erupting in ECW chants. Moore and Matt Hardy did some comedy spots, Jeff Hardy nearly killed himself twice, the final four came down to Brock, UT, Kane and Batista; again the lack of suspense kinda killed it for me.

The show lived up to my expectations, which were not all that high for some reason. Maybe it was the faux buildup using bodybuilding and weightlifting to mask a genetic freak that apparently just can’t get it done in the ring anymore. Maybe it was the fact that there were only a few matches on the card and none of them piqued my interest, except for Angle and Benoit wrestling for the 103rd time. Maybe it was the disappointment I have carted around all week at a shitty RAW, a mediocre Smackdown and an Anniversary show that was written in crayon. How they deal with this Steiner thing will be intriguing. HBK and Some Other Guy looks like a winner and the buildup for Brock and Angle should be a dandy. It’s just sometimes the whole thing is a bummer when you know that every show could be off the charts but the right ingrediants are not being mixed. Maybe Austin’s return will change that. Anything but Goldberg, please.

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Low Ki has let his hair grow, so he looks like the baddest dude in the 9th grade

– Da Meltz, showing off his sense of humor in his recap of NWA-TNA.

Ha ha ha. I laughed for a good five minutes due to that line, which did wonders to ease my pain for being such a dope and going against my word to not pay attention to NWA-TNA. I made that decision after Piper showed up and ruined what I thought was a decent alternative but found myself watching the show again after reading reports that Dusty Rhodes was involved. Another reason I tuned in was I would have bet serious money that Vince Russo would have taken the opportunity to GLOAT that 95 % of the RAW X show was his creation. I guess even he was embarrassed and how that heavily hyped chance at fan and viewer redemption fell flat on it’s face. NO ONE think this show was worth a shit – at best, only a few people are saying “it wasn’t all tat bad”. When a show with that kind of potential gets met with a reaction nearly 100% negative, so heads need to roll and some adjustments need to be made I agree with what Rivett said the other day in regards to expectations, specifically from the Internet Crowd; we all have a way of letting our imaginations run wild, so that whatever is eventually presented already has a strike against it – from there is just a matter of personal taste to how much worse it can be. Of course, if you realize this and keep things in the proper perspective, you may find an increase in viewing enjoyment and genuine pleasure at surprises when they happen. With all that said – Vince and the Gang blew it. Remember the effort that went into The WWF History video set to the Kid Rock tune? THAT blew people away. If you are going to half ass it, at least have the production people put two hours of video highlights together and save everyone the trouble of having to put up with lame awards given to the wrong people. No problem with Mrs. Trish Hyatte getting the Diva award. I never liked Sable, or Chyna and seeing Sunny nowadays is just sad beyond words. Besides, Trish is now my kid’s favorite, surpassing Lita, so who am I to argue? The only crime of the whole thing was the “Match of the Decade”. Anyone with half a brain can whip off TEN matches that were better than that one without even mentioning the names “Kane” or “Jeff Hardy”, who were nominated twice. My personal favorite was Terry Funk and Cactus – The “Battle for the Soul” as Foley puts it in his book. Two of my favorite wrestlers, with a simple story line, going out and beating the shit out of each other. Super intense and Austin on commentary made it that much better. For greatest moment, the Austin Beer Bath is a tough one to beat – another FLEA favorite was the night that Mankind freaked out, whipped off the mask (bloody as hell) and beat the f*ck out of HHH, leading to the return of Cactus Jack the following evening and my favorite angle ever. I have no opinion on any of the other awards. However, there is one thing I would like to point out Rock – E’s promo was brilliant. I have read reports about how “out of touch” “he sucked” “the fans booed him”, he wasn’t prepared”, etc HE’S A PRIMA DONNA! He talked down perfectly to the audience, made it look like he didn’t give a flying f*ck about anyone, giving compliments wrapped with sarcasm and insincerity. They know that Rock is going to be a heel and he knows EXACTLY what he is doing. Absolutely amazing – a 21st Century heel turn. Rock should get an Oscar, or at least an Emmy for this. Vince Russo should be gloating – not only was his writing prominently featured, but everyone, both “smarts” and “marks” are still honoring him, in the breach, with accolades – “so and so should have won that award” “That angle was so much better that this one” and so on and so forth. Critics of Russo will say McMahon had the final say so. Which is true – but Vince McMahon also has the final say so today, and only a third of the people watching 3 years ago are still around today. Most of the people left are so jaded and cynical that nothing will please them; but fortunately, are still dependable enough to make money off of with PPV’s, arena events and merchandising. Watching the NWA-TNA show in recent months has been like smoking a bad bag of pot – you keep expecting something to happen, but it never does and all you are left with is no buzz and a headache. It’s almost obscene that a “mystery partner” could be Nikita Koloff, when no one has given a f*ck about him in 20 years. I mean, Dusty and Steamboat are one thing, even that idiot Zbyszko has been on TV the past decade but ah, who cares. I liked the wrestling matches on the show but the angles are just all over the place. And next week! MORE PIPER! Include me out. Speaking of Jerry Lynn I read an interview on 1wrestling last week in which Lynn gave some answers to questions I have wondered for quite some time namely, things like this –

What did it feel like to become an icon in the business, once you established yourself in ECW?

I guess what was really nice about was that Paul E. never really gave me a push. I mean he would give me an occasional shove when it was time to put someone over so it would mean a little more. But it was really nice in ECW because fans appreciate me just for my work. Not because of some wacky gimmick or because of being pushed through the roof because of politics. It was nice because the fans appreciated me.

How was your relationship with Paul Heyman in ECW?

There is no relationship. He screwed me out of a ton of money and basically treated me like a piece of s***. So, I have nothing to say to him and I’m sure he has nothing to say to me.

Interesting. As I have said before, Lynn is an enigma to me. He is, without a doubt, one of the Top Five wrestlers in the world but has always had something in his character that rubs people the wrong way, or turns them off. I don’t understand it. here’s some more

It’s safe to say that your career in the WWF did not go as well as you had hoped. I know personally, from watching your performances in ECW that you had what it took to become a star in the company. Do you think it was politics?

Oh yeah. That’s the only reason why anybody gets pushed there or not. It’s not about wrestling. There it’s all about keeping the TV ratings up, keeping the corporate share- holders happy and selling the merchandise. It’s about creating wacky characters. I mean you have Vince who calls the talent sports-entertainers and not wrestlers.

It’s hard to knock success, Mr. JL. Like it or not, Vince knows what he is doing. “Wrestling” is making it’s way back into the product – if only for the sheer willpower of people like Angle, Benoit and Lesnar. What is going on in NWA-TNA many times is not “wrestling” – it’s a spot fest and apparently one big “no-sell” contest. Lynn’s feud with AJ Styles has been the backbone of the wrestling portion of NWA TNA and both of those guys have excelled in putting on quality matches. However, for every Styles / Lynn match, there seem to be 5 clusterf*cks of Indy workers trying to get every spot they know over on TV. Sure it would have been nice to have Jerry Lynn around in WWE – but with his attitude and their reluctance to put any effort into developing a “character” for Lynn whose gimmick is “Damn, I just wrestle”, it’s probably better off that he is not on the roster. One more

What was you’re opinion of Eric Bischoff when you worked for him?

Eric Bischoff? (Laughing) I have nothing good to say about him. He was so full of sh**. He would keep telling everyone that everybody was equally important as each other, from the production workers all the way up to the superstars, what a crock of sh** that was. He forgot where he came from. He thought he was a real big shot. If he had any pets, he would probably go home and treat his pets better then he would treat you, and we were human beings. He wouldn’t even give you the time of day. At least Vince, when you wanted to talk to him, he would take the time to talk to you. Bischoff wouldn’t even acknowledge you in the hallway walking by.

Boy, Bischoff must have been a real prick in those days. No one (not named Hogan or DDP, anyway) ever says anything good about this guy. The fact that’s he’s even employed by Vince McMahon is astonishing – what is more astonishing is they are apparently blowing other “can’t miss” opportunity, 30 days until Shane takes over and what will Bisch do then? Hopefully they find something – Jesus Christ it’s ERIC FUCKING BISCHOFF. More on this topic when it gets closer to the deadline back to Lynn. Actually that’s all I have to say about him. Go check out the interview at 1wrestling.com – according to the time / date stamp, it’s from 1.16.03. He’s an interesting interview, no doubt.

Remember that crazy sumbitch The Sheik? Dead as of 1.18.03. If you ever have a chance to watch “I Like to Hurt People” please do it’s a classic, in more ways than one. I’m guessing that The Sheik is as popular today as he was in his heyday, due to nostalgia and the fact that you can get those old tapes anywhere on line, not to mention that his nephew is Sabu and The Sheik has been name dropped a few more times than, say, someone like The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz. A maniac in the true sense of the word, his idea of a good time was to carve some poor schumcks head with a fork (or some other dubious “foreign object”) and then light something on fire. Classic stuff and I vaguely remember the first time I heard the word “foreign object”, it was in relation to something The Sheik was doing. “Look out what’s he got in his hand..it’s looks like, I don’t know, some kind of “foreign object”!!!!! For YEARS I thought you had to be from another country to have a “foreign object”, which really f*cked me up when Gordon Solie and Buddy Colt were SCREAMING about Cowboy Ron Bass’s bullrope. “Gordon, I don’t like what Bass is up to ” “that bullrope is a foreign object”. I knew damn well that he from Texas or somewhere out west, and couldn’t figure out their rationale for getting all bent out of shape. I later learned that the word “foreign”, in that context, meant “foreign to the situation” and not “foreign to this country”. Why WCW had to say “International Object” is not something I care to think about at the moment. R.I.P Sheik.

ANOTHER WEEK OF THIS CRAP

RAWr is in RHODE ISLAND this week at the Dunkin ha ha ha ha ha ha hahaha ha ha hah aha the Dunkin HA HA HAH AHA HA HA HA HA HAH AAHAHAH HA the DUNKIN DONUTS CENTER ha ha ha ha ho ho ha ha hohoha .HAWr! The most ridiculous name for a sporting arena in the country wait, their was another one I heard – The Piggly Wiggly Arena? Nah, that can’t be for real. OH HYATTE! If you go to the show, please bring a sign. A nice arrow pointing down to identify yourself would be perfect. I wouldn’t want Cadillac to take care of the wrong person. Catching my drift? Dunkin Donuts Center. Hawr. Hawr. Hawr.

Smackdown appears to be in Albany New York and Daniels promises to bring a GRUT sign or two. That works for me and a deal is a deal. And this applies to any of you: get a GRUT sign on TV and I will send you money. Of course, certain forms of proof will be required but I’m sure that’s not a problem. You know what I would REALLY want to see? GRUT FIRED LANCE STORM. That would make my day. And yours to! So hop to it! After that it looks like one roster goes to Korea and Japan, while the others trudge their way through Canada. I think no matter what, I wouldn’t want to leave North America for any reason at the moment.

THE LINKS ARE ON ME

Oh why not

Rivett has a good column up – he lets you in on the flip side of the RAW X Show.

Cliff Mansfield has his latest available

BOSS has a Rumble review available, so does Netcop.

Also Robert Ortega and the infamous ROUND TABLE have their pre – show opinions and stuff. It’s always fun to read em AFTER THE FACT. So go do it.

Oh, and a quick hello to my old buddy John Keane, who is apparently working his way up the ranks quite nicely at a certain competing web site that shall go unnamed at the moment. Glad to see it.

PAGE SIX

I’m still not sure what is going on here at 411. Apparently Eric S. is staying around for a little while, which is good. Hyatte should be back soon, at least according to the last time table I got. I’ll still be here on Mondays for the time being. GRUT ain’t going nowhere, Hashish either and Daniels has taken over Saturdays. Right on. I just typed a whole paragraph with absolutely no meaning or need for inclusion is this report. Guess you’ll just have to tune in everyday to find out what’s up. That’s what I do!

Now then, more Philly. I just read the Philly Daily News on-line and it’s much like I expected. As a matter of fact, I’ll just cut and paste an article that pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole things. And for anyone in Philly – I’ll be there in 3 weeks. Hey Yo and Fangol.

Here is the link so credit is given where due

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/football/nfl/philadelphia_eagles/4988198.htm
target=new>http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/football/nfl/philadelphia_eagles/4988198.htm

and here is the story no italics, for your pleasure

Let’s face it, losing is our forte

By WILLIAM BUNCH bunchw@phillynews.com

CHICO RUIZ.

“We Owe You One.”

Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams.

And now this.

This morning, the only way to deal with it all is to just come right out and scream it.

Philadelphia is a city of losers. And the quicker we acknowlege that, the sooner we’ll be able to get on with the rest of our lives.

You can talk all you want about the Boston Red Sox and “the curse of the Bambino,” the futility of the Chicago Cubs, or even Atlanta, a town its own sportswriters dubbed “Loserville.”

But Philadelphia – about to begin its third decade without a major-league championship – has now refined the art of defeat the same way we once set the standard for locomotives and Stetson hats.

We lose not just in football but in baseball, basketball and hockey, too. We lose when we have an insurmountable lead, like the 1964 Phillies, whose epic pennant-blowing 10-game losing streak started with that steal of home by the obscure Ruiz. We lose when we promise victory, like the 1978 Sixers who said “We Owe You One” after choking in the NBA finals the year before. We lose when we go out and buy all the best players, like the 2002 Flyers. Too many times we lose on the last play, like that gopher ball that Williams served up to Joe Carter to end the 1993 World Series.

Now we can proudly add a new one to the list – the heavily favored Eagles saying a fitting goodbye to the Vet by imploding against a Tampa Bay team that had not only never been to the Super Bowl, but had never won a meaningful game with the weather below 40 degrees. Until yesterday.

Until Philadelphia.

But there’s a more important truth buried in all of this. The losing really gets to us here not because there’s so much of it or even how we do it, but because winning would mean so much to our fragile civic psyche.

“Philadelphia fans look to their sports teams to elevate their esteem above other cities,” said Robert Cialdini, a professor at Arizona State University who’s an expert in fan psychology.

Overshadowed by the glitz of New York and the power of Washington, Philadelphians look to the playing field to even the score. But even there we fall short, and our civic frustration only grows worse.

Here’s something else that you need to know: There is absolutely no good reason – either cosmic or down-to-earth – why Philadelphia teams disappoint us so much.

“I don’t really believe there’s such a thing as a losing mystique,” said Sandy Grady, the retired Daily News columnist who covered the collapse of the 1964 Phillies. He insists the losses are random events.

Unfortunately, there are some parallels between those storied Phils – a team about which Gov.-elect Ed Rendell once said “we all died a slow death together” – and this year’s versions of the Eagles. The ’64 Phillies had already printed World Series tickets, just like so many Philadelphians had already booked their flights to San Diego.

But we’re so used to being the underdog that we have a knack for collapsing when we’re the favorite. One could say that overconfidence – a rare emotion here in Philly – both cost the game for the Eagles and also made the defeat even more unbearable.

Matt Bernthal, a professor of sports psychology at the University of South Carolina, said yesterday’s loss was even more depressing than usual, given the Eagles’ home-field advantage and its prior string of victories over Tampa Bay.
Bernthal said the most die-hard fans will likely experience symptoms of mild depression – feelings that will spike yet again when the Buccaneers play in the Super Bowl next Sunday.

Grady still remembers the long, sad flight home from Cincinnati after the ’64 Phillies had blown a 6 ½-game lead with just 12 games to play.

“I asked [manager] Gen Mauch what he had learned from the experience, and he said, ‘It’s a lot harder to hold onto something than to go after something.'”

Maybe that difference explains why the two teams that sparked the greatest outpouring of love in Philadelphia history were the 1993 Phils and the 2001 Sixers. Both were scrappy, out-of-nowhere underdogs who didn’t disappoint us in the final round – because we never expected them to get there in the first place.

Of course, one could also ask why people with family, friends and a job get so emotionally wound up about the doings of 40 complete and utter strangers on a 25-inch TV screen in the first place.

Cialdini, the psychology professor, believes it all goes back to our primitive, tribal days, when warriors went off to attack the closest settlement and people’s self-worth was wrapped up in victory or defeat. Today, tribal warfare is mostly history, he notes, “if our teams lose we still believe that says something about us.”

Which is nonsense, of course. Said Cialdini: “You shouldn’t let your self-esteem be associated with the success or failure of something that’s outside yourself.”

Simply put, Philadelphia is a city of losers – but just loser sports teams, not loser people.

By almost any measure away from the gridiron – from history, art, and restaurants to our work ethic, hard-nosed attitude and neighborhood roots – we are still the city and the people that Tampa wishes it could be.

“It’s the team that wins or loses,” Cialdini said. “It wasn’t you.”

Remember that – until training camp starts next July.

* * * * *

GREAT article. And for a City that lives by the motto “wait till next year” well, wait till next year, chumps. And remember the next time you talk all that trash, that you need a team to back it up and that’s not going to happen in Philadelphia.

Thanks for reading the Monday Edition. I’m Flea.