It’s Tuesday on Inside Pulse and as of last week, Tuesdays = Widro!
I’m coming off an interesting dinner in Alphabet City with my dad and brother eating in a Vietnamise restaurant. I got a crazy drink that had a rim of super spicy pepper, which was a stark contrast to the banana drink special. Overall a really strong meal, a nice surprise because I didn’t know what I was expecting.
Thrilling intro I’m sure!
Anyway, I should probably address this type of feedback I received:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 3:42 PM
How do plan to keep readers like me coming to this sight when our
favorite columnists are only there half the time they say they will be there?
Interesting question and I’m sure it’s one that almost all regular pulse and 411 readers have probably wondered since the Great Split back in August.
On paper, we should be getting tons of IWC star columns every week. We set up an aggressive schedule, and everyone was excited to get started. However, a combination of factors have made some columns delayed or skipped. Everyone has a real life, and sometimes that gets in the way of our favorite hobby (that would be writing on the internet). It hasn’t really been much different than their production at 411, the difference is that it has been more noticeable because of the change to a new site.
Wrestling, in general, is much worse than it has been, and it is difficult for wrestling writers to get motivated to write about the same thing every week. Many of us have been writing about wrestling online for nearly a decade! There will be ebbs and flows of motivation, time and production, and unfortunately for the early career of insidepulse, there has been more ebb than flow.
However, we are in week 12 of the site, and it’s not like you have seen nothing from the IWC. Doing a quick check of the database, in less than 3 months , we have the following column totals:
Scott Keith – 32
Eric S – 29
Hyatte – 14
Flea – 11
Grutman – 6
That’s an awful of content and a lot of writing from all of your “favorite columnists” considering how many complaints I’ve been getting.
The key part of the year for WWE is between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, and unless WWE just ruins those events, the wrestling section will be popping.
Does it suck they aren’t there every week on the exact time? A little bit, but I’m also confident that these guys are trying their best, and delivering what they are able to each week. I applaud them for refusing to submit half assed or terrible columns just for the sake of ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢??getting something up’ because that would do more damage to them than skipping.
Through all of this, you also should remember that there are about 150 incredible writers on all 8 subjects at Inside Pulse, including 2 dozen other wrestling writers. In between waiting for Smark PPV rants and Grutman wrestling tales, you should check out the rest of pulse wrestling – Gordi, Blatt, Goforth, Hevia, Jed and everyone else has done a great job picking up the ball and running with it, and we have tons of exciting stuff in the works between now and Wrestlemania.
Faux rock diva Ashlee Simpson continues to dominate the music news this week, after her lip synching debacle on Saturday Night Live. For those who don’t know what happened, she was lip synching her 2 songs on the show, and it all went horribly wrong in the second performance. The recording behind her second song was the same as the first, and rather than go with the flow or think of the fly, she randomly started a ho-down to herself as her band tried to play a song. Then she ran off crying.
So she is revealed to be lip synching, which is totally lame, but it doesn’t end there!
As the show closes and Jude Law thanks everyone, he throws to Ashlee who does her best “aw shucks” face and then BLAMES HER BAND for screwing up! Um, hello, Ashlee? There were vocals and you weren’t singing. I’m not sure who exactly screwed up, but “the band” didn’t start “playing the wrong song”.
Anyway, I think it’s all pretty funny.
It brings up a larger point, that I’ve seen discussed all over, and it’s “what makes an artist worthy of success.”
You have the music community who believes people like Ashlee are manufactured artists using TV, radio and Pro Tools. And they are right! Big companies craft artists that look good on camera, have carefully created personas and have teams of writers and musicians working on the behind the scenes. Invariably, these artists sell the most to the general public.
The question is, when has it been any different?
If you look at the history of pop music since WW2, every era is filled with manufactured artists at the very top of the mainstream. Elvis, despite his talents in singing and dancing, never wrote any of his own songs. The Monkeys, the Partridge Family, New Kids on the Block, the Spice Girls. The list goes on and on. Pop music has always been dominated by “artists” with a questionable level of artistry.
The difference, in 2004, is that there are tons of artists, both large and small, that are producing original, creative music in all genres.
I think, if anything, the music industry is at an all time apex in variety and breadth of music available. Sure, radio and MTV are regurgitating a lot of pop, but they also feature quality artists. Plus, if you do a TINY BIT of digging beyond what’s presented on mainstream radio and TV, you can find a cornucopia of awesome music online and in live venues throughout all big cities.
It’s always an interesting paradox that the same fans who are upset with the mainstream and big sales are mad that their favorite artists (ones with real talent and dignity) don’t sell huge, but then when an artist does break through, they are branded for selling out. If you can find music you enjoy, and it doesn’t seem to be in danger of ending, why would it matter who is in the mainstream?
As noted earlier, the sports world this week was dominated by baseball, as the ALCS and to a lesser extent (well at least for me) the NLCS captivated the sports world. As a Mets fan, I got very caught up in the ALCS, and the whole idea of screwing Boston again. It was incredible to see the Yankees literally disintegrate, even as I had been rooting for them to vanguish the Sox again.
It wasn’t to be, however, and the Yankees successfully completed the largest choke and collapse in postseason history. No matter what happens in the ensuring years and decades, we will always look back at 2004 as the year the Yankees, up 3-0 and coming off a 19-8 thrashing in Game 3, choked and lost all four games in a row.
I was at Game 6, and it was a very different vibe in the Bronx. I have been to quite a few postseason games over the last few years, and there is usually a playoff tension. But the air was thicker and the mood was tenser versus the Red Sox, and as it became clear the Yankees weren’t going to win Game 6 (with the superman performance by Curt Schilling), the fans became more and more restless. As I was on the concession line, some random guy walked up to the guy in front of me on line, tapped him on the shoulder and PUNCHED HIM IN THE FACE. The guy fell over, and the puncher walked away into the crowd. When asked, the guy who was punched said he didn’t even know the guy who punched him!
Later in the game, a loud Boston fan behind me was attacked by a drunked Yankees fan, and both were escorted out. I then had the unpleasant feeling of a cop standing 3 feet from me in the aisle the rest of the game. And this was on top of the RIOT SQUAD being called in. It felt like a bad Raw storyline, and I kept expecting one of the security guards to unmask, take the ball, save the game for the Yankees and give the Red Sox the double bird.
In NFL news, the Patriots carried the New England flag high, beating the Jets on Sunday to remain undefeated in one of sports greatest runs. I watched that game too, and it was very slow. I think the Jets could have had it, but their offense had no way of scoring that day.
Pulse Sports has some amazing columns up lately, and had full coverage of the ALCS and the NFL week.
We are finishing up the launch details of Inside Pulse movies, which we now have on track for a Monday November 1st launch. To be honest, the ALCS made the productivity around the Inside Pulse offices a little slow, especially for those of us in the Northeast. I swear the whole city of New York was a few steps slower last week. We have a great crew together and some cool features already in the works, so I’ll let the zone speak for itself next week.
Today is the day Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas comes out, and even I have my copy pre-ordered. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the release of Outrun 2 for Xbox too, and I might even be more excited for that release. I played it a bunch at E3 and I have always been a mark for Sega racers.
Back to the subject of GTA, and unlike Halo (which is bafflingly overrated to me), I think GTA deserves all the kudos and sales it gets. It basically created an entirely new genre, combining many other genres to make an interactive world. You have seen its influence in other games all over this generation of gaming – not only with its gritty mature themes (max payne, true crimes, etc), but also with its free-style world of gameplay (simpsons hit and run, spiderman 2, jak 2, etc). So why the hate? Because of the mindless copycats? If anything, GTA is a rare game of this generation that brought countless new gameplay innovations to the world.
I’ll have more on GTA: San Andreas next week!
In Defense Of Vince McMahon
Having skipped both No Mercy and Taboo Tuesday, my first back to back PPV skip since, well, maybe 1989, I have to say that wrestling has never been less entertaining to me personally. I hope that things will turn around in the “key timeperiod” between Survivor Series and Wrestlemania, as it did last year, but I am skeptical.
Despite my negativity, I still think the company is doing well, as its at its most profitable level in a while. I think the McMahon big picture is interesting to look at when considering how the company is doing, and why they are making the decisions they are making.
Vince McMahon is 64 years old. Almost 3 decades ago he began a quest to create the biggest wrestling company in the world, taking over territory after territory until he was the biggest company in the world. He only had one rival – billionaire Ted Turner who had the backing of Turner Broadcasting, and later Warner Brothers and then AOL as well.
Despite all the odds against him, Vince and his company overcame and became the monopoly in wrestling – a position he holds to this day.
His company is super profitable – the 12 day stretch in the UK earlier this month was reportedly profitable enough to sustain profitability for the entire quarter. The brand extension, while a good idea on paper, has been a harder road than expected, for reasons largely out of the McMahon’s control. While they have done a poor job of creating new stars, they also have had an incredible level of injuries and absenses.
They continue to try to innovate new ideas, whether it’s the Diva Search, fan voting on Taboo Tuesday, newcomers getting titles, etc. Is it all being executed perfectly? No. but the effort seems there. Two years ago when the promotion was sigining washed up WCW reject after washed up WCW star, it looked as if WWE was grasping at straws. At least they are trying a wide variety of new ideas.
There is also continuous criticism of McMahon and his family for taking loyalty too far, and not listening to dissenting opinions. But if you were McMahon, and you were in the wrestling industry your whole life, would you be trusting? I’ve never seen a shadier, more cutthroat business than wrestling. Already this year Vince found out that the Jakks/WWE deal was rife with bribery, and his plum Times Square restaurant was run into the ground by incompetnance and corruption. If I were Vince, I’d want to keep everything as close to my control as possible. Hell, I’m Vince McMahon, I did everything I set out to do 30 years ago. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to be my decision. I think if i were in his shoes, I’d want the same level of control.
With all that said, I still think WWE sucks right now. But at this point, does anyone have a 100% certain vision for the company’s future that will generate money? It seems as if the wrestling industry has a history of wandering around for a while until something huge pops up, and we’re just going to have to wait to see what that is going to be.
This week in the Hot Seat we have wrestling and figures stalewart PK. He has been doing Raw coverage on 411 and the pulse for over 3 years, and this will be his second trip in the Hot Seat. I don’t remember how he did the first time and I’m not checking either, so let’s get right into it!
1. We always start with geometry, and because Murtz missed it last week, I’ll give you a chance to make things right in the geometry world: What are the measurements you need to know in order to calculate the volume of a right circular cone?
PK: height, and the radius
Judges: This is correct! 1 out of 1
2. How would you best describe your reaction when you discovered 411 was not going to use the ‘Rasslin Roundtable’ for PPV previews (thus allowing us to bring the name over here): a) overjoyed b) ecstatic c) relieved d) content
PK: a) overjoyed…seeing as I am the only one that some how makes it succeed!
Judges: Great to see it alive and well here on the pulse! 2 out of 2
3. We somehow didn’t go to the Fall Toy Fair, but I’m sure we’ll be at the 2005 Toy Fair next February. In the spirit of the show, name five cool free toys that we either got from a vendor or stole in a shady fashion.
PK: 1. Toy Fair Warrior (1 of 100) 2. Gonzo in a Gold Tux 3.Hulk Heroclix 4. Eygptian click pen 5. TANGLE!!! Damn those electrodice!
Judges: Electrodice are a repressed memory I hadn’t remember until today. 3 out of 3
4. Put these Butch Walker-produced bands in order of goodness starting with best – 1) Simple Plan 2) Avril Lavigne 3) Bowling For Soup 4) American Hi Fi 5) Sevendust 6) Default
PK: American HiFi, Default, Bowling for Soup, Sevendust, Avril, Simple Plan
Judges: We’re sorry, but that new Default disc is brutal. We’d also put Avril ahead of Sevendust 3 out of 4
5. You have been doing WWE Raw coverage on 411 and InsidePulse for many years, so you must have a good idea how to turn this show around. In 50 words or less, how could you best turn the Raw brand around?
PK: Cut PPVs down to 8 a year, with the major 4 being a cross promo, and 2 lone PPVs each…or you can just kill HHH
Judges: Less PPVs? But what about Tuesday night shows?? 4 out of 5
Overall a very impressive Pulse Hot Seat debut for PK, with an incredible 4 out of 5 correct! Check out the hot seat next week for another Pulse favorite!
Road To Wrestlemania 21 Countdown
With Shawn Michaels leaving Raw on crutches, I think it puts him on a bee line with Edge for Wresltemania. He wont be back in time for Survivor Series, and the next Raw PPV isn’t until Royal Rumble, at which there is no point in wasting a huge singles match like that. So I would add that match to the tentative lineup we brought out last week:
Tentative Wrestlemania 21 card:
Raw World Title
Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton
Shawn Michaels vs. Edge
The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle
Now with three top matches in place, the shape of WM21 is getting more and more defined. Depending on how these storylines play out, and if they are still fresh(ish) matchups by March, it starting to seem a little more special.
Last week I skipped out with only about half the site, so this week I’ll lead off with last week’s omitted zones!
TV is a juggernaut! If you are a fan of reality TV, then you should check out the TV Celebs section each day, as we have over 10 current and former reality TV stars writing columns on the pulse!
Katie Doyle who is **CURRENTLY** starring on the RW/RR Battle Of The Sexes, was on The Gauntlet, and also appeared on Road Rules: The Quest. Her style of commentary is explosive and explicit as you will find out.
Mike Lawrence had a big week on the pulse as well, with a touching look at The Life and Music of Elliot Smith as well as a lighter look at the 80s-centric programming of VH1 in this week’s Mike’s Soapbox
I would also be remiss to not point out Coogan’s So-Called Television column this week
While McFarlane is working on their new Dragon’s line, Batesman runs a fine toothed comb through the new Spawn Series 26.
And, even though PK wasn’t there, he does have you WWE Figure news from the Fall Toy Fair.
The Nexus is moving right along in its quest to become the #1 comics site on the net.
In this week’s Caught In the Nexus in the Nexus, Daron sits down with Jason Rand & Juan Ferreyra to talk about their critically acclaimed series, Small Gods.
Kirby is Right Back Atcha every Saturday morning on the fox box, but we have a History of Kirby feature done by Liquid that spans the Pink Puffball’s full career. I’m a huge fan of almost all games in the series, having beat Kirby 64 100%, but the Gamecube version is just horrible.
It’s been TRIBUNAL MADNESS WEEK, as we are posting a tribunal roundtable review of another game every day this week! Already Monday we had Katamari Damacy, and today we put up Bubble Bobble Old and New
Wrestling is doing just fine, and today we have 2 great columns up. One is from Mr. Goforth, who looks at tweeners and the year since Kane has unmasked in a fantastic edition of Heroes and Villains. And Eric S was here, on time, for the AM slot with a quick but still good look back at Raw.
Inside Pulse Concert Series: #2!
Our first Inside Pulse concert series event was a big success, and we’re coming right back at you with another event in a few weeks!
Tuesday, November 9th in the The Continental in New York City, InsidePulse once again teams up with Alecon to bring a full night of rock! This time we will have some giveaways!
The bands scheduled to appear:
Voo Doo Blue 7.30
Fascination Autumn 8.15
The Union Dead 10.30
Almost Violet 11.15
We should have profiles with info and MP3s of many or all of these bands in the coming weeks.
And with that passes another big Tuesday on the pulse. Before you know it will be next Tuesday! And so on. In the meantime we have a big week ahead.