Saturday Evening Post 01.31.04

Hello, it’s Flea and if you have ever considered ripping someone off or stealing their “gimmicks”, now is the time. Actually, the only thing for the taking is the Wrestling Dead Pool, I would prefer you leave the IWC 100 alone. Or don’t. It’s up to you. Why? Business commitments are going to keep me from participating in the IWC from here on out, the site is closed and once again, the coveted Saturday spot here at 411 is up for grabs. It could be you, you know. More on this later, I have a few loose ends to tie up.

Let’s get to it

TOP STORY

I’m probably being proved right, but no one is really going to notice or pay homage. And why should they? I was only talking sense while everyone else is doing their best imitation of Chicken Little. Over at 1ryderfakin.com (and here as well) are a series of columns looking at the business aspects of WWE in a way that puts aside the personal feelings of what I like and don’t in my wrestling entertainment, ideas that seemed to influence not only the readers, but various writers around the IWC. Of course, it could all be coincidence, but if you believe in coincidence you are probably a lamebrain who also believes in things like luck and curses. Take this for example

Some people in WWE are starting to think that Reading, PA is a cursed town for the company. In addition to Matt Morgan suffering what was thought to be a stinger there on Monday night, Randy Orton broke his foot and Batista suffered a muscle tear in his arm there in the past. If I were a WWE wrestler and I had some off time coming, I think I would take it when they were in Reading!

– The newly emancipated Dave Scherer(, who must have made enough dough to start his own website. See, making money ain’t all that hard and shame on you if you are broke.)

Yeah! CURSES! and watch out for black cats and broken mirrors! OOGA BOOGA OOGA! Jeez, why not just have a f*cking séance before performing in Kansas City? Maybe the GHOST of Owen will magically transform (take your pick) into someone who could be considered a “wrestler”. THERE ARE NO SUCH THING AS CURSES. And trust me, if you are giving up 14.5 points and taking New England in the Super Bowl and you book a loser, it’s not because of bad luck. Back to business

Oh hell. Go back and read the columns. There were five of them and I think they will stand the test of time, especially when things kick into high gear on the Road to Wrestlemania and through the Summer. Not to mention, for all his concern about the Internet, they have certainly gone out of their way to make the IWC happy as pigs in shit. Benoit? Eddy? Foley coming back to make a star out of Orton as only he can? Brian Urlacher getting mainstream press? Oops, that’s some other company that I will most likely go out of my way to bury later on in this alleged news report. First things first and item by item

Chris Benoit

Everyone is doing backflips over him finally getting a push and I can see why. Actually, I can’t, because while I think that Benoit is a great worker and really enjoy watching him wrestle, if I was in charge, I would see to it that he is NEVER put in a position of responsibility, much less be given a World Title. Look what happened the last time he was given the top belt! He bailed on the company (WCW), never even bothering to wear a mask and a gun, as anyone would be able to recognize that gap-toothed smile anyway

“But Flea”, you, the reader quickly bangs in your keyboard in an unmitigated showing of hatred and scorn, “He left because Kevin Sullivan took over the book and he KNEW he would get buried.”

And do you blame Sullivan if he did? Sullivan went out his way years ago to make Benoit a star and what happened – The Crippler stole his Woman!! So, twice in his career Benoit has been given the ball and twice he ran the wrong way.

“But Flea!”, you howl, “what about the “Vanilla Midget” comment that Nash made?”

Nash was calling it as he sawr it. Benoit has the personality of a glass of sour milk and the promo skills of a deaf mute. And he’s had around 20 years to fix that (not to mention hanging with Arn Anderson, which, to me, means he should be able to learn to talk through osmosis) and has never made the effort. Is he amongst the Top Five workers in the world? It depends on your definition of worker, or a “complete” worker. Personally, I think Foley puts him to shame. To me (and the sonofabitch is proving it again), Foley is the total package – promos and then being able to follow it up in the ring. Well, he could at one time I have no desire to see his “in-ring” work in his latest attempt to “get someone over”.

Have you seen the new Foley DVD? I watched in on a plane flight from Florida to Chicago and typed a “recap” (you know who HOWLED when I dared called it a Mop Up) long story short, it ended up around 20,000 words of me expressing my total disgust at Foley, what his career has become in the eyes of probably his most hardcore of hardcore fans (me) and how the WWE and Foley should be ashamed of themselves for putting out a product like that and daring to call it the “Greatest” of anything. It was probably one of the most vile things I have ever written and will never see the light of day, but it did make me see Foley in a different light and not want to throw a bottle through my TV everytime he appears. Mostly stuff like this

Fucking A! That’s TWICE Foley has used that statement! (FLEA note: the statement in question was ” If you bought this DVD that means you are probably a big fan and probably not dating much”) why is it necessary for Foley to say things like that? It’s bad enough this DVD sucks due to the fact that Mick has apparently allowed his brain to go on autopilot as he tells the same stories over and over and over and then he feels the need to insult his audience. Sure, Mick brag about how beautiful and smart your wife is and how we are all losers because none of us were lucky enough to meet an ex-model whose father had just died and was vulnerable to the wit and charm of a normal guy. As weird as you are, a life married to you was much more appealing, I would imagine, than the normal dating and love life of a washed up model in New York City. You know the kind that wait for the big-dicked rock stars to fly into town, f*ck them, come in their faces, and leave a couple $100s on the bed. Some life. THAT’S why you “got the girl”, catfish. You were the “marrying type”. And my life is going fairly well thank you very much. I know for a fact that Desi would have told Blaustein to go f*ck himself

See imagine PAGES AND PAGES of that attitude. But Foley was right when he said in his book “writing it gets it out of your system” and it certainly did. By the time I watched RAW I had a new appreciation for what Mick is doing and what he has done for the business. I even managed to condense my thoughts on the DVD to a post a Wienerville

As a longtime Cactus fan, I thought this disc sucked and was lousy in presentation. If you are a fan of Foley, you should have both books, Three Faces of Foley, Hard Knocks / Cheap Pops and my favorite “Best of Cactus ECW”. To me, no new ground was covered here. Why didn’t they show the entire Vader series? Why didn’t they show the UT series? Where in the hell was the Bolier Room Match and how many f*cking times are they going to recycle the HBK match? Yes, it was good, but it’s on every DVD they put out! Ditto the HHH Street fight.

Also, if you have read the books or watched the other DVDs, Foley tells the sames stories, the same way, with the same phrasing and the same punchlines. The only redeeming quality is Foley goofing on himself while doing commentary with Coach (who couldn’t sound less interested and appears to be reading scripted questions).

What really pissed me off is the complete version of the Funk RAW match…I forgot how much Austin took away from that match with his nonsense. The clipped version is much better. And no, I didn’t need the entire saga of Socko and escapades with Al Snow to remind me how much I despise the fact that Foley turned himself into a goof. At least he cut a brilliant promo on Orton to remind a hardcore Cactus fan that he can still be great when he wants to. Unfortunately, now he has to back it up in the ring…

One more thing – where the hell was his matches with Eddie Gilbert? They couldn’t have cut the goofy shit to provide me with a quality DVD copy of that?

No doubt. They show the UT Hell in The Cell for the 10 millionth time, when they could have used any of the Gilbert matches, which we just as brutal, specifically the Best of Three Falls, which makes the two falls from a cage pale in comparison. But what the disc does prove, once again, is that Foley knew his role and accomplished it as well as anyone ever in the business that role is –

Jobber to the Stars!

Remember that term? Very popular on the net at one time, but it’s become kind of irrelevant, for reasons I do not agree with here is the accepted definition, from the R.S.P.W. ballot:

To be given to the “Superstar” who has no problem defeating “real” jobbers, but for some reason can’t score the victory when facing comparable opposition. This award should recognise performers who manage to look good both in victory AND defeat, as well as helping their opponents look good while jobbing, and may or may not represent a wrestler deserving of a push (that is better reflected in the “Most Underrated” category). In 2000, this category was removed.

That is Foley in a nutshell. And if you think about it, the same principle applies to Chris Benoit. He should accept his role, much like Foley did. The reason Foley became such an icon is that he could cut the best promos in the business and has a personality to make even non-wrestling fans to adore him. Benoit has neither and therefore has remained a critical darling, but never Top Shelf. Maybe that will change, as all eyes point to him winning the belt, if not at WM, then at the Backlash PPV, which is in Canada. Again, I think it’s great that he’s going to be fighting in a Main Event level program, as we are guaranteed quality matches, but there’s no way in the world I would let him win the belt. With his track record, it could very well end up in a Nashville garbage can while Jarrett and Russo laugh last.

Speaking of NWA-TNA, I had the misfortune of being in Chicago, refusing to leave the comfort on my hotel room as it was a ghastly 9 below or something equally ridiculous, and decided to break my own rule and watch the program. I’m glad I did because it reconfirmed my belief that as much as this company tries and as hard as the wrestlers work, they are pissing up a rope , as the same mistakes are made week after week after week. Case in point – who the f*ck is Johnny Fairplay and why did it cost me $10 to see a 3rd rate imitation of Andy Kaufman? So, when in doubt, I surfed the IWC and found out

Johnny Fairplay is a loser from Survivor, who is being billed as “the most hated man in the Entertainment Business”. I’ll be damned. All this time I was sure that Tom Snyder held that honor. But okay if Fairplay wants the gimmick, why not? It’s not like it’s that hard to make people despise you EXCEPT if you are so lousy at it, that it comes off as poorly acted as a 2nd grade Christmas play. And wouldn’t you know? All of this is being done to set up and angle with RODDY FUCKING PIPER! What did I ever do to BOB Ryder to deserve this? TNA can go to hell and stay there. All the while the wrestlers are busting their asses and what the TNA “officials” think will get them recognized is a program between a nobody with about 4 and a half minutes of fame left and the biggest jackoff in the wrestling business. BUT HEY! Then I learned this!!!

The angle they are planning on doing is based around Piper’s “heat” with Fairplay, who was the driver in an accident that almost killed the both of them. And get this – Piper thinks the guy was TRYING to kill him. Oh man, Fairplay is my new hero. On second thought, seeing as he didn’t succeed, he can get lost ASAP. But what do I care – I’m not planning on tuning in again anytime soon.

Another stroke of genius is TNA brining in Brian Urlacher, premier linebacker for the Bears and evidently a personal friend of Eric Watts. Urlacher has my condolences on both counts. They have him do the old “celebrity / sports figure gets involved so that we can get on Sportscenter routine”, previously made famous by Kevin Greene, Dennis Rodman and Owen Hart falling to his death. And it WORKED! The “mainstream” caught on to the story and, as always, made wrestling out to be a joke. When are the people in the business going to learn? Or maybe they have learned and just are desperate for the publicity. The real irony is that it drew the attention of the Bears management, who have absolutely no desire to see their franchise player involved in non-gridiron nonsense. Actually, the REAL irony is you have just as much chance doing damage to yourself at a Charity Golf Event as you do “enforcing” for Eric Watts. But TNA wanted attention and they got it – it’s questionable that it will do a damn bit of good. And just to show that they REALLY want to do themselves in, it looks like they ever fun duo of Nash and Hall will be taking their overpriced, no jobbing selves to at least one PPV. Rumor has it that Hogan will make an appearance as well. Does that remind you of anything? And remember the last time the three of them were recycled? If it does, you do, and you feel like supporting the product, by all means do. I know I won’t. It’s getting to the point where I * would * like to see AJ Styles playing Jamie Knoble’s brother and AMW as just another Tag Team. Anything to get them away from whatever is in the Nashville water.

Speaking of Jarrett, look at the surprise I received in my inbox! Allow me to welcome my very special guest, Ms. Number 26 herself! Tammy Sytch!

NOTE: when you see stars ( * * * * * ), that’s the end and I’m back here you go!

A Bytch from the Sytch…for FLEA?

Dear Flea, I wanted to take you up on your offer to add a little tidbit to your column. It won’t be something I do every week, and i’m sure Hyatte will freak out. But this week I’ve got a lot to say, and want to reach out to viewers who might not normally read what I have to say. With that, here is a little rant I call……

How Steve Austin hurt the progress of WWF! OR Jeff Jarrett WWF World Champion.

I recieved a email this week, and it spawned me to write this little column. I was going to put it into Hyatte’s Midnight News, but seeing as how I already had a lot of bytching to do there I decided to put it here. Besides maybe a few new people would read it, eh? If Flea is kind enough to put in your little column I’d love it. If not I’ll shove it into Hyatte’s. Either way here we go…

First and foremost anyone who reads this column and thinks its me lobbying for a job with TNA is wrong. Plain and simple, your wrong for reasons you couldn’t even comprehend. So get that out of your filthy little minds.

Now lets take a trip in our mental time machines. The time? 1999. The place? WWF.
The word “puppies” was just coming around, and Debra was the most popular woman in all of the WF. Yes she had eclipsed Sable in popularity and when Sable was out and quit, Debra was in. She was perhaps more popular then any woman in that era, partly due to Jerry Lawler’s catch phrase and partly due to she was at the side of WWF’s most popular heel, and ironically their second most popular wrestler under Steve Austin. Yes, Rock was about to surpass everyone, but wasn’t quite there. Triple H still wasn’t over, he hadn’t been booked over the entire company just yet and they were trying out new things like giving Big Show a run as face World Champion.

It was sometime around then, that Steve Austin was World Champ. He was the #1 guy, and there was no doubt. With Rock’s heel act stale and his face act just starting to catch flare, WWF had another upper mid card heel in Double J, Jeff Jarrett. Jeff hadn’t been so hot his second time around in WWF, but after losing almost nearly every match and then losing a hair match to X-Pac and ditching Tennesee Lee (Colonel Robert Parker for those keeping score at home) he suddenly showed up with his trademark silver guitar and a new babe by his side. (Debra) The two started to take WWF by storm, Jarrett scoring wins left and right and whacking anyone and everyone getting in his way with the ol 6 string.

Low and behold, it worked. I don’t mean it worked….I mean….IT WORKED! The fans HATED Jarrett and as he surpassed Razor Ramon in the most IC title reigns ever, it really seemed as if Jarrett was the next guy to break into the top. Afterall, he was a second generation wrestler, years of experiance, had a good look, a hot diva by his side, a good gimmick and even a cool catchphrase that was too risque for WWE action figures.
“Don’t Piss Me Off!” Or as the figures said, “Don’t tick me off” either way, Double J was on the top. Finally shaking the stigma of a crappy WWF run in the early 90’s and surpassing his misuse in WCW, he was really on the ball. Around IC title reign #5 everyone in the WWF decided it was time for Jarrett to win the big one. His take no shit persona would likely lead to a wicked feud with the resident face badass in Stone Cold Steve Austin. Afterall, this was going to work. Everyone in the WWF was ready to do it, except…well one person……Who you ask? Who would be such a backstage politician that he would over turn this idea? Who could that be? Triple H? Nope he wasn’t in any power spot back then. Was it Kurt Angle? WHO? Kurt hadn’t even debuted yet. I know, I know…it was Undertaker. WRONG! Taker liked the idea of new blood in the title scene too. Afterall if Double J turned face out of all this, a heel Taker could feud with him. So who was this evil person who was pulling backstage moves not seen since the “Vile Hulk Hogan” was running things. Oh yea, I know who it was….

Steve Austin.

Fans today like to think of Steve as the greatest giver ever in the business. Weekly I talk about how Austin should be putting over new stars, but the emails I get say everyone thinks he does. Well in this case he didn’t, and he nearly cost the company a fortune as a direct result, and oddly enough, he’s the sole reason WWE isn’t the only game in town now. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Its 1999. Its Raw. Its the night we’re going to start a feud between IC champ Jeff Jarrett and World Champ, Stone Cold. Jarrett had spent the better part of the last few weeks giving people who pissed him off the old, “El Kabong” and this week Raw was promoting Mystery Men the movie starring Ben Stiller. While Ben was yammering on about the movie, Double J had seen enough. The fans were super excited, as well, this was usually one of the most exciting segments on Raw each week. Someone would end up eating 6 string, from old ladies to veterans to announcers. But now this big star was clearly about to catch some. Jeff started to beat up Stiller, and had him in the figure 4, when Stone Cold ran out for the save.

The fans popped the roof off that place. Jarrett and Austin faced off. Austin stunnered him. Then what did he do? Picked him up and stunnered him again. Hmm, odd.

The next week, Austin went back to fighting Vince McMahon for round 400, and the bookers told Jeff Jarrett that, well, they couldn’t put him in a feud with Austin. Steve vetoed the idea. [GASP! Not the same Steve Austin who walked out for 6 months because he wouldn’t put over Brock Lesner. Not that Steve? Say it ain’t so!]

In a interview earlier this year, Stone Cold said and I quote, that he refused to put Jarrett over. He wanted to BURY Jarrett that night, so he made sure to give him 2 stunners so that the fans would not expect Jarrett to come back and beat him up the next week. When asked why, Steve Austin said he just didn’t think Jarrett “hit hard enough” despite the fact that wrestling is a fake sport where the punches are pulled. Yes folks Stone Cold thinks Vince McMahon, Bischoff and the Coach “hit hard enough” but not Double J. Of course then Steve Austin goes on to relate a story from when Stone Cold was a nobody working in Jeff’s dad’s USWA promotion, that Stone Cold got a small paycheck and it pissed him off. When he smarted off to Jeff Jarrett about it, Double J told him something to the effect of “It won’t grow any bigger by just staring at it”. So while any normal person would be angry and then forget about it, Austin held this grudge for over 15 years and put his own compnay in jeopardy as a result.

How?

Well shortly after this episode, a friend of Jarrett’s and head WWF booker Vince Russo decided that he was going to leave WWF. One of the main reasons? Because he felt Austin was getting too much power. I’d also like to mention, that Austin used his political power to try to bury Jarrett so much, that he guided the bookers to put him into a tag team with Owen Hart, in hopes to bury them both. (Remember Austin hated Owen too, for breaking his neck). Of course once Jarrett and Owen started teaming up, they too became insanely over. Then for no real reason, Owen was given the Blue Blazer gimmick. Him and Jarrett were actually working it into such a big thing despite the attempt to bury them, that Owen was set to win the IC title. Owen of course died, and Austin is partly to blame, at least for the gimmick. Of course it could have been Jarrett that died just as well. Interestingly enough, since Owen was dead, they gave Jarrett the strap instead. Jeff was getting HUGE face pops after Owen’s death and garnered his 7th IC title as a result. Do you think they pushed him then? No, instead, out of nowhere, Jarrett starts a feud with Chyna?!?!?

Wonder who decided that Jarrett should lose his strap to a girl? Even though he was the most over heel in the company? Well if ya can’t feud with Austin, at least you can lose to Chyna.

Anyway, the moral here is that Russo left and this was a large reason. It was also a HUGE blow to WWE. Jarrett left soon after, and what do you know. They both went to WCW. Now while Russo can be blamed for the death of WCW, at the time it was very possible that Russo could have turned WCW into a empire and crushed WWF. It didn’t happen, but it could have.

However one thing certainly did come out Austin’s refusal to let Double J into the World Title picture. Jarrett became WCW’s top star throughout 99-2001. He was the “Chosen One” and his “Slapnuts” gimmick was the highest point of that WCW era. His T-shirts and foam guitars were also the highest selling piece of WCW merchandise right up through their eventual sale to the WWF.

Now ask yourself this question. If you were a top exec at Burger King, would you fire the Whopper, so he could go to McDonalds and join forces with the Big Mac? probably not, but thats basically what Austin did. He took one of WWF’s highest selling burgers, and sent it to WCW, where it became their #1 burger.

Still don’t think that Austin’s refusal to job to Jarrett had a impact? Well Jeff didn’t go to WWE in 2000 when WCW went under, because he and Vince had problems (Over Austin and $$$) and he sat at home for a while. Collected his high dollar WCW contract and when it ended. What did he do?

He created the #2 wrestling company in the United States, and the only national competition to WWE. NWA-TNA. If Austin would have jobbed to Jarrett, there is a chance that buyrates would have went up, WCW would have went under sooner, and WWE would be the only game in town.

But Austin took his ball and went home.

And look at where things are now.

Its food for thought.

Thanks for Reading…..See ya in Hyatte’s column in 2 days!

Feel free to send me some feedback about this or anything else to……

Suntam1@yahoo.com

* * * * * * *

Thank you very much, Tammy.

As I mentioned above, seeing Austin ruin the Foley / Funk match six years ago with the EXACT same act he is doing today when he ruins matches really puts things into perspective. But it was so “cool” back then .

Here’s something from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that could be very easily taken out of context

“Now that Gunn is playing heel, his facials look so much like Stan Lane Cena set up the FU, but Heyman, who was at ringside, gave him a low blow. Heyman did a hell of a job with his facials at ringside to add to the match, and didn’t steal anything from the guys ”

hawR!

For all of you that bitched about the finish to the HBK / HHH match, the exact same finish under the exact same circumstance (with the only difference being finishers were used instead of chairs) was used for Rock vs. Mankind, Last Man Standing, at the St Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1999. The crowd even used the same “bullshit” chant. Just saying.

And congrats to Brian Kendrick for walking out of the WWE and sowing his own seeds on the Indy Circuit and Japan. I have been saying for a year or so – if all these WWE wrestlers are so unhappy, the should grow a set of balls and tell Vince to get bent. Until they do, they should quit the bitching and moaning. The best of luck to Spanky, who is very talented and should do very well, but realized if he stayed with WWE, he was on the road to nowhere. I guess that rumor about him being “Heyman’s Pet Project” and the “next Mikey Whipwerck” is null and void. Maybe he just didn’t want to be Heyman’s “pet” anything. Another rumor says that more wrestlers are going to follow in Kendrick’s footsteps GOOD! There is no sense in all that talent stagnating while creative can’t “find anything for them”

HA! That reminds me I just read an Interview with the Artist Once Again Formerly (and most likely permanently formerly this time) Known As Goldust hang on

Dustin said that when he came back to start the angle with Lance Storm, WWE officials continued to ask if the doctors cleared him to wrestle. He told the officials no and took another four weeks off and when he returned, he was informed he would be let go because the creative department in WWE had nothing for him.

– Dustin Runnels, last week, Get In The Ring radio program

I love that line ”creative had nothing” HE’S GOLDUST!!!! What more could you want? Just give him a segment and a match a show (if not RAW, then Heat) creative “had nothing” for one of the most unique characters in the history of wrestling!?!?! When you look at it that way, everyone else who ain’t one of the elite should be packing their bags and taking a crash linguistic course in Japanese, Jersey and Hick. WWE, obviously, is not speaking their language.

And just to provide something for Hyatte (and he will use this joke because “no one reads FLEA”) this story –

According to an article in The Philippines Daily News, the injury occurred during a fight scene with the film’s lead Thomas Jane (who plays Frank Castle, the title character of the film). Jane accidentally stabbed Nash, who is being billed as a character named “The Russian.” Nash wasn’t even aware he was stabbed due to the intensity of the scene. Nash is expected to make some promotional appearances for the film in the near future.

– “wasn’t aware he was stabbed” – HE DIDN’T SELL A STABBING!

– That’s why Nash rules and you suck!

– This is Hyatte

Yeah, just go ahead and cut / paste. Hyuck.

On that note, let’s call it a day. As mentioned, I’m pretty much gone from any kind of active participation in the IWC anytime soon, but I may throw something Hyatte’s way every once in awhile. I’m really bummed about not keeping up with the IWC 100, but I’m not going to have the time to surf in the manner that’s necessary to provide an accurate list. If you want to try, be my guest. It’s not as easy as it looks. I’m even more bummed about the end (at least my involvement) of the Wrestling Dead Pool, which would have hit a frenzied pitch as soon as a couple more chumps drop dead. Oh well and Say La Flea. Maybe later this fall or early next year I can have things back to normal – until then 1ryderfakin.com will stay up and you are more than welcome to surf the archives, but nothing “new” will be there. Also, and not that it really bothers me, but I just would like to say it – Eric S. is allowed to call me Fleabag, the rest of you are not. Whether you abide by my request is up to you.

Thank you very much for reading and remember to invest. There is no shame in going broke, but staying broke makes you a sucker.

FLEA