Dammit…the one problem being sans job at this moment is that my sleep cycle is all screwed up. I have no damn clue as to why I can’t get it on track. I had almost everything finished in this column after Raw, but couldn’t think of an intro, so I decided to sleep on it. I didn’t bother waking up until late in the afternoon today. So now I’m scrambling to get stuff in here (namely this and the Pimp Section) and submit this while it’s still Tuesday. So, my apologies. But it did end up giving me an intro.
Unfortunately, that’s all I can think of right now for it. So I guess it’s on to…
THE PIMP SECTION
Poppy Z. Brite pops up with Lucard
Gloomchen proffers another article from where Psychology and Music meet.
Misha has another slate of releases on the video game front.
Weavil has her reflections on Raw.
Truncellito fellates Christian and feels no guilt whatsoever about it.
Hatton‘s pals continue to try to annoy him.
THE PINEHURST ANIMAL FARM
Let me explain why I’m doing this. This is a great stretch for sports in general over the next couple of weeks. The US Open just past us, Wimbledon starting up, the US Women’s Open starting with an incredible storyline (Annika has the first two majors of the year in the bag, and it seems she can’t lose this year if she wanted to), and our doughty Sports section here isn’t making a peep about it, which is why I didn’t give them any pimps today. So I’ve decided to revert to my old habits by gushing over golf, especially after the **** final round of the US Open on Sunday.
It’s a story of four animals: a Kiwi, a Tiger, a Goose, and the Bear that Pinehurst was turned into. As per the latter, just the mere thought of Pinehurst #2 set up for a US Open is enough to give any golfer with any knowledge about the game attacks of angina. Actually playing it is unimaginable. It’s a shock that the winning score was actually par. Before the tournament, I would have bet on two over being the winning score. And there’s a certain World’s Most Famous Active Athlete who wishes that I was right on that. This course saw more torn assholes this week than Fisting Night at the Mineshaft.
And the person whose asshole was most vicitimized had to be Retief Goosen. Defending champion, three-shot lead heading into the final round, a player with a rep as being so steady that every one of the pro commentators thought this was going to be a dull tournament to finish because there would be just no way…well, it happened. It wasn’t as dramatic as Norman at the ’86 Masters, it wasn’t as sudden and surprising as Jean van de Velde at the ’99 Open, it just…well, happened in slow motion. Stroke after stroke after stroke lost, and no end to the abyss in sight. He even blew a dead-simple birdie at 18, coming in after the tournament that was his to win had been decided. In summary, Pinehurst cooked the Goose. His rep was seriously damaged by this round. Every time he’s in contention in a big one after 54, someone’s going to bring up the 81 that he put on the table on Sunday. He wasn’t the only one in the last four groups to choke like hell; in fact, everyone except for Tigger and Michael Campbell choked out of that group. But he’s the one with majors in the bag. It’s going to take a lot of good play to try to erase this one from the book.
And then there’s Tigger. All he did was keep his head above water while everyone was drowning. He had a really up-and-down round. If he wasn’t getting birdies to fall, he was giving away shots. He also demonstrated the oft-commented-upon fact that he seems to have lost his aggressiveness. When it came down to him and Campbell after about the twelfth, the Old Tigger would have grabbed on by the throat and started pummeling. The New, Mildly-Agressive Tigger (who was in evidence at the Masters) just did enough to keep it competitive and to keep Campbell honest. But that three-putt bogey on 17 was almost a mental admission that he couldn’t win this. Well, there’s always the Open Championship.
And what can you say about Michael Campbell? This guy’s the living definition of “journeyman”, seeing his world ranking yo-yo like a motherf*cker, winning a few times here and there, being a plugger on the international tours, and so on. But I’ve been a fan of his, and I’ve been a fan of his for the same reason that most people in the US who knew about him before the weekend were: we remember that bunker shot at the Road Hole at St. Andrews in 1995. In an incredibly severe position in probably the most famous bunker in golf, facing an almost-impossible shot under loads of pressure, and he comes within a fraction of an inch of putting it in. As bunker shots go, it ranks up there with Bob Tway’s “holy shit” shot at Inverness in the 1986 PGA. That bunker shot was enough to make any golfer’s career*. It even obscured the fact that he let the 1995 Open slip out of his hands and into that of Chubby Boy himself, John Daly. He almost became a poster child for Pissed-Away Potential. Until Sunday. It wasn’t unexpected. He made some noise at the Open Championship last year, and was having a great run in Europe leading up to Pinehurst. But no one could really have prepared for what happened on Sunday.
* – And it may not have been the best shot of that tournament. After all, this was the same Open Championship that featured Constantino Rocca’s 75-foot off-the-green over-the-mound double-breaking putt, a putt no one believed went in. Along with Chubby Boy shooting the lights out, that one’s worth a monthly replay on ESPN Classic.
All around him, golfers, from the world’s best like the Goose to guys you’ll never hear of again, are falling down like they just took a swig of the Kool-Aid ™ at Jonestown. He was hitting the ball solidly, not making mistakes, wasn’t killing himself. Then the smoke cleared when he was at the 12th hole and there were only two standing, the journeyman who blew a chance at one major and stayed below the radar ever since, and…HIM. Only a couple of shots back, and playing an erratic but very good round. One bad error, just one, let the wheels come off a bit, and HE’s there. He’s 36 years old, most of his career’s behind him, this is his last Shot At Greatness, and he has to see HIM in the rear-view mirror, one group ahead of him (yeah, slight contradiction in terms, but still applicable), on HIS battlefield, a major. A litany of greater players than Michael Campbell has ended up as gibbering wrecks in that situation. But somehow, from the deepest part of the soul, Campbell just kept it together, just plugging away, just carding decent holes. If Tigger got a birdie, Campbell responded with one. But every time that Tigger was given up for dead (Campbell’s lead went from one stroke to four at one point on the back nine), he came back. He wasn’t about to let go. It only took some fantastic play on 16 on Campbell’s part to partially put the tournament away. If Tigger hadn’t bogeyed 17, and Campbell was still looking over his own bogey putt on 18 like he did, the possibility was there for a three-foot choke and an eighteen-hole playoff. But Campbell’s own play made that irrelevant. He didn’t choke on 17, and the bogey on 18 was irrelevant.
Yeah, I went on about that for a while, but I got more excited about this tournament than I have in a long time. And, let’s face it, Michael Campbell winning the US Open is like hearing “Your winner and new WWE champion…Hardcore Holly!”, so improbable a development from someone who’s just been there forever that it provides a frisson of the unexpected into what can be a staid scene. Thanks to the collapses, it was only four snowflakes, as I said, but the duel turned out to be tense enough that time kept speeding up. I actually hadn’t noticed that they were running out of holes. Hell, I started off Sunday watching the season finale of Doctor Who and ending my viewing with the US Open. Who says that I can’t have good days?
STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE…
According to 1bullshit Junior, Multichannel News is reporting that TNA and Spike “are close to completing a deal that will have TNA air in a late Saturday night time slot.”
Oh, dear God, not this one again…
We’ve heard this so many goddamn times before with TNA. And it’s not only with the kiboshed WGN rumors. This stuff was rampant when TNA was trying to cut its first TV deal before going with FSN. This is obviously for the Epilepsy slot in their Saturday night action package or whatever the hell it is. But that action package is going to be short-lived due to Spike’s continuous reorganization and complete indecision over what kind of demographic to market to. They’re going to end up being the CSI And Star Trek Network pretty soon anyway. The reorganization of Viacom opens up other avenues of uncertainty as to the stability of programming. And TNA will be left holding the bag yet again, self-victims of yet another stupid, desperate business decision to make themselves look legitimate and a “true contender” to WWE.
What the hell is it about Spike and wrestling anyway? It’s almost as if they were hooked on it somehow and had to have their fix no matter what. This is going all the way back to the Nashville Network days and ECW. Once they got a taste of that, yeah, boy, they had to get their fix no matter what it cost them. And ECW was just a gateway drug. Pretty soon, they ended up graduating to the heroin of wrestling, WWE. And now that their Man is taking away their fix, well, something has to be done, and TNA looks like a possible methadone after years of mainlining. So here’s an actual match between suitors, if made in the most cynical of fashions on both sides.
You know, I don’t care who Dixie Carter is f*cking. Someone at Panda has got to look at the books and see the red ink and litany of idiocy going on at TNA. I have a feeling that if this puppy comes to pass and then breaks down as quickly as I see that it does, it’s the end of TNA once and for all. And considering their apparent contempt for the audience, good riddance. However, I still think I’ll download Slammiversary anyway. Honestly, I didn’t contribute to the Round Table over the weekend because, frankly, I forgot about it. Make up for some lost time.
And, as always, we can transition right into Raw from this, for some unknown reason…
THE SHORT FORM
Carly Colon over Shelton Benjamin, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, rollup, New Intercontinental Champion): Well, that blows that section this week in Angle Developments. The match was absolutely nothing, as would be expected from a match involving Carly, but the semioticians are out in force right now over whether Benjy’s “blown spot” was a legit blown spot or blown on purpose. Blown on purpose, sayeth the only person whose opinions matter, namely me. He’s good enough to do that, and he realizes that something like this would actually maintain his audience cred. Benjy was just having a bad night, you see, and combined with being put on the spot and up against the wall with a surprise opponent and all that…you know, sometimes WWE can get into the tortured logic business. Hey, it’s better than being completely nonsensical. As for the draft pick, readers of the Smackdown Short Form should realize by now how much I don’t give a f*ck about Carly, so I’m just going to ignore it and move on.
Viscera over Simon Dean (Pinfall, VisBomb): I don’t think I’ve ever seen a camera on a WWE broadcast cut away from a wrestler’s finisher to show a hot piece of ass before. They’re normally not that sloppy. Yet that quick cut to Lesbian Garcia just exposed the business. Yeah, we know the match was angle advancement for Vis/Lesbian, but they didn’t have to make it obvious. God, Bucci must be thinking that dressing up in the bWo colors at One-Night Stand will probably be the highlight of his WWE career. Poor guy.
John Cena over Muhammad Hassan, WWE Championship Match (Pinfall, F-U): Hmmm, all that build-up over Hassan’s undefeated streak, all of that incredible push he’s been getting since he was first introduced, and how does it end? In a squash match selling for Cena. NOW he’s got a case for discrimination. And as per Cena, like I’ve been saying ever since he’s been drafted, he’s being kept down. KC Evers (no relation) summarizes it nicely into one sentence: Is it just me or has the WWE Heavyweight Title become the Midcard Championship now?
Dave Batista over Kurt Angle (DQ, Evo-ference): Okay, simply a set-up to get to the real main event, but for the few minutes it lasted, Dave was actually keeping up with Kurt. Pretty good for a lumbering ox like him.
Trip ‘n Kurt over Shawn and Dave (Pinfall, Trip pins Batista, Pedigree): Thus pointing out the result of the main event on Sunday, as usual. Trip got his, DAVE gets his, right? No, not necessarily. They’ve become too smart to actually hold to that pattern, a fact that has been proven time and again over the past year or so. I still think Trip gets the belt back on Sunday and gets traded to Smackdown next Tuesday/Thursday*. Although that would put Raw into an incredible conundrum. Cena would hold the strap, yet he’d be at best the number three face on the program (Batista and Michaels would definitely rank above him). There would have to be some quick, radical readjustments to the ladder in order not to turn the WWE Championship into a joke…wait a second, it already was. High-Quality Speaker Boy held it for the better part of a year. My guess is, never mind. We survived their complete burial of Jericho with the strap; we can survive this.
* – The Proud Graduate of Dartmouth His Own Self prefers an alternative scenario: Jericho wins the WWE strap on Sunday and gets traded to Smackdown. He’s even got circumstantial evidence to back him up. So if that h
appens, you know who to give a pat on the back to. And Ryan Stevens brings in the best evidence as to this hypothesis, namely the fact that you now have the Cabana and the Highlight Reel on Raw. Ryan didn’t go all the way to predict Jericho winning on Sunday, though. If this does go down, you have to give WWE credit for doing a little pre-planning for once, I guess.
It’s A Nic
e Day For A White Trash Wedding: Okay, that went pretty much as expected. Well, except for Snitsky doing his best Heidenreich impression and slipping the word “uterus” into his poem. And Kane’s complete destruction of the “chapel” was certainly satisfying. But I’ll relay to you my thoughts when I saw the Matt Hardy video pop up on the screen: if he had walked out from backstage, I would have killed this column and printed the following words: “In my over twenty years of watching pro wrestling and my five and a half years as a columnist, I thought I’d seen everything. I thought my expectations for the business and the nonsense that goes on backstage had been met in its most negative fashion. But even I, the eternal pessimist, never thought they could be this cynical. I even said so last week in this column. I’ve had my fill. I’m announcing my retirement from the IWC effective immediately.” Well, weren’t you lucky that he didn’t come out?
God, there was virtually no substance to that episode, even with it being the PPV Pimp Episode and all. As for me, I’ll start working on tomorrow’s column while I still have some willpower to do so. Until I see you, remember to turn out the lights before you leave.