The Voice Of Reason News Hour 01.23.04

Hey this is the 10th edition of the VORNH and time is just flying by. It seemed like just last week that I was writing last. It was last week actually. I generally like to at least START this shindig on Thursday, but all I got done with the Hot Seat last night. So it’s Friday at 11AM 4:30PM (ouch) here in NYC, let’s get on with it-

The Land Of McMahon
Smackdown was a decent show last night. Both Raw and Smackdown were in the “PPV hard sell” mode this week, so judging them is a bit skewed.

Smackdown was a bit better to me this week, because a lot of the matches had meaning. The handicap match against Cena and Benoit seemed like a forgone conclusion, but I’m going to go on the assumption that we wont see Benoit vs. these Smackdown heels for a while, so it was nice to see him in there.

The Guerreros/Angle stuff continues to steal the show, with all four guys really holding up their end. I’m shocked at how good Chavo Sr. is both on the mic and with facials, and even in the ring for what seems like an older, pudgy guy. The match should be great this weekend, and I’d like to see where Angle fits in after the match.

TNA vs. The O.C.
Again, I am sorry to report that I watched the OC again this week instead of TNA, and once again I did not make a mistake. If you don’t watch the OC and you loved 90210, then you are in for a treat. The writers of the OC are just so awesome. Most shows have two parallel storylines, but the OC actually had THREE this week. The main storyline is Ryan/Marissa/Oliver, where Oliver, who is clearly insane, appears to be totally good to everyone but Ryan. So Ryan keeps seeing how insane Oliver is, while no one else sees it. Then, in the second half of this episode, it appeared as if Oliver was good and Ryan was bad, and that’s how the show ended.

But with the Seth/Summer/New annoying guy storyline, they parodied the main storyline, as the new guy was clearly super unfunny, but everyone was oblivious and thought he WAS funny, just like everyone thinks Oliver is cool and deserving of another chance. Then in the end Seth was right, HE was funny and the new guy wasn’t. I guess this probably foreshadowing Ryan being right about Oliver next week.

The third storyline that paralleled was the Sandy/Kirsten/Jimmy storyline, except in reverse. Everyone thinks Jimmy is a bad guy and totally worthless, where only Sandy knows he’s a good guy. Then we thought maybe everyone was right, and Jimmy was a weak, bad guy. But then at the last minute, he came through and signed on for the restaurant, showing he was a good guy and Sandy was right. Maybe I read too much into things.

TNA sounded about like a normal TNA show to be honest. The Johnny Fairplay stuff doesn’t really interest me at all, and with the lack of media attention it has garnered, it’s almost hurting the promotion. If they didn’t get a great buyrate this week, they already gave away him getting beaten up which was also an odd decision. Maybe he wont be back much longer.

News ‘n Notes
One of the bigger stories of the week was over on the Torch, where they first reported about a backstage meeting with Vince McMahon and the Raw talent, with commentary about the news and reports about certain talent reactions. McMahon reportedly exploded when he heard about these “leaks” and threatened to fire anyone who was caught leaking anything to the wrestling media.

Keller took this to heart on the Torch website, going into great detail why he and the wrestling media are good for wrestling and how in this case there was no storyline spoilers at all. That is a bit of semantics, as there are storyline leaks everywhere on the net all the time, and if I were Vince, I’d be pissed too. The stuff about style and company philosophy is important too, but that cant really be what Vince is upset with.

There is a time tested battle between the media and business, and that is not likely to change. The fact is, just minutes after the speech by McMahon to threaten wrestlers if they leaked information was over, news and reports from that speech were already online! The threats were obviously not considered realistic, because they weren’t even adhered to for an hour!

Hogan was on Jimmy Kimmel last night, but basically said nothing. However, it did get him back on TV as well as complimenting McMahon. Hogan also didn’t mention NWA:TNA. Hogan vs. Austin at WMXX? Don’t rule it out yet.

Vince Russo is reportedly back with NWA:TNA in a more limited creative role. The unofficial word is that he is not going to be used on air, but they already teased a mystery on a recent show that could easily turn out to be Russo.

Goldberg was reportedly told not to use the Jackhammer anymore after the spear. Those same reports said Goldberg would likely ignore that directive. You can tell things are going badly in a relationship when one side makes up crazy rules clearly designed to piss off the other.

Royal Rumble Preview
WWE brings us Royal Rumble this Sunday, and it’s the first PPV of the year, and the first of only 4 co-branded PPVs this year. On paper it is pretty weak outside of the Rumble match itself, but the match quality of much of the undercard should prevail. Before the complaints come in, by weak I mean the matches have no juice or interest.

Royal Rumble Match
The Royal Rumble match itself is probably my #1 favorite thing in wrestling every year, and I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion. Here is the list of everyone in the match:

RAW Superstars

  • Kane
  • Booker T
  • Goldberg
  • Scott Steiner
  • Christian
  • Chris Jericho
  • Mark Henry
  • Rico
  • The Hurricane
  • Spike Dudley
  • Matt Hardy
  • Test
  • Rene Dupree
  • Randy Orton
  • Rob Van Dam

SmackDown! Superstars

  • Kurt Angle
  • John Cena
  • Chris Benoit
  • Billy Gunn
  • Rikishi
  • Shelton Benjamin
  • Charlie Haas
  • Nunzio
  • Big Show
  • Matt Morgan
  • Tajiri
  • A-Train
  • Ernest “The Cat” Miller
  • Bradshaw
  • One superstar TBD

Out of these lists, I think Goldberg, Angle, Cena, Benoit have the best shots at winning. That’s four guys, and you could probably also argue Undertaker (if he’s the TBD), Orton and Kane if you tried too.

Doesn’t seem to make sense to me to give Goldberg the Rumble victory, I don’t think he’d gain much and he’s looking to exit the promotion anyway. Cena would be awesome, but you don’t want to push him too much too fast or it wont work. That leaves Benoit, who is everyone’s pick, and Angle. Angle guaranteed the win for the troops, which seemed to indicate at the time that he would win. Then again, Benoit has been positioned so much to win this thing, that it would be a letdown for him to not come out on top. I’m going to pick Benoit, but I also read a great theory by Pat McNeil on Torch, where he predicts Angle will win the rumble, Benoit traded to Raw for Goldberg, Angle puts up the title shot at No Way Out against Goldberg, who wins and faces Brock at WMXX. So that’s another great theory.
Prediction: Benoit

Raw World Title – Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
Last Man Standing
It’s still amazing to me that Shawn Michaels is not only back in WWE, but is back as one of the top, if not THE top worker on the main event level. For fans who went through the Monday Night Wars, HBK was one guy that was totally written off as injured and never coming back. Now here we are, 1.5 years after his comeback and he is on the road and as good as ever.

I’m going to pick Hunter, but I’d really much rather see HBK win the title. But by the same token, I don’t want to see HBK win the title and drop it again in a day week or month, so in that sense, I’d like to see Hunter keep the title and go into WM20 with some momentum.
Prediction: HHH

Smackdown World Title Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Bob Holly
Last Fan Still Awake
I understand what WWE was trying to do here, but they have just gone about it all wrong. If they wanted Holly to really be a serious contender for the title, why did they clearly push both Cena and Benoit as top faces above Holly? Why didn’t Holly get ANY big singles victories? If you cant beat the Big Show in the storylines, you clearly cant beat Brock either. I would have preferred them put Brock into the Rumble match itself and declare his desire for a Raw Title shot.
Prediction: Brock

Raw World Tag Team Titles – Ric Flair and Batista (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz
Tables Match
It’s said that the Dudleyz always lose tables matches, and while I don’t know the statistics, I’d say they are likely to lose here too. The promotion gains nothing from changing these titles here, better saved for a February Raw or WMXX.
Prediction: Evolution

WWE Cruiserweight Title – Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Jamie Noble
Actually a well built storyline surrounding the cruiserweight title! This is another weird match because it doesn’t seem like Jamie Noble has any chance to win the title here.
Prediction: Rey

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
I have really enjoyed how they have been going about this storyline, and the match has been built up well. Eddie is rumored to have a title shot against Brock in February, so that seems to take the wind of the sails of this match and feud a bit, but I’m going to ignore that rumor for now.

I think it will be a long, technical match where both guys will attempt to cheat to win. In the end I think Chavo Sr will get involved, as will Angle, and Eddie will come out on top.
Prediction: Eddie

Mr. Pankonin will have full coverage of the Royal Rumble this Sunday night, and in the event of him being unavailable, I’ll be doing it. Either way it will be top notch coverage and the server has been holding up better lately so come on over at 8pm Sunday!

The HOT Seat

1. We always start with geometry: Which of the following types of triangle comparisons is not enough to prove that the triangles are congruent:
a) SSA (Side Side Angle) b) ASA (Angle Side Angle) c) SAS (Side Angle Side) d) SSS (Side Side Side)

Haley: i’ll go with choice A

Hot Seat Judges:
That is correct.
1 out of 1

2. You always talk about the “Little Things”, here is a question featuring a “little thing” from WWE past. What was the mini poem/chant used by the Macho Man to get his retirement stipulation overturned for a match with Crush?

Haley: ah this isn’t fair, i wasn’t watching WWF back then. Let’s get creative…my ass is on fire let me unretire

Hot Seat Judges:
Wrong. We were looking for “Reinstation, that’s the plan. Reinstate the Macho Man. OOOOOOOOH YEAH”. Also would have been accepted without the “oooh yeah”.
1 out of 2

3. Speaking of little things, let’s talk about your hits lately! I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Someone who is always a hit is Mick Foley. In 35 words or less, book the angle to have him return to WWE to get his revenge on Randy Orton at WM20

Haley: Orton lets himself go, grows a gut and beard, fights hardcore matches, Foley returns ripped and beats him at Wrestlemania 20 in a last man standing match

Hot Seat Judges:
Have you seen the incredible physique of Randy Orton? Why would he jeopardize his standing with the ladies just to fight a coward like Mick Foley? Sheer idiocy and clearly wrong.
1 out of 3

4. If someone had bet you $1 million in 1998 that Bob Holly would someday be in a WWE Title match at a “Big Four” WWE PPV, describe how you would be repaying the money you lost.

Haley: Two words: sperm bank

Hot Seat Judges:
Two words: not funny.
1 out of 4

5. And finally, can you give an entertaining reason why you insisted on using your middle initial on your columns?

Haley: Well when I sent my tryout column, I used my company email. In my field, you use your middle initial to make yourself seem more important than you actually are. You included it in my column when it was first posted and I didn’t feel bad that you were fooled similarly.

Hot Seat Judges:
That might be the true story, but I was looking for entertaining
1 out of 5

Wow, now that was a bad performance. Haley was dangerously close to being the first our ever Voice Of Reason News Hour Hot Seat Zero. Or something catchier.

Cream of the Crop

Zone of the Week: 411 Games – They put together a fine feature on the Dreamcast, as well as their typical weekly lineup of news reports (most consistent on the site!) and some great new reviews. Plus the news of the Nintendo DS was just so exciting I gave the weekly nod to the whole zone. Cheers!

Writer of the Week: Robert Ortega Jr.
I’m not sure if you guys read it regularly, but the Lines feature is just about the most unique thing going on 411. Ortega has been sending them all month and I post them kinda slow, but you should definitely check them out, with a bunch new ones up this week.

Chris Biscuiti got his midday Friday column in before I finished my “midnight” news report, so here is a link: Counterfeit Pennies 01.23.04: Why The Royal Rumble Is Better Than WrestleMania

Gotta hand it to Melchor, he really has a knack for pissing people off. If you haven’t already been pissed off by his latest Double Impact, it’s probably because you didn’t read it. So go read it.

Evocator put together one of the weirdest music news reports ever, if not THE weirdest. So check it out here

Ian Chillis got his 2003 Year In Review up before I put up the awards results, so check him out.

Headin’ Home
Man sorry this was so late this week. I’ve been worthless today! Hopefully you enjoyed what I put together. Roundtable will be up this weekend. Should also have the 2003 year end award results up soon too.

Enjoy the Rumble.