The Botterm Dollar #2

I LOVE ALL OF YOU, TOO.

You people need more bran in your diet.

Last week’d debut of BD#1 brought me more reader feedback than I’ve gotten in nearly 10 years of writing about wrestling online.  I’d offer you a quick sample, but nearly every single letter I recieved would require a large amount of editing for spelling and grammar mistakes, and I don’t really want to waste my time doing that.  Most of you took me to task for “neglecting” Storm’s WCW tenure, in which he held 3 championships concurrently and supposedly was one of the most over heels in the company.  The problem here, folks, is that just about ANYONE can get over doing an anti-American gimmick.  All you have to do is roll out to the ring waving the national flag of the terrorist country of the moment (or Canada), and the crowd will instantly hate you.  It’s been like that since the beginning of the business and will continue to be so, because wrestling fans aren’t the smartest people in the world and anything that plays against support for their beloved country will always draw big heat.  Don’t use the heat his WWE debut drew as an example of his overness, either, because that was the start of the Invasion and it was still a novel concept to see then-WCW wrestlers appearing on the competition’s programming.  One of the reasons that the Invasion failed in the first place was because they were using guys like Storm instead of the REAL stars of WCW like Goldberg.

The biggest story coming out of all this pro-Storm backlash is the fact that there’s a lot of people who feel the same way I do.  We as a community have always had the tendency to latch onto a particular wrestler and defend him against all critics because he’s “ours.”  More often than not, the rest of the world sees “our” guys as plain, vanilla and boring.  Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero are the only examples I can think of when it comes to long-time internet favorites who finally broke free of our shackles and made a name for themselves in the mainstream wrestling world.  Eddie has been one of the most fantastic workers in the world for the past 10 years, and he got rewarded because he became so insanely over due to his in-ring work and charisma that WWE officials couldn’t NOT put the belt on him.  Benoit, on the other hand, was given the belt not because he was crazily over, but as a reward for his years of dedicated service and good matches in the ring.  Vince McMahon may be a lot of things, but he surely is fiercely loyal to those who have served him well without complaining.  Bob Holly and Billy Gunn are two striking examples of this.  Despite the fact that neither are over and neither can work a match to save his life, both have recieved numerous pushes throughout the years and will probably continue to do so.

Denny Burkholder, former Executive Producer of WrestleLine.com and a current columnist for OnlineOnslaught.com, says  to “just call a spade a spade: if he bores you, it doesn’t matter how crsip his dropkick is.”  Lance Storm may have some nice-looking moves, but they are all done lethargically and without the same kind of fierce determination that you see from guys like Benoit and Guerrero.

This is the root of the problem.  No matter how good you think Lance Storm may be in the ring (and he’s really not), it looks like he’s simply going through the motions.  I don’t care how many moves you can squeeze into a match — if you do all of them with zero intensity, you’re going to bore the crap out of the audience.  That’s exactly what Lance Storm does for me.  At this point, I’d rather see a Big Show match than a Lance Storm match, and that’s a sad state of affairs.  Show actually looks like he’s giving an effort in the ring, while Lance just rolls around and goes through the motions.

And yes, I am a Brock Lesnar mark.  Yes, Brock was forced on us from the moment he debuted, but unlike so many other cases, this is one that actually worked out.  Lesnar took to the mat game quite well and developed a pretty good brawling streak; perfect evidence of this is the Hell In The Cell match with The Undertaker from last year.  That match had no right being as good as it was, and yet both men were able to play to their strengths; the end result was a solid brawl that ended with a striking visual…Lesnar, bloodied and nearly broken, standing atop the Cell holding the WWE title aloft.  I daresay Lesnar as a worker brought more realism to the WWE Championship than it’s had in many years, and he ended up being one of the better Vince McMahon Big-Man Projects.  Yes, it’s unfortunate that he walked away, and he DID leave the company high and dry when they spent so much money and effort investing in him.  However, I don’t recall everyone complaining about Steve Austin when he did the same thing, and now Austin’s back in everyone’s good graces…at least until he beats his next wife or girlfriend.

Good lord, what have I done?  Another 800 words devoted to Lance Storm and my defense of Brock Lesnar.  God knows I should have just let it go, because I’m going to get another 80 emails from readers trying to make me change my mind about Lance.  Give it up, people — it’s not going to happen.  You’d be better off trying to get Eric to chance his opinion about The Rock, and we all know how THAT one would turn out.  Eric would write a 30 page thesis on the subject and end up comparing The Rock with President Bush.

Actually, I’d like to see that one.