In Memoriam: Gertrude Ederle, the only name you need to bring up when someone says that women can’t compete in endurance-based athletic events. From the Channel to Annika’s eagle out of the sand at the Skins Game, you must, as Aretha said, give them their propers.
And now comes the nifty trick: can I stay focused on wrestling in this column, what with Wedensdays moving over to Black and all? Well, I can stay as focused as possible. There’s still going to be a few things non-wrestling mentioned in here, especially since football season is still going on and the Bears keep winning. Look at the horrid records of the Used To Be The NFC Central In The Days Before Tampon Bay Existed and look at the schedule. The ViQueens have the Seahawks and a major case of depression after that miserable performance against the Rams (the early game we were shown here in Fire Frank Solich For No Good Reasonville*). The Bears get the FudgePackers. So if the Bears can prevent Ahman Green from remembering that he’s Ahman Green (and ditto for Ol’ Vicodin-popper) and the ViQueens hold true to form, they’ll be one game back of the division lead and tied with the FudgePackers in that spot. Of course, this also means that Dick Jauron is saving his job, so it’s not all good news.
* – If you ever wanted to hear someone so full of shit that it dribbles out of his ears, I hope you caught Trev Alberts’ “I’m a pissed off Nebraska alum” act on PTI on Monday. He had the Vince-like “how dare you question this decision” act going full-bore so much that I thought he was Vince for a second. Reminder, Trev: you’re an NFL failure who couldn’t stay healthy and got turned into a talking head because you’re not too gruesome-looking. You are not God. Hell, you’re not even Vince.
As for me, on Monday, I did something I hadn’t done since college: spend the day in a university library looking up monographs. The fact that a bunch of non-scientists are demanding scientific information from me under threat of me losing my livelihood pisses me off like you wouldn’t believe. In college, I had two Nobel winners for instructors (normal for the University of Chicago, where even the Nobel winners teach undergrads), and they didn’t demand that I show my work. Now these unmitigated pricks are demanding that I do so under threat and under deadline? So now I have twenty-four hours to digest a bunch of monographs that I photocopied and come up with some concrete, workable methodology that the plant can use that fits into “scientific justification”…
…man, f*ck this shit. I am SO underpaid. The only good thing about it is that I didn’t have to make the hundred-mile round trip to work today, and I had enough time to work on this so that it’ll actually come out pretty decent for a change.
One more non-wrestling thing, okay? Indulge me, it’s short.
SHAME ON YOU, HYATTE
Le Chris spent so much time justifying “The Taking Of Triple H” that he forgot to mention that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the release of the first issue of Playboy. Now that was something to celebrate, but he missed the opportunity.
Just one more thing about “The Taking Of Triple H”, if I may: if I’m Scott Keith’s ego, I’m incredibly pleased. The only two writers who can compete in number of hits and general rep on this site have used parody characters based loosely on him in prose pieces, Hyatte in this and me a few years ago in “Fear and Loathing In Houston”. Personally, I haven’t seen a good piece of work that parodies either Hyatte or myself (no, Grut doesn’t count), so I’d chalk that up into the “tribute” column, Scott.
And he got the geometry question from Widro right during the Hot Seat (actually, it’s more trig than geometry). As someone who taught geometry for a year, I’m impressed. And now that Widro’s seen that, he’s going to have to pull out a different subject when I get put in the Hot Seat.
THE PIMP SECTION
You think that I pad my columns out with Mailbag? At least I’m not like Ashley and do an entire column around it.
Zucconi didn’t ask me about Van Hammer. I’m happy about this.
ONE MUST WONDER
From the actual news sidebar:
Spike TV is advertising that a “RAW vs. Smackdown Grudge Match” will take place at their Spike TV Video Game Awards show this week. No word on which match will take place.
Dave Meltzer reports that TWO matches will take place, one involving significant names. One of the matches is expected to be taped at the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday.
Wait a second, this is a video games awards show, right? So why the hell not just use the Smackdown video game to simulate the matches? The game has Matt Hardy in it, right? There’s your Raw participation. Put Sim 1.0 up against Sim Eddy, film it, and let David Spade make fun of it. It works for Red vs. Blue, so it should work for WWE as well.
Personally, I wouldn’t risk the talent on a Viacom suck-up like this. But, just for argument, let’s say Da Meltz is right and one match will have “significant” names. That means the other will have not-so-significant names. There are two ways I’d go with that second match:
1) Trish Stratus versus Dawn Marie, Bra and Panties Match.
2) Eric Bischoff versus Paul Heyman, Winner Salvages A Little Dignity Out Of Having To Work For Vince After Running A Competing Fed Match. Alternatively, you can combine some of their greatest moments as booker for a match between them. I’m thinking Turkey On A Singapore Cane Match here. Get the turkey and kendo stick down, and you can use either or both. For some reason, I can’t think of anything that might satisfy Vince more than seeing those two beat the shit out of each other with a cold Butterball.
IN YOUR FACE TURN
From the Torch Newsletter, which I don’t get but Ashish does, so he just types items from it:
WWE is very happy with how John Cena’s face turn is being accepted by the fans. WWE believes Cena is red hot right now which is why they thrusted him into the house show main event slots against Brock Lesnar, replacing Chris Benoit. Cena was extremely over with the crowds.
WWE plans to keep Cena’s character very edgy and his raps somewhat controversial so that he doesn’t appear as if he has “turned soft” to the crowd.
Is this the same group of people who Meltzer and Keller said a week or two ago were worried about Cena’s face turn and positing that it wasn’t working? That’s what all this “backstage” crap gets you, contradictory reports from various sources who have their own agendas (which makes you wonder who doesn’t like Cena backstage; can we come up with a good candidate for this? My first thought would be UT, which would explain the fact that Cena never really went over him when he desperately needed to in order to get some major heat.). Never, ever trust anything in the dirt sheets, folks. Usually, the half-baked speculations of IWC columnists reacting to stories like this provide more insight. I know that mine always do.
As for the actual mechanics of the face turn, Cena might have been the simplest person to manage in this respect. All “creative” had to do was deemphasize the wardrobe choices and pull the cheap-heel-heat comments from his promos. Hell, even they could manage that without screwing it up too badly.
So, all credit to Cena for doing a great job with what he’s got, but yah boo, sucks to you to anyone other than him claiming credit and hogging in on his limelight.
SOMEONE’S BEEN WATCHING THE FLAIR DVD AND GETTING IDEAS
More Torch Nonsense:
WWE is strongly interested in doing a Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat match. Steamboat retired in 1994 but has expressed interest in returning for one last match against Flair.
Okay, I have to admit, I want to see it. The way Steamer went out was sad and sudden, and there’s a big part of me that wants him to have one final bit of glory. I haven’t seen the guy in person for over three years, but the last time I did, he looked to be in phenomenal shape, and you know he’d work on getting ready for this one. Naturally, it’d have to be against Flair. Flair almost fellated the guy on the DVD, using language which even the gracious Naitch wouldn’t use for just anybody. He regards Steamboat as his personal opponent, and you know he’d do everything to get him over and to make sure that his back isn’t threatened.
But then there’s those memories of the final Nitro, with Flair and Sting both tarnishing their legacies a bit courtesy of a sloppy match that relied on nostalgia as the main factor rather than the wrestling. However, Steamer’s always been a hundred times the wrestler than Sting was. However the second, it’s going to be two guys in their fifties in there, one of whom’s been out for a decade. However the third, considering the relatively slow pace of those 1989 matches, they could probably replicate one like that without sucking wind inside of two minutes and still have the audience in the palms of their hands. However the fourth…I’m confused. I want to see it, yet I’m afraid to see it. I don’t like thinking about something like this on those terms, believe you me.
As for another posited appearance, if they want something special for Flex that even his ego might agree to, how about Flex/Rocky Johnson versus Bob/Randy Orton? I have memories, which no one else does, of AWA doing something like this with the Gagnes and Hennigs around ’86 or so, and it turned out pretty decent.
And speaking of the Flair DVD, just some casual observations in regard to facial hair, which I know that all of you are waiting on baited breath for: Schiavone looked better with a ‘stache (but not with the mullet; that was just outright scary), and Steamer and David Crockett should both grow the beards back. However, Tully needs to get rid of the goat. It looks ridiculous.
OH, DEAR GOD, NO
This time from Da Meltz’s stack of asswipe:
TNA has a meeting scheduled soon with WGN in Chicago. It should be noted that the XWF also had a meeting with WGN once and all WGN told them was that they would air XWF shows for $60,000 a week.
My advice to TNA: don’t. Don’t get into bed with the Tribune Company. They’re a bunch of amoral slimeballs who make wrestling promoters look like philanthropists. Not to mention the fact that they’re cheap as hell. Let’s just stick to sports and related for the time being in this discussion. Allegedly, the Tribune Company owns a baseball team in town. I’ve seen no evidence of this, since we all know that Jerry Reinsdorf is the principal owner of the White Sox, and there’s no other major-league team in Chicago. However, let’s assume that rumor is true. If so, this is the same group of people that hounded Greg Maddux out of town for actually wanting to be paid what he’s worth. This is the same group of people who have low-balled Sammy Sosa in the past. This is the same group of people who, it is felt, don’t give a rat’s ass about the on-field performance of their alleged team just as long as the park’s filled by their cretinous fans. This is the same group of people who are still feasting on the carcass of a dead announcer in order to draw money.
And you want to get involved with them, Jerry and Jeff? It doesn’t matter about the station’s cable market penetration. You’re not going to be able to replicate what NWA/WCW did on WTBS back in the day, because there’s no Ted Turner inside of the Tribune Company who will give your product some special care and attention. What you’re going to end up with will be more on the level of ECW On TNN rather than WCW Saturday Night. Go somewhere else, for your sakes, please.
And speaking of “go somewhere else”, I wish I could, but Raw is part of the news on Tuesday…
THE SHORT FORM
Buh Buh Ray and D-Von Dudley over Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak, Tag Title Match (Pinfall, D-Von pins Cade, rollup): As much as I want to concentrate on Cade’s tentative, almost toddler-like steps toward heelhood, or try to forget about his ass crack, there was still one dominant thought that kept going through my mind during this match: For Christ’s sake, Buh Buh Ray, put on some long pants, please. Those shorts are scarier than Cade’s vertical smile.
Booker T over Test (Pinfall, scissors kick): So all of you got to see My Beautiful and Beloved’s panties. Well, good for you. However, you can only imagine what’s in them. And memo to said Beautiful and Beloved: if what’s rumored is true and that beast Andrew’s screwing around on you, you know you can always come back to Daddy, who would never, ever, ever do such things.
As for Booker being put into a program against Mark Henry, words on a web page cannot express what I feel about that. I could try to do so, but I’m afraid the English language has only a limited number of obscenities.
Real Canadians over Faux French (Pinfall, Storm pins Dupree, double-team bulldog): Why is it that only Canadians seem to be getting any on Raw these days? We have Jericho and Stratus together. Test has My Beautiful and Beloved, albeit in a dysfunctional relationship that can be solved quite easily with a one-way plane ticket to Lincoln (we can discount Big Sump Pump’s claims of this week by noting that prolonged steroid use probably has made him dysfunctional in this area). Storm and Morley have their weekly “escorts”. Christian’s trying to get some from Lita. Do Canadian winters somehow spark the libido in this way? If so, can a company in Canada hire me quickly?
Chris Jericho and the Happily-Married Missus Trish Hyatte over Rico and Jackie Gayda, Mixed Tag Match (Pinfall, Stratus pins Gayda, Stratusfaction): Jackie Gayda Count: one blown spot (the short-arm clothesline), one awkward-looking move (the punch while Trish was on the ground). Not bad considering the amount of offense she was given. On the surface, a weird choice for the transition match, but a surprisingly good match-up. Gayda’s not blowing spots as much anymore (that particular curse has been put on Gail Kim), and works decently with Trish. Jericho can work surprisingly well with Constantino, and both of them brought, if not their A Games, at the very least their B-Plus games. Maybe a little elevation for Rico might just be in order after this one.
Matt Hardy over Christian (Pinfall, rollup): Let’s hope that Molly-ference was enough to prevent this from being a blowoff. I still want these guys in some kind of match of consequence on PPV. The glimpses we got of the potential for what they can do are enticing, and it’s a reminder of why I still love wrestling enough to write about it.
Jerry Lawler over Jonathan Coachman, Coach Gets Fired Match (Pinfall, like I noticed or cared): Apathy. Move on.
Bill Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, and Rob Van Dam over Randy Orton, Dave Batista, and Kane (Pinfall, Van Dam pins Orton, Five-Star Frog Splash): Ah, a nice bit of well-choreographed chaos, with just enough Ric Flair to keep everyone’s interest. Good way to end the show, if you ignore the whole Socko thing at the end. I certainly did.
Break Out The 1099s: Oh, for God’s sake, they can’t let Bisch run the place alone, can they? It’s obvious that they have no confidence in the concept of a a heel authority figure at the head of the show being able to carry the show alone. There’s some validity to that, I have to admit; audiences want someone to root for, which is why the NWO got so ridiculous as quickly as it did. However, pulling the Foley card out this quickly again shows that “creative” has only a limited bag of tricks they (can, will, or want to) work with. This one sounds like it’s long-term, long enough to get Foley to WM to face Trip, and sets up Austin for a return eventually (I’m still sticking by Royal Rumble as a mystery participant).
And I’m not the only one who’s thinking this. Quoth The Joe In Me:
And why is it that RAW NEEDS a co-GM? SmackDown! doesn’t need one. That is not a good sign, because it shows that the writers are beginning to do things out of habit. I mean, there is no logical reason for Eric Bischoff to have someone else working with him. He is perfectly capable of doing the job by himself, and he showed that for a year before Austin came in as his partner.
Not to mention that he ran WCW for five years, including its only profitable ones, both on and off-camera. Or that he ran the AWA during its last final, painful year (and he catches too much blame for the Team Challenge Series, I think; AWA was beyond saving, and it was an attempt to do something with nothing, so partial credit is due).
Also, is one of the qualifications for Raw co-GM that you have had to have worked for WCW under Bisch and been fired by him? If so, who’s next? God help us if it’s Waltman.
The Plumbers’ Union: What the hell is up with all the ass cracks tonight? First Cade, then Test and Big Sump Pump…did everyone wake up on Monday morning and spontaneously decide, “Hey, I want to show my ass crack on live TV tonight,” then sell “creative” on the idea as being “edgy” and “innovative”? Stranger things have happened backstage, admittedly, but usually they involved Trip. And why didn’t the Most Likely Candidate To Show Crack, Rico, do so? Maybe Gayda’s “chaps” fulfilled that quotient.
Is That All There Is?: Weeks of buildup, actual enthusiastic curiosity among the jaded members of the IRC, and this is what we get from the whole Jericho/Christian/Stratus/Lita thing? A bet? With the exposition being in a promo buried deep into Hour 2, after a match featuring Lawler and f*cking Coachman? People wonder why I’m so pessimistic about anything WWE does. Well, Raw just provided a wonderful lesson in why. I can already hear the bitching of the IWC as I write this. Sounds like the mating call of the Whining Ninny, but this time it’s justified, because they f*cked us with this angle. Big-time.
Some others, though, had other hopes. Quoth Slick Rick:
The only way the Jericho/Trish angle will be entertaining is if they do a vignette of the special night, and when Jericho sees Trish’s
“assets” he begins speaking like Chewbacca.
Or if Trish, in another lifetime, was named “Sammy”.
Okay, that’s it for me today. Tomorrow, if Black’s up and running, I’ll be there. If not, I’ll still be doing a column and it’ll probably go here in Wrestling. If I am over at Black, I have no idea who’s going to be in this spot on Wednesdays (that wasn’t decided the last time I looked). So, in twenty-four hours, we’ll all know the answers to these vexing questions.