Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 04.08.03

Oh, but if my voice could only move the heart!
Why else this barren passion in my breast should burn
But for this awesome gift of speech bestowed on me by fate?

– Alexander Pushkin

Sable?  Rena Fucking Mero?  Who the hell broke the Elder Sign that should have kept her imprisoned for all eternity?

Jesus, and I thought Piper was bad.  This is infinitely worse.  Oh, dear God, why did I live to see this?  If you’re going to be feuding her with Wilson over the Playboy shit, why the hell not bring back Joanie Laurer and do a three-way (no, not in that way; that’ll end up making half the heterosexual male audience thinking that men aren’t so bad after all)?  There are lots of reasons why I want to beat my head against a wall.  I don’t need another one.

There’s a grand total of two winners in this situation:  the IWC, since we have something new to bitch about, and Trip, since we’re getting off his ass for a while.

I know that Keith doesn’t want this, and out of respect for him, I won’t mention her name, but why not bring her back too?  Heyman would do it in an instant if he was still in charge of Smackdown’s booking.  He’d also make sure to do it in Philly, just to guarantee that “She’s a crack whore” would become a worldwide chant in a week (Look, if “What?” was able to make it…you know, speaking of “worldwide”, I’d like to just stick to this continent for a second.  Can someone tell me how to say “She’s a crack whore” in French for the benefit of our friends in Montreal?  And for that matter, Spanish as well?  The only part I can pretty much do on that one is “puta”.).  Besides, if you bring ECW continuity into it, she’s got an insta-feud with Dawn Marie, who needs to do something now that the Wilson feud’s blown off.

For that matter, let’s go all the way.  How about talking to Rob Black about bringing in his porn stars?  WWE should be desperate enough to try HLA again.  For that matter, how about Missy Hyatt?  There’s enough young guys in the locker room that she hasn’t f*cked or blown yet.  The older guys can brief them on her and inform them about how many condoms to wear.  You want a scary thought?  Missy and Brock Lesnar.  Here’s a scarier one:  Missy and Albert.  “Oh, honey, I just LOVE guys with lots of back hair.”…

…you know, I think I’m on the verge of talking myself out of heterosexuality.  Let’s just move on.

THE PIMP SECTION

I normally don’t start with an offsite pimp, but this one deserves it.  Matthew Michaels (or is it Chris?…no, it’s Matt) has…well, let me tell you in his own words:

I seem to have met a quasi-“inside source” who asked me to post some columns of his or her up on my site (which isn’t wrestling-related).  A former WCW employee who was there for the waning months of the company is contributing a four-part series of columns to moodspins.com on the state of the industry, and the scary track that WWE seems to be on.  Columns can be found each Monday in April.

And where they can be found?  Right here. Oh, this is worth it. The Quasi-Insider brings out some points about WM that pretty much everyone’s written, but this one’s so full of bile that, compared to him/her/it, I’m Rob Van Dam. And next week, it’s the Trip Special. This should get good.

Here’s Nason with his latest indy update. I’m making sure I pimp him since I keep forgetting to do it.

Nobody pimps Livingston, and since I think he deserves it, he gets pimped. My column, my rules.

AT LEAST ONE VINCE IS SANE

Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, head of the Genovese family, was finally declared sane enough to stand trial after pretending he’s been batshit for over a decade and a half. This isn’t fair. If you’re going to put that much effort into pretending you’re senile and mentally corrupted, you have to get some reward. Besides, the guy’s in his 70s. Who knows if he’s sane or just suffering from senile dementia? Okay, so he got caught talking with his son while in the clink about the family’s next moves. But so what? We’ve lost John Gotti, so The Chin’s antics were the most entertaining thing left in the Noo Yawk crime scene. Look, if Jon Stewart can get a show on Comedy Central, why not The Chin? Or how about following Dennis Miller’s lead and put him on Monday Night Football? If anyone can shut Madden up, it’s The Chin. “You say ‘Boom!’ once more, and you get whacked. Got it?” Or maybe he can add a little cinema verite to The Sopranos, or even push Stacker 2 for WWE. He should be getting a lot of offers from Hollywood, not languishing in prison for the rest of his life.

(Longtime readers will know that, being a good Chicagoan, I have a lot of sympathy for the Outfit and I definitely won’t say anything bad about them. So if you’re shocked, SHOCKED, that I’d support Organized Crime, don’t be.)

I’LL SUPPORT MICHAEL MOORE TOO

If you’re still pissed off about what Moore said at the Academy Awards, wait until you see what his next project is. My fascist bud John King sent me a link that states that Moore is starting work on “Fahrenheit 911”. It’s going to be a look at the Bush family connections to Osama bin Laden, among other things. It’s expected to be in theaters just in time for next year’s elections.

Oh, this is brilliant. Talk about striking while the iron’s hot. You want one calculated move to piss off the GOP, this is it. Total propaganda fodder, which the Demos are going to need if the post-conflict hangover doesn’t wear off in time. It’s now come to the point where I’d approve of anything that gets that moronic puppet out of the White House on January 20th, 2005.

PANKONIN AND I AGREE ON SOMETHING?

First of all, Chris, don’t worry about opinion in the news column. Even Ashish does it. Like I have a case for Gimmick Infringement against you if you do.

Now, as per what you wrote, yeah, you make a good case for not worrying about ratings. That’s why I keep going on about not bothering with the adjectives to describe them. Just put the numbers up, no commentary, perhaps do a two-month track so we can tell if there’s trends (not just last week’s numbers; that just gives me more justification for the Two-Week Pop ™ theory). This is why I bring attention to this by using devices such as Ashish, mechanized infantry, and anal sex (see last Wednesday’s column).

(Speaking of that…RAW will go head-to-head tonight with the NCAA Championship basketball game. That could cause a lower than usual rating. – the Observer. That’s it. I’m going to punch Da Meltz into another time zone.)

Now, as to your assertions about Trip…you know, Chris, I’ve heard this before. All the justifications you used to absolve Trip of his sins were also used to absolve Flex of his sins, courtesy of the unwashed brainwashed. I didn’t buy it then. I don’t really buy it now. The guy’s got an established rap sheet of putting himself above the organization. If he spent a little energy on strengthening WWE instead of taking rides on Nash’s Ego Dildo ™, maybe he’d see that there’s a synergistic effect, and that he’d gain from it as well. Make Raw a stronger show by putting the focus on other people, creating a more substantial cast, and the audience will come back, and that means more people can catch his act.

What he’s doing is promoting a continuation of the attitude that’s killing WWE: milk the cash cows and keep milking them, and not give a damn about the rest of the herd. Trip can be a good dose of bull semen for the younger guys, and his little mini-feud with Helms shows that he can do it if he wants to. Speaking of semen, he could also use his to convince a certain other person that it’d be a good idea to divert some of the activity that’s being used on Smackdown to promote younger talent to Raw.

Raw is really stuck in a major rut right now. They’re overutilizing nostalgia to try to get an audience to watch, whether older (Michaels, Flair, Goldust) or more recent (Big Sump Pump, Goldberg, even Booker). The nostalgia factor is the underpinning of Raw; they’ve tried and failed to push people, only to run them face-first into the glass ceiling (Jericho, Van Dam, Kane). Now look at Smackdown. Hogan and Piper are novelty acts, and they’re treated as such. The underpinning to SD is a group of younger stars and slightly older established and well-known upper-mid-carders to provide an audience hook to promote the newbies. They’ve also promoted those people correctly to the audience, utilizing prime slots to showcase their talent. They’ve also been (un)lucky in that injuries have given guys certain chances they might not have had otherwise; sometimes being snakebitten is good. Luck is one thing; skill gives more concrete benefits.

If Trip is really the power broker behind Raw, he can promote the same thing that’s making Smackdown a winner among the smark and mark audiences. That he’s not doing so is a major problem.

(Wait a minute, didn’t I say earlier that the IWC, which includes me, will be getting off Trip’s ass courtesy of Sable coming back? So I lied. Sue me.)

SINCE I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT ONE WAR, LET’S TALK ABOUT ANOTHER…

Bret Hart is considering coming back to WWE? What the hell? We’re just supposed to forget about five and a half years of sniping, mostly from Bret’s side? We’re just supposed to forget about his bitching and moaning over “adult” storylines (even though he was the one willing to do the obscenity-laced tirade on Raw)? We’re supposed to forget his implications that WWE policy was a major factor in Owen’s death? We’re supposed to forget that WWE’s last chance at money, Bill Goldberg, essentially put Bret out of wrestling?

Yeah, yeah, we remember that stuff, and I’m starting to sound like Sean Shannon during his worst anti-Bret days. But the marks don’t. Most of them don’t even remember Bret, which means that WWE can do a sell job on him any way they wish. Mentor to Chris Benoit, perhaps, given the Dungeon training? I dunno. All I know is that, if it happens, they’re going to f*ck it up like everything else they’ve done, acknowledging that Goldberg’s still in process.

WWE held out an olive branch to Bret during Raw Tenth in the form of nominating him for Wrestler of the Decade, and it looks like Bret’s responding with positive statements about WM and saying he likes the current direction. How can he be liking the current direction given his public statements about the Russo-fied Raw? In the last six months, we’ve had a necrophilia angle, Dawn Marie stripping Al Wilson down to his underwear at their wedding (as well as a catfight during his wake), and a racism angle aborted at the last minute by rare signs of good taste. Isn’t this stuff the antithesis of what Bret was talking about?

The only thing I can think of that might have slanted his decision was the hype and care that Hogan/Vince at WM was given (and if the guys backstage thought it was great, then odds are that Bret, as an experienced wrestler and Sports Entertainer, did as well). Giving Hogan the spotlight and bringing back Piper were good signs for Bret’s treatment should he return. If Bret’s given to Raw with its weaker writing staff, he can write his own ticket. However, there’s a major problem with him being back on Raw. Three major problems, actually.

Their names are Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Trip. We of the IWC sure as hell remember the mid-90s, when Bret was given the reins but had the leather cut off courtesy of the Clique* and their stampede over the book. Nash coming back as Diesel has to terrify Bret on some R-complex level, a bad sign of the past. And then there’s Trip and his penile-induced influence over the whole direction the organization’s taking, and his care and feeding of Michaels. Can Bret stand the fact that history may be repeating itself on a different level?

And what would Raw do with him, hook him up with Jericho, Christian, Storm, and Morley to create a Canadian version of the Horsemen, perhaps recycling what they were going to do with Evolution but couldn’t due to Orton and Batista going out (even better, in fact; all five of them can cut decent-to-great promos)? Would Bret want to come back as a heel? Well, not straight off. Give him a few weeks as a face, then have him do the turn. I can’t think of anything else that’s immediately obvious, especially if he’s in no fit condition to wrestle.

So let’s put him on Smackdown instead. What does he do there? Managing Benoit is obvious. Maybe seducing Team Angle into joining up with him in order to reverse Kurt’s brainwashing (gives them a leg up on the card and some visibility while Kurt’s out)? Take over from Hogan and feud with Vince (oh, the smark value of that one is off the scales)? I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head. And if I can’t, the shit-for-brains creative staff at WWE sure as hell can’t.

So Bret comes back. He essentially finds himself in the same situation that he did when he went to WCW: big hype followed by jack shit to do. Would he want to do this? You know, I hope he’s doing it for the money or some other cynical excuse, because if he’s doing this for some noble reason like wanting to see his career end in a blaze of glory like Hogan’s, it’s not going to. I don’t want to see Bret end off like that. It was bad enough the way it happened the first time. Bret, if you’re reading this, please, reconsider.

(* – “Clique” is the proper term for the backstage cabal with those three guys, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman. “Kliq” was Michaels’ name for his fans, throwing a bone to the smarks. You don’t know how annoying it is for me to read otherwise perfectly good columnists who blow that one.)

And speaking of blowing…

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Trish Stratus over Jazz, Women’s Title Match (Pinfall, Stratusfaction): This match won the trifecta: slow-moving and dull, telegraphed, and calculated. Oh, gee, let’s have a feud between Trish and Jazz that starts with the heel getting screwed by having her foot on the ropes when pinned. Yeah, I know, they’re trying to initiate feuds in new ways, but that just seems…well, wrong. And Jazz teaming up with the Angry Negroes doesn’t help the situation.

Sean Morley over Rob Van Dam (Pinfall, DDT): Yet another chapter in the long-drawn-out affair between three tag teams that no one gives a damn about. The only entertainment that could have been drawn out of this match was Van Dam’s high spots, and those were grounded due to the need to have Lance Storm interfere (no problem with him interfering; the more Storm, the better, I say). Thank God I have a book near me for moments like these.

Big Sump Pump over Chris Harvard, Apparently a Falls Count Anywhere Match (Submission, Steiner Recliner): Five-cheese ravioli swimming in marinara, fresh-baked Italian Herb bread still hot…oh, the match. Who cares?

The Rock over Jeff Hardy (Pinfall, uranage): Sometimes I think that Oedipus had the right idea. The problem is that I don’t have a brooch on me.

Buh Buh Ray and D-Von Dudley over Kane, Handicap Match (Pinfall, D-Von pins Kane, 3-D): You know, for a midcard tag angle, this thing’s getting a lot of airplay. I don’t mind if this is an elevation for some people involved, but it’s just Sign #79283748 of creative bankruptcy on the part of WWE that this angle not only has lasted this long, but is even taking place. I just feel bad for the people involved, because in one way, shape, or form, I like all of them. Please give them something better than this soon.

Goldust over Steven Richards (Pinfall, powerslam): Time-burner, pure and simple. Nothing to talk about, nothing to say, not even about the faked breakup/foreplay of Richards and Victoria.

Booker T and Shawn Michaels over Trip and Chris Jericho (Pinfall, Booker pins Trip, bridge rollup): This is the pitfall of being a smark. All of us were waiting for Nash to walk in, so attention was drawn away from the match. It wasn’t too bad of a match either; a bit formulaic, but the performances were good enough. As for Nash, he’s got the Diesel music, but I don’t think he’s going to use the Diesel name. It took a while for WWE to get Paul Wight to be converted to The Big Show, and they were working with “virgin” product there (“virgin” for the WWF audience, that is). Diesel was too long ago to take advantage of, and most of today’s audience only knows him as Kevin Nash. I wouldn’t bother if I were them. Just put him in the role of Michaels’ protector and go with that.

Angle Developments:

You Ungrateful Bitches: Raw and the Raw Brand are in the area again, and WWE didn’t comp me again (remember, each act of failing to do so causes ratings and revenue to drop even further). Neither did any of you. This pisses me off. Please don’t do that.

“Anti-American Statement”?!: What kind of f*cking drugs are you on, Ross? Nowinski said nothing remotely anti-American. What he said, in case your ears filled with Jingo Wax ((tm)…hey, if I’m doing Ass Cream ™ and Ego Dildo ™, I might as well get this trademarked too) at the moment when something Not The Party Line was said, was that America tends to get egotistical about their might, and when that happens, America is vulnerable. That is, as Nowinski said, a correct statement. If you think that’s wrong, let me say one word to you: “Vietnam”. Maybe it would have been better if he’d cited examples instead of just blathering on about the First Amendment. Just goes to show you that even a Harvard education is sliding downhill these days.

Perceiving The Near-Future: What’s going to be the stip for the The Rock/Goldberg match at Backlash? First person to sell a move loses?

Lysistrata: If a week is a long time for Test, it must certainly be a long time for you, My Beautiful and Beloved. Since you’re going to be in the area, you know you’re always welcome to stop by for a hot cup of Eric to melt away the cold and wet snow.

JERICHO READS ME!: I’ve been using “Trip” for a couple years now (and was the first columnist to do so on a regular basis), and Mistah Irvine has just came to my final justification on this issue. One mention of it, and I’m suddenly a vanguard prophet again. God bless you, Chris.

The Ravin’ Cajun’s Insightful Observation: “Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Booker T and Chris Jericho in the ring at the end of the show. Goldberg standing there silent during his time in the ring. Bisch doing his smarmy asshole thing like the pro he is. Yeah, it’s 1998 again… in Atlanta. Christ, when did RAW officially become Nitro?” It hasn’t officially become Nitro yet, Beau, not while the ratings are still above a 3. However, if next week, Tony Schiavone shows up next to Lawler, I’d pretty much consider it a done deal.

Actually, I was thinking that Bisch’s calling Ross to the platform would be the moment that Nash would come out. It’d be obvious to powerbomb Ross through the announce table at that point and really make the smarks overflow their drool cups.

And that’ll be it for me today. Tomorrow…hmm, definitely Mailbag, but I’m not sure what else. Maybe something will turn up, who knows? Until then, have a good one.