[Deconstructing the Moveset] – Evolve or Die!

My apologies for last week. I had just switched from vacation mode to working the third shift at work. I promise that it won’t happen again, uh……. this week.

Don’t foget that November is Wrestling Appreciation Month here at Deconstructing the Moveset! E-Mail me your stories aout how you became a wrestling fan or why you’re still a wrestling fan. I’ve gotten a few handfuls already, but I love hearing these stories. they’ll be published next month all month at Deconstructing the Moveset!

I hope everyone watched or at least voted on Taboo Tuesday. It was our opportunity to voice some kind of small opinion to the WWE. It’s not like they’ll come and read my column or anything. The only way I can interact is to vote on things like that. It was also fun to trade “JRisms” back and forth with Gordi during the Snitsky/Kane match. He got the first one with the government mule line. Note he also told me to stand for the La Res Canadian anthem, and then continue standing while Benoit’s music played.

Everyone’s gonna watch the Mr. Olympia PPV this weekend cause HHH is hosting it, right?

Kidding.

Anyway…. onto some
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Eric wrote me regarding our posting about the New Jack Arrest story on late last Tuesday/early Wednesday:
Hey, My name is Eric and I am from Jacksonville, FL and am 15 years old. When I woke up for school this morning I glanced at the front page of the newspaper which my parents usually have layed out and I saw this story. After reading it I remember commercials promoting this show and thought it would be cool to go see partially because of wanting to see New Jack and Gangrel. I have never seen New Jack wrestle because I have only watched wrestling since late 2002. I probably would have gone to the show if I knew when it was and where I could get tickets at. I am glad that I didn’t go because my dad would’ve had to take me and this would have probably made him really mad that they do that kind of stuff and would probably take all things wrestling away from me. This type of thing should not be tolerated in a wrestling ring. I enjoy cage, hell in a cell, ladder, TLC, and other types of hardcore matches just as much as the next person but stabbing is more into the street fighting sort of thing which sickens me. What I am wondering is what happened to regular old school wrestling. I know that I am too young to have seen Ric Flair in any truly great matches(I was born in 1989, too young to know). Since watching and getting hooked on wrestling, I have gotten several DVDs such as The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection and Chris Benoit’s DVD and I am wondering why they can’t simply entertain us with some actual wrestling instead of stabbing and burning each other. I appreciate brawls in wrestling when they are by people who know what they are doing such as Mick Foley but this story absolutely disturbs me and makes me glad I did not go to this show. Thanks for everything on this great website and I will always read this site.

Eric, I couldn’t agree with you more about this “hardcore” style. I also admire that you’re willing at accept the fact that you haven’t seen Flair’s best matches but want to. Heck, I wasn’t born more than a decade earlier than you were and I’m still combing archives to find more Flair. Even my brother who’s just a hair more than a decade older than I am has to also. I’m just glad that you’re smart enough to know to look back in time to see him when he was indeed the “limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing sun of a gun.” The world needs more wrestling fans like you Eric. Thanks for coming to the Inside Pulse and thank you for writing.

Our old friend Joe Selders answered last week’s question:
Chavo will probably side with London as I see him coming back as a face. With Eddie being slipped lower down in the card, I see a Los Guerros reunion happing too. Not to mention the fact he’ll have the whole sympathy from the fans, welcome back thing going for him upon his return, plus the whole going for revenge on Kidman thing.

ABarker answered the question as well:
As for Chavo, typical WWE storylines would suggest that Chavo doesn’t care about either of these people, because no one ever goes after the guy that injures them anymore (See: Edge) and besides, cant we stick Chavo and Rey into a program? Thats a fresh new idea. I would rather see him side with Billy, in a kind of respect for the guy that took me out way. It will give London the overcoming the odds factor which should keep him on the main roster longer.

You’ve both got a point. Edge didn’t go after Jericho despite being ultra big tooth pissed at him for injuring him and taking his title without beating him for it. Seems as if now he’s got himself a tag title though. What a consolation for a guy I hate anyway! But will chavo go after Kidman? It only makes sense with London being “on the shelf”. He’s as on the shelf as Cena and Kane are, but he’s not making a movie. Which makes me wonder what the hell are they gonna do with a Kane movie? Ugh. Thanks for writing! We’ll see what happens Thursday, since I don’t read spoilers but I’m sure everyone else knows already!

TIVO GEMS
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A little different this week…

RAW gems (from the past two weeks):

note on RAW: I wish it were out of the country every week so we’d not have to worry about weak endings or crappy matches.

Regal comes home
Seeing any wrestler in the mid card get that kind of reception from any crowd, especially their home crowd is awesome. ANYTHING that Regal or even Eugene did wielded such a huge ovation it might even give Regal more oomph back in the state-side crowd as well. Not only was it entertaining to see a crowd that hot for a wrestler, but it was especially nice to see t for someone like Regal who has been buried since he was fighting X-Pac as a real ‘Man’s Man”. The UK’s got their own hero in the WWE, much like Canada is hot for Bret Hart or the South has Ric Flair (although that’s been expanding to the whole USA lately). It’s a damn shame about the Dusty finish, but no shame for my fantasy roster.

Randy Orton: “Flair is old”
It’s like he’s reading my mind. And everyone else’s from the past two years. Flair IS too good to be shilling Triple H. However, Orton has been drawing good promos out of Flair. He’s finally being the Ric Flair many of us either remember or watched on his DVD. It’s funny that last week was making virgins bleed and this week he is kissing women on the lips, as gordi said during Taboo Tuesday , next week he’ll be holding hands with women. It’s also funny that he can’t pay people like Foley, HBK, Hart or Harley Race a damn ounce of respect, but can call Randy Orton great. On a side note, I like how Orton was going out for respect from Ric Flair.

Todd Grisham gets his
Nothing made me happier to see this guy get kicked in the head. It’d make me ery happy not to see him at all. New guy Todd is not as good as new guy Josh. However, he needed to pay SOMEHOW after butchering the special commentary on Benoit’s DVD. Why Todd Grisham? Why not JR? Why not have Benoit, Malenko and Eddie do the commentary? Nope, with such wonderful insight like “Jushin who?” and “Wow, that must have hurt. What’s the name of that move?” I can’t understand why they chose him. It’s like asking Tazz to announce in Spanish

Everyone hug Vince!
Any time Vince is on RAW, it’s memorable. Recently anyway. Four times since WMXX (ding! theres my reference for the week) once for the draft, once to announce his announcement for Taboo Tuesday, once to announce Taboo Tuesday and once to shill it. It was still a nice touch to have Vinnie on camera. Here’s a side note: Vince used to be THE announcer for the WWE. What happened to his announcing skills? Why was he answering questions by the King and JR monosyllabically?

Extra points for Snitsky’s line “The only thing that’s dead is your baby”

And to the King for asking JR if he was smiling!

SMACKDOWN!

notes: There’s a lack of energy on this show and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a shame though because it all has good potential.

JBL’s no proctologist
You know, he’s a great personality on the mic. But perhaps his little micro feud with Spark Plug Holly is the WWE’s way of saying “You can get a rub from the Taker, but not without a little punishment first” it’s also the WWE’s way of saying to me “Yes, we’ll allow you to vote on Taboo Tuesday, but we’re gonna make you watch another Hardcore Holly title attempt.”

Rey wins a US Title shot
Okay, battle royals aren’t generally good until the last 2 or 3 guys, and this was no exception. Rey and Angle have put on a lot of good matches and the over the top rope stipulation to this just added to the excitement. Reminded me of Jericho/Michaels and their now legendary (to me anyway) feud over the Royal Rumble. The Rumble changed both of their styles to the point where they are both still reminding us that it’s hard to throw them out of the ring. Perhaps Ray and Angle are heading down the same path?

HEAT/VELOCITY:

The announcing on Velocity keeps getting better. DeMott and Matthews continue to grow as a team. It’s the little things like the continuous mentioning of Lindsay Lohan, and the bickering over if JBL really likes Matthews or not that really solidifies this team.

The women’s tag match had some good tag action including modified back breaker. that’s something the male tag teams should pick up on. And the little dancing thing Victoria and Nidia did together was pretty hot. This week, Mr. Benjamin was in action, and that’s always a treat.

TABOO TUESDAY:

Overall, I thought this was a good PPV. Much better than No Mercy, and it was a strong RAW showing. A real classy evening with the IC title change and the cage match. I always like to see two wrestlers in the ring that have respect for each other.

The Benoit tag title victory reminds me a bit of Stone Cold vs. the Undertaker at Summerslam 99 when they won the tag titles only a month earlier against Foley and Kane. Or Sting vs. the Giant when they were the tag champs and fought to see who would take the titles and name a new partner. I also predicted the walk out in the InsidePULSE live chat by way of bringing up Hogan & Sid vs. Flair and the Undertaer at the Saturday Night’s Main Event leading to Hogan and Sid’s Wrestlemania match.

TIVO BOMB OF THE WEEK:

Hurricane not turning on the fans
Every week, there’s ALMOST an opportunity for him to really turn and it’s wasted. “Citzen Mr. McMahon” was humorous, but he really could laid into Shelton or Rhyno r Tajiri instead. Currently, there’s nothing going on for him, but I see a possible feud with Shelton or Jericho. The King even mentioned that Hurricanes aren’t so popular lately. Once he oes heel he’ll have to feud with Rosey if he doesn’t take Rosey with him to the dark side.

WWE FANTASY ROSTER UPDATE:
Because you all are about how MY team is doing.

Carlito Caribbean Cool $1,000,000
Christy $1,000,000
Eric Bischoff $2,500,000
Gene Snitsky $1,000,000
Rob Conway $2,750,000
Sylvain Grenier $2,750,000
Triple H $5,500,000
Trish Stratus $2,750,000
Points this week so far: 190

This week I was banking on PPV victories and for the most part, I got it. All I need is Carlito to come through for me and I’ll have had nearly 200 points this week. I should have had picked Benoit with the money I blew on La Res. Who would have thought that they’d not make a RAW appearance this week AND lose the titles to a one man team on PPV. And I’m still beating Hevia with only 3 more weeks to go until the end of this season.

DECONSTRUCTING THE MOVESET – EVOLVE OR DIE

Let’s talk briefly about gimmicks in wrestling. Without them, wrestling is kinda boring. Think about it, without the characters, without the glitz, the glamour, it’s not terribly exciting. But luckily, we have been supplied with characters from Gorgeous George and Nature Boy Buddy Rogers to Eugene and Carlito Caribbean Cool. We’ve been given La Resistance, Rhyno, Kane, The Rock, Stone Cold, and too many more to name. But when does a gimmick go too far? I’ll start by saying there’s no real answer, but some gimmicks are simply career suicide.

Let’s take a look at Mike Awesome. Yup, the guy who dumped Masato Tanaka over the side of an ECW ring through a table onto the concrete floor. He’s also the same guy who had that exact move done to him and was out for nine months with injuries. He was unstoppable as ECW champ, he was a devastating force upon entering into WCW. He’s the guy who threw Kanyon off of a three tier steel cage dammit! Buuuut… he’s also the guy who walked to the ring along side with a lady who looked like one of the Rosatti’s or a female version of Ralphus. He’s “That 70’s Guy,” remember that?

Everyone remembers him for being “a mullet” more than winning the WWE hardcore championship from Rhyno or being the man who betrayed ECW to jump to WCW while he still had the ECW world title. Those blunders on the part of the creative team of WCW essentially killed Mike Awesome’s career. You see, that was funny because Mike Awesome was “the Career Killer”. Somehow I think that title should have been given to the creative team of WCW. Tank Abbott? Member of the Three Count. Rick Steiner? Walked around with a pet “Dog”.

I know. I’m hammering home the point to you. But here’s what I’m trying to relate. In a recent attempt to diversify their rosters have colored up their wrestlers. And I think it’s great. Certain wrestlers are branching out from where they were, and they’re introducing all new characters as well.

Kane’s character is exactly how you should be modeling a character’s evolution. He was a monster who did not speak, but had a link to the Undertaker as a “bloodline”. As the years went on, they kept him under his mask, had him gradually speaking more and more. They slowly put human characteristics into his character. They teamed him with charismatic tag team partners (the Undertaker, Mick Foley, X-Pac, Rob Van Dam), gave him a girlfriend (the other Torrie), gave him title runs and constant angles. And then they did something drastic. In a bold move, they unmasked Kane, changing everything. He wasn’t burned all over his body as we were told. He only had a weird haircut, no eyebrows, and wore make up. Then he just about killed Rob Van Dam. Then got Lita pregnant. Then got Lita unpregnant.

And had bad teeth. But that’s another story.

But they changed his character slowly and he’s come full circle into a face again, simply by being the same Kane he’s always been, but “all growed up”. It might be the most ideal evolution of a character we’ve seen in a decade.

And for the new breed.

Eric Bischoff’s nephew Eugene. They’ve nearly expended his character in just a few short months. He’s gotten rubs from the Rock, Chris Benoit, Ric Flair and Triple H. However, he’s still playing a mentally handicapped wrestler. His finishers are the Stunner and the Rock Bottom, and his style is constantly emulating older wrestlers. Granted, this has provided some absolutely hysterical and great moments, but he’s still in the fledgling part of his career.

Where can he evolve to?

You can compare him to George the Animal Steele, but the Animal never really took off like Randy Savage or Hulk Hogan did. He was essentially bred to play the buffoon. He was eventually associated with the Oddities in lthe much later years of his career, which included the ICP and John Tenta, aka Golga. Not exactly the top tier of wrestling if you ask me.

Another example of a stagnant character is the Honky Tonk Man. If you think you can point me towards character evolution in the Honkey Tonk Man, I’ll point you towards a lie.

Aside from turning him heel for REAL, there isn’t much room for Eugene to grow. But imagine what a turn that would be. One day the childish act is gone, the hair is cut and slicked back and the walk is normal. Then he speaks without a HINT of the Eugene we know now. Imagine how betrayed the fans would feel if Eugene simply said that we were more retarded than he was acting for believing that? He would have swindled the Rock, Chris Benoit and William Regal. He’d have feuds set up for years!

Could the fans ever forgive him? Yeah, they could. Remember, we’re the fans that now cheer the guy who SPIT IN MICK FOLEY’S FACE and called him a JOKE. I forgave Orton for that, but I’m still pissed at Flair for that dig on Foley and Hart.

But if Vince is looking for the next Rock or Stone Cold, a large child is not the way to go. The current Eugene is a one way road down to the mid card. But I’m also not saying that he needs to change right now, because I find him very enjoyable. They simply need to think about moving his character towards a direction that’s not, to borrow a popular political phrase, “More of the same.”

This is just something to think about when watching the show. Think about all the people you see on the show and how they’ve changed over the years. Well, the ones who have been there for years. Think about JBL only a year ago, struggling in the tag division, or when he was an Acolyte of the Undertaker. Despite the fact the WWE really didn’t discuss that very much and that these two men have years of history instead of the recent few months. Of course they brought back King Mable and the Vampire Warrior, but they really didn’t discuss how it was once Bradshaw himself who was under the Undertaker and the High Power’s control.

But they made a champion out of that Acolyte. He only had to lose three hundred something pounds. His name was Farooq. Anyway…

you can also think about the charecters that haven’t changed since we’ve been introduced to them and see how they haven’t risen past the mid-card. Rob Van Dam has been stagnant lately, Booker T has certainly fallen since his title shot against Triple H.

As the next few months go by, we’re gonna have to see some growing from the current crop of Superstars in order to avoid that post survivor series, pre-Mania slump where angles seem to slow down. Let’s just hope that like much of the other advice that the WWE has seemed to take from me for the past two months, they take some of this too.

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:
Do you think Eugene is headed for a MAJOR turn eventually and swerve all of us? Or do you think he’ll be stuck playing a child for the rest of his career?

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE: Difficulty = Easy
How many times have HBK and HH fought FOR THE HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE? This includes elimination chambers and three man’s and whatnot. But how many times have we seen these two go toe to toe for the richest prize in the game?

LAST WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
Jeff was the absolute champion last week with the challenge:
In honor of me seeing Mick Foley referee an INDY MATCH this past week, I have this question. Who has had more tag team partners AND been champions? Mick Foley or Arn Anderson? For extra points, name their partners.

Okay.. this one, I know I got this.

Mick.. 15-Time Tag Team Champion.. 11 Partners.
Partners:
Gray Young (Indys)
Kevin Sullivan (WCW)
Mikey Whipwreck (x2) (ECW)
Al Snow (WWF)
Steve Austin (WWF)
Kane (x2) (WWF)
The Rock (x3) (WWF)
Blue Meanie (Indys)
Tracy Smothers (Indys)
Zodiac (WCWA)
Steve Braddock (WCWA)

Arn.. 11-Time Tag Team Champion.. 7 Partners
Ole Anderson (Georgia)
Paul Roma (WCW)
Tully Blanchard (x3) (WWF/WCW)
Larry Zbyzko (WCW)
Bobby Eaton (WCW)
Mr. Olympia (Georgia)
Matt Rose (Georgia)

Until next week, remember that Hevia’s insults slide off my back like man juice down his throat. Although my girlfriend found his column last week funny.

Go Astros!