The Voice Of Reason News Hour 03.13.04


So it’s Saturday at 11:21AM as I begin this week’s illustrious edition of the VORNH, and normally this would have been another skipped week. But, it’s freakin’ wrestlemania, and I wont let a server fiasco stand in the way of my bold Wrestlemania predictions. I don’t know how much else I’ll have in the old column this week, but I have already a bunch of new ideas for the post-mania New Hour format and you’ll see those next week. For this week it will be WM preview, news and some links and some other stuff i think of along the way.

411 Server Update
So as the biggest week of the year was chugging right along, the Brock Lesnar news hit and let’s just say it shocked more than just the Smackdown lockerroom. 411mania was previously split across two database servers, and the one with the wrestling articles and forum (the old database) is, at this point, completely lost. The boot record of that hard drive was fried, and we installed a new hard drive, and restored the site from my last personal backup (February 23rd, yeah I know I suck).

The ISP is supposedly mounting the old hard drive with the full database on it, but at this point they have LOST THE PHYSICAL HARD DRIVE and are still trying to find it. I actually think the partititions were deleted and all the data is lost, so I expect the worst.

The site is mostly up and running except for the forum. At this point the forum is all restored except for the Users table, which means no one can log in and all queries are messed up. I’m trying to get that up and running today, but I might need to roll to an even earlier backup of the forum than February 23rd.

So on Wednesday, the news broke that Brock Lesnar had given notice to WWE that Wrestlemania XX was his last match, and that he would be leaving wrestling to pursue a career in the NFL.

And that, my friends, is a bombshell.

I’ve learned never to be shocked in wrestling, and there is always the minute possibility that it is a work, but I’m leaning towards notwork on this one.

Imagine being 26, and in 2 years in the WWE beaten almost every major star, held the World Title three times, headlined 2 Wrestlemanias and 9 total PPVs. You have millions of dollars, and apparently people whispering in his ear that he could make an NFL roster.

I wasn’t at the meeting, but I cannot believe Brock would insist that he would never wrestle again. At only 26, he is still much younger and less broken down than almost any other WWE main eventer. If he walks away now and comes back in 2 years, he will be

Everyone I know has snickered at the idea of Brock going into professional football without having even played NCAA football. And it does seem ludicrious. But Brock doesn’t seem like a stupid guy. He must legitimately believe he has a chance, and who am I to doubt him? He came into professional wrestling and rose to the top quickly, and is one of the best workers for a man of his size. His promos have also improved.

If you’re Brock, you’ve already beaten The Rock, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, The Big Show, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, etc. He is facing Goldberg on Sunday, and that leaves him with only Hunter to face in a fresh matchup, and even that is at least a year away. Brock has proven everything there is to be proven in WWE, and unlike most wrestlers who live and die for their legacy and the wrestling business, Lesnar has had his fill and wants to move on.

This bullshit about having a ‘contract to live up to’ is just that – total crap. Contracts are valid as long as both parties are in agreement. The contract is for as long Brock wants to wrestle – it’s not like he’s breaching the contract to wrestle for WCW. I’m sure the contract will still be binding for the next seven years as it pertains to Brock in wrestling. I don’t think you’ll see Brock show up in Jimmy Hart’s next vaporware promotion, its just him having enough of one career and moving onto another.

I hope Brock does well in the NFL – imagine the press that Vince would get having created a moviestar and an NFL star from WWE wrestlers in the last couple years.

Wrestlemania Countdown: It’s Showtime
As I write this on the day before Wrestlemania XX, I must admit that I think Vince McMahon has been doing mostly the right things headed into the biggest event of the year. For fans of the product over the last year, almost every match is the culmination of a long standing issue, and each match involves a fantastic mix of legends, established main eventers and up-and-coming stars in the making. The card is jam-packed with potential Match of the Year candidates and there are very few weak spots, and none at the top of the card.

In addition, whoever is running the WWE advertising and marketing department right now is doing an incredible job. I realize that I’m deeply involved with wrestling, but I feel like I am seeing WWE people and Wrestlemania ads and references all over the place. The Pete Rose thing is incredibly timed, and got Wrestlemania press in a ton for the event on legitimate sports shows. Overall WWE has done the best possible job with the current rosters and resources to make WMXX truly where the next WWE era will officially begin.

Here is a rundown of the matches with my thoughts and predictions.

WWE Championship
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Kurt Angle

I wonder if this match was originally planned to be for the World Title or not. Either way, it has grown into its position nicely. Eddie Guerrero is the freshest and most over new WWF main eventer in years, and he is creating momentum for the title and the show in general headed into mania. His feud with Kurt Angle has been the highlight of Smackdown for months, and the build and story for this match has been incredibly well done. This is the match I’m most looking forward too, as both men are at the peak of their careers and looking to cement their legacies.
Prediction: Eddie Guerrero

World Championship
Triple H (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels

I’m not on the same “Let’s Go Benoit” bandwagon that most of the IWC is on, because I feel like it seems too rushed. Michaels and Hunter have been feuding on and off since August 2002, and this seems more like the culmination of that issue than the culmination of Benoit’s career-long rise to the top. Benoit continues to be booked as an extreme underdog, which still has me thinking he could win. The quest is really Michaels’ to fulfill, and McMahon loves booking these kinds of stories, especially with guys he likes, such as Undertaker or HBK. I’m gonna pick Michaels but it’s more like 50% HBK, 30% Benoit and 20% HHH.
Prediction: Shawn Michaels

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Even before the Brock news broke, I was going to pick Goldberg in this match, but after seeing Smackdown on Thursday, I’m even more confident. Heyman said on Thursday that Lesnar is the MVP of Smackdown, and with the roster abandoning him, it would further whatever angle they are planning if Lesnar were to lose and then leave WWE or be fired by Heyman. I’m sure Lesnar could still win, but I don’t exactly see why Goldberg would have accepted this booking on his way out if he were jobbing to Lesnar. But now with both going, anything could happen.
Prediction: Goldberg

Undertaker vs. Kane
I don’t think we need to waste a lot of time discussing this one. Will be cool to see the old gimmick back with Paul Bearer at least once, and I’m sure Taker is headed for 12-0 at mania.
Prediction: Undertaker

Rock and Sock vs. Evolution
I would be more excited for a singles match, but its good for the buyrate to get The Rock involved. I think Orton and Batista will get the win here with Flair along for the ride, and that would set up the Orton vs. Foley singles match for Backlash with Foley going over.
Prediction: Evolution

Chris Jericho vs. Christian
In thinking about it, I don’t think Chris Jericho has a very good record at Wrestlemania. I know he’s lost in the last two. His face turn has been lost a bit in the shuffle, without much face promo time, so I think its possible the faceturn is a swerve. I could see Trish turning on Jericho and aligning with Christian, then Jericho stays face, turns heel or possible moves back to Smackdown. I could see Jericho turning on Trish and going back heel with Christian. Either way, it might be the match I’m most looking forward too from Raw, with Jericho being my favorite and all.
Prediction: Jericho

WWE US Title Match
The Big Show vs. John Cena

Another seemingly obvious match, but it has to be booked to really make Cena look like a star. I hope the FU comes out really smooth at the end.
Prediction: Cena

Cruiserweight Open
Chavo Guerrero Jr. (c) vs. Akio vs. Sho Funaki vs. Billy Kidman vs. Shannon Moore vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble vs. Nunzio vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Ultimo Dragon

And now we head into the “get more guys on the roster” matches on this year’s card. I don’t think they would be having this event if Rey was going to win. This event seems designed to have Chavo lie, cheat and steal his way to retaining the title.
Prediction: Chavo

Smackdown Tag Titles
Rikishi/Scotty (c) vs. APA vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Bashams

I really dislike the champs, and loved the APA skit from a couple weeks ago, so I’ll go with the former Team Angle.
Prediction: TWGTT

World Tag Team Championship
Booker T & Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade vs. La Resistance vs. The Dudleyz
I don’t think any of these teams are over enough or on an upward track to get the titles back.
Prediction: Booker T and RVD

Torrie Wilson & Sable vs. Stacy Keibler & Jackie
Playboy Evening Gown Match
It seems to me that the actual Playboy models would win the Playboy match, but I think all four will wind up stripped down to the bare minimum.
Prediction: Wilson and Sable

Women’s Championship
Victoria (c) vs. Molly Holly

Molly loses her hair if she loses the match

I didn’t even know about this stipulation until like this week, and I guess maybe it was just added? Either way it seems to make the result obvious – Molly shaves her head and hilarity ensues.
Prediction: Victoria

We’ll have full match by match coverage of Wrestlemania XX here on 411 as soon as it begins. Chris Pankonin will be at the helm, and I will be at the arena, so don’t look at me if the site crashes. But my new load balancing solution should work. Fingers crossed!

The HOT Seat
You never know who will be around on a Saturday morning to be in the hot seat, but lucky for me that my Sunday counterpart was up early to watch the Fox Box and was available for a quick 5 question romp.

1. We always start with geometry: What is a 10-sided polygon called?

Randle: Finally, an application for all the math I know. Seriously, who wants to be known as “the guy who’s good at math” all their lives? Anyway, it’s a decagon

Hot Seat Judges:
A softball.
1 out of 1

2. As I’m sure you’re aware, tomorrow is Wrestlemania XX. What should the order of the last 4 matches be?

Randle: Goldberg-Lesnar, Kane-Taker, Trip-Shawn-Benoit, Eddie-Angle. Of course, a week ago I would have said different, but now…

Hot Seat Judges:
Judges would switch the Goldberg and Taker matches.
1 out of 2

3. Which of the following best describes your real identity: a) An alternate online personality of Joshua Grutman b) An alternate online personality of Hyatte aka Flea aka Joshua Grutman c) Dusty The Fat Bitter Cat d) Jeff Gardner, author of Hanging Gardens e) A Canadian

Randle: Finally, maybe someone will believe I’m not Grut. Until our government collapses and we join the States, the answer must always be E.

Hot Seat Judges:
You saw through all the hilarious jokes and hit the nail on the head. Kudos.
2 out of 3

4. What are the three best Wrestlemania matches of all time?

Randle: Hart vs Austin from 13, the triangle ladder match from WM2K, and Benoit vs Angle from X7

Hot Seat Judges:
Only one right, so we’re not giving you the point. Here are the right answers:

  • Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior Wrestlemania VI
  • Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon Wrestlemania X
  • Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin Wrestlemania XIII

2 out of 4

5. In 30 words or less, convince me why Chris Benoit should win the title at Wrestlemania XX.

Randle: If he doesn’t, the IWC will get up in arms about the glass ceiling again, and I’m tired of it. Plus he’s a great wrestler and deserves the belt.

Hot Seat Judges:
The judges are still not convinced
2 out of 5

A very weak 2 out of 5 for Randle, and even the 2 was pushing it. Check out his column tomorrow for the final pre-Wrestlemania push.

Summerslam Countdown: 25 Weeks
Huh? Wha?

Cream of the Crop
Zone of the Week: Games. With E3 a skant 2 months away, the 411 Games Zone is heating up with more news and reviews than ever! Not to mention the most consistent weekly news report lineup on the whole site. Some key links this week:

Writer of the Week: Brian J Blottie The 411 news crew continues to deliver.

Dave Gagnon is the only member of the Hot Seat Hall of Champions, and has his first Canadian Rants on 411 in years.

Ron Gamble has this week’s World According to Ron

Good to see the fire let under Haley this week in Haley’s Comment

He is the only one using it right now, so I figure I will link to Matthew Michaels’s BlackLog

And less I show favoritism in the Biscuiti family, here is chris’s Weekly Media Monitor

Ben Morse has an interesting feature up in comics this week discussing the Best Artists of 2003

Heading Home
Lucky for me lately that Flea is on a break, because I have the luxury of postponing myself to Saturday! I am in the process of reposting all the WM countdown stuff as well as the forum. Wish me luck!

Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs