The Voice Of Reason News Hour 11.14.03

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Hello! It’s Friday, I’m Widro, and this is the News Hour. It’s been an interesting week in WWE, and we still have Survivor Series to come on Sunday. Plus the Hot Seat with Ashish, more on my Mario 3 review, and wait ’till you see what Hyatte said about Eric S to me in private. I’ll post that later in the column.

I’m already running way late, so let’s get crackin’.

The Land Of McMahon
Well it turns out that the hubbub was true, and WWE edited out John Cena’s F-U on Chris Benoit on Smackdown last night. I think it’s a good decision, because muddying Cena’s face push at this critical point would be cutting off his legs, and it’s obvious he is one of WWE’s top two prospects (at least in the eyes of management).

One has to wonder if Michael Hayes is trying to be fired. First he made an ass out of himself at the wedding, and now he was reportedly behind this Cena F-U fiasco. For those who did not hear, apparently Hayes lobbyed to Vince McMahon to have Cena turn on Benoit after the match and hit him with an F-U, making Cena a StoneCold-like anti-face. Hayes claimed that the whole lockerroom was with him, and then later told the lockerroom that Vince was all for the idea. Looks like WWE officials caught on, because it was later cut from the Smackdown broadcast.

Don’t rule out the possibility that this was a test to see how the internet would react too, I feel like Vince does stuff like that even despite his supposed hatred of the web.

Elsewhere on Smackdown, I really enjoyed the Undertaker’s promo, and think it did a great job with the spliced in imagery of everyone who Vince has screwed. I would like to have seen them tie this angle in with the Taker heel turn/JR kiss my ass angle from Raw two years ago (November 26, 2001 according to my research assistant Matthew Michaels), but whatever.

Earlier this week on Raw, I was a little confused about the HBK pinfall win over Randy Orton, but I hope they are going somewhere with both guys. The Goldberg/Batista main event was a disappointment, but maybe they are saving it for the next Raw PPV in December if Goldberg beats Hunter on Sunday.

In Defense Of TNA
Well the Great Luger Abonimation is overwith, at least for this week, and I think TNA should be pleased with the outcome. While I don’t support their new “let’s bring in washed up old fat guys” plan, the specific idea to bring in Luger might actually turn into a positive.

Luger did a decent job in the match, nothing unexpected, and did job to Styles, even if it was jaded. In addition, TNA did not take advantage of his real life controversy in any Russo-like storylines, allowing Luger basically to rely on his wrestling career and not legal standing. They did ride a bit of controversy into the event, though, and hopefully got a few 100 or 1000 curiosity buys. The show was decent enough to hook some new viewers, so the gamble likely paid off.

I also like how they are pushing Jarrett as a heel. While I don’t like him in such a tippy top role every time, he is much more suited to being a heel at this point in TNA. They have done a good job at keeping Raven in the mix as well, as he is often off feuding with others, but still always in mind in the World Title picture.

New WWE website
As a web designer myself, I was always underwhelmed with the latest WWE.com incarnation. I think the homepage was overly small and limited, and the site in general had a very stale feel.

However, I clicked over earlier this week, and the site was totally revamped, and I think the results are very promising.

It seems as if they are doing more to highlight web-only content, with commentaries put into a new area called the BackDoor, and doing more features with wrestlers, polls and overall interactivity with the product. Now if they would only support US a little more with some interviews or press passes

Orton and Jindrack Fight
Earlier this week, the esteemed Matt Boone and his buddies at prowrestling.com and other newsboard sites had a story on a bar room brawl involving Randy Orton, Mark Jindrack and Maven after Raw on Monday. Most major news sites stayed away from this story, and for good reason – it was fake.

Apparently those wrestlers decided to work the internet and stage a fight.

Unlike WWE management, a lot of wrestlers read and ejoy the IWC, so I don’t see this as WWE wrestlers trying to support the boss as much as they were trying to see how far the story would get. It’s actually pretty funny, especially since we didn’t fall for it.

House Show Spoilers
Before I even start this section, these might be some spoilers, so if you’re one of those types, don’t read this part. I might mention these elsewhere too, so be warned.

Ashish printed this earlier this week:
– Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin are set to face the Bashams at upcoming house shows, which indicates a turn for Haas & Benjamin.

This makes sense. I originally thought they would put these guys back with Angle on the main event Survivor Series match, but they went with the Cena turn and Holly stuff instead.

– Brock Lesnar will be facing Chris Benoit at house shows for the rest of the year.

Should guarantee at least one good match at house shows and the next Smackdown PPV.

– Test will return to the road starting 11/21.

Thank god!

– Steven Richards & Victoria will work a few matches as faces, possibly as a try-out, against Rico & Jackie Gayda.

Victoria is one of the most underrated women in the WWE, and Richards was once a huge prospect in ECW before his neck troubles. Vince McMahon loves Richards’ physique, and Richards has impressed management with his performance despite the death of his friend Mike Lockwood.

– Nick Dinsmore will start working RAW house shows on 11/28.

Doesn’t mean much yet until he is on TV.

– Goldberg vs. Kane World Title matches have been scheduled for December house shows.

– Kane and Booker T seem to be headed for a feud soon too.

Interesting. I think this might lend credence to the idea that HHH will lose at Survivor Series, because he’s not booked and Goldberg is, at least for now.

CRZ answers the tough questions
Earlier this week, in an attempt to sow the seeds of an eventual Hot Seat appearance, I asked CRZ some questions to gauge his reaction. His answers will shock you!

Me (8:09:05 PM): would you say my “voice of reason news hour” is putting the Q back in Quality?
CRZ (8:14:00 PM): Your what now?
Me (8:14:39 PM): its my brand new friday news report!!!
CRZ (8:14:52 PM): Are you aware that I don’t ever visit 411mania?
Me (8:15:18 PM): 411mania.com?
CRZ (8:15:28 PM): That either
Me (8:15:37 PM): well i’ll be damned…

Survivor Series Preview
Survivor Series is this Sunday on PPV, and it will likely be the esteemed Chris Pankonin on the play by play, but I’m the backup so be ready. I’ll have my quick picks also in the Roundtable.

World Title
Goldberg (c) vs. Triple H
With Goldberg booked for so many house shows for December and November, and the fact that HHH won’t be back until around Royal Rumble, it doesn’t seem to make any sense that HHH will win here. However, stranger things have happened. I’m going to stick to my prediction that HHH loses today when Evolution turns on him. WWE needs to start some major angles and storylines to build to Wrestlemania, and having a heel Evolution, Goldberg as champ and a vulnerable HHH making an early 2004 return, they have way more possibilities than with Hunter as a dormant champ.
Prediction: Goldberg retains

Team Austin (RVD, Dudleys, Booker T, HBK) vs. Team Bischoff (Jericho, Christian, Mark Henry, Steiner, Randy Orton)
It seems as if this GM-clash between Austin and Bischoff has gone on forever. I’m not entirely sure where they are headed with this storyline, but I don’t think either way has a lot of possibilities at face value. If Austin wins, then he just is back to normal, so that seems pointless. But having him lose another career match only to come back on Smackdown or Raw in a few weeks/months, it cheapens these stipulation matches. I guess I’ll go with the heel team.
Prediction: Team Bischoff

Kurt Angle, John Cena, Bradshaw, Hardcore Holly, Chris Benoit vs. Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Matt Morgan, The Collosus of Boggo Road, A-Train
I expect the John Cena super push to continue, at the same time that Chris Benoit is pushed as a serious contender to Brock Lesnar. I feel like Cena will beat a couple of the big guys early in the match, only to be eliminated by the Big Show. Benoit will be the one to eliminate Brock Lesnar, probably last with two or three faces left against Lesnar. Then the end will see Benoit and Angle come out as the survivors.
Winners: Team Angle

Women’s Title
Molly (c) vs. Lita
You have to hand it to the WWE, they have done a great job of creating a compelling woman’s division. This match has been built well, although I wonder why they changed the focus of Molly’s character from granny panties to kinda-sexpot, but it has worked well, and having Gail as her lackey is also intriguing. I think they’ll go with a Lita win here.
Prediction: Lita

Buried Alive
Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon
The match itself isn’t so thrilling, but the buildup has been strong and has created a real interest in the match. Plus for jaded internet fans, they tossed in all the “return to the dead man gimmick” rumors, and suddenly people are talking. I don’t agree with pushing McMahon like this, but he rarely mails it in and this should be a fun little storyline match.
Prediction: McMahon

Ambulance Match
Shane McMahon vs. Kane
On the other hand, I really hate how they have done this storyline lately, and I hope this is the blowoff. I’d like to see Shane get taken away in an ambulance and stay off TV until Wrestlemania, when, much like the Undertaker, he will come back under his old gimmick of “dancing homo son of the boss who takes up valuable TV time to get himself over”. Oh wait.
Prediction: Kane

WWE Tag Team Titles
Basham Brothers (c) w/Shaniqua vs. Los Guerreros
As WWE is handling the Cena turn so well lately, I don’t quite understand what they are doing with Eddie, who was even more ready than Cena to move into a money drawing position on top of the card. He is back in this tag feud with a pair of green rookie champions, and doesn’t even seem likely to win. I guess they could pull the trigger on a Chavo turn, but I cant think of many who want to see that match. I think they’d be better off having Los Guerreros win here if they aren’t going to have Eddy in the World Title scene.
Prediction: Los Guerreros

WWE Cruiserweight Title
Tajiri (c) vs. Noble
Good to see this make the final card in a co-branded PPV. I don’t feel like Noble has been built up enough to warrant another title reign, and I think the long run money would be in a Rey chase of Tajiri, by first going through his posse. Where does the BLACK mist fit in!
Prediction: Tajiri

Final Match Of Ultimate Survival
Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Goldberg, Tito Santana vs. Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Vince McMahon and All of the Million Dollar Team
Was I the only person who liked this idea!?

I’m not sure if I’m missing any matches, but overall the card is very strong. They did a great job of mixing both rosters, and getting tons of guys onto the event. Plus I’m a sucker for the old school Survivor Series matches, and for the first time I can remember, there are two full 5 on 5 matches with top card guys. Cant really argue with the booking of that!

The HOT Seat
The Hot Seat is quickly becoming the preeminent interview segment on 411mania, and this week I went to the very top for a guest. Well not the VERY top, because that spot is already occupied. Let’s just say it’s as high as you can get on the 411 totem pole without hitting Widro.

The man, the myth, the legend Ashish Pabari in the hot seat. Let’s get started.

1) As you know, we always start with geometry – I’m going to describe a specific type of triangle, and you have to tell me what it’s called.

In a 45-45-90 triangle, the measure of the hypotenuse is equal to the measure of a leg multiplied by SQRT(2).

What’s another name for this kind of triangle?

Ashish: I cheated in geometry. What can you do.

I can give you no credit for this question. 0 out of 1

2) In 30 words or less, describe how WWE could make the brand extension better and more profitable in the short term.

Ashish: Tell Steph and Triple H to have kids so they can spread more McMahon blood evenly, right now SD! has an unfair advantage.

I’m not sure mockery is what I was looking for. We’re trying to HELP here! 0 for 2 it ain’t lookin good

3) What is the best flavor of sour patch kids – red, orange, yellow, green or blue raspberry?

Ashish: I don’t eat them, otherwise I may become sour and grumpy like 411’s own Mr. Grumpy Pants.

Sorry we were looking for “red” as the correct answer red sorry about that 0 out of 3

4) Name three characters developed by WCW that could have been major stars, but are now no longer wrestling for WWE or TNA

Ashish: Our good friend STROZILLA, the chairman of the board EL DANDY, and your hero and mine, THE MACHINE.

Originally this answer was going to be only correct if one of the three was the incredible and unused BERLYN, but the old school reference to the MACHINE gets you the duke 1 out of 4

5) What do you say to critics who feel like you are the “second banana” at 411, and that Widro “outclasses” you as a webmaster?

Ashish: I’d just like to say that I’ll be in a luxury box at the Super Bowl next year, while you’ll be hacking it up somewhere as usual. Maybe I’ll let you come and serve food if you’re nice. HA!

Obviously you aren’t going to get any points for answers like this, you hack. 1 out of 5

Unfortunately for Ashish, that is the worst performance in Hot Seat history, topping even the despicable Daniels who score a measly 2 out of 4.

The Hot Seat will get even hotter next week, as my sources have confirmed the guest. It will be none other than SCOTT KEITH in the huge 5th edition special Voice of Reason News Hour next week!

Cream of the Crop
Before I get to any links, I gotta give props to 411’s Byte this reporter. Check out this week’s Byte This! Report with Bradshaw and. He managed to piss me off before I even met him, but like all 411 staff, I’ve grown to love him. Except for Lucard of course.

Brian Cole has done a great job of filling the huge shoes of Craig Letawski on Ask 411 Wrestling and it’s definitely worth checking out. Unlike a lot of other Q&A sections, Cole answers a TON of questions each week, so check it out.

This week, Aaron Cameron has tons more on the Tupac feature, and you can catch up on what you might have missed here and there will be more over the weekend!

One of 411 Movies best reads is Greg Conley’s Video Store Shelf which has mini reviews of a bunch of crappy movies.

And before they bitch to me too, I will give credit to 411 Figures for being there every day with the top figures pictures and news, and PK has some news on upcoming Jakks WWE figures

Some quick links:

Mario 3 defense
Just a quick defense of my score of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Brothers 3 for GameBoy Advance in the latest 411 Games Ratings Drive By

I gave the title an elite rating of 9.5 and said this:
What can you say about Mario 3? It revolutionized platformers, and spawned Mario World. Those two vie in my head for top platformer of all time status, and while I’ll give the nod to World for Yoshi, you can’t go wrong with Mario 3 either. The video store near my house got Mario 3 import for rent MONTHS before the US release, and for my birthday, my mom tried to say we “lost” the cart. They wanted $200! Where was I?

Lucard and Alex gave the game a 6.0 and 6.5 respectively, and I was blown away! I talked to Alex at length, and we agree to disagree, but am I in the minority? Does everyone think SMB3 has disappointed?!

My defense is that the game is a classic, and perhaps one of the top few games of all time, certainly in the action platform genre. I reviewed the game as a contemporary of other GBA games, as it stands above most or all other 2D GBA platformers in terms of length, fun and difficulty. In addition, they added the incredible feature of new levels via the e-reader. For those that say the e-reader support shouldn’t count in the score of the game, I counter that the e-reader already has as many or more of an installed base than Xbox Live, yet online capabilities are factored hugely into the score of some PS2 or Xbox games.

Anyway, I love that game, and stand by my 9.5.

411 Black Update
411 Black launches in less than 2 weeks, and I’ve been inundated with questions and emails, so I figured I would let the cat partially out of the bag here today in the News Hour.

The basic premise behind 411 Black is that it will not have the same rules as the rest of 411mania. Writers from any zone will be able to settle into 411 Black and write about whatever they want – TV, Sports, Politics, Fiction, Animation, etc. In addition, each writer on 411 will have their own 411 BlackPages, which will have their personal profile, picture (if desired), 411 BlackLog entries, links to all their articles on 411 and more!

It’s an exciting new way to hear from all your favorite 411 writers, and the commenting system will allow registered readers the ability to respond to every writer directly on their BlackPage.

Please go forth into the 411 Fan Forum Writer’s Island to talk about 411 Black, what you’d like to see in there, which writers you’d like to hear from on non-traditional subjects, and anything else on your mind!

That’s it for this week. Come on back this weekend for Flea, the Roundtable and Survivor Series coverage! Then next week, I’ll have the Special Voice of Reason News Hour 5th Edition Extravaganza with Scott Keith in the Hot Seat, full 411 Black details and tons more of the trademarked VOR features you have loved for years.

Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs