The Voice Of Reason News Hour 04.02.04

So it’s 12:40AM on Friday April 2 and once again I have nothing started for the so-called Friday tradition, the Voice of Reason News Hour. I technically skipped 2 weeks, but the first week I did that bonus Monday VOR where I raved about my live experience at Wrestlemania. Of course I had like half a column written with my WMXX post mortem and such, but as luck would have it, I didn’t finish it. Fascinating so far, this column has been.

Let’s see what’s going on!!

Smackdown
Note the simple yet effective title for this subsection!

I did get a chance to watch much of Smackdown tonight, and it’s certainly a show in transition. I guess that’s Voice of Reason code for “pretty sucky” but we’ll leave it at transitional.

WWE has done an effective job, on paper, of establishing both Booker T and Bradshaw as heels. Whether or not they catch on will be the jobs of the talent, both the wrestlers themselves and those who they wrestle against. As much as the internet hates Bradshaw, his character has a lot more depth than many wrestling characters, with some real basis in truth as well as a truly hateable persona (especially to wrestling fans). Of course the fact that he is terrible in the ring is a factor as well.

Booker T’s turn is believable and logical and should build nicely. I like how they immediately tossed him into the World title picture, but suddenly with Eddie Guerrero and Bradshaw, Smackdown’s top card seems extremely weak. RVD seems to have come over and actually moved DOWN the card. He is wrestling in even matches with Charlie Haas? Is that elevating Haas or demoting RVD?

It seems odd to have the Undertaker return at Wrestlemania in spectacular fashion and then leave him off the subsequent Smackdowns, especially since he is the only real marquee main eventer on the whole show.

I think the overall show felt directionless. Where are the other titles? Dudleyz squashing random cruiserweight tag teams? Who wants to see that?

The Planeride From Hell Continues
Almost 2 years after the planeride that cost Curt Hennig his job in his final WWE tenure, the ramifications continue to be felt.

This week, female flight attendants who worked on the flight have filed suit against WWE and three wrestlers in particular: Goldust, Ric Flair and Scott Hall.

Apparently Flair was just wearing one of his legendary robes, and was allowing his penis to flop around, or something like that. Hey I just thought of an idea for tonight. I’ll borrow some of the news from Ashish! Here is some highlights of the Smoking Gun report of the suit:

The suit claimed the following:

Many WWE wrestlers also asked the flight attendants to throw away needles for them while also groping the attendants when they walked by.

That Ric Flair forced more than one attendant to touch his crotch while he also “forcibly detained and restrained” another “while he sexually assaulted her.”

Scott Hall made many crude comments including telling an attendant to perform oral sex on him.

Dustin Runnels grabbed an attendant and made sexually lude comments.

The suit blames WWE for not putting a stop to the bad behavior and letting wrestlers who were known for such behavior drink on the flight.

While it’s easy to call the wrestlers horrible for their activities, this is a private sport charter airline service. Are you really telling me that these kind of incidents don’t happen all the time in all sports? These guys are all couped up on a plane getting loaded up on alcohol, I’m pretty sure there is “sexual harassment” all the time.

Of course that doesn’t actually condone it, I just feel like wrestlers are being singled out as being the scourge of society wait uh I guess they sometimes are

DVD Madness
WWE’s DVD release schedule for the rest of the year looks pretty promsing. Here it is, courtesy of PWInsider via Ashish:

The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD that WWE is currently putting together has been delayed until November.

Seems like it could indicate that WWE plans to add more to the ECW history in the coming months and wants to frame the new ECW in historical context. Or I’m reading too much into it.

WWE is producing a DVD on Bret Hart called “The Bret Hart Collection.” WWE may try to rush this out by November/December to take advantage of the Christmas season.

Considering it’s only April, I hardly see how the holiday season is a rush.

A two disc Eddie Guerrero DVD is due out on September 28th.

I hope they include a bunch from WCW. lWo anyone?

A Rob Van Dam DVD is due out in November.

With some of his ECW stuff, like those Bam Bam or Jerry Lynn matches, this DVD could be a huge sleeper hit and possibly could help push RVD higher up the card.

The Chris Benoit DVD is due out in July.

Again a lot of stuff with WCW and ECW comvbined with his WWE career would make for another awesome collection.

Between these DVDs and the WWE24 channel, it’s incredible how much money WWE is poised to make on the tape library. I think it will go down as one of Vince’s smartest moves to get all these wrestling libraries, because the opportunities just seem endless.

Russo Works The Miami Herald
Boy, Vince Russo never really ceases to amaze me. And I mean this in a good way. He actually got the Miami Herald to do a story on him and TNA, but with his totally new kayfabed character masquerating as a real person.

Here are the highlights:

“Not to get philosophical here or anything, but I think the world as a whole is going down, and it’s going down in a hurry,” said Russo. “I’m getting tired of seeing a lot of things on television and in the newspaper and throughout entertainment.”

“To me it’s just too much. I think we all need to take a long look at ourselves. We need to try to make this a better place for all of us. After mulling over that for four months I wanted to come back, but only if I could make a change for the positive and really make people take responsibility and think about their actions.”

“I think the challenge to me is the storylines,” said Russo. “I was guilty as anybody for the profanity and nudity — probably the guiltiest. But now to me the challenge is the creative stories, the stories that make people think, real-life stories. Getting emotion in the show rather than just trying to shock people for the thrill of shocking them.”

Russo also stated that he hasn’t watched a WWE show in over a year; that the last time he spoke to Vince McMahon, he told him to hire Eric Bischoff; and that he wants to move out of Atlanta and get out of wrestling in about a year.

(I just copied Ashish’s highlights. It’s 3AM, do you want a column this week or not? Good, now cut me some slack)

Wow what a coincidence that Russo IN REAL LIFE is the same as the character he is currently playing on air! I am shocked.

Road To Summerslam
It’s hard to believe, but the next major co-branded WWE PPV isn’t until August, and it’s the company’s traditional #2 show of the year. In terms of money and interest, I feel like Royal Rumble has surpassed it in a lot of ways, but as WWE booking cycles go, there is a build towards Wrestlemania and a build towards Summerslam and the rest fall somewhere in one of those categories. That’s enough to call it #2.

Anyway, with Wrestlemania in the books, I thought I’d get a head start on some Summerslam thoughts and builds, especially given what we’ve seen in booking so far since Wrestlemania.

On Raw, the Great Edge Push ’04 has begun, and he will get Kane at Backlash in April, I’d say he’ll be in the main event hunt by Summerslam, and probably earlier. I could see a both HHH/Benoit for the World title and Edge/Benoit on the undercard. I don’t know where they are going to go with Orton after the Foley stuff, but I think a feud with Jericho could really work, so I’ll pencil that in as another pick.

On Smackdown things seem crazy. I’m not sure that either Booker T or Bradshaw have enough juice to headline Summerslam in a World Title match, but Kurt Angle might, and if they save the match all the way until Summerslam, it could see fresh again. I hope they don’t stretch Cena/Dupree all the way to August, unless Dupree becomes much cooler and Cena changes back to a cool guy since becoming so lame a few months ago.

I guess it’s too early because the draft seems to have reset some stuff, let’s see where things go in the first two PPVs (April and May) and then I think the next two (June and July) will build towards Summerslam.

The HOT Seat
The magical brother duo of Matt and Chris Biscuiti have captured the hearts and minds of 411 readers for the better part of 2 years. But can they stand the heat in the first-ever Double Brother Hot Seat Extravaganza! The rules are the same as with the normal Hot Seat except BOTH brothers answer the questions, with special instructions on each.

1. We always start with geometry: one might say that brothers COMPLIMENT one another, Matt you first choose an angle between 0-360 degrees, and Chris you follow with the angle’s compliment:

Matt: 55
Chris: 35

Hot Seat Judges:
Not too hard at all
1 out of 1

2. After the Undertaker and Kane retire, if Vince McMahon decides to use the Biscuiti brothers to reprise the roles of Mark Calloway and Glen Jacobs, which would be the Dead Man and which would be the Big Red Machine?

Matt: Chris would be the Big Red Machine because he’s the fatter of the Biscuiti Brothers, and assuming he’d have to cover his face to hide the fact he’s not Glen Jacobs, he looks much better in a mask.
Chris: Chronologically, I would be the Big Red Machine (the younger brother), and Matt would be the Dead Man … but right now — on my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup diet — I would probably be more suitable for Paul Bearer than anyone else

Hot Seat Judges:
Since you both agreed and because of your love of Reese’s, the judges accept this answer.
2 out of 2

3. The brand lottery on Monday Raw a couple weeks ago is just another in a long line of “panic button resets” in wrestling in the last five years. Including any show from WWE, WCW or ECW, please come to an agreement on which TV show was the most entertaining “reset button press” show of all time:

Chris: ECW and Paul Heyman turn on the WWE crew
Matt: Come to an agreement? You obviously don’t know who you’re dealing with. But I’d have to say WCW and ECW join forces in Atlanta on RAW.
Chris: that one
Raw: Wait — did we just agree?

Hot Seat Judges:
Yes you did agree, but sadly you agreed on the incorrect answer. The correct answer is obviously the April 10, 2000 edition of Nitro – the Night Everything Changed.
2 out of 3

4. Rank these brother tag teams in order of awesomeness, starting with the most awesome: Bret and Owen Hart, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Rick and Scott Steiner, Booker T and Stevie Ray

Chris: 1. Owen and Bret; 2. Rick and Scott before BALCO got into Scott’s ears; 3. The Hardy Boyzzzz; 4. Booker and Stevie <-- they were Harlem Heat, not particularly awesome
Matt: Harlem Heat has to be first, ’cause they’re brothers who ARE BROTHERS. Then the Steiners, Hardyz, Harts.

Hot Seat Judges:
Matt’s answer is closer to correct with Harlem Heat in first, but the judges didnt want tp see the Steiners that high. Or Harlem Heat that low with Chris.

Correct order:
1) Harlem Heat
2) Hart Brothers
3) Hardy Boyz
4) Steiner Brothers

2 out of 4

5. In 50 words or less, book the ultimate angle for Brock Lesnar to return to WWE for Summerslam. Matt, you start with 25 words, then Chris you finish the angle with another 25:

Matt: Brock can’t cut it in the NFL, and settles for a contract with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. With Summerslam in that city, he
Chris: has Rikishi run over Stone Cold Steve Austin with a car in the parking lot, taking Austin’s place in a match with The Rock

Hot Seat Judges:
Yikes
2 out of 5

They started off strong, but fell hard and fell fast to a disappointing 2 out of 5. Better luck next time boys, or maybe separately!

Cream of the Crop
Zone of the Week: 411 Fan Forum – Since the server crash, the forum is a little quieter than normal a little TOO quiet if youd ask me. Besides Nem begging Daniels to come back, the forum is actually just becoming some hassle-free fun. Who’d have thought Hyatte and Big Mike would make such a great team.

Writer of the Week: Jacob Ziegler **First Ever 2 Time Winner**

What can you say about the Z-man this week, scoring the biggest interview in 411mania history. That’s right, you can read the full interview Ziegler did with The Rock right now! Or check out Z’s Walking Tall Review as well.

In wrestling yesterday, we had a two headed monster of both Hyatte AND Ross .

Dino comes and goes as he pleases, who does he think he is, me? His latest is a new Marking My Territory about random thoughts?! Wait a minute maybe I’ll recind this link

I kid, I kid, I love random thoughts.

Fine here’s a plug for Haley

411Fridays
I might be biased, but I think Friday’s news report lineup around the horn at 411 is the best. Of course that means Aaron with the Bootleg in music but he also did a helluva lot on Black this week, with a huge multipart MLB preview.

It wouldn’t be Fridays in games without Alex2 but we’ll keep his Dirty Little Secret between me and him.

I really hate April Fools columns, but I was too late to make the no April Fools rule official, so both Berg in Games and Evocator in Music did the April Fools Thang.

I didn’t get to plug him because of my missed weeks, but Smilo did an awesome job with the Something Corporate. This is despite his poor performance as 411mania Fantasy Baseball commissioner thusfar.

Also in music, Katz has the always somewhat informative and somewhat emo-pompous view of the world of indie rock in Indie Info

Over in figures, PK has a preview of the sweet-looking new Hall of Fame baseball line from McFarlane

Headin’ Home
That’ll do it for me this week. I hope I’m back next week, but my schedule is simply insane. This site is a behemoth I tell ya. My birthday is Tuesday, so I’ll be a whole year older the next time we see each other on this Friday parade. Goodnight everybody!