It’s been a crazy few weeks, but things appear to be finally settling down. In case you hadn’t noticed, 411 Black has launched!
Once again it’s Friday morning, and I didn’t even start the news hour yet. No fear! I have little to do at the office today, so I would enjoy nothing better than to whip up an exciting, refreshing news hour for all to enjoy. Of course I always would have preferred to have it up at midnight, but 2pm or whenever this goes up will just have to suffice.
I’m pleased to announce that 411 Black did indeed launch this week! It was a bit delayed, and that may have slowed some of the 411 staff, but its picking up here later in the week. I admittedly launched before everything was totally ready, but we’re working out the kinks along the way.
Please head over to the forum where I set up a thread for Black feedback Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we would really love to hear what you think so far!
The Land of McMahon
WWE continues to put out quality programming on both Mondays and Thursdays, and this week was no exception.
Raw of course was the final show before the Armageddon PPV, and the hard sell was on for all the top matches. I still feel unsatisfied with the hype for the main event, but I still think it’s a good program. I cant really criticize HHH unless he wins the title, which would be weird, since he would likely pin Kane, and I would think Hunter would want to win the title back by pinning Goldberg. I guess we’ll see.
I continue to enjoy the Jericho/Trish storyline, with the Lita/Christain stuff as well. I’m anxious to see where it goes, because it seems a lot like She’s All That so far. While Freddie Prinze Jr. is a hunk, he’s no Jericho, but I gotta say I prefer Rachael Leigh Cook to Trish any day. What can I say.
Thursday was a pretty decent Smackdown too. The show was built around Brock Lesnar as a monster heel champion, and basically the whole roster wants a piece of him. That was what TNA was actually doing for a while when they were being booked the most effectively.
I cant say I agree with those who feel like Rey should have won the match. He looked great and like a legit contender, in his home town, and came out stronger. Brock also finally got a clean win over a top tier star, so everyone wins. I gotta think Heyman had some kind of role in booking this week, because that storyline had Heyman’s fingerprints all over it.
TNA This Week
I read about this week’s PPV, and I’m left wondering about where TNA is headed for 2004. Obvsiouly Hogan is out for the foreseeable future, so the super super push of Jarrett as a heel doesn’t seem to make much sense.
For all the criticism of WWE failing to create new stars, one has to ask the same question of TNA as they finish up their first full calendar year. Who on the NWA:TNA roster is remotely a star? I love AJ styles, if he jumped to WWE, would he even be on the main shows?
TNA has the rare opportunity to take new, young talent and make new stars, even if they are only stars in the TNA world. The only “starsÃ¢â‚¬Â in TNA are Jarrett, Raven and possibly Styles, and only Styles wasn’t in WWE and WCW before. America’s Most Wanted is a nice tag team, but they also aren’t superstars.
WWE has gotten behind John Cena, Randy Orton and a bunch of other young guys with the hopes of making them into bona fide main event draws, and I just don’t see TNA making that same effort. They push guys for a few weeks, then they tail off. Now with Hogan out of the picture for now, the title has to come off Jarrett and go onto Styles or someone else cool and young that the promotion can get behind.
As much as WWE needs new stars to boom again, TNA badly needs a couple NEW marquee stars to build around.
News And Notes
Couple news items floating around today and yesterday..
There is talk that Goldberg again wont re-sign with WWE after Wrestlemania 20, and I really think that is crazy. WWE seems to be on a movement back upwards, and with Goldberg as champ, Raw has been much better. Unlike most of the top names from the Monday Night Era, Goldberg is pretty healthy and not one match away from breaking down (HBK, Austin, Taker, HHH, etc). It seems like he is fitting in better and drawing money, so I feel like a deal will be worked out. I hope so at least.
I read over on The Torch that Kevin Nash thinks he should be re-signed by WWE for some huge amount of money so that he can put food on the family of his children.
Keller went ballistic, claiming that Nash should offer WWE to work for free, yadda yadda yadda. Keller has got to relax! First of all, Nash was obviously joking around about the “feeding his familyÃ¢â‚¬Â stuff. I would be shocked if Nash didn’t have millions invested and in the bank from his top years in both WWF and WCW.
Second of all, Nash got injured in WWE matches! He does deserve some kind of pay from WWE because his body broke down under WWE’s watch. I’m not suggesting a huge salary again, but if he wants another chance, perhaps with incentives based around how much he works, I think he has earned it.
Not really too many newsbites to speak of besides the PPV, so we’ll go right into my preview.
WWE returns to PPV on Sunday, and despite WWE’s better TV show quality in recent weeks, the card for the PPV is definitely on the weak side. Let’s go through it match by match!
WWE Raw World Title – Goldberg (c) vs. Kane vs. Triple H
Although I really wanted to see a Goldberg/Kane program, the booking has been very ordinary, with basically three big main eventers just fighting over the title. I do like that the title is the centerpiece of both shows, but it just doesn’t seem to “fitÃ¢â‚¬Â having Kane in the title hunt with no explanation. I don’t see a reason to change the title here.
Prediction: Goldberg retains
WWE Intercontinental Title Match – Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Randy Orton
Special Ref: Mick Foley
RVD has been a forgotten man in the Evolution feuds, and it is likely that he’ll lose the title here. Much like the last time Foley was a special ref, the issue here is more between Foley and Orton, and I expect that angle to heat back up again at the PPV. Remember it was Randy who took out Foley the last time Foley returned in the Fall.
Prediction: Orton wins
World Tag Team Titles Turmoil Match- The Dudley Boyz vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak vs. La Resistance vs. Val Venis & Lance Storm vs. Rosey & The Hurricane vs. Scott Steiner & Test
What a bunch of scrub teams! I’m sorry, but it’s true I really cant predict who will win this match. I don’t feel like any teams really deserve the titles but the DUdleys, and I’d prefer if they build up one of these other teams for a while and then did a title switch next year when it would mean more.
Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Chris Jericho & Christian
I really like how this storyline has played out. I was wondering how they would explain both Jericho and Christian acting like such babyfaces with the girls, and then the bet storyline made it all make sense. I feel like the direction they are going in is to turn either Jericho or Trish and have them paired up on screen for a while.
Shawn Michaels vs. Batista
This is a huge test for Batista, because if HBK cant get a ***+ match out of him in a long PPV match, then his push is likely to be lessened. I think Batista has shown great improvement lately, and looks like a top tier player, as opposed to say Matt Morgan or John Heidenreich who look green and clumsy. I think Batista wins with some interference from Flair.
Mark Henry vs. Booker T
Why is this even on the PPV? I wish WWE would give up on Henry, he isn’t drawing a dime ever and its time to cut losses. Poor Booker T. Here’s hoping Booker goes over.
Prediction: Booker T
Is this all? 6 matches?
The HOT Seat
1) As you know we always start with geometry: we all know that pi approximately 3.14, but can you tell us how pi is derived?
Grut: Pi is a constant, the ratio of the circumference of a perfect circle to its diameter. 760 on the math SAT baby.
That is correct. I got 800 by the way. 1 out of 1
2) Goldberg is one of the physically largest jews in a prominent mainstream position. Do you agree with my grandfather’s assertion that Goldberg is the “biggest Jew he’s ever seenÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Grut: Goldberg has skinny legs. I’m pretty sure that Bob Saget is taller than Goldberg. I’m sure there were a couple of other Jewish athletes in the history of Jews. I’m going to say no.
I agree that he is not the biggest Jew ever, but I would have liked to see an actual example of someone bigger. No credit, sorry. 1 out of 2
3) You were briefly a writer on 411 Movies– can you explain why anyone would choose to pay to see the movie Something’s Gotta Give
Grut: Absolutely. There are few greater pleasures in life than seeing a once proud man disgrace himself. Steve Harvey’s performance as Nick Cannon’s dad is said to be one of the worst in the history of film. Awesome.
I didn’t even know Steve Harvey was in the movie! The correct answer could have also included something about how awesome Keanu Reeves is or how hot Amanda Peet is (but she isn’t as attractive as RLC for those keeping score at home, and I know you are) 2 out of 3
4) At one point a few months ago, you were acting pretty crazy and talking like a lunatic. I will allow you at this time to present me a formal apology in 30 words or less:
Widro, write a list of the problems writers have caused for you. Was my 1 week pissy act that bad? By the way, where’s my free 411wrestling t-shirt? Still waiting.
I don’t see “sorryÃ¢â‚¬Â or even the spirit of an apology here. 2 out of 4
5) In 50 words or less, book the Royal Rumble final four with 2 raw and 2 smackdown wrestlers, with a winning angle that sets up the WM20 main event.
HHH, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle and Cena. Immediately, HHH turns on Flair and dumps him as Angle and Cena fight. Angle and Cena dump HHH, but the ref misses it so HHH rolls back in. This brings out Foley to bitch and get HHH sent to the locker room. Then Cena gets lucky and eliminates Angle. TAA-DAA!
This is a great storyline! I really enjoyed it. But unfortunately it comes out as 57 words, which violates the spirit of the question. 2 out of 5
Grut: I can’t believe you wanted an apology. Two wrestling tales, the black cloud, the web diary, bringing you Randle, calling for unity among the writers and you’re still pissed over a one week pissy mood? You cold hearted son of a bitch. I hate you, Widro!
You might hate me, but you also gotta be embarrassed at only 2 out of 5. That’s close to an Ashish-like level of incompetence. For shame, Joshua. For shame.
Lot of Wrestlemania news floating around the last couple weeks, and I continue to be impressed with the amount of talk and planning that is going into this year’s event.
The Rock’s appearance on Raw got some of the rumor mills churning again, and he did confirm that he would not only be appearing at mania, but also would be doing TV appearances throughout early 2004.
Mick Foley is very likely to be a part of WM20, but his oft-rumored match with HHH seems to be off the table. As I mentioned in this segment a few weeks ago, I think it’s more likely that we’ll see Foley team up with the Rock in a tag match at Mania,
The Rock is an interesting case, because just coming back for an ordinary program seems almost pointless. I heard a couple rumored matches Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Rock vs HBK and Rock/Foley vs. HHH/Flair. My question is- who cares about either of those matches? Rock is now in the same class as HBK and Austin, in that he is no longer an active, full time member of the roster that is viewed as a current superstar. Putting him against HBK at this point would almost seem like a legends match. The Rock’s best value to WWE is working with new talent, and to steal an idea from Ashish, I think the best route for the Rock would be to face Cena.
They could start the angle now, with Cena calling out the Rock to prove himself at Ã¢â‚¬ËœMania, and then build the match for months, similar to how Austin challenged Bret Hart in 1996. Of course there is the rumor that Rock has “vetoedÃ¢â‚¬Â working with Cena, but that doesn’t seem true. Who knows.
There have been quite a few rumors with Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat as well. They have quieted down a bit, but I still wouldn’t be shocked. I’m not sure what Steamboat’s in ring work is like these days, but I feel like a one time shock against his old nemesis Flair would be the best possible match for him.
Now with the latest Hogan/TNA set back, I could also see Hogan showing up at WM20 as well. With the Savage rumors, it seems like there is new WM20 news every week. More next week I’m sure.
Cream of the Crop
It’s been a huge week for great new stuff at 411! I’ll link some, but I’m still likely to get some bitching from SOMEONE I left out
I gave him a hard time in the Hot Seat, but Grut has contributed a ridiculous amount this week to celebrate the launch of 411 Black. In addition to his great debut Monday Morning Black Cloud, he posted TWO new wrestling tales – Isaac And Pete and The Heel not to mention tons of stuff on his Black Log
In addition, Haley debuted a brand new Wednesday news report last week, and followed up with an even better second column this week. Check out Haley’s News And World Report
Speaking of new news reports, I moved Ross Williams from the weekend to Thursday, and I urge you to check out Thursday For News . Ross is one of the best we have, and I think he’ll do a great job on Thursdays.
411 Black is of course live and filled with awesome columns and blacklog entries. Here are some you should definitely check out:
Mario Kart Double Dash!! Is one of my favorite games to come along in years, and luckly for us, Alex Williams had a similar opinion or else I’d have to do some firin’! Check out his full, detailed review of Mario Kart, as well as his review of Mario and Luigi on Gameboy, which I only have played for like a half hour but it seems awesome so far too.
Over in comics, Mike Maillaro put up a very interesting column on how the internet community can impact real life. The column is called Words Of Questionable Wisdom: You Call Yourself A Fan? and it’s worth a read whether you’re a comics fan or not.
Well that turned out pretty well, I’m happy with it. I’ll be back next week of course, as we finish up 2003. Next week we’ll go over the week that was in wrestling, some Armageddon wrap ups, analyzing pushes and probably some end of year stuff.
Plus NoSoul has been working on a brand new parody feature that should be up on Monday. IÃ¢â‚¬Âve seen a preview, and it is great stuff, so check that out Monday amidst the post-PPV coverage.
See you then!