Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 01.13.04

Okay, did anything of note happen anytime between Randle and now?  Just a few things of minor import, really, and I’ll discuss them.  You know, it’s times like these when I miss Hyatte.  Yeah, he did his book thing, but I really loathe John Grisham, so with no Midnight News, the pressure is on.  Hyatte can really be inspiring at times to me as a writer, because I continually have to try to top him.  It’s that little bit of “oomph” that I need to put me over the top.  Well, I have to live without it this week.

It’s times like these when I wish I could be doing a “real” sports type of general column.  This weekend’s action here in the US would have provided an incredible springboard of its own to operate with.  Start with the STL/CAR borefest-turned-holy-shit-exciting game, then move on to Peyton Does Kansas City Like The Little Bitches They Are and Fourth and Twenty-Six:  The FudgePackers Take It Up The Ass, then conclude with Veej flicking on a switch at Kapalua and telling Stuart Appleby, “You’re not going to waltz in here like the belle of the f*cking ball, white boy”, and pulling a Rams (phenomenal comeback, but couldn’t close it out).  And it continues this upcoming weekend, where the Colts, Pats, Iggles, and Panthers all might have to play second fiddle to a fourteen-year-old girl if things go right for her on Thursday and Friday.  With a weekend like that, inspiration and motivation just flow over you like a spring shower.  Wrestling most of the time is more like a golden shower.

Let’s see what’s on the docket:

THE PIMP SECTION

Nute does an entire article about cattle mutilation and doesn’t make one reference to me.  I believe that’s against the 411 Manual Of Style.  You know, “All references to meat animals must contain a joke about the Godwinns and/or Eric S.”

Ortega is doing his best to redeem his last name after Remy’s antics.  Adobe Acrobat (Reader) is required, though.

EARLY HEAT RESULTS

Hmmm, 1bullshit actually had some Heat and dark match results up a half hour prior to Raw yesterday.  Says there that Jindrak and Cade went over Novocaine Helms and His Pet Bitch.  I have no reason to disbelieve them.  However, it is 1bullshit, so…here’s what the article blurb read:

Mike Johnson is live at tonight’s edition of Raw at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY.

So what does the byline read?

by Mike Johnson & Buck Woodward

Excuse me?  Just because Suck Woodhead is typing the results in from Johnson’s phone calls means he gets a byline?  And people wonder why we don’t take 1bullshit seriously.  Fortunately, we here at 411 have no illusions about what we do.  We’re not professional journalists, and we admit it.  That’s why we’re the Number One independent wrestling site on the web; we’re like you, the Great Unwashed, except that we have the ability to type and use proper English (and get book deals on occasion).  Those of us who are not like you even include ourselves in on the fun.  So f*ck 1bullshit.

AS THE FALLOUT CONTINUES…

The dead-tree Torch won’t let go of the contretemps that’s happening right now concerning the actions last week of one Jonathan Coachman.  So I’ll intertwine my comments with theirs.  Don’t worry, I’ve done this for a long time:

As reported last week, Vince McMahon was directly telling Jonathan Coachman was to say last week on RAW.

No one’s answered, though, if Vince was telling Coachman what to say word-for-word or just giving him subject matter and letting him go off on his own.  That’s critical to know, especially if you’re trying to cast “blame” in this situation.  If Vince was telling Coachman what to say word-for-word, then it’s definitely a case of Vince using Kevin Nash’s abandoned Ego Dildo ™.  However, if he was giving Coachman suggestions and letting Coachman improvise his own statements, that’s a very big vote of confidence in Coachman, and a sign that he’s improved from the Vanilla Negro that none of us could stand.  It’s actually encouraging, especially if it leads to Ross abandoning Raw for the front office like he’s supposedly wanted to do.

Coach was criticized by many for saying some edgy, borderline racist things on RAW and focusing more on bugging Jim Ross than the matches or storylines.  McMahon loved how the angle came off.

He wasn’t being criticized by me.  Personally, I thought the remarks fit in perfectly with the racist overtones the entire show was presenting.  Sometimes, you actually need to be reminded that Coachman is, well, African-American.  The situation with Teddy Long gave him the perfect opportunity for that, and Coachman took advantage of it (if indeed it was him doing it; see above).

The general feeling is that McMahon likes to push Ross.

In what way?  “Push” as in a wrestler’s type of push?  “Push” as in “push someone’s buttons”?  “Push” as in “try to motivate someone to give his or her best”?  Or, in this case, all three?  Regardless of how you look at it, it was effective, and it was also effective in the time that Coachman spent in the booth on Raw yesterday, only this time without the racial overtones.

Many wrestlers are growing upset that McMahon and the RAW creative team continue to use many angles on the show as a way to entertain themselves rather than to improve the product.

Well, f*ck, guys, congratulations.  You’re finally saying what some of us, specifically me, have been saying for the past few years.  Now maybe you’ll start regarding us with a little respect instead of blowing us off as “they’ve never been there” types.  Some of us know what good entertainment comprises, because we’ve been there.  Sports entertainment still has to follow some basic rules that all entertainment has to follow.  Just because it takes place in a ring doesn’t mean jack shit when it comes to criticisms of plotting and characterization; good dramaturgy is good dramaturgy, pure and simple.  And there are some of us out there who know more about that than you do, or Vince does.

One WWE insider stated the following about Vince: “He cares more about having fun for himself even if it’s at the expense of the product.”

Thus showing that Vince’s view of wrestling has not matured.  This isn’t like the old days.  Vince has stockholders and a national TV audience to satisfy.  But he has enough sheep…didn’t I talk about this last week?  I’ll say it again:  as long as the ratings stay above a level that WWE considers acceptable (and Viacom considers acceptable), then there’s no impetus to change.  He’s the only game in town, he knows it, Viacom knows it, and the power that comes with monopoly can be exercised.

Coach feels as if he has been put in a tough position but also realizes that he is only doing what the boss is telling him to do.

The thing is, do other people backstage realize that?  Personally, I find Coachman’s attitude acceptable in this regard.  He’s following the orders of the guy who’s paying him, and he’s not being ordered to do anything illegal.  However, I will have to remind Coachman of one Mistah Tony Schiavone, once regarded as one of wrestling’s greatest announcers, and had his rep ruined because his boss whispered stuff into his ear too much.  Ask Bisch about that while you’re backstage, Jon.  I’m sure that somewhere in his soul he regrets doing that to Fat Tony.

JR also has some legit anger towards the whole situation.

If I was seeing one of my jobs being eliminated before my eyes, with the connivance of the boss, I’d feel legit anger too.  Ross isn’t immune to egotism.  Having an ego is just about the only way to survive in wrestling.  Coachman’s now obviously heir apparent, and unlike previous heirs apparent, he’s developed a personality and character that works in the booth (witness the previous heir apparent, Michael Cole, who only has a personality because he’s borrowing one from Tazz).  Coachman is the greatest threat ever to Ross’s public position as announcer.  Witnessing him being helped to get himself over by Vince must be incredibly upsetting.  No matter how much Ross says that he’d love to get rid of the announcing duties and concentrate on being VP, there’s a large part of him that doesn’t want to give up two hours a week of camera time.  But the end is coming, and coming soon.  Until then, we’re going to have a Nitro-style booth.

UH, MAYBE THERE ARE OTHER REASONS

Again, from the dead-tree Torch:

Many in WWE are questioning whether Steve Austin can really be trusted with storylines now that his RAW sheriff gimmick has been turned into somewhat of a joke.

Turned into?  It was from moment one.  Come on, you had the guy parade around with a toy sheriff’s badge and expected him to be taken seriously.

The feeling is that Triple H’s promo about Austin as a “hillbilly sheriff” on RAW recently exposed the gimmick as silly and actually turned a lot of fans against Austin.

No, Trip’s promo just exposed the gimmick for what it was to the denser in the audience.  The smarter (as in intelligent, not as in “smart”) already had turned against Austin because he’s a boring, wife-beating piece of shit who was numbing the audience to tears with his umpteenth iteration of the same old routine.  His character hasn’t grown at all since the botched heel turn.  And who might be to blame for that?

Given the fact that Austin has been so hard on WWE writers in the past, most no longer have faith that he can come up with good ideas.

Oh, yes, he’s in large part to blame because he does so much of his own booking.  So, therefore, he doesn’t have any ideas to expand the character.  Of course, he’s got a good role model in Vince “Ride The Horse Until It’s Dead, Then Try To Bring It Back From The Dead” McMahon.  Just end it off with Austin, now, please, for all our sakes.  The longer they wait, the more people will realize that, yet again, as with Flex, Steph, and so many others, I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!

THE TORCH IS FROM MARS, WWE IS FROM VENUS

More dead-tree Torch stuff!

Matt Hardy is not in the WWE doghouse, but is basically lost in the shuffle. WWE still does not know what to do with Hardy even though he is drawing strong face pops at house shows. Most are leaning towards turning him face. Many backstage are taking the fact that WWE did not even know to turn Hardy face until now as a sign of how out of touch they are with their own characters.

So therefore you have him go out and play heel/Goldberg’s bitch on Raw.  The thing is, they had a ready-made feud for him as a heel with Christian and pissed it away in order to focus on the Trish/Jericho side of things (which hasn’t worked out very well, has it?).  It wouldn’t have required turning Christian, either, just a softening of his character (which they ended up doing anyway).  Of course, they also burned their bridges behind them of a quick face turn for Hardy using Christian due to the vivid way he beat up Lita.  So now the question becomes, if he is going to be turned, how do they do it, and how do they attract an audience for him when they do it?  If this ends up with Jeff Hardy being rehired, I’m going to kill something or someone.

When Stevie Richards has a better character than you do, and is undergoing a successful face turn that has the audience buying it, something’s really wrong.  And now that Ross has the green light to eliminate wrestlers who aren’t performing (as the Torch speculates, that means bye, bye Tommy Dreamer), it could mean Hardy’s job.  Wasn’t it just about a year ago that Hardy was getting an unbelievable push on SD?  Now he’s about to join his brother on the indy circuit.  Unless, as I said, they rehire the goddamn retard.

Okay, let’s turn to Raw and see if anything happened there…

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Jazz and Molly Holly over Trish Stratus and Lita (Pinfall, Jazz pins Trish, rollup):  Jazz needed to get a win on her return to active wrestling (and also needed to get the pinfall), so the result was obvious the moment she came out.  But the execution was flawed.  All competitors missed spots, especially blatant in Lita’s case, and the match was pure formula (Lita may date Matt Hardy, but she wrestles like Jeff Hardy, all ragdoll and Ricky Morton redux).  However, Molly looked great, so that helps.

Bill Goldberg over Matt Hardy (Pinfall, duh):  Well, look who’s off suspension.  And look who’s declaring himself as a participant in the Royal Rumble.  Look at me saying “No shit”.

Dave Batista over D-Von Dudley (Pinfall, DaveBomb):  Fortunately for everyone, the involvement of Buh Buh Ray’s goddamn shorts was minimal.  That’s about all the good I can say about this match, though.

Booker T over Kane (DQ, uh…):  Okay, the point of this match was to solidify Kane’s position as a tough SOB and a favorite for the Rumble.  Did it succeed?  Sort of, if you count no-selling Booker’s offense.  Otherwise, it was just another example of WWE’s incompetence in getting people over.  Of course, Kane isn’t one of the ten most marketable people on Raw, so I guess it doesn’t matter to them.  Of course, Slick Rick pointed out something that I disregarded, namely the fact that the need to pimp the new CD also gives them an out regarding Booker’s tried-and-tested music, which dates back to Harlem Heat days.  You know, I’ll miss that music, and hopefully when the pimping’s over, they can revert back to it.

(Oh, and Memo to Slick Rick:  I watched the first few minutes of John Henson’s show right after Raw, and, my God, talk about painfully unfunny.  Yeah, it was a debut and all, but even the promos weren’t funny.  It was like they were trying to combine Talk Soup with The Man Show, and failing desperately.)

Mark Henry over Chris Jericho (Pinfall, Fat Fuck Slam):  Talk about inconsequential.  The only question that was raised was “Did Trish come out in defense of Jericho or just after Jazz?”  The fact that it was as ambiguously presented as it was didn’t help the Jericho/Trish angle, which needs a LOT of help right now in order to be remotely interesting.  The promos afterward didn’t help matters.

Randy Orton over Rob Van Dam, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, DDT):  No, Ross, it wasn’t a “great” match.  It was spastic in its booking to say the least, a hazard that can’t be avoided when you deal with the slow, methodical Orton and the spotmeister Van Dam.  Herky-jerky in pace, with Van Dam obviously uncomfortable working with the kid.  Until the belt gets off Orton’s waist, it might be better to leave Van Dam out of the IC strap picture.  Although who the hell’s going to work with Orton is beyond me.  Maybe that’s the reason why Jericho’s being turned.  He can get a good match out of Orton.  I think.

Angle Developments:

Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much:  Another Transition Promo, oh, yay.  The Michaels/Trip chemistry that made their December 30th match one of the best of last year does not extend to verbal confrontation…well, under other circumstances, it actually might.  However, their attempts to make it into high drama were an abject failure.  Both guys are good speakers, but we’ve walked this particular path of reasoning in their promos many times before, and nothing new was done to distinguish it.  That made the stilted tones and too-carefully-chosen words ring hollow.  The fact is that nothing really needs to be done to pimp the match at Royal Rumble:  it’s Michaels and Trip, Last Man Standing.  This is a money match in and of itself, especially on the heels of the last match, and promos aren’t necessary (or for that matter, wanted).  It doesn’t need to be turned into some piss-poor Shakespearian knock-off featuring attempts at fourth-rate Olivier.  That just detracts from the match.  Let it play out without any further intervention from the Great Lords Of The Promo, please.

And let me pretentiously guide you to the end of this particular column, as I and my audience Exeunt To Black…