The Anti-Pulse



Perfect. The column returns for the first time in 2006 and WWE decides to do a big bag of drugs and offer up one of those peculiar Weird Wrestling Weeks again. The last time around it was TNA who did this, bundling their world title around with the loving care and attention of Homer Simpson’s half-assed parenting. Now its WWE’s turn and both their titles have taken some bittersweet twists and turns within the space of a week.

Oh, and there’s a TNA PPV on too but nobody cares and with good reason.

On with it…


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5. O


No, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes and maybe.

As you all know by now, New Year’s Revolution 2006 turned out to be as useful as an odd-numbered Star Trek movie. Then Cena went and dropped the title for the right reasons to the wrong person in the right place at the right time. Then DAVE went and tore yet another muscle and so he had to vacate his title, which swiftly wound up around the waist of the right person in the wrong place at the right time for the wrong reasons. Confusing? Not half.

Thankfully, since the new champions are Edge and Kurt Angle, all it takes is a single sentence to either sour or sweeten the title change.

Let’s start with Raw:

– They finally took the hint and realised Cena is not popular enough to remain champion (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

– They made the Money in the Bank stipulation credible enough to possibly turn it into a permanent WrestleMania fixture (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

– They took a chance and gave the title to someone who has never held it before (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

– They could finally take Raw in a different direction after essentially repeating the same show since June (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

– It was basically now or never for the new champion and they did the right thing in giving him the chance (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

– If the money really is in the chase then Cena can still make them a tidy profit (Yeah, but… EDGE?)

Seriously, the company may have been grooming Edge for this position ever since he first turned up in 1998 but surely nobody can possibly think that he deserves to enter the pantheon of genuine, worthy champions that have been granted lengthy and numerous title reigns in the past. The man still looks as dorky and non-threatening as he did when he was pulling five-second poses and fashioning ludicrous sunglasses. One look at him and the two words that spring to mind are still “Soda’s rule!” Christian managed to take that aspect of his character and steadily layer it with enough substance to make him into a legitimately interesting singles competitor. Now that he’s deliberately lowered his bar by going to TNA, he will undoubtedly wind up as a World Champion before the year is out and it will feel right. Edge is just Ronnie Garvin with better haircare products. He’s Rhino on a bigger stage with a smaller spear and an equally lacking sense of justification.

And so onto Smackdown:

– There was no need to crown a new champion so quickly with the Royal Rumble coming up (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

– They have lost all faith in Smackdown and so inexplicably made a Raw wrestler into the brand’s champion (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

– They were completely foolish to let Mark Henry anywhere near the already injured Batista (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

– They missed a perfect opportunity to experiment with a different type of champion such as Rey Mysterio (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

– Vacating the title due to the champion being seriously injured and then putting it onto someone whose neck is held together by little more than determination shows remarkable stupidity (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

– The new champion failing to win the Raw title on umpteen occasions in recent months winning the Smackdown title immediately makes the blue brand seem inferior (Yeah, but… ANGLE!)

In direct contrast to Edge, whose unavoidable lameness sours the attempt to revitalise Raw, the sheer fact that Kurt Angle has won his fifth world title is enough to sweeten the dumber aspects of this week’s Smackdown. Time and time again the man has gone above and beyond the call of duty, dedicating his entire being to professional wrestling to an even greater extent than most of his peers. Over the past year it became apparent that these sacrifices were increasingly personal as well as physical. Giving him one more, possibly last, stint as champion is certainly welcomed and it made for a great moment on Smackdown (or so I’m told, I’m having torrent issues with the show). However, since the original plan was to put the vacant title up for grabs in the Royal Rumble match with the proviso of a possible Raw winner being automatically drafted to Smackdown, it is a shame that they decided to go ahead with it on Smackdown instead. I guess we should take that a sign that Triple H is indeed winning the Rumble and was not too keen on giving that up. Anyway, it’s difficult to see exactly what they have in mind for Angle at this point, or for the title, or even for the brand. Common sense dictates that he will be little more than a transitory champion before Orton gets his second chance at playing champion. As this past week has proven once again though, common sense is more often than not incapable of dictating anything to WWE.

Incidentally, Angle is now the first person to have won both the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Title since the brand split. Up yer arse, Mister Jericho.


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The more common phrase is the Road to WrestleMania but now it’s blatantly obvious that Vince McMahon has thrown away the map and is too stupid/stubborn to stop and ask for directions.

The ever-enlightening Ross Williams and I started talking about this after New Year’s Revolution. Here was the card that I had suggested:

“Batista/Orton (World Title) – because it would be rather silly not to

Flair/HHH (WWE Title) – as discussed

Angle/Michaels – to finally settle it, unless they blow it on next week’s Raw

Undertaker/Boogeyman – stupid fun that keeps the streak alive in a harmless way

Edge/Cena/RVD/JBL/Benoit/Hardy – inter-brand MITB to keep Cena in the title hunt without actually doing anything with him, let Hardy beat on Edge one more time, let JBL beat on them both, let Benoit kill himself again, and let RVD sustain the comeback momentum by winning a guaranteed title shot. It could be really interesting if he cashed it in at the next ECW show.

Benjamin/Haas (IC Title) – they’re bringing him back apparently, so this match is a no-brainer and could steal the show

Booker/Lashley (US Title) – throw Monty Jr a bone, or maybe even a title

Show/Kane/Carlito/Masters (World Tag) – let the ninnys gain some cred for taking the titles off the lugs

MNM/Mexicools (WWE Tag) – because MNM need to win some matches

Trish/Mickie (Women’s Title) – wrap it up before, dear god, the next Diva Search

Kash/London (Cruiserweight Title) – WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Lob in the Hall of Fame parade (presumably featuring Animal, Dusty and Chavo, among others) and the pre-show inter-brand Battle Royal and that’s that. Hardly the most inspiring card but it could make for a fairly entertaining show at least.”

Of course, that was written before WWE had another collective seizure and Angle wound up with the WHT. Once that had happened, Ross came up with his suggested card:

“With the latest changes, I’d propose the following:

1/ Randy Orton vs Booker T vs Chris Benoit (US Title)
Makes sense given recent stuff – I’d say giving Orton the belt would make sense too AND keep him out of the World Title picture.

2/ Big Show/Kane vs Lashley/Boogeyman (Tag Titles to be merged)
We’re going to have a weird storyline which encompassed Lashley being the only man that isn’t scared of Boogey and that Boogey actually seems to like. They can win the belts from MNM and then tie up with the big dudes at Mania. Seeing Kane and Show being a bit freaked out by someone would be fantastic. Give Boogey and Lashley the belts, I say.

3/ Kid Kash vs Paul London vs Rey Mysterio vs Brian Kendrick vs Nunzio vs Funaki vs Super Crazy vs Psicosis (CW Title)
Elimination rules here, methinks – we’re going to clear out the shite first, so I say:
1/ Funaki via Kash Dead Level
2/ Nunzio via Super Crazy moonsault
3/ Psicosis via London 450
4/ Super Crazy via Sliced Bread #2

Then Rey does something stupid that wipes him and Kash out on the floor, leaving us Kendrick and London to do stuff for 5 minutes.

5/ Kendrick via London SSP
6/ London via Kash sneaky rollup
7/ Kash via 619 doobrie
Winner: Rey (obviously)

4/ Ric Flair vs Triple H (WWE Title)
We’ll do what they did at WM7, 8 and 9 and stick a big match halfway through. Hunter will win obviously.

5/ Trish vs Mickie vs Victoria vs Candace (Women’s Title)
Candace will have the belt because of Playboy but you just have Victoria protect her as much as possible. In the end, I don’t care what happens but either Trish or Mickie need to turn. Maybe even do a double turn with Victoria since her t-shirts are way cool these days.

6/ Benjamin vs Chavo (IC Title)
The crowd pleasing Chavo win and dedication to Eddie.

7/ Michaels vs Edge vs Cena vs Hardy vs JBL vs RVD (MITB)
Similar to your suggestion, Edge and Hardy can twat each other around, JBL and Michaels can resume their fun and games, Cena can look stupid and not lose too much face and RVD wins with some fun ladder related offense. To be fair, everyone has a reason for being there – Edge says “I won last year”, Michaels says “I’m the ladder match daddy”, RVD says “I’ve won every ladder match I’ve been in”, Hardy says “Adam, you bashtard, I’ma kill u”, Cena still wants to kick off with Edge for being a tosser and JBL can pretend to be upset by Cena’s rap stylings.

8/ Kurt Angle vs The Undertaker (World Title)
Good suspenseful match being that either man could win and Taker would be putting his Mania win streak on the line for a shot at the belt. It might be better to do this as a face vs face thing, purely competitive since that way the crowd won’t guess Taker will win what with it being the last match. Probably only fair to have him win though.”

The triple threat for the US Title does indeed make a great deal of sense but it depends on whether or not WWE can bring themselves to keep Orton out of the WrestleMania WHT match for one more year. If that was the case then realistically there is no other option for Angle on Smackdown other than Taker. Since Angle was recently lobbying for another title run and got it, it’s not without the realms of possibility that his other great backstage wish, a WM match with Taker, could be granted too. Of course if that happened then there is no chance in hell that Taker would not be walking out of Mania as the champion. Each and every f*cking time that potential WrestleMania cards are discussed there is always some nitwit out there who writes “Taker should lose to so-and-so because so-and-so’s career would be made by ending the streak” and it pisses me off royally. Face it; you will see Triple H become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion before you see Undertaker losing at WrestleMania. No matter when Taker retires he will retire undefeated at WrestleMania. Deal with it you unbelievable fools.

Assuming that there is still such a thing as Smackdown by this point and that Taker is its champion, the options are severely limited. The smart thing to do would be to aim towards Batista returning and winning the belt at SummerSlam in a very heated face-off. The difficult thing to do would be to make the show seem interesting until that could happen. They could get away with a Taker/Angle rematch at Judgement Day, sure, but what about the Great American Bash? Yet another Taker/Orton clash where Orton loses? Wouldn’t Orton’s credentials be thoroughly Lugerized by this point? Perhaps they could move someone over from Raw to ease the main event burden in the draft lottery, yet if the lottery is anywhere near as unsuccessful as the 2005 one was then they’re screwed (go on, try and name one person that benefited from the last draft lottery).

More importantly, why the hell should the main event be a burden anyway? There’s no need to struggle so much to try and flesh out two main event scenes or to prop up two main titles when the simple act of a brand reunion could still be organised in time for WrestleMania. It’s high time that people stopped kidding themselves into believing that the roster split is a worthy cause anymore, and hopefully this past Wacky Wrestling Week will have made some more people come to their senses. Eric S has taken to calling a possible Angle/Edge unification match at Mania “Burnside’s Wet Dream”. Assuming he’s referring to the unification stipulation rather than the actual participants of the match itself, he’s absolutely right. For crying out loud, Smackdown is in such poor shape that they can’t even handle land themselves a United States Champion or even a Cruiserweight Champion without them getting badly injured. Raw is so desperate that Carlito and Chris Masters were competing for the WWE Championship on PPV. Why have two cotton shirts when you can have one of purest silk?

And yes, Ross and I both agree that Edge should drop the title to Flair at the Rumble to give the old codger one more stint as World Champion before Triple H reclaims it at ‘Mania. My strange little coda involving RVD subsequently taking the title at this year’s planned ECW show is just a pipe dream, albeit an interesting one. It would certainly help to sustain the value of the ECW brand name, which would be a smart thing to do given that various ECW DVDs are in the works. Sadly, we all know that Cena is far more likely to reclaim the title sooner rather than later.


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3. The Full Stop
4. The Comma
5. The Hyphen


Let’s step away from the peculiarities of WWE and indulge in the whimsy of an entirely different promotion for a while…

Yes, “whimsy” is a marvellous word, isn’t it?

“Tied To The Nineties” Match:
Sting & Christian vs. Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown

HE WAS ALREADY IN THE FUCKING COMPANY!! SHUT UP!! Wax lyrical about the differences in the company then and now all you like; the only difference worth noting is that back then Sting didn’t cost them $500,000. That’s money they could have had in the bank to try and convince Benoit that he would benefit from TNA’s less stressful schedule. That’s money they could have had left once Brock Lesnar inevitably wins his court case and is legally cleared to compete in the USA. That’s money they could have used to put on a series of house shows across the States to try and raise their profile outside of Universal Studios and Spike TV.

More ants…

X Division Championship Match:
Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels

As is rapidly becoming the norm, it falls to the X Division Championship to provide the sole genuine reason for wanting to see the show. By this point we’re smack dab in between our Top 50 lists and it will take something drastic to happen to prevent Joe from being ranked #1 in the 2005/6 edition. He’s meant to be the heel in this but the crowd loves him anyway so expect Daniels to get a fairly negative reaction. This is despite Joe admitting that he took great pleasure in hurting Daniels so badly that he couldn’t even hold his newborn child. He’s the TNA version of Kurt Angle, who was still cheered by the audience even after putting down the USA armed forces, black people and Jesus Christ in a pre-match promo. While Vince McMahon and WWE get rather upset at not being able to control who the audience cheers for, which is absurd considering how Austin made them so much money, TNA are far more relaxed about it. True, they don’t really have much say in the matter but the point still stands – talk to your audience but don’t yell at them lest you become unable to hear what they have to say to you.

NWA Tag Team Titles Match:
America’s Most Wanted vs. Team 3D

Yeah, but:

So you have something to look at while you’re talking to ’em!

What? Oh, right. Yeah, tables, 3Ds, whatever…

“The Wrong” Match:
A.J. Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Huh? Who the f*ck is Tanahashi and why is A.J. facing him on a PPV? They’ve just done an angle with Alex Shelley, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong being told that they need to stand up and make themselves noticed to progress in the X Division. A.J. had no opponent for Final Resolution. Do they seriously not see where they should have gone with this? For the record, Shelley is the most capable of the trio.

“Diplomacy For Foreign Objects” Match:
Rhino vs. Abyss

Okay, so another PPV means another showcase for TNA’s GBH Division (to borrow the term from Eric S). But who is Rhino meant to be in this clusterf*ck line-up? Obviously given the mask, Abyss has to be Jason and Raven’s psychological tendencies make him Freddy. Sabu has been scratched and torn more than enough times, so I guess he could be Leatherface. Rhino is a little harder to pin down. He moves around too much to be Michael Myers but he is small enough to make a perfectly acceptable Chucky. Bless his ickle socks.

Find out which horror movie icon you are here. I got Sabu.

“Move On, Pearl Jam Did” Match:
Raven vs. Somebody

If Raven loses, he’s fired. If Raven wins, he gets a title shot. By this point I think that everybody has a title shot. Hell, they’re even giving them away for free with the TNA action figures. By the way, just stop and take a second to think about the TNA action figures. On this very planet, the same one as you and I, there is somebody who thinks that having a miniature, plastic version of Jeff Jarrett on display in their house is actually a really neat idea. And not just some five year-old nephew of his that doesn’t know any better but just really digs the idea of Uncle Jeff smashing up guitars either. Some unrelated, ever-so-slightly obsessive Jarrett fan. Now that’s just f*cking scary. Anyway, as for this match… sure, let Raven win it then, whatever. With a bit of luck Kidman might stop scratching himself on the couch long enough to work this match, otherwise we’ll probably wind up with Sandman. Since Raven has taken to phoning it in wherever possible in this Zbysko storyline, that match would not be a pretty sight.

Hardly the greatest start to the year for them either, is it?


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2. The Asterix
3. The Number Sign
4. The At Symbol
5. The Tilde


“Don’t touch me; I don’t know where you’ve been.”

TRINITY is headed to the Smackdown roster and will be playing Orlando Jordan’s love interest as part of a bisexual storyline. Since Mickie James is sucking up the sapphic side over on Raw however, Orlando is the one playing the bisexual role in this yarn. If the were lumping anybody vaguely useful with this gimmick then I’d complain about how it could ruin their career. Since its Orlando F’N Jordan then they could turn him into a cross-dressing Nazi child molester and it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference.

So let’s play a new game called “Who Should Orlando Fuck?”

Here are some likely candidates…

KID KASH – Since Kash and Trinity are engaged in real life and WWE just loves to toy with real-life couples, it’s possible that Jordan will be sending Kash a specially compiled Kid Rock mixed-tape in the near future.

CHRIS BENOIT – Tough love, baby. Tough love. After all, Jordan did seem awfully keen to take all those Crossfaces…

MICHAEL COLE – Open-minded metrosexual black man seeks a similarly attired ivory to tend to his ebony. GSOH required.

HARDCORE HOLLY – If years of watching wrestling have taught us anything it is that any homosexual behaviour is evil and must be thoroughly beaten out of any culprits by an angry Alabaman.

JBL – As above, only replacing “Alabaman” with “Texan”, making mention of the Cabinet and possibly adding a reference to smoking the pole of rejection.

SYLVAN GRENIER – Because if Stephanie can try to pass off a ludicrously poor series of Jordan/Grenier matches as being part of a “dynamic drama” then you know she will.

Anyway, we shall see.


“Right, well I’ll go and have a lie down then. No I won’t; I’ll go and hit some guests.”

DAVE had successful surgery on his right tricep this past Thursday. Now he’ll hopefully have a few days rest before diving into what will be an intense and painful period of rehab en route to an expected return to action at some point in June. It’s hard not to feel for the guy. He enters the wrestling business later than most and by the time he hits his mid thirties he begins to come to terms with the fact that he will never make it to the big time. Then, after a rather embarrassing stint on Smackdown, he winds up in Evolution and his prospects are greatly improved. His body is already beginning to give him trouble though, and most of his first year with the stable is hampered by various torn muscles. Nonetheless, he is still hanging with Ric Flair and Triple H and is still one of the most prominent people on Raw. Sure, most people still see him as nothing more than “the big, dumb one” but what does he care? He never expected to be here. He’s having a ball. Then, as that becomes more and more evident in his performances, the fans begin to really get behind him. Suddenly he’s headlining WrestleMania and winds up as the World Champion. He is dreaming out loud. Then he’s back on Smackdown and one of his closest friends in the locker-room dies. The steroids that gave Batista all of his dreams took them all away, and more, from Eddie Guerrero. And so Batista fights on, trying to be a good leader, trying to do the right thing, but his body just won’t let him and he is forced to give up the title and get surgery after all.

But what now?

He’s 40 years old, or thereabouts, and the company is very strongly suggesting that steroids might not be the best course of action to take right now. It was his physique that got his foot in the door of the wrestling business in the first place – what if he loses it? It was his ferocity that got the attention of management and got him his big break – what if he can’t muster it anymore? Batista has a wife and children. After seeing what happened to Eddie, so sudden and so unexpected, does Batista really want to continue pushing his fragile body so hard? He’s been a very successful World Heavyweight Champion; something that nobody thought would happen before late 2004. Surely there’s no pressing need to repeat that other than the idealism of being a good locker room leader for Smackdown – yet who knows if there will even be a Smackdown by the end of the summer?

Batista was said to be in tears backstage at the Smackdown tapings this week. No wonder.


“If you bother me again I shall visit you in the small hours of the night and put a bat up your nightdress.”

THE BIG SHOW is the latest WWE wrestler whose contract expires soon. This would be somewhat at odds with the reports of a ten-year contract that were circulating when he left WCW back in 1999 but whatever, he’s not going anywhere. WWE will certainly not offer him the $1 million annual salary he’s reportedly getting at the moment but they’re not about to let TNA get anywhere near a former World Champion as recognisable as the Big Show. This does explain the uncharacteristically motivated performances that Show’s been giving in recent months though.


“Oh spiffing. Absolutely spiffing. Well done. Two dead, Twenty-five to go.”

ARMAGEDDON 2005 has been estimated at pulling an inexplicable 290,000 buys. That’s a large increase from the 2004 event and almost double what the 2003 event managed. It’s also a great deal more than Smackdown’s previous PPV offering, No Mercy, could achieve and comes a lot closer to matching the Survivor Series’ 370,000 purchases than anybody was expecting. Hell, since the early estimates are nearly always lower than the final buyrate it’s likely that the show will wind up breaking the 300K mark.

I can’t think of any particular reason why the show performed so well other than the marketing people continuing to do a brilliant job promoting of Hell in the Cell. After all, the one at Vengeance pulled in almost 400,000 buys. If that’s the case then I’d expect WWE to start planning a Hell in the Cell DVD quite soon.


“START. Start, you vicious bastard. Oh my God. I’m warning you, if you don’t start… I’ll count to three. 1, 2, 3, right, that does it…I’m going to give you a damn good thrashing.”

TNA has finally come to terms with realit and will be doing a house show at the Compuware Sports Arena in Plymouth, Michigan on St. Patrick’s Day. They are also planning on doing a show at the ECW Arena later in the year. This is about f*cking time. Sadly, they are in a position where they have to run house shows rather than simply running them for extra publicity. Having blown all their funds on Sting, they’re going to need to find some extra money to keep Samoa Joe around when his contract runs out. Oh, sure, he says he wouldn’t go to WWE but Diana Ross said she wasn’t going to leave The Supremes and look how that turned out.


“This is typical. Absolutely typical… of the kind of… ARSE I have to put up with from you people…”

BOB ORTON has been taking time off to recover from illness. I’m not sure how true this is but apparently he has hepatitis. It seems that the only person in the company he told about this was the internet’s favoured scapegoat Johnny Ace. That’s fair enough, but not when Ace never told anybody else about it and Orton went ahead and bled all over the Undertaker during the Hell in the Cell match with Randy Orton. Now that’s definitely a lawsuit in the making.

Also, Orton’s favourite road-trip buddy, Juventud Guerrera, was fired for being a crazy wee arse.

Truly, this is the end of an era for service stations everywhere


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5. F12


JED SHAFFER reviews William Regal’s autobiography, which is probably what the remnants of my Christmas book tokens will be spent on.

CHRIS PANKONIN has almost returned to the site, much like Jesus has almost returned to Earth.

MICHAEL FITZGERALD deals with the World of Sport, a wrestling show with a name that would give Vince McMahon hives.

BIG ANDY MAC deals with ROH bits. Um, is this Andy Campbell?

MATT MORRISON puts on his oxygen mask and delves into the Local Comic Store.

MANOLIS VAMVOUNIS brings an all-star line-up to his column.

AIM – KingKongBurnside

MSN – Zomig


The Distracted