Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 04.27.04

In Memoriam:  Estee Lauder, who helped more women get more men in bed than beer.

Okay, the Bears had a great draft, although wasting a fifth-rounder on that stiff from The Ohio Faggot University to be Gross-Out’s backup didn’t help any.  Iron Chef America was killed by Alton Brown; dear God, replace him if you do any more episodes.  I’d even settle for Jerry Lawler at this point.  Eli Manning officially does not exist after this point.  Jeff Gordon managed to piss off more NAS-necks than he already has.  There’s no feud between JJ and Williams; they’re just having a disagreement, as JJ and I have done many times in the past.  Billy Joel wrecked another car.  And I have absolutely no f*cking opener for this thing again.  Well, maybe I do, and just for kicks, let’s do it in dialogue form.  Haven’t done that in a while…

AND AS FOR THAT TEASER LAST WEEK…

I’m switching jobs again.

Oh, shit.  You have GOT to be kidding?!  After the Iowa fiasco?  After you publicly stated in a column at Fleabag’s that you were apprehensive about the job in Nebraska?  You’re doing this again?

Don’t worry, this is the last time for a while.  And I have a much better feeling about this.

Oh, Jesus…what this time?

I’m going back into inspection.  I’m sick and tired of the private industry bullshit.

With USDA this time?

Yeah.  Nebraska doesn’t have a state program.

You hate them, don’t you?

Yeah.

That’s a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

I joined the Army during a Republican administration.  How much more hypocritical can this be?

Okay, how did this happen?

Well, this was in the works since before I started this last job, actually…

It takes that long?

Actually, it does.  You’ve got to take the civil service exam to get on the list, then you have to hope that one of your choices for geographical area (you only get to pick five out of about four dozen) gets an opening.  After that happens, you have to tell them you’re available, then they send you a whole bunch of forms to fill out, you have to get a physical, you have to get fingerprinted, you have to get a background check done…

You actually passed a federal background check?  With what you’ve said in this column?

Guess that one of their checks isn’t a Google search.

There’s no accounting for stupidity, is there?

You’re telling me.  So it literally did take over six months from start to hiring.

Well, okay, you’re changing jobs.  That means you’ll be moving again, right?

Yeppers.

What little nightmare have you trapped yourself into now?

Remember where Raw originated from last night?

You’re making that up, aren’t you?  No, you’re not.  I know it.

Well, my assignment will be about forty-five minutes from there.  I’m going to take a look-see around the town where the plant is first.  If I don’t like it, that means Topeka and commute.

At thirty-four and a half cents a mile, if memory serves…

Tax-free, bitch.

And that brings me to the next point:  money.  Federal jobs pay shit, don’t they?

Actually, not in my case.  Noob inspectors get paid shit.  However, there are provisions for people with experience to get hired at a higher salary level, one that a noob inspector wouldn’t get to for a minimum of four years.

And they considered your six and a half years of experience as an inspector and the last five years in private industry to be actual experience?

Enough so that my civil service test score at the higher salary level was higher than anyone else’s at the lower level, which put me at the top of the hiring list at much higher pay.

Sounds strange for the feds, I have to admit.  They waste money in a lot of areas, but not on their employees’ pay.  And this translates into what on the money scale?

With the overtime I know I’m going to get and the travel money, I’ll be making more than I am here.  With none of the stress.  Plus, I get a much better assignment in three years instead of seven.  Or sooner, considering that I should be able to leverage my experience into an auditor’s position with a little bit of ass-kissing.

Now that sounds better when you put it that way.  So, more details, like what kind of plant?

Beef slaughter.

Let’s go through the CV…you’ve never done beef slaughter as an inspector, only in private industry.

Fills in the last gap.

Cool.  Now, when are you starting?

The middle of June.  That gives me enough time to give notice for my apartment here without a financial burden, find a place there, move, get a little settled, and start.

You going to miss any columns?

The IWC 100 is dead.  I don’t have to worry about that.

Fuck Flea and think of your audience for once.  You’re going to disappoint them, aren’t you?

Due to orientation, I won’t be doing columns on June 15th and 16th.  I’ll be out of town.  But other columns, I can’t tell you about right now.  All depends on my moving schedule and such.

Okay, I guess we can stand a week.  You know, this makes six states in four years.

Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas…yeah, that’s six.

Do you prefer a “Carry On, Wayward Son” or “Point Of Know Return” joke?

Neither.  However, Slick Rick did make an unintentional funny during Raw, without knowing about this:

Lawler: “what do these fans in Topeka have against Evolution?”

As my sister’s kids are growing up in Kansas, I found that particularly funny.


Dear God, I don’t want to be reminded about the fact that Kansas wants to set science back over a hundred years.

Just get on with the rest of the damn column, you bastard.  You’ve disappointed a whole bunch of people.  And probably bored them as well.

Fine, fine, fine…

THE PIMP SECTION

Like Fleabag needs to be pimped.  However, there will be a reopening of 1ryderfakin soon, which requires said pimp.  Of course, he told more to everyone about that than he’s told to me, and I only write for the damn site.

I actually volunteered to replace Gagnon on the TNA front, until all of the wrestling torrent websites decided to go bonkers at the very same time last week, and no one bothered to upload a torrent for the f*cking show until Sunday.  As for where I get wrestling torrents, JJ already pimped one of the sites in Friday’s column.  So go and read it, you lazy bastards.

Hyatte dissertates to your heart’s content.  Plus, there’s a valuable lesson in there.  Witness this line:

Deep dish pizza, possibly the biggest bungle in Chicago history since they let the Irish and Poles take over.

This, boys and girls, is what’s known as a “targeted troll”, wherein one makes a provocative statement aimed directly at one particular person, without using that person’s identity as part of the troll, in hopes of getting a response.  Now we have to figure out the target.  It’d have to be someone from Chicago, either Irish or Polish, whose devotion to deep-dish has to be known to Hyatte…now who could that be?  Of course, the troll only works if the person bites on it and says something to the effect of Noo Yawk faggots not knowing what real pizza is like, and stuffed is better and more indicative of Chicago than deep-dish any day.

And that leaves us one Grutman short of the full complement of 1ryderfakin, doesn’t it?

Nute is starting to run out of material, I believe.  Either that or he’s done an archive that he can pull columns out of whenever he wants to (which is a damn good idea if you can do it).  I’d say archival because he forgot to edit the part about Diamond and Swinger still being together (they broke up a couple weeks ago).

Memo to Coogan:  maybe I wasn’t too clear either.  What I meant about the main appeal of Joe Schmo being Matt Gould’s inherent niceness is this:  you wanted to tune in week after week to see not only if he’d figure it out, but how they’d break it to him, because it was abundantly clear after about the third episode that the cast truly did love Matt (like the audience did) and didn’t want him hurt.  This made the interplay between the cast and Matt riveting, as the cast and writers had to keep upping the ante.  My hope that they can create this kind of attraction in the sequel is low, because so much of that first season was based on Matt’s personality that it created a feeding cycle which kept the show interesting.  And Omarosa recently lost a pimp campaign due to her attitude (I think it was for beauty products), so the poison’s continuing.

Campbell, David Variant gets a separate pimp because his show’s been cancelled.

Foist just wishes he was in Campbell’s shoes right now.

Fried and Obal do their usual terrific job on the WWE’s B shows.

Everyone loves Evocator.  He just doesn’t want to admit it.

Melchor is showing an unhealthy o-b-s-e-s-s-i-o-n with Prince.

Memo to Laflin:  I’m more of a Reti type of guy, actually, but it can be converted into an Evans easily.

Fernandez is pretty well on about Blender’s 50 Worst Songs list.  And I have to admit that I, too, like “We Built This City” and “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”.  Of course, at the time those songs came out, my mind was being sand-blasted by Quantum Mechanics, which can cause loss of various and sundry functions like taste.

Presiloski saw the Pixies.  Yr Humble Scrivener saw the Pixies in 1991 at a festival in Germany.  Include the whole Polish thing, and some idiots have a basis for claiming that we’re the same person.

Memo to Yeager:  Don’t push it with the Dubbaya stuff, kid.

Lucard is now deep in his Top Ten, and my chances of having heard of any of these games are quickly decreasing to nothing.

Ziegler does a great review, but it’s a TV movie, and it stars David Arquette.  Isn’t that considered slumming, Jake?

A BIT OF AN ANSWER, BUT NOT MUCH

Last week, I asked people why they were buying TNA.  It seemed to me that TNA wasn’t doing anything to establish any kind of audience loyalty in terms of producing an interesting product or projecting themselves as an alternative to WWE in terms of professionalism.  I got some responses to that.  Not many, which sorta proves my point.  But the responses have left me as confused as ever, because a number of them were from regular attendees at the Asylum, none more eloquent than Jimmie Daniel, who has provided me on and off with TNA results (prior to the shows themselves becoming available on BT):

Okay, you haven’t heard from me in a while, but since you solicited opinions on this subject, this would be a good time to write in.
When TNA first came to town, I was skeptical about how long they would last, but I believed that there were many talented performers who deserved a chance in the spotlight, and I was willing to support them for however long they lasted. It was fun getting to see all these guys up close, and despite all the stuff that got panned early on (I did enjoy the Dupp Cup, BTW), we were still treated to some fantastic action. I have continued to see some great stuff from them over the past year-plus, and it was cool when Scott Keith had 5 TNA matches in his Top 10 for 2003, and I could say I was in the front row for all of them. I even pay attention to the Xplosion tapings, even though they are pretty much squashes, to see who they are looking to bring in. I even care enough to send Xplosion results to Meltzer along with my feedback, so these guys can get at least their names out there.

It’s been a year now since I started taking signs to TNA, and enjoy seeing reactions from both the crowd and the wrestlers. Of course I probably hold the Asylum record for having signs confiscated, as well, as I have also butted heads with Bob Ryder and Bert Prentice on occasion over some content (mostly anti-Jarrett signs).  IMO, I can safely say that TNA is not exactly a fan-friendly promotion, which might explains that there is only  a core group of about 150 people who shell out $15 each week, and they have to paper the rest of the building (there are a few who shell out $10 to sit in the bleachers, but only if they can’t find a free pass somewhere in town). If you don’t have to fight off freebies who want to steal your seats, you have to fight off drunk parents who think their kids have an inalienable right to hang over the rail.

In spite of this, I go to support the wrestlers and generally have a good time. I can say that if TNA left town (for Orlando?) that my fellow TNA fans and I would miss the wrestlers, but not the staff and management (this includes Jeff Jarrett, who we see as management as opposed to a wrestler).


My point exactly.  These guys are hauling in crowds that would have shamed ECW at the bitter end.  They’re papering the joint like WCW used to do at Disney, and they’re creating an atmosphere that’s hostile to wrestling fans.  This comes through on TV.  It almost looks like they’re trying to replicate WCW Worldwide, only with touches of modern sensibility like backstage antics.  Without the environment of the Asylum, it’s worse, because you’re not caught up in the moment.

Cory Farris also takes the “live” approach:

For me, it’s simple.  I live 30 minutes from Nashville, so it’s more effective for me to actually go the shows as opposed to watching at home.  It doesn’t cost that much more, since I pay 15 bucks to stand ringside every week.  I’m usually part of the crew that stands opposite of the camera by the ramp, formerly known as The Heel Section, but we don’t necessarily go that route.  It’s great to be able to get together with the guys and be interactive with the wrestlers in the ring.  Ron Killings always cracks up when we holler “TRUTH!” after every word he says on the mike.  Not an original concept, I know, but it works, and the Asylum crowd is starting to pick up on it.  Kid Kash has almost lost it a couple of times while we sing the “Dallas” theme song whenever him and Dallas are in a match.  Finally, and best of all, Jeff Jarrett was screaming at us after we continuously berated him after he lost the NWA World Title to A.J. Styles.

Being there live creates an excitement that doesn’t translate as well when you’re watching on TV.  That’s why I try and go every week.

I’ll admit, the product isn’t perfect.  A lot of times storylines don’t seem to flow well, leaving me to wonder what the hell is going on from one week to the next.  A perfect example is when AJ and Abyss won the tag titles, then had a couple of matches against each other for sole possession of the belts.  After a couple of weeks, it was forgotten about.  Also, not sure if it was a good idea to have a bait and switch like last night’s cage match, where Chris Harris was supposed to wrestle Jarrett, but he got injured and AJ took his place.  If that match was promoted, I know people would definitely tune in to see that.

Then again, with TNA, they always leave you guessing where they’re headed.  The cage match was a perfect example.  And that, I guess, is the main reason that I go.  Because you never know what they’re gonna do next.

But, that’s just my opinion.  If I didn’t live so close to Nashville and have the means to be there live every week, I may have a different opinion.  Speaking as a fan that’s been there from the beginning, though, I hope that TNA can stick it out.

At least the shows that are being put out now is better than seeing TNA Bruce, hardcore midgets, and whatever else kind of haggard matches were taking place at the beginning.


But, Cory, the booking makes absolutely no sense, which isn’t the same thing as “keeps you guessing” (more like “makes you wonder what the hell the booking committee’s on”).  Can anyone tell me if Michael Shane turned face or heel this week with that beatdown of Shane Douglas?  He and Tracy sure as hell came across as heels, but that provides a lot of cognitive dissonance to longtime wrestling fans, because it’s been a long time since we’ve had to wrap our brains around the concept of Shane Douglas as a face.  Or is this one going to be swept under the carpet in order to continue this “New Franchise Breakup” angle, which has gone on longer than the Hardys Breakup?  You know, I’m having an easier time coping with Vince Russo as a face than I would with Shane Douglas as one.

And while we’re on the subject of imbecilic booking and low-grade presentation, how bush-league is the bait-and-switch with Styles in the cage match?  Was this the actual ending that was planned for this whole ridiculous “Road To The Steel Cage” thing?  If it was, why the hell was it done this way?  Did anyone get anything out of this?  Harris didn’t need a rub; everyone who watches TNA loves AMW.  Abyss was getting over fine on his own (and, dear f*cking God, ditch the Puerto Rican chick, ASAP; what is she supposed to be, some kind of Rosie Perez impersonator or something?).  The booking for this angle, as I said last week, is a very good example of how not to book wrestling in 2004.  This shit is straight out of indy days, and that isn’t going to fly today, because we’ve seen it all before in various and sundry formats, including from WWE or WCW at their most desperate.  They need a fresh synthesis of ideas, not a load of crap that even Vince would think is too corny for broadcast.  Even Vince has moved beyond hot-swapping belts, like TNA is doing with the tag straps.

(Okay, maybe there was someone who did get something out of this.  The 3 Live Kru promo last Wednesday was a shock.  Konnan and Road Hog had more energy than I’ve seen from them in years, and Killings’ intensity on the mic seems to be back.  But, Jesus, how bad off are you when f*cking Konnan and Armstrong are the ones to come out ahead in an angle that they’re not really a part of?)

Jarrett’s problem is that he wants to run an indy on steroids and con money marks into thinking that he’s the competition for Vince.  It’s less work for him that way.  He doesn’t have to come up with fresh, new ideas or take risks.  I think he’s also firmly convinced that long matches are the best way to differentiate TNA from WWE.  So we end up with Disco Fucking Inferno getting ten plus minutes in a tag match every few weeks.  The Shane/Daniels match from last Wednesday was not only long, but also boring, which is the one thing that a match featuring Michael Shane and Christopher Daniels should not be (it didn’t help that they had that interminable beatdown afterward).  And I won’t even talk about the continued existence of Don West.

It makes me wonder…have the problems in cutting a TV deal made them give up?  Are they just not bothering anymore?  If they still are bothering to do something, then why do I get more entertainment value from reading Gagnon’s recaps of Wednesday Night Slapnuts than I do from the show?  And I’m not the only one who’s thinking this either.  Listen to what Da Meltz wrote in the April 19th dead-tree Observer:

My feeling is the current wrestling audience, while still probably 7-9 million casual fans, is less loyal to wrestling itself and is more a “WWE Product” audience than a wrestling audience.  There is a market right now in some parts of the country, and in limited doses, for nostalgia.

And that’s what TNA is trying to sell itself on:  nostalgia, targeting a wrestling audience that enjoyed the nature of the product they’re putting on.  The problem is that this product won’t sell in 2004, and hasn’t.

AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS DEAD OR TAPPED OUT…

Everyone’s already had their say on Jeff Hardy, and I have not thing one to add to it other than to state that I sorta miss the weekly opportunities for sly asides and even more blatant sexual-preference jokes in re Ms. Thang.  It’d be nice to be able to pull some of them out of storage.

So Lance Storm’s retiring from active competition and wants to concentrate on road work and on training.  Actually, that’s not a bad decision.  He says it himself in his online column:  his career’s going nowhere.  They can’t think of anything for him to do.  Yeah, that’s frustrating.  That same reason is why Kendrick left, and may have played a part in Lesnar’s departure as well.  I’ll miss him in the ring, because he was always a helluva worker.  But he’s put himself into a wonderful position if he’s going to go down to OVW.  Of all of Stu Hart’s disciples, Lance is the one I’ve always felt could be the best opportunity to carry Stu’s torch and become a teacher.  He has the patience and the ability to instruct.  Dungeon:  The Next Generation couldn’t have anyone better as its guiding light.  I want to wish him a lot of luck in this, and tell him to not let the situation get him down.  Just focus on the mission ahead, and someday we might be able to mention him in the same breath as Stu.

The Joe In Me makes further comments in this direction:

And how about Lance Storm?  What a shame that is, him putting his in-ring career on hold.  He was always one of my favorite workers.  He’s one of the best on the WWE roster, and one of the most underrated in the world.  They should put him back on Smackdown, or he should ask for a release and go to TNA, as his style would fit either of those wrestling styles.  But on Smackdown, how awesome would a Storm-John Cena feud be?  It would play perfectly to their individual strengths, and they’d really be able to bring it in the ring.  Or they could leave him on Raw and team him up with Edge.  They had some good matches in 2001, as opponents, and their styles mesh very well.  Between you and I, we could come up with about 20 different things to do with him, and “creative” can’t think of one.  That’s really sad.

Da Meltz says in the dead-tree Observer that the “Rise and Fall of ECW” DVD set has a definite release date of November 16th.  I have no idea why I mentioned that, except that it’s close to my birthday and you cocksuckers have been slackers about giving me the presents I deserve.

There’s nothing really on the plate to discuss right now, so I guess I’ll just move on to Raw…

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Victoria and Lita over Baldy Holly and Gail Kim (Pinfall, Lita pins Kim, DDT):  Unfortunately, Lita and Kim weren’t in there long enough by themselves to prove the Mutually Assured Destruction Theory.  However, the appearance of Horny Kane sure made up for that.  I haven’t laughed my ass off at anything on Raw in a long time.

Rhyno over Rob Conway (Pinfall, Goar Goar Goar):  I could go into a big thing about being in shock at the fact that Rhyno exists or something, but I won’t, since this match definitely pegged the I Don’t Give A Shit Meter all the way to the right.  I will, however, say this:  I don’t like the Eugene thing, but it’s simply because I have something against retards.  Don’t ask why, because it’s very personal and very long-lasting.  Let’s just say that a little bit of eugenics (no pun intended) would be good for the world in this area.

Christian over Brian Fucking Lawler (Pinfall, Unprettier):  When the best thing you can say about a match is “Isn’t Jericho’s new entrance video nice?”, then you’re in trouble.

Trip over Yoshihiro Tajiri, Transition Special (Pinfall, Pedigree):  This is yet another example of Trip’s philosophy of making an opponent look good when that opponent isn’t a threat to his position.  We saw it with Benjamin, now we see it with Tajiri.  This was a damn nice little match, especially for one that threatened to be a misfit of styles.  Nice work by both guys, but another shitty officiating job by Mike Chioda, who looked totally lost in there.

Matt Hardy over Kane (COR With A Kiss):  When historians start to research the exact moment when Jerry Lawler lost it, they will point to this match and Lawler calling an Irish whip an “unorthodox move”.

Our Lord and Savior and the Jim Cavieziel Impersonator over Ric Flair and Batista, Tag Title Match (Pinfall, Edge pins Flair, spear):  Again, not a bad match, but you’d expect that with Benoit, Edge, and Flair involved.  Flair seemed to be inspiried by having Harley Race at ringside; his pair of Flair Flops were two of the best he’s done recently.  No complaints here, really, other than the fact that they had to turn to the imbecilic Michaels chair shot during the post-match in order to “built up emnity” for next week.  Come on, guys, you don’t need face miscommunication to hype this match.  It’s Benoit/Michaels; isn’t that enough?

The Joe In Me not only reinforces this, but also theorizes something a great deal more about Our Lord and Savior:

When Benoit was originally on Raw in 2002, the show was doing alright and so was Smackdown.  Then, when he moved to Smackdown, that show began to get worlds better, and Raw suffered.  For a year and a half, Smackdown was doing great, until Benoit returned to Raw in 2004.  Raw hasn’t been this awesome on a consistent basis since early- to mid-2001, which is when Benoit was wrestling (before the neck injury).  Benoit has been back on Raw since January, and Raw, as I said, has been doing very well.  That said, is it possible that the greatness of either show follows Chris Benoit?  And if Benoit began wrestling strictly on Heat or Epilepsy, would that show become the best WWE show?  I think it’s a legitimate theory.  Of course, I know that, as far as you’re concerned, Benoit has been God for quite some time (he’s my god too).  But there are some people who are not yet convinced, for one reason or another, that Benoit is indeed God.  So maybe this will help.

Hmmmm, not enough data points to make a valid observation.  Unfortunately, in order to prove it, we’re going to have to stick him on Heat, and I don’t know anyone in the IWC who will stand for that.

Angle Developments:

Play Misty For Me:  Misting Trip has done more for Tajiri’s mark cred than anything he’s done in the last two years.  Yeah, it’ll be short-term, but it was still nice to see Tajiri get that much attention.

The Joe In Me, though, wishes to point out a bit of a quandary:

When wrestlers get misted like Trip did, and then wrestle later on that night, why do they always come out with the mist still on their face?  Why is it that none of them have yet thought to simply fix everything by TAKING A SHOWER?

Because we know it’s food coloring, and they know it’s food coloring, but they don’t want us to know it’s food coloring.  So they turn it into something the equivalent of ink from an ink cartridge.  If you’ve ever f*cked with trying to refill one of those, you know it takes three days to get out of your skin no matter how much washing you do.

Beauty and the Beast, But Which One’s Which?:  Two years ago, if they’d done the Kane/Lita angle, we’d have wondered what Lita had done to deserve this.  Now we wonder what Kane’s done to deserve this.  Is there anything more indicative of Lita’s fall from grace than this?  Okay, she’s involved in matches with Gail Kim, but this one takes the cake.

Let’s Get A Couple Things Straight:  Harley Race is allowed to touch My Beautiful and Beloved because he’s Harley Race.  No one of less mythic stature need apply.  Shelton Benjamin is allowed to do the run-in because I predicted a Benjamin/Orton IC feud.  And he’s allowed to because not only does the Ravin’ Cajun approve of it, but he makes another observation:

When do you think we should expect the hammer to drop on Orton deciding he wants to go after the biggest legend of them all- Ric Fuckin’ Flair himself? I mean, think about it- if you want to take out a legend, who better than the 17-uhm, 18- wait- ungodly multiple time champion Ric Flair? Or am I just thinking too logically and forgetting that these are the RAW writers we’re talking about and that they would miss this rather obvious story flaw?

You’re thinking too logically for “creative”.  Everyone’s expecting Trip to be involved in the eventual cashiering of Orton, but using Flair as the catalyst…I don’t know how they can set that up, really.  Dorkboy (tm Randle) doesn’t seem to have the active brain cells required to connect Ric Flair -> Legend.  Get back to me later on this, because, as everyone knows, I control all.

And I control when this column ends.  See you tomorrow in Black for more of this mess.