Truth or Consequences: The Joy of Trading

Hello and welcome to the latest instalment of Truth or Consequences. I’m Kevin G. Bufton and your in for an action packed column featuring the very best the IWC has to offer.

Sorry – I seemed to be channelling the essence of Sean Mooney there. Damn those Coliseum Home Videos.

Anyway – welcome the the column. The more observant among might have noticed that there was no column last week, save for my thoughts on Eddie Guerrero’s untimely passing. This isn’t to say I’ve been resting on my laurels, of course, as I’ve been helping out IP Wrestling’s main man, Matt Michaels, by posting various newsbits from around the web, which is more time-consuming than you might think.

Still, we’re back on track now and it’s time to move on with the show.

The mailbox first, I think…these are all in relation to my last ‘proper’ column.

Fixxer315 mentions a funny story about Lex Luger…

“Good points on Luger. I forgot to mention his 93 WWF run, which permanently labelled him as a choke artist. The real laughable thing about his SS victory is that he had a big celebration at the end, despite the fact that the match was clearly his only shot at the WWF (thanks to a stipulation put in by Cornette).

As for being shunted down the card, there has been the story that at a bar the night before WM Luger revealed that he was supposed to defeat Yoko at WM, and McMahon got wind of it and changed the outcome of the show to punish Luger. I have no idea whether that is true or not. It does fit McMahon’s personality, but Bret winning the title at WMX, the year after he lost it to the same person was far more appropriate and more dramatic than Luger winning it from Yoko then retaining it against Bret the same evening.”

I’ve heard that tale too (as had ThEdArKnIgHt543 and Jamal Cannady, both of whom related the same story to me). It’s one of those wrestling yarns that, even if it isn’t true, you just want to believe it. I never had a problem with Luger, really, but he was pushed way beyond his limited abilities, presumably because promoters either a) remembered his late eighties run, where the man was a decent performer in his own right or b) because they reckoned that a guy with Luger’s physique would win over the crowds and be a credible main eventer. That said – this story is just piss-yourself-laughing funny.

Thanks, Fixxer.

Aside from mocking Luger with the rest of us, ThEdArKnIgHt543 had some other things to say…

“Hey man another great column, I just wanted to add to the whole Lex Luger fiasco, at WrestleMania 10 Luger was supposed to beat Yokozuna that night but the night before the event or the day before that, he was in a local bar in NYC and told a few people that he was going to win the championship at WrestleMania

Well when Vince and CO. caught wind of this they pulled the rug out from under Luger and left him to drown in lower middle card hell for the rest of his tenure in the WWF.

It wasn’t the fact that they were moving towards smaller guys like Bret and Shawn it was Lugers own ability to keep his mouth shut, that kept him from gaining the WWF title.

While this did tarnish his legacy in WWF he was still better known in WCW/NWA and that is where he should have stayed.

Now to be accurate, this is what Paul Heyman was talking about in the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD. He kept saying how people would not put the new guys over, and clawed and scrapped to keep there spot, and of course if you are the highest draw ever for a company you will want to be treated as such.

While this does suck it’s not different then any other sport out there, I mean hell Look at T.O. he bitched and whined until he was traded to the Eagles, and even now he still is bitching and whining and not being a team player.

So it’s not just wrestling where the so called “stars” act like little kids who don’t want to share there toys. If I was the coach of the 49ers I would have benched him for a full season before trading him to show the others on the team that if you are not a team player then you will not play no matter how good you are.

Seeing how far these so called “superstars” are doing these days If I was Vince I would let everyone go who has a fit and is not a team player, I mean sense he doesn’t see TNA as a threat fire everyone who doesn’t want to do what’s right for business, and get new people in who actually care about the sport.

Now don’t get me wrong a person should voice there opinion if they think something will just stink up to high heaven but not where they aren’t jobbing, I mean Hogan sure he’s an Icon but everyone and there momma knows HBK should have beat him, they should and could have done something close to WrestleMania X-8 and have him loose but have HBK show respect and shake his hand and they both would have looked classy and it would have made the match seem even more important.”

I’ve got to disagree with this one. I love professional wrestling but it’s not really a sport, is it. This is the difference. In a legitimate sport, the various managers and coaches will still use a guy who bitches and moans, as long as that guy has genuine talent because it’s essential to their team that they have good players. I don’t follow American sports, so I’ll use a soccer analogy. If a team has a guy who can regularly score goal after goal from halfway across the pitch and who consistently wins games for his team, then there is no good reason to exclude them from the games, regardless of their behaviour or atitude off the pitch. Yes, you’re sending a message to the players, but there is a bigger message being sent to the fans – namely that you care more about showing the team who’s boss than you do about winning trophies, or getting to the top of the league.

In pro wrestling, it’s the booking team that decides who the World Champion is, regardless of actual wrestling ability (John Cena – Jeff Jarrett, I’m looking in your direction). If it was solely based on talent, then Benoit, Regal and Angle would have five year undefeated streaks under their belts. There is no team in wrestling – the whole roster should be doing what’s best for business.

This isn’t to say, of course, that wrestlers can pull these kind of power-moves when the talent pool is a little shallow. Shawn Michaels, for instance, had carte blanche during the mid-nineties because, frankly, he was the best all-rounder in the business (don’t talk to me about Bret Hart. The two guys were on-par with each other with regards to wrestling skill, but HBK was miles ahead in terms of entertaining the fans) and he could always threaten to walk out, should he not get his own way.

These days – what have they got? The mega-money main eventers aren’t going to settle for TNA’s pay packet, so they’re more or less stuck with the ‘E’ and there is so much talent in the midcard (Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Benoit, Regal, Booker T, Gregory Helms, Chavo, Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin…I could go on) that, in theory, any main eventer could be bumped down and replaced at a moment’s notice. The danger, of course, is that it’s these self-same mid-carders who might be tempted away to TNA for a comparable payday (taking into acount they would be working a far reduced schedule) leaving WWE with a gaping void in the middle of the card.

Of course, the real person to blame is Vince McMahon or, at least, the booking team acting on his behalf. Don’t give people Creative control, don’t kowtow to your main eventers and, if somebody pulls an Austin and just walks – don’t use them again. Vince prides himself on the fact that he can make a main eventer out of anybody, but he insists on staying in the comfort zone of the five or six top guys that he already has.

Ah well.

AngryChairr pursues the Edge issue…

“To be honest, I think there still is a possibility for Edge being taken seriously as a main eventer. It’ll just take some work. What you need to do is get him involved in the John Cena/Kurt Angle feud, and build toward whatever Raw’s post-Survivor Series PPV is.

In the weeks leading up, you have Angle gain a clean win over Cena out of nowhere, suprising everyone. Angle then claims he wants a World Title shot because of that but is interrupted by Edge, who says he’s ready to claim his title shot. Bischoff explains that they both have valid claims so he has a unique idea…an idea that will spell the end of Cena’s World Title reign. Immediately we’re left thinking triple threat but Bischoff pulls a Wrestlemania X, and says that Cena will defend his belt twice in one night at the Raw PPV.

This obviously leads to an argument over who wrestles the second match since that offers the advantage of facing an already tired opponent. Bisch books a match on Raw between the two, and Angle pulls it out. At the PPV then we open with the first match being Cena vs. Edge. Angle, Lita, and Bischoff are all at ringside with Bischoff and Lita supporting Edge while Angle distracts them both (Edge and Cena, that is). The end comes in typical WWE clusterf*ck style when all three get involved in the finish, allowing Edge to pick up a tainted win and become the new WWE Champion.

You then end the night by having an Edge/Angle rematch with Angle going over again, but this time through interference on Cena’s part. You continue the three-way feud to Royal Rumble where we have a triple threat match for the WWE Title, with Angle beating Cena to keep the title. You then branch out to an Edge/Cena feud going into Mania, while Angle goes into Mania with the belt and drops it to whoever your other top face is (maybe Angle/Michaels?).

This way Edge will have had the belt, even if only for an hour or two. It would go a long way to help establish him as a top player in the company, it would get the belt off of Cena, and it would put the belt on a strong heel going into Mania (which is honestly how Mania should be booked – heel champ loses to top face). Not only that, but it would put some actual drama on a WWE show for once.”

An interesting thought, but I disagree that an hour long reign will establish Edge as a top player in the company. I think it’d be better if Angle had the first match, losing to Cena via interference from Edge and/or Lita, with Edge going on to beat Cena for the title later on. Angle can argue that he is still Number One Contender, because he would have won if it hadn’t been for Edge, which justifies the Triple Threat rematch. An hour long title reign can be a death sentence for a pro wrestler (look at Kane’s 24 hour reign, or Andre’s 1.5 minute title reign from 1988) because it looks like a fluke. Angle can overcome losses at this stage in his career, whilst Edge is on the cusp between Main Event and Midcard-4-Life.

Also – I don’t fancy any PPV where Cena wrestles twice in one night.

And, finally, my old compadre, Graham Wise, suggests that I’m under the thumb…

“Couple of things…

First, nice to see that you included Claire’s e-mail, but you then went on to disagree with the “mother of your unborn child” in your column! Now I know that Claire can be scary at times, and that has to increase when a woman is hormonal through pregnancy, but you really should have had the guts to tell her she was wrong to her face, rather than in writing! Sort of only kidding on that one, but it also has an element of truth.

Second, a couple of additions to your list of Professionals. You mentioned Bert (incorrect spelling intended) being unprofessional for refusing to drop to Shawn, which I completely agreed with (as you well know from my many rants about the s-Hitman over the past couple of years), but you could have balanced the argument by also calling Michaels on the reported reasons for his “lost smile”, ie not wanting to do the J-O-B for Mr Hart ealier in their disagreements. Of course you missed the ultimate chance to join the “Let’s Bitch About Jarrett” club by not mentioning his demands when asked to do the decent thing and lose to the Man-Beast (Chyna, obviously, rather than Rhyno).

You rant so well in these columns, but I was disappointed to notice that you missed those perfect opportunities. My friend, you are slipping.

Later”

Thanks for those constructive comments, mate. Anybody who knows me and my good lady wife will know that, when it comes to our home life, there is only one person who rules the roost and I’m damn sure that it’s not me! By the way – scary? You’re in for a beating next time she’s clamps eyes on you, bud.

I think that Shawn Michaels’ behaviour should go without saying but your point is well taken. As mentioned above, HBK was a twat and a half during the height of his backstage influence because he was the best that the WWF had. I think Jarrett was well within his rights when it came to the Chyna situation. My point was that, if a promoter employs you, you do what you’re asked. Jarrett was, techincally, a free agent since his contract had expired the day before his Intercontinental title defence against the lovely Ms. Laurer at No Mercy 1999. Therefore, his free to negotiate his single appearence fee to his own satisfaction. The flipside, of course, would be to jump straight to WCW, with the strap and drop it in the trash, a la Madusa.

Once again, you set up your arguments and I club them down like a baby seal.

That’s it for this week’s e-mails. Send me any thoughts you might have at the link below.


Around the Pulse

No individual links this week, as there have been so many columns posted, mainly regarding the passing of Eddie Guerrero. So just click HERE to read the views of the IP Wrestling staff on ‘Latino Heat’.


Birthday Begging

It’s my birthday next Tuesday (22nd November) so if you want to send me any birthday joy, you can find my Amazon Wishlist HERE.

Failing that, you can send me some wrestling funds via PayPal to webmaster@onetwistedbunny.com.

So, whether you want to celebrate my birthday or just commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Undertaker’s WWF debut, then you know what to do.


And so, onto this week’s column…

I racked my brains over what to do. I’ve already said my piece about Eddie Guerrero and I didn’t really want to dwell on his death any more than I had to. I’d rather remember Eddie for his awesome in-ring abilities and promos than for the nature of his passing. I’ve been floating around the Web this week and I’ve seen so many postings saying that they only got into Eddie during his ECW, WCW and WWE tenures and never caught his seminal lucha work with his brothers or with Art Barr as part of Los Gringos Locos, so I thought I’d talk about something that’s very dear to my heart – the wonderful world of tape trading.

First of all, a little disclaimer – I neither condone nor promote the trading of copyrighted material and old WWF or WCW PPVs and shows (though you can certainly find such material if you’re looking in the right places) and, if you get into any kind of trouble through the trading scene then, as Gene Snitsky might say, that’s not my fault.

That said, tape trading is a great way to discover classic wrestling action that you just don’t get on television these days. I recently breached the 400 tape mark in my own collection, which isn’t a boast – just a statement of fact – and there’s so much good stuff out there. Whether you’re looking for really old stuff [Joe Stecher vs. Earl Cadock from MSG in 1920? – got it. Lou Thesz in he 1940s – ditto. Fritz von Erich? Rikidozan? It’s all out there.] or just the latest tapes from Japan or Mexico that will never get a worldwide release, then trading is the life for you.

Personally, I love checking out the early works of established superstars to see the first hints of wrestling genius that they display. Undertaker under a mask as The Punisher in Memphis; the Hardy Boyz in their own backyard promotion, OMEGA; Steve Austin wrestling his mentor, Chris Adams, in Texas; Cactus Jack earning a beating from Eddie Gilbert; Jake Roberts, as a lithe and fluid grappler, working his socks off in WCCW; Vader, Andre and Sgt. Slaughter taking on European wrestling legend, Otto Wanz; Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, William Regal and Jushin Liger acting like jobbers in the old-school British wrestling from World of Sport. It’s great.

This, of course, brings me back to Eddie. There are a few great Los Gringos Locos compilations out there (the best one being Bob Barnett’s massive collection featuring Eddie, Art, Konnan and Vampiro in Mexico around 1993) as well as some spectacular collections of Eddie Guerrero in Japan, wrestling alongside the original Black Tiger (Mark Rocco). Eddie would, of course, take on the mantle of Black Tiger himself later in his Japanese career and feud with the likes of Chris Jericho and “Wild Pegasus” Chris Benoit.

My point – and, believe me, there is one – is that there is virtually no wrestler, tag team or stable out there who doesn’t have some kind of best of put together by a trader. You might be waiting until doomsday for the WWE to release a ‘Best of the Iron Sheik’ compilation, but there’s bound to be a tape trader out there who’s knocked one up.

A quick word of warning though, before you start Googling for wrestling tapes. As already mentioned – trading copyrighted material is done at your own risk. Try and stick with traders who mention the video quality of their tapes (some of the older footage in particular is horrendous). Don’t be offended if traders don’t want anything that you have to swap. As I mentioned, I’ve got over 400 tapes in my collection, but only 40 or so burned to DVD and fit for trade at the moment. Most traders are like this, with a massive backlog of tapes to add to their trading lists. Or, there again, maybe they just don’t want your homebrew ‘Best of XPW’ compilation, or whatever.

Don’t forget, as well, if your own tape collection is lacking in either size or scope, there are plenty of tape traders who actually sell their tapes, rather than trading them and these are great places to start your collection, as they’re generally cheap (about £5 in the UK, USA average seems to be around $12) and some of them have as much as 6 hours worth of footage on them.

If you’re going to be trading then it is considered good form to use branded VHS or DVD+R’s, also that your VHS should be brand new, not just recorded over an old tape. Many traders prefer you not to write on the VHS or DVD, but rather that you use a Post-It note to mark what’s on there. Many collectors (almost by definition) are anally retentive and want their VHS’s and DVD’s to marked in the same way throughout their collection.

Finally – if you’re planning on setting up a website to list your collection, please – for the love of all that’s holy – include match listings. There are few things more frustrating to a potential buyer/trader than seeing just the heading and no further information. Include matches (including whether or not they’re clipped), DVD or tape duration and a video quality rating (be honest about this). The more user friendly you make it, the more trades you’re likely to get.

My own site will be coming up in January, once I’ve added a decent amount of tapes and the link is HERE.

There is a world of wrestling goodness out there and you should be able to find whatever you want, be it a rare MSG House Show from the 1960s or a ‘Best of Steve Lombardi’ tape. Keep searching and you’ll find it.

Speaking of tapes – my first tape reviews for InsidePulse will be going up at the end of this week, so keep an eye out for that.

That’s all for this week – e-mail me if you’ve got any thoughts or questions on this week’s column.

Until the next time…farewell.