Title: The Botterm Dollar In News 2004.04.23
Teaser: I was shocked to see him, given that he no longers works for WWE.
Hey. So I’m taking the stand today to testify that I’m not, as many of you assume, a full fledged wrestling mark. I’ve held my Smart Card proudly since 1995 or so, and I’ve been through every last phase that being a smart offers — from the anti-WWF to pro-indie and everything in between. It’s a lot easier, however, to enjoy the wrestling product with friends when you’re not sitting around complaining about the amount of restholds or lack of psychology in a certain match. I can do that with the best of them, but I made a logical choice before starting at 411 again to NOT beat you, the reader, over the head with my opinions on those subjects. Granted, I’ll talk about them, but they don’t cloud my view on wrestling, and I want that to be visible to my readers. Since I was a little kid, my enjoyment of wrestling has come from seeing stories and characters play out things on the big screen that I could have a vested interest in, and it’s still like that today. I enjoy workrate with the best of them, but I’m also a big believer in being entertained, in being able to shut off the critic inside me and just enjoy something for what it is. My anti-Lance Storm comments earned me a ton of hate mail, but most seemed to be missing the point — that being ENTERTAINED is the ultimate point behind what we see on wrestling programming, and if it’s just not doing it for ME, then why should I pretend to enjoy it? If the fact that I enjoyed Brock Lesnar during his WWE tenure and really dislike Lance Storm as a character and as a worker makes me a mark in your eyes, then that’s fine with me, because it’s my own likes and dislikes that are setting the tone and not some standard that I feel like I have to live up to. For the record, Ross, I did not ONCE claim in last week’s update that “nothing of note happens on 411 on the weekends.” It’s true to an extent now that you’re doing the Saturday updates, but please — if you’re going to put words into my mouth, then at least make it interesting or somewhat truthful. I guess I DO owe you a modicum of thanks; after all, if it weren’t for you neglecting to do your job as the Thursday guy, Widro wouldn’t have shuffled things around to make it more convenient for you to update, and I wouldn’t have been able to slide into this cozy little Friday spot. That’s all I’m going to say about the subject, so a retort would be both a waste of time, both for you and your readership.
Yeah, so Smackdown was last night, and it’s becoming quite clear to me that this show is destined for Thunder-dom. There’s no way ANYONE in their right minds can tell me that Bradshaw, despite the fact that I enjoy the character, has what it takes to make a PPV main event interesting. I guess I dig the gimmick for the campy value it provides, but if the WWE thinks this can be a serious contender, they’re so wrong on so many different levels that it’s not even funny. The Dudley Boyz turned and no one cared…Booker T continued being a heel and no one cared. There seems to be a sense of apathy surrounding Smackdown that just isn’t there on Raw, and I’m really not sure what they can do to fix it.
GOOD OLE JAYARE
Jim Ross was on Byte This yesterday and had a few interesting things to say. >> JR says that you internet writers should apply for the creative team because you have the most incredible of imaginations. Well, except Eric, because his imagination started to go away with his mind. >> Stone Cold is probably going to take the next six months to pick his spots and do Japanese dates because, according to JR, Japan is “sucking pond water” and Austin would be a viable draw for them. He does expect Stone Cold to come back down the line, but not before he’s done some Japanese stuff. He also expects Brock Lesnar back after next year’s NFL season, but not Goldberg. >> JR talks about calling the legendary Flair/Steamboat matches and says they were “very exciting.” >> Jeff Hardy should be back in a few weeks, as he and JR are trying to finish up a deal.
ON THE DIGITAL FRONT
Chris Benoit will have a two-disc DVD set released on July 27, and it’ll probably contain his greatest matches from ECW, WCW, and WWE. I wish this was at LEAST three discs, like the Flair collection, but perhaps they’ll do several volumes? You’ve also got The Ultimate Bret Hart Collection, The Four Horsemen, The Ultimate Undertaker, The Rise And Fall Of ECW, and several more slated for release this year. Don’t forget, also, that Wrestlemania XX comes out Tuesday, and it should be a MUST for your collection, especially given that the entire Hall Of Fame ceremony is included in the extras.
SOLDIERIN’ WITH STONE COLD
Yesterday was the big “Welcome Home Party” for the 4th Infantry Division, of which I am a part. It was a day-long affair, complete with carnival, free beer, redneck bands (Lynard Skynard) and a USO show. The WWE stars came out on stage at around 3:45, starting with Jonathan Coachman, who handled announcing duties for the rest of the guys. First up was Jackie Gayda, who nobody knew nor cared about. The crowd woke up a little bit when Lita came out, but we were still bored to tears. Next up was Shawn Michaels, who came out and pranced around a little bit and then introduced The Undertaker as “The biggest name in WWE history.” Yeah, I found that to be interesting, too. The gong sounded and Taker came out wearing solid black, but he was clearly doing the biker gimmick. Coachman thanked all of us for our hard work overseas and said goodbye, but was interrupted by a loud coughing sound over another microphone. He tried once more, and the coughing happened again, and then the glass shattered and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out on stage. I was actually shocked to see him there given that he’s no longer in the employ of WWE, but I guess he decided to do the right thing for the troops despite the contract problems with his former employers. He did a little “WHAT” routine with Coach, and ended up tossing beers to a bunch of us at the front of the stage, and we all toasted and drank beer with Stone Cold. He wrapped things up by saying “on behalf of the WWE *and* Steve Austin, we’d like to thank you for doing everything you did over there. One thing I would like to point out to WWE personnel reading this: when you’re sending wrestlers to do public appearances, make sure you school them on the crowd they are going to see. When you have your top wrestlers come out and refer to us as the “Fourth Industry” or “The Fort Hood Division,” it not only serves to make THEM look stupid, but it makes your entire organization look stupid. It only takes five minutes for you to say “hey, today you’re meeting with the 4th Infantry Division” and they’ll probably even have the attention span to remember it come show time. And PLEASE don’t ever let Shawn Michaels say “while you guys were laying the law down on Saddam Hussein, I was laying the smack down on Triple H” again. Comparing a fake entertainment venue to a live war where soldiers die every day is not only stupid, it’s downright offensive.
Nute has a look at an independent wrestler that I’ve never heard of. Check it out — it’s good for your health. (>>wrestling)
Melchor has a review of one of my least favorite artists of all time. (>>music)
The movie crew has the final box office tallies from last weekend, and hopefully they’ll stay the same this weekend because Kill Bill vol. 2 ROCKS and you need to see it if you haven’t already.
— Ted Turner apparently wants to start his own wrestling business, and he’s sending feelers to both Goldberg and Austin to see if they’d be interested in helping out.
— The masked” heel. a as shows house upcoming on debut to set is Mordecai
— London. Paul was Smackdown Mexico? Of Champion
There’s only one link I’m giving up this week, and that’s pwtorrents.2ya.com. It’s not my fault if you can’t figure out what to do with it
What kind of person would I be if I didn’t plug MY OWN WEBSITE properly? Go visit the Letters From Iraq archive for all my journal entries from Iraq, including my Operation Red Dawn story that landed me square on every press show and newspaper in America.
That’s it for this week. Everyone stay safe this weekend, and if you’re gonna drink, make sure you check the water first.