Counterfeit Pennies: MSG/Matt Hardy Commentary

“You Screwed Matt! You Screwed Matt! You Screwed Matt!”

In what was an electric atmosphere at Madison Square Garden this past Monday night, Vince McMahon and Company witnessed once again why it’s not a good idea to release a popular wrestler for all the wrong reasons. In fact, many columnists and experts in the IWC who are much more “in the know” than myself have said over the past few days that Mr. McMahon likes to use the MSG crowd as a barometer for how the wrestling fans view the product. Even though I do not foretell an era of WWE Rectitude where Matt Hardy is concerned, I was very pleased with the karmic retribution that Lita had to contend with during her live in-ring promo with Trish.

Which brings me to two additional points. First and foremost, the element of live action and reaction is what makes and will always make Raw the true flagship program over Smackdown! If Lita and Trish (and Viscera, for that matter) took part in a pre-taped skit, who knows how much of the crowd’s superbly spontaneous reaction would have been cut by the production crew? Let’s face it, watching an episode of Smackdown! – where screw-ups are fixed and unfavorable reactions are amended – is like watching the YES network following the Gary Sheffield-Boston Red Sox incident: entirely one-sided and all-too-awkward.

My second point is this: While Trish Stratus has made tremendous strides as a heel persona, any viewer could obviously see how uncomfortable she was with the off-kilter crowd reaction. Granted, this would have been a tough spot for most wrestlers in the back, but I guess that’s the biggest difference between being good on the mike and being a legend on the mike. Ultimately, Trish’s reaction served as a poignant reminder that there just aren’t too many wrestlers left who have the charismatic wit of a Piper or the genuine charm of a Mick Foley. Piper would have taken our chants and shoved them back in our faces with a sly unrehearsed remark, while Foley would have found a way to diffuse the situation and turn it into some kind of cheap pop. Unfortunately, this concept of giving the wrestlers breathing room to be themselves during promos and preparing them to handle potentially combustible situations is obviously no longer a priority to a seemingly complacent company that also has a new knack for firing the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

All in all, my biggest purpose for this little column is to let Matt Hardy know that those of us who were in that arena on Monday night were screaming at the top of their lungs out to protest wrongful dismissal from WWE. And speaking on behalf of the boys in Section 67 and beyond, we can only hope that Vince and Company were able to accurately read this barometer.

That’s all for now … Peace.

Chris Biscuiti writes exclusively for inside pulse.