Truth or Consequences: Destrucity or Delusion?

Hey there people – it’s been another wonderful week here in my little corner of cyberspace. I’ve been busy pre-ordering goodies over the Internet, including the forthcoming XBox 360 console, the Complete WrestleMania boxed set (yeah, baby!) and, of course, the Jake “The Snake” Roberts DVD. Thanks to the wonders of eBay, I am now the proud possessor of all eleven monthly TNA PPVs, not to mention all five editions of the WWFs ‘Supertape’ series and their ‘Year in Review’ tapes for 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996. Ah, ’tis a good life.

But enough about me and my shenanigans – we’re here to talk about wrasslin’ and, more specifically, to take a good hard look at just how demented the Ultimate Warrior really is.

But first…I’ve got mail!

J. Vinson thinks that the Nature Boy should set his sights a little lower…

“Great article on Flair, but I disagree with anyone thinking of moving him to the World title.

My reasoning is this: Ric Flair and the IC Title NEED each other. What I’m saying is that both he and the IC gold have been unfertilized and treated like nothing over the past year or so. Shelton Benjamin has done a lot, but he was not given the proper exposure to develop his character.

Flair can still work a match. Besides, he should not at this point be put into that elite status of World Title contender. That is essentially what the IC title is: someone who is a champ, but not quite World championship material. Besides Flair can have top feuds with a variety of young wrestlers and teach them how to work, while elevating the title in the process.

I personally would not transition the title to Masters. I would treat it like the Flair/Luger feud of old. In fact, I’d re-create the old Honky Tonk man mystique and have Flair do just enough to win (like he did with Carlito). The fans will love him regardless.

In terms of matches, I’d rather see Flair wrestle HHH, RVD, Angle or HBK in a PPV than Masters or Carlito any day.

Thanks for reading.”

I can sort of see your point here and you’re right, it always used to be the case that the Intercontinental Title was handed off to a guy who stood out from the rest of the midcard, but who wasn’t quite ready to tread the hallowed halls of the Main Event and, also true, Flair does give a much needed sense of legitimacy to the strap. I thought it was great the way he said at Unforgiven that winning the Intercontinental belt was just as important to him as all sixteen of his World Title reigns. It just goes to show that Flair can put over anyone and anything, even if it is an inanimate object.

I can also see the benefit in having Flair on hand to teach the younger guys how to work a match in front of a live crowd and how to get the paying audience emotionally invested in a feud but there remains a part of me that wants to here Lillian Garcia’s mellifluous voice utter those words “the winner of the match and NEW WWE Champion, Ric Flair!”.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Tim Kelly, on the other hand, thinks that Flair should only get his title run if he was the ‘dirtiest player in the game’…

“Hey, man.

I just read your column about Ric Flair’s chances of having “one last run” with a World Title. I’ve been wanting to see Flair win the World Title again for years, but I’d do it differently than your idea. As far as I’m concerned, if Ric Flair is going to have one last run at the top, it has to be as a hated, nasty heel.

Flair should use underhanded tactics to defeat a babyface champion, and then he should gather a group of younger “Horsemen” around him to protect his title. If done right, by the end of a few months of cheap-shot Horsemen attacks and Flair narrowly escaping defeat, the fans would be hating Flair’s guts and it would be a huge payoff for some babyface (Cena?) to finally fight his way through the Horsemen and unseat the evil Flair for the title.

As a side note, it’s unfortunate that Batista took the “World Title” to Smackdown, because the “Big Gold Belt” would be the belt Flair should get to have during his last run.

Later, man.

Tim Kelly”

Another fair point, but I truly believe that it would take a major (and I do mean MAJOR) event to successfully turn Flair heel. The Nature Boy is an icon, such an integral part of our business that fans cannot help but love him. Just as Roddy Piper, Billy Graham, Harley Race and Hulk Hogan – each of whom was, at one point in his career, the most hated wrestler of their day – get thunderous face pops whenever they set foot in the building, so too do people see Flair as a man to be respected, revered and cheered for. They know that he’s the dirtiest player in the game but, these days, that’s not an automatic reason to boo someone. On the contrary, people pop big-time for Flair when he hits the thumb to the eye or a low blow, or methodically takes his opponent’s knee apart prior to the figure four. People don’t want to jeer at Naitch anymore as he has become an institution. Even teaming him with Triple H doesn’t work any more as people are just waiting for the day when Flair snaps and hands Tripper’s ass to him on a silver platter – WHOOOOO!

Of course, maybe I’m selling Flair a bit short. After all, I never thought that Eddie Guerrero had it in him to be a convincing heel, following his heartfelt babyface promos in the run up to No Way Out 2004 and WrestleMania XX, but the guy proved me wrong, big time, in his long-running feud with Rey Mysterio. Perhaps Flair can make me loathe his character once again but I can’t help feeling that I’ll just be thinking – yeah…the man’s still got it.

BW poses a truly interesting question…

“Hey there, great article on ideas for a future Ric Flair title reign. I believe if they hyped up Ric Flair’s “dirtiest player in the game” talent, they could put him over any competitor on Raw and still have the loser come out golden and Flair getting face pops. Hearing about Flair though, a question came to mind and I want your opinion on it.

Years ago, on the last episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Sting and Ric Flair squared off one last time to honor their long histories and rivalry in the company. It was a nice sentimental moment and touched all true WCW fans. This brings me to my question. If you were planning the final Raw ever as WWE was bought out by another company (I know it will never happen…), which WWE superstars, past or present, would you book in the main event to honor the WWE history? If you want, you could post this for your readers to answer. I think the variety would be awesome…

Your Reader

BW”

Damn that’s a good question and one that needs a little longer than a week to fully answer. Therefore, I’m going to go with your suggestion and put this one to the readers as – drum roll please – TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES GOES INTERACTIVE, BABY!

So, the rules for this one – I don’t want the entire card, or tag matches, or fatal four-ways or battle royals as they are just far too easy. You’ve got to pick two wrestlers, be they face or heel, alive or dead, to wrestle in a normal, one-fall match that you would consider to be a fitting commemoration of the end of the WWF/E. You’re only allowed to choose one match, so if anybody sends in some along the lines of “either Stone Cold vs. Hogan or Michaels vs. Hart” (for instance), I will only take the first suggestion. For the purposes of this thought experiment, realism is not an issue and we’ll assume both workers would be wrestling at the peaks of their ability.

Come on then – e-mail me at this LINK and let me know what your pick would be. The deadline for this will be midnight on Wednesday 12th October, so you’ve got two weeks.

And finally, Martin Graves reminds me of the good old days…

Hi Kevin,

I’m fairly new to this column but have to say I’m enjoying it so far. I’ve recently taken a sabbatical from wrestling myself, and I am slowly getting back into it. Word to the wise. Flair is a God. Anyone who can go limousine riding, jet flying and be an all-round son of a gun is alright by me. Whoooooo!

On another note I would like to know your views on something – my belief in the genuine lack of heels in the WWE. Or any form of bad guy at all anymore? Vicious had it. Taker had it once. Hart mastered it. Hollywood Hogan was hated! (Maybe for other reasons?!) Everyone who gets heat gets turned face. Look at Batista and Orton in recent memory. Fair enough Orton has turned once more, but still…

What’s wrong with having someone like DX, back when Michaels was in his prime, or the new World order? Where did they disappear to? How much heat and interest did these guys generate? Okay so the 4life crew had a bad experience in the WWE (in other words Hogan came back and sucked), but I just feel it is missing something.

Final note…can you tell I’m a Black and White 4lifer and feel the Kliq should get the band back together?

Mart”

Thanks for those words, Mart. I’m not so sure whether there is a lack of heels in the WWE – at my last count there seemed to be a fair few of them doing the rounds – its just that there are only one or two of them residing around the main event. This isn’t exactly a new development, but it’s a Hell of a lot more noticeable now, because we currently have two of the most dominant babyface champions that the industry has ever seen, embodied in Batista and John Cena. After all, last year we had Triple and JBL holding the straps for a good portion of the wrestling year so it didn’t really matter if the main event spots were taken up with faces – we needed them to make the top guys look even better, right? Of course that’s right. However, when you simultaneously switch the dynamic of both brands by not only transferring your belts to a pair of faces (and a pair of fresh faces at that), all of a sudden you’re left without any heels on top to carry the can, save for those who have just been deposed and, therefore, have already shown that they can be beaten by the new champion.

On Raw, Shawn Michaels’ heel turn was accomplished by the timely (and long overdue) superkicking of Hulk Hogan and, subsequently, Roddy Piper – incidentally, this reinforces my argument that icons arede facto babyfaces. However, instead of channeling this into a heel run of any decent length, Michaels turned himself back immediately following their SummerSlam showdown, by offering the hand of friendship and respect – tosser. You can talk about the greatness of Kurt Angle all you want, but we’ve seen Angle vs. Cena a couple of times on SmackDown! Personally, I would have coughed up the pennies to see HBK vs. Cena headlining a PPV.

On SmackDown! your only Main Event heel is Eddie Guerrero (don’t talk to me about JBL – that particular ship has sailed). Randy Orton still seems to have trouble getting the fans to accept him as a legitimate contender, thanks to his unnecessary face turn last year and feuding with the Undertaker won’t do him any favours, because the lad needs a huge win somewhere along the line. So who could they reasonably turn on SmackDown! to beef up the ranks a little bit? Call me a fool if you must, but why not Chris Benoit? He regularly puts on five star matches, he is believable as a foil to either Batista, Undertaker or Rey Mysterio, has main-evented before and can be depended upon to make his opponent look like a million bucks in every single match that he wrestles.

As far as stables are concerned, that’s a topic for another week, I think. By and large, I think that the whole stable idea has been done to death and, whilst factions like D-X, the Horsemen and the nWo are remembered fondly by many, I still shudder at the memory of the mid to late nineties stable overkill that brought us such blemishes as The Brood, The Oddities, Misfits in Action, the West Texas Rednecks, the J.O.B. Squad and too many more to mention, quite aside from all the nWo splinter groups that eventually killed off WCW.

Thanks for all your comments. E-mail link is at the bottom of the page for anyone who wants to add their own thoughts to the list.

This week, I want to talk about a man who has had more than his fair share of detractors in Internet Land, not because of his matches (though they were largely atrocious) but because of his outspoken commentaries on everything from professional wrestling to gay marriage, the war in Iraq and politics. Of course, I’m referring to the man, the myth, the legendary arsehole…Brian James Hellwig, aka The Ultimate Warrior.

This will not be the first time I’ve examined the commonly held preconceptions regarding certain unpopular wrestlers. Before I became InsidePulse-4-Life, I penned a pair of articles on The Bushwhackers and The Honky Tonk Man respectively. In both columns, I ventured the opinion that these guys had been unfairly maligned by wrestling fans in general and the IWC in particular, so it’ll be the same thing here, right?

Erm…not quite. In my personal, subjective opinion, I think that the Ultimate Warrior is an utter cunt, one who is quite possibly clinically insane and that he does nothing whatsoever to promote a positive image of professional wrestlers, the sport itself or us as fans for watching it. I find his matches dull, his politics offensive and his general outlook on life to be skewed beyond all belief (and that is putting it mildly).

However…and it’s quite a large ‘however’…I do have to give the Warrior big props for the latest commentary on his website.

As many of you may know, WWE has just released a new DVD, called ‘The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior’. This is not a solitary release, as there are a couple of others in the pipeline examing the careers of former WWF employees – specifically, both Bret Hart and Jake Roberts. This is all very cool, and one can only hope that we’ll get to see Ted DiBiase, Randy Savage, British Bulldogs and Andre the Giant (a decent Andre the Giant one, please) DVDs in the near future.

Anyway, those nice people at World Wrestling Entertainment asked Warrior if he would care to lend his views to the DVD in order to give a fuller representation of the facts as he saw them, much as they did with Bret Hart. The Warrior flatly refused, going so far as to declare on his website that this was not an official Warrior DVD as it did not come from Warrior own website. The seems to contradict the fact that, although Warrior owns the trademarks to his name and symbol, the WWF owns all of the important footage from his actual wrestling career (for the record, I don’t think that a DVD of the Dingo Warrior and Powerteam USA would sell by the bucketload).

Still, he said no and that’s fair enough – the man has never been what you might call a shrinking violet when it comes to his disdain for all things McMahon. So the WWE version of events is that Warrior was completely unprofessional both in and out of the ring, that he was teetering on the brink of insanity and that he held the WWE to ransom, threatening to no-show SummerSlam 1991, if Vince didn’t open up the purse-strings and give him a bigger payday. Worse, a whole host of WWE staff and superstars chip in their two cents worth and berate the Warrior at every opportunity.

Now that the DVD is in the can and on sale, the WWE asked Warrior for his comments on an edition of Byte This! No response was forthcoming, at least not from an official WWE source.

On his own site, however, things were very different, as Warrior tore apart the entire company in a scathing diatribe that matched some of his best (and by ‘best’, read ‘most insane’) work. I won’t post the whole column as he’ll probably sue me, but some of the comments he made were interesting to say the least…

He says that the DVD is more of an indictment of Vince’s wicked personality than it is about the Warrior’s professionalism; he claims that Vince has constantly begged for the Warrior to return, time and time again; he calls Todd Grisham and Droz (the hosts of Byte This) a queer and a cripple, respectively – classy move; he says that the entire locker room suck Vince’s cock just to keep their jobs; he says that he and Davey Boy Smith were fired to take the heat off Vince during the steroid trial; he calls the Hall of Fame a sick trophy case, where McMahon houses the carcasses of all the superstars he has created and whose lives he has destroyed (which, in all fairness, is a pretty gripping image); he tears Triple H apart regarding his professional conduct and how he used Gerry Brisco as a stooge in the locker room, because he wasn’t man enough to face Warrior 1-on-1. It’s good stuff and you should read it – I’ll post the link below.

I’m not going to dissect his rant line by line, because the man is entitled to his opinions and, whilst calling Droz a cripple might be in bad taste (if entirely accurate), I’m not going to blast the man for refusing to be politically correct either.

You see, whilst I don’t believe much of what Warrior says, and that which I do believe I couldn’t give two f*cks about (call me old-fashioned, but it’s what happens on-screen that determines a good worker in my eyes) I have a Hell of a lot of respect for him for one reason only.

He didn’t sell-out.

That’s right – Ultimate Warrior did not go down on bended knee at the altar of the Almighty Dollar. I know nothing of his financial situation, save for the fact that he was selling his WWF World Heavyweight Title Belt on eBay not too long ago, which would suggest to me that right-wing lectures don’t pay quite so well as main-eventing wrestling shows, but money is money and, in wrestling of all places, it’s all about the bottom line.

Over the years, dozens of wrestlers who have sworn on the graves of their parents and their children that they would never reach any sort of compromise with Vince McMahon have all scurried back in the hope of reviving their careers or in the promise of a quick payday and Vince has welcomed them back with open arms, knowing that, from the moment they step through his door, he owns them.

Hogan, who betrayed Vince during the steroid trial; Piper, who blasted Vince ad infinitum (and occasionally ad nauseum) in interviews and radio shows across the world; Sable who sued Vince for sexual harrassment; Brock Lesnar, who handed his notice to Vince a week before the most important show since the inaugural WrestleMania; Bret Hart, who blamed Vince for the end of his own career and his brother’s life; Eric Bischoff, who, more than anyone, wanted to see Vince put out of business; Joey Styles, who said that a WWE produced ECW event would be nothing more than a pale imitation; Road Warrior Animal, who tore Vince a new one in the shoot interview he did wit his late partner Hawk (who, ironically, said he wanted Vince to die before him, just so he could piss on his grave). The list goes on and on.

So kudos to Warrior who, no matter what else can be said about him – and there’s a lot – has refused to yield. He must have known what Vince was going to do with the DVD if he refused and the man doesn’t care.

I’m not about to don my face-paint, tie tassles to my biceps and revel in the awesome power of Destrucity but, as a fan who has seen too many legends ‘sell-out’ for one final moment in the limelight, the Warrior’s no nonsense retort has been a breath of fresh air.

The Warrior’s original posting can be seen HERE.

Matthew Michael’s Byte This! report (which contains Todd and Droz’s response to the column) can be found HERE.

Happy reading.

That’s it for another week from me. Fingers crossed that both TNA and Raw can make something from the various television moves, come Monday and don’t forget to e-mail me if you have any thoughts on this column or if you just want to add your two penn’orth to the ‘Final Raw Main Event’ debate.

Until the next time…farewell.