I think I have something almost like a Zen koan brewing in my life. What is preferable, being caught in “Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y” hell, or speaking with a human who will, inevitably, screw things up? What is the sound of one hand punching everyone at Comcast in the face until they bleed profusely through every available orifice? Now they’re saying that, well, my account is back to uncancelled, but they forgot to put in a work order to reestablish my connection…aaargh.
It’s times like this when the Shitty Dialup with its autoconfig almost seems preferable. That is, until you actually dial up…
…look, if you’re still on dialup, I’m not trying to offend you. It’s just that I’ve had broadband for four years now, and I won’t go back. It’s an addiction, pure and simple. It’s digital crystal meth. In fact, it was one of the key factors in my decision to want to get the hell out of Iowa. The moment I couldn’t get wireless broadband, that pretty much tipped the scales. And deprivation right now is truly pissing me off. Not to mention the fact that it makes my job here a great deal more difficult than it should be. When one is trolling for wrestling news, it helps to be able to do it quickly, especially when you’re doing an early-morning column again like I am right now. It’s not a One-Hour Special ™ per se, but it’s still a get-up-at-oh-dark-thirty, put-on-a-pot-of-coffee, troll-sites type of mild inconvenience, and it’s made more frustrating when the troll-sites thing is delayed enough that you can’t establish a good enough stream-of-consciousness flow to really get the column going.
(Okay, 40K is acceptable…well, not acceptable on a supposed local call, but still reasonable.)
All I can do is try.
(By the way, as per advertising.com’s sidebar sweepstakes, my answers are yes, yes, and two.)
THE PIMP SECTION
Haley and I agree on a number of issues regarding Raw. I don’t know if that’ll scare him or what.
Williams imports his post-mortem of the weekend’s events.
Nason has the scoop from all the indies, and I’ve been negligent in pimping him for the past few months. So let me try to make it up: Josh is a fantastic writer and deserves all the hits he can get. Plus, you get to learn something.
Sometimes I get confused between Chris and Matthew Michaels. They’ve even called me out on it. Look, it’s like trying to figure out which member of Heart is Ann Wilson and which one’s Nancy. All I know is that this column’s by Chris.
(By the way, back in college, I knew a guy who was a Heart Fanatic (and this was while they were trolling for a record contract), and he had a button explaining the difference between Ann and Nancy viz. hair color. I can’t remember exactly what the button said after twenty years of confused mental processes. I think it was “Ann’s the brunette, Nancy’s the blonde”. All I know is that I still can’t remember which is which.)
And, of course, Gamble. He needs nothing more than just to be his artery-cleared self, but I will say this: I have a giggle every time that some news organization says that a reporter’s been “inserted” into a unit. I know that when I was in, I felt like the Army was inserting something into me.
OH, GOD, NOT ANOTHER RATINGS-RELATED RANT…
Sorry, can’t do it this week. Gamble already did, and did it more eloquently than I could at this moment, so that shoots down about five paragraphs of total bile. All I can say is this: if they can’t get more than a 3.7 the night after WM with every mark in the known universe prepped for Goldberg’s return, they’re beyond f*cked. God help us all if the ratings go up next week, because the last thing I want to see Kevin Nash be able to claim is that he puts asses in seats.
As for Gamble’s question, I’ll take a shot: “OMR” on Austin’s tights obviously stands for “Off to My Remand”.
AND IT’S PUNISHMENT TIME…
“You used an adjective in the news header section describing ratings again.”
“I thought you forgot about that during your hiatus.”
“I never forget about anything. I told you not to do that.”
“But the ratings were disapp…”
“No adjectives. I said that. I mean that.”
“But it is the truth, and I’m sure you want us to be professional about things. That’s what Widro said you were, professional…”
“Professionality does not prevent me from doing certain things. Like pretending that you’re an employee of Comcast.”
“Oh, God, you’re that pissed?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m that pissed. Look, just because someone else thinks that ratings are disappointing doesn’t mean that we have to. Why not do something like this next week: ‘Raw’s ratings dropped again, and we at 411 are dancing for joy and preparing to urinate on the grave of WWE.'”
“We can’t do…”
“Yes, we can, and it’ll be fun. Try it for once.”
“Does that mean you’re not going to hit me right now?”
“I was never going to hit you.”
(Audible sigh of relief)
“Do this again, and I’ll ‘insert’ you into a unit of horny mechanized infantry who haven’t had a shower since the conflict began. From the mechanized infantry guys I knew, I seem to remember that they like pretty boys like you who use adjectives in headers. Oh, yeah, don’t bother bringing any Ass Cream ™. They like to use engine oil from Bradleys.”
(Audible muffled sounds of weeping)
SMACKDOWN SOMEWHAT SPOILED
You know, I get about one to two whiny e-mails a week about S-Cubed saying “We want to be surprised with what happens on Smackdown, so don’t write this.” Let me tell you people this: not everyone has access to a UPN affiliate. A lot of people watch Smackdown on up to a three-day delay (and as I discovered in the bowels of hell, some people don’t get SD at all). Now that baseball season has started, there’s going to be a lot more people in this category because too many UPN affiliates, whether official or unofficial, will preempt SD (in fact, we started compiling a list of them at The Smarks last year, and the major cities included on it were amazing, and that’s not including the overseas purchasers who get SD on as much as a week’s delay). When those people wake up Friday morning and hit the web sites, what do they see? Smackdown recaps with headers that tend to describe the action. All I’m doing is pushing the process forward by two days. So, you selfish bitches, shut up.
Besides, I try to be as oblique as possible. It’s actually fun sometimes to find ways to disguise what happens but communicate a sense of it.
Oh, God, we’re starting with a Bitch of the Baskervilles promo. That should allow me to get a good nine in on Links by the time that’s done.
You know, after the experience with being Kevin Nash’s lawn dart, Rey-Rey should know to stay away from guys around six-ten or so who won’t sell because they’re the dog with the big nuts backstage.
Memo to Michael Cole: Ask various and sundry NFL quarterbacks if concussions aren’t serious or career-threatening before trying to “reassure” the audience about Lesnar’s health. Stupid little bitch. Maybe I should “insert” him instead of Ashish into the unit with the horny mech infantry guys.
Roddy Piper has to be the human lumber yard. He’s burned more bridges than the Wehrmacht during WWII and he keeps being able to rebuild them. Even if “Piper’s Pit” is coming back, we aren’t going to get transcendent moments like Jimmy Snuka meeting a coconut. It’s a nostalgia draw just like Hogan. The problem here is that if you keep looking backward, you’re not going to see something in front of you that’s going to knock you on your ass.
See above re: Roddy Piper viz. Jimmy Hart. Look, “Keep On Dancing” was almost forty years ago. Stop sucking on the Gentrys’ dead tit, Jimmy, or for that matter, Hogan’s dead tit. You know, considering how often I hear that song on oldies radio stations, he should be able to live comfortably off royalties for the rest of his life.
(Yes, I know how the music industry works, but I don’t let facts get in the way of a good joke.)
So what did Our Lord and Savior do now to merit a match with the Human Chia Pet? Actually, thinking about this, I am relatively deprived in the area where Albert seems the most capable, and I wouldn’t mind a little bit of an exchange: Albert’s back to my chest. It’ll solve both our problems.
Please refresh my memory: at one time, wasn’t Yoshihiro Tajiri getting a major push to put him in the upper-mid-card? Whatever happened to that?
Speaking of looking at the past, maybe they’re a little myopic in that area too, since they rip off a routine from Raw for use here as well.
And that’s it for that. Enjoy the show.
MEMO TO STEVE WILLIAMS
If you’re stressed out and depressed over everything, let me give you the number of my shrink. God knows that he fixes me up good for that stuff.
RIPOSTE TO THE TORCH
Let me break down my reactions to various and sundry quotes in the Torch story on Goldberg’s redebut:
Many backstage became concerned during the Rock’s promo due to the fact that he was getting face reactions.
YOU were? Do you know how hard it is to break habits? I have to prevent myself from hitting the “f” “l” “e” and “x” keys every time I see the guy. And now the imbecilic marks almost made me fulfill the caveat to my deal. AA member, meet shot of Bacardi 151.
There was even talk of giving Goldberg more mic time, but WWE eventually decided that his strengths are in his intensity, and having him try to cut a promo against the Rock would only make him look bad and take away from his mystique.
That and the fact that Mr. Johnson tends to make people look like his bitch if they’re given mic time against him, especially in their debut (see Irvine, Chris). You want to piss away a mega-push, just have the mega-pushee cut promos against him. That’ll kill any heat they have.
WWE remains somewhat concerned that the fans won’t really remember or care about Goldberg since his history is exclusively with WCW.
Which was getting a huge crossover audience with Nitro into Raw. Let’s also remember Vince’s famous “Who the hell wants the guys from WCW?” promo and recall the massive “Goldberg” chant when Vince mentioned his name. Gee, you think the WWE audience doesn’t know who he is?
And as for that general issue, if someone’s history is exclusively with WCW, why the hell does Booker keep bringing up the “five-time” thing? The only other times belts in another federation are alluded to these days are the occasions when Ross does an aside to the plethora of tag titles the Dudleys won in ECW.
As for the backstage response, Goldberg is already rubbing people the wrong way with how he carried himself.
Okay, is anyone surprised at this? He let his push go to his head back in WCW and started behaving like a prima donna. The amount of disk space wasted on this issue at the time would have choked a corporate server.
Of course, Goldberg is used to heavy politics backstage since he rose to stardom in WCW at a time when the backstage scene was out of control.
And having Kevin Nash backstage really helped that. Jesus, I’d consider Goldberg’s behavior a reflex action to Nash being there. Let’s expand that out in the obvious direction: Nash is butt buddies with Trip. Trip has Steph moaning and groaning. Steph talks Vince into anything. How exactly is this different from Nash doing his “big swinging dick” routine, and Page being Bisch’s neighbor and wife-swapping partner, and Hogan virtually blackmailing Bisch with that contract that gave Hogan creative control over his own booking and that of 50% of WCW? Just the number of people involved.
But there certainly is a pall over the locker room when it comes to booking. Why do you think Flair wants to get back in the ring so badly? It’s because he’s being booked as Trip’s Best Buddy and has to wear a horrendous hairstyle (albeit that this happened due to the injuries to Orton and Batista, except for the hairstyle part). Goldie was there when Booker was getting the last-gasp push from WCW (ending Bret Hart’s career, if memory serves), and he knew that Booker carried it well. Now he comes to WWE and looks at him getting buried by Trip (and let’s not be mistaken, it is a burial; see Jacobs, Glen and Czaplinski, Rob). He sees Chris Jericho being jacked around three and a half years after his arrival, yo-yoing from midcard to upper-card (and don’t talk to me about the Unified Title run; that was a complete joke). He sees Big Sump Pump f*ck up his two tries to stay in the upper-card and knows that he has less wrestling talent than even that waste of oxygen. Goldie should be terrified. He’s got a big-ass contract that he has to justify. If he can’t put asses in seats and get ratings up, especially in this particular program, he’s generally f*cked (see Wight, Paul).
You know, I’ve changed my mind. Reaction to fear in all creatures is divided into two general categories: fight or flight. A long time ago, Goldie chose fight, and the way he decided to do it is to become Queen Bitch of the Locker Room. This situation causes fear. His behavior is his reaction. This goes all the way down to the R-complex, and the fact that Goldie’s gut behavior was triggered tells you everything about the WWE locker room that you need to know.
WWE management has been trying hard to impress him with the company’s professionalism compared to WCW,
I’ll pause for a second while every smark in the audience can laugh their ass off.
Again, hope you’re not injured (by the way, my ribs are still hurting a bit after three weeks; I think I broke one, but it’ll heal).
but the bickering over what he would do in his debut pretty much ruined that.
And they ended up screwing the pooch (or the Bitch of the Baskervilles, as the case may be) on everything, from blowing the surprise factor to not having him use the Jackhammer. And you’re surprised and shocked that Goldie started pushing his weight around right away? He’s showing that he won’t submit to the bullshit known as WWE Booking. He’s been watching the shows, you just know it. He’s been through the Summer Of Suck and doesn’t want a repeat of Kevin Nash having any influence over the book. He doesn’t want to have to go through a burial, or a necrophilia angle, or being in a program with the Living Heat Sink long enough to have his push experience a hideous end.
So, anyone in the WWE locker room who spent any time in WCW should know what he’s doing. Most of all, they should approve of it. He’s the only one standing up to the power structure at this moment; he’s doing it in a manner which may be unprofessional even by the lowered standards of WWE, but he’s doing it, and that counts for something. Look at how the most combative people in the locker room have been tamed by Vince: Bischoff, neutered and not allowed to have any part of the book (and they could use a Bisch untainted by having to cater to everyone in the locker room, except for Trip, of course). Heyman, neutered. Austin, three strikes, you’re out, and the count’s at 0-2. Undertweener, playing good corporate lackey. Mr. Johnson, biding his time until his next movie job and staying on good behavior in order not to get the wrong image in Hollyweird. Trip, p-whipped. Michaels, staying under the radar for fear of blowing his born-again image (although I think it is serious conviction on his part that he’s found Jeebus). Nash…we’ll see. Anyone else who complains, goodbye push. Goldie has shown that he’s not going to be trampled, and if anyone has their feelings hurt by it, tough shit.
Let’s hope the rest of the locker room takes a cue from this. If the egos can be set aside for a moment and the situation analyzed by the talent, maybe they can take action against the creative disaster that WWE’s experienced for the last two years. It’s doubtful, but it’s good to see someone playing Howard Beale, even if it is unconsciously. I wish he’d done it another way, but we can live with this for now.
And that’s it for me this week. I’m sorry if you’re not able to get through to my e-mail, but it’s screwed along with the rest of my account. Wait until Friday or Saturday to do so if you wish. I’ll be back in six days. Until then, pray for my cable modem account.