The Little Things 01.28.03: Hurricane, Trish Stratus, Chief Morley & More

Let’s do this.

Clean Up on Aisle Six

Thanks to all of those who responded to some questions and added their thoughts pertaining to last week’s column. Allow me to summarize some of the most commonly addressed issues and highlight some of the best responses:

A number of you correctly noted that HHH has indeed defeated Hulk Hogan. The match took place on the June 6th installment of Smackdown thus proving that HHH did not make a mistake on behalf of his own ego and is the infallible God that the IWC makes him out to be. Or something like that.

I got a TON of responses regarding the math that Chris Nowinski employed to determine exactly how many days Bischoff has remaining to impress Boss McMahon. The problem here is that Nowinski suggested he had 21 days remaining when in fact, the ultimatum of 30 days was delivered a week ago at the time, thus giving Bischoff 23 days to right his ship. While this column is based upon the premise that hammering out the details leads to a more entertaining show, I am hesitant to take the fed to task on this slip-up. The main point of the vignette was to get a joke out of the smarmy Nowinski character and they succeeded there, even inadvertently. Besides, logically, if Bischoff comes up with an idea on the 29th day, a Tuesday, I doubt it will do him much good.

A better observation regarding this issue was delivered by reader Jay the Wrestler, who pointed out that delivering Austin at the February 23rd No Way Out pay-per-view is a solution that falls well beyond the 30 day window assigned to him. Trust me folks, in real life, when one’s job is on the line the last thing you do is assume your boss is going to give you an extra week or two to deliver a solution.

I’m not sure how big of a piece of common knowledge this is, but it is the first
time I have heard about it and I think it is hilarious. Last week, Eric S. gave some guest commentary about the usage of “My Time” during the Stephanie/HHH segment on the RAW X Anniversary show. Reader Adam Shooshan noted that the usage of that song may be more appropriate for Stephanie than ever as the last line of that song is:

Can anybody tell me who is sleeping with who?

Talk about foreshadowing!

Finally, thanks for taking my Bret Hart/USA analogy in good humor. While some of you noted that I may have too much free time on my hands (guilty as charged), most took it in stride. A couple of readers, Al Haigh and Just Joe to be exact, even took it further and compared the United Kingdom to the traditional Hart sympathizer, the British Bulldog! The basis being that both were/are willing to support their ally, despite whatever downfalls they must assume (risk of war, a lesser position in WCW, respectively). Once again, my hope would be that this maybe-war does not result in the UK ending up in the same position as its analogue

Readers’ Picks I: A Timeless Classic

A hall of fame nominee through and through, this bit from Mike Minadeo will help you understand why I started The Little Things:

As for something I noticed, it has to do with Ric Flair. Week after week, he puts a smile on my face with his crazy old man antics. This week, after the Steiner/Batista match, Flair ran in and hit Steiner with 6 or 7 chops. Of course, Steiner no sells which causes the 16-time champ to spasm out, hit the ropes, and run right into Steiner’s clothesline.

Plus, after all these years, I still get a kick out of Flair ($250 shirt and all) heading to the top rope, only to get caught by the face and slammed down. It never gets old.

I couldn’t agree more.

Readers’ Picks II: More Fashion Advice

Reader Brad Coburn picked up this detail on Batista from last week:

Batista is finally over in my eyes as a performer. Not wrestling-wise though, but as a visual cahracter. For months, Batista has gone with the simple tights, boots, and no wrist/arm band look. I knew there was something amiss, and Monday at Raw they delivered. Batista with teh fist wraps/glvoes gave him that extra touch.

That’s some attention to detail right there. It is a nice touch, but I must note that the wrapped fist and glove look always suited Ken Shamrock the best as it hinted to his background as a shoot fighter. If they got this route with Batista, then and only then, are the writers showing me some attempt to make him into anything more than Flair’s pupil.

So now that we are done that, let’s tape ‘em up and see what went down for RAW 1.27.2003:

1. Give It Away Now

Yet another example of how an act that takes mere seconds can go a long way in establishing a character. Whenever Hurricane gives his mask away to a kid at ringside, it takes me back to the days when Bret Hart would give his shades away before a match. This simple act establishes the wrestler as a true babyface hero in the minds of the fans. Not to mention with the kid who gets the souvenir! As any fan who has ever received a piece of authentic memorabilia from a wrestling event can tell you, it connects the fans with the sport in a very meaningful, personal way.

To this day, one of the coolest gifts I have ever received is a tuft from Ric Flair’s robe. Hell, even the time that a likely drunkened Kane told me to “Worship Satan!” as he rode away in his limo still resonates in my mind!

2. You Again??

Since we love funny facial expressions in this column, I feel compelled to mention this. We have all witnessed Trish Stratus improving as a wrestler over the past year. Apparently, her acting is improving as well. Her look of surprise and fear when she recovered to find Jazz standing over her really gave the sense that she was in a disadvantageous position with a hated archrival. That Jazz delivered a convincing beatdown in response only further establishes this long-standing rivalry.

3. Video Killed the Radio Star

The Nathan Jones and Sean O’Haire videos are doing an excellent job at establishing characters before they make their debuts (or re-debuts as the case may be). This is a very good alternative for WWe to pursue as the quality of these productions are top-notch, they cost very little to make and provide a look into the minds of the wrestlers that cannot be shown as effectively during live programming. The risk of course, is what I call the Glacier rule – one does not want the hype to be so enormous that the wrestler(s) cannot possibly live up to it through actions in the ring. Especially if the debut match inherently handcuffs the wrestler’s potential as Glacier’s debut with Ray Traylor (the Big Boss Man) did in WCW. This does not seem to apply to Sean and Nathan, as the hype has been focused and moderate in dosage.

This same phenomenon, by the way, applied to the WCW “debut” in the WWF during the Invasion. The longstanding hype of WCW vs. WWF, which had been brewing for years, and the buzz surrounding the Shane McMahon takeover in the storylines raised the expectations for the debut of WCW wrestlers in the WWF through the roof. So when the fans got Buff vs. Booker, they turned on the match and the entire angle in one night (this probably would have happened even if they got a 5-star match). The handcuff involved was Buff, of course and he went the way of Glacier in terms of his career. Booker, however, is such a talent that he has managed to survive the black hole created by that hype.

And yes, it also appears that Scott Steiner is going to escape the vortex created by his hype as well

4. The Tables Have Turned

WWe is doing a very nice job establishing Chief Morley as a nemesis for the Dudley Boys. Last week his manipulation of Nick Patrick was very well done and this week his removal of the tables was an excellent and unexpected ploy to really turn the heat up in this feud. The concept was very clever here – take the very symbol of the Dudley Boys and the item the crowd wants to pop hardest for and turn it around into a vehicle for heat. The weekly clashes between the Dudleys and Morley and his lackeys are creating a long-running drama with weekly developments They had this down pat, too, with Booker and Goldust so let’s see if they can keep this up without abandoning it.

It even gives 3 Minute Warning a purpose for the first time in a long time, so high marks indeed.

5. Miscellaneous Grievances

I don’t want to make this column into a forum for fantasy booking, but wouldn’t it have been cool if instead of pulling the paranoid heel routine, Nowinski recruits Eric from Tough Enough 3, blindsides Al Snow and mops the floor with the babyface-leaning winners? Those two at least share a common motivation. I still think the writers are confused as to what to do with Nowinski, who is a can’t-miss heel

The inclusion of Randy Orton in HHH’s new heel stable has brought the young star into the main event spotlight, but come at the expense of RNN and the shoulder jokes. I miss them already

The announce team just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I miss the classic dichotomy of an exuberant face who sticks up for the good guys and a heel who tries to justify the nefarious actions of the bad guys. JR, granted, tries to fulfill this role on occasion, but I think the King is just happy to be employed. When both guys are happy about the same thing and making similar comments, it comes off as boring. I feel the same way about Cole and Tazz, too.

That about does it. Keep the comments coming and I’ll see you next week.