Aw, geez, another Day From Hell, and another day of leaving me less than an hour before Raw to churn something out that’ll satisfy you, you vicious little bastards. I actually came back from Chicago to deal with this shit? I just should have stayed home. Except for the little part about having a lease and all of my stuff here in Lincoln, it would have been better. God knows it was better than actually approaching this place, where, somehow, I was in reception range of a radio station in Topeka that had the Bears game on. It made me sick to my stomach hearing Len Dawson chortle with glee for the first half. Then I actually got back and watched the second half of that waking nightmare. Fucking Kordell…Jesus.
BUT JAURON GOT FIRED ON MONDAY! THERE IS A GOD! Now let’s hope that McGinnis can do a forgive-and-forget with McCaskey and get him where he belongs, now that he’s been able to escape Arizona. But there’s still no news that John Shoop’s officially been given the axe. It can be assumed, but I want confirmation, dammit! Shoop must be eliminated, with prejudice. And take Fucking Kordell with him.
Well, let’s just get on with the nightmare, shall we? And I don’t have the energy to deal with Dick Slater and his attempted murder of his girlfriend while zonked on pills thing. The nerves around the Elizabeth issue are still a little too raw, and a comparison would be inevitable and unavoidable. So I’ll ignore that and just start up with the pimps.
THE PIMP SECTION
Memo to Monroe: I don’t have sideburns. No matter how much I want it to be, it’s not the Eighties anymore. Also, I wouldn’t say that the fact that American Communists tended to take a rather mild line had anything to do with “harsh oppressions”. I’d say it was more of an outgrowth of the democratic tradition in this country and a desire to work within the system, because, unlike in other countries, there was a system with strong roots to work inside of. This is in contrast to, say, Germany in 1919, where a more mild Communist movement would have evolved if not for the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Those murders radicalized German Communists, making them fodder for Trotsky’s idiotic world revolution dream and helping to facilitiate the rise of the Nazis as a “counter-force” to the radicals. Of course, the internal coup in the CPUSA in 1928-9 ruined them, turning the party into a slave of Comintern and the Stalinist line, and the cooption of most of their good ideas by the Roosevelt Administration during the New Deal made them irrelevant. But, hey, that’s just deep background stuff.
Williams is up to June already. Keep reading on, and see if he gets to the end of the year before the end of the year happens.
What can I say about Grut and his Wrestling Tales that hasn’t been already said by people more used to giving praise than I am?
Poffel gives me a copy of Ken Hamblin’s book. Now if I only had time to actually, like, read anything, I’d be set.
Ashley decides to do a Best Of himself. No problem by me. ‘Tis the season to do clip jobs.
And one more than I should have done last week, stupid me (illness prevented me from remembering). JJ has been contributing to his website from Iraq, and one of his blogs has gained a lot of attention from various mainstream media outlets. If you really want to know what’s going on there, head over and read his stuff.
COULD SOMEONE PASS THE NEWS ALONG TO THE JARRETTS TO START READING ME?
From the Observer:
It was thought that the TNA/WGN TV deal was done, and that TNA would start airing a one hour Saturday morning show on WGN starting in mid-January. However, it now appears that the deal may not be final. The deal has yet to be announced on PPV and many in the promotion are again worried about the cost of putting on the show (WGN is charging them $60,000 just for the timeslot). TNA is considering cutting the show down to 30 minutes rather than an hour, so that they cut their costs in half but still get national TV exposure.
I don’t think I have to reiterate my feelings toward any deal TNA would cut with the slimeballs that populate Tribune Company. I’ve expressed them quite eloquently in the recent past. And the fact that they’d be stuck with a Saturday morning slot just reinforces everything I said. They’d be better off on the Oxygen Network.
No, no more of this particular dead horse. If the Jarretts want to do it this way, and do it this badly, let them and be damned. They’re f*cked for life after this deal. The promotion will still go on, but any chance of further and greater national exposure gets flushed down the can.
AN EXTENSION OF SOMETHING HYATTE BROUGHT UP YESTERDAY
Okay, on the subject of Kevin Nash’s impending unemployment…Hyatte covered most everything I would have said, so I won’t repeat that. However, he didn’t discuss the one particular thing that brought Mister Clairol the ire of the IWC, and it definitely needs to be discussed.
Kevin Nash is hated by the IWC so vehemently because of one thing: he took away our toys. Let’s go back to 1999. The Monday Night Wars still hadn’t been settled yet. The WWF was on a major roll thanks to the fact that they stumbled on to a combination of Austin/McMahon, Foley, The Rock (not yet Flex; he would arrive on the scene late that particular year), DX, and Russo Mojo. But WCW still had a chance. They weren’t that far behind in the ratings at that point. They had Goldberg on a major roll. They still had Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, the cruisers, and a reasonably strong supporting cast. All they needed was to find something to replace the played-out NWO, and they could make another major run to steal away the WWF’s younger, hipper audience. But they couldn’t find that replacement angle. Nothing was working from the SE end. So they did something that even at the time seemed incredibly stupid: they gave Nash the book.
Given the history of wrestlers being handed the book of JCP/WCW, everyone at the time asked themselves one question: WHY? Didn’t FatDust, Ole Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, and if you believe Mick Foley, Ric Flair teach them anything about that particular organization, without the controls that Vince had in place up North to restrict anyone from going batshit, giving talent the book? And giving it in particular to Kevin Nash, who had already alienated the smarts by playing with his Ego Dildo ™ during his Clique tenure in the WWF? But, no, they were desperate, and Nash had ideas, and he proved himself a money draw with the NWO, and…
What we ended up with has been immortalized as the Summer of Suck. It was a period of creative drought so utterly barren that it made 1993-1995 WWF look like Shakespeare, a time that made one yearn for the naive innocence of the last days of the AWA and the Team Challenge Series (when a young Eric Bischoff sincerely believed that a Turkey On A Pole match was a good thing). It was horrifying. Remember the Hummer Driver? That was just the most egregious example of Kevin Nash’s “creativity”. It drove Chris Jericho into the waiting arms of Vince McMahon. Even worse, it drove Time-Warner executives into the waiting arms of Vince Russo.
The Summer of Suck was the key moment in WCW’s long, slow suicide. It was the point of no return. And the fault lay with Kevin Nash. He stole from us the Monday Night Wars, the game of “can you top this” that the WWF and WCW would play with each other…hell, the fun of covering wrestling for a website. It made writers start writing more about the business of wrestling than about wrestling itself. And then once we got used to doing that, WCW and ECW went tits up and were folded into the Deprivation Chamber Of Information in Stamford. Now we had to write about wrestling again, since there was no real “inside news” to cover, but the wrestling part wasn’t there anymore because there was no one to push Vince and his “creative” team to new heights.
As I said, Kevin Nash stole our toys. And we’ll be pissed about that until the end of time.
Nothing else? Well, hell, it’s Holiday Week. Like there’s going to be anything. So it’s a quick jaunt through Raw, I guess, and if the spoilers are true, expect the invective to come fast and furious from this end. Of course, given his appearance on Smackdown Thursday, it could be expected, but still worth getting pissed off about…
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Van Dam over Big Sump Pump (Pinfall, Five-Star Frog Splash): Oh, wonderful. Caught between the Scylla of Big Sump Pump’s slow, lumbering alleged offense and the Charybdis of Van Dam’s normal spot fest. And they opted for the former, the more boring of the two, before pulling the “surprise” ending. Yeah, guys, that’s the way to get me into the show.
Eddie Kramer and Russell Simpson over Buh Buh Ray and D-Von Dudley (DQ by Guest Ref Flair, ostensibly for closed fist use but we all know it was because Buh Buh Ray was doing gyrations in those goddamn shorts of his): PK labeled this one “Dudleys versus Jobbers” in the header for the live coverage, and who am I to disagree? The only observation I can add is that under normal conditions, Kramer’s silver lame shorts would be the biggest fashion faux pas in the match, but not with Buh Buh Ray there. I was hoping someone would have bought him some new clothes for Christmas.
Randy Orton over Booker T, Intercontinental Title Transition Match (Pinfall, RKO): Just one of those matches that makes you shake your head and go “Huh?”. Not over Kane’s involvement; they needed something to rampage over during the show. No, over the fact that it became obvious in retrospect that the Kane-rference caused both these guys to half-ass it. And since Orton still needs to be carried somewhat, it becomes very jarring to see it. They’re both capable of better, so give them something without Kane involvement and see where it goes.
Trish Stratus, Lita, and My Beautiful and Beloved over Molly Holly, Victoria, and Jackie Gayda, Happy Holidays/Excuse To See Panties And Have Lots Of Tits In The Ring At The Same Time Match (Pinfall, Stratus pins Holly, Stratusfaction): Well, no Jackie Gayda alleged offense here, so that was a good thing. However, I do have to wonder about what they’re doing with Molly. First of all, that outfit wasn’t flattering at all. It made her look way too chunky. Secondly, what is going to be her status vis-a-vis Victoria? Victoria’s obviously going to play heel here. Is Molly going to go tweener or, God help us, full face? It does provide an excuse to transition the belt to Victoria for a feud with Trish and/or Lita, though, since God knows that, even though we cognoscenti in the IWC love Molly to death, the marks stay silent for her. Victoria at least gets a reaction from them, and you know how WWE thinks. Molly’s days as champ are numbered. She’s not going to make it to Royal Rumble with the strap. Too bad, really.
Trip versus Shawn, World Title Match (simultaneous pinfall): I’ll bitch about the commercial break all I want, but…despite everything I’ve said about Trip (and it hasn’t been much compared to the rest of the IWC), and everything I’ve said about Michaels being a shell of his former self, when they get together, things happen that only happen when two guys who trust and love each other as intimately as they do get together (in a non-sexual way, you deves). They’ve got a chemistry together that we’ve seen only a few times in wrestling history (Flair/Steamboat, Bret/Owen…Benoit/Angle could have gone this way if not for Angle’s perpetual injuries). When you add that chemistry to all the rest of the touches in this match…the one ref who can take a double bump and not make it look ludicrous or overblown, the one man in wrestling who knows how to time interference and make it look good (and who has the cred to interfere at will and not have it be seen by either marks or smarts as intrusive to the point of being decisive, not to mention having the absolute trust of the two competitors), fantastic booking that played to both men’s strengths and covered their weaknesses, an ending that satisfied the live crowd and the audience at home (even after the screwjob), the time to pull that booking off, and a substitute ref who, despite his heel status, perfectly reflected the gravity of the match by not only playing it down the middle but selling the screwjob in a rational, logical fashion that showed no bias against the face…
I can’t really call it a classic per se. It’s not going to be anyone’s Match of the Year, since that’s normally reserved for PPV stuff. But it was one of the best free TV matches in recent memory, and it came from two guys I wasn’t sure could do something like this anymore, even with each other. Even though they gave it hype with all of the Michaels flashback moments during the show, it didn’t need it. It’s like Keith said in his famous recap of the Tully/Magnum I Quit Match: these two hate each other, and that’s reason enough. The history between them just added to the feeling, and didn’t overwhelm it. I fear for the rematch; it’s not going to be as good as this. They’re not going to give this match thirty minutes again, something done because it was San Antonio, and a match between these two needs time. If Michaels was healthier, I’d say that the rematch should pull the same trick Smackdown did recently and go Iron Man.
I’ve been waiting for a match on free TV to point to and say, “Despite everything I write each week, this is why I still regard myself as a fan.” This was one of those matches.
(Although in fairness, Josh Crawley sorta disagrees with the above assessment, Derrek Croney didn’t like the finish, and Slick Rick thought Michaels was doing too many trademark Flair moves and found my company’s skinless chicken breasts. Buy the tenders next time if you can find them, Rick; they cost more, and I need that extra bit in the profit sharing department.)
Their Production Standards Are Falling: What the hell was up with the Vienna Eunuchs’ Choir music behind the opening flashback vignette? Don’t you think that something involving Foley deserves music that’s a little more driving and less…well, elegiac? The guy’s not dead; he’s spending time at home with the family until his next One-Week Ratings Pop ™ appearance. And who the hell is Ross kidding with his “this isn’t the Mick I know” line? They were using one of Keith’s Sledgehammers of Plot two weeks ago to make the point clear that Foley didn’t want to go back to being a full-timer. Even Ross can understand that line of reasoning. Foley’s a recovering addict in regard to the ring, and an IC title match would be like mainlining pure smack.
Damn Them For Remembering This: An extended Orton/Booker feud? Hey, I’m definitely okay with that. However, they suddenly remembered that there were these unresolved “issues” with Booker and Henry, something that we in the IWC have developed a good sense of collective amnesia about. Normally, I’d root for Booker to win any title, but not if it means that Mark Henry has a shot at the IC strap. And what will Teddy Long’s favor be? Probably something stupid like a Lumberjack Match between Henry and Booker. The only way I’d want Booker to win the strap is if it results in a Ladder Match against Henry. Watching that tub of goo trying to climb a ladder would bring a smile even to my jaded, miserable face.
Ah, Sweet Hypocrisy: Vince McMahon telling people that you have to let go of the past…oh, that’s a laugh and a half, isn’t it? Bring back Piper, bring back the NWO, forgive Austin for walking out (twice!), make overtures to Bret Hart, beg Foley to return every once in a while…yeah, let go of the past, unless it can draw money for you.
He Beats Women, So Running Them Over Is A Short Leap: So what kind of reception did Austin think he could get on his cell phone from inside his truck, parked inside of an arena? That must be one helluva great cell phone he’s got. And trying to run over My Beautiful and Beloved? Oh, that isn’t getting me on his side…like anything short of his permanent exile from television would. Of course, I didn’t give into the false hope as he pulled out into the San Antonio night. I did wonder, though, whether he’d have to pay for that lighting rig that he dragged out of the building with him. As for his new role, I’ll pull a tribute to Bob Marley and happily shoot the sheriff.
A Christmas Miracle: Linda McMahon cuts a coherent, non-stilted, naturalistic promo during her interview with Coachman? Yes, the law of averages said that it had to happen sometime, but still…it’s Linda. And the quality of her promo was greatly enhanced by the fact that it led directly into Trish’s scenery chewing with Jericho. According to the dirt sheets, Jericho and Trish are essentially writing their own material. If that’s true, they need someone to bounce it off of to get rid of the schmaltz.
And speaking of schmaltz, Haley gets to have the last word for 2003 tomorrow here in Wrestling. I get to do the same thing in Black. Stay tuned.