The Anti-Pulse

ENTRANCE SPIEL:

Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known…

Actually, this is the first column since my return that there hasn’t been a PPV to provide handy filler with which to rant and rave. Never fret, I have just decided to rant and rave about a future PPV instead – none other than WrestleMania XXII. And no, I’m not having any of that “WrestleMania 22” nonsense. You need to start respecting your Roman numerals even if WWE treats them like Tony Blair treats his electorate. Anyway, it’s going to be the biggest wrestling event of 2006, so what matches should be on the card? The best suggestions are below.

Plus, there’s all the news you’ll need – from Mick Foley’s shameless plugging of his new book Scooter to TNA’s rather cute “it thinks its people!” behaviour and Trish Stratus in general. It’s all good.

Oh, and I’ve changed my mind about my retirement from getting down to the front at gigs. The price has been paid, but it was certainly value for money.

Anyway, wrestling stuff…


TOP 5 POTENTIAL MATCHES FOR WRESTLEMANIA XXII:

It’s getting near that time again. Not just Top 50 time, not just Lost season 2 time, not even clobberin’ time… No, it is of course that time of year when every wrestling fan across the globe, whether they admit to it or not, starts thinking about what could possibly happen at the next WrestleMania. All of us do it, from the WWE diehards that plan their weekends around Heat and Velocity to the freakiest of the puroresu freaks that think Chris Benoit is “a bit too cartoony.” From the old-school fanatics with their MISB 1985 limited release S.D. Jones action figure to the most embittered member of the Hart family with their homemade Vince McMahon voodoo doll, WrestleMania is the one thing that casts a shadow over all of our wrestling needs. It’s the sole big-name draw that WWE has left, no matter what Triple H might think, and come the 2nd April 2006, we’ll all have the fever one more time. What are we actually going to see? Well, here are some suggestions to start off with…

1. DAVE vs. BRAWK

This one has been doing the rounds ever since the Lesnar comeback rumours started floating around last month. It also has the added bonus of being the type of match that would cause Vince McMahon to wash his bed sheets daily. In all honesty, considering Batista’s limits and Brock’s inactivity, it probably wouldn’t be a very good match. However, being a good match has nothing to do with being entertaining in this case. Face it, if Lesnar was to return then he would be the most hated heel in the entire damn company. Hell, probably in the entire damn industry. Wrestling fans do not easily forgive and forget when it comes to somebody turning their backs on their favourite promotion, let alone the sport itself. Plus, people love DAVE. He is not Goldberg. If the match happened then the crowd heat would be intense, even if it was non-title, and create a truly original “WrestleMania moment.” There are only two major stumbling blocks to this one. Firstly, obviously, they would need to sign Lesnar. Ever since his football career stalled and those articles first appeared on WWE.com, everybody from Sable to some un-named lawyer to the average “intranet nerd” has been convinced that he will return. Well, if he is coming back then they are obviously holding out on the big return for the Road to WrestleMania (more hype, more money, more time for Brock to train), but as always in such cases – do not believe a word until it actually happens on-screen. Secondly, it would mean he returns to Smackdown. Is Vince prepared to put him back on the show with the crappy Friday night timeslot? Would that help ratings or just mean his heat died quicker? Wouldn’t Triple H want him on Raw so he can “defend the honour of wrestling” and finally get a win over Lesnar? Ah, questions…

2. Batista vs. The Undertaker

Of course, there needs to be a contingency plan in case Lesnar decides that he would rather sit on his arse eating cherries until his no-compete clause expires in 2010. This does not necessarily mean that poor ol’ DAVE has to drag out the Eddie Guerrero feud from now until next April, nor does it mean that he has to get lumped with Randy “The Dawson” Orton instead. Not when this little doozy of a match could happen. I’ll just throw in a little disclaimer here – this one was not my idea, it was from the hairy brain of Ross Williams (cheap plug – Top 50 is coming soon!). So, here’s what he had to say about it…

“Think about that one for a minute.

It wouldn’t be match of the year but the crowd heat would be UNREAL.

They would genuinely wonder if they’ll finally break Taker’s winning streak.

After all, only about 40% of people thought Orton was going to do it last year.

Roughly 0% thought Kane would do it at WMXX

And the less said about Undertaker vs. Albert/Big Show the better.

But Taker vs. Dave for the World Belt?

That’s a hot ticket right there.

The Undertaker beats Batista for the World Title after two tombstones and a last ride.”

The man makes a good point.

3. Raw vs. Smackdown “Money In The Bank” Match

The “Money In The Bank” gimmick is such a simple-yet-brilliant idea that there is no way in hell they should not use it again. In fact, they could make it into the centre-piece of an annual PPV if they really wanted. It could be the King of the Ring’s more interesting older cousin, twice removed. Hell, they could do it at Taboo Tuesday and let the fans vote in the participants from the entire active Raw roster. Or, they could stick with it at WrestleMania instead. It could do with a little bit of spicing up though, so this time around have Bischoff and Long agree to make it an inter-brand match. We have three guys from Raw and three guys from Smackdown, with the winner getting the guaranteed title shot (good for a year) against the champion of whatever show they are on (nicely avoiding the post-draft confusion about Edge’s title shot this year). This would also be an extremely easy way to book an inter-brand match without resorting to the usual “wrestler A costs wrestler B the Royal Rumble” and “how shocking, a Raw guy turned up at No Way Out” shenanigans that would be a bit too much to take for the third year running. Not only that, it also provides easy filler material for Raw and Smackdown. Each show has three spaces for the match, so they can each have three qualifying matches. Hell, make the qualifiers into triple-threat matches just to keep the theme going. Three is the magic number, after all. The most important thing would be to actually do something with the title shot this time around before it winds up as little more than a handy weapon of choice, like Edge’s magic briefcase. I bet you he keeps his lunch in there.

4. Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan

I’ve been banging on about this one for a long, long time. Some of you agree with me, some of you don’t. To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what you think. The fact is that Hogan/Michaels was not a Dream Match – this is. Short of resurrecting the dead or inventing a time machine, this is also the only Dream Match that there is left to see. We’ve had ’em all… except this one. Okay, yes, 2006 will not exactly find either of these men in the best shape of their lives, but then that brings us back to the ol’ time machine conundrum again. At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter what shape they are in. It doesn’t matter how good the match could possibly be. It doesn’t matter if you want to see it. Hell, I wouldn’t buy a PPV just for this match alone. All that matters is that in one corner is Hulk Hogan, the biggest wrestling star of the ’80s, and in the other corner is Steve Austin, the biggest wrestling star of the ’90s, which means that in that one ring you have the two biggest wrestling stars of all time, and that, my friends, is exactly the sort of thing that hyperbole like “the biggest granddaddy of ’em all” was made for. Of course, that raises questions about where to place Ric Flair and The Rock in the grand scheme of things, but let’s save that one for another time. We know that both Austin and Hogan will be back at some point – Jim Ross all but confirmed the former last week, while the latter has season 2 of Hogan Knows Best debuting early next year. With plenty of advance warning to get into shape and plenty of people backstage (Dibiase, Patterson, Steamboat, etc.) to help plan the match out in detail, they should be able to put on something watchable, at the very least. The real problem would be in deciding who wins the match. I’d love to be a fly-on-the-wall for that conversation. Personally, since neither of them needs a victory in the slightest, I would take a cue from WrestleMania VIII. Send in some jealous heel to beat them up, have the match thrown out, and the two reunite to kick the heel’s ass, drink some beer and do some poses. Easy.

5. Ric Flair vs. Triple H

There are not many guarantees in wrestling but this match happening at some point soon would seem to be one. It’s been strongly rumoured to happen by all the usual suspects, Triple H will want a high-profile feud for his return to Raw, Flair’s been turned face lately (more accurately, allowed to be a face… for now…) and it would just plain make sense. They can pay off the past few years of Flair acting as Hunter’s subservient sidekick rather than the dirtiest player in the game and the greatest wrestler in history (that may seem like a huge contradiction to what I just wrote about Hogan and Austin, but it does make perfect sense if you think about it… trust me, I know what I’m doing… I’m going to close these brackets now). It would also be a relatively fresh match since they haven’t fought each other that often and know each other well enough to make a damn good job of it, as their memorable match on Raw in May ’03 proved. There is also plenty of material for the pair of them to use in promos and whatnot to make this into one hell of a good personal feud. Triple H once called himself God whilst cutting a promo, but Flair is still the master and always was. That’s the basic premise and if they actually explored it on-air, we could be in for some real fun. So, bring back Hunter whenever you want to, but please just hold off on this match until WrestleMania itself. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this should also have the added bonus of making it the first WrestleMania since 2001 that doesn’t have Triple H in a title match. Again, this would be a welcome relief from the usual “Triple H jobs the title against the unexpected challenge of the Rumble winner” ploy that we’ve had for the past two years. Neat, huh?

Now, it’s far too early to start getting into under-card specifics, although it would be nice to see every title in the company defended on the show for once, but those are my top picks for some of the top matches. Drop me a line and let me know what you would like to see.


ANTI-NEWS:

“Go back to your fancy cars, and your big bank accounts, and your celebrity friends, and your beautiful women, and Victoria Silvstedt, Playmate of the Year… FUCK!”

Everybody’s favourite professional loser, MATT HARDY, has once again been doing the rounds in the news. During his appearance at the WrestleReunion 2 convention, he claimed that his SummerSlam match with Edge was only “Chapter One” of their five-part plan for the feud and that there are “only four people who truly know the whole story” about the love triangle. In response to a question asking why he returned to WWE just to be buried, he said that they should “ask me again in six months.” He then went on to fight Team 3D alongside Rhino in the convention’s main event. He lost the match, which just about says it all, really.

The bad news here is that it sounds like we are going to have to put up with the Edge/Hardy feud all the way up until WrestleMania itself. Unless they plan on keeping the pair of them out of action for five months, selling their injuries from Raw last week, then I just don’t see it lasting that long. Long feuds just don’t work nowadays unless there is some genuine progression to them, something that they should have learned from Orton/HHH last year. That one kicked off in August and they honestly thought that it could be strung out until March this year, only for it to finally be put to rest in January after it had already fizzled out by November. They failed because neither Orton nor HHH were interesting enough characters for the audience to get into, so the entire feud revolved around nothing more than the title, and after seeing the same boring thing time and time again, the fans lost interest and started getting into DAVE instead because he was actually cool. The one time that WWE actually managed to work a long-term feud recently was Mysterio/Guerrero and even that one had a lot of people who wound up sick and tired of the whole damn thing. Personally, I enjoyed it. Not only are both guys talented enough to get the crowd into their matches, but they were able to gradually get people into their characters and craft out an interesting storyline that was easy to get behind. It started out as a friendly rivalry, progressed to professional jealousy, added a bit of intrigue, and then got deeply personal before being blown off (almost). Edge/Hardy started off as being deeply personal (in a unique way, granted) and has nowhere else to progress to. Hardy’s goodwill pops diminish with each appearance and he cannot boost them since he is quite blatantly a mid-card act. Edge is stuck in the same non-title limbo that claimed Jericho and Booker and he will never escape it unless he gets a major makeover, which this feud is preventing him from doing. Anyway, who the f*ck cares who Lita sleeps with? The novelty has gone and six months of trying to cram it back down our throats will just not work. Much like the fanbase that Orton failed to find went and found DAVE instead, the mythical V1 crowd will lose interest. There’s far more fun to be had with Kane and/or Trish instead. At least he unequivocally kicks ass and she has a personality.

Oh, and please just have Edge use the f*cking title shot already. I don’t care if Edge/Cena will be a crappy match. I don’t care if all signs point to Hardy interference for “Chapter Three.” I just want WWE to wish that damn briefcase the best in it’s future endeavours.

***

“…And those warts on your dick aren’t gonna go away, unless you use topical cream everyday.”

Speaking of TRISH STRATUS, the solitary worthwhile Diva in WWE will shortly be returning to Raw after suffering a herniated disc in her lower back. She’s already started appearing at house shows so it shouldn’t be too long till she turns up. There’s an Apterized interview up at WWE.com in which she gives big props to yoga for helping to speed up her recovery. Trish doing yoga is a highly Stratusfying thought that we should all keep with us for those cold winter nights in the coming months.

Oh, come on. Just picture this…

From this…

Mmm… flexible…

Unfortunately, upon her return Trish is inevitably going to get lumped into some idiotic program with Victoria, the Diva Search whore and the skanks traded from Smackdown. Hey, if they’re not worthy enough to watch then they’re not worthy enough to remember their names. So, she’ll come back and bring the damn Women’s Title and we’ll get match after match of horrible, horrible wrestling. Oh, joy. I’d rather they just gave up ten minutes of Raw each week to have Trish doing yoga in the ring instead.

Ah, hell. Let’s have one more photo of her and move on…


One more reason why Canada rocks

***

“Hey, you guys, seriously, I’m f*ckin’ fat. Seriously, you guys, I’m f*ckin’ fat as f*ck.”

DUSTY RHODES can now afford to Super Size his lunch every day now that he has been added to the Smackdown creative team, in addition to a likely Hall of Fame induction next year. Perhaps they just wanted to have a convenient scapegoat so that Stephanie wouldn’t be blamed for wiping out the buffet at lunchtime. Perhaps they needed a large dead weight to ground Hogan’s ego and prevent it from taking the Hall of Fame into orbit. Who knows? More importantly, who knows the last time that Dusty Rhodes had any good ideas about what to put on a wrestling show? I’m certainly drawing a complete blank on it. A big, fat, sweaty, hairy, blubbery, chubby, fried-chicken guzzling, sofa worshipping, out-of-breath-from-going-to-the-toilet-and-crapping, lard-swilling, belt-bursting, jumbo-thong-bikini-wearing, language mutilating, Dusty Finish inventing, meatball licking, poker chip chewing, Simon System using, fingers-too-fat-for-typing, pot-bellied, loud-mouthed, irritating, dumb-ass, out-dated, fashion-of-a-blind-and-dead-mongoose, Howard the Duck watching, midnight riding, Sapphire smooching, rancid, unwanted, unwarranted, unwelcomed, over-paid, over-valued, over-inflated, polyunsaturated, living-proof-that-there-is-no-God blank. I wait with baited breath to see what startling and innovative ideas he brings to Smackdown.

Of course, we all know who they should have hired. This guy…


I’m the Midnight Rider, bitch.

In fact, there are a lot of things that could be improved by substituting Lo Pan for whatever loser happens to be in the way at the moment. You think that Lo Pan would have tolerated all the abuse that Matt Hardy has been taking lately? Fuck no, he’d have wiped Edge, Lita and Alter Bridge off this plane of existence. You think he would have put up with all the shit Zach Braff gets in Scrubs? Fuck no, he’d have bitch-slapped Dr. Cox, rammed The Janitor’s mop up his ass and out through his eyeball and f*cked Dr. Blonde Chick eight times a day an hour at a time before the pilot had even taken its first commercial break. Put him into Eternia in place of Skeletor and he’d had taken that stupid sword from He-Man, melted it down, reshaped it into a golf club and smashed it off He-Man’s head until his stupid 1950’s housewife’s haircut turned from blonde to crimson. Face it, the dude is the dude. Screw Ric Flair, when Triple H grows up he wants to be Lo Pan.

But really, that’s not fair. We all, deep down, want to be Lo Pan.

***

“Dude, I know you’re feeling jealous right now. Don’t blame me because I have a sweet ass! I can’t help it!”

The first-ever Hardcore Novelist MICK FOLEY recently spoke with Between the Ropes about his plans for the future. He recently signed a formal agreement with WWE to come back, shamelessly plug his new book Scooter and have a couple of matches along the way. He would have come back to shamelessly plug his new book Scooter at SummerSlam, but he was beaten to the punch by Hulk Hogan, who was out to shamelessly plug his new TV show, Hogan Knows Best. Nonetheless, Mick shall be back to shamelessly plug his new book Scooter at some point in the near future. You can save Mick the trouble of shamelessly plugging his new book Scooter by clicking here and reading all about his new book Scooter for yourselves. If you would like to go along and participate in Mick’s shameless plugging of his new book Scooter then you can click here for details of his book tour, which at least contains shameless plugging within a safe, designated area as opposed to a wrestling ring. I wonder how long it will be before The Rock appears to shamelessly plug his new movie Doom and how on Earth the commentators will try to pass it off as a good movie…

Seriously, wasn’t this the exact same kind of thing that we all used to slag WCW about?

Anyway, people also seem to be making a big song and dance about how Mick almost signed with TNA instead. I’m not exactly sure why that is. This one time I almost bought a copy of the nWo Back in Black DVD in a bargain bin, but I too came to my senses. Upon his return to WWE, he said that he would like to be the “knight in shining armour” that saves somebody from… something… rather than having to actually put in any effort to start up a feud, and that he could “adapt easily” to work with Cena or the Undertaker “in a storyline sense.” Firstly, there’s this little thing called the brand extension that put those two guys on different shows, and we all know that you’re going to wind up back on Raw. Secondly, if you come back and become the Silent Bob to Cena’s Jay then I will, quite simply, mark the f*ck out. Thirdly, if you do come back to Raw then I’m almost certain that you will be feuding with Carlito. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s the two haircuts gravitating towards one another. Perhaps it’s that Carlito inexplicably gets to work with so many big names. Already in 2005 he’s worked with Austin, Piper, Michaels and Flair, not to mention Cena and Jericho. One of these days there might even be a reason provided for this when Carlito becomes believable not just as a human being, but as a wrestler.

***

“Listen to me, you little bitch! You either go out there and make that shot or I’m gonna shove your head so far up your f*ckin’ ass, you’ll have to wear yourself as a hat!”

KIP JAMES, a.k.a. BILLY GUNN, wears short, tight shorts (or, if you prefer, tight, short tights), points to his crotch a lot and drops his ass on other men’s heads to finish his matches. He also recently had an interview with Wrestling Epicentre about his career, including that brief, shiny moment in 1998 when it actually meant something to the world at large. The bulk of the interview seems to consist of bashing Triple H. It seems that Shawn and Hunter originally “didn’t want [the Outlaws] in DX because they didn’t think we were going to get over. But then, as they let us do our own things, we just shot through the roof.” As things progressed, “we went out there to please the people. We didn’t care about pleasing the office because that will happen anyway as long as we put butts in seats. But, [Triple H] was in Vince’s ear jocking for position.” More specifically regarding all things H, “when he first started, he had no spot so of course he was humble. But as he got in that Kliq and he started getting more power, all of a sudden he’s invincible and untouchable. He’s what holds people back, it’s not talent. He gets threatened by guys that are better than him. He’s just evil. That’s what he is. But, that’s okay because bad things happen to bad people.” In response to all this I just have to say – chill the f*ck out, dude. You were in that very same locker room. You were even in it before Hunter was. You had your chance to woo Stephanie and you didn’t take it. He did, he got more power than you did, and he wound up heir-in-law to the kingdom while you wound up playing off the New Age Outlaws yet again in the little promotion that could (but won’t). That’s just the way it goes. It’s not good for you but it’s good for him, so it all balances out in the end. Now – just let it go.

He does make one very good point, though. If a lot of wrestlers get released because the writers can’t come up with anything for them, then shouldn’t the writers get released instead?

I still can’t understand how an entire team of writers cannot come up with a single workable idea for any particular wrestler. For crying out loud, pick any random message board and you’ll probably find at least one idea that’s worth a shot. For example – hiring Lo Pan. After all, you are not brought upon this world to “get it…”

***

“Soon it was commonplace for entire teams to change cities in search of greater profits. The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles where there are no lakes. The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City where they don’t allow music.”

There have been various newsbytes about TNA over the past week…

– They didn’t manage to sign Mick Foley or Bret Hart to come in and make token appearances on the Spike TV debut, but by god Kevin Nash will be back for the Glory By Honour PPV. I’m quietly confident that the world will continue to turn after he comes back. Maybe Chris Benoit should see if he can make Orlando Jordan tap out before Nash picks up another injury. It would be a close one, alright. Have you seen Nash’s fanclub? The clientele that TNA is trying to reach so hard? It’s quite scary…


Big? Sure. Sexy? No. Just big.

– Gail Kim will be making her TNA debut sometime soon. Uh… good for her.

– Jackie Gayda is expected to sign with them once her WWE no-compete clause expires in October. Hopefully this means that Charlie Haas will turn up there sometime soon as well. Haas got criminally overlooked by WWE ever since he split up with Shelton Benjamin. The prevailing mindset is that any lauded tag team will split up and produce one Bret Hart and one Jim Neidhart, but with Team Angle they could easily have had two Bret Harts, one on Raw and one on Smackdown. Hell, Haas even managed to get the crowds going whilst teaming with Bob Holly in nothing matches on Velocity. But I guess the writers were having another mental blockage that day. Still, if it means that we get to see matches like Haas/Styles or Haas/Daniels then I’m all for him being released by WWE.

– Austin Aries will be returning to TNA, probably in time for the Unbreakable PPV. One word – yay! That’s not meant to sound so sarcastic, by the way.

– Senior WWE officials were pissed off that Spike TV was running TNA commercials during Raw, while the talent was pleased to see them because if the promotion succeeds then it gives them a viable alternative to work with. The bit about the talent sounds fair enough, but I’m certain that the bit about the officials (including the McMahons, apparently) is exaggerated. TNA will be running a pre-taped, one-hour show at 11pm on Saturday nights. It didn’t do anything for Velocity and it won’t do much better for Impact. Short of Vince dying, there is no wrestling promoter in the world that could become a viable competitor for the WWE market. They might be stupid enough to hire Dusty Rhodes for the creative team, but they are not stupid enough to fail to realise this.

***

“And joining us in the booth this evening, big fan of BASEketball, Tony Nocholino, who plays, as you know, Latino cut-up Scooter on the new hit comedy series ‘What’s the Difference?’ airing between ‘Recycled Junk’ starring Lisa Campbell and ‘Same Old Crap’ featuring teen heartthrob Mark Swenson, all part of the great fall lineup on our network’s ‘Who gives a rat’s ass?’ Thursdays.”

JIM ROSS is back with the latest edition of the Ross Report. He takes the time to shamelessly plug Mick Foley’s new book Scooter. Good for him. Short of the usual teases about people possibly returning at some vague point in the future (Austin, Rock, Shane, Stephanie and ECW this time around), he really doesn’t have a great deal to say this week. His biggest concern seems to be the state of tag team wrestling in WWE. As he puts it, “where have all the great tag teams gone?” Well, Jim, all the great ones have retired, split-up or died and most of the potentially great ones in the company in the past year or two have been disbanded prematurely. If you’ve checked out our latest rankings then you’ll know just how dire the current tag team “division” is. The situation is slightly better on Smackdown, which has, in addition to the fake LOD, got MNM, the Mexicools, the FBI, Regal/Burchill and the potential JBL/Jordan combo. Raw, on the other hand, has only two teams and they’re both jobbers. According to good ol’ JR, “the lack of top-line tag teams in WWE is a reflection of the overall lack of quality depth in the business in general.” According to me, this is complete and utter drivel coming from a top representative of the company that split up several tag teams recently and also killed the Dudley Boys. If it is a reflection of anything then it is the overall lack of quality in WWE alone, as there are certainly plenty of quality wrestlers out there that would be capable of stealing the show at a WWE event if given the opportunity. It’s also a reflection of the lack of quality in and unity between WWE officials. If you want a tag team division, bloody well go ahead and make one. If you have a tag team division and you want to keep it interesting, then in the name of the wee man go out there and work at it constantly. If you do not want a tag team division, then don’t just clog up airtime by half-assing it, just go ahead and kill the damn thing once and for all. Are you in or are you out?


TOP 5 WRESTLER QUOTES:

1. “I said ANgina, Howard, not VAgina.” – Kurt Angle on the Howard Stern Show
2. “Your idea of SummerSlam is a quickie on a hot August day!” – Chris Jericho to Stephanie McMahon
3. “I’m going to no-sell your mother giving birth to you.” – C.M. Punk on his blog
4. “I’ve been World Champion more times than you’ve had pieces of ass.” – Ric Flair to Sean Waltman
5. “Hulk Hogan! We comin’ for you, nigga!” – Booker T gets his groove back


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…


EXIT SPIEL:

Rob Blatt celebrates his one-year Inside Pulse anniversary by ranting and raving like a deranged… me. The sickness is spreading.

Jeremy Lambert channels R Kelly for Matt Hardy. Or something. I don’t know, I got confused. At least it isn’t Crazy Frog.

David Brashear looks back at The Union so don’t mention anything to Test or he’ll cry.

– In response to Vinny Truncellito’s question: I don’t.

– The Comics Roundtable kicks ass and chews bubblegum.

– The Anti-Nexus is all outta bubblegum.

Tim Stevens has all the DC News & Views you need, which does of course include Power Girl’s mammaries.

Jamie Hatton has a special guest appearing in the Marvel News & Views this week. If said guest turns out to be inside the hatch on Lost then I’m going to quit living. Or watching, whatever.

Journey Into Darkness: The Unauthorized History Of Kane by Michael Chiappetta is out now, and there’s an excerpt from the first chapter up here at Amazon. See how much of it you can read before going off to do something more intellectually stimulating, such as banging your head off the desk repeatedly. I made it up to the appearance of the teenage Undertaker. Anyway, how the hell can it be unauthorized while being published by WWE?

– Feel free to take the Ultimate Pro-Wrestling Trivia Test sometime. It’s perfect coffee break filler material.

Learning To Love You More continues it’s list of assignments towards making your life more complete… apparently… #52 is “Write the phone call you wish you could have.” Mine would quite possibly start with “Hey, this is Trish.”

AIM: KingKongBurnside

Iain Burnside is currently causing some pretty damn big trouble in little China…