The Anti-Pulse

ENTRANCE SPIEL:

Well, hello.

It’s been a while since I’ve been around this place. It’s been even longer since the Weekly Anti-Pulse was, in fact, weekly. Let’s remedy that. I won’t bother boring you with the details for my absences, but let’s just say I have all manner of excuses to hand. Personal, professional, medical, sexual, geographical, metaphysical, chemical, mental, temperamental… whatever, it’s all good now.

Don’t fret, there is wrestling talk coming up shortly and plenty of it. We’ve got a look back at TNA Sacrifice, a fragmented look forward at WWE SummerSlam, and at where both companies can go from here. We’ve got a look back at all the important news and rumours from the past week. There’s not that much to look back on, but TV’s Michael Hasselhoff makes a special guest appearance, so it’s all good. We’ve also got a special announcement about the single greatest column of the year, coming soon to Inside Pulse. Before we get into any of that, however, I just want to share a few things/exercise my freedom to talk shite online. Ten things, to be exact:

Ten Things I’ve Learned In The Past Month…

1. I am too old for this shit. More specifically; I am too old to go down the front at any gigs. Yes, it’s the best place to be. Yes, it was pretty cool that we broke down the safety barriers and forced the band to stop playing. Yes, it was quite nice to see a grand total of twenty-two pairs of naked, jiggling breasts (of varying quality… still feel kinda sorry for that fat chick who was mercilessly booed by the crowd…). No, it’s just not worth it anymore. I can tolerate the standard drenching in that strange concoction of sweat, spit, beer, piss and vomit. I just can’t tolerate being smacked on the back of the head by some very peculiar objects including, but not limited to, a bottle of Jim Beam, a pair of jeans, an umbrella, a CD, a football, a golf ball, a knife, a backpack, an unconscious girl and my own left shoe. Time to stand down and let the next generation have their shot, methinks. Why the hell did I say “methinks”?

2. Vancouver is the gayest city in the world. Not the Perfectly Acceptable, Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That Sort Of Thing type of gayness either. No, this is the full-on, squeaky-voiced Graham Norton treatment of camp. You know, when they seem to think that being gay means having to turn their entire being into a walking, talking nipple? Manolis, you’d love it. Me, not so much. Particularly since I am apparently a gay icon.

3. They really do love the Scottish accent in Canada. It’s true, they go nuts for it over there. And no, not just in Vancouver. I just want to throw out a particular thank-you to the very kind and very female EMT in Kamloops that was convinced to indulge me in a spectacular bit of insurance fraud so that I wouldn’t have to cough up hundreds of dollars for medical treatment. What was I doing in a Kamloops ER? Well, anything but masturbating, I can assure you of that.

4. Calgary has the most beautiful women in the world. You know the look on Stiffler’s face when he finds the dildo in the lesbian house in American Pie 2? That was like me after turning round every single street corner and seeing yet more gorgeous ladies. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are funny and friendly and, most unusually, not crazy! All of them! It’s a f*cking paradise! Seriously, is it like that all year round or was this just for Stampede? I’m beginning to suspect Bret faked the stroke just to try and get into a nursing home with some particularly fine carers… Now that would be the ultimate worked shoot… What the hell is a worked shoot anyway? Other than oxymoronic? Ah, who cares, I’m still reminiscing about Calgary. Special mention must go to the wonderful girls of Moxies Bar. Oh, and Quincy’s. Good times!

5. Inside Pulse’s new design is damn ugly. The main page seems to take forever to load (when it doesn’t crash), that f*cking stupid Frog is still splashed all over the site (have some dignity, Widro!), the colour scheme is far too random and not at all easy on the eye, it seems inexplicably harder to find the columns that I actually want to read, and hardly any of the pictures seem to have anything to do with the actual content. Really, what’s that all about? If you’re reading this, I want a picture of Optimus Prime linking to my column. If anybody can find it… Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man, maybe I just fear change… or maybe I’m right and it sucks. Vote now!

6. I love you a great deal, I’m just not in love with you. Nor am I going to bother spending anymore time with you or having anymore contact with you – at least not until certain things happen. You know who you are and you know what these things are, so why aren’t you doing them? To be cute? Well cuteness is not meant to be irritating, which you are most certainly becoming an expert at.

7. Die Hard is one of the best f*cking movies ever made. Yippee-ki-yay, kemosabe.

8. La Commensal has the greatest food in the world. 655 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G2K4, (416) 596-9364. Go for it.

9. Only ever get a tattoo if you are sober. Otherwise you might do what I did and be too drunk to notice that the tattoo artist is a complete and utter moron. Then you’ll be stuck with an upside-down Batman logo on your arm. One question: What the f*ck?

10. I just don’t believe in it. In what? In God? In Bono? In sex before marriage? In an IWC? In anything? In nothing? Who knows? Who cares? Why should it matter? I wouldn’t believe a word of it, which makes me perfectly qualified to write this column. Halfway up another bottle, so start me making sense once again. We’re all good.


KILL THE DAMN FROG, ALREADY!!!


SUMMERSLAM 2005: PREVIEW

I wrote the following well before the rest of the column. Before Raw, actually. I was just bored and killing time before going to a movie. The movie in question was Unleashed, which apparently involves Jet Li kicking people. I say apparently because I never actually made it to the cinema. My motivation for seeing a movie about kicking is non-existent, even if they were free tickets, so we wound up drinking instead. Much safer option. Anyway, I’m not sure how much of the following actually still stands. Let’s find out…

Dream Match… If You’ve Been Eating A Lot Of Cheese…
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. HULK HOGAN

The build up for this one has basically been nothing more than “You’re a dick” “No, you’re a dick” played out over and over again for well over a month. I imagine that Bret Hart will be sitting at home muttering “Actually, I think you’ll find you’re both dicks” at his TV. This may or may not leave Vince sitting around backstage yelling “I’m a bigger dick than the lot of you combined!! I’ve forced Jim Ross to kiss my ass on live television!! I’ve got an unhealthy interest in my daughter’s breasts!! That’s how much of a dick I am, pal!! You’ve got nothing on me, nothing!!” I’m not quite sure what all of this means other than it is a fairly impressive move for a couple of sub-Vince level dicks to manage to steal the thunder of both John Cena and Batista heading into their first major PPV as champions. True, it’s not quite as bad as Vince getting his daughter to make out with Eric Bischoff on-camera while Bischoff was wearing a Vince McMahon mask, but still – it’s good to see that Hogan and Michaels can still be the dicks we know they are capable of being. Well, Hogan is at any rate. I expect something far more blatant from Michaels. The Larry King parody was amusing, yes, but ‘classic’ HBK would have snorted a line of coke in the middle of the skit and then built up to a climax of f*cking Brooke up the ass, yelling “Wotchyagonnadooo!!” at the camera and then spraying his load all over Nick’s face with a Finger Wag Of Doom, chucking Ed Leslie’s face off through another window and then superkicking the camera. When the hell did Michaels/Hogan become a ‘Dream Match’ anyway? Even back in 1996, nobody would have called it that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – unless Hogan steps into the ring for his… one… more… match… against Steve Austin at WrestleMania, it’s not a Dream Match. It’s also not even going to be particularly good, though I doubt it will be all that bad either. Oh well, thinking of the big picture this does at least mean that Michaels will get to feud with Cena at some point. I’m not sure if that’s a particularly good thing in and of itself, but with both Shawn and Kurt waiting in the wings to follow Jericho into the #1 contender spot, we can at least delay the eleventh coming of the H for a few more months.

[Well, that all pretty much still stands. Let me just say that Bret will not be at SummerSlam for a vast number of reasons and that if I have to hear about this shit for each and every major match Shawn Michaels has from now on then I am going to get super-pissed. Just go here and read about what a stroke does to your body and then shut the f*ck up.]

WWE Championship Match
JOHN CENA vs. CHRIS JERICHO

It’s hard for me to dislike this feud and that is entirely down to the wonderful work by Chris Jericho since his heel turn. Hell, there’s no other reason to enjoy it. We’re getting stuck with the Diet Coke version of Austin/McMahon in Cena/Bischoff, something that goes completely against the development of Bischoff’s character over the past two years from Triple H’s lackey to purely doing what’s good for business (Eugene notwithstanding). Cena continues to get a bafflingly positive reception from the crowds despite everything he says basically boiling down to “Notgayhonest!” Despite the fact that this is Jericho’s feud and that there is already a title involved, they have for whatever reason seen fit to involve Carlito in this one too, offering up the Diet Coke version of HHH/Rocky to boot. It’s just all coming across as very forced, tired and derivative, which isn’t really what you’d care to see from the next ‘Next Big Thing’ in his first major championship reign. So thank heavens for Jericho. Sure, his heel mannerisms may basically boil down to nothing more than the Diet Coke version of Roddy Piper, but at least it entertains me. Plus, it’s only for this month anyway. All signs point to Kurt Angle getting the title shot at Unforgiven, presumably as a reward from Bischoff for embarrassing Eugene on PPV. I’ve got a funny feeling that if this comes to pass then the combatants here are going to do nothing more than swap opponents for the September PPV, sticking Jericho in there with Eugene and leading to many ‘hilarious’ and ‘zany’ skits with Eugene fronting his own rock band. Heaven help us.

[Heaven did indeed lend a helping hand if the rumours about Jericho taking some time off after SummerSlam have any credibility to them. A part of me still actually wants to see a Jericho/Eugene feud just to hear him bring out the “filthy, dirty, disgusting, brutal, bottom-feeding, skanky, trash-bag ho” line for Christy’s benefit.]

World Heavyweight Title No Holds Barred Match
DAVE vs. JBL

So on Raw we’ve got John Cena and his retro-trip accomplishing very little but doing it very loudly. On Smackdown, meanwhile, we’ve got good ol’ Dave, who is not so much re-enacting old wrestling storylines as he is re-enacting the first season of Joey – i.e. he’s a cool guy and he can be quite entertaining, but he’s been stuck with inferior material and a lacklustre supporting cast, while CHHHandler is not around to cover for him anymore. That may seem like a random analogy but I think it works, not least because it means that Ross is Randy Orton, which I think is something we can all agree on. It also means that Monica is Ric Flair though, so let’s just forget I ever said anything. The bottom line is that Joey managed to get a second season and Dave equally deserves a longer chance to show what he can do. It doesn’t matter that he’s not a particularly good wrestler. Austin and Goldberg were atrocious in ’98; they still made shitloads of money. Dave will be just fine if he is either put in there with someone that can lead the dance (preferably Eddie Guerrero, should he ever be free to start a new feud) or just allowed to completely cut loose and have a sick, brutal, violent, bloody brawl – just like this match should hopefully be. True, the Great American Bash was a huge step in the wrong direction but they can recover nicely here. What’s more, they can do it on a show that most fans will actually watch. JBL can’t do a lot in the ring either, and there’s no chance in hell of him actually winning this thing, but he can brawl with the best of ’em and, with the pressure of carrying the show firmly off their backs, they should surprise a lot of people here.

[Sure, whatever. Dave rocks. Click the link above for a very interesting interview with him at SLAM! Wrestling, discussing his Washington roots.]

Ladder Match
EDDIE GUERRERO vs. REY MYSTERIO

I remember a time before this feud started. WWE was still seriously expecting non-gay, non-dumb people to willingly cheer on Randy Orton. New Jack was trying to get legal clearance to stab John Cena in the middle of a wrestling ring. Inside Pulse had a marginally better web design. One Night Stand was but a glimmer of hope in the fixed and dilated eyes of RVD. Jeff Jarrett was still surgically attached to the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Bryan Singer was still on for X-Men 3. Ah. Simpler times. Here we are yet again, however, with another PPV and another Eddie/Rey match. We’ve gone from the straightforward professional rivalry that led to their WrestleMania XXI encounter to a strange, over-complicated and, frankly, disturbing custody battle in the form of a Ladder Match, which I guess is progress. Progress with plot-holes that are big enough to swallow Rey whole, but progress nonetheless. I’m half-hoping that some trigger-happy social worker will see what Rey and his wife are willing subjecting their child to and then take him away for real, thus giving us our very first ‘worked-shoot wrestling soap-opera.’ Hell, never mind all the crap about who Dominik’s parents are meant to be, this alone is enough cause for concern…


“So you’ve got something to look at while you’re talking to ’em!”

Christ, just ship the kid off to Vancouver already and be done with it. As for the actual match, well, sure it will be good… but it won’t be that good. For two men with such obvious talent and such a close friendship between them, Eddie and Rey seem to have hit a curiously low plateau with their matches in this feud. I’d like to be proven wrong but in terms of SummerSlam Ladder Matches, this one will be more RVD/Hardy than HHH/Rocky. The winner would in any sane universe be Rey Mysterio, again, thus laying this feud to rest once and for all and letting Eddie get on with the much more important task of carrying Batista through the next three months’ worth of main events. Since that is just too damn sensible and this craziness is apparently doing well in the ratings, let’s just go full-on mental and have the eight year-old turn heel on his dad, change his name to Dominik Guerrero and proceed to learn the finer points of lying, cheating and stealing at Rey’s expense. Then perhaps we can finally, finally blow this off once and for all at No Mercy? Please?

[Sorry, I just still can’t get over that photo of him and his mum. Cut the cord, woman!]

Apathy In Action Match
MATT HARDY vs. EDGE

Yeah, yeah. Stop encouraging them. There is only one ‘worked shoot’ that deserves this much attention and it sure as shit has nothing to do with these guys. Oh no, we’re dealing with real men here. Real men that settle their differences in a traditional manner with no bitching, no whining and absolutely no remorse whatsoever.


Fuck yeah.

Oh, and for the record, there is no need to debate whether or not WWE dropped the ball with this feud because they never had a single f*cking ball between them in order to drop it. Come on, it’s Matt Hardy! He got beat by the guy with one leg!! And it’s Edge! Captain Doofus!! Christ almighty, if he was any more stereotypically Canadian he’d be on South Park. And Lita? I’m meant to care about Lita all of a sudden? Oh, just f*ck off! I don’t care who wins, I just want Kane to re-appear, beat the holy hell out of all three of them, kidnap them and then let Viscera re-enact a certain scene from Pulp Fiction.

One other request – the next time they try to do something as pretentious as a ‘worked shoot’ can we at least have the decency to involve Brooke Hogan? “Right up the shitter, ohhhh yeah, dig it!!”

[They should bring back the Gobbledygooker and stage their own Chicken Fights between him and… oh, let’s say… Tazz.]

“The Importance Of Being Idle” Match
THE UNDERTAKER vs. RANDY ORTON

Well, there’s no way in hell that this is going to live up to their WrestleMania classic. Oh yes, it was. Hands down the single funniest match in 2005 as Orton managed to get in a grand total of five different moves, four of which were thoroughly no-sold by ‘Taker, who seemed to be having a grand ol’ time beating the shite out of the smarmy wee Hobbit. The only way this could top that effort is if ‘Taker just sat on a chair at ringside and lit up a cigar. He’s certainly having a good summer, though. You can just picture the scene backstage at the Great American Bash now… “Okay ‘Taker, don’t worry about having to do the job tonight. Instead, just go out there and arse around for ten minutes then single-handedly fight off seven men, no-selling everything they do to you along the way, then drop the dirty foreigner through the stage. After that, well, we’ll just let you beat up that Orton kid again… No, it’s cool, you don’t even have to turn up for the tapings, we’ll just get Kamala as a stand-in. Deal?” Ah, you gotta love it. Coincidentally, Kid Rock’s “American Bad Ass” just came on Winamp. This raises the rather interesting question of why the hell do I have Kid Rock songs on my computer, but let’s move swiftly on from that… If I could be any wrestler in the world, it would probably be The Undertaker. I never really liked the guy much but now that I am entering the Grumpy Old Man phase of my life, the chance to be that belligerent and that violent and paid that much is mighty tempting. Orton may well win the match, but he’s still lost in life. Twerp. Oh, and just think, in some alternate universe this match is for the World Heavyweight Title. Scary, huh?

[I forgot to mention the skateboard entrance at WrestleMania… Fucking hilarious…]

“Sweep The Leg!” Match
KURT ANGLE vs. EUGENE

Don’t ask me to explain it, but there truly is something hilarious about watching a wrestling crowd turn on a retard with a vengeance. There are few better examples of this than the reception Eugene got in Pittsburgh with Kurt Angle a couple of weeks ago. It’s like that scene in The Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi is completely smashed off his tits – utterly wrong, utterly inspired and utterly compelling. Then, of course, Hogan had to get involved. That’d be like Miyagi training Optimus Prime in the awesome power of the crane kick. Don’t fret, I have complete faith in my ability to run this metaphor into the ground and through the other side. Anyway, on paper at least, this is the match of the night. In reality, it depends on how much time they get, how many z’s they want to add to the Sportz Entertainment quotient, and how often the camera is drawn towards the Amazing Forehead Of Skank at ringside. Give ’em a solid 20 minutes of straight-up, venereal disease-free wrestling and we can put this up there with Angle/Michaels, Benjamin/Michaels and Benoit/Regal as the WWE’s finest in 2005.

Oh, and Kurt will win it, of course. He will then be rewarded for beating up on the retard with a title shot at Unforgiven. You see how the world works? I swear, retards are the new hillbillies. Hell, just look at the new Dukes Of Hazzard.

One more thing, Columbo, I just want to point out that Kurt’s gold medals are now officially the 5th most coveted prize in WWE. Seriously, the new order goes like this…

1. The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak.
2. The WWE Championship.
3. The World Heavyweight Title.
4. The Royal Rumble.
5. Kurt’s medals.

Inarguable.

[Damn straight.]

United States Title Four-Way Match
ORLANDO JORDAN vs. CHRIS BENOIT vs. CHRISTIAN vs. BOOKER T

What an odd match. Can anybody recall another four-way match where the champion is so clearly operating on a far lower level than all three challengers? Come on, two of the challengers are former World Champions, while the third is easily just as entertaining as they are. It would be the equivalent of Carlito defending the Intercontinental Title against Shelton Benjamin, Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle on Raw – except that Jordan isn’t even up to Carlito’s lazy standards. His crazy hair isn’t as crazy, his cool demeanour isn’t as cool, and his title isn’t as prestigious. Hell, the Cruiserweight Title is more prestigious simply by virtue of having a genuine lineage dating back to 1996 (where, curiously enough, the person defeated in the inaugural title match was none other than Chris Benoit). Anyway, this isn’t going to improve as long as Jordan holds the title. He only got it in the first place because they wanted the Cabinet to dominate Smackdown, yet that stable doesn’t even exist anymore. With JBL reaching the special H-level of main-event over-exposure, the sensible thing to do is put him and Jordan into the tag team division for a spell. It would be easy enough to set up a feud between them and a Booker/Benoit combination via this match, which would also pave the way for the only sensible outcome for this match – United States Champion Christian. Hell, presuming that we’ve ended the Animal embarrassment by this point, we could even give Heidenreich a new friend and Christian a new Problem Solver. Should provide some cheap laughs if nothing else…

[Okay now, this one I got wrong. Actually, let me rephrase that… This one I got right and they got wrong. Jordan’s a lost cause but nobody wants to see Benoit holding the US strap whilst Christian is getting punked out by the friggin’ Mexicools. Ugh. Everybody send me $40 to order my version of SummerSlam instead.]


THE TOP 50 2005

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. In fact, it’s slightly later than usual as we were originally aiming to have this done for last month, only for real life to get in the way. For shame. Don’t fret though, for the Top 50 is on its way.

Each and every year, the esteemed Ross Williams and I take it upon ourselves to compile what we feel is the definitive list of the 50 best all-round wrestling superstars active in North American promotions today. We argue, we drink, we argue more, we drink more, we throw things, one of us winds up giving the other a DDT, and this process repeats itself time and time again until the list is complete, the drinks cabinet is empty, and we just can’t watch anymore wrestling.

Now, this list is a lot trickier to compile than you might be thinking – and not just because we are stubborn, belligerent and exceptionally critical. It’s because we want the best. We want the all-rounders. It’s not just a matter of being a technically sound wrestler, though obviously that is a pretty key ingredient in making the final cut. It’s a matter of having genuine ring presence and a bona fide superstar look. It’s a matter of having a natural grasp of ring psychology in addition to being able to hold the crowd by the balls with little more than a particularly choice interview. It’s a matter of having gone out there and repeatedly made the most of whatever opportunity has presented itself with whatever personally vivifying performance can be mustered. It’s also a matter of exactly what successes have been earned. We are judging the best all-round wrestling performers, not the best backstage politicians, but we are straddling the invisible line of kayfabe and otherwise and so titles do count. Then again, it depends on the title in question. For example, a World Champion from Raw or Smackdown stands a far better chance at getting a higher spot than a World Champion from TNA or ROH – although in saying that, if the latter champion has accomplished a great deal more with his lot than the former champion has managed to do, then chances are he will wind up with the higher spot after all.

It’s all highly relative, highly subjective and tends to be one of the most talked-about columns of the year. That’s what makes it so much damn fun to do!

Past winners include:

1997 – Bret Hart
1998 – Chris Jericho
1999 – Mick Foley
2000 – Chris Jericho
2001 – Kurt Angle
2002 – Kurt Angle
2003 – Kurt Angle
2004 – Eddie Guerrero

So, who is the man this year? Did Eddie manage to hold on to the #1 rank? Did Kurt regain his place in the top slot? Could a non-WWE wrestler have become our King of the Mountain? All will be revealed… soon…


NWA-TNA SACRIFICE 2005: AFTERMATH

This was the first TNA PPV that I had watched in months, which is somewhat surprising considering I’m a huge Raven mark and he’s finally won the title. I guess there are just too many things about the company that easily irritate me – and believe me, I am easily irritated. Take Shane Douglas for starters. Please, take him. Really, why the hell is he there? Nobody likes Shane Douglas. Even Optimus Prime thinks he’s a dick (and I have written evidence of this). And Sean Waltman! I don’t care if he’s seemingly remembered how to wrestle, he’s still Chyna’s cock-licking minge-monkey, the Earth-2 version of a Hardy Boy gone bad. And the New Age Outlaws? Do the people running this show seriously think that the New Age Outlaws are in any way relevant to the wrestling scene in 2005? And as for Jarrett…

Ah, see, I’m getting irritated again just by thinking about it. I’m not in any way implying that WWE is perfect or that it doesn’t irritate me, but the holy double standard of wrestling means that their cock-ups don’t quite irritate me so much. Hey, come on, we go way back. When I first started watching it was all midgets and hillbillies… then came the Golden Age of Stupid with The Berzerker and Rocco and Warrior’s black goo… then after that we were all on Dok Hendrix’s happy pills and didn’t care why Bret was fighting an evil dentist… ah, good times. Am I prepared to invest that much time and effort into TNA? No. Ergo, they not only irritate me, they piss me off. It was the same with WCW.

Thankfully, just like WCW, they do have some fantastic talent working for them and can put on a great evening of wrestling when they really put it to good use. Sacrifice was one of those evenings…

Well, except for that woeful opening video package…

“Bland As Bland Can Be” Match
SIMON DIAMOND, ELIX SKIPPER & DAVID YOUNG vs. SONJAY DUTT, SHARK BOY & CHRIS SABIN

Perfectly acceptable opener, even if Sabin and Skipper did seem to be strangely subdued. I’d still have much rather watched a Sabin/Skipper/Dutt three-way than this six-man tag. Yeah, I don’t care for Shark Boy either. Sue me.

“Better Than You Think” Match
ALEX SHELLEY vs. SHOCKER

This is the first time I’ve seen Shocker in action and damn, he’s good. Sure, he might look like Fabrizio Ravanelli’s gay brother but he’s certainly got the moves. I wouldn’t mind seeing him take on the likes of Benoit or Regal should the Mexicools ever decide they need a fourth man. As for Shelley… hell, it’s scary to think how good this kid could become. He urgently needs to get a new outfit though. Those stupid shorts make him look like he needs an intervention from Bono and Bob Geldog.

Speaking of which, can I just say:


Look at him there… sucking up all our oxygen… bitch…

“Size Totally Matters” Match
ABYSS vs. LANCE HOYT

Given Vince McMahon’s unconditional worship of Things That Are Big, I’m still surprised that neither of these two guys are on his shopping list. Sure, Abyss is basically Kanekind and Hoyt is nothing more than Test 2: Electric Boogaloo, but since Vince fears change as much as he values size, that just makes it all the more surprising. Really, when it comes to Big Guy wrestlers on Raw I’d much rather have Abyss and Hoyt than Viscera and Snitsky. Imagine the reaction Abyss would get if he came up from under the ring to answer the Masterlock Challenge, broke the hold and twatted Chris Masters into next week with his chain… Imagine the Peep Worship that Hoyt would receive if he became Christian’s new Problem Solver… Imagine if Abyss and Hoyt had a far better match on the undercard of a TNA PPV than Batista and JBL put on in the main event of the last WWE PPV… One of these things just happened.

Special Guest Referee: B.G. James
KIP JAMES & MONTY BROWN vs. RON KILLINGS & KONNAN

Ugh. The New Age Outlaws have been running on fumes ever since 1998 and TNA seems oblivious to the fact that they are all outta gas by 2005. The same can be said of Konnan, which left Killings and Monty as the sole genuinely entertaining people in the ring but even they were still overshadowed by the homosexual soap opera that dominated this match. Still, any match in which Konnan throws his shoe around the ring for no particular reason can’t be entirely without merit.

Internet Dream Match
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. AUSTIN ARIES

Holy shit. I would usually have more kind words to say about George Bush than I would the diehard TNA fans, but they certainly deserve kudos for voting Aries into this match. Really, there’s only one thing to say here and it needs to be beaten into the heads of everybody out there who dismisses this promotion out of hand because of their bad points: This is wrestling. This is wrestling. This is wrestling. This is wrestling.

“Peanut Butter & Jelly” Match
SEAN WALTMAN vs. JERRY LYNN

See, some things just work better together and it’s the same for some wrestlers. Nash was never capable of much, but when he got into the ring with Michaels he could steal the show. Regal has been half-empty for years, but when he gets in there with Benoit he’s full to the brim. It’s the same with these guys. It’s no secret that I’ve never been particularly fond of Waltman, and while Lynn is technically sound he nonetheless leaves me cold. Still, put them together and it’s a fascinating, emotionally-charged wrestling clinic. The outcome was hardly surprising but it played out perfectly and opens the door for some interesting possibilities in the months to come. Good use of Dutt, Sabin and Shark Boy too.

8-Man Tag Team Match
THE NATURALS & AMERICA’S MOST WANTED vs. TEAM CANADA

Meh. I got bored with this one and went off to sort out some laundry. Other than Petey Williams, these teams are just kinda… there. Like Ben Stiller movies, they just keep on coming and keep on being encouraged to do so… but do they really have to be?

Christopher Daniels Invitational Final
A.J. STYLES vs. SAMOA JOE

Jesus Fucking Christ. Daniels/Aries made it to 10 out of 10 earlier on – these two cranked it all the way up to 11. Sure, the ref bump was uncalled for but it didn’t mar the ending any, it only added to the anticipation for Unbreakable. The Daniels/Joe match just cannot get here fast enough. This is wrestling. Believe that.

Looney Tunes Match
RAVEN & SABU vs. JEFF JARRETT & RHINO

WWE would be a lot more interesting if HHH and/or JBL were forced to wait a year till their next title shot. TNA would be a lot more interesting if Jarrett went through with that stipulation. This main event would have been a lot more interesting if I gave a shit about any of the participants other than Raven. The clothes shops in Edinburgh would be a lot more interesting if I could find a coat like Raven’s. Jeff Hardy would be a lot more interesting if it was 2001. This match would have been a lot more interesting if it had any rhyme or reason beyond constant chairshots. This paragraph would be a lot more interesting if I wasn’t complaining so much. Well, tough shit, I am. Not that it greatly matters. A flat main event can’t stop the outstanding undercard from making this one of the best PPVs of the year.


TOP 5 COOLEST STAR TREK ACTORS:

01/ William Shatner
02/ Patrick Stewart
03/ Leonard Nimoy
04/ Scott Bakula
05/ Will Wheaton


THE ANTI-NEWS:

“Opportunity does not knock, then knock again, then leave a note saying ‘sorry I missed you.'”

It’s been a rather quiet week on the news front. Not even a trip to Montreal with a heel Shawn Michaels and one of his most over-rated promos ever could shake Raw out of it’s post-draft rut – not least because nobody knew what the hell the French fans were chanting – while Smackdown… well, I don’t need to say anymore. In fact, it’s been so quiet that the biggest story at the start of the week was FRANKIE KAZARIAN giving his notice to WWE. Yes, we are now missing one more cruiserweight to not watch on Velocity. For shame. It’s quite amusing really, since it all breaks down as follows:

– Employee gets a good reputation working for Independent, Family-Run Business.
– Employee gets offered a shinier contract by Faceless International Corporation and signs it.
– Faceless International Corporation do not use Employee to the best of his ability, so he complains.
– Faceless International Corporation marginally increase their use of Employee.
– Employee still wants more but Faceless International Corporation won’t give it to him unless changes on their say-so and their say-so alone.
– Employee yearns for the creative freedom offered by Independent, Family-Run Business, so he quits.

Supposedly, what you make of the above turn of events will say a lot about you as a person. Well, personally speaking, I don’t give a shit. Shut up. Still, happiness is what we’re all milling around in pursuit of, so if Kazarian wasn’t happy in WWE then he’s doing the right thing and more power to him. It’s not everybody that can legitimately claim to be undefeated in WWE. He also deserves huge credit for the line “Kazarian wishes WWE all the best in their future endeavours” on his website.

***

“Well if being smart isn’t gonna help me impress the chicks, then I want no part of it.”

There was also some mention made by The Torch of MONTY BROWN not wanting to re-sign with TNA when his contract was up. Well, donning the WWE Creative’s thinking cap for a second, he would appear to have two options if this is true – one, go to Raw and work with Shelton Benjamin; two, go to Smackdown and work with Booker T. Sadly, that is probably closer to the truth than should be the case. Of course, we don’t know for certain if this is going to happen. People have been saying Monty is bound for Stamford practically since he made his TNA debut. The reason is simply that he is the one talent on their roster that would stand to actually benefit from such a move in every single way possible. Obviously he’s not an X-Division star, so his moveset is not going to be limited in the same way that the likes of Frankie Kazarian found so frustrating. His moveset is not particularly outlandish, so WWE will actually know what to do with him and can mould him into the fabled Main Event Style quite easily. While he might not offer up anything more in the ring than, say, Rhino, he’s got the style to shine up the substance, baby. He has the sort of look that Vince McMahon would have wet dreams about, while he has a very unique, even surreal, charisma in terms of both ring presence and promo skills. If it was up to me, I would stick him on Smackdown. He could have a potentially classic feud with Christian over the US belt, with a view towards an eventual, explosive meeting with Batista further down the road.

Yes, I have decided that Christian is my United States Champion. Who’s with me?

***

“It’s time to start being a man. And the first rule to being a man is you gotta spend your life doing crap you don’t wanna do.”

Well, obviously, WWE are not with me. Many people online have been noting that CAPTAIN CHARISMA has been receiving the dreaded Rear Admiral from the company ever since moving to Smackdown. Now apparently his T-shirt isn’t even up for sale at live events or from WWE Shopzone, while obviously he will not be wrestling at SummerSlam and he was recently beaten up by the friggin’ Mexicools on Smackdown during his own chat show segment rather than working with the upper mid-card talent. Obviously, the usual Peeps have been bitching and moaning about how this is utter sacrilege, how Stephanie McMahon is ruining their fragile little worlds and how their parents never loved them. Well boo-f*cking-hoo. And boo-f*cking-hoo to Christian while I’m at it. Sure, I enjoy watching the guy. Sure, I just declared him to be my United States Champion. Let’s all bathe in the murky waters of reality for a minute here though – he will win that title one day and he will not win the World Heavyweight Title ever. He’s entertaining and he’s developing a bit of an angsty cult following, but he is just too goofy for the Powers That Be to ever believe that he could amount to more than yet another player in the mid-card shuffle. It isn’t going to happen, and if he is stupid enough to start moping around backstage because he isn’t getting instant gratification on Smackdown then he deserves the pseudo smack upside the head that the bookers have been given him lately. If you show any signs of developing an ego and you’re not in with the right people, i.e. anybody but Edge, then you will be cut down to size. It’s that simple. They wanted you to cut your hair, so you cut your hair. They wanted you to do a losing-streak gimmick, so you went through with it. They wanted you to be Edge’s Marty Jannetty, and you didn’t have a choice with that one. They wanted you on Smackdown, so you went to Smackdown. If they want you to turn into Repo Man II, steal Rocco from Hawk’s grave and then job out to Heidenreich in the resulting feud, then you will bloody well do it. You do what your boss wants you to do or you don’t work there. Kazarian had the balls to go ahead and quit rather than letting it get him down, so just decide whether or not you even still want to be there. TNA would have a spot for you in an instant. ROH and all the other wee diddy promotions would welcome you with open arms. WWE will most likely keep you around, but if you keep on bitching then you will stay the bitch. Either that or learn how to Play The Game and brush up on your political manoeuvring. Welcome to wrestling, Cap.

Now, as far as the T-shirts thing goes… Quite why any company would want to make it harder for people to give them money is beyond me.


Soon to be making a tidy profit on an eBay auction near you.

***

“When used separately, women and alcohol can be a lot of fun. But if you mix them, they can turn you into a dumbass.”

Speaking of BOOKER T (yeah, I mentioned him in that last bit… work with me here…), everybody’s favourite hairstyle recently did an interview with SLAM! Wrestling about how excited he was to be able to go to work with his wife and how he was looking forward to his two-year contract extension. The interesting part was the following…

“Booker told SLAM! Wrestling that one of his goals is, ‘trying to get that last piece of gold around my waist, that one piece of gold that has eluded me for the past five years.’ His goal? ‘Finishing my career off by capturing every piece of gold in the wrestling business.’

Uh, Booker, you do realise that there are two World Titles in WWE right now, and that you’ve yet to win either one of them, right? Don’t give me any of that horseshit about the title Dave’s sporting being the same one you won in WCW either. It quite blatantly is not. Did we learn nothing from the WCW International Title?

Anyway, although I hate to burst Booker’s bubble since he sounds so genuinely happy in that interview, winning either of the titles just is not going to happen. It isn’t a case of people not wanting Booker to win the big one again, it’s simply that people want others to win it more. Dave is the current golden boy, Orton is still (sadly) the golden boy of the future, Christian is the cult golden boy, JBL is the dominant heel, Undertaker is the living legend, Mysterio is the plucky underdog, and in terms of token title reigns Benoit and Guerrero remain far higher than Booker on the pecking order. The only realistic chance of Booker becoming champion would be if they decided to throw a huge curveball into the long-term plans, perhaps with a shock title switch on Smackdown’s debut on some other network. Like I said – not likely. No, the correct thing to do with Booker is exactly what they’ve been doing with him as of late, i.e. working with younger stars like MNM and passing on some of his vast experience.

Don’t worry, Book. We still love ya. Well, mostly just the hairstyle but it all counts.

***

“Well, all the best quotes are about the things that means a lot to you, like for example me. My hair. Or my Personality. Or the sparkle I bring to your dull, grey, lives.”

WWE.com put up a brief news item to put all of our minds at ease and inform us that THE COACH has signed a brand spanking new contract with the company. It’s quite amusing that the article is quite clearly a fluff piece, filled to the brim with Apter-style fabrications and grammar errors, yet certain things Coach supposedly says are the absolute truth. The most accurate one is that “the voice that’s running this train is the Coach’s… I’ll be doing commentary long after J.R. and The King are gone.” Oh, I so dearly hope that this is true. When the artist formerly known as Jonathan Coachman was one of the backstage C-show grunts he was just as irritating as the rest of them, complete with hands that were apparently incapable of staying still for more than two seconds at a time. When he was Bischoff’s lackey he was mildly entertaining, but no more so than Sean Morley was in the same role. On commentary, however, he has been one of an increasingly dwindling number of shining lights on Raw. The King turned into a parody several years ago but ever since his little “incident” with The Kat (remember her?), he’s gone through parody and to the other side – a very special shade of bland reserved for only the most emasculated and predictable of souls. It’s a similar shade to JR, to be perfectly honest. However, ever since Coach turned up and began dishing out his extra-special belligerence JR has at least been seemed slightly more motivated. Sure, he’s not at the level he was at once upon a time, but Josh Matthews isn’t ready to take over from Michael Cole on Smackdown and Joey Styles isn’t going to sign with them, so who the hell else is there to replace JR as Raw’s play-by-play man? Just ditch King altogether and let Coach and JR perfect their riff on Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black.

***

“It’s not fair! I wanted to be Han Solo!”

THE BLUE MEANIE has a blog, so WWE quite rightly told him to f*ck off and never darken their doorstep again with this Blue World Order nonsense. Or something like that. Really, who cares? If the nWo stopped being relevant in 1998 and even Vince McMahon had twigged to this by 2002, what the hell was the point of bringing back the parody version in 2005? For the ECW PPV, you say? Well sure, but the show was called One Night Stand. Take the hint. For crying out loud, seeing Hulk Hogan in the red and yellow get standing ovations on Raw and then seeing Hollywood Nova on Smackdown confusing the hell out of the audience was just pathetic. Simon F’N Dean was a more credible character for Mike Bucci. That’s how much of a waste of time it was.

And what does TV’s Michael Hasselhoff have to say about this?

Hmm. I bet KITT never had to put up with this shit…

***

“If I have to leave this country, where am I going to go? France? Fuck France.”

Over at Fool.com a chap by the name of JOSEPH KHATTAB clearly has far too much time on his hands. Not like me, I stopped wearing a watch a long time ago. Too much hassle. I’m worth the wait, baby, don’t you forget it. Anyway, he has broken down some quite possibly fabricated figures about WWE’s current financial situation, more specifically with regards to their revenue from live events at home and abroad. The basic gist of it should be fairly obvious to anybody that has been paying the slightest bit of attention in the past three years, but here’s how things have changed from the 2002 financial year:

Total North American Revenue (2002) – $371 million from 232 live events.
Total North American Revenue (2005) – $279 million from 276 live events.

Total International Revenue (2002) – $39 million from 5 live events.
Total International Revenue (2005) – $88 million from 49 live events.

Okay, the first question I have is if there were really only 5 international live events in 2002, and if so then which dumbass gets the blame for that? The second question is, does Jeff Jarrett really have a big enough ego to believe that this is in any way related to the birth of NWA-TNA three years ago? The third question is, why should I even begin to care? After all, I’ve got chicken waiting to be eaten. Besides, that’s basically a difference of $100 million in revenue. It may sound like a lot but when you throw in a shitload of extra PPVs, a gigantic video library being exploited with a slurry of very fine DVD releases, the birth of WWE 24/7, yet more videogames for yet more systems, and the ever-increasing prices of merchandise, there probably really isn’t that much left unaccounted for. Once the fans in Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy and here in the UK finally wise up and get sick and tired of paying extortionate prices for a lacklustre event, then you can start panicking. Either that or just let us all pay you for Christian T-shirts, which would immediately send the revenue through the roof. Whatever.


EXIT SPIEL:

Jamie Hatton is not just Inside Pulse’s biggest Ricky Steamboat mark; he is also the writer of the new-look Marvel News & Views, so check it out. Just for the record, the top five best Marvel comics on the market right now are, in alphabetical order, CABLE/DEADPOOL, MARVEL TEAM-UP, RUNAWAYS, SUPREME POWER, and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN.

Ross Williams is everybody’s cup of tea. Oh, it’s true. There was a memo. He hasn’t been around for a while but follow that link to his last RAW Ross Report anyway or I will call you names behind your back. Also be sure to keep an eye out for his SummerSlam Ross Report in due course.

David Brashear reminisces about Gillberg because somebody should. As he notes, nothing Gillberg did matched Chris Jericho’s efforts in mocking everybody’s favourite angry, glass-breaking Jew. I swear, that time Jericho got lost backstage in a Goldberg-esque entrance was the funniest thing Nitro ever did…

Jed Shaffer takes a look at SummerSlam’s past with the awesome might of revisionist history (the “WWE Title” was not defended at SummerSlam until 2002…). If you’re after a definitive hook for SummerSlam, may I suggest the Elimination Chamber? I would also just like to type the word “SummerSlam” one more time, so that I can claim to have fit four uses of “SummerSlam” into this one brief paragraph. Five uses.

Matt Basilo appreciates continuity in his TV shows and so gets appreciation from me… even if he never did those Smallville DVD recaps… 29.09.05, dude…

Gloomchen has seemingly become my dream girl…

– Click here if you have often pondered the startling similarities between Nazis and retards. You may also click there if you are just ever-so-slightly curious.

– Ever striving to get on Triple H’s good side, Rob Van Dam conducts an interview here in which he talks about how much fun it is to punch Chris Jericho in the face.

– Nora Greenwald, a.k.a. “Mighty” Molly Holly, recently released a shoot interview DVD and you can read a decent review of it here. She really does seem to be a genuinely nice person, albeit one that is slightly bewildered by the world at large right now. Hopefully she’ll find her smile or her groove or whatever it is she’s looking for sooner rather than later.

– You can also order a copy of the DVD here. Apparently, a portion of the profits will go to an education fund set up for Michael “Crash Holly” Lockwood’s daughter. In other words, if you download this one then you really are a bastard and Metallica were right about you after all. Oh, that reminds me; memo to Eric S. – I think I’ve finally got my ratio problems sorted out at PWTorrents.

– Finishing on the charitable wrestling DVD theme, if you decide to order the TNA Lockdown DVD (containing Chris Candido’s final match) then a portion of the profits will go to the Chris Candido Scholarship Fund. There are more details here.

AIM: KingKongBurnside

Iain Burnside is currently really digging Nic Armstrong & The Thieves

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