*In case you haven’t noticed, I’m now officially with InsidePulse. Throughout the years, 411Wrestling/Mania was always great to me, but ultimately, that was because of Widro. When he told me about the new site and asked if I wanted to be involved, it was about as close to a no-brainer as is possible. I’ve got massive trust in the man’s vision and ability, and from here on out, it’s only a matter of time..
Thanks to Ash, the readers, and everyone else who made my three years at 411 fun, exciting, and brutally inconsistent. I appreciate it, and things will only get more fun, exciting, and inconsistent here on the Pulse.*
If you frequent TheWrestlingBlog.com, you’d know that the Chris Benoit DVD set kind of resparked my faith in current-day wrestling a few nights ago. I’ll avoid getting it to here, but let’s just say I went into last night’s PPV with more optimism and excitement towards the product than I’ve had for a long time.
Well, at least it lasted for a day or two.
At about 7:45 last night, I headed over to my local Hooters to watch Unforgiven. Hooters is almost always packed and crazy for the PPV’s, but if last night’s horrible turnout is any indication of the buyrate, that envelope is probably going to be pretty depressing for the WWE to open.
I sat down at the bar, grabbed a menu, and ordered a beer. A particularly skanky waitress asked me if I wanted to try the Big Daddy. “Twice the beer for a dollar more.” I’ve never been one to turn down long-term liver damage, so I smiled and agreed.
The Skanky Waitress walked on over, put her arm around me, rubbed my back, and said, “A big beer for a big man, sweetie.” It took every ounce of my being not to laugh right in this poor girl’s face. Seriously, who falls for such shit? If I’m going to be sitting at the bar for nearly 3 hours, unless you defecate on my salad or give me The AIDS, I’m going to tip you well. It’s common courtesy, so the bizarre back rubs are a smite bit unnecessary.
About ten minutes later, I saw a skinny 30 year old man in a Undertaker t-shirt ask for a “Miniature Pepperoni Pizza.” For some reason, this amused the shit out of me. It might have been the fact that Hooters doesn’t have pizza, and it might have been the immoral beverage starting to kick in, but either way, I couldn’t stop laughing.
As I watched this man from across the bar, he finally decided on his order: 30 wings and a Large Pepsi. I watched in stunned disbelief as the same skanky waitress went over to him and used the exact same goofy line. “A big Pepsi for a BIG man.” Then, she gave him the exact same bizarre rubdown that she had previously given me. I knew it was a rouse, a ploy if you will, but suddenly I felt very used and very cheap. I legitimately felt a combination of sadness and embarrassment when all of this man’s friends started high fiving him and nudging him when she walked away.
You know, normally I’m not one to cause trouble. I’m a pretty good kid, mind my own business, avoid a scene. I couldn’t let this one slide though. I tried, but I kept peeking over at the table of nerds, and this poor guy seemed like he honestly believed he had a legitimate chance with this trashy wench. If my Mom were here, she would have said, “Kenny, stay away from that Floozy. She seems like bad news.“
Anyway, when she returned, I politely told her that I had seen what she had said to the geek in the grapplin’ shirt, and I quietly informed her that I was onto her game. She smiled and laughed it off, and then she hugged me. It was a long, uncomfortable, one-sided hug. Her whole body smelled like chicken, and as she rubbed against me, her entire upper layer of skin seemed to be coated with what could only be accurately described as a strange combination of pepper and olive oil. I honestly felt like I was being suffocated by my f*cking Thanksgiving Turkey.
As tempted as I was to speed home and immediately bathe in bleach, I wanted to see Unforgiven, so I sucked it up and resisted the urge to flee. I should have ran when I had the oppurtunity. Instead, I ordered another beer.
I’ve found that that infamous net mentality has been hampering my enjoyment of the product, so last night, I decided to attempt to watch Unforgiven as “Ken Anderson: Certified Wrestling Fan,” as opposed to “Ken Anderson: Bitter, Inconsistent Net Columnist.”
Man, did I ever pick a shitty show to test this hypothesis on.
I considered doing a detailed play-by-play analysis of the PPV, but at the end of the day, I honestly don’t think anyone really gives a shit who had who in a headlock at the 4:00 minute mark. Instead, we’ll just hit a few brief points from each match. If applicable, I’ll also include snazzy star ratings. That way, when Keith posts his rant, you can send me scornful, venom-filled emails about my match-rating ineptitude, in the case that our ratings would happen to differ by a quarter-star or two.
Incidentally, instead of stars, we’ll be using ‘net dweebs.
Chris Benoit and William Regal vs. Batista and Ric Flair
- Am I the only one who finds it absolutely amazing that Ric Flair is not only still getting some of the biggest pops in wrestling, but also backing it up in the ring? Yeah, he’s old, and yeah, he gets repetitive, but no one does it like Flair. As usual, he had the crowd in Portland eating out of the palm of his hand.
- I won’t get into the dopey talk of backstage politics, but you’ve just got to wonder what the hell Chris Benoit is doing curtain-jerking in a tag-match less than six months after winning the World Title at the biggest PPV in WWE history. It just doesn’t seem to make an ounce of sense from a business standpoint. He needs a RAW feud with Eddie Guerrero
- Younger wrestlers could learn a thing or two from Ric Flair. Flair is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time, yet week in and week out, he’s putting over other talent. It wouldn’t have done anyone any good to have Batista tap to the Crossface, but Flair stepped right in and did the job. If only Hogan was like that, we might get to see him a bit more.
- Overall, a solid match. My only problem with that the match was the fact that it was absolutely nothing that we haven’t seen on RAW week in and week out. If the WWE is going to charge an arm and a leg for this minor PPV’s, they need to deliver something fresh and exciting that can’t be seen twice a week for free. Even if that means inserting a stupid gimmick into the match or letting it go for 30:00 minutes.
Trish Stratus vs. Victoria:
- Again, I tried to watch this PPV from the perspective of “Ken Anderson: Cool, Casual Fan,” but I’ve honestly got to wonder how even the dumbest, most jaded of the marks aren’t getting tired of seeing this match. Without exaggeration, we’ve probably seen these two go at it on PPV and on RAW at least 50 times. I can’t imagine anyone, and I mean that literally, being influenced to order the PPV based on this match.
- The Match: Trish vs. Victoria XXXVVVIIIII was solid, but nothing that we haven’t seen, and sadly, it was nearly enough to put me to sleep at the bar.
Tyson Tomko vs. Steven Richards:
- I’m going to go out on a massive limb and say that this might perhaps be the worst, most poorly recieved match in WWE PPV history. The crowd turned on it immediately, Jim Ross sounded flat-out humiliated to be calling it, and about ten people just got up and left at Hooters.
- Vince McMahon and his cronies constantly rag on the negativity on the IWC. At times, I do think the net is too negative. You’ve just got to wonder though who thinks something like this is a good idea. It’s not. That’s not “net mentality,” that’s basic common sense. You’ve just got to wonder if Vince McMahon was in the back before the show saying, “You know, I’ve got a great idea. Lets deliver an unadvertised match. Let’s have Stevie Richards come out dressed like a woman. Let’s put him in woman’s panties, so his genitals are clearly visible. Then, let’s have Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross pretend like it really is a woman. And then, yeah, yeah this will be good, then, let’s have that big boy Tyson get him in a chinlock in the middle of the ring, look into the camera, and start calling Richards a ‘Faggot.’ Repeatedly. Yeah. Screw Russo, now that’s ‘Tude!”
- Just an absolute disgrace, and a blatant slap to the face of those who actually paid for this garbage.
This segment was so bad that instead of a dweeb rating, it’s getting food from Fazoli’s, the shittiest fast-food chain I’ve ever had the displeasure of consuming:
Chris Jericho vs. Christian – IC Title Ladder Match
- I’m going to be brief on this one, as I don’t really have much to say about the match that hasn’t been said elsewhere on the net. There were definitely more than a few blown spots, as well as a few that just didn’t seem to work, but overall, it was a solid match. I think the problem though lies in the fact that these ladder matches have become so played out and so predictable that unless someone risks their life with some unnecessary suicide stunt, the match comes off as a disappointment. You can thank Jeff Hardy for that one. Throughout the match, you could tell the crowd was pretty complacent, waiting patiently for that one, huge, unique bump to take place. When it never happened and the match ended abruptly, everyone was like, “Oh, that’s it?”
- When is Jericho ever going to get his massive push? I’ve never been a huge fan of him in the ring, but I think he’s proven time and time again that he’s ready for a long main-event run. Everyone always talks about importing new babyface challengers for HHH over from Smackdown, but what about Jericho? He can certainly do well in that roll, as he has in the past. At the very least, let Benoit and Jericho go at it again.
- Overall, we had ourselves the typical ladder match. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t terribly fresh. Mick Foley cheapened the Hell in the Cell match by creating an atmosphere where anything less than a 20 foot fall was a disappointment, and while the TLC matches were fun while they lasted, they ultimately created the same effect on the normal ladder match. Solid match. Nothing more, nothing less.
Shawn Michaels vs. Kane
- Probably the only match on the entire card worth paying for. Shawn Michaels and Kane absolutely tore the house down, and if not for this match, the entire city of Portland would probably have been killed off by this PPV. Michaels hasn’t missed a beat after being out for three months, and he brought his A-Game last night. Kane has always been a vastly underrated worker as well, and he more than held up his end of the bargain this match.
- I’m going to avoid commenting on the Kane/Lita angle, just because I haven’t really been following RAW closely enough to form an opinion on it. It can’t be as bad as people make it out to be though, and I honestly though that aspect of the match made things even more exciting here tonight.
La Resistance vs. Tajiri and Rhyno
- A simple, uninspired RAW match. I haven’t been following the build too much, but I’ve seen much better tag matches on RAW for free than this 8:00 throwaway match.
Triple H vs. Randy Orton – WWE Heavyweight Title Match
- You know, I don’t hate HHH as much as most of the net, but it does get a little old and a bit embarrassing listening to him constantly acting like Ric Flair. His promo earlier in the evening about the custom-made shoes and $50,000 Rolex literally made me cringe. You’ve got to wonder what Flair really thinks about this.
- Triple H and Randy Orton settled into a nice groove for the first 20:00 of the match, and legitimately had me interested, if not thrilled, in what they were doing. It’s a damn shame though that they had to go and ruin things with what could again be one of the worst endings in WWE PPV History.
- What an absolute disgrace to the WWE’s paying customers. I guess Vince McMahon’s statute of limitations on the “We will longer insult the intelligence of our fans” has officially run its course. How in the WORLD does it make any sense for Coach to come out and referee the match. Yes, I know wrestling’s fake, but at least make some effort to keep the suspension of disbelief alive. We know there are other referees in the back. We saw them twenty f*cking minutes ago. But when the head ref is bumped, Coach takes his place?
- In addition to the idiotic ref routine, the casual interference of Ric Flair and Batista at the end of the match was just ridiculous. If you want to put the title back on Triple H, there has to be five million better ways to do it than to blatantly piss on your paying audience. What a joke.
- Why was the title even put on Randy Orton to begin with? I have mixed feelings on Orton, but I do know that the WWE’s clinical and glaring indecision on EVERYTHING has been killing their product for years. You just don’t get your audience emotionally invested in an angle or character if you’re just going to change your mind a week later. Give the title to Orton. Take the title off of Orton. Push Eugene. Pretend Eugene never existed. Push Chris Benoit. Ignore Chris Benoit. I have no motivation whatsoever to get behind anyone in the WWE these days because I know two weeks later, they’ll probably be given up on.
- Is it even possible to have a successful, long-term babyface champion anymore? If you take a look at the WWE’s buyrates over the years, they’re usually much higher when the title is held by a heel.
A very good match that was ultimately ruined by a horrible finish:
Overall thoughts on Unforgiven:
I just don’t see how anyone within the WWE could feel good about charging $35 for this shit. At times, it honestly seems like they are trying to drive away their fanbase. A large percentage of WWE fans are hard-working, blue-collar citizens who may not have that much money in the bank. They might mow an extra lawn, or work an extra shift to pay for the PPV.
I got an email a few days ago from a 13 year old kid who was asking his parents for Unforgiven for his birthday. It breaks my heart to think of this poor kid, excited for weeks for the PPV, sitting down in front of the TV on his birthday, and getting this garbage. It literally depresses me.
You’d think Vince McMahon would take a look at his sagging buyrates, especially for the brand-exclusive PPV’s, and say, “You know, I really should do everything in my power to satisfy the few remaining PPV customers I still have. If they are going to lay down $35 for a PPV, I’m going to make damn sure they walk away feeling like they got their money’s worth.”
It sound harsh, but it’s hard to believe that Vince McMahon doesn’t honestly enjoy reeling people in, getting their hopes up, and then slapping them right in the face with a shitty, insulting PPV. It’s almost like he should pop out at the end of the PPV, look directly in the camera, and say, “I tricked you into buying this.”
There were about 50 people watching Unforgiven with me last night. These people covered the entire spectrum of wrestling fans. There were casual viewers, internet readers, complete marks, and old-school fans. Every single person in attendance walked away from the PPV pissed off. Literally, pissed off.
If an 11 year old girl in a Jeff Hardy t-shirt walks away from a PPV she watched for free feeling used and ripped off, I can only imagine the reaction of people in their living rooms across the country Sunday Night who actually paid $35 for this PPV. Betrayed and Used seem to be the most fitting words possible.
Do me a favor.
If you’re one of those people who complains about the PPV’s month in and month out, yet still order them, consider spending your money elsewhere. If you were angered by the ending of this PPV as much as I was, don’t order the next one. Let Vince know you don’t appreciate being ripped off.
I don’t know who’s brilliant idea it was to sell these inane brand-exclusive PPV’s for $35 each, but someone needs to send a memo to the WWE letting them know that people just aren’t willing to drop that much money on a minor PPV, and additionally, they have been given absolutely no incentive to do so based on some of these insultingly shitty PPV’s.
Wow, so much for the positivity I guess.
Hope all is well guys.