Two weeks ago – I wrote a wrestling column. It was rather good.
One week ago – I didn’t write a wrestling column, blowing it off for family duties instead. Surprisingly, the world continued to turn, even though I had specifically requested otherwise.
This means that ever since I restarted this gig I have managed a whopping great total of three straight weeks, which is probably more than Widro was expecting me to manage. However, since we managed to get the Top 50 started at last, I’m not counting it as a skipped week. Oh yes, the Top 50. There will be the usual dedicated ad space to it below but I’m just going to shamelessly plug it here too. Mick Foley has nothing on me… except the hair… and the excess weight… and the hot wife… Yeah, okay, shut up. Anyway, go ahead and check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the Top 50 if you have not done so already. If you have already done so then just click on the links anyway, it doesn’t take much effort and it gets us more page hits. See? Shameless. Part 3 should be up on Tuesday.
Of course, the Top 50 would not be possible without the marvellous efforts of Ross Williams, the Shawn Michaels to my Marty Jannetty. He also kicked off his new Monday column slot this past week so go and check that one out here.
It’s been a fairly hectic news week too, and it is of course all covered below. The aftermath from NWA-TNA Unbreakable, the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, the upcoming WWE Unforgiven PPV, the latest on Brock Lesnar, the latest nuggets of idiocy to come from the Ross Report – that’s Jim Ross’ report, not Ross Williams’ report. Jim Ross is the Orlando Jordan to my Chris Benoit. – and your entire recommended daily vitamin intake… It’s all down below, so go and get on with it.
But first, some mail…
“So, with the return of Triple H, Ric Flair would be forced to return to his subservient role as The Game’s towel boy. Of coarse before long Trips would be given the contendership of John Cena’s WWE Title. But, throughout the feud Ric Flair finds himself in a moral quandary of whether of not he wants to cap of his legacy as Helmsley’s cornerman. After months of second guessing the Game as well as himself Triople H finally gets his title shot. This would all come to a head at the 2006 Royal Rumble.
Its the Royal Rumble. After a brutal war both Triple H and John Cena are spent. In a last desperate effort Triple H knocks down both John Cena and the referee. While the refs down HHH is screaming @ Flair to toss him the sledgehammer to finish off Cena, but Flair just stairs blankly back at him and just slowly shakes his head. Cena pops up “you can’t see me,” Triple turns around for F-U and 1-2-3. The crowd would explode.”
So says Franklin. I have no reason to disagree. It would be oddly fitting for Hunter and Flair to end their emphatically platonic male friendship on-screen by using Hunter’s phallic weapon of choice in such a manner, especially with the profoundly non-homosexual John Cena making a modified wanking hand gesture in the background. Man, I can’t even tell when I’m being sarcastic anymore, so you lot have no chance… Anyway, in an ideal world Triple H will return, get his title program with John Cena, not win the title and fight Flair at WrestleMania to blow-off their long-running feud. Well, maybe without using the term “blow-off” as it can have some rather disparaging connotations for such an obviously heterosexual affair…
“I have a few concerns I wish to tell you about.
Firstly, PPV’S suck! I never order them, and it seems I am never missing much. Give some reasons why that might be, ME, representing EVERYONE who might feel as I do. (please! and thankyou!)
Secondly, what’s with all you internet nerds who feel the need to fetishize over TNA. I’ve seen it. It’s like Smokey Mountain Wrestling, without the storylines plus luchadore action. SO WHAT!
Defend it, if you can, like all you internet punks like to do! Just live with it, WWE is a superior product and always will be!
But who knows? Maybe getting Mick Foley would have made them #1?”
From one Brian Simerl. Very well, let’s go through this… You don’t need to order PPVs to keep up with the storylines since all the storyline advancement takes place on the TV shows anyway. You may miss out on some good wrestling matches on the PPVs but it is very rare that any one particular match is worth paying for, and even rarer that there is more than one of them on the same card. So far this year, there’s been WrestleMania XXI and that’s it. There have been good matches on some of the other cards, but as a whole that was the only one actually worth paying for – unless you are a Hogan fan, in which case there was SummerSlam too. But at the end of the day, you can either just download the good stuff or wait and buy the DVD if the reviews convince you the show was any good. Plus, there are numerous compilation DVDs available now, all of which are definitely a better purchase than any particular PPV. As for TNA… do you know what a luchadore is? And I just said in my last column that WWE had no competition and more than likely never would, so I’m not really sure what the point is here. And the only thing that Mick Foley can make #1 is when he goes to the bathroom.
Speaking of the competition thing, here’s Chuck Betress…
“One thing I must disagree with you on is that there is no promoter in the WORLD to compete with Vince. Yes there is….in Japan that is. That is Mitsuharu Misawa, Japanese wrestling legend and NOAH (I guess figurehead) owner of Pro Wrestling NOAH. Last month, they held their second ever Tokyo Dome show (7/18/05) and it was a fantastic wrestling show by the way. But any ways, they claimed as 62,000 crowd attendance for that show. Now many say it was more like 52,000-55,000, but that is still a huge number. And considering that the only promotions that had any shot at selling out Tokyo Dome are PRIDE FC and K-1 (fighting organizations, not pro wrestling) and no one pro wrestling organization had a number that NOAH miraculously had in a good 4-5 years, that is remarkable. And let’s be realistic, Vince has no shot in the dark at even getting half house at the Dome. If NJPW can’t get half houses at the Dome anymore, neither could Vince. And considering that the two Saitama Super Arena shows the WWE did earlier this year got about 16,200some-21,000 people, PRIDE FC just did about 45,000and some number for that show. So yes, Japanese promoters can compete with Vince in their mainland (and possibly other Asian countries and Russia), no American or Canadian or Mexican or anything else promoter can. Thank you for your time.”
Okay, I admit that I don’t know a great deal about the Japanese wrestling scene. If NOAH can get over 50,000 to come see one of their shows then great, more power to them. It still doesn’t make them competition for Vince though. WWE can go over to Japan and get a five-figure crowd to one of their shows. NOAH would not be able to do that in the USA, nor would New Japan or any other overseas wrestling promotion. Hell, I doubt that any other promotion in the States would be able to either. Let’s face it, WWE makes plenty money in Japan but if they suddenly stopped putting shows on there for some reason then they wouldn’t go out of business. It’s supplemental income but its not vital to their survival like their US fanbase is, and NOAH stands no chance whatsoever of taking that away from them. They do need to be wary of the rise of MMA, though.
Right, there were more letters but this thing is already running long, so let’s just get on with it. Feel free to drop me a line if you’ve anything to say or ask or if you happen to have any really good chicken based recipes.
TOP 5 REASONS TO WATCH RAW:
“All rise for the honourable Judge Reinhold.”
JIM ROSS managed to bestow his greatness upon us once more with his latest instalment of the Ross Report. Let’s see what little gems he can muster up this week…
“How fortunate are Cade and Murdoch to get a Tag Team Championship match so quickly in their WWE tenure?”
More importantly, who cares? I get a Tag Team Championship match all the damn time. I had one this morning whilst reading the paper. There was a two-for-one offer on Tag Team Championship matches. All I had to do was cut out that elusive third coupon and send it in, so there we go. I’m fighting for the titles a week next Thursday, if I can be bothered to turn up.
“I hope these two pups realize what an opportunity that awaits them this Sunday and they take full advantage of the moment.”
Yes, they can remind people just how full their bladders are and that they really should go and empty them now. They can help persuade people that they really need to go and get more nachos from the concession stand and not buy Christian merchandise. They can persuade me to skip the entire match altogether. Hallelujah, what an age we live in…
“Did this opportunity come too soon for this young duo?”
As long as I’m alive the answer to this question will be ‘yes.’
“Are they ready for the pressure of wrestling for a championship on a live, worldwide broadcast?”
If their appearances on Raw are anything to go by then Cade isn’t ready to be of more worth to the company than his previous partner, The Coach, and Murdoch isn’t ready to be convinced of the benefits that breathing properly can deliver.
“We’ll find out Sunday, but the landscape seems ready for some new teams on both RAW and SmackDown to step up and contribute in a major way. I know I have said this before, and recently, but damn I would like to see some red-hot tag teams start tearing up RAW and SmackDown.”
Why is that, exactly? Seriously, I just cannot see the benefit in wasting time on these shows by trying to maintain one competitive tag team division, let alone two of them. By all means, create alliances between wrestlers and have tag team matches whenever they are needed, but do we really need to keep the belts and try to delude ourselves into thinking that any of it actually means a damn? Scrap the belts, use the extra time to develop the Women and Cruiserweight Divisions in addition to further developing under-used mid-card talent, and then, at some vague point in the future, if you are incredibly desperate to bring back the tag teams, then go for it.
Anyway, in addition to his usual stance on the tag team scene, Jim also welcomes back Trish Stratus and puts over the benefits of yoga in recovering from injury. Jim, if it would help heal Trish then I’d do yoga in a bathtub full of rusted nails and battery acid. Let’s have another picture of Trish, just because…
Pity the poor, deluded fool that added that quote to the picture…
Oh, and apparently SHAWN MICHAELS has an autobiography due out on the 15th November, called Heartbreak & Triumph. If I was him, I’d have called it Hookers & Blow. Jim liked the book, which is strike 1. He also warns us that Bret Hart fans won’t like it, which is strike 2. The blurb on Amazon says “this is the full story of his truly remarkable comeback”, which is strike 3. I have no great need to read about how great God is and so I’ll be staying away from this one. If they ever get around to releasing a decent DVD package for Michaels, then I might be more tempted. Besides, I already have my own God…
The Four Horsemen ride again, bitch
“Who’s driving? Oh my God, BEAR is driving. How can that be?”
Unfortunately for TNA, JEFF JARRETT remains the God of “Planet Jarrett” and recaptured the NWA World Heavyweight Title on a Border City Wrestling card in Oldcastle, Ontario on the 15th September. This makes him an eight-time World Champion, which is a scary thought. The general consensus online has been as negative as anything involving Jarrett and a title belt could be expected to be treated. The justification for this phantom title switch seems to be that they want the belt to be on the most recognisable person for the Spike TV debut of Impact, which is also why Styles once again won the X Title. If that’s true… If it wasn’t just an act of ego on Jarrett’s part… If they really do believe that there will be people sitting at home going “Hey, Jeff Jarrett is the World Champion, let’s tune in to Impact and see who beats him”… If that’s the mentality we are dealing with here then, well, they are doing nothing to dispel the myth of wrestlers being dumb, are they?
Let’s just keep our feet on the ground here and think this one through. The vast majority of the minority of people that are actually going to tune in and watch Impact are the people that already follow TNA, and I would hazard a guess that very few of these people desire another Jarrett title reign. Sure, there will be the odd random new viewer that discovers the show and some of these might even become regular followers, but they will be few and far between and the decision to carry on watching will have precious little to do with who holds any of the titles and plenty to do with the quality of the wrestling action. There may even be the odd WWE fan that hasn’t seen any TNA programming before and tunes in, yet these people are more likely to be persuaded to not stick around if Jarrett is champion rather than anything else. They already have WWE being dominated by the poster child for nepotism in Triple H; they don’t want to see essentially the same thing with a less talented wrestler in a less well-developed setting. To most wrestling fans, you think Jeff Jarrett and your mind immediately leaps to David Arquette, and that is something that you just don’t want.
And as for those aforementioned established TNA fans, should they really be happy about the title changing hands in a show they can’t see – especially after having just shelled out money for Unbreakable and being brainwashed into handing over more money for Bound For Glory? Why the hell should they bother if they are just going to have the belt dropped at a non-televised event? Not only that, it was in Canada and not in Orlando or Nashville, where most of the TNA fanbase no doubt lives. Not even taking into account the guy that wound up as champion, it is an incredibly stupid thing to do. As far as I know, Raven is not injured and had no pressing need to drop the title this week, so heaven knows what they were playing at. It’s a shame, because if they had done the switch at Unbreakable instead of the enjoyable, yet pointless, Raven/Rhino match then it would have been perfectly acceptable.
Yet now, assuming the title is not held up or lost again in the meantime, they’ll have to get an opponent for Jarrett for Bound For Glory. Considering how thickly they have been laying on the hype for this particular PPV, and the momentum that they could still pick up from the Spike TV shows along the way, they will need to get something memorable here. There is certainly a long list of contenders – Raven, Rhino, Monty Brown, Jeff Hardy and Abyss all have valid claims to get a title shot. The promotional material for the event features Kevin Nash. We could well be looking at a King Of The Mountain Match with Nash in some sort of special guest enforcer role. It’s not perfect and it certainly didn’t need Jarrett as champion for it to happen, but it’s the best that I could think of at the moment. The match that they really should have gone with was Jarrett as champion (after having held onto it for several months prior to this point) and then let Monty absolutely waste him to pick up the title. At least that would have created a memorable moment for their flagship PPV. Ah, well… what could have been… Whatever they do from here, they really do need to let Monty run with the belt. They are positioning themselves as a fresh new alternative wrestling show and, other than Abyss or Styles, Monty is the only fresh-face with no baggage as a WCW/WWE reject credible enough to hold the title. Since Monty has never held the belt before and is by far more charismatic than they are, he’s the guy to go with.
But then I wouldn’t put money on them being smart enough to realise this.
In brighter TNA news, they are releasing a Wal-Mart exclusive Anthology DVD, with the Victory Road, Turning Point and Lockdown PPVs included. That’s 10 hours of wrestling for $25, which is a bargain in anybody’s language, including Dusty-Talk.
“The weed of crime bears bitter fruit you old hag.”
CANDICE MICHELLE has been tipped to be the next Diva to pose nude for Playboy, as was cryptically hinted at in the Ross Report a few weeks back. Actually, Jim told us that it would be a ‘shocking’ pick, or something along those lines. ‘Shocking’ would be someone that has turned down prior offers, like Lita, someone new to the company, like Melina, or someone that nobody would think would ever do it, like Stephanie. Candice Michelle – or Identikit Slapper #012, as it states on her assembly instructions – is hardly a ‘shocking’ pick, nor is it likely to lead to a great deal of mainstream attention on the Road to WrestleMania, which this seems to be geared towards as with Identikit Slapper #009 last year. I guess Vince thinks people just can’t stop thinking about Go Daddy, which I’m told had a ‘risquÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¿Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ÃƒÆ’¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©’ commercial starring Michelle earlier in the year. I don’t know about you, but when it comes down to watching wrestling, I tend to not bother thinking about old commercials. Similarly, when it comes down to ‘shocking’ women posing nude, I tend to not apply that description to women that have already posed nude, as Michelle has done…
Here’s one… There’s another… Have some more… And there’s almost another…
“Way to go, you beautiful gay bastard.”
In some news that thankfully did not involve nudity, JBL recently had an interview with Wrestling Epicentre, and a most interesting one it was too. Say what you must about JBL, if the sceptics are still out there in force as they were last year, but the man knows what beats the heart of wrestling and proved it by noting that the newer crop of wrestling stars are working before crowds of 20,000 almost straight away instead of working in front of just 20 people.
To put it in his own words – “They learn the wrestling moves but they don’t learn wrestling… You simply have got to feel. You have to feel what [the crowds] want and you have to include them in your match. You can’t go in there with a set choreographed wrestling match. You have to react. But to do that, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. You try to tell these guys, its okay. You’ll learn. But, if you don’t do that, you’ll never learn the business… [Batista and Cena] have grasped it and I think that’s one of the reasons they’re in the positions they’re in.”
Like him or not, you really can’t dispute that. The sad thing is that guys like Masters and Carlito are being pushed so far, so soon, that if they can’t learn the indefinable spontaneity of wrestling quicker than they are probably able to, then they will immediately be shoved back down the card and have to wait several years to be given another chance to shine within WWE, if it ever happens. They just come in, immediately get plugged into the card at one particular level, and then that’s that. Cade and Murdoch come in and immediately (presumably) get the tag team titles… so then what do they do? Brock Lesnar came in and practically got the World Title straight away… then he lost his passion as there was nothing left to hunt for, so he quit. Carlito comes in to dominate the secondary title level on Smackdown, then again on Raw… and will more than likely be stuck there from now on. There was a reason why it was so emotional when Benoit and Guerrero finally got the big one, you know…
Speaking of Guerrero, JBL also put him over huge, saying that he “…could wrestle with a broom stick and have a great match. I have more respect for Eddie Guerrero than I think anybody ever in this wrestling business. He’s the greatest wrestler I’ve ever seen.”
Come on, you can’t possibly still hate JBL after that, can you? If it’s the Blue Meanie thing that still makes you mad at him then, well, here’s what he had to say about that – “That was no big deal. He got busted open with a punch. I got busted open with a punch last week by Batista. Those things happen. He’s not a bad guy, he’s a good guy. I like the Blue Meanie. This is a grown up sport played by grown ups. It’s not ballet.”
You can’t argue with that either. Well, unless you happen to be Vince McMahon and feel like extolling the benefits of sports-entertainment over mere sports, but that’s another thing altogether.
The bottom line is – save your JBL hatred for Rod Stewart, who is far more deserving of it.
“Don’t hang up. We don’t have to talk about the Matrix. We can just talk about… stuff. Your favorite bands, chicks who’ve broken our hearts… um, the Matrix…”
BROCK LESNAR is scheduled to be working for NJPW at their Tokyo Dome show on the 8th October, competing against champion Kazuyuki Fujita alongside Masahiro Chono in a three-way match. The following things spring readily to mind…
1. Brock is not coming back to WWE after all, and the nonsense posted on WWE.com was as misguided as Brock’s NFL career turned out to be.
2. Brock is coming back to WWE and this is just a rather outlandish attempt to work the fans, which has the added benefit of getting Brock a bit of in-ring training against some very talented opponents.
3. Brock is going to New Japan to work on a regular basis and will return to WWE at some later point.
4. Brock is going to New Japan to work on a regular basis and will not return to WWE ever.
5. Brock is just doing this as a one-off in order to weasel out of some hidden clause in his no-compete clause that has been brought up in the court case with WWE.
6. The control pad for the Nintendo Revolution is pretty damn cool:
Shame the console itself doesn’t have a hope in hell.
7. I need to go to the bathroom.
8. I had a thoroughly satisfying urination experience. It was a bit unsure to start off with, there was even a bit that hit the floor, but it all came together well enough by the end.
9. For the love of everything everyone has ever held sacred, stop with the numbers already.
So, as you can see, the Brock situation is quite complex. It’s all too much for me to take.
“Nothing can kill the Grimace.”
In happy news for consumer whores the world over, the JAKE ROBERTS DVD will be out in early December. The charmingly titled Pick Your Poison match-listing has also been revealed, and here it is:
vs. Ricky Steamboat, Snake Pit Match, The Big Event – 28/08/86
vs. Honky Tonk Man, WrestleMania III – 29/03/87
vs. Ravishing Rick Rude, Rude Awakening vs. DDT Match, MSG – 24/10/88
w/ Ricky Steamboat vs. Jim Nelson & Mike Miller, Mid-Atlantic – 09/09/81
vs. Ronnie Garvin, World Television Championship Match, Georgia Championship – 12/03/83
vs. Leaping Lanny Poffo, MSG – 16/03/86
vs. Earthquake, Superstars – 27/04/91 [Death of Damien]
vs. Sting, Coal Miner’s Glove Match, Halloween Havoc – 25/10/92
vs. Dirty White Boy, Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Championship, Smoky Mountain Wrestling – 07/05/94
vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, King of the Ring Final – 23/06/96
vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler, SummerSlam – 18/08/96
w/ Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible & Jack Victory, November 2 Remember – 01/11/98
– The Snake Pit Moments with Hulk Hogan and Junkyard Dog
– Classic interviews & promos with Vince McMahon, Brother Love, Mean Gene Okerland and more
You can’t really argue with that line-up, though I’d imagine that it is the Snake Pit moments, the interviews and the recently filmed documentary with/about Jake that will be the real selling point for this set. I’m sure I’ll be picking it up at some point, though I still want to get the Eddie Guerrero and Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s sets first… and that WrestleMania III & IV set… and The Simpsons season 6… and Lost season 1… and Scrubs season 2… and That ’70s Show (my secret shame) season 2… So Jake might have to wait quite a while.
Like I said:
Venti this, you wanker.
THE TOP 50 2005
1996/1997: Bret Hart
1997/1998: Chris Jericho
1998/1999: Mick Foley
1999/2000: Chris Jericho
2000/2001: Kurt Angle
2001/2002: Kurt Angle
2002/2003: Kurt Angle
2003/2004: Eddie Guerrero
If you read Inside Pulse at all then you should know by now that the esteemed Ross Williams and I have been continuing our annual tradition by bringing you – yes, you – the ninth Top 50 countdown! If you didn’t know this then I also have some other breaking news for you – grass is green, human beings need oxygen, and chocolate muffins are tasty. Anyway, it’s up now for your viewing pleasure.
– Who did we say “…should bring a smile to the face of every wrestling fan in the whole wide world”?
– Who will “…be turning up in TNA any time now to spin, leap, flip and possibly perform “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” at Karaoke”?
Go and read Part 1 of the Top 50 to find out the answers to these undeniably important questions and see who made the list from #50 through to #31.
– Who is Captain Smug?
– Whose wife should Kurt Angle teabag?
Check out Part 2 and see for yourself, as we check out #30 right up to #11.
The vital Part 3, complete with the prestigious top ten, shall be with you very, very shortly…
Any comments? Send ’em here or head on over to the forums.
NWA-TNA UNBREAKABLE: AFTERMATH
3 Live Kru vs. Diamonds In The Rough
B.G. made me want to throw things at the screen, the walls and the world at large just because he was as annoying as always. Killings made me wonder just how it is that one person so talented could be so dumb that he could be so content to waste his time hanging around with those other two imbeciles… or is it just me that’s dumb because I wouldn’t want to? No. No, it’s the rest of the world that is wrong. Konnan made me want to laugh, as he generally does. Usually this is because I just start to imagine how amusing it would be to throw my shoe at people randomly in real life. The flight attendant comes round on the plane to take drinks orders…. *thwap* shoe to the head. The phone starts to make strange and loud noises in the middle of the night… *thud* there goes the shoe. Students keep clogging up my town? Well, that’s gonna call for a drive-by shoe-ing fleet of shoe-flavoured vehicles. Mine tastes like Converse. I think I was writing about a wrestling match here, right? This is the wrestling column? I keep forgetting, I’m writing many different things at once here and it is mighty confusing. Like that time when Batman came over for dinner. He kept asking how “open minded” I was… Most peculiar fellow. What? Oh, Unbreakable. Yeah. I guess the match wasn’t bad. I keep typing math by mistake. It’s very annoying. By the way, if you have to go to Simon Diamond for career help then you might as well just move straight on over to the food service industry and be done with it.
Token Ring Of Honour Match:
Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong
Aries is a wonderful talent and could certainly do a hell of a lot if he becomes a permanent fixture in the X Division, which he undoubtedly will be following this match and his efforts against Christopher Daniels at No Surrender. Not so sure about Strong, however. He certainly has the moves but he looks about as threatening as the cast of Care Bears and would seem to have the ring presence of a very good accountant whose mind was distracted by the non-notarised tax return sitting… waiting… teasing him back in the office… Anyway, all in all this was a pleasing exhibition match, nothing more, nothing less. I’m quite hungry. Hungry and there is no chocolate in the house. Damn, don’t tell me I’m going to have to go outside… Three dimensional people tend to annoy me…
Monty Brown Appreciation Match:
Kip James & Monty Brown vs. Apollo & Lance Hoyt
Okay, so on one team there is a big powerful guy that’s really popular. On the other team, there is a big powerful guy that’s really popular. They are both teaming up with marginally smaller people that are massively less talented and interesting. Anybody else seeing a bit of a problem with this? It could have been worse, I suppose. They seem to have finally let the New Age Outlaws reunion angle go, instead gearing up for a Monty/Kip feud that should provide a whole lot of nothing besides the obvious gratification to be had from Kip getting Pounced. The match itself was, naturally, completely overshadowed by trying to further this potential feud, in addition to Monty’s title challenge from earlier in the evening. That’s three slices of bland in a row for this card so far, with only Monty’s charismatic espresso rage offering up anything of note.
Hail Canada Match:
Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin
A much better effort here, with two of the company’s finest getting a chance to go head-to-head for no particular reason other than they are capable of having a good match. A very good match, as it turned out. Then, immediately after it was over and done with, we got the return of Matt Bentley and all the necessary storyline complications he brought with him. His challenge for an Ultimate X Match at Bound For Glory makes a crazy kind of sense. TNA obviously wants to make themselves seem more important with the dawning of the Spike Era as they approach their randomly-chosen annual highlight Bound For Glory and, as they are gradually beginning to realise, it is the X Division that really makes TNA worth watching. Therefore, they need the definitive X Division match on this, apparently, definitive PPV, which does of course mean Ultimate X. What doesn’t make much sense is why Bentley is being presented as such a prominent player in all of this. His little speech essentially translated as “Hey, I didn’t go to WWE! Love me!” If you want to get people to start taking your promotion a bit more seriously, then you don’t try and rate what your wrestlers do by comparing them to another promotion. If you want the best of the X Division to be showcased in an Ultimate X bout then you use guys like Styles and Daniels or Williams and Sabin, or Jerry Lynn if he’s fit, or Frankie Kazarian if he’s available, or maybe even Samoa Joe if you can reinforce the damn wires. But… Matt Bentley? Sure… Of course, the title situation has changed completely since this PPV in a most unusual manner.
No Disqualification Match:
Sabu vs. Abyss
Fun. If you like that sort of thing. Personally, I prefer to remain nonplussed by it all. The thumbtacks bump was as sick as could be expected but the rest of the match remained as disjointed as everything else Sabu has ever done, with Abyss throwing in all of his usual moves with slightly less gusto than usual. I appreciate the effort by both men, but this sort of thing rarely entertains me. Again, much like Monty Brown, Abyss is just generally dithering around in lieu of getting a full-on championship program.
“What The Hell Is A Charismatic Enigma Anyway?” Match:
Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy
Quick note to Roode – yelling “U.S.A. Sucks!” half-a-dozen times during the one match is not a particularly clever thing to do and will not help whatsoever in convincing your audience that Canadians are not brain-dead, second-class citizens to be treated with mild disdain. Quick note to Hardy – you are without a doubt the single greatest person I have ever seen in my entire life. Absolutely, hands down, the most enthralling, captivating and truly individualistic shining light of inspiration that this world could have dared to see. Really, you truly are what the wrestling world needs and your personal hygiene is beyond reproach. No, I have no idea what the word ‘sarcasm’ means. Anyway, it seems that Hardy is also being touted as a potential title contender again. That’s three of ’em and we haven’t even gotten to the main events…
NWA World Tag Team Titles Four-Way Match:
The Naturals vs. Team Canada vs. America’s Most Wanted vs. Alex Shelley
I read one idea somewhere that Shelley should be compensated for Sean Waltman’s no-show and his subsequent prompt dismissal from this match by getting to wrestle Jushin Liger at Bound For Glory. That’s certainly not a bad idea considering the huge exposure it would give to Shelley, and the kid certainly appears to be capable of handling himself admirably in the ring against Liger, but they will probably want a more established opponent for ol’ Thunder. In this particular match he was, of course, a non-factor, and the less said about the C and D grade members of Team Canada the better. The real story here, as always, was between the Naturals and AMW, who will no doubt have yet another title match at Bound For Glory now that AMW have turned heel and allied themselves with Jarrett. It’s about time they did something to try and liven up this respectful rivalry they have had going on for the past few months, and the Naturals certainly shouldn’t have to be the heels considering their recent history with Candido, so the heel turn makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that they did it on a non-televised event instead of on the PPV, or even on Impact. That one has taken a logic-bypass hand-in-hand with what happened to the World Title…
NWA World Heavyweight Title “Raven’s Rules” Match:
Raven vs. Rhino
Firstly, let’s give TNA some credit for having the good sense to make the X Title match into the main event. Not only does it further bolster the credibility of that title, but it shows a level of security that WWE would be unable to achieve. Could you imagine something like the Dudleys/Hardys/E&C TLC match being given the main event slot? No, even though it would clearly steal the show regardless. Secondly, let’s give Raven and Rhino a super-sized slice of credit pie with added whipped cream and cherries on top for putting on such a good hardcore brawl. Strangely, it didn’t hold together as well as their tamer match at Backlash 2001 did but, still, it was fun. Thirdly, let’s withhold credit from the people that put this match on in the first place and then smack them about the head for being dumb enough to book the title switch on some random show in Canada instead. And it wasn’t even to Rhino, or any of the other people that have been bitching about getting their shot on this show alone. No, it was Jarrett yet again, with all the inevitability of Flair going to the top rope, getting the World Title back. This also rendered this particular title match completely pointless, which I’m sure does not sit well with the dozen people that actually paid to watch Unbreakable and will wind up with half-a-dozen of them just not bothering with the next TNA PPV. Hell, it more or less made No Surrender pointless too. Then we were told that Jarrett would either get a title shot or have to wait for a year to get one depending on whether he could pin Raven in a tag match or not. Then neither of those two situations happened, with Jarrett’s tag partner getting the shot instead. What, they couldn’t have just had a triple threat match here and had the unwarranted title change go down here, with Raven fighting off Rhino and taking down Jarrett, only to have AMW interfere and cost him the match? That wouldn’t have been slightly more sensible booking? Who am I talking to here?
NWA-TNA X Division Championship Three-Way Match:
Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles
Okay, by this point whilst watching the show I was emphatically bored by it all – particularly since I finally got my hands on the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection and wanted to get on with that one instead. After the events of the past week in NWA, I am retroactively pissed off by it all whilst writing this section for the column. It all comes down to the main event to offer up some salvation and luckily it involves three of the best wrestlers in the world today and yes, oh yes, it was even better than you could have imagined. What they plan on doing with the X Division for the next PPV is rather open-ended, what with the Jushin Liger showcase to take care of, in addition to the Ultimate X challenge, and several other major talents that should get a chance to show what they can do on Bound For Glory, not to mention potentially moving one of these three guys back into the World Title chase, but I would be quite content to just let these three guys run the entire damn show. Seriously, if you got all three of them back together for a one-hour Iron Man Match and ran with that as the sole match on the card then put it onto PPV, I would buy it. It would certainly give greater value for money than the undercard here did, where nothing was actively bad, just actively boring for the most part and occasionally stupid. This could well end up being the Match of the Year since the only people likely to raise the bar any higher are these three guys – particularly with Angle and Michaels stuck working with Cena and Masters. The only quibble is with the result. Everybody loves A.J., I get it, but does he really need the title back? The promotion is only three years old but he’s already a five-time X Champion, a three-time World Champion and a two-time Tag Team Champion. It seems rather backwards to build up Daniels with the longest X Title reign ever, set up his latest title defense to be against the hot newcomer to the company, the undefeated Samoa Joe, and then stick A.J. into the mix and have him wind up with the belt. After being treated to such a fantastic match it seems silly to quibble about the outcome, but… why?
TOP 5 COOLEST ACTORS:
1. Bill Murray
2. Crispin Glover
3. Bruce Campbell
4. Jack Nicholson
5. Gene Hack-Man
WWE UNFORGIVEN: PREVIEW
Disclaimer: I wrote this little preview at the end of a very long day, whilst in a very angry mood, and it doesn’t make a great deal of sense. It does, however, highlight how poor this PPV will be and how poor Raw in general has been for the past month(s).
WWE Championship Match:
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
I’m rapidly losing patience with everybody that insists on John Cena being the next big breakthrough star. What exactly is he going to break through? The stupidity barrier? Another man’s anus? His own skin when he falls flat on his ass after losing his balance with that strange staggering entrance of his? I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m also rapidly losing patience with everybody that insists on John Cena being some kind of flash-in-the-pan, fifteen-minutes-and-yer-done, random, WrestleCrap bound mistake that will quietly shuffle off into the night to try and recapture his glory in endlessly recycled storylines in TNA at some point in the near future. He’s here and he’s going to stay. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is. WWE is making money off him and will continue to do so no matter how ludicrously cringe-worthy he has become. It’s just like The Simpsons. You know who gets the blame for all of this? You do. FUCK YOU. In addition to all of this, I’m rapidly losing patience with myself for being as angry as I am right now. I just can’t stand it. Probably shouldn’t have had that sixth cup of coffee but hey, I’m tired. Angry and tired. Like Homer Simpson on the Jerry Springer Show. You know, back when he was good. And why, oh why, does Edinburgh need to welcome so many obnoxious, ignorant and flat-out irritating Freshers every year, clogging up my city with their stupid backpacks hanging off their arses, their excessively pink shirts and their stupid fluffy haircuts, banging on about subjects that they know nothing about but insist on loudly proclaiming their all-encompassing genius to the world in my pubs, on my streets, in my time, getting in my way and sending my blood pressure to unparalled heights of rage??? And all this followed up by having to talk about John Fucking Cena? Who cares? Fuck you, students. Fuck you, Cena. Fuck you, you and especially, oh dear lord, especially those people buying Ramones T-shirts that don’t even own a f*cking Ramones album. For crying out loud, they’re a band, not a fashion statement, and the only fashion statement you need to worry about making is avoiding trends at all f*cking costs for fear of being infected by the deadly virus known as Freshers! Fuck off! And now, after all this, Kurt Angle isn’t even going to win the WWE Championship? Well, that’s just great, why don’t I just sit here and hit myself in the head until I die? Would that make you happy? Huh? What if I did it whilst bending over, would that make it easier for you to f*ck me up further? Huh? Would it? With my ass? And the f*cking? Huh? You make me sick. Just f*ck off.
Edge vs. Matt Hardy
Oh, fantastic, it’s Dogboy and Bitch Tits. And look, this time they’re in a cage. Well, wow. Weren’t they supposed to have died on Raw a few weeks ago? They really went all out selling those injuries, didn’t they? Iain, can you stop asking so many questions? Okay. Sorry. Shut up. Right. Anyway, this feud has now officially entered The Dull Zone. This is a special zone reserved solely for the continual bombardment upon the unsuspecting viewer of things that should have been wrapped up or made more interesting a long time ago. Things like the nWo after Starrcade ’97, or Ted Dibiase’s Million Dollar Corporation, or Randy Orton. Really, there is no good reason for dragging this insipid feud on until WrestleMania, so I hope that Hardy was just being delusional when he came out with that little gem a couple of weeks ago. There’s not even any point to this thing anymore. Edge stole Matt’s girlfriend, Matt returned and beat him up a bunch of times, the end. If they try and drag it on much longer then people will probably wind up cheering Edge on instead. I’m surprised it hasn’t started already, actually. At the very least they need to start progressing this thing so there is at least a new hook to try and keep the attention of people that just don’t care about the soap opera aspect. If Edge took the most important thing in Matt’s life, then let Matt take the most important thing in Edge’s life, i.e. the Money In The Bank title shot. Or let Matt get over himself and give him a new girlfriend, such as Trish Stratus. Oh no, that’s right, we need Trish to do more important things, such as trying to teach Ashley how the left foot and the right foot have this strange alternating relationship that lets us do this magical thing we call “walking” and that it is in fact essential to use this in order to wrestle. Of course, if it was up to me then we’d just have Kane come back and splat them all across the ring before setting the cage on fire and eating the damn briefcase. In fact, they should bring back Kane with The Godfather gimmick. Psycho Pimp. It’d be awesome. Better yet, hire Sean Waltman and have him be Matt’s new girlfriend. That’s just disturbing… think of the hair… eww…
Intercontinental Title Match:
Carlito vs. Ric Flair
It is a sure sign that there is something wrong with this show when I would rather watch Ric Flair try to wrestle a box of apples than I would try to watch him wrestle the Intercontinental Champion. It is equally bad that the only worthwhile thing about the Intercontinental Champion is his haircut. Back when Carlito first appeared on WWE, I actually liked him. He had a fairly unique look, his attitude and catchphrase looked like it could lead to some unique moments, and he came from a wrestling background so would probably learn to improve in the ring as time went on. Unfortunately, he hasn’t improved at all, his catchphrase is still the only thing he has, and the bit with the apples stopped being cool back on Smackdown, let alone on Raw. What’s worse is that he should still have time to improve yet WWE is killing any chance of this happening by shoving him into the spotlight so suddenly. It’s the same premature push that they are doing with Chris Masters and it makes absolutely no sense. They are young, they have a few basic skills, they could improve in a couple of years time to be worthy of getting into the ring against people like Flair and Michaels and actually keeping up with them… but right now, as a paying customer, they are not even worthy of scraping chewing gum off the sole of my shoe. Not that there is any gum on the sole of my shoe. This is because I’m not dumb enough to stand in any of it accidentally, so I would have to actually chew my own gum and deliberately go out of my way to spit it out and step in it, and I am not prepared to waste any of my own gum in order to give either of them something to do, because they’re not even worth of doing it, and they are especially not worth the 50p it would cost to buy some gum, because I’m all out! So f*ck off! And why the hell does anybody want Flair to win the IC belt? For crying out loud, if he must get another singles belt then there is not any point in giving him any title other than The Big One, and we all know that won’t happen because heaven forbid Flair goes out there and does that without the involvement of Triple H. Can Flair even do anything without Triple H? Can he fall asleep without H reading him a bedtime story? Can he eat steak without H cutting it up for him? Can he do anything in a wrestling ring without being a complete parody, as he has been in this feud so far? Well, with the exception of that bit where he beat up the apples. Which brings me back to my original point. Which is lost in the mail somewhere. Which makes me sad. And angry. Oh, so very angry.
“Full Nelsons Degrade Us All” Match:
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters
Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die.
World Tag Team Titles Match:
Rosey & The Hurricane vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch
Let me make this perfectly clear…
THERE IS NO POINT IN HAVING ANY TAG TEAM TITLES ANYMORE.
KILL THE TAG TEAM TITLES.
We’re shortly going to just have the two hours of Raw and a one hour recap show. There is no chance in hell that they are going to be able to craft any sort of interesting tag team division when they have even less time to do it in than they already have. There is no chance in hell that they can lump some random losers from the mid-card together and get anybody interested in watching them as a tag team. There is no chance in hell that they can bring in any existing tag teams from outside WWE because the things that make them interesting they will not be able to do, and even if they are able to do them, they will just wind up being split-up as soon as they get any sort of sustained reaction from the crowds anyway. There is no need to have any sort of tag team title to justify the existence of a tag team, since they exist only to give us more mid-card losers anyway. Let them team up, let them hang out in silly skits, let them interfere in one another’s matches, just let them f*cking get on with doing what they do, just don’t try and pretend that the existence of yet another meaningless title is in any way, shape or form necessary to the Raw brand. Listen to Bischoff. He said this same thing back in 1998, everybody called him an idiot, but he was damn right. Just give over this airtime to fleshing out existing singles wrestlers and storylines rather than this tripe. And while we’re at it…
“Divas Make Baby Jesus Cry” Match:
Ashley & Trish Stratus vs. Victoria & Torrie Wilson
DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE.
“Pepe Died For Your Sins” Match:
Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White
How sad is it that this is the one match on the card with the least potential to make me angry? Sure, Shelton has been criminally neglected since Carlito turned up. Sure, Kerwin needs to Chav himself back together again rather than sticking with the rather off-putting out-dated racist gimmick. Sure, neither of them will get enough time or creative freedom to put on a decent match. Sure, I want to keep starting every sentence in this paragraph with the word ‘sure’. Sure, I can probably pull it off. Sure, there’s no point to it. Sure, this match also has very little point. Sure, it could be entertaining though. Sure, it’s certainly more entertaining than this final little nugget of joy will be…
The Big Show vs. Gene Snitsky
That’s it, I’m outta here.
TOP 5 THINGS THAT MATT HARDY WILL NOT DO:
– ANDY CAMPBELL is back in the Wrestling zone with an all-new Talk Soup focusing on Ring of Honour that you just plain need to go and read or I will cry.
– ROSS WILLIAMS, as always.
– VINNY TRUNCELLITO looks at the few remaining tag teams around but does nothing to convince me WWE should keep those titles.
– DAVID BRASHEAR has a column about Mark Henry that’s so big it had to be split into two parts. That’s quite a feat.
– PHIL CLARK & J.D. SPEICH compare the Edge/Hardy and Eddie/Rey soap operas, but I have to disagree with the rather harsh criticism of Rey in the conclusion. He’s still the 3rd or 4th most popular face on Smackdown, guys.
– If you are roughly the same age as me that would make you a child of the ’80s, which means that you need to take a trip down memory lane with this Best of the ’80s feature. It’s geared more towards American kids but still, Transformers deserve respect in any country. The ’80s really were great for kids, weren’t they? Damn, I feel old now…
– Speaking of the Robots in Disguise, the Earth-2 version of Scott Keith has put up a Smark Rant for Transformers the Movie here. That’s just odd and slightly unsettling.
– The greatest comic book writer working today, Grant Morrison, has a very entertaining interview with Pop Thought that makes for fun reading. Why did Morrison then have to ruin his reputation by working on the next Robbie Williams album? Why Grant, why?
– The second coolest actor in the world, Crispin Glover rants and raves in a most gratifying manner in this little essay about culture and the evil nature of Senor Spielbergo.
Iain Burnside is currently insistent that you all read the Top 50…