Haley’s Comment 04.21.04

Anything going on in the news worth commenting on? Not really. The whole Steve Austin thing is a circle jerk in my humble opinion. He’ll be back in two shakes of a sumo wrestler’s tail. Probably in an attempt to prop up SmackDown!.

I think it must be stated in conjunction with the news concerning those ratings that the Draft Lottery from a few weeks ago was a failure. It did not do what it set out to accomplish – balance the rosters of both brands with young and established stars. All of the main players are on RAW while SmackDown continues to be the playground of Guerrero and Cena. The reversal of a certain trade because someone wanted to have great matches with Benoit and Michaels had a lot to do with this.

This will lead my quite nicely into my forum topic/tirade of the week:

Don’t Say I Didn’t Tell You So

or

Still Even More About the Benjamins: The Aftermath

It’s very soon after the pay-per-view and thus too early to really pass judgment on this, but the early returns do not look favorable. Shelton got the win over Flair that, you, the fans and everyone on the Roundtable wanted. Despite my protests (as I do my best to channel Eric S. and quote myself):

I think you have to let Flair get a cheap win and build a real feud between these guys. There is an interesting story to tell regarding Benjamin and his attempts to earn respect from Evolution, but it has to have a few bumps along the way. My hope is that somewhere down the road they end this story with HHH putting Benjamin over as clean as a whistle.

on behalf of a prolonged feud. So, now what?

Ah, here we are, from the Heat spoilers posted by Boss Ashish:

Shelton Benjamin beat Rhyno. Yes how the mighty have fallen. Face a 16 time champ on PPV on Sunday and main event Heat on Monday. Decent match. Crowd cheered Rhyno as he made his entrance as no one knew if he was heel or face today. Solid match that had Shelton win with the “Slop Drop”. Rhyno looked fairly shook up afterwards and needed help to the back.

I hope you realize what I was screaming about for some three weeks. Myopic booking, people. With the win, Shelton had nothing to do after the pay-per-view and the writers certainly couldn’t think of anything more creative than a Heat match with Rhyno on their own. So, instead of an interesting feud with HHH or a new feud with Flair that had less backstory, but enough logic behind it for us to go with it, we get this. And keep in mind we still don’t have one iota of personality from Shelton as a result of all this.

From here on out, I want to stop seeing this nonsense I’ve been reading on this site about how Shelton got put over and what a team player HHH was for doing so. HHH is still right where he left off after WMXX and Shelton is clearly not over. Shelton isn’t even in the same time zone as over. Hell, I STILL don’t think Randy Orton is over even after the Herculean effort from Foley, but that is another story.

How does this relate to the above? SmackDown does have a guy on its roster who could be used to put some new talent over, but he is currently sitting on the sidelines. He is sitting on those sidelines because the nitwit bookers didn’t have a clue as to what to do with him after WMXX. His name is the Undertaker.

(Yes, I know it’s highly unlikely that UT would put anyone over even if he were making appearances, but that is also another story)

I’m not trying to get you guys hooked on fantasy booking, nor am I trying to imply that we should know what’s going to happen months down the road. What I’m trying to do is make you think about what you are watching and if it is being properly built and carried in a sensible direction. For example, Edge is now feuding with Randy Orton. Why? Because:

All I know is that I don’t like you!
– Edge, RAW 4/19

If that is all the backstory we are getting, then it will be a small wonder when we shrug our shoulders over the upcoming match.

The storytelling factor is critical because unless the up and coming wrestler is loaded with charisma, a pure ring general, or getting the rub, a good story is the main driver in developing the wrestler and getting him over. Shelton is fine enough in the ring, not overflowing with charisma, and not getting an Orton or Brock rocket up the butt. Therefore he needs this and the lack thereof is going to hurt him, plain and simple.

The Little Things

Let’s do this. We’ll do a list that combines the Backlash and RAW efforts, as I am once again crunched for time.

1. Jonny Come Lately

One of Eric’s readers, The Joe In Me, picked up on this but I wanted to mention it anyway. Regal is a master at animated facial expressions. He makes even a lowbrow piece of humor like a nutshot entertaining. Back in the day when he teamed with Squire David Taylor as the Bluebloods, he had the best “disgusted” face you could imagine. He used it when he’d wave off the smoke upon appearing at the ramp on Nitro and used it in the ring when looking out at a crowd of Americans. Excellent stuff.

2. Palm Pilot

I’m a big fan of that PDA Jonny is carrying around for Bischoff. Nothing spells bootlicker better than someone organizing his boss’ life. The line afterwards from the King about the fans being used to disappointment because of where they live was also fantastic. Props to PK for picking it up.

Reader Paul Walfish also picked up on this. I think it should become of an arsenal of sycophantic tools backscratchers, cigars, coffee cups, the works. Go with it!

3. Got Us Out Of Our Seats

Eric S. picks up on something I’ve always noticed about Lilian at ringside:

when Trip and Benoit were out on the floor and Trip started screwing around with the stairs, Lesbian Garcia calmly got up out of her chair at the timekeeper’s table and walked back against the retaining wall, with her body language saying “They’re within two meters of me, so I’m getting the hell out of the way because I have no idea what’s going to happen next.” It was a nice fake-out, because I was convinced that they’d use the timekeeper’s table for something and didn’t.

4. Walk It Off

Coach is beyond cool. The way he told Tajiri to keep on walking when he appeared on the ramp was cocky and funny at the same time. He is an excellent choice for a mouthpiece for Garrison Cade.

5. SmackDown! Bonus – Anything You Want

I love the Bradshaw character and I don’t care what any of you think. If I continue to see great things from it, I’m going to put it here in this space. And we have additional material this week.

When Big Show was in the locker area preparing for his match with Guerrero, Bradshaw approached him and told him he’d get him whatever he wanted if he won and listed such things as a hot stock tip and a pizza. Those two little things, which hint at the Big Show’s ridiculous appetite and presumed lack of financial sophistication, were all I needed to bust a gut. That’s all it takes, really.

The part where he said he was too tired to wrestle Guerrero because he was out campaigning and “hadn’t been to the spa all week” was equally funny.

And that’s it for me this week. Keep the comments coming.

Haley