In Memoriam: Chris Schenkel. Anyone who could explain the nuances of bowling to a national TV audience week after week for two decades deserves godhood.
Ah, a delightful weekend, sort of. The Bears may have lost, but they at least scored a touchdown (which is more than can be said for the Foreskins, or for that matter the FudgePackers). It’s nice to see all three Big Ten teams ranked in the Top Ten lose, especially when one of them is Michigan and the loss came to Notre Dame. At Michigan, mind you. The distaff club-swingers won the Solheim Cup. Kimmy C finally broke through and won the Big One, which makes a nice palliative compared to the Men’s Side of things at the US Open; Federererer cannot be stopped by anything short of an armor-piercing round. Koizumi now has a mandate to keep reforming the Japanese political system. The left is now in power in Norway. And the Junta is really taking it up the ass for Katrina (Mike Brown got the hint and decided to be the Fall Guy for his mismanagement of FEMA, falling on his sword yesterday).
That being said, the confluence of Katrina boo-hooing and September 11th ceremonies mixing with football (a situation not helped by the Saints’ thrilling last-minute victory against Carolina) made me nauseous. Look, it’s been four years. Let it go. Hell, I let it go after two days. Katrina, I’ll be nicer about. The Gulf Coast will be recovering from this for years, no thanks to the Junta. But do you want to commemorate an American Tragedy Caused By The Forces Of Nature? Let’s see some memorials for the victims of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic. Started in this shitty state I now live in, spread all over the world, killed twenty million people. Katrina’s nothing compared to that. Perspective, people, perspective.
Chief Justice Roberts…well, it now comes down to who else the Junta puts up for Sandy’s spot, since Roberts will go through like shit through a goose. Right now, I will personally donate organs to keep Justice Stevens alive as long as possible, at least through 2009. If Roe is overturned, I’m going straight to the local GOP headquarters with an axe. Or maybe I’ll just drive straight to Topeka and kill Fred Phelps. Well, I’d do that without a Supreme Court decision to prompt me. Or maybe I’ll just sit here and wonder how Dubbaya’s approval rating is as high as 39%.
Well, should I do my normal bitching about the Orange Order and violence associated with it? Hell, why not? Let’s just break it down to brass tacks: rubbing someone’s nose in it since 1690 is considered in bad taste by most of the world. Yet they want to persist in provocative marches, threatening a fragile peace that’s only now setting hold. They get denied, the Protestants go batshit. You know what? Fuck it. Here’s what Parliament should do: tell the marchers that they can march, but they’re going to be removing their police protection. In fact, all policemen will stay away from any march completely, at a nice, long distance, like in the next town. Let them take their chances. In the meantime, Blair should get on television and tell them, “Screw this. We’ve been nice long enough. I’m declaring martial law and suspending habeus corpus. There’s going to be a curfew. And the Army will have orders to shoot to kill.” Then, call another peace commission. But f*ck sending George Mitchell this time. We’ll send Mark Messier. He’s available, and he’ll put things in order.
Some people have wrote me to wonder if I’m going to remove my fatwa on Bill Simmons now that he’s picked the Bears to go 10-6 and make the playoffs. The short answer to this is: f*ck, no. It’s just another sign that his Bahstun Brain is complete mush. Even us fans of the Beloved are braced for 4-12, and nothing in their performance on Sunday has changed our minds. Besides, Simmons was very condescending in the way he did it. I’ll consider removing his death sentence when he realizes that the baseball team in Boston is named “Red Sox” and not “Sox”, the latter, of course, being the name of the baseball team from the South Side of Chicago.
Considering how indecisive Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ophelia is about whether or not it’s a hurricane and whether it’s going to make landfall, shouldn’t it be renamed Hamlet?
And after stretching to make a Shakespeare joke, I think it’s best that I move on…
THE PIMP SECTION
Lucard‘s crab cake recipe sounds magnificent. I’ll actually have to try this someday.
The first part of The Yearly Top 50 is up, and so far, no surprises. Stay tuned for the Top 30.
Williams not only does lists, you know. He also has opinions as well.
Cooling can meddle in my country’s politics, I can meddle in his (see above).
Neeley needs to be a little more consistent on his PPV reports. He actually fell for the old “hot match at the end, so the PPV was great” syndrome. Go stand in the corner and don’t come out until you can assess a PPV as a whole. And then you get twenty lashes with the cat for putting a dollar sign after a number in the Ultimate Warrior tape review.
(And Neeley also did the Epilepsy Report this week, but that show’s on its last legs, so who cares?)
The same thing happened to Fingers, but he admitted it, so he gets off without any Quiet Time.
I decided to blow off both Impact and Smackdown this week, so you get Hollyric on the Impact scene.
Wills covers this weekend’s OVW action.
Hatton and his friends kibitz to their heart’s content.
Fitzgerald has been doing a great job with the Jap stuff. Read him.
Campbell talks ROH champions. Hey, I’ve heard of a few of those guys.
McCullar subs for Fernandez this week, thus keeping Hispanic pressure groups off our asses.
Gloomchen takes my advice. So should you.
Paul gets wishy-washy.
Eagle, Common, and I all know what being raised in Chicago does to your attitude toward race relations.
Basilo begs for birthday gifts, which I’ve never done. No, not even last year when you could have honored me for actually making it to 40.
The Comics Roundtable reveals that there’s a new Hitman story on the way. Hey, I might actually pick that one up.
Hatton is still doing Marvel. Stevens always does DC.
Morrison‘s list of pet peeves about comics fans doesn’t surprise me any.
Now that the Sox are streaking into the playoffs (and by streaking, I mean long winning streaks followed by long losing streaks), I’m actually interested in baseball, and Tierney is helping me catch up by hosting a Round Table.
Cameron starts working his way down the worst fans in sports. Do I get this feeling the word “Philly” will be used at some point?
I’ll second Rachael‘s recommendation for St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I use it, and my face has the skin tone of someone half my age.
I’m a little pissed at Closs for blowing the reveal of the end of the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica in his teaser, so no direct link to any of his stuff. Also, he didn’t mention the great use of the original Galactica theme in the episode. Naughty, naughty.
Another month, another virtually ad hoc TNA PPV. Huzzah. And I don’t have a Simmons to excoriate this time, so I’m on my own. Shit, I hate that. Just one thing, though: if Bound For Glory is TNA’s Wrestlemania, does this make Unbreakable TNA’s No Way Out, which invariably sucks? Well, let’s hope that this doesn’t suck. From the reports I’ve read, most of it definitely gives that No Way Out vibe.
Let’s deal with the Big Fuckup first. Nice of Waltman to no-show, huh? Sean Waltman, irresponsible. Who would have ever thought it? The situation almost certainly didn’t change the booking of the four-way, but it rendered the Candido Cup a farce. All that work, pissed down the drain because Waltman’s connection was late getting to the rendezvous, and God knows he couldn’t go on without tootski. If I’m TNA, though, not only do I suspend Waltman just like Jeffykins was suspended, I have a make-good owed to Alex Shelley. He had to take the pinfall because of this; now it’s time for him to get that heat back. And here’s how I would do it:
On the first Spike episode of Impact, have an X Division elimination match or battle royal. The winner of the match gets to face Jushin Liger at Bound For Glory. Shelley wins the elimination/battle royal. This way, he gets high visibility on the premiere of Impact, and gets a good match at Bound For Glory. Shelley may be young, but he’s already shown that he can hang with Liger. This will build up his credentials tremendously, and should help with his heat.
Do the right thing, TNA. You know you want to.
Now on to the PPV…
Obviously, I ignored the opener as much as possible. No matter how much I love Killings (and for that matter Elix), I just can’t ignore the fact that 3 Live Kru is involved. However, the Idiot Don West actually came up with a great line during his commentary when he said that, “of course”, Notre Dame is Simon Diamond’s favorite team. West will NOT let him, or the audience, forget Irish Pat Kenney, will he? Vicious bitch. I do have one other thing to say: Konnan does a better X-Factor than Waltman at this point, and that’s pretty damn sad.
Aries/Strong…okay, it was f*ckin’ sweet. But at less than eight minutes, it was just too damn short. I know that TNA would rather use the time to promote its own people rather than guys you’re going to see most of the time in ROH. However, given the quality of match exhibited here, I’d rather have had the ten-plus devoted to 3LK given over to these guys. We will be seeing more of them in the future in TNA, though; they’d be stupid not to. And let’s hope they use Strong a lot better than they have in the past. He’s not a jobber. And Aries sure as hell isn’t. Aries is the kind of guy I’m glad is still hanging around the lower echelons, because he would be absolutely wrecked by WWE. Color me impressed. Let’s see more.
And that got followed up by another tag match that I didn’t give a shit about. No matter how thoroughly great Monty Brown is, it just can’t balance out the fact of who his partner is. Plus, there’s Lance “Overrated” Hoyt on the other side. I do have to admit that having Apolo in there instead of Siaki made the match slightly better, but only slightly. Weren’t all of us saying at the beginning of this year that Monty Brown would have the NWA title by now? What the hell happened to that? Yeah, I know, Jarrett, but still, if anyone’s been screwed over repeatedly over the past year, it’s been Monty Brown and his teasy-weasy relationship with the NWA title. With the way the booking’s been going, it’ll be multiple competitors at Bound For Glory. Please, don’t bring out King of the Mountain, not after all that “this only happens once a year” folderol the last time it was done. Plus, doing King of the Mountain and Ultimate X on the same card is overkill.
Williams/Sabin was one of the best-booked matches I’ve seen in quite a while. No rests, no loss of momentum, the action escalated until the end, the guys trust each other enough to pull out every stop, and the guy who needed the win more got it (and a big cheer to Williams for pulling out the Sharpshooter; nice tribute). Even the apres with Bentley worked. It’s not going to be an MOTYC (especially considering the fact that the main event will be), but it’s one of those little things of joy and beauty that are so lacking in WWE right now. Bravo to both guys. This is why I love ’em.
Going into it, we knew that Sabu/Abyss would be a freak show no matter what TNA’s bookers might try to do. So they did the smart thing: let them cut loose. It wasn’t up to ECW levels of violence and good old fashioned bloodshed, but it did the trick. Props to Sabu for taking the thumbtack bump, but compared to what he’s done, that’s pretty mild. Inoffensive, really, due to expectations.
The good news was that Jeffykins got the shit beat out of him. The bad news is, it was by Jarrett, which means Jeffykins is back in the upper card. Well, f*ck me.
I really hate Alastair Rouse. Musclebound moron who can’t move in the ring, period. He and Eric Young make up the weakest tag team combination among the current Team Canada configuration. You know, Johnny Devine was backstage at the show. Why couldn’t someone have chloroformed Rouse and let Devine substitute for him? Even if Devine still isn’t at 100%, he’d still contribute a helluva lot more than Rouse. Do an angle or something that leads to Rouse’s departure, Devine’s rehiring, and the on-camera return of D’Amoron, please. I want Team Canada, not these impostors.
That being said, yes, the Naturals should have gone over in the Elimination Tag Title Match. Good decision. I absolutely hated them when they first came to prominence. Too green for their push, no personality whatsoever. That’s changed, drastically. Their skills have improved week by week and are still improving. With Candido and then with Hart, they’re starting to gain a bit of personality. They’re no longer Rockers 2K5, but something unique unto themselves. So keep the belts on them a while longer.
The problem is that unless someone steps up (i.e. The Full Monty
s), it’s going to be a while longer. The booking in the match had the effect of creating yet another AMW/Team Canada feud, leaving the Naturals out in the cold without a visible opponent. The rest of the match booking was fine, but someone’s really got to think about…hold it, D’Amoron has the book right now, doesn’t he? Of course he’s going to help his guys, and AMW is the best option at this point. Just as long as AMW goes over, I’m fine with that.
The match itself wasn’t that good. Too many dead spots for a four-way elimination match. But no one disgraced themselves, and that was a good thing. Now, as I said earlier, make good by Alex Shelley.
The world title match was a message, pure and simple. But TNA had absolutely nothing to do with this message. It was coming from Raven and Rhiyno. What better way to show your contempt for One-Night Stand than to turn Universal into Bingo Hall South? This was the match that WWE was afraid to show at One-Night Stand, with all the ECW-esque brutality, weapons use, and mayhem that the politically correct WWE couldn’t use out of fear. Unlike Raven’s other opponents when he whips out Raven’s Rules, Rhiyno knew exactly what he was doing in there and what he wanted to do in there. They’re both former ECW world champions, after all. If they can’t do a garbage weapons match, no one can. It must have been like muscle memory to them. As for me, I was kinda happy to see it turn out this way. It made me miss ECW almost as much as One-Night Stand did. So I’ll count it as a semi-successful garbage match. The full success was taken away by the fact that Raven had to go over, and the fact that the world title match was a garbage match in the first place (although, admittedly, it played to both guys’ strengths).
There’s not much about the Triple Threat that you can say other the the fact, indeed, this is an MOTY Candidate. Perfect pacing, hot action, nothing blown spot-wise, three guys who are up there with the best in the world in what they do. It’s only proper that they were given the main event, because nothing could have followed this. However, don’t go yelling about the greatness of this match to the mountaintops just yet. The fact is that the wrong person went over. Putting the belt back on Styles is like strapping on a spare testicle. Joe should have the X Division title right now. However, that bit of reality clashes against the “necessity” to have the X Division belt on the biggest name possible going into the Spike Era, so I can understand their logic here. I don’t approve of it, but I understand it. Plus, they may have tipped their hand with Shawn’s Cousin’s announcement of Ultimate X for Bound For Glory. If you’ve got Ultimate X at the biggest PPV of the year, it has to be for the X Division title. Joe may be agile, but let’s just say that it’d be…well, comedic to see him compete in Ultimate X. They did the next best thing with Joe, though, and kept him out of the decision. No heat loss, and Daniels can survive. Yes, folks, overriding match booking does count when judging a match. If you ignore that, you’re a complete waste.
So, all in all, what did we have? Lots of bright spots in lots of unusual places. One terrific match, a good deal of servicable ones. But it wasn’t a great PPV, just an average one, thanks to various lowlights and questionable booking decisions. They’ve got to come up with something better for Bound For Glory. They’re shooting the wad on that one, and it’s got to come through. I fear, though, that part of this coming through will be the Naturals versus the New Age Outlaws (teh surpriz hell tern yay!11!!1!) for the tag titles. Don’t hot-shot anything right now just for the purpose of getting an audience on Spike. It’ll disorient people.
FROM THE LAND OF STUPIDITY
Big Sump Pump gave an interview to the Miami Herald in which he bitched and moaned about his last WWE run, thus joining us who were bitching and moaning about it while it was happening. Unfortunately, the Miami Herald requires registration, which I refuse to do, so I have to go off the summary (detailed for once) from 1bullshit Junior. Let’s see some of the idiocy on display (again, this is taken from 1bullshit Junior’s summary, so there will be quotes and statements)…
Former WCW World champion Scott Steiner did an interview with the Miami Herald, tearing down WWE for his last run with the company, saying that anyone associated with WCW was never given a chance to run with the ball.
Unless, given time, they could prove they were a good draw and were entertaining. Like, oh, Chris Jericho. It took two years, but he was rewarded for his hard work. You could even make a case for Booker. The only reason he wasn’t allowed to run with the ball was because of Trip’s ego. And then there’s Benoit and Guerrero, definitely guys associated with WCW. It’s just a matter of time, that’s all.
“Look what happened to Kevin Nash,
The Kevin Nash who kept getting injured at the drop of a hat during his final WWE run? The same Kevin Nash who blew out his quad making a tag? The same Kevin Nash who achieved his first fame as Diesel in WWE, thus giving him a track record with Vince and thus “disassociating” him with WCW?
Who got fired when he couldn’t keep his hands off the f*cking bottle.
Are we talking about Bill Goldberg the wrestler or Moishe Goldberg the opthamologist from Scarsdale? If it’s the former, then I must have imagined that Undisputed Title reign. Or doesn’t that count as “being given the ball”?
We all got treated the same. Nobody got pushed.
Oh, really? When Nash and Hall were brought back, it was as the NWO, which was linked with Vince. Being linked with Vince is automatically considered a push. Goldberg went straight into the upper card when he came in. And, if memory serves, the first two PPV matches for one Scott Steiner were title matches against Trip. But apparently that’s not a push. Of course, he pissed that away by stinking the joint up in those two matches so badly that not even Trip at his most consciencious could have carried him to something watchable. And Trip did try, for about the first minute or two of each match, until he realized that getting something out of Big Sump Pump was a lost cause.
I couldn’t even do my own material for interviews. They would not let me do my character.
And I think all of us can respond, “Thank God for that”. Has Steiner ever listened to his own promos? He regularly made Jake Roberts at Heroes of Wrestling seem clear and concise. As for his character, it was f*cking stupid to begin with.
I was handcuffed.
He should have been handcuffed and beaten.
If Vince did not create you or did not own your name like he does with Stone Cold and The Rock, for example, he won’t give you the push you deserve.
Tell that to Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero, who, hey, use their real names in the ring and weren’t “created” by Vince.
Here is a small example how screwed up things were up there. I had to explain to them my catch phase, `This goes to all my freaks out there. Big Poppa Pump is your hook up. Holla if you here me.’ They did not understand what it meant.”
Tell me what it means. I have no f*cking idea. In fact, I’d guess that most rational people over the age of 25 have no idea what it means. And are you sure that’s your catchphrase, Steiner? All I remember coming out of your mouth was some indistinct growling.
Goddamn, have the steroids affected his brain or what? Here’s another little secret he’s in denial about: he would have had almost no heat near the end of WCW if he didn’t have Midajah with him. He’s just another sad case of someone who, for some unknown reason, got a push in WCW and had special care taken with him so that he wouldn’t lose it, and then when the support system was removed, couldn’t do it on his own and failed miserably and very visibly. There was a reason he was shunted to the midcard after those two matches with Trip: he couldn’t wrestle. No workrate, constant no-selling, interfering ego…Vince doesn’t tolerate that from anyone except the Undertaker, and UT’s drawn money for Vince for fifteen years. Why the hell should Vince give the time of day to some puffed-up egomaniac who walks into the WWE locker room like his shit doesn’t stink, with a very unimpressive track record to boot (WCW never drew money with him at the top)?
What the hell did Steiner give WWE in the first place? A wrestling style that makes The Big Show look like a luchadore, a wrestler who can’t cut a coherent promo, a guy who relies on his catchphrase to get over, uninspiring finisher…yeah, that’s a golden hire right there. We all know the background. Vince was desperate to get some audience back, and he was willing to take a chance on guys who were in the WCW upper-card at one time as their guaranteed contracts ran out. That’s the only reason Steiner got in there in the first place. He had some name recognition with the wrestling audience. It wasn’t a matter of not being given the ball with him, it was a matter of dropping the ball almost as badly as his buddy Buff Bagwell.
Instead of bitching, he should get down on his knees every day and thank Vince for keeping him in the public eye for a year.
And speaking of people who should thank Vince every day, let’s go to Raw…
THE SHORT FORM
Edge and Gene Snitsky over The Big Show and Matt Hardy (Pinfall, Edge pins Hardy, spear): If there’s one thing I hate more than Angle Advancement Matches, it’s PPV Pimp Matches. You just knew that when this started out as Edge/TBS that it would somehow become a tag match. And, on top of that, the match reeked. I hate shit like this, I really do.
Shelton Benjamin over Chavito (DQ, An Argument For Graphite Shafts): Well, I was wondering about this one. Would Chavito’s new personality hamper his in-ring ability? The answer is, tragically, yes. He looked lost in there. It was like someone told him that since he was now white, he had to wrestle like a white guy. He was off his pace, the match had no flow…man, I’m pissed. They’re wrecking Chavito, and I don’t like that one damn bit.
Steve Murray sees the problem in the other direction:
So, who’s dick did Shelton refuse to suck, in order to deserve this fate? He’s the 3rd best technical wrestler in the entire company (behind Angle and Benoit), and he’s playing JTTS for guys like Carlito and f*cking CHAVO? (And why won’t anyone point out that a true golf yuppie would never have those POS persimmon woods? He should be carrying Calloway Fusion irons, an R7 driver, and a couple of Cleveland fairway woods, if he’s going to play the part. Oh – and he should claim that is handicap is “about 14”, but regularly shoot between 100-105, even with cheating.)
Agreed that Shelton doesn’t deserve to play experimental bitch for this misbegotten angle. And damn skippy on what Chavito should be carrying around in his bag. Shit, I’m just a poor guy and I’ve got better clubs than that. If he’s white and middle-class, he should have equipment you can’t pick up at a flea market. Steel shafts? No one plays steel shafts except Tigger.
Ric Flair over Chris Masters (DQ, Carly-ference): Look, even the thought of this match makes me sad. I’d prefer not to dwell on it, thank you. The only good thing that came out of this is that it’s now certain Flair’s getting the IC strap at Unforgiven. That I can cope with.
Derrek Croney, though, sees a bright spot in this whole cloudy situation:
Not that he hasn’t been showing it, but tonight, you could really tell Flair is starting to show his (old) age, but he’s STILL able to carry this kid to a 3-snowflake match on Raw. Simply amazing.
Well, it wasn’t that good, but, damn, was Flair trying his best. Wasted effort, in my opinion.
GarriLance Cade and Trevor Murdoch over Yoshihiro Tajiri and Nick Dinsmore (Pinfall, Cade pins Tajiri, flying elbow): Cade and Murdoch are extraordinarily dull, and it showed in this match. Poor Tajiri, having to be trapped in this mess. The only good thing that you can say about Cade and Murdoch is that they’re better than Novocaine Helms and His Pet Fat Fuck. That’s why I’m not going to mind them getting the tag titles on Sunday. Besides, the tag titles are irrelevant anyway. It can’t hurt to switch them for a while.
KC Evers (no relation), though, gets right down to brass tacks: Until Cade and Murdoch get a team name, they’re pretty much just America’s Most Wannabes.
John Cena over Kurt Angle and Tyson Tomko, Handicrap Match (Pinfall, Cena pins Tomko, F-U): Sorry, but I didn’t pay attention. My sanity is fragile enough as it is. The best thing about this match was Bisch going batshit during the apres. I love it when he does that.
A Masterpiece Of Bad Timing: After that turd of an opening match, they decided to try to get back into my good graces with a Shawn Michaels/Ric Flair dual promo. You know what? It almost worked. It was working until I realized one thing: they were cutting this promo to get Chris Masters over. Please note that fact: Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair teamed up on a promo to get Chris Masters over. How desperate have they become?
Steve Murray, though, goes on a different tack:
JESUS CHRISTMAS. These two could have done 30 minutes EACH on their fueds – pointing out the absurdity of the entire situation, for BOTH of them. I actually told my wife, when this segment started: “Wait, I need to get another beer. I’m *way* too sober for a Shawn Michaels interview.” HBK has practically unlimited leeway, thanks to his friendship with Trip – he can say anything he wants, whenever he wants, and nobody can do a damn thing about it. Ric Flair is — Ric Flair, dammit. Why don’t you let those two just play off of each other for AT LEAST 15 minutes? Jeezus – we can’t cut out this week’s stupid f*cking useless Diva segment? Render unto me one f*cking break.
The problem is, of course, that they had to get f*cking Masters over. I personally wouldn’t give a shit if they had the full three-hour Raw coming up next month as just one long Flair/Michaels promo. Just as long as they don’t have to put over Masters.
Many Happy Returns: Cool, Trish is back. The only way this doesn’t turn out to be good news is if it leads to the Ten-Buck Tramp getting the Women’s strap (at least it won’t happen at Unforgiven because it’ll be a tag match). Fuck it, just let her keep it forever like Moolah did. Or until they get serious about having women wrestlers around.
Oh, I’ll call it quits here. I haven’t been sleeping well, so I’m going to knock myself with a K-Dawg and see what time this afternoon I wake up. Until the weekend, ta.