I can make excuses for this being relatively late. For instance, while I was fifty miles away replacing my shot DVD player, my apartment had a power outage (I took advantage of that to set all my clocks to Daylight Savings Time). This interrupted my download of Impact. However, there was one true reason I delayed: I was waiting for the Pope to die.
I feel like a f*cking ghoul.
I really don’t think I can say anything about the Pope and keep it rational and non-emotional. I saw him officiate Mass in 1979 when he visited Chicago, one of the great spiritual experiences of my life. I was attending a Catholic high school at the time of his election, and when his election was announced, everyone in the school of Polish extraction, including myself, cheered and applauded for about five minutes. His twenty-six years on the papal throne can’t be summarized in only a few sentences; although journalists all over the world have been trying to do so since Saturday, I’m not going to pretend that I can. All the trips, the attempts at reconciliation with other churches, the apologies to the Jewish community, the first Pope to enter a synagogue, the first Pope to enter a mosque…it’s all too much to take in, and it’s all flooding. You can’t stop the dam from bursting and not be overwhelmed by the torrent of information about him.
That being said, his obdurate conservativism was one of the main causes that I am now a lapsed Catholic. His obstinacy was too great for anything progressive in the Church to break through. And that’s not going to change, because all of the cardinals were appointed by him. So there’s no chance of the Church entering the 21st Century any time soon.
But that’s beside the point. I had a ringside seat for the events of 1989, when I was in Germany and saw communist governments fall like dominoes. He was the spark that eventually ignited the flame. That may have been his greatest accomplishment, but it may be the least at the same time. He consecrated the soul of all Humankind and dedicated it to peace, love, understanding…sorry, Elvis…and the glory of God, no matter what He may be called. And he never lost faith in the innate goodness of Man.
Pray for the respose of his eternal soul.
Well, there’s a purpose to this column, although it really pales in comparison to the events in real life this weekend (okay, not only the Pope, but Wrestlemania as well). Let’s just get to it…
THE SMACKDOWN SHORT FORM
Danny Basham over Eddy Guerrero (Pinfall, rollup): Strictly Eddy-by-numbers in this one, made even more boring by the fact that a Basham was in the ring with him. This is the show before Wrestlemania; you think you could have a hotter opener than this. Even the backfired assistance from Rey-Rey sucked.
Eddy flips his way out of a predicament
Danny Basham tries the rare “I haven’t showered for five days” offense
Now that’s something you don’t see every day: a Basham going aerial
Paul London over (in order of elimination) Chavito, Sho Funaki, Nunzio, Spike Dudley, Scotty Go Potty, Akio, and Billy Kidman, Cruiserweight Title Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal: So why couldn’t this have been done at Wrestlemania? Oh, yeah, we have to have a half-ton sumo match because, hell, it’s Wrestlemania…I guess. Actually, if they’d have booked a WM CW Battle Royal the way they did this one, I’m glad it’s not on there. The match really didn’t heat up until London, Kidman, and Akio were left, and, of course, they had to book it so that London and Kidman would be the last guys in there, given their history and all, and they even throw in the Shawn Michaels Spot on top of that. Another example of Why The X Division Is So Great.
Isn’t it nice to see people teaming up for a common goal?
Spike on the receiving end of a Funaki enziguiri
Billy Kidman tries to do us all a favor by removing the threat of “Scotty Go Potty, Cruiserweight Champion”
Oh, how wonderful for us, we get to see the Worm
London tries to realign Akio’s chakras
And for his troubles, he now has to hold on for dear life
Akio gets eliminated and takes a good bump at the same time. Push him!
Booker T over Luther Reigns (Pinfall, scissors kick): Oh, Christ, not again with these two. There’s only one positive to be seen from this: maybe having been out in the audience last week and backstage this week, cutting a decent promo, Paisley’s got the wrestling bug again and would love to make a comeback. At least we’d have one useful diva on Smackdown.
P-Whipped by Paisley?
Welcome home, Booker. Here’s a punch in the face for your troubles.
Doug Basham over Rey-Rey (Pinfall, rollup): See the description of Eddy/Danny above, because retyping it would be redundancy. The Basham Boredom Festival, though, is complete.
Doug Basham takes advantage of Rey-Rey actually being on the mat for once
Weird to see Rey-Rey involved in a match that requires a rest hold
Akebono over Eddie Schwartz (Pinfall, five hundred pounds of sit-down on the chest): Well, you can’t say much for this one except that it was the culmination of a decent pimp for the sumo match at WM and a chance to show that both guys have mutual respect for each other…oh, God, how boring.
Oh, like this is going to work
John Cena versus Carly Colon (ND, High-Quality Speaker Boy-ference): Oh, goody, an angle advancement match as the main event. The weird thing is, until High-Quality Speaker Boy showed up, I wasn’t sure which angle was being advanced, Cena’s or Carly’s. Turns out it was Cena’s with the old “arrest” trick that we got sick of seven years ago with Wife-Beater. Surely they could have thought of something better to lead into Wrestlemania?
Going for the ropes before the match starts is always a good strategy
Again, John Cena shows the upper limit of his wrestling skill
Oooh, a clothesline. How impressive.
I Look All White But My Dad Was Black: Oh, it isn’t enough that I have to suffer through Lawler every Monday night, is it? Now I have to have him for one Thursday. Admittedly, I have little enthusiasm for Wrestlemania (at least as to the main events), but this is killing it with every passing moment that I have to hear him. The ways that I suffer for all of you.
Prepared For Any Occasion: Bob Orton makes a “surprise” appearance, but they have an entrance video waiting for him? Okay, you can say they prepped one for the HoF ceremony, but why would it be in the truck in Houston?
It’s weird to see him without the cast
“Bob, I’m flattered, but I’m already married”
It’s always great to see Josh Matthews get mugged
Paging Jenny Craig…: You know, I shouldn’t make fat jokes. After all, I’ve kept my weight at about 200 since the time I left the Army up to the present day (that’s thirteen years, folks), and it’s been tough. But, God, when you build up to this kind of advoirdupois action, it’s difficult to control yourself. However, for all of the fat people out there (and given wrestling fans, that’s probably a majority of you), I will refrain.
So does he stop getting billed as being 470?
Did WWE fly him in first-class or cargo?
THE IMPACT SHORT FORM
Abyss over Cassidy Riley (Pinfall, Black Hole Slam, Time of Match: 1:28): If you’ve seen one Abyss squash, you’ve seen them all. By the way, everyone says that you could set a watch with Kane’s upper-card pushes. Compared to Kane, Abyss is an atomic clock. It’s time for him to get a big push, we all know it, so he gets A. J. Styles in a cage in a Number One Contender’s Bloodbath. Surprise. Lockdown is slowly becoming a PPV not to watch.
Cassidy Riley just doesn’t know when he’s outsized
When Abyss pulls out the backbreaker, you know it’s a squash
Like we needed a reminder who triggered Abyss’ last push. Death to Jeffykins.
While the makeup freaks battle in the background, Styles gives us his patented Flying Pimp For The PPV Match
Elix Skipper over Chris Sabin, Petey Williams, and Michael Shane, Four-Way Elimination X Division Number One Contenders’ Challenge (Sabin eliminates Williams, Shane dropkick; Skipper eliminates Shane, Sudden Death; Skipper eliminates Sabin, Sudden Death, Time of Match: 21:21): Weird, weird booking on this one. The two heels get eliminated first, leaving the two faces. Then the match suddenly goes into high gear. It’s almost as if the heels were dragging this one down. But once it came down to Skipper and Sabin, they put on one helluva show. It’s what the X Division is all about. However, I do worry about Chris Sabin. He’s not going down the path of self-destruction like a Jeffykins, but he sure takes a lot of risks in his matches. I’d hate to see his career end before he’s 28 or so. But, of course, this was an angle advancement match at heart, setting up the “Triple X Blows Up!” match at Lockdown. But I’m willing to ignore that if we get stuff in a match like the Sabin/Skipper material.
A wristlock in an X Division Match?
Now Sabin springboard moonsaulting all of his opponents? That’s more like it.
The midpoint of Elix Skipper’s Walking ‘Rana
And yet again Michael Shane insists on reminding us who his cousin is
We know it’s the X Division. You don’t have to form an “X” to remind us.
Elix Skipper has one of the best spin kicks in the business
And he can do it from off the ropes as well
Sabin executing a sweet Tornado DDT
And Sudden Death ends it
Packages Bigger Than John Holmes’: Without commercials, Impact is approximately 40 minutes. This particular episode was so chock-full of video packages, interviews, and assorted bullshit (including a video package that blew the result of the main event of the show; gee, thanks, guys, for revealing five minutes before the match that was supposed to decide Daniels’ opponent that it would be Skipper) that at the 23 1/2 minute mark, there was only one match, and that one took a minute and a half. All that was left was the main event at that point. If you want to make Impact completely into a PPV pimp, that’s fine by me. Just admit it, okay?
Mark this day on your calendar: Don West is actually wearing a shirt with a color found in nature
And that’s all for me. I’ll be enjoying Wrestlemania as soon as I can download it, and I’ll be back Tuesday with some fallout from said, should I have enough time to watch it prior to Raw. Until then, have a great Wrestlemania Weekend.