The Double-Team Short Form, 12.09-10.05

Lex Luger is in jail.

I’d say, “Yes, there is a God”, except for the fact that he’s currently playing the role of someone’s bitch in Hennepin County Jail on drug charges originating in Georgia. What a nice coincidence that this happened a couple days after Eddy’s autopsy was made public. Now Phil Mushnick has a justification for another column that will, this time, successfully link the words “Minneapolis”, “drugs”, and “wrestling” together, something denied him when Eddy’s post-mortem came up clean.

Ah, what a comedown for Lexie this must be. Ten years ago, in that same august city, he became the Fort Sumter, the Guns Of Just After August, of the Monday Night Wars as he showed up on the first episode of Nitro. Now he’s busted by the border cops after being refused entry into Canada. This case makes me sad that international law does not allow a country to refuse reentry to their own citizens. I’d like to have seen Lex put into a perpetual cycle of getting on a plane to another country, being refused entry, getting shipped to another country, lather, rinse, repeat, until he’s a wizened, smelly, batshit insane old man wandering around the airports of the world, muttering to himself constantly while dragging along a piece of Samsonite that’s worn out and faded from age into some indistinguishable shade of some unidentifiable color.

Well, either that, or he can fly Southwest into Midway. If the landing doesn’t get him, just remember this little fact: it’s not only my city, it’s my neighborhood. He wouldn’t leave the cab stand alive.

(Yes, yes, I know, bad taste. But, remember, I’ve flown Southwest into Midway a number of times. I knew something like this was bound to happen. But, let’s face it, there’s nothing at 55th and Central or 63rd and Central worth saving from a marauding 757.)

(That being said, I was so impressed by this news that on Thursday, when I noticed that the Border Patrol was looking for experienced agricultural inspectors, I applied. They deserve to have me on the team after this.)

This whole situation, folks, is why there is no God. Not only does He allow me to live and be able to make remarks like that, He also has established mind control on the Georgia police, who somehow put Luger up on drug charges but failed to get him on the charge they should have: murder. I would like to somehow think that Elizabeth is resting a little more comfortably wherever her spirit resides, but I think she’s more of the type who wants total justice to be done. And I don’t mean Sid.

This, my dear readership, is the type of lead that someone types out at 8:30 in the morning after a night of insomnia and not enough caffeine. And now I’m going to try to watch the TNA Pimp-The-PPV Special and Smackdown. If that doesn’t put me to sleep, nothing will.

WE INTERRUPT THIS COLUMN FOR A MESSAGE FROM THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT

Opening statement here: if you’re the type of American who shouts “U-S-A! U-S-A!” at any opportunity (even ones like the Christian/Roode match on Impact this week), and you say that you don’t give a shit about the World Cup draw that took place Friday, you’re a f*cking imbecilic jingoistic parochial retard that makes me ashamed to be an American.

That being said, the result of the World Cup draw is simple, and I speak as an American here: We. Got. Fucked.

Italy and the Czech Republic. Two of the best teams in the world. And we’re in the same group as them. All of a sudden, that piss-poor performance at France ’98 has come up and bit the US right in the ass. Getting out of the group round at that tournament would have given the US a seed for next year. Finishing last at that tournament (as the US did) straps them to a sawhorse for Rape Without Lube by the Italians and the Czechs. And they don’t even get a decent fourth opponent. Most Americans, if they know Ghana at all, know it as the country that Shirley Temple was our ambassador to (oh, sorry, they’ve got a hook here; Freddy Adu was born in Ghana). Look, it’s not anyone’s fault but FIFA’s that the US couldn’t play someone the country as a whole hates. They were prevented from facing Iran in the round-robin section due to being in the same selection pot as them, and they couldn’t face the Mexicans because FIFA bylaws prevent two teams from the same confederation from playing in the first round (with the exception of Europe); ironically, the Mexicans and Iranians are together in Group D. And you really can’t get a mad-on for any of the other twenty-nine countries. Okay, except for France.

You know what? The US is the Gonzaga of international soccer. Remember how Gonzaga was dissed every year on Selection Sunday for being a mid-major that feasted on a weak conference? Remember how they suddenly gained a lot of respect by beating the Big Boys on a consistent basis? Well, the US is in the “gaining respect” phase right now, but this draw will NOT help the image of the US team as per the rest of the world. And the US people aren’t going to get behind them (and keep the ball rolling for the sport) because the Italians and Czechs are going to beat the piss out of them.

Tips For Travelers: If you’re going to go over there next year to watch the US play, shoot for the game with Italy on June 17th. Kaiserslautern is a really nice place.

As for the rest of the draw…

Why are some of the commentators branding Group C next year’s Group Of Death? Seems to me that Argentina and the Netherlands are pretty much locks, having to face Serbia-Montenegro and Ivory Coast. The Group of Death is, of course, Group E. Three of the top twelve teams in the current FIFA world rankings are there, namely the second-ranked Czech Republic, the eighth-ranked United States, and the twelfth-ranked Italy. One of those Top 12 teams will not make it to the Round of 16. And it will end up being the United States. Or maybe I’m being a little parochial here and underestimating the Serbs. After all, Austria did that in 1914, and that caused a little kerfluffle called World War I.

Of course, if there’s a Group of Death, there’s always a Group Of Pussies. Congratulations, Group H, you’re it. You’ve got Spain as the overrated seeded team. Ukraine is a one-man show. Tunisia had one helluva time qualifying. And Saudi Arabia finished last in 2002, not even coming close to scoring a single goal and being outscored by double digits in the round-robin. You can make a case that no one out of this group deserves to go to the Round of 16. The only saving grace of Group H is that you should have no problem getting tickets for the games, especially since, somehow, this group landed up with games in Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg. My suggestion: go for the June 19th game between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia in Hamburg, but be sure to take in the Beatles Reeperbahn Tour to provide you with some entertainment and a hot, legal, paid-for and safe f*ck.

This year’s charge of “the draw is fixed”? Oh, yes, it’s there. Take a look at Group A and see how the host team was treated. This one came very, very close to being the Group Of Pussies. It’s so weak that you have to wonder about the fix being in.

Group A has Germany and Poland. Oh, FIFA, you love to test my loyalties. The Ancestral Homeland versus a country that I lived in for two and a half years, and two countries that have fought for centuries over the territory where my family originates. Ah, how history loves to play its little tricks. But as bad as my situation is, Sven-Goran Eriksson has it worse. After all, the team he coaches has to face his home team in Group B. And he thought he had enough problems already balancing the walking egos that he’s populated the England team with.

The World Cup always provides us with a couple of Us Versus Our Old Colonial Masters Matches, and next year will be no exception. The one with the greatest amount of hostility is in Group D, where the repulsive Mexicans and the not-as-bad-as-you-think Iranians lie. There we see Portugal and Angola. Portugal was pretty late in giving up its African colonies, and their withdrawl from Angola was, shall we say, horribly planned (the fact that there was a coup in Portugal that led to letting Angola loose didn’t help). Colonial withdrawl was followed by decades of civil war, which Angola is only now recovering from. There’s still Portu-hatred galore in Angola. The Angolans are going to be jazzed as f*ck when they play Portugal on June 11th on the banks of the Rhine.

There’s also the fun side of colonial exploitation, though, and that will be displayed in full in Nuremburg on June 15th. This is a definite Stay Away From This Place situation. It’s going to be the hard-drinking Brits (in the land where lager was born) facing off against the hard-partying Trinidadians in a Commonwealth Clash. Oh, yeah, there’s a bloody history between the two, but this one’s going to stretch the loyalties of the large Trinidadian population in England and, of course, the Queen, who never likes to take sides in disputes between Commonwealth countries.

If I’m a member of the South Korean team, I’m arranging for some quick French lessons, now. Every team they play in Group G is Francophone. I dunno how that group turned out that way. I mean, if you want to put together three teams that speak the same language, try the Brits, the US, and the Australians. At least the games will be better.

Let’s just hope this week that the shows will be better…

THE SMACKDOWN SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Rey-Rey over High-Quality Speaker Boy (DQ, Jordan-ference): This whole feud is entering into the white noise area right now, where everything’s gone into a complete blur of I Don’t Give A Shit. Of course, this match was here to simply set up the tag main event, so who cares? However, it was nice to know that High-Quality Speaker Boy was definitely playing a heel this week. Such clarity of purpose has been a rare sight lately with him. However, Tazz pulled out a golden Double Entendre that was, for once, not directed at Cole when he described High-Quality Speaker Boy as a “one-eyed monster”. In other words, he’s a big ol’ dick. That we can agree on.

Seen it

Super Crazy over Joey Mercury (Pinfall, moonsault): What a very strange match. A few times, it looked like Super Crazy was trying to chain-wrestle by himself, with Mercury a bemused onlooker. Meanwhile, in the booth, Cole and Tazz decided, since this was a match between guys in the tag division, that it would be a perfect time to get in their recommended daily allowance of double entendre regarding the Dicks. This one was a jigsaw puzzle where no one even bothered to put the pieces together. The reason it was even remotely entertaining was Crazy, period. If you ever wondered why the ECW audiences ate him up, this match should give you an idea.

This sense of disconnect that I’m talking about even continued into the apres. Cole put his announce team into a deep, deep hole when he said that Kid Kash was “making a name for himself on Velocity”. It was almost like a flashback to an earlier era, when WWE never acknowledged anyone’s career prior to going North. Michael, it’s almost 2006. Most of the Smackdown audience does know who Kid Kash is, and he made a name for himself a long time ago. Tazz tried to make the save here by acknowledging Kash’s career in ECW, but the damage was done. You know, Cole’s so close to sustained greatness that moments like these make you want to reach through your TV and slap the taste out of his mouth.

Bringing a new meaning to “Home Of The Gamecocks”

The blur to your right is Mercury doing a top-rope kneeling elbow drop

The Boogeyman over Ray Gordy (Pinfall, pumphandle slam): It’s been a big week for the Gordy family. Terry was name-checked on Raw during Edge’s promo, and now Ray gets squashed on Smackdown. As a major Freebird mark, I’m gratified. I’m also a little disconcerted. At least we know this, though: Ray’s getting close to getting out of developmental. However, he has to go to Smackdown because Raw already has a pudgy, pasty white Southern guy in Trevor Murdoch. If getting him on either show and giving him a push means that we get a Freebirds DVD set out of it, I’m all for it.

Ray Gordy’s contemplating what it would take to get transferred to Raw. At least he knows that Uncle Michael will protect him a little.

Bon appetit

Booker T over Chris Benoit, Match 3, Best-Of-Seven Series (Pinfall, scissors kick, Booker up 3-0): Typical slice of Goodness from the boys in this one. Of course, they overdid things with the chair, but variety is the spice of life, after all. So, let’s look at the booking of the series. They now have Booker on the brink of victory with this win. Their model, of course, is the 2004 ALCS, which drew great ratings (the only arbiter of success in Sports Entertainment). It’s going to be interesting to see how they’re going to get Benoit back. I have this feeling Match 4 will be a DQ courtesy of Paisley. That way, Booker can still say going into Match 5 that Benoit still hasn’t beaten him, and he has to win three in a row. In other words, I’m still not really going to pay attention until Match 7.

“How do we start this one, dawg?” “Can’t go wrong with a lockup, eh?” “‘Eh’?! Tell me you just didn’t say that!”

I have to admit that a foot on the second rope is a pretty rare sight.

Bobby Lashley over Mister Regal (Pinfall, Dominator):%
25
25
3C/i>
I think I’ve found the dividing line between being a mark and a smark. When you watch a squash match and can’t derive any enjoyment out of it despite liking the competitors involved (and “like” is a complete underestimate of how I feel about Regal), that means you’ve become a smark. It’s also a sign of my deciding not to pay attention when the dominant thought I had during this match was, “Cole, please, learn how to pronounce ‘Brisbane’ before you go to Australia.”

Don’t encourage them, fanbrat

Lashley deserves a sound thrashing

DAVE and Rey-Rey over High-Quality Speaker Boy and Orlando Jordan (Pinfall, DAVE pins Jordan, DAVEBomb): Well, that was…oh, hell, why bother trying to sugar-coat this? It was extremely boring. I blame Jordan. He makes everything he’s involved in boring. Lots of padding, lots of contrived spots, and turning High-Quality Speaker Boy getting an “injury” into a meme instead of an interesting one-shot like last week. Nothing at all to recommend this. In other words, a fitting end to this particular episode.

Nothing new, but still a beautiful sight

So wrong in so many different ways

In wrestling, this is considered foreplay. The 619 she later got is considered getting to second base.

Angle Developments:

Prep The Patients: Hmmmm, High-Quality Speaker Boy’s eye, Jillian Hall’s mole, Orlando Jordan’s case of Extreme Ugly (including that pathetic dye job). You would think that someone as rich as High-Quality Speaker Boy could easily afford a group rate for a good cosmetic surgeon. Doctor Heinie should be available.

Hey, if Gerard Butler can play the Phantom of the Opera, so can High-Quality Speaker Boy

Less Expectations: You know, I expect sloppiness and laziness from the WWE writing staff. However, they really outdid themselves this time. They built an entire Undertaker promo on clips from his HitC matches (including one featuring the late Ray Traylor hanging from a noose; oh, yeah, everyone bitched and moaned about the low-rider and the “disrespect” implicit in that last week, but so far, nary a peep from people regarding this) and a ten-second scan of Bartlett’s in the “Hell” section. Too bad my copy of Bartlett’s is packed right now. I could probably check to see if there’s a section marked “Cell” and come up with four effective quotes. I could probably get four quotes from Solzenytsin alone that could fit. But I couldn’t cram down “One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch” and “The Gulag Archipelago” in time to get this column finished. So I’m lazy, but I at least admit it.

Four names we all connect instantly with Hell In A Cell

Paisley’s shocked to find a second black woman in WWE. As are we all.

When everyone read the spoilers, did they get flashes back to Hogan/Warrior as well? Thank God this wasn’t nearly as stupid as that.

This, however, was stupid. At least make an effort to match the lighting, guys.

THE IMPACT SPECIAL SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Jeff Jarrett, Chris Harris, and James Storm over Chase Stevens, Andy Douglas, and Jeffykins (Pinfall, Jarrett pins Stevens, Stroke): A match with very little purpose outside of a few minor things. First, it reminded the world that Jeff Jarrett actually has a finisher. Second, it demonstrated that Chase Stevens is fully recovered from his injuries, and thank God for that; he’s been really missed. Third, Jeffykins is essentially useless, but we all knew that anyway. Fourth, AMW does a pretty good 3-D. Fifth, wild, chaotic brawls can be a lot of fun if kept to a decent but short length, even if Jarrett and Jeffykins are involved. Object lessons to be sure.

Who says it’s tough to get reservations in Orlando?

I would enjoy this so much more if the beater wasn’t Jarrett

Chris Harris tries desperately to avoid whatever Andy Douglas has planned for him

What’s worse: being on the receiving end of an inverted Death Valley Driver, or knowing that Jeffykins is about to initiate bodily contact with you?

Samoa Joe over Amazing Red (Submission, Kokina Clutch): Well, Joe’s jobbers are moving up in class, I have to say that. Red has one weakness which a lot of the younger guys in the X Division tend to have as well: their transitions are very, very quick, which means that the timing has to be perfect. They’re used to lighter, quicker guys being in the ring with them. Yes, Joe’s fast for a guy his size, but he can’t work up the pure speed that most of his X Division opponents have. This makes his opponents look sloppier in the ring than they are. Red almost blew a couple of moves because he obviously wasn’t used to dealing with someone of Joe’s size (and a teentsy bit of ring rust didn’t help). It may seem like heresy to tell guys like Red or Sonjay Dutt to slow it down a little, but they should look at guys who haven’t cranked the dial to 11 and ripped it off, like Chris Sabin and Austin Aries, to see how to properly do a match with Joe.

One of these guys is a former X Division champion. Here’s a hint: it ain’t Joe.

Thus proving that, for the guys in the X Division, gravity is just a suggestion

Monty Sapp and Konnan over Synn and Helvis (Submission, Helvis submits to Konnan, Tequilla Sunrise): How wonderful of us to receive a squash match to try to sell us on Billy and Konnan working together. I ignored it; I hope you did too.

Is that a cardigan?

Synn gets a little feel of Billy’s Gunn

Christian (sorry, but I just can’t put “Cage” after it) over Bobby Roode (Pinfall, Unprettier): Well, if Christian thought he could get away from WWE-style booking, he was sadly mistaken. Two ref bumps (bravo to Slick Johnson for selling them well), D’Amoron getting the Pounce after the Monty run-in, Roode being booked to look strong in defeat, general clusterf*ckishness all around…it just shows that no matter how far Christian has to descend into the Realm Of The Silly, he comes out smelling like roses. Unfortunately, if they keep sabotaging the booking on him, he’s going to end up smelling like the Kentucky Derby winner the roses are put on after the race. Or something produced by said winner and ejected out of the posterior.

The magic of Canadian-on-Canadian violence comes to TNA!

Christian demonstrates how to properly go North of the Border

Angle Developments:

You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains: The first thing I noticed in the show (other than the fact that they went right to the opening credits, which is almost as jarring as when Raw does it) was the SpikeTV bug at the corner of the screen. I isolated it and blew it up a bit:

Isn’t that rather, uh, Soviet-esque? What is their target demographic these days, Males 18-34 and members of the Komsomol?

Well, It Wasn’t Lawrence Taylor Or Mike Tyson…: Obviously, as a Sox fan, I was highly interested in the tribute promo. This is despite the fact that it involved Dale Torborg, whom we are best off forgetting (as us South Siders have expunged the memory of his father). It worked quite well, and it was all due to Simon Diamond. However, Simon must remember that A. J.’s designated hitter is not Dale Torborg. He’s Jim Thome, a man that induced mammoth amounts of penis envy for Sox fans when he was with a certain other team in the division. If the match at Turning Point involved Jim Thome, at least that would be mildly interesting. But blowing off a guest appearance with the Diamonds In The Rough? Unfortunately, with everyone else occupied, that seems to be the best choice.

A weasel, a demon, and a winner

Obviously not South Side Irish

To summarize this special, I’ll turn to someone who hasn’t watched a lot of Impact, namely IP’s erstwhile Smackdown recapper CJ Ambrosia: I thought Velocity was off the air. Because that’s what I felt like I was watching.

Okay, we’ve got the Turning Point Round Table coming up, and my predictions are already in. That should carry you over until Tuesday, when we get a Raw taped from the Citadel Of Dubbaya Neo-Imperialism. Have a good one.