Truth or Consequences: Being a PROFESSIONAL Wrestler

Good evening, boys and girls, and welcome to the latest edition of Truth or Consequences.

A quick look at the Inbox, to start with, I think…

Chris pointed out an error in my last column

“Hi, I just finished reading your column and towards the end I noticed your bit about whomever is champion at the start of the year will be champ at WM. Not so, as last year we saw Brock lose the strap to none other than Eddie, the underdog at the time, given the monstrous push to Lesnar. That set-up an amazing match between Eddie and Angle at WMXX, but that was one instance, that I can remember, where the belt changed hands between the Rumble and WM.

Chris”

That’s very true, Chris. Perhaps I should have qualified my original statement, by saying that the champion of the Rumble winner’s brand tends to remain the same between the Rumble and WrestleMania.

Fixxer315 brings up some more guys who ‘choked’ en route to the main event…

“I agree with you on Edge. Barring a miracle or a vacancy at the top of the card, I think Edge’s chance for a regular main event slot are pretty much over. Edge had two chances to become a main eventer and timing and circumstance has ruined them both.

1. Edge was gradually getting over in late 2002 as part of the “Smackdown Six.” He was getting some solid reaction for hanging with Guerrero, Benoit and Angle. Along with Chavo and Rey, these guys had some great feuds over the tag belts. With the kind of push Edge was getting, he could easily have fit in as a main eventer – at least part time. Then for some inexplicable reason, they stick him with Albert, who was like a black hole, where no heat can escape. Then came the neck injury which stopped him.

2. In late 2004, Edge has a pretty decent, if unremarkable run post-neck surgery. He makes a very effective heel turn and is positioned for a great title shot. He even comes within a GM decision of getting the World title. Unfortunately, he gets shunted to the midcard, left with only the “Money in the Bank” gimmick to keep the potential of a main event match alive. Then came the squash from Batista in mid 2003, followed by the Hardy feud.

So how do they blow off the Money in the Bank? Well, they have until WM to do it, but it is less likely than ever that it will be effective. I’m not even sure he’s gonna get the shot on PPV. I’m surprised they didn’t have him blow it off during the Hardy fued. The formula was so simplistic, it would take an idiot to not go for it. Edge demands his shot on a Raw. He comes very close to winning it, but Matt costs him the title. This ratches up the feud even further. (It could even have been the catalyst for the feud if that was Matt’s first appearance). Booking 101, which none of the WWE writers seem to know.

But Adam Copeland can take heart in the fact that he is not the first guy to “miss his turn.” There have been many others, and I’ll give you two. While they had won the titles, they either got it in the worst possible way, or they got it too late.

Lex Luger: His entire career up to 1991 had been built around beating Flair for the NWA/WCW World Title. They had several killer matches on PPV in 1988 and again in 1990. Finally, Luger had his guaranteed shot, in a cage no less. Unfortunately, WCW management continued their history of mind-numbingly moronic decisions fired Flair 10 days before the PPV, not even giving him some extra $$ to drop the title to Luger. Unfortunately, Luger’s title run was forever tainted by this, making people wonder if he could ever beat Flair in a fair fight. It didn’t help that he turned heel at the PPV against the previously heel Windham, or that his first feud was with Ron Simmons, who was only just establishing himself as a credible singles wrestlers.

Diamond Dallas Page: For DDP, 1995-1997 were all about establishing credibility. Thanks to the Diamond Cutter, he had briefly won the US title and was establishing himself a rep as a solid worker. A fued with the nWo and especially Savage worked in making him a main event player. He had a US title run in late 97 and early 98. Then there was the WCW champ Hogan, who had his sights set on DDP. 1998 would have been the perfect time for DDP to win the title. Unfortunately, Goldberg became a phenomenon and pretty much HAD to have the title to solidify the credibility. DDP continued the fued with Hogan, but this time it involved celebrities and was pretty much a joke. He would get his world title in 1999, but it was in a really screwed-up 4 way dance and only lasted a month before he dropped it to Nash in a decent enough match that was horrendously booked (designed to turn Bischoff face).”

Thanks for your e-mail, Fixxer. I agree with you about how they should have handled the Money in the Bank title shot. Don’t even mention Matt Hardy coming back to Raw, have the title shot against Batista and let it run for a good fifteen or twenty minutes on Raw, with Edge coming within a hair’s breadth of winning the gold, when Matt Hardy’s music hits (Matt doesn’t even have to come out), Edge gets distracted and Batista powerbombs him to retain the strap. This means that we have a feud that both the Internet and non-Internet fans can enjoy (I often wondered at the start of that feud, exactly what the ‘Net-impaired wrestling fans thought was going on), Edge can bitch that he only lost to Batista because he was distracted, thereby still making him a number one contender and Batista keeps the strap.

I disagree that he was getting a reation because of the people he was hanging with during his SmackDown! days. Whilst it’s true that Benoit, Angle, Los Guerreros and Mysterio can have a good match with anyone, Edge was over of his own accord and, indeed, had been since his tag team days with Christian. You mentioned A-Train and, despite working matches with Rey, Edge, Benoit and Undertaker – four guys guys who are either supremely talented or insanely over, respectively (or both, in Rey’s case), most people didn’t give two f*cks about the hairy bastard. I did, it must be said, and it always annoyed me that other people didn’t care about the former Prince Albert, but there you go.

Good points on Luger and DDP. It’s worth pointing out that Luger dropped the ball twice. You mentioned his NWA/WCW run, but he was also a notorious choker in WWF, when Vince tried to turn him into the next Hulk Hogan via the awesome presence of the Lex Express. He came out and slammed Yokozuna, won a title match by Count-Out (which means nothing), was a joint winner of the Royal Rumble, with Bret Hart and then lost a title match against Yoko at WrestleMania X, before being shunted down the card into a tag team with Davey Boy Smith. Again, probably not his fault, as the face of professional wrestling was changing, with smaller guys like Bret and Shawn Michaels rising up the ranks, whilst steroid monkeys like Luger and Davey Boy were being shown the door.

Danny thinks that Edge is more of a Number One contender than I originally suggested…

“Hi there. Great Column. I have a question though…doesn’t Edge have TWO World Title shots?

One for the Money In The Bank, and th eother for winning that Gold Rush torney? Or did he use that already?

Danny”

I’m afraid not, Danny. Edge’s Gold Rush title shot was taken at Raw on May 23rd (the show that included that ECW funeral on it). It was overbooked to the max, with Edge promising Christian his Money in the Bank title shot, if Christian helped him beat Batista and, though Edge did have Batista pinned at one point, the referee had been bumped, so no dice. It ended with Batista ducking abriefcase shot from Edge (thrown in by Lita, natch) and hitting a spinebuster, followed by a Batista Bomb for the win. Not a bad match, actually.

Matthew Peters ponders what should have been (although, in all fairness, it was what should be when he wrote the e-mail)…

“Another top-notch column! I assume at Taboo Tuesday, if Matt Hardy is selected, he’ll get some measure of revenge. Creative would be smart to have Hardy crack open that briefcase, and set Edge’s contract on fire. Then Edge can get dumped by Lita because he’s got nothing to offer her
anymore. She can get back to the women’s division, and Edge can become a face in the Survivor Series match versus Smackdown. Just my opinion.

Matthew Peters”

That would have been a belter of an idea, had Edge not been injured, though I suppose they could still do something along those lines. I like the idea that the only reason Lita is with Edge, is because he’s the de facto number one contender. I also like the idea of sending Lita back to the women’s division. Okay, so she’s not the best, but the inclusion of Ashley and Mickie James in the women’s division means that we seem to be getting a chance for some actual wrestling.

John Bacevicius gets all gothic on me…

I just wanted to compliment and comment on your column about Edge this past week. Brilliant stuff and it really make me think about my favorite WWE performer.

I have been an Edge mark since his debut back 97/98. The first time I saw him, outside of his promo videos was an episode of Raw where they had him perched on top of the Titantron, watching the show. To me it was beyond cool. It struck a nerve in me. Finally, here was a character that
spoke to me. Dark, brooding, gothic. Then came his debut followed by the creation of the Brood, which is my favorite stable of all time (yes I’m a goth junkie, deal with it).

Then came the final recognition for Edge and Christian with the tag title wins at Wrestlemania 2000. Which led to their “five second pose” heeldom. I still loved them. The goth slipped away but the goofy arrogance and pretty boy pranksters still was great.

We had the long time wavering of whether or not they would break up E&C, and the slow build with Edge winning King of the Ring and Christian desperate to share the spotlight. The break up was good, but a little too short; but then you had Edge being the hungry young superstar looking to make waves and prove himself as a singles competitor and soon to be main eventer. He
didn’t care who he faced, long as he came out on top, or at least made his opponent regret facing him.

Then we had his injury and return. And the couple of vignettes they showed hyping his return seemed to indicate he was destined to return to the brooding gothic warrior. Instead we got kind of the hungry lion before his injury that limped into the “I’ve been repeatidly screwed over” bitter heel to what he is today which is…?

This is my point (I know, took forever to get to it), Edge currently has no character. It’s not simply a matter of him not having drive to go after the title, but he no longer has a personality. The whole Lita saga (both storyline with Kane and real life with Matt Hardy) has been directionless because there is no character for us to understand his motivations. Why did he steal Lita away from Kane? Wasn’t he supposed to be pissed off at the world that he hasn’t gotten his title shot yet? Why does he only care about the briefcase as a foreign object? Something that could pump life back into Edge would be him to develop a twisted relationship with the briefcase. Carress it, whisper sweet nothings to it, make Lita a little jealous that he cares more about that precious title shot then her.

They are at a point where they could really bring a character back to Edge. His title shot guarantee is due in six months. Have him start stalking Cena and other contenders. Have Cena suffer a beat down and have him stroll in with the briefcase and tell Cena that if he felt like it right now, he could cash in the title shot and win. Start walking around like he owns Raw. Refuse to participate in matches because “it’s not fitting for a number one contender.” Bring back the cocky, arrogant pretty boy. Only this time, he has power and come up with ways for him to abuse it. At the same time, let him win big matches and become a viable threat. Even let him go toe to toe with Triple H pointing out he has more power and prestige then the Game. Let him tell Hunter “Unlike you, if I wanted, I’m guaranteed the main event spot at Wrestlemania.” Have him auction his Royal Rumble slot off then
beat the hell out of the winner and take it back, just because.

Edge needs a character back. He’s shown he can play a variety of them. And until he has one, your assessments ring true and he will go nowhere.”

I like that, man…I really do. Ages ago, when I talked about tag teams in the WWE, I mentioned that, in kayfabe terms at least, the goal of every single male wrestler on the roster is to hold one of the Heavyweight Titles in his hands. Now that Edge has the chance to do that, it should be his all consuming passion, As I said, last week, Edge should have treated Matt Hardy as a secondary concern (this is sort of what happened at Taboo Tuesday, where he said that facing Matt Hardy again would do nothing for his career); ditto with Kane and Lita. Of course, seeing how Vince seems to be channelling the spirit of Vince Russo at the moment, it would only be a matter of time before the briefcase became Moppy 2K5.

By the way, don’t apologise for your gothic leanings – as a lifelong horror and Black Metal fan, I can dig it.

And finally, my wife, Claire, sent me an e-mail, solely so that she could get a shout-out on this column. Yes, it’s sad but hey – my wife’s cool enough to be into wrestling, so what do I care…?

“Kev,

Nice to see someone recognising what a waste of space Edge is at the minute (have to say looking down the line he should have realised getting involved with Lita was going to make it hard for him to be taken seriously).

On another note, you really got it wrong with the ‘Juniors division’. After waiting to see a hopeful improvement on the dismal Smackdown, I was gutted to see the piss being ripped right out of the poor little buggers (although it has to be said Sampson’s jump over the referee proved they could be used as wrestlers not performing monkeys).

Love the column, keep up the good work.

Peace biatch

Claire”

Ah – the light of my life, mother of my unborn child and my one true love. What can I say except that – well – you’re wrong. The Juniors put on a decent enough bout on SmackDown!, comedy moments aside and I reckon it’ll only be a matter of focus and time before they realise that the goofy clown antics aren’t going to work. It is true though – that springboard splash off the referee was too cool.

Thanks, babe.

Thanks to everyone else who sent in their thoughts…feel free to keep those e-mails coming.


Finished reading Truth or Consequences? Hungry for some of the best wrestling writing on the ‘Net? Then check out these bad boys…

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Iain Burnside talks TNA, Taboo Tuesday and all the major happenings in the wrestling world.

Fellow Brit, Danny Wallace looks ahead to Taboo Tuesday.

Vin Tastic makes me seethe with jealousy as he presents a live review of a dual-brand supershow he attended.

Bambi Weavil discusses Taboo Tuesday and the subsequent fall-out, as does Ken Anderson.

David Brashear talks about the heir-apparent to Papa Shango’s voodoo throne.

JD Speich suggests that the WWE is caught in a time-warp.

Read ’em all – it makes us feel happy.


Crap Wrestling Joke of the Week

Antonio Inoki walks into a bar, and the bartender says, “Why the long face?”


Okay – so what are we talking about this week?

Well, Taboo Tuesday has been and gone and, for the most part, it was a success. I watched it myself and I considered it to be a thoroughly enjoyable Pay Per View event, highlighted by an awesome cage match between the Nature Boy and Triple H, as well as the exciting Triple Threat main event. It wasn’t a Five-Star, PPV of the Year occasion, or anything like that, but it was definitely deserving of a thumbs up and, if you didn’t watch it first time around, I’d definitely recommend catching the replay.

Of course, most of the intrigue surrounding the event concerned what didn’t take place. Torrie Wilson had supposedly been released (though this was later debunked as scurrilous rumour mongering); Austin had refused to job to the Coach; JR was confirmed as not returning to the broadcast booth on Raw; Joey Styles was signed as his replacement; Kane was rumoured to have broken his back; Edge had suffered a serious injury and, then, of course, there was the single worst event in the annals of human history, as Christian and the WWE confirmed that they had parted ways.

Seriously – to look at some of the postings around the ‘Net, you’d think that a wrestler choosing not to renew his contract was worse than the Inquisition, Black Death, the Holocaust, Chernobyl and the War on Terror combined and I’m intrigued to know why this should be. I think that Christian is an outstanding talent, who deserves to be a main eventer based on his mic skills alone but I’m not shedding a tear at this decision. If he feels disillusioned with wrestling, then why shouldn’t he leave? To stay would only make matters worse, as he could end up getting sloppy in the ring and posing a risk to both himself and his opponents. He is a ten-year veteran, who has been working for the WWE non-stop for seven of those ten years and that’s a Hell of a long time to be treading the canvas. It probably feels even longer if you are, like Christian, somebody who is consistently over with the fans, but never gets more than an upper midcard push from the office. I don’t blame Christian for leaving – you’ve got to look after yourself and your own well-being, first and foremost. Neither do I blame WWE or Vince McMahon and Christian chose not to renew his contract. Would I like to see Christian return to wrestling, be it with WWE, TNA or ROH? Of course, I would – as I have previously stated, the man is always entertaining and could be even moreso, given the opportunity to work outside of the WWE style. That said, if Christian really is burned out on professional wrestling, I don’t think he should come back just for the fans. Wrestlers are real people…not just playthings for the guys and gals in the audience.

If you were clamouring for Christian to stay with the WWE and he did, even though he had lost his passion, would you then accept responsibility if he paralysed a man in the ring, because his mind wasn’t on the job? Would you accept responsibility if he, himself, became depressed at doing something he no longer has the same kind of passion for and turned to drink or drugs, destroying his life? Of course not – you’d say “Well, it’s his own fault…it’s not like anybody forced him to carry on wrestling.”

Think on that for a minute. I’ll wait.

Let Christian go and recharge his batteries for a spell. If he wants to wrestle outside of the cloying atmosphere of the WWE, then let him do that too. When he chooses to return, then raise the roof and celebrate and look forward to the return of some awesome promos and decent matches but, until then, just let the guy do what he thinks is right.

This column isn’t just about Christian, however. Torrie failed to make the PPV and Edge refused to wrestle (in storyline terms). That’s cool. Torrie has some personal problems going on at the minute and, when you can find full-frontal nude photos of her on the Internet, I don’t think anybody sheled out $35.00 just to see Ms.Wilson in lingerie. Edge has torn a pectoral muscle, which has got to hurt like hell and, if he is going to be elevated back into the main event anytime soon, then he needs time to heal.

But then there’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – a guy who made it to the top of the mountain and liked the view so much that he was loathe to leave it. Christian – who was never a main-eventer – refused to resign with the WWE but was nough of a professional that he appeared on Raw and Taboo Tuesday, just in case his services were required. Austin, on the other hand, refused to job to the Coach, even with tons of interference (Mark Henry was supposed to do a run-in and, presumably, Vader and Goldust would have done the same) and no-showed the PPV. What an arsehole. I’m not sugesting for a minute that the Coach is a main-eventer in the making, but he’s prepared to go out there against trained wrestlers and get destroyed because he’s a professional and he seems to understand how the business works. This is a rigged sport – losing to an announcer doesn’t make you any less of a man, especially if he has half a ton of back-up supporting him. You’re playing a role – a role for which you’ve been damn well paid – so if you get told that, as part of this role, you’re expected to stare at the lights, you do it. There are no ifs or buts.

Consider Montreal. Bret is an employee of the WWF, as was, and gets told, by his boss, that he is going to lose his title to Shawn Michaels in Montreal (not even his home town, remember – just the same country). What grounds does he possibly have to refuse? Ditto for Austin. Ditto for Hogan, refusing to job to Shawn Michaels. Stupid, bloody, creative control owning, spot-hogging pricks, the lot of them.

You could, possibly, argue that Austin would be justified in refusing to job if he was a full-time performer but we all know that’s never going to happen (I still disagree with the concept, to be honest). “But what about WrestleMania 22 and his showdown with Hogan?” I hear you cry, “Austin needs to be kept strong”.

Rubbish. The very fact that you’ve got two of the biggest legends in Sports Entertainment history facing off against one another will guarantee a sold out, buyrate smashing event, regardless of the quality of the match. Why would Austin need his ego stroking by beating Coachman, when he his a multiple-time Heavyweight Champion and has beten every single person of note in the WWE?

There is a further question here. At WrestleMania III, Gorilla Monsoon said of Hogan vs. Andre, that it was the irresistable force meeting the immovable object and this will be true of Hogan vs. Austin, but it will have nothing to do with an in-ring confrontation but, rather, the clash of egos going on behind the scene as two washed-up non-wrestlers put their case forward for not doing the job against the other washed-up non-wrestler.

Taboo Tuesday is, in the grand scheme of things, a nothing Pay Per View (it a ‘bonus’ event to the 12 standard PPVs, much like the Great American Bash or New Year’s Revolution) and fans are pissed off that Austin didn’t show (although, oddly, many of them seem pissed off at WWE, not Austin). What will happen if, two days before WrestleMania 22, the biggest match on the WWE calander, either Hogan or Austin refuses to job and threatens to no-show? Does Vince give them another ton of cash? If so, then what message does that send to the locker room? If you’re a big enough name you can do what the f*ck you want? Or does Vince put someone else in the main event spot, thereby pissing off the fans even more. Let’s face it – if you paid for Austin vs. Hogan, and Hogan pulled out, it wouldn’t matter who they put in Hogan’s place, you would not be pleased to see it. Hogan-Austin is a one-in-a-lifetime deal and even if they could persuade Bret Hart to wrestle Kurt Angle as a replacement match, it just wouldn’t be the same.

These guys are supposed to be professional wrestlers…it’d be nice to see them stick to the first part of that description.

E-mail link is at the bottom…let me know what you think.

Until the next time…farewell.