In Memoriam: Luther Vandross, the possessor of one of the silkiest, smoothest singing voices in the history of recorded music. He will definitely be missed.
Well, Wednesday for me was literally down the shitter, as my stomach decided to act up to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Besides, for some reason, all of the good news decided to come out on Thursday and Friday. So let me just diverge slightly on one topic.
That subject, is, of course, the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor from the Supremes. My first thought was, naturally, bye, bye, you saggy-titted old hag bitch, don’t let the door hit you on your ass on the way out. She was the cunt who gave the green light to the Junta taking over this country in 2000. That, combined with a number of malfeasances on her judicial record, makes her legacy one of toxic repulsiveness. John Riggins was absolutely right when he told her during one of his frequent incredibly drunken moments to “lighten up”. That being said, of course, we have to look toward the future. I have to credit O’Connor for this: she actually voted against her political convictions and to what she felt the law implied. Whatever sop to the fascist right wing that Dubbaya is going to come up with for her replacement certainly won’t do that. It’s definitely going to be a case of going from bad to unimaginably worse. And with Rehnquist about to give it up and another such creature being appointed, combined with Scalia and Thomas going nowhere anytime soon, the highest court of this fair land will end up looking like a right-winger’s wet dream for maybe what remains of my life. And no election is going to solve that problem. So allow my still-roiling stomach to be further upset by this.
(And just to intrude on another topic, congrats to Canada and Spain for showing how civilized nations should behave, unlike a certain country that’s being driven backward by religious freaks who have somehow gained control of the political direction of that nation. And, no, I don’t mean Germany, although I’ll have words to say if there should be a general election and the German Margaret Thatcher starts running that beautiful country.)
Well, doesn’t put me in the mood for Smackdown (a fact magnified by the fact that some cunt woke me up with a wrong number at 6:30AM on Friday morning and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep), but, hell, I’ve downloaded it and I’m able to start it off early for a change thanks to a relatively quick torrent. So, let’s just get at it…
THE SMACKDOWN SHORT FORM
Paul London versus Chavito, Cruiserweight Title Match (ND, Mexi-ference): You know, I was going to go off on a screed about “Why this f*cking match yet again?” when I read that Chavito had been traded, so that sorta cut the legs off of that. Decent match as usual between them until the interference. Now let’s turn to the Mexicools. Given the way that Juvi’s been cutting those promos the last couple of weeks, the audience is goddamn close to giving them face pops. I say, why not go all the way and make them faces? They’ve got a great hook with the riding mowers, they’re all audience-pleasers during matches…it’s a helluva lot more natural fit than to make them heels. Besides, given their shaky (or nonexistent) command of English, they don’t have the promo skill to establish themselves firmly as heels. Plus, the rather obviously racist aspects of all this are a lot easier to take from faces, where it can come across as self-parody of a stereotype. Of course, now that I’ve typed this, “creative” won’t pull the trigger on it for love or money. Too bad.
The patented London Leapfrog
Oh, no, this isn’t racist at all
Melina over Michelle McCool (Pinfall, rollup with cheating): I did pay slight attention to this, and I started to wonder about something: when exactly was the trade decided? Looking at the very slight evidence here, McCool seems to be serious about learning how to wrestle. If she could have been traded to Raw, Stratus could have had someone fresh (i.e., someone not named Hemme) to feud with when she came back. Look, Stratus/McCool at worst wouldn’t be as bad as Stratus/Hemme, okay? And it need not be said who the ref was for this one. Jesus, Charles, who have you got photos on and what farm animals do they involve?
Melina takes one for the team. Well, actually, takes one in the team.
High-Quality Speaker Boy over, in order of elimination, the Undertaker, Muhammad Hassan, Our Lord and Savior, Booker T, and Christian (UT DQed, Fun With Chairs; Hassan COR, Victim of Fun With Chairs; High-Quality Speaker Boy over Benoit, Pinfall, DDT; Christian over Booker, Pinfall, rollup; High-Quality Speaker Boy over Christian, Pinfall, Clothesline From Hell): Sometimes a blind pig finds an acorn. Less often, “creative” figures out how to book a complicated match. This was one of those rare occasions. And they did it intelligently. They knew that the middle portion of this extended match was the danger point, so they decided to turn it over to Benoit and Booker, who know each other so well. They kept those two in there for nearly ten minutes straight, and, as usual, they paced it perfectly and kept the audience in it. Since High-Quality Speaker Boy had to win the thing, they had to figure out how to keep up the momentum that they knew Booker and Benoit would give them. Benoit was a very judicious elimination, but a good decision. Out of the remaining competitors, Booker and Christian were the ones who could keep up the fastest pace and would also be able to drag High-Quality Speaker Boy along with them. And let’s not forget that they got rid of the Sports Entertainment shit early on by getting rid of UT and Hassan. What does this amount to? A shockingly good match where, surprisingly, High-Quality Speaker Boy didn’t make me physically ill. Kudos.
What a shame that this child will never see puberty.
“Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand…”
“…staring at the sea, staring at the sand…”
Hmmm, Benoit beating the shit out of High-Quality Speaker Boy is very satisfying for some reason
This would be, what, Part Fifteen of their Best of Seven?
Oh, if only High-Quality Speaker Boy and Christian weren’t around…
You’ll believe a Christian can fly
New Faces, Old Patterns: So, folks, what would you rather have, a one-on-one feud between UT and Orton, or a one-on-one feud with Hassan? Of course, it’s totally irrelevant on who it is. We all know that UT will end up not selling shit for anybody and making whoever is involved with him look incredibly weak, squeezing the life out of him like the dregs of a tube of toothpaste. And you know what? We won’t care, because we sure as hell don’t care about either of those guys right now.
This is proof positive of one thing: someone’s getting buried, in more ways than one
Do You Like Gladiator Movies?: Okay, the whole Eddy/Dominic situation was creepy and designed to be that way. But I think I’ve figured out the whole secret thing. It has something to do with Rey-Rey being allergic to red licorice. It’s just the sort of thing that two lonely guys out on the road away from their families would confide in one another.
“Dominic, I have something to tell you. Your daddy and I are going to be moving to Canada or Spain real soon…”
Religious Experience: Hmmm, I’m very ambivalent about Christian moving over. My guess is that it was done in order to give him some fresher feuds. He’d just about tapped out his options on Smackdown. There’s some interesting combinations depending on where they want to slot him. However, as I state later, their greatest need on SD right now is for US title contenders. The problem is that it’s actually lower than Christian’s current elevation. With the way the draft went, the upper-card on SD got very, very crowded, very, very quickly. The odd men out in this situation are Christian and Hassan, who are inhabiting a No Man’s Land in that huge gap between the upper card and the US title level. Good for him, but let’s see how much opportunity he’s really going to be given. And let’s hope that opportunity begins with a feud with, say, Benoit.
Looking for the one person in the audience who might know where his career’s going
Well, Duh: The moment that Cena moved over to Raw, everyone knew the champion on the other side had to do the same, otherwise we’d end up with something phenomenally stupid like, oh, a “Smackdown Championship”. I just assumed that the champion in question would be Trip, where he would have the opportunity to bury a reasonably fresh set of faces (in both senses) for the next year. But, no, instead, Big Dave makes the move. Of course, for the majority of you with subnormal IQs, I need to state the obvious here: the WWE title is now an official joke, sitting there on Raw in the hands of a guy who isn’t even f*cking around with the upper card yet (although the feud with Trip starts on Monday, I’ll lay you odds). If Cena doesn’t start a feud with Trip (or at the very least Angle), and sticks with Jericho for another month or so, the situation grows more ludicrous. Meanwhile, DAVE gets to sit in the f*cking catbird seat over on SD, loaded with upper-card heels for him to toy with (starting, of course, with High-Quality Speaker Boy, which will be one f*cking UGLY match at Great American Bash). Oh, yeah, he wins. But those of us who have to watch Raw in order to do a column every week lose.
Apparently, moving to Smackdown has improved his taste in suits
This Wasn’t A Very Big Block To Be Bust: There was one “trade” announced before the “trade deadline” ended shortly after Smackdown. In case you haven’t read, here goes:
To Raw: Mark Jindrak, Rene Dupree, Kenzo Suzuki and Hiroko, Danny Basham, and Chavito
To Smackdown: Mister Regal, Candice Michelle, Sylvain Grenier, Simon Dean, Stevie Richards
So who wins and who loses? On the Raw side, the big winner’s Dupree. He’s got a pair of options available to him. He can either stick with Suzuki as a tag team (gee, remember when they were, like, refreshing?), or he can go back with Rob Conway and reestablish La Res. Personally, I’d go for the second option. Suzuki and Tajiri (now that his tag partner’s gone) would make for a good tag team in the WWE mold, and if Tajiri was turned heel, they’d be instant competition for Novocaine Helms and His Pet Fat Fuck, with each team having one power guy and one speed guy. As for the loser, right now, with no indications of where they’re going to go with him, it’s got to be Chavito. The only way this works is if Chavito gets an IC-level push. He and Benjy could tear the roofs off everywhere while they f*ck around with the belt around Carly’s waist.
On the Smackdown side, it’s tough to see any winners, really. Can Regal handle singles wrestling after being involved in tags for so long? If so, and he gets a US-title-level push, then he should be a winner. The other males involved are Epilepsy fodder (albeit it does give Stevie a chance to dominate another B show).
I don’t see where this realignment fits their needs. They’re desperate for tag teams right now, so they end up shattering the Bashams, Regal and Tajiri, and one permutation of La Res. The US title scene needs a little reinvigoration over on SD, but the only person who the audience can accept competing at that level is Regal, and he’s a question mark (Christian will have to go there, but it’s a little bit of a demotion for him). They did end up breaking the logjam in the cruiser division by shuffling Chavito out of that mix, but it could be at the cost of Chavito’s popularity.
As usual, what’s done here is entirely up to “creative”, and given their track record, I see nothing but misery for these guys.
But the misery only continues for me. It’s a Heigh-Ho Return to the Double-Team Short Form, now that Impact is sort of back. So let’s head to that…
THE IMPACT SHORT FORM
Nope, no screencaps. It’s almost impossible to do them with RealPlayer, and that goddamn Flash Video format for the downloadable version doesn’t have a good resizable player (and BSPlayer won’t work with it thanks to Macromedia’s goddamn proprietary codec not being available). So you can just imagine it in your head. Or f*cking download it, I don’t care.
Sean Waltman over Sonjay Dutt (Pinfall, X-Factor): Just about what you’d expect from a match between these two. Dutt busted his ass while Waltman dragged his. Look, I love Sonjay to death, but, dear God, this was a Sean Waltman match. Forgive me if I can’t build up anything resembling enthusiasm.
Lance Hoyt over Eric Young (Pinfall, Big Boot): When this year is reexamined by people in the (near) future, one of the great enduring mysteries will be exactly what prompted TNA to give Lance Hoyt a blowjob push of the extent he’s receiving now by being put up against Team Canada. It’s not like they don’t have a big lummox to play to the crowd; hell, they have one in the upper card, some guy named Abyss. Hoyt has nothing special about him. Yeah, he has a little height, but, really, big f*cking deal, he’s tall. His wrestling style is High-Quality Speaker Boy Lite, and he uses f*cking Hogan’s finisher. Maybe I’m not completely tuned in, but I’ve never figured out what his appeal was or is supposed to be. Can someone please inform me? Otherwise, I’ll ju
st write him off like I normally do with big guys who can’t wrestle.
Abyss over Sonny Siaki (Pinfall, Black Hole Slam): Gee, Number One Contender versus TNA’s leading JTTS. Anyone surprised? That being said, this was Siaki’s best match in months. I’ll leave you to determine the exact level of sadness surrounding that situation. However, I’m happy any time I get to see Jim Mitchell, so I’ll take that pleasant buzz away from this match.
Chris Harris and James Storm over Simon Diamond and Trytan (Pinfall, Storm pins Diamond, superkick): Good news: Simon Diamond. No Pat Fucking Kenney or any permutations thereof. Back as a heel referring to himself in the third person. Oh, it’s great to have him back. Bad news: more than half the f*cking match being taken up by an incoherent Jeff Jarrett promo (with the camera on him and Tenay instead of on the match so the audience could follow the action). And he ends up playing teasy-weasy on the subject of Matt Hardy. I’m about to pound my head through a friggin’ wall.
A. J. Styles over Alex Shelley (Pinfall, Styles Clash): We knew it’d be fast-paced, and we knew there’d be moves galore pulled out, and there were. Shelley is continuing to impress me. I loved the inverted Pedigree he pulled out during this match (which Styles kicked out of; message to Trip, perhaps?). Obviously, thanks to Waltman coming out and doing his normal incoherent promo, the semi-main of No Surrender is going to be Styles/Waltman, a match that is going to be irresistible force/immovable object time for me in re giving a shit about it. However, why exactly did Jerry Lynn pull them apart? What’s his involvement in this mess? I dunno, but they’re getting into that WCW last-minute PPV booking thing, so it’ll either be explained late or not at all.
Double Dog Dare: So, now we have a PPV championship match with two stips: 1) dog collar and 2) pinfalls only. Okay, I’ll give it to TNA. They come up with some interesting stips for their matches, and by and large get even the weirdest ones to work (remember, nobody had any hope for King of the Mountain before the first one last year). This one should work reasonably well for the type of match they want, namely complete carnage and brutality. Abyss can’t really wrestle, and Raven’s too damn old to wrestle, so this type of camoflague is necessary. At least it’ll be interesting. It’s no Hell in the Cell, but it’ll be interesting.
Rubber Heels: I’m not too worried about the X Division championship match at No Surrender being a heel-versus-heel match. We all know what Daniels can do. Williams has proven himself time and again (and has one of the greatest finishers in wrestling). We also know that Daniels will end up playing the de facto face in the match. So let’s just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
And that’s what you can do over the weekend if you’re here in the US. As for me, I’ll be doing the smart thing and staying inside where it’s nice and climate-controlled (not to mention quiet). Until Tuesday, I bid you adieu.