The Little Things 10.15.03: Austin, Rosey, Jericho And More


I’m working double duty this week, but like I said on Sunday, I did not fail to entertain Hyatte’s readers. I will certainly not fail my own readers, either.

Let’s do this.

Obligatory Opening Paragraph About Football

Virginia loses on the road to Clemson in OT. This not only costs us in the conference standings but, according to rumor, cost us the pleasure of having ESPN broadcast from Charlottesville for this week’s night game vs. Florida State.

The ‘Skins put no pass rush on Brad Johnson and were consequently picked apart like a Thanksgiving turkey in the 2nd half of their loss to Tampa, a team that I cannot stand.

My fantasy team was up by about 15 on Elliot Smilowitz’s team until Torry Holt unleashed about 20 total points on the Falcons last night.

Goodbye, cruel world.

Less Than Jake

This entry from reader Byron Kerr is not only extremely well-written, but a great example of a mid-card wrestler that made an impression with the fans throughout his career. A couple of these memories, especially the snakebite on a defenseless Randy Savage, still resonate with me today. I’ll even allow Byron to go over 5 so that he can share a house show memory with us since he did such a thorough job:

Jake Roberts embodies one of the ultimate paradoxes in the history of wrestling. One of the most effective and charismatic heels in the annals of wrestling, his personal demons destroyed many attempted pushes. Rising to the height of his popularity in the 80s, during Vince McMahon’s global empire building operation, the Snake instantly became my personal favourite. While Hogan preached to his Hulkamanaics, the Ultimate Warrior shook the ring ropes, Ricky Steamboat melodramatically oversold each and every move and Randy Savage macho mannerisms bordered on a cartoon villainy, there, entrenched solidly in the mix of the machinations and schemes plotted the Machiavellian mastermind Jake Roberts.

1)Thinking Evil. While many heels were monsters or crazy or cowardly, the Snake was the polar opposite. Cruel and thinking, nasty and vicious, he left no doubt that each and every move and attack had been plotted to inflict maximum hurt. Dante wrote that there are two kinds of crimes; crimes of the body and crimes of the mind. Crimes of the mind ranked the more evil in Dante’s hierarchy, none ever approached the mind crimes of which Jake Roberts proved himself capable of unfolding upon his hapless victims.
A sample of the Snake’s plots; training the Ultimate Warrior in dark workings
against the Undertaker, burying the Warrior up to his neck in a graveyard and then attacking him with a shovel, desecrating Randy Savage and Elizabeth’s in-ring marriage by setting a cobra upon Savage, the cobra struck and sunk the ‘venomous fangs’ into Savage’s arm, a ringrail hopping, steel chair brutalization, culminating with a DDT upon it, of WCW’s supremely popular Sting…

2)The DDT. Now the DDT has de-evolved into the third move of the match, or
a desperation move to fend of a near-victory opponent, or a near fall that no one believes will secure the victory, not so when the Snake hooked in the move that signaled The End. He invented and perfected the move. Nothing fancy, but a move that when delivered equaled a victory for the Snake. A move so successful and so simple that it is now used by virtually every wrestler and sports entertainer. Of added note, Roberts’ hand twirl to
back slap, instantly the audience knew what was coming and reacted loudly and passionately. His short-arm clothesline and running knee lift also bear mention, both were used to lead up to the DDT, three simple but effective moves that were all definitively the Snake’s signatures.

3)Saturday Night’s Main Event. My favourite televised memory of Roberts comes from an early SNME. Roberts and Steamboat engaged in a legendary feud, and on this night the Snake entered first, the Dragon second. Steamboat stood on the apron and turned to wave to his loud and adoring fans when Roberts jumped the Dragon from behind. One short-armed clothesline knocked Steamboat to the floor, a DDT on the concrete killed the Dragon dead! To further humiliate the Dragon, Roberts rolled Ricky back into the ring and draped Damien, his pet python, all over the Dragon. All the while I remember howling with laughter as Bobby the Brain Heenan asked “I smell pineapple juice, does anyone else smell pineapple juice?” Oh, and one week later, the thick blue mats synonymous with 80s WWF surrounded the ring.

4)Ring Entrance. Jake slithered in to and out of the ring by sliding under the bottom ring rope and pulling himself across the canvas by his hands, his legs pressed together, like a snake’s tail. The effect was unique and electrifying. Here, clearly slithered an individual who did not conform to the normal rules of humanity.

5) House Show. Yes, I got to see Jake Roberts wrestle once at the Pacific Coliseum. His feud with Andre the Giant came perhaps a few years too late and with the wrong allegiances. Andre the heel and Jake the face? A nothing feud, a forgettable match, save for one searingly bright spot. Someone closer to the ring than I tossed a rubber snake into the ring, Jake scooped it up and hurled it at the snake-fearing Giant! And god bless his soul, Andre sold it as though Damien had coiled his sinewy coils around him. The
entire arena laughed with pleasure.

6) Austin 3:16. Yes, you read that right. Austin 3:16. During one of Roberts’ final runs with the company, this time as a reformed, Bible-quoting face, Jake managed to earn himself a berth in the finals of the King of the Ring against a man known as Steve Austin. Austin’s victory virtually assured as Stone Cold hit his stride as a super-cool heel and Vader decimated Roberts in the semi-finals. The match itself remains forgettable,
Austin’s interview the next night on Raw however is indelibly imprinted on most of
North America’s conscious, as during the speech, Austin stated “Austin 3:16 reads I just kicked your ass!” And Stone Cold rocketed into the pantheon of wrestling.

Readers’ Picks: War Zone

Unforgiven was the last report I did, so let’s return there for this week’s pick. Reader Sean Lucas picks up on yet another example of Jericho being on his toes during his vignettes:
Just a small thing or two I noticed in the Y2J/La Resistance backstage filiming.
When Y2J came in he said “You guys look like you’ve been in a war…”
I’m not sure if this was on purpose or not, but it did make me laugh, what with France’s track record etc…

This will show up again in the column. Jericho is just that good.

Readers’ Picks II: Call To Arms

411’s own Flea checked in this week with something he caught while watching the HBK-Bret Hart Iron Man Match. His observation is significant for two reasons. First, when you use the Little Things approach it not only makes the current product a little more interesting and fun to watch, but it also allows you to appreciate things from previous matches that you may not have noticed. Secondly, what he picked out is a prime example of why Bret Hart is still sorely missed by a lot of fans:
I happened to be watching HBK vs. Bret Iron Man for the umpteenth time (HBK DVD – highly recommended) and notice at about the 30 minute mark that HBK (after using cool submissions to work over Bret’s LEFT arm), applies another hold to his RIGHT arm, causing Bret to give him a heavy piece of his mind, until HBK gets the hint and goes back to the correct arm. Not long after that, HBK sandbags him on a bodyslam, causing more jaw jacking, etc. I’ve watched that match who knows how many times and never noticed that.
You know what comes next. Here is the Little Five for RAW 10.13.03:

1. Possible Little Thing Of The Year

Ken Anderson, who is one of my favorite writers at this site, wrote in his most recent special that the fans must find ways to interact during matches in order to get excited about what is going on. He is absolutely correct and not just because at the end of that argument he states that little things must be done in order to achieve this.

Steve Austin understands this concept. You may not like him because he beats his wife, or takes his ball home or encourages young people to drink, but the man knows how to work a crowd. His catchphrases, while grating to the nerves to some, get the majority of fans into his character and a lot of his mannerisms accomplish the same mission. Last night, Austin created yet another one in the form of his leaning his jaw out and daring a wrestler to provoke him. This motion is going to garner pops. It will be done repeatedly. The fans will react. He knows what he is doing.

The real little thing though is what he does after the punch from Steiner. That smile is the perfect reaction to Austin getting his green light. Like I said on Sunday, a smile goes a long way.

2. Second Place

That was also a pretty funny smile from Rosey as Austin walked by him in the phone booth. The timing was there, which apparently is the little thing that has made the Rock such a breakout star in the Rundown. This stuff can matter down the road, is all I’m saying.

3. Ramble On

Reader Ryan McGovern picks up on the irony and wit of Jericho. I told you it would come up again:

there was a good Little Thing from Jericho tonight right off the bat… Him saying “I don’t want to be redundant… and repeat myself” twice was pretty damn funny.

4. Bitter Beer Face

Speaking of the Rundown, I have always gotten a laugh out of the facial expressions of Sean William Scott. Dude, Where’s My Car was a pretty shitty movie, but that chipmunk-like expression on Scott’s face really makes you believe he is either completely clueless or smelling a fart. The same could be said of Rob Conway after Booker planted him through that table. Did you see that face? It was more hilarious and more French than almost anything his teammates have done recently. Like he had smelled some bad bleu cheese.

5. Chased Away

From the old school file, I was glad to see Scott Steiner chase away the ringside timekeeper from his chair. Maybe I just haven’t seen it in awhile, but that old-fashioned brand of bullying is a pretty effective heel tactic. It’s also funny because Steiner is your classic take your lunch money type of bully. Lesnar could be the same thing over on Smackdown.

Keep the entries, observations and comments coming. See ya next week!