Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc., 11.22.05

In Memoriam: Alfred Anderson, the last man alive who lived through the ultimate experience of something that all soldiers know: no matter how much you demonize the enemy, they’re human, just like you.

Okay, folks, which number is scarier: forty million with AIDS or one hundred one million for Harry Fucking Potter? I’m going with the latter. We’re making progress on treating and eventually curing AIDS. Nothing can be done about the Potter Virus. It’s doomed to infect impressionable adolescents who don’t know any better from now until the end of time.

Ah, now that the mourning period is over, it’s good to be back to my old nasty self. And although there’s not as much material as last week, there’s still stuff to be cynical and snarky about. Let’s just get the pimps out of the way and go on to that…

THE PIMP SECTION

Haley is back. Therefore, he gets the God Slot.

Have a Provencal Thanksgiving with Lucard. Personally, I don’t like Provencal cooking, so I’ll pass.

Hevia is his usual self, which is a good thing.

And in regard to the Sky Sports censure story that Hevia posted, Ofcom often takes months or even years to come to a decision regarding violations of their code for broadcasters and print media in Britain, so a delay like the one regarding the Great American Bash broadcast is normal. They aren’t like the FCC, which tends to come to decisions quicker. Ofcom often doesn’t take any kind of mitigating circumstances into account either; the British code is stricter in many areas than the FCC’s code. Yes, it’s still the wrong decision (they apparently didn’t consult WWE about what happened, in which case they would have found out that 1) GAB was Hassan’s final appearance and 2) his booking on the show was set prior to the mock-terrorist incident and couldn’t be reversed), but it’s understandable if you’ve seen the way Ofcom works.

West does Raw live for you. But I know you’d rather wait for the Short Form, so f*ck him.

I at least have some job prospects in the works. Basilo doesn’t.

It’s typical. I paraphrase Shakespeare in the Short Form, Paul ups the ante by bringing up Chaucer.

Padilla watches hockey so I don’t have to.

Hatton‘s in that Marvel groove again.

Oh, yeah, Gamble, if you’re reading this, Flea wants you to contact him ASAP. Apparently I’m a messenger service now.

SEE VINCE. SEE SMOKE. SEE ASS. SEE VINCE BLOW SMOKE UP ASS.

Well, there’s only one big story this week, and that’s the major revelation that WWE now has a stringent drug policy. In case you decided not to read over all the stories about that yesterday (or listen to Vince’s self-serving meeting on wwe.com), here’s a summary. Supposedly, “drugs of abuse”, abuse of prescription drugs, and performance enhancers will no longer be tolerated. All testing will be handled by an independent lab. No penalties for violations were mentioned by Vince during the meeting, but he said that everything will be fully outlined within the next few weeks (and you know that memo will get faxed to Meltzer, Keller, and Milord within one minute of reception).

Sounds good, right? No, it doesn’t, for lots of reasons.

First of all, the policy will be fully outlined “within the next few weeks” (Vince’s words, not mine). Don’t you think that if there was a real drug policy that it would have been worked on to the last detail, gone over by the lawyers, etc., and be ready in full before such an announcement? Why would he make such an announcement to the workers without having all his ducks in a row on such an important issue? Again, Vince’s words when he asked for questions: “I don’t have all the answers yet. In the process sometimes of looking into these things and what have you, word gets out…I don’t have the actual policy with me; I won’t for several weeks.” In other words, he wants to “stop leaks” (how ironic).

What he wants to do is stop things, but not leaks. You see, journalists are trained to do certain things in the pursuit of a job. One of them is to gain attention for a story in order to increase its importance. In order to do that, they attempt to link things that shouldn’t really be linked. What’s the hottest story in sports right now, T.O. excepted? Steroids. So, when the news got out about Eddy, what mental process do you think they went through?

Here’s what I wrote last week in the Super-Secret Writers’ Forum about this issue after the Colin Cowherd comments:

All sports talk radio hosts are utterly convinced that they have to be controversial assholes in order to get ratings. I call this Jim Rome Syndrome. They believe that since Rome is an grade-A sphincter and he gets ratings, that if they’re the same way, they’ll strike gold too. The stuff about Eddy is just one element of that. Hey, TO is a dead issue, we need something to piss people off about, here’s a story about a wrestler who died. And we can also play off our low-brow audience’s prejudice against pro wrestling while we’re at it!

As per steroids, well, it’s the Hot Topic (and I don’t mean the clothing chain). Everything MUST be linked back to the Hot Topic if possible. Since everyone knows that wrestlers are on ‘roids, it has to have something to do with this. Again, it’s a disconnect between brain and mouth.

You can see the dots connecting here in the minds of journos who don’t know jack shit about wrestling and wrestlers. Thirty-eight-year-old pro wrestler in seeming perfect health dies suddenly with no explanation. Everyone knows that every wrestler takes steroids. Therefore, the death must be due to steroids! Quod erat demonstratum.

Of course, they’re wrong, but, damn, you’re not going to tell them that! They’ve just linked Eddy’s death to steroids, the Hot Topic, and, damn the torpedoes, they’re moving forward and latching on to this like a pit bull with tetanus.

The thought of a pit bull with tetanus, of course, leads us to Phil Mushnick and his screed over the weekend, in which he totally subverts the process of logic and directly connects Eddy’s death to steroids without any intervening cause. There are a number of things that can cause massive heart failure in a person. Steroid abuse is one of them. Abuse of alcohol over extended periods of time is another. Abuse of various types of painkillers over extended periods of time is another. Eddy may have been clean for four years, but the damage was already done. That’s what killed him, not anabolics.

I love how Mushnick put in his column that no Major League Baseball star has ever died of steroid abuse and uses that fact as a bludgeon to repeatedly strike Vince. How wonderfully disingenuous of him. He doesn’t mention the fact that NFL players have died of steroid abuse, most famously Lyle Alzado. He also doesn’t make the same leap of logic in regard to Ken Caminiti that he makes for Eddy, and steroids had a lot more to do with his death than with Eddy’s (Caminiti was also a major boozer, just like Eddy was). Also, steroids take time to kill. The epidemic of steroids in baseball is a relatively recent phenomenon, starting in the late 80s. Football players started to juice up long before that. Check back with us in five to ten years and let’s see how Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds are doing health-wise before using that argument.

So, does this answer why Vince is doing this? It’s to shut up the media in the wake of Eddy’s death, and also to shut up Congress since they made a stink about ‘roids in baseball. This is simply a preemptive strike to stop the stories, and nothing else.

By the way, the “we’ll have it in a few weeks” thing? I think you’ve all translated that as “okay, you’ve got a few weeks to clean up.” Of course, some steroids stay in your system for years at detectable levels. A few weeks may be okay for the designer BALCO shit out there, but not for the good-old-fashioned easily-available stuff.

Now, let’s say that in a few weeks, Meltzer and Keller and Milord actually get hold of something written on WWE stationery outlining a drug policy. What then? Obviously, the whole issue comes down to enforcement. This is where Major League Baseball got raked over the coals by Congress. Their enforcement of steroid abuse was, to put it politely, a joke. Yes, the MLB Players’ Association had a lot to do with that…okay, most to do with that. The whole point of the Congressional hearings came down to Congress telling Bud Selig this: “Your sport has a problem. You apparently refuse to acknowledge that it is a problem. The problem in question violates the law of the land. You will get one chance to do whatever it takes to solve that problem, or we will solve it for you, and the last thing you want is that.” Well, that got MLB and the MLBPA off their asses to agree to the tougher penalties that are now going to come into place. MLB already had a policy in place, though. WWE did not.

Now Vince is caught in a bind. If the penalties for violations are too lenient, Mushnick and other assorted morons will yet again come after him, since it’s oh-so-trendy to lambaste organizations for being too “soft on drugs”. But what if he makes them strict, including dismissal? Is he actually going to enforce this when, say, Batista pisses hot? Or even worse, the son-in-law, who we all know juices like a motherf*cker? If all the people caught in this net are small-fry and lower-card guys (Snitsky and Tomko, I’m looking at you), then it’s hypocritical. A hypocritical policy isn’t a policy at all, it’s special treatment. We all know how cynical Vince is. It would be like him to sacrifice a couple of lower-card guys to the wolves in order to shut people up. God knows he’s done it before.

It’s a situation like this that shows what a complete retard Milord is. He’s applauding Vince to the skies, when he should know better than anyone that this is business as usual and nothing will come of it. Will there be testing at all? I’m highly skeptical of that. This little “meeting” was for public consumption and to manipulate public opinion. If it was a real meeting on a subject as sensitive as this, they wouldn’t have put it up on wwe.com. They would also have waited until they had an actual policy in place prior to making an announcement if it was serious. But that didn’t occur to Milord. He just stood there and applauded as Vince made his speech. Here’s a hint, Dave: all Vince said was “Hey, we’re going to have a drug policy”. Nothing else. They’ve had various drug policies in place for a decade and a half now, with no real discernable results. They test for coke, but wrestlers still use tootski, and nothing’s done about it unless it becomes a visible problem that can impact the TV shows or cause an embarassing public incident.

So let’s say that I’m wrong. Let’s say that a policy is actually created, put in place, and adhered to. What happens then? Well, the workers still know the guiding principle that WWE follows: Vince Loves Big Guys. So they’re still going to try to get big. And they’re still going to use chemical help to get them that way. There’s no piss test for Human Growth Hormone. Victor Conte, the head of BALCO, told ESPN The Magazine that all he’d need is a phone call, and he could get a ten-pack of HGH flown in from Denmark for a thousand bucks. In that same article, Conte revealed other ways to get around a steroid ban. Insulin helps build muscles, for instance. All you need is a diabetic pal. There are oral testosterone variants that clear the body in as little as four days. The point is that the boys will find a way around a ban. Or if they’re big enough names, they can do the same thing that Hogan did during the drug tests of the early 90s, namely have someone else piss for him.

But no one can deny that they have a real problem here. Right now, Nick Dinsmore is on his merry retard way to rehab, having ODed on Soma and collapsed in a hotel room lobby. For God’s sake, Soma…doesn’t anyone remember Louie Spiccoli, who died of Soma abuse? Jesus, what is the attraction with Soma anyway? Okay, I know this, since I have some on my bathroom shelf right now. Yeah, it relaxes my muscles. Yeah, it also tends to f*ck me up in a good way and give me a nice buzz. But, damn, I know that it’s 1) addictive and 2) deadly if taken too often. That’s why I moderate my use. But enough about me. Dinsmore’s the subject here. Honestly, do you believe that if this hadn’t happened in public, he would have been suspended? What if he’d collapsed in his room, away from prying eyes? Let’s face it, WWE takes a see-no-evil approach to their workers and always has. If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to see it happen, does it make a sound? If no one’s in the locker room when someone’s shoving a needle in their ass, were drugs injected?

I don’t acknowledge that there’s not a problem with drugs in wrestling. We all know there is. If Luger’s candy jars full of ‘scrip medication and Regal’s list of medications that he abused doesn’t convince you, nothing will. But I absolutely, firmly believe that WWE will do as little as possible about it, and attempt to get as much mileage out of what they do as humanly possible. There’s too much money involved in the status quo to make wholesale changes. That’s why Vince still operates by a carny mentality when it comes to angles and pushes. He can take the casualties in stride. It’s the cost of doing business. But he can’t take the spotlight that comes along with the casualties.

You know, when I was an inspector, I had a fellow inspector ask me a question. “When does USDA ever change the regulations and the way they do things?” My answer was simple: “When dead bodies start showing up.” Vince has managed to ignore the dead bodies so far. Why should he change?

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Ric Flair over Trevor Murdoch, Non-Title Match (Pinfall, rollup with a nice handful of tights): Nice little warmup for Flair, I have to admit. I wonder if Murdoch realizes what an honor it is for an up-and-comer to be Flair’s bitch for a night. I think he does. But I do have to ask him one thing, though: a littl
e less ass next time, please?

Kurt Angle over Shelton Benjamin, The Rematch That We Wanted To See (Pinfall, Daivari-assisted rollup): Add Angle/Benjamin to the short list of combinations that simply can’t have a bad match against each other. No matter how much f*cking around they did to make this an Angle Advancement Match in re Angle’s recruitment of Daivari, the goodness still shone through.

I have two points to make:

On Monday in the Super-Secret Writers’ Forum, we began a thread about the news that Ted DiBiase may start coming in front of the camera again to manage his son. In response, I said that WWE isn’t utilizing the Legends program very efficiently. They could use some of those guys to get some pops for younger guys who need a little something extra. I recommended that Shelton Benjamin should get Dean Malenko as an on-screen “tutor”. Despite Malenko’s well-known lack of mic skills, he could help Benjy get over. Besides, it’d be great to see Dean in that kind of role.

Second, there’s a point that people are missing to this whole situation that’s quite attractive: Daivari is Iranian. Therefore, he’s not an Arab. Think about that.

Val Venis over Trip (DQ, Fun With Chairs): And the point of this was what? That Trip knows how to smash people up with chairs? We’ve known that for a long time. And where was Viscera? You’d think he’d come out to help his tag partner. Oh, but that would have distracted from Trip making a “statement”, so we obviously can’t have that.

Candice Michelle over MickieLexis LaJames (Pinfall, Victoria cheap shot): I knew that one day Hyatte would go bonkers enough to do something like this. By the way, why do something like a kidnap angle in England? Do you know how hard it’s going to be to get Trish back into the US? And Memo To Victoria: Just because you used to come out to TATU doesn’t mean that you and Candice have to act like TATU. If nothing else, you’ll cause Hevia more trauma, and you don’t want to do that. Believe me, you don’t.

Oh, the kidnappers were only MNM, and we got the Trish/Melina match we anticipated out of the situation. And Lawler went to help Trish. So, in other words, Trish probably wishes it was Hyatte and a friend that kidnapped her.

Slick Rick brings up a good point:

Christ, this calls to mind the angles that kept me from getting into Wrestling back when my brother was into it in the late 80’s. Kidnapping? In the middle of a match? As if state police wouldn’t be pistol whipping the perps before they got 3 rows back.

Well, they would be if they weren’t in England.

Is Fatdust holding the pencil?

In this case, I think we can assume so. It’s a very Dustyesque moment, isn’t it?

Shawn Michaels versus High-Quality Speaker Boy, Interpromotional Lumberjack Match (ND, Total Mayhem): I think you’re looking at your last two Survivors on Sunday, given Batista’s status. Actually, that’s pretty fortunate if it is these two. They seemed to have pretty good chemistry together in there. Also, they kept this match going for twenty, which is pretty much High-Quality Speaker Boy’s longest match in a year or so. Michaels really didn’t need to carry him as much as I thought he’d need to; maybe it was the lumberjack action that took some pressure off of him. Even so, if it comes down to them, and I assume that it will given the success of the audition, it won’t be as embarassing as it would have been, say, a year ago.

Angle Developments:

A Minor Blasphemy: Fleabag called me on Monday, and one of the things that he decried was the fact that they weren’t allowing Joey to be Joey, especially in the “Oh My God” department. Well, he got to use his catchphrase twice during the whole situation with Batista and the car hood (sorry, bonnet; we are in England for Raw, after all). Thank God for that. Maybe now that he’s apparently signed on full-time, he can be himself and we can all forget about Ross. As for the whole brawl, nicely done, actually. And it’s a good way to get Batsita some time off if he sells it, after, of course, valiantly trying to lead his team to victory at SurSer.

Something To Hit: Now, I’ve said that I’m not buying the Bret DVD under any circumstance. I’m not even wasting my time pirating it. However, another thing that Fleabag said to me during our conversation leaves room for thought. Apparently, the audio is completely out of synch on the Hart/Wife-Beater match, and the ninnies who bought this are screaming on every whiteboard about it. Since that match is one of the main reasons why the retard marks would buy the DVD, it’s created some anger in Fanboyville. Was it a stupid lapse in quality control (something I should know about)? Or was it something more sinister? You make the call. I’m not going to bother.

Make Up Your Goddamn Mind: So, Bisch was a heel when he was bitching out High-Quality Speaker Boy. Then, he became a face when he made a match with said wrestler and Michaels. Then he was a heel again when he was sending High-Quality Speaker Boy to the concession stand. That’s according to the crowd. Personally, I have brains and intelligence and was not mixed-up as to where Bisch was coming from. People really need to study how to interpret events metatextually.

But there’s something that doesn’t need to be interpreted: the whole SurSer push, combined with his sincere statements regarding Eddy, have pushed High-Quality Speaker Boy to the point of becoming a face. Do they dare go through with the turn? Without Eddy and probably Batista for a while, Smackdown is short of upper-card faces, but they’re also short of upper-card heels as well. Playing footsie with High-Quality Speaker Boy may not be a good thing for the show.

Bleaching The Brain: Oh, thank you, Cena. Now I have the image of Snitsky and Tomko rolling around naked doing the nasty. That is NOT something I need to have rattling around in my brain at this moment.

That closes this f*cker. If you’re in the US, have a good Thanksgiving, and I’ll join you over the weekend for the Short Form and the SurSer Round Table.