The Weekend Hotline News Report 01.25.03

Daniels weight update: 4 pounds in 3 weeks. Down to 233. The pound a week plan is still in motion. The elliptical trainer and I are starting to get along, albeit grudgingly. I have started in on the Universal weight machine. It is not particularly a good thing. Universals, I’ve decided, are somewhat pointless. If it ain’t free weights, it really doesn’t count.

Of course, I’m not using it to bulk, I’m using it to tighten the flab that’s going to be left-over. Since I’m trying to drop weight, I’m actually not trying to add muscle quite yet. I guess that will be step 2. But there’s a lot left to go in step one.

Flea: Grut tells me the sign made it. I’ll take check or money order. YEAH! Hope you got to see it, too as your evil plan finally came to fruition.

I am also finally getting ready to move into my own house one town over from where I live now. Out of college, real job, real house crazy. I feel all sorts of old. The fact I just turned 25 on Thursday didn’t help. I’m now, officially, pushin 50.

No offense to the writers on the site who ARE actually pushin 50. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Grut.

And, to the multitude of folks who wrote me, both politely and impolitely to tell me that Raven’s Raw return was explained on Heat, thank you. BUT, in my defense, it’s the WWF’s (JR’s or the production people’s specifically) to let me in on what’s been happening on the shows I don’t watch. It’s not my responsibility to watch every show and keep tabs on what’s going on. It’s THEIR job to recap what I missed and, possibly, give me a reason to watch the other show. The angle Raven was involved in sounded interesting. I might have tuned into Heat to watch it but if you don’t use your flagship show to sell your OTHER shows, then people either 1) don’t know when they’re on or 2) don’t CARE when they’re on. Both are bad.

Lucian Carter: Ok, this bugs me. People complain how the weekend shows (Velocity and Heat) are nothing but useless recaps and jobber matches where nothing important ever happens.

You mean they aren’t?

Then, when something important does happen on the shows (e.g. D’Lo turns heel again, Chief Morely offers Raven a chance to get back on Raw if he agrees to end his controversial “masterpiece”) if it isn’t expressly recapped on the main show then “it never happened”.

If I didn’t see it, it’s as good as it not happening. It’s their job to explain to me what’s going on. It’s not my job, as the viewer, to keep up. If you watch episodic television, you’ll see subtle reminders of what already happened worked into the script. 24, for instance, gives tiny reminders to remind you what happened, or catch you up if you miss. Wrestling is no different. It’s their job to keep me informed.

You can’t have it both ways. Either don’t complain the weekend shows are pointless or else be prepared to occasionally be confused if something important happens on one and you don’t (or can’t due to local network coverage) watch it.

Give me a reason to, and I will. 99% of Heat and Velocity are jobber matches. As a fan, I’m not going to waste my time. If something important happens, let me know. If I know I’m missing something good, I might tune in next week. If it makes ONE new person watch Heat, it did it’s job.

And, while I respect your column and writing in general, if you can’t even be bothered to check the other recaps on the site you write for before you make an unfounded criticism like this then it makes YOU look stupid.

Thank you, and I respect your opinion as well. But, if a person who watches their television programs week after week for the last 10 years looks stupid, what does it say to the casual fan who just tuned in? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

Another Reader: Yes it does make WWE look stupid to just overlooking/forgetting things, ESPECIALLY here. Raven could use the leg up [no Stacy puns here, please…], Test could use a feud…and we have a NATURAL one. Stacy used to be WHAT?!?!? Yep…that’s right a RAVENS CHEERLEADER!!! [She was..] What more could you want? Raven says something like, ” I heard you love Ravens….” have him carrying a pic of Stacy in her cheerleader outfit, have him leave her a cheerleader outfit in the dressing room, have him sniffing a pom pom. It could be fun, if handled right.

Yes, it could be fun except for two things. First, it never would be handled right without Vince getting his lecherous old man nose into it and Second, Raven’s not around anymore. Ah well.

Top Story

Well, lookee who’s back on WWF TV for one last run again. None other than Hulk Hogan. To all the net writers [Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Scotty] and all the rest of you who bitched an whined about the Albany audience go on for way, WAY too long about the Hulkster I want you all to remember a couple things:

1 – The last time Hogan was in the Pepsi Arena, it was still called the Knickerbocker Arena and it was Royal Rumble 1993. So, it was actually the first time I have ever seen him live, and I won’t apologize for markin out like a twelve year old schoolgirl looking at Justin Timbercock.

2 – Hogan has a presence in the WWF/E that was never felt or appreciated in WCW. The “fair weather” WWF/E friends don’t understand it either. The core WWE audience is 18-30 year old males who were young enough 10 or 15 or even 20 years ago to have Hogan had been a role model they looked up to. I personally did. He was one of my heroes. To finally see the man live, in front of me, and POINTING is something I can’t described. Unless you’ve ever felt uplifted by something in your life, you won’t understand it you can’t. And it’s something I couldn’t put into words if I tried. Maybe Grut could maybe Hyatte could but it’s not something that can be done in a non-fiction forum and it would be a waste of space to try. I saw Hogan, and I felt ten again. I couldn’t stop it, and I wouldn’t have wanted to.

Now, that being said we have to get into the logistics of what they’re actually going to do with the Hulkster now that he’s back again. It looks like an extended feud with Vince on the way to ‘Mania seems to be where they’re heading. I guess, in theory, I understand it, though I wasn’t aware of an outstanding issue between Vince and Hogan, but I guess they can always just create one.

On the other end, you have Vince basically setting the stage for a feud with Austin as well, with the whole “not invited” thing on the Raw X special. While Austin/McMahon was gold back when Raw was on the comeback trail, the sloppy seconds just won’t be as good as the first ESPECIALLY because the person responsible for penning the Austin/McMahon feud is working for the competition now. The WWE has gone a long way into establishing they can’t do Austin/McMahon without Russo.

On the other other end, you have Vince setting himself into having an issue with Bischoff but that might be shrugged off onto Shane, basically setting up two matches that will not involve wrestlers at Mania but setting them up early so as to get people heated up for them.

Which makes you wonder what Austin will do when he gets back and what show he’ll be on. On Smackdown, you have Eddy Guererro, who was the last person he had issue with and who mocked him last when he was officially gone. You have Brock, who is the reason Austin walked, although only about 10% of the fans will know that. And on Raw, you have HHH who’s been proclaiming himself King Shit for the last six months since Austin’s been gone.

Austin, like Hogan, does not work as a heel in the WWF. Austin also will not work as well on Smackdown, because Raw is, and always will be, HIS show. And, if he DOES return at No Mercy, which he better after his name was dropped by Bischoff, then the best thing they could possibly do with him is insert him directly into the HHH/Steiner program. Preferably against HHH and getting the title off him at Mania. I’m not of the group who thinks Austin won’t help the product. Austin was smart enough the product was going in a shitful direction when he left and it’s only gotten worse. People watch for Austin and because of Austin and most of the fair-weathered WWF fans exist because of him.

But, like anything else, the creative HAS to go somewhere. Austin can only come back once and the Raw after No Mercy should do good numbers but it won’t continue if Creative doesn’t do anything good with him. A program with HHH would do him good and a program with the Rock would also do him good. But, for f*ck’s sake, give people a reason to tune back in. It’s not rocket science.

Another Network Change

On the heels of the announcement that UPN won’t be either canceling, or shortening, Smackdown in the foreseeable future, Vince is getting in his britches to make a jump to Fox. If he does this, it could go down as the stupidest decision he’s ever made well, since the Goo . Naw, f*ck it it’d be stupider than the Gooker.

Look guys, I’m all for the WWF reaching a broader audience, too. I don’t mind not getting weird looks when I tell people I’m a wrestling fan. I don’t mind wearing Version 1 shirts in public, but COME ON! Vince has the HIGHEST RATED SHOW ON UPN. Do you have any idea what that means? He has carte blanche to do whatever the hell he wants, with no consequences or repercussions. Whatever he wants.

He moves to Fox and what happens? Guess what, he doesn’t beat NBC’s Thursday night line up like ever. He makes Fox the lowest rated network every Thursday night probably by a lot. He gets low numbers, they start shunting Smackdown around the schedule probably into some ridiculous timeslots that only insomniac Eskimos will be able to pick up, because they’re on a six hour time delay.

That and the fact, Vince likes control he won’t have control with NETWORK executives looking over his shoulder.

He left USA for TNN, and ratings plummeted. He goes on Network television, he goes from the highest rated show on UPN, to a barrel of shit on FOX.

Vince is greedy, though I can’t blame him. He’ll go to whoever offers him the biggest check but it will cost him the timeslot.

Now, if you want to talk about resurrecting Saturday Night’s Main Event on FOX, then we can talk. Test the waters. See what happens.

The Return on the Heva

Am I talking about Rocky or Goldberg?

Actually, that’s not fair. I have nothing for respect for what the Rock has accomplished by crossing over to the mainstream. He still seems very down to Earth, though the idea that “The WWF is in his blood” is seeming less and less likely as time goes on. Working two months a year for the WWF really doesn’t cut it.

So, his latest project is still the rumored match between him and Goldberg for Wrestlemania and Backlash. This could possibly be an even WORSE idea than the one above.

So, let me get this straight you want wrestling’s ultimate Heva to work a match with the hottest crossover star you’ve ever generated, so you can job him out to make the Heva happy? Come on folks, use your head. Heva has already made it clear he will only join the WWE on his terms. And I’ll guarantee you, HIS terms do not involve losing to the Rock. Working with the Rock, maybe losing to the Rock, no.

People call HHH a locker room cancer? If HHH is cancer, Heva is Ebola. Rock will come back and work the program because that is what he does. For f*ck’s sake, the guy put over Rhyno and sold the Gore like he took a cannonball to the gut. The Rock puts people over that’s what he does.

So now, the plan is to bring Heva in, with the express purpose of destroying your biggest star. THEN, not even barely have him wrestle leading up to it?

Folks, Heva is NOT that big. The Rock will sell the PPV by himself Goldberg is not needed. Put Rocky in a program with talent that will benefit from it and talent you can benefit from in the long run. Rocky is going to be a heel on his return. There are a MULTITUDE of midcard faces who would salivate at the opportunity to work with the Rock. The Rub from Rocky would move them to the next level, and THEY WILL ACTUALLY BE AROUND FOR A WHILE. They won’t be there to score a huge payday and walk away, because they’ve accomplished beating the biggest star the competition has to offer minus the person he most wants to go over, which I guarantee is Austin.

But, on the OTHER hand what would a clean win over a heel Rock (who has already defaulted to Heel, at least in NY) do for a Benoit in his current state. He’s rightthere. One of those heels who never really had a face turn, but is getting big by default. Or over an RVD, or an Eddy Guererro. Guys who the WWE should be considering an investment. No, instead they’re looking to give a huge win to a guy who has, admittedly, no plans to stay with the company other than to bang a huge buck on the show.

I could almost understand it if they were having problems selling out the venue but, according to all reports, they’re not. So why waste the seven figure investment on a guy for two months, when they have 10 guys begging for a top card run, and fans begging for them to have it? It’s as stupid a business investment as WCW dropping $100k per PPV on Michael Buffer to say “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.” It’s a waste of money completely and totally.

The Week that Was

The Rumble came off just about as everyone expected. In fact, I don’t think I predicted one thing wrong last week. I’d look, but I’m far too lazy, and I’m pretty sure I was right anyway. I guess everything but the last two matches were abortions, but that’s fine with me. Why, you ask? Because I only saw the last two matches. I got home from bowling just in time to see Scott Steiner standing over a bloody, Dqed HHH, and then the Benoit/Angle match and the Rumble. Granted, I had no problem to the finish of either match but I’ve read where the WWF should do away with the free title shot stipulation.

I’m torn on this, because I’m a fan of the tradition, but it is true that it basically makes the winner of the Rumble a foregone conclusion every year. The thing is, it doesn’t have to basically because with 18 or so shows between the Rumble and Mania, there’s plenty of opportunity to get the title shot OFF the person that won the Rumble.

Like, for example what’s the problem with a Matt Hardy winning the Rumble as the start of a HUGE push, and then losing the shot to Brock at the February PPV? It gives Matt a HUGE win under his belt, and still gets Brock the title shot. Everyone is happy and the winner of the Rumble isn’t known by the fans months ahead of time.

Looks like we’re getting a return of the four Horsemen. Flair, HHH, Randy Orton, and Batista. While I have no problem with this, in theory, they need to do something with Orton and Batista to make them look like contenders before saddling them [HA!] with the Horseman name. They need to earn it. Orton is only notable for being the Getwellrandy@wwe.com guy and Batista is only notable for being huge. Granted, the Horsemen thing should HELP them get over and they should be over HUGE when they either get turned on, or turn on, the group. They need another actual NAME in the group and a phatty beatdown of an Angry Arn Anderson wouldn’t hurt their chances either. In fact, an interesting feud could ensue if Arn forms a group to counter Flair’s group but that’s up to Creative to [not] come up with.

The titles were immediately given back to Storm and Regal. Bubba was out for FAR too long for the table bump he took. To make it believable, Regal should at least have picked him up and did a finisher of some sort.

The Sean O’Haire promos, thus far, have been terrific. If only the writers could do as good a job as the production people, the show would be amazing. Of course, I have no fatih that O’Haire won’t be squashed because he’s a WCW talent. Of course 2, B2 was starting to get over in his role and they squashed him, too. The conversation must have gone along the lines of:

Creative: Yeah, Bull, John come here.
Bull: Yeah, boss.
Creative: The new gimmick seems to be working on you guys.
Bull: Yeah, they seem to be booing us and getting us a lot of heat.
Creative: Yup, the Booya that’s starting to get you over.
Bull: I know, finally, after all this time, I have something that works.
Creative: Yes, it does seem to be working. People are digging it. We can’t have that, Bull we’re pulling you off.
Bull: Huh?
Creative: That’s right you know the rules. Nothing people like can continue. We’re going to have you resurrect the tag-team with the Bossman:
Bull: Aw, man

And so it goes.

The Stacy thing was ridiculous. The Jericho I know should have got in the ring and demanded Test be counted out, and then force the referee to raise his hand two or three times and then strut to the back. Caring Jericho sucks.

In Other Reading

Cliff Mansfield Busts your Gourd and works the word “dichotomy” into a column title. Go Cliff!

Nason Graces us with one. It’s about TNA, and some other stuff.

David Murphy Praises something. Basically, Vince needs a babysitter. Someone who isn’t afraid to tell him something is stupid and who he can’t fire. He’s right.

And always remember my Music News column if you like what I do here. I would turn the link Green, but it’s too much effort.

In Closing

Looking forward to wrestling this week, and it’s more than I’ve been able to say about it in a while.

Enjoy the Superbowl, take it safe and easy on the roads and, if you see a checkpoint, TURN AROUND.

Flea’s in tomorrow then someone for Eric, and I’ll be back next weekend. READ THE MUSIC COLUMN!