The Anti-Pulse 2005 (Part 1)



Apologies for missing last week. The combined effect of house-hunting and the traditional end-of-term assessment gold-rush left me with no time to get the column done. I know it must have been a very trying time for you all but hopefully you managed to band together in your time of need and made it through relatively unscathed.

This week, the Anti-Pulse is back with a vengeance for the special end-of-year edition. Yes, everybody and their monkey will offer up some sort of end-of-year column in the next few weeks but – in a shocking twist – this one is actually good. Scroll down further to find out what the best and worst aspects of wrestling in 2005 were, what the finest PPVs were, and a whole bunch of crap about movies, albums, comic books and pizzas too.

All this plus your regularly scheduled Anti-News, a look back at Turning Point, a reluctant look forward at Armageddon, and yet more evidence to support the brand reunion culled from the Inside Pulse forums.

This will probably be the last column until 2006 unless I can make time in between Christmas and New Year to write one, which is looking increasingly unlikely. However, the voting for the Inside Pulse Wrestling Awards has been going on in the staff writers’ forum recently so I’ll probably be back to write something for one of the categories there. From the looks of things so far the awards for Best Female, Best Promotion, Best Tag Team, Best Event, Missed Opportunity and Breakout Star are going in the right direction… fingers crossed that people will see sense for Best Wrestler, Best Match and Best Storyline too… Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for the awards, which should be up by, well, the end of the year.

In the meantime, enjoy the column, have a chilled time over the holidays and send any comments this way.


Where did all the good wrestling super-card names go to? TNA is rapidly becoming a specialist in churning out innocuous, unforgettable, bland titles for their PPVs. The decidedly optimistic Bound For Glory just about makes the grade but things like Sacrifice, Unbreakable, No Surrender and the rest just blend into one unappetizing shade of beige. The latest is Turning Point, which doesn’t even work as a random term about the spirit of the wrestlers like the previous three unremarkable examples. What are they turning from, exactly? Where will they be turning to next? Should we enforce parental supervision or is this a family-friendly sort of turning? Why do they need to turn on this exact point? Where the hell is this point?

A little visit to Wikipedia throws up some possible inspirations for the name…

There was a straight edge hardcore punk band called Turning Point from 1988 to 1991. This is obviously a subversive attempt to let C.M. Punk know that all has been forgiven and that they would love to turn him into a World Heavyweight Champion after he has been jobbed out to Viscera on Heat. The last three words of that sentence scare the shit out of me.

There is an Institute of Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland called Turning Point. It is a charity that provides help for the bereaved and seriously ill. This is obviously an unspoken offer to Bret Hart to know that he will always have a home in TNA even after he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame only to have Shawn Michaels interrupt his acceptance speech while Goldberg sneaks up behind him to kick him on the other side of his head in The Great Judeo-Christian Conspiracy of nought-six.

There is an R&B album by somebody named Mario called Turning Point. You see, TNA allows all of their wrestlers to play video games backstage. The only problem is that none of them can afford to buy a PSP to unlock Jake Roberts in the new Smackdown vs. Raw game, which is presumably all Triple H’s fault.

There was a project by Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-American physicist, called Turning Point. It warns us of the epidemics, global starvation and ecological destruction that will happen due to the ever-rising global population levels. Don’t worry; it’s just the cyclical nature of the business.

Well, with that not cleared up in the slightest, let’s see what actually happened at Turning Point…

Barbed Wire Massacre:
Abyss vs. Sabu

I actually read some reports that criticised TNA for putting on a match like this because they were risking serious injury to both Abyss and Sabu, which would be detrimental to the promotion as a whole. Far be it from me to point out the bloody obvious here but it would be detrimental to the promotion to pay people like Abyss and Sabu to participate in regular wrestling matches. The sole reason that they have a job is to beat the crap out of one another in senseless, brutal fashion. It’s not my cup of tea but they did do a bang-up job here, as always. Eric S suggested TNA might want to introduce a Hardcore Title to help make this sort of thing slightly more reasonable in the long-term. I’m not sure I’d go that far but it wouldn’t hurt to have a King Of Hardcore tournament or something. The winner of that could then go on to defend his trophy or medal or whatever in various matches. It would be easier to scrap that whenever necessary than it would be to just make an actual title vanish.

“Velocity Is Not A Four-Letter Word” Match:
Roderick Strong & Alex Shelley vs. Matt Bentley & Austin Aries

Have these guys been used as cannon fodder on Velocity at some point? I’m sure that I’ve seen some of them getting thrown around by Bob Holly a while ago. Sadly, though they got to show more of themselves here than they would do trying to make the likes of Happy-Hour Holly look competent, they still just didn’t get enough time to really cut loose. In fact, they just didn’t seem to be feeling it at all in this match. I’m not exactly sure what “it” might be but I have it on good authority that “it” is worth the wait. “It” is probably busy turning the point or something equally, confusingly important. Seeing how far they are prepared to go with Shelley and Aries is certainly worth the wait (though only if the wait isn’t more than a few months). It’s far too early to be throwing around terms like “the next Styles” or “the next Daniels” but there’s no doubt that they are capable of hanging out at the pinnacle of the X Division should the opportunity present itself. To do this they will need more time on their major matches (and more interesting major matches, of course) so here’s hoping they get that chance soon. I’m still nonplussed about Strong but Bentley, one of the more charismatic members of the X Division, really deserves something tastier too.

“He Used The Word ‘Nincompoop'” Match:
Raven vs. Kanyon

I just can’t use the name Chris K. WWE have full permission to sue me should they so desire. TNA have full permission to use Kanyon on a permanent basis, purely because I like the guy and want to see him back on TV. Raven has full permission to try and cut a better promo than resorting to the shocking cheap tactic of daring to call somebody a “nincompoop”. Larry Zbysko has full permission to stop channelling the dad from Malcolm In The Middle every time the camera turns in his direction. Overall, they just really need to hurry up and take this angle somewhere interesting (although a one-off appearance by Kidman would be welcome).

“What The World Was Not Waiting For” Match:
Team Canada vs. 4 Live Kru

The fact that TNA can put so much care and dedication into planning and executing a long-term storyline revolving around the reunion of the New Age Outlaws and yet remain so haphazard when it comes to booking their World Heavyweight Title is constantly baffling. Their next mission, should they choose to accept it, is to try and do something equally coherent with the increasingly stale Team Canada. Bobby Roode in particular should be given the chance to work a proper singles feud.

“Sure As Hell Wasn’t BASEketball” Match:
Diamonds In The Rough vs. Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin & Dale Torborg

See, now the smart thing to do would be to try and put on some live events in Chicago on the back of all the publicity they are getting from the sports media. They could also try a ‘homecoming’ show of their own back in Nashville, not to mention trying out different towns in Florida or heading up to Philadelphia and New York. Unfortunately, they went and donated half-a-million dollars to Sting instead. Just so you know, the last Crow movie went straight to DVD and starred Tara Reid. Apparently it also starred Tito Ortiz, thus completing the incestuous circle within the confines of Universal Studios.

NWA World Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match:
Christian Cage vs. Monty Brown

It was a welcome surprise to see that they just went ahead and kept this as a straight-up one-on-one contest, freed from foreign objects (a phrase that I’m surprised hasn’t been replaced by ‘terrorist objects’), evil referees, run-ins and the usual other assorted crap that seems to have become part of Jeff Jarrett’s moveset. To be fair, it seems to be a regular occurrence in most World Title matches these days, even when it’s nothing but the #1 contender spot that’s on the line. The concern about trying to make everybody look strong in defeat has grown into an irrational and paranoid delusion for the most part. Getting cleanly defeated in a hard-fought, high-profile match against a talented opponent is not going to suddenly jeopardise the loser’s career and it’s about time that certain people realise this. Monty Brown is not going to lose anything in the eyes of the fans simply for being pinned cleanly by Christian and it’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the tendency is to think otherwise. The match itself was not particularly memorable but it did feel like A Big Deal (more so than the main event). In a better world these two will get to have a lengthy, vaguely clean feud over the title itself by next summer. It could quite easily be the TNA version of Rock/HHH (only without the Iron Man match, hopefully… although Monty should certainly improve further by working with Christian…) and it would undoubtedly be a more tempting main event to woo the resisting WWE fanbase with than anything involving that guy that jobbed to Chyna. The stumbling block is trying to make it to that point from here. Once again the lack of long-term planning in the title scene has bitten them on the ass, since there was no apparent need to make a #1 contender here when Sting was just going to barge into the main event scene anyway. Now the Christian/Jarrett title match won’t get to happen until at least the February PPV, and that means plenty of random and meaningless title defences against designated cannon fodder to clog up Impact in the meantime. More worrying is that Monty is in danger of being lost in the shuffle. The loss here was not unexpected and the manner of it was fine, but now he’s caught in between a rock and a hard place. Christian has taken his spot as the audience’s designated successor to Jarrett, which should have firmly established him as a heel at long last. The only problem here is that as a main event heel he seemingly has to be aligned with Jarrett, which clearly does not work considering their history. Heel Monty trying to stay in the title scene by any means necessary would be far more believable if he was attempting to obtain favours from the mythical championship committee by helping Zbysko to deal with Raven. If Jarrett is so desperate for a second man to help him against Christian and Sting then just take a chance and elevate Bobby Roode. Trust me; it will be much better in the long run.

Tag Team Tables Match:
America’s Most Wanted vs. Team 3-D

You know… I really don’t care about this whatsoever. There’s nothing to say but I am shrugging a fair bit, which is the most suitable response to this feud.

X Division Championship Match:
A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe

By this point if I ever actually met A.J. or Joe then I just know that I’d have a mark-out moment equivalent to Wayne and Garth meeting Alice Cooper. Just look at their efforts on stupidly-named TNA PPVs this year alone…

In January at Final Resolution, Styles is in perhaps the best-ever Ultimate X contest against Williams and Sabin… in February at Against All Odds, Styles and Daniels put on their first Iron Man match of the year and steal the show… in March at Destination X, Styles was back in the Ultimate X alongside Daniels, Skipper and Killings… in April at Lockdown, Styles changed modes completely in the Six Sides of Steel against Abyss… in May at Hard Justice, Styles wins the title from Jarrett (complete with run-in and shoddy officiating, naitch)… in June at Slammiversary, Styles lost the title to Raven in an entertaining King of the Mountain contest alongside Monty and Waltman, while Joe turned up to dispose of Sonjay Dutt… in July at No Surrender, Styles dragged Waltman to his finest match in a decade while Joe and Sabin put on a vastly overlooked bout… in August at Sacrifice, they faced one another in the exhilarating final of the Super X Cup… in September at Unbreakable, they had the Match of the Year in a three-way dance alongside Daniels… in October at Bound For Glory, Joe got to play with Liger while Styles and Daniels had their second Iron Man match… last month at Genesis, Styles and Williams had a good ol’ time while Joe tried to kill Daniels… this month they fought one another again to cap off a fantastic year and somehow they managed to best their last confrontation. As if those accomplishments were not enough, they even managed to swing by ROH again for some extra bonus classics against the likes of Jimmy Rave, Nigel McGuinness and, of course, Kenta Kobashi.

Seriously, the constant brilliance of what these two men have achieved inside the ring in 2005 is on a par with Ric Flair in 1989, Bret Hart in 1994, Shawn Michaels in 1996, Triple H in 2000 and any other annus mirabili that you would care to mention. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

NWA World Heavyweight Title Match:
Jeff Jarrett vs. Rhino

The next time I watch a Jeff Jarrett title match I’m going to start up a drinking game. You must take a shot of whisky every time somebody uses a terrorist object, every time somebody interferes, and every time the referee takes a bump. If I had been doing this here then I’d have been catatonic by the time Sting’s old boots made their headline appearance. Scott Keith described the match as “a Vince Russo tribute”, which is fitting. Jarrett is still a decent worker and capable of putting on some perfectly acceptable matches but he sure seems reluctant to let the rest of the world notice this and quite content to bury his own talent in a screwjob haze, never mind that of his opponents. It’s become so ridiculous and so expected that the TNA video game will probably feature a run-in as his finishing move. Depending on your health-meter by the time you hit the finisher, you’ll either get a barely-clothed Jackie Gayda or the combined forces of America’s Most Wanted, Team Canada, Jimmy Page’s guitar collection and the stampeding brontosaurs from King Kong. People quite rightly criticise Carlito for never winning matches cleanly but at least he is not trying to pass himself off as being the equal of Triple H when he does it. For somebody so well-versed in wrestling, Jarrett must be on some high-quality cocaine if he genuinely thinks that his ‘duck season, wabbit season’ booking style is constantly viable. I dread to think what could happen if they start to bring back the Fake Sting gimmick whenever the real version gets a title match against Jarrett. I’d like to think that Sting won’t stand in the way of Christian getting a clean title victory over Jarrett. I’d like to think that Jarrett will be secure enough in his manhood to spend most of 2006 without the title, or even without a title program. I’d like to think that Sting will be used to benefit the likes of Monty, Joe and Abyss by helping to further elevate them in the eyes of the fabled ‘casual audience’ that TNA is so adamant exists. Then again, I’d also like to think that Eliza Dushku is lying in my bed gently rubbing certain body parts with chocolate sauce so whatever.


1. Broken Flowers
The movies have been invaded by superheroes, wizards and the like but it was Bill Murray’s minimalist acting that stole the show.

2. Batman Begins
It took them sixty-six years but finally there is a definitive live-action version of the Dark Knight. The good news is that the sequel with have The Joker and no Katie Holmes, so it’s onwards and upwards for the franchise.

3. King Kong
I’ll resist all monkey jokes and move swiftly onwards…

4. Serenity
Like Star Trek: Voyager only not massively annoying and genuinely entertaining. Poor ol’ Wash…

5. Sin City
In terms of closeness to the source material, this was the most genuine comic book movie to date.

6. 40 Year Old Virgin
Yes, Coldplay are the benchmark for gayness.

7. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Like Lethal Weapon by way of L.A. Confidential and another reminder that Robert Downey Jr can be a good leading man when he wants.

8. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
You love it or you hate it.

9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
A bit disappointing but Sam Rockwell, Alan Rickman and Bill Bailey were all perfect.

10. Melinda & Melinda
Woody Allen in “yet another perfectly acceptable film” shocker!

11. Corpse Bride
Technically brilliant but, like the titular character, completely devoid of heart.

12. Fantastic Four
Good for what it was but they should have aimed far higher. Bizarrely enough, my mum liked it.

13. War Of The Worlds
Come out of the closet, Tom.

14. Harry Potter & The Gobshite Of Yawn
One or two decent set-pieces can’t hide the hollow nature of the whole film, with the only amusing moment being nicked from South Park of all places (Harry gobbing water over himself when the girl he fancied says hello).

15. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith

16. Hostage
Bruce Willis remakes Die Hard yet again, only this time he’s on the outside trying to get in.

17. Constantine
The character was originally modelled after Sting (singer, not wrestler) so of course they got Keanu Reeves to play him.

18. Wedding Crashers
The miracle that is Vince Vaughan’s continued high-profile acting career is almost enough to turn me into a religious man.

19. Elektra
The sole saving grace to this one is that Catwoman makes it look like a masterpiece by comparison.

20. Stealth
In my defence, I never wanted to see this one. The girl did. That’s about the only reasonable excuse you could use.

The above list was only compiled from new movies that I’ve actually seen this year, so no doubt there were many other great films. I never got around to seeing things like A History Of Violence, March Of The Penguins or Factotum despite all the raving reviews so I’ll just add them to the lengthy DVD wishlist and promptly forget all about them.

As for 2006, well, it’s pretty obvious that Superman Returns has the box office all sewn up… X-Men 3 provides a marginally cooler comic book counterpoint and might actually succeed in spite of itself… the same goes for the ‘pro-terrorist’ (prepare to hear that a lot when it is released) V For Vendetta, which has amazingly been getting some positive early reviews… Brokeback Mountain arrives in the UK with all of its manly curiousityMiami Vice plays the “I can’t believe they remade that” card… Casino Royale refuses to leave well enough alone or to allow Tarantino to direct it, so it’s up to two strikes already… Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest will make several hundred million dollars off the back of Johnny Depp’s piss-head character… Mission Impossible III finally makes it out of the closet but unsurprisingly lost Scarlett Johansson along the way… she does, however, turn up in Match Point and Scoop, both by Woody Allen… Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman headline Andy Garcia’s The Lost City… Pixar gears up for their first critical failure with Cars… Bruce Willis really does remake Die Hard but I’m quite content with my DVD of the original… Kevin Smith’s fear of change comes back to bite him on that ample ass of his with The Passion Of The Clerks… and finally we get to see The Rock teaming up with Buffy and Stiffler in Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly’s Southland Tales, which is my early pick for the film of the year…

But anyway, that’s enough about movies… for now…


Oh, crap, no, not this again… Armageddon has the misfortune of being the abused bastard stepchild of the WWE PPV schedule. Most of the others can get by okay even if they aren’t particularly memorable. The newly-shite modern version of Great American Bash at least has WWE’s most valuable commodity, nostalgia, on its side, and even Taboo Tuesday can just about work on sheer determination by the promotion, but by the time they get to December they clearly just don’t give a f*ck anymore. It’s the runt of the litter, the lamest of the lame, the D-list refugee of the faulting B-show, and this year’s edition is on course to be a colossal bore.

Not that the previous versions were anything special… let’s see…

1999 – Vince McMahon main-events while Chyna competes for the Intercontinental Title and The Big Bossman competes for the WWE Championship… pass…

2000 – There’s a six-man Hell In The Cell and Kurt Angle wins but the world is not interested and even slightly bored by how contrived it all seems…

2002 – Goldust and Booker T, who really should have been the stars of Bareback Mountain, win the tag titles but it’s all rapidly downhill from there…

2003 – Evolution kills everybody, nobody watches…

2004 – Daniel Puder, Mike Mizanin, Jesus Aguilara, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, Kenzo Suzuki, Rene Dupree, Dawn Marie and Jackie Gayda all wrestle on a PPV…

Wow, what a legacy. If you’ve forgotten what happened in the 2001 version then you’ll probably have a richer, fuller life as a result of your selective memory loss.

Let’s see what 2005 has to offer…

Hell In The Cell:
The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton

Oh, crap, no, not this again… They picked the one high-profile feud of 2005 that people actually didn’t want to see dragged out for more than a month or two (unlike Batista/HHH, Guerrero/Mysterio or Michaels/Angle) and they just kept going with it anyway. I’m not entirely sure if this is because the bookers actually thought it would be good for business or if Undertaker forced them into it because he just really, really enjoys pounding Randy’s face in. He certainly seemed to be having a blast at WrestleMania and SummerSlam. I think that over the course of those two matches Orton managed to get in a grand total of a dozen offensive moves, of which only two were sold. It was actually perversely enjoyable, no matter how increasingly dumb the build-up was, but that is no longer the case. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and WWE finds itself in exactly the same state they were at this time last year – hoping that Randy Orton can become a genuine main-eventer. The only minor difference is that last year they wanted it to happen but this year they need it. Smackdown has taken a royal beating this year as a result of bad planning, injuries, tragedy, and so on. The main event scene consists of the part-time Undertaker, Batista (whose body is already starting to give up on him), JBL (who nobody wants to see as champion again for a long time and is incompatible with Batista anyway) and Orton. Like him or not, he is the best pick as the next champion. Short of putting on a title unification match with Cena, you’re looking at Batista/Orton as the Smackdown main event for WrestleMania in a feud that will dominate most of 2006 out of necessity, at least until they can fix things with the next draft lottery. Basically, the company needs to repeat the Lesnar/Taker version of Hell in the Cell with Orton in Brock’s role to try and make him look as credible as possible. If this actually happens then we may well also be treated to pigs flying over the frozen icy lakes of Hell.

“Could Have Been A Unification” Match:
Batista & Rey Mysterio vs. Kane & The Big Show

Oh, crap, no, not this again… Only a wrestling promoter could think that it would be a neat idea to take their seriously injured World Heavyweight Champion and alleviate his burden by giving him another title. That’s the sort of mentality that leads to thinking people will be persuaded to purchase this show in order to see two sets of tag team champions facing one another despite having absolutely no evidence to support this theory whatsoever. It also means that a perfectly acceptable title match between a couple of genuine tag teams in MNM and Mexicools, who could have had a rather entertaining feud over the belts, has been figuratively kicked in the crotch as a side-effect to this booking. It was bad enough when they sacrificed MNM’s credibility to Animal & Heidenreich but at least that was understandable from a business point-of-view (buy the Road Warriors DVD or we’ll cry). This time around it is just unfathomable. Raw has a complete and utter lack of tag teams so of course they’ve shoved the belts onto two random upper mid-card singles wrestlers instead. Smackdown has a genuine tag team division and it continues to be completely overlooked, which is just baffling. Since somebody on the staff has to be responsible for creating the likes of MNM and the Mexicools (and, heaven help us, The Dicks) and for teaming up the likes of Regal & Burchill and London & Kendrick, you would think that somebody would also care enough about their work to create some lasting feuds for them. Instead – nothing. This would have been forgivable had they planned on unifying the two sets of belts en route to ending the brand extension once and for all but, no, this is just another meaningless tag team match positioned ridiculously high on a ludicrous PPV. If this, the aforementioned Dicks and the hiring of Dusty Rhodes is anything to go by then perhaps there is somebody in the company that keeps tabs on TNA – and then decides to steal all their worst features.

United States Title Best-Of-Seven Series, Match Four:
Booker T vs. Chris Benoit

Reading between the lines of the latest reports, it seems that TNA really would like to sign Benoit but they didn’t realise he was potentially available and so blew all of their money on Sting instead. Morons. It is looking increasingly likely that WWE’s loss and TNA’s stupidity will prove to be NJPW’s gain though, with Benoit apparently wishing to work a lighter schedule from now on (and we all know his reasons for this and fully support them). Considering he probably has a no-compete clause tucked onto the end of his contract anyway, TNA might have a few extra months to try and raise sufficient funds to go and sign him. Hell, they should just set up a special Paypal donation account on their website and invite everybody that wants to see a Benoit/Joe match to contribute. I’m certain that they would get enough to promote at least a one-time deal. Or maybe we’re all barking up the wrong tree. Maybe Benoit has every intention of staying with WWE. Maybe he will at least stick around long enough to flesh out this series with Booker rather than just getting whitewashed. Maybe, maybe, but for his own good I hope he goes. Yes, it will strand Smackdown even further up shit creek with several gaping holes in their ship but that’s just WWE’s own fault for creating such a harsh work environment and needlessly decimating the prospects of so many potential saviours. Oh, well. Once more into the breach for at least one more fine example of wrestling. Cheers, Chris.

“Unnecessary” Match:
MNM vs. The Mexicools

Juvi will probably want to try and enter the ring in the same way that Melina does. Somebody will point out that he doesn’t actually have a vagina, so there’s no point, but Juvi will just blink and say that he can have one for this match. Juvi will also say that Psicosis and Super Crazy ought to win the titles only for somebody to point out that they aren’t fighting the champions, but Juvi will just sniff and say that they can be the champions for this one match. Somebody will then point out that Juvi is not actually one of the participants in this match, at which point he will whimper and then burst into tears, running backstage to get a cuddle and a cookie from Bob Orton. Then he will have a nice refreshing nap before waking up stark naked in an airport, going round and round on the baggage reclaim conveyer belt. Nobody picks him up. Nobody ever picks him up. He starts to cry once again. It comes slower this time. He wants to feel it. He needs to feel each tear as it glides down his cheek, leaving wounded tracks that neither time nor pain can heal. Bob… he needs Bob… his dear, sweet Bob, where, oh where could he be?

“This Is On PPV Yet C.M. Punk Is Still In OVW” Match:
Matt Hardy vs. JBL

Former world champion versus prospective headliner or one-half of the Hardy Boyz taking on one-half of the New Blackjacks? You decide, I can’t be arsed.

Cruiserweight Title Match:
Juventud Guerrera vs. Kid Kash


“Welcome To The Serengeti” Match:
William Regal & Paul Burchill vs. Bobby Lashley

Okay, I will give them credit for booking Lashley properly in the Survivor Series match last month. He looked dangerous, eager and full of potential yet was eliminated in a manner that did him no harm and made him look vaguely competent. Booking him in a series of handicap matches and letting him destroy the tag team division one pair at a time is not a particularly bright idea though, especially against Regal/Burchill. Letting him kick the crap out of Scotty/Funaki for a couple of minutes is fine. Same for Nunzio/Vito, since nobody takes them seriously anyway. Burchill does at least have the potential to turn into a solid mid-card worker, so jobbing him out in the name of finally, finally managing to get the Goldberg Push to work for a WWE-made talent (and you know that it just eats Vince up inside that he never managed it) is rather odd. Then again, considering that Kennedy is out with an injury for six months or so, it’s probably only a matter of time before Lashley winds up with the US Title. Joy of joys. The man may be big and powerful but let’s face it; he looks about as threatening as Richard Attenborough.

No doubt they will pad out the card with some kind of bonus cruiserweight shebongle and a Special Guest Appearance from our dear friend Robert Holly too, kindly reinforcing my complete apathy regarding this dismal card.


1. Oasis – Don’t Believe The Truth
Lazy, cool, fierce, tender and ever-so-slightly psychedelic – this is rock and roll.

2. Ryan Adams – 29
Like a southern, musical version of Tim Burton.

3. White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
…And then he goes and ruins it all by saying something stupid like “I love Coca-Cola”.

4. Bonnie Prince Billy – Summer In The Southeast
It’s not really a new album, it’s a live album, but he’s reworked his songs so brilliantly that they feel fresher than ever.

5. Arcade Fire – Funeral
Nothing short of a remarkable achievement.

6. The Coral – The Invisible Invasion
You absolutely have to at least check out “In The Morning”, which is the catchiest tune of the year, hands down.

7. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
The musical equivalent of those lovely classic Peanuts anthologies that have been coming out lately…

8. Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust
He’s fifty-six years old and in “Reno” sings about getting a blowjob from a hooker and yet it still works. The music, that is.

9. Antony & The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
A genuinely good Mercury Music Prize winning album? Woah…

10. Paul Weller – As Is Now
The album is ever-so-slightly over-hyped but there’s no denying that “From The Floorboards Up” is the best slice of rock he’s cut since The Jam.

11. The Foo Fighters – In Your Honour
Too long for its own good but there enough good songs here to condense the double-album into one indispensable disc.

12. Edan – Beauty And The Beat
Yes, I like a hip-hop album, try not to act so surprised. If only there were more like this.

13. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cold Roses
See the entry for The Foo Fighters.

14. Beck – Guero
The idea of “classicist” Beck is too bizarre to contemplate but the album certainly does work.

15. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
On the evidence of the catchier tunes on this hit-and-miss effort, so could they.

16. Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine
A beautiful piece of work from the Latin Neil Young.

17. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
And yet an entire generation of young girls will now grow up with the Pussycat Dolls as role-models instead of women like Sleater-Kinney, further proving how stupid the world is.

18. The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang
Taking the Most Unexpected Award for this year, the Stones return with some genuinely decent numbers here.

19. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Jacksonville City Nights
The third and slightly weakest outing for Adams this year, but it’s still quality.

20. Gorillaz – Demon Days
Sweeping in to collect the Most Overrated Award is the Anti-Blur, but at least the singles are good.

As for 2006 albums, well, The Strokes return shortly after the New Year with First Impressions Of Earth, which is excellent… There are rumours of a second B-sides compilation from Oasis, all of which I have already but I’ll still pick it up to keep my completist side happy… Prince returns, hopefully with both the funk and the noise… The Flaming Lips are back in March and they are At War With The Mystics… Snow Patrol have their Eyes Open in April… Soundtrack Of Our Lives are working on Origin vol. 2… Graham Coxon releases Love Travels At Illegal Speeds in March… Richard Ashcroft attempts to bypass mediocrity again with January’s Keys To The World … Arctic Monkeys try to live up to the hype with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, which comes out on my birthday… The Who are, slightly worryingly, planning a brand-new album for release in the spring… Belle & Sebastian continue their melancholic ways with The Life Pursuit in February… Cat Power turns up with The Greatest on my gran’s birthday… Red Hot Chilli Peppers are back with the wonderfully-named Stadium Arcadium in April… rumours of a new Pearl Jam album continue… and there’s always Chinese Democracy, right?

As for wrestling, well — check out Part 2 right here, right now…