In Memoriam: Don Knotts, undoubtedly one of the greatest comic character actors of our time. On the Jones Scale, he’s definitely somewhere in the 9s. His genius, I think, will remain underappreciated for all time, which is tragic.
In Memoriam II: Darren McGavin, who now gets to stalk in the ultimate night.
Well, people are wondering if I’m going to do for the Closing Ceremonies what I did for the Opening Ceremonies. No, afraid not. There’s no real silly moments, no awful outfits, nothing but a sense of loss. The flame goes out, and stays out until the world gathers in two years halfway across the world for games not involving snow and ice, then these people train, compete, and wait for their return to prominence four years from now. Then, for two straight Olympiads, we get to enjoy the show in our native language. After that? We’ll know where in a couple years. In the meantime, we just have to enjoy our native sports, I guess.
And as for me, yet again, something’s popped up that just can’t wait until Tuesday. Well, it could, and get a bigger audience, but I work in the moment. By Tuesday, the story will be completely dead, so I’d better give it a slight boost time-wise. Besides, it’s a jab at Big Johnson, and you know I can’t resist that…
AND IT’S TIME FOR ANOTHER EPISODE OF BIG JOHNSON, RETARD-AT-LARGE…
If there’s one thing guaranteed in this world, other than death and taxes, it’s that the boys at 1bullshit Junior will totally miss the f*cking obvious as it stares them in their goyische punims. Usually, it’s Milord who holds the Idiot Banner high, but sometimes Big Johnson shows that he can do a Forest For The Trees act as well as his boss. Here’s what he wrote about Ted Turner’s impending departure from the board of Time-Warner:
A number of media outlets including USA Today reported this afternoon that Ted Turner would be leaving the board of directors of AOL Time Warner after their next meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. With the end of Time Warner’s no compete which retricted them from airing or getting involved with professional wrestling (part of their sale of WCW to WWE in March 2001) next month, Turner’s departure puts an end to any interest on Turner’s part to bring professional wrestling back into the AOL Time Warner/Turner family.
“Retricted”? Oh, boy. But put no mind to that. Departing the board would imply that it would put an end to any interest on Turner’s part of bringing anything to the “family”, much less wrestling. In other words, he’s cutting ties. What he should have done was treat Richard Parsons like Filipinos are treating Gloria Arroyo to try to save the value of his stock. According to Forbes, he still owns 32 million shares of Time-Warner. He still has power in a proxy fight, but he’ll just probably sit back and see if Parsons can improve the share price. If not, it’s proxy fight time, and if he wants to press the issue, he can muster mammoth support. When you have an iconic figure fighting against a CEO in a precarious position, just the threat of opposition could lead to a downfall and the ascendance of a much more amenable regime. He could ask Michael Eisner about that one.
Okay, so Big Johnson isn’t the savviest of guys on things like corporate politics and boardroom antics. But that doesn’t excuse the blatant ignorance of the rest of his little screed:
Turner, who helped launch Superstation TBS on the strength of Saturday night wrestling, had been long rumored, literally, since the day WCW was sold, to have been interested in doing a new wrestling project down the line. His departure would seemingly shut that door.
The f*ck? What the f*cking f*ck?
Excuse me, Big Johnson. We are talking about Robert Edward Turner, #321 on the 2005 Forbes 400, largest private landowner in the United States, media icon with a fortune worth approximately two billion dollars, are we not? Since when does he need Time-Warner to do anything about getting involved with wrestling again? “Oh, but, Eric,” you say in those fawning sychophantic tones that make me lose any and all respect for you, “without Time-Warner, how is he going to get television exposure if he wants to get back into wrestling?” He’s Ted Fuckin’ Turner, that’s how. You think that name doesn’t open doors? The only routes closed to him are Fox because of his ongoing feud with Rupert Murdoch and Universal because of the deal with Vince. He talks, they listen. Any media organization worth its salt would definitely buy into a quid pro quo in order to get the massive PR and dick-swinging value of having Ted Turner in the house. So what if they have to put on two hours of wrestling on a cable affiliate? He could bring in ways to innovate the news division, or find new library properties. Remember, that was one of the big reasons why Time-Warner consolidated with him in the first place; he owned all those freakin’ movie libraries. So if he wants to make a deal, and the deal happened to include wrestling, it’s a small price to pay for having him in the fold.
And that’s not the only obvious thing that Big Johnson overlooked. He forgets his history. How exactly did Ted Turner get into wrestling as more than a broadcaster in the first place? Raise your hands if you know the answer…good, some of you do.
For the benefit of those who don’t, I’ll put it to you simply. He bought out the second-largest promotion in the country.
Now do you see where this is going?
Ted happens to live in Florida to avoid those pesky state taxes. It’s pretty near to where some of his former employees are plying their trade, employees that he, without a doubt, has kept track of due to his inherent interest in their trade. And one of those former employees in particular minted him money for a number of years. Hmmm….
Turner was a party to that no-compete that Big Johnson mentioned earlier. That means that he also has to comply with it. But that no-compete runs out near the end of March, doesn’t it? So, late next month, first phone call…
“Hi, Dixie, it’s Ted. Wanna talk a little business with you. Got some time for a meeting?” One flight later, he’s in Dallas and headed to Corporate HQ. So he gets there, and then he and Dixie talk a bit about environmental issues, Dixie bragging about Panda’s clean power plants and Ted getting impressed about Panda’s concerns for the environment. Then, at some point, Dixie starts grabbing Ted’s crotch and massages him to an erection. He’s only in his mid-60s, he’s still pretty good-looking, and, let’s face it, he’s Ted Fuckin’ Turner, so obviously she wants to get a piece of Captain Outrageous Cock. She’s a little loose, but Ted doesn’t know about the Raven Effect yet. After a quick, hot one on her desk, he finally gets to the point: he wants to buy Panda’s stake in TNA. Would, oh, sixty million do? Damn f*ckin’ right it would. That’s three times the amount of cash Panda’s plowed in to TNA, and thirty percent of their annual revenues for the entire company. So Ted pulls out his checkbook, his cock still hanging out of his pants, and fills it out as Dixie starts to blow him. She lets him cum in her mouth, because he’s Ted Fuckin’ Turner, and he zips up as he walks out and heads back to Love Field to get his plane. Meanwhile, Dixie takes the check up to Bob, and they start dancing the dance of joy because they can pay their employees this week without selling another power plant.
Second phone call is made on the plane, and it’s to Orlando, where TNA’s setting up for a taping. Jeff Jarrett answers the phone. He can’t believe it’s his old boss, and he can’t believe that his old boss is now majority owner of TNA. As Jeff ends the call, he starts dancing the dance of joy and starts screaming like a little bitch. TNA’s financial problems are now over forever, the whole crew gets an unlimited supply of free buffalo burgers, and he gets to say that he co-owns a business with Ted Fuckin’ Turner. He runs off, giggling, to tell the boys.
In the meantime, phone call number three is taking place. “Hey, Les, it’s Ted. Got some news to tell you. I own TNA Wrestling now…yeah, Les, they’re on one of your networks, trust me. Spike TV, remember?…yeah, Les, really, you broadcast them. No, I’m not joking. Look, Les, I need a favor from you. That hour on Thursday that we have? I need another hour added to that. And I’d like two more hours, preferably on Monday, eight to ten would be nice…yeah, you can tell the PR people that we’re in business together. The trades’ll shit a brick…” Eventually, Les Moonves hangs up and proceeds to do the dance of joy. Ted Turner involved with Viacom? That’ll definitely bring the stock price up. Hell, he’s so happy he might even bring back Star Trek.
And then Ted can kick back. He’s had a hot f*ck and a good blowjob, and now he’s got the chance to run a wrestling organization the way that he always wanted to do it. No bloated bureaucracy, only one or two people between him and the boys. He gets to tussle with Vince again, and the embarassment of how Vince f*cked him in the 80s, parodied him in the 90s, and beat him in the 00s can be erased once and for all. His new buddy Moonves will give him the clearances he wants; nobody says no to Ted Fuckin’ Turner in the TV business. Now, who to get to run the place? Where’s that punk Bischoff? He made Ted money before, he can do it again, but this time he’s on a leash. No blank checkbook…
That, Big Johnson, is what I call a plausible proposition.
ACCENTURATE THE POSITIVE
A lot of people have a misconception about the golf season. Too many folks out there think that it starts with the Masters. Not true. There are three big tournaments that take place before the Masters.
The Mercedes is the real season opener, and it’s a winners-only tournament. If you didn’t win the previous year, you don’t get to spend the weekend at Kapalua, which is why Chris DiMarco and Ernie Els weren’t there this year (it could have used them, since Tigger, Lefty, the Goose, and Lucky Charms didn’t bother making the trip to Hawaii). However, that tournament’s shown a weakness lately, namely that Stuart Appleby now regards it as uniquely his. He is becoming to Kapalua what Fred Couples is to Riviera.
Then there’s the Players’ Championship. It’s the richest purse on tour, one of the many reasons it’s called the Fifth Major. It’s a place where youngsters make their initial claim toward greatness, like Adam Scott did two years ago, or where old guys give everyone a last hurrah before heading off to Seniorville, like Fred Funk did last year. It also has Sawgrass going for it. More accurately, it has the 17th hole at Sawgrass, one of the three holes that are instantly recognizable by non-fans (the others being the 17th at St. Andrews and the 18th at Pebble). As part of the Great Reform that’s coming up next year, though, the Players’ may be moved between the Masters and the US Open, so maybe it’ll get the attention that it deserves.
The third is the Accenture Match Play. It’s one of the four World Golf Championship events, and is the close of the West Coast Swing; the tour moves on to Florida after this. The WGCs were created a number of years ago to provide a Second Tier of tournaments right below the majors. Before the WGCs, it was the majors, the Players’, and everything else. The others are the Bridgestone, which takes place the week after the PGA at Firestone; the Amex, which is the regular season closer (followed up by the top-30-only Tour Championship); and the World Cup, a nations’ competition during the Silly Season. The WGCs are elite tournaments with high purses, but they would have only been a construct with no legitimacy except for one little obvious reason: Tigger takes them seriously. He also tends to win them on a basis much more frequent than statistics would allow. His 2005 season was a masterpiece of balance thanks to the WGC tournaments: two majors, two WGCs, and two others. That Lil’ Ol’ Course In Akron is his bitch; he’s won at Firestone four times (part of his sick domination of the State of Ohio). Last year’s win at the Amex may have been the final coming-out party for the WGCs; it was Tigger and Daly in a playoff, a situation that I said caused mammoth spooge floods at ABC HQ in Noo Yawk and Disney HQ in Orlando. And he’s won the Accenture twice. The WGCs are the Tour’s excuse to haul him out there for ratings.
But there’s other attractions than Tigger in regard to the Accenture. As the name says, it’s Match Play. Goddamnit, I love match play. I watch the US Amateur just to see match play. One-on-one, two guys (or two gals) against each other, no shooting against some arbitrary number, no skins to win; you get the better score on the hole, you win the hole, you play until one person wins enough holes to win the match. Simple and pure, and when you have a great course like La Costa to play on, all the better.
And it’s a tournament attractive to non-golf fans too. The rules are simple enough that everyone can grasp on. There’s no having to keep track of who’s at what under par and whether there are par 5s coming up that guys can make up ground on and all that. Every hole is its own tournament. It also has a format that non-fans are quite familiar with. They can consider it a preview of something coming up next month. Sixty-four golfers, seeded, in four sets of brackets…starting to sound familiar? In fact, the same rules that govern the NCAA Tournament seem to cover the Accenture as well…
There is always a Bracket Of Death: This year, that was the Bobby Jones bracket. Tigger’s the top seed. That should be enough to classify it, but then came the overload. David Toms was the two seed, and he’s already won this year. Adam Scott was the three seed. Stuart Appleby was in the bracket, and he’s won this year. Ditto with Chubby Chad. HoThayCanYouSee was slotted in there, and he has a second-place this year. Brandt Jobe, the best player to never win a tournament on tour, was to be found there, as was the young, dangerous Lucas Glover.
There will always be a first-round upset that will shatter your brackets: One of the guys at si.com had Jim Furyk, the two seed in the cakewalk Sam Snead Bracket, winning it all. On Wednesday night, said writer was searching for razor blades and large quantities of random pills after Zach Johnson, who’s been on the Watch Out For This Guy List for the past couple years, pulled a late comeback and took down Jimbo.
The 1-16 matches are generally jokes: It’s at this point that I have to mention how to interpret a match play score. The score is listed in two numbers in the format “X and Y”. “X” is the margin of holes won that the winning player has over the losing player. “Y” is the number of holes remaining in the round when it ended due to the fact that the losing player couldn’t win enough holes to catch up (yes, it’s a Slaughter Rule format; if a player is down by four holes with three left, the match is ended). Let’s just say that we have a match between, oh, Tigger and Lefty. You’ll see a result like “Tiger Woods beats Phil Mickelson, 4 and 3”. What this means is that the match ended after 15 holes (three holes left, thus giving us our “Y”). At that point, Tigger had won four more holes than Lefty did (let’s say that Tigger won seven holes and Lefty three). Even if Lefty had won 16, 17, and 18, he couldn’t beat Tigger’s number of won holes, so the match is over.
You will commonly see a score like “1 up”. What that means is that the match went the distance (either 18 or 36 holes depending on format) or went to extra holes, and the winning player won on the final hole. No shootouts here, folks; they play until someone wins the match. Rarely, you’ll see a score of “2 up”. That just means that a player was one won hole ahead at 17 (or at 35) and then proceeded to win the final hole. This is the same scenario for any final score with a margin of two, like “3 and 1”. In that case, the match ended with a superfluous victory on the final hole when a tie on the hole would have ended the match.
During the match itself, the scoring’s a little different. A player that’s winning is displayed as “Z up”. Z here is the current margin of holes won at that point. You’ll also see another score, “All Square”. That simply means the guys have won the same number of holes and they’re tied. So, just to clarify that “3 and 1” result I mentioned above in terms of jargon that you should now understand, Golfer A went into the 17th hole 2 up on Golfer B, then Golfer A proceeded to win 17. Up 3 with 1 to play, match over, turn in your scorecard.
So, now that you know how to interpret a score, you can understand how big a squash you’ve seen. The highest score you will ever see in an 18-hole match is 10 and 8. Simply put, Golfer A won the first ten holes against Golfer B, and just like in Little League or the World Baseball Classic, if you’re down by ten, you’re never coming back, except that in this case, you literally can’t come back. You’ve run out of holes to make a comeback. Golf is a game of fragile egos, though. If you’re up nine with nine to play, you usually have a little mercy and let your opponent tie the tenth hole to avoid the 10 and 8. 9 and 8 just looks a little better. But you never see a 9 and 8. These guys are the best in the world, after all. In fact, at the Accenture, the highest score ever has been 7 and 6.
Until this year.
Of course, it would have to have been Tigger to do it, and ’twas. He beat Stephen Ames, a pretty good player but the 64th and final seed, 9 and 8. This was Duke versus the winner of the play-in game. This was Federerererer versus a qualifer. This was Brazil versus the sixth-grade girls’ team from PS 56. This was the Canadian women’s hockey team versus anybody. This was as dominant as you can get. The match took less than two hours and ended after the 10th hole. There was enough time left for Ames to drive to Sea World, dive into the tank, and beg Shamu to eat him. That’s what you get for trash-talking Tigger, which Ames was foolish enough to do.
And that’s how the 1-16 matches were this year. To go along with Tigger’s massacre, Veej and the Goose won their first-round matches 5 and 4. And then there was the exception to the rule…
A 1 seed never loses to a 16 seed: Oops. But this was no ordinary 16 seed. Nor an ordinary 1 seed either. Your average 1 seed isn’t coming off injury and still getting into a groove. Imagine Boring Ol’ Ernie as Duke with Redick and Williams having to play very limited minutes due to a bad ankle or something. In other words, vulnerable, so no Sasha Cohen remarks here about him falling on his ass. And the 16 seed he had to face? He owns two green jackets, has been winning tournaments worldwide for over thirty years, is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, captained a victorious Ryder Cup team, made the cut at every major last year, tagged a Top 5 finish in one of them, and at age 48 is still near the top of his game and is someone that no one wants to play. Bernhard Langer is not a mid-major who won their conference tournament with a losing record. Trust me, no golf fan was surprised at this one. Hey, it took Mike Weir twenty holes to beat him on Friday, and as Scooter can tell you, Canadians are superior to every human being on Earth, but especially to smelly, unfashionable Germans.
One 12 seed will always upset a 5 seed: This year, you had to figure out which 12 seed would do it. Everyone’s eyes turned to the Ben Hogan Bracket, wherein your twelfth seed was one Fred Funk. He’s going to make some kind of run early this year in order to cap off his PGA Tour career before becoming eligible for the Champions Tour in July, and a lot of people, including me, expected him to make a deep run here. But his opponent was Nick O’Hern, who has a major feather in his cap in the fact that he’s beaten Tigger at the Accenture, and that gave a lot of people pause, including Fred, who proceeded to lose. Tim Herron had to face Chubby Chad, who’s on a roll and proceeded to roll over Herron. Rod Pampling has one noteworthy achievement on his CV: he’s the only person to lead a major after the first round and then proceed to miss the cut. However, that was at that complete freak show that was Carnoustie in ’99, so he gets a free pass (thank you, Jean Van De Velde). That left us with one final hope. Shigeki Maruyama had the benefit of facing Darren Clarke, who’s as streaky as a drunk fan at a football game, and Clarke’s been cold for a while now. And, yes, Shiggy came through, 4 and 3, thus giving us our upset.
You may think they’re going to be squashes, but the 3-14 matches are always surprisingly competitive: Normally, this happens in the NCAAs because the 3 seeds seem to be loaded with teams who are there on reputation more than accomplishment, and no one knows anything about the 14 seeds, who are usually winners of tournaments of conferences no one’s heard of. It’s slightly different at the Accenture, but the match-ups at the 3-14 level this year were incredibly compelling and great. You had the death match for Tigger’s successor in Tigger’s own bracket between Adam Scott and Lucas Glover, which went 17. You had the hot Englishman David Howell, who’s now just coming into his own, against the savviest of the savvy vets, Steve Elkington, who’s in the midst of a late-career comeback. Carl Pettersson was really overlooked going into this, but he’s been quietly having a good year, with two Top Tens, no missed cuts, and a seventh at Riviera last week, and he took advantage of an overrated Kenny Perry. And Monty and another overlooked Swede from Gothenborg, Niclas Fasth, had one of the gems of the first round, going 23 holes (they couldn’t beat out the 26-hole slugfest between one of my longtime faves, Scott Verplank, and Lee Westwood, though).
You’ve got to watch those 7-10 matches. They always seem to be phenomenal.: In the NCAAs, the 7 and 10 slots are always loaded with teams from the major conferences that have marginal records and something to prove. Lots and lots of big names populate that stratum, and they always end up playing kick-ass games because they firmly believe that such a low seeding is beneath them. The Accenture is no different. This year, you could find some of the biggest names in the game in these slots. Fred Couples, John Daly, HoThayCanYouSee…all 7 or 10 seeds. And the matchups were perfect. HoThayCanYouSee, as was said earlier, beat Brandt Jobe, who everyone is picking to finally win one this year. Big John was able to beat Bart Bryant, winner of last year’s Tour Championship (and set up a second-round marquee match with Lefty, which he proceeded to lose). Freddie, hothothot after his performance at Riviera, had to tee it up against last year’s Rookie of the Year, Sean O’Hair, who’s been having a dismal year so far but finally broke through with a win here. The 7-10 match that was the best, though, was in the Gary Player Bracket. It’s only appropriate that Tim Clark was seeded here. He’s the designated successor to Boring Ol’ Ernie and the Goose as The Next Big Thing From South Africa. And he had to go up against Arron Oberholser, the youngster who mastered Pebble to win there a few weeks ago, but withdrew from the Nissan. They were bitch-slapping each other up and down the course until Oberholser finally took it in 21 holes. Unfortunately, all that did was take it out of Arron, who proceeded to bow out in the second round.
There’s always someone there with a weird motivation: You see, since this event is invite-only, there’s a regular tournament running alongside it for everyone not invited. In the case of the Accenture, everyone who’s not at La Costa is teeing it up in Tucson at the Chrysler Classic. It’s an opportunity for people not in the Top 64 to break through and get some attention. Last year, that’s exactly what Geoff Ogilvy did. But his ranking went up high enough that he isn’t there to defend his title. He’s at the Accenture, and he decided to take advantage of it. But he was a mere 13 seed, and he had to go up against Michael Campbell, defending US Open champion and winner of the European Match Play last year. He sucked it up, took Campbell to overtime, and won it on the 19th hole. Definitely a statement win. Then he went out Friday and did it again to Nick O’Hern, except that it took him 21 holes this time.
Second-round matches are usually boring, but they always set up good third-round matches: The questions after Friday were coming fast and furious. As said, Geoff Ogilvy and Mike Weir had to do it in OT in each of their second-round matches. Does Ogilvy have anything left in the tank after two straight extra-hole tussles? Is Howell, Daly, and Howell a law firm, or Lefty’s first three opponents? The exciting young Englishman (or is that a contradiction in terms?) Luke Donald got to go Goose hunting. Veej and Lucky Charms would have been the marquee matchup, if this was outside the US. However, this was inside of the US, so it had to take a back seat to two other matches (three if you count David Toms/Tom Lehman). You normally wouldn’t see Davis and DiMarco play together except at the Ryder Cup and Augusta as each of them find new ways to lose to Tigger, but they were third-round opponents. And speaking of Tigger, all eyes were on his third-round tussle with Chubby Chad…you know, I shouldn’t call him that. He has visibly dropped a lot of weight recently. But his stats are listed at 6’1″, 205#. Just for the sake of comparison, I’m 6′ even, 200#, and I am definitely not chubby. Hell, I’m not even really stocky. There’s no f*cking way Chad Campbell is 205 pounds. But at least he’s not 205 kilograms anymore.
Very often, there’s only one big name going into the final weekend: And if you picked that one big name to be the Goose, I want to go to Vegas with you. Tigger, Lefty, Veej…all knocked out on Day 3, thus making the golf world’s equivalent of Villanova the favorite to take it all. Nothing much to say about Friday’s action, really. Just lots and lots of squash matches, thus seeming to prove the last assertion groundless. Hey, the anticipation is better than the commission. Those of you out there who have actually had sex with another human being know that.
The Final Four will always be disappointing for a variety of reasons: And what did the Accenture land up with? One big, well-known name in Davis Love (if this was ten years ago, I’d count Tom Lehman too). Everyone else bowed out disappointingly. If this was the NCAAs, you’d call “Fix” if an eleven seed, a thirteen seed, and a fifteen seed made the Final Four. But find some other pleasures in this, folks. Zach Johnson was able to take out the Goose in convincing fashion, thus setting up a young lion/old lion match with Davis. And you’ve got to admire Geoff Ogilvy. Four matches, four overtimes, four wins, and the match against David Howell was the toughest yet. The question was obviously whether he and Tom Lehman will go extra holes in the semis. So there were some silver linings. I’m sure ABC didn’t see it that way, though.
A finals featuring a well-known favorite and a relative unknown can bring about a huge surprise: NC State over Houston. Villanova over Georgetown. And Davis Love and Geoff Ogilvy…oh, did ABC try to promote that one. But there’s nothing better than seeing mano-a-mano for 36 holes. There’s still some holes left as I submit this. So go and watch it.
As I said, it’s a little late for this year, but hopefully I did you a favor by introducing you to this. Watch the US Amateur when it’s on later this year. Watch the European Match Play if you have the Golf Channel. And remember next year to catch this one. It’s special.
Unlike these two shows, which are on every damn week…
THE SMACKDOWN SHORT FORM
Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro over Matt Hardy and Tatanka, Tag Title Match (Pinfall, Mercury pins Hardy, rollup): Michael Cole not only decided to make this the “Brisbane” match, but he compounded that nightmare by making a blatant mistake, one that could have been rectified by a visit to his company’s own website. When he said that Tatanka was a former tag champion, the alarm bells went off. I would have remembered something like that. Turns out that, as usual, I was right. The closest that Tatanka ever came to the tag straps was at Royal Rumble 1995. Michaels and Nash had held the tag straps, had a tiff, broke up, and a tournament was decreed for the tag straps. Tatanka teamed with Bam Bam Bigelow and made the finals of this tournament, only to lose to, of all people, Bob Holly and Sean Waltman, who held the belts for a grand total of one night before dropping them to the Smoking Gunns. I don’t blame Cole for this mistake. Obviously, he’s got someone telling him this through his headset or some researcher put this tidbit into his pre-match notes. But as the person who had to say it on camera, he bears some responsibility.
More fun with numbers: the WWE tag titles were established in 2002, so that gives us a wonderful baseline comparison with the also-founded-in-2002 TNA. Yes, no one’s held the WWE tag titles more than MNM with their three reigns. However, in the same time period, AMW has held the NWA tag titles six times, and each member of AMW has had seven reigns as tag champions. So what does that mean? Well, it means that Vince Russo was booking for a substantial period of time in TNA. It doesn’t mean that there’s greater competition, though. In fact, the only people who have held the tag belts since June 2004 have been AMW, Team Canada, 3LK, and the Naturals, with the members of XXX holding the belts for a short period in a weird mismatched-partners angle with AMW. So don’t complain about WWE not building up tag teams when the same charge can be leveled against TNA.
Just an unusual observation to make: wrestlers of Native American ancestry who market their ancestry as part of their gimmick tend to have very long careers in the business. Look at Wahoo and Chief Jay. And now Chavis is making a comeback to the bigs after a decade away, and might actually be better than he was…well, you can’t really tell per se, because a premium wasn’t put on workrate back in the mid-90s in the WWF unless your name was Michaels or Hart. I guess my point is that now that the ring rust seems to be off Chavis, he’ll probably end up sticking around a while. Buck up, little troopers. Things will get better someday.
Well-booked match, with nothing to really complain about in the execution, but, as everyone’s asking, why couldn’t they have done this at No Way Out instead of having the ugly situation of a non-title match on PPV with the title match follow-up on regular programming? It’s looking more and more as if the No Way Out match was done to answer the question of whether or not they had a place for Tatanka at the Smackdown level or whether he’d be stuck on Epilepsy.
One more item, I think, since this commentary’s totally off the rails anyway: after the match, they did an insert pimp for the Aussie tour. On that tour, it will indeed be Hardy and Animal teaming up. During Hardy’s interview promo for this, he actually called himself “Version 1”. Really, really strange hearing that again.
Unfortunately, Nitro was supposed to do a triple toe loop here, so the judges deducted from his score
MNM’s own version of “The Indian In The Cupboard”
The Boogeyman over Chad Dick and James Dick, Handicrap Match (Boogeyman pins Chad Dick, front powerslam): Ah, the poor Dicks. They weren’t even allowed to go out with a little dignity. Well, it’s only appropriate that they’re gone, I guess. WWE’s been Dickless for years.
Death Without Dignity
Novocaine Helms over Psicosis, Cruiserweight Title Match (Pinfall, rollup): I’m of mixed feelings about the stipulation that Helms has to defend his title every week. On the one hand, it guarantees us a cruiseweight match on Smackdown every week. On the other hand, it guarantees us a cruiserweight match on Smackdown every week, and more importantly, it guarantees us a cruiserweight match with Helms involved every week. If they’d allow the cruisers the opportunity to kick it into gear, I’d be more looking forward to this, but I am sure not looking forward to this deracinated cruiserweight division being trotted out there and pimped like it’s a freak show compared to “real wrestling”. Nor am I looking forward to a guaranteed prospect of Novocaine every week for the time being. Oh, X Division, take me away…
By the way, just one thing: how is it that Rey-Rey and Psicosis have fought in Japan, Mexico, WCW, and ECW, yet somehow avoided each other in WWE? Maybe later this year at a PPV (no, not One-Night Stand; I want it to be a WWE PPV just to complete the cycle)?
Oh, I lied, one more thing: This was another “Brisbane” match for Cole, but right afterward came the second Aussie pimp, and in it, Matthews pronounces “Brisbane” correctly for the first time. Has someone got into his ear? If so, can someone get into Cole’s?
Rey-Rey, Our Lord and Savior, and Bobby Lashley over Randy Orton, High-Quality Speaker Boy, and Fit Finlay (Pinfall, Rey-Rey pins High-Quality Speaker Boy, West Coast Pop): Gee, what a surprise on who took the pin here. In point of fact, he was the only one who didn’t have to be protected. Just another sign of what we’re talking about concerning what point High-Quality Speaker Boy’s career is at right now.
I think I know why Fingers was so enthused by this show. It was very vanilla. Except for the Boogeyman crap, all of the matches were moderate to decent, something very rare for an episode of Smackdown these days. No disturbing angles were done. In other words, there was nothing to offend anyone. This marked such a positive change from the last number of SD episodes that mediocrity and inoffensiveness were seen as positives. That, folks, is what the world is like in 2006. It just makes those of us that are consistently excellent and piquant that much more rare, and that much more hated for being so great.
As a Chicagoan, seeing an Irish guy beat up a black guy is something we haven’t experienced since 1919. It’s nice to relive the Good Old Days.
Irish and Mexicans? That’s something we never really got into. Not that I’d disapprove, and arm the Irish.
A situation so chaotic they needed a commercial break to sort it out
Korderis tries to determine whether the pain for High-Quality Speaker Boy is more physical or existential
The story of a tall Texas cowboy and his forbidden love for a Mexican field hand who likes to wear masks…hey, Vince, your movie division can do some Brokeback Mountain cashing in with that one
Fair Comparison: So, let’s test Randy Orton’s statement about his family having an unbroken string of “best wrestlers” using the obvious comparison given the run-in. So, was Bob Senior better than Gory? Dunno. I’ve never seen a Bob Senior match, so I can’t say personally. However, those people who make it their business to know say that Gory was a helluva lot better. Was Cowboy Bob better than Gory’s sons? I’d say yes to Chavo and Mando, no to Hector and Eddy. Finally, is Randy better than Chavito? I think we all know the answer to that. The lesson here is to not make any statements that you can’t back up with any logical or scientific fact. Even if you are trying to get cheap heel heat.
Remember when it used to be a big deal to be a third-generation wrestler?
Don’t keelhaul the messenger
A Time When One Must Hold One’s Tongue: I think I’ve said enough about the SD main at Wrestlemania by now. It’s a complete abortion, set up in the most offensive way humanly imaginable. Yes, with Rey-Rey in there, it’ll be a better match (at least we know that both Rey-Rey and Angle can carry Orton to something watchable). However, the way in which it was done will someday go down in history as one of the worst abominations of booking in the history of wrestling, offensive in ways that the Fingerpoke of Doom and the Black Scorpion couldn’t imagine. At least those angles only offended our intelligence. This angle offends every sense imaginable.
This moment of prospective sodomy…is dedicated to Eddy Guerrero
Considering the state of the divas on Smackdown, was it really necessary to pimp the magazine in this manner?
THE IMPACT SHORT FORM
Monty Brown over Dylan Knight (Pinfall, Pounce): Hey, the jobber got chyron! That’s a change. It’s hard to talk about anything regarding this considering it was a short squash. I don’t think I’ll go on about Monty being screwed by TNA, because I’ve written so much about that in the past. Just in case you think that I’ve changed my mind since he’s getting a title shot at Destination X, I haven’t. Giving him the title shot when he obviously has no chance to win that match doesn’t change the overriding situation. In fact, it makes it worse. Why the hell can’t TNA take advantage of this asset? Talk about a blind spot.
What I wonder about is this: why hasn’t anyone done a joke so obvious as the Bangkok one before this?
I had to be quick to get this screen cap
A. J. Fuckin’ Styles over Roderick Strong (Pinfall, Styles Clash): Nothing really to say about this one, either. Good free TV match, as we all expected it’d be. Strong looked good, Styles looked great, nice commentary from Daniels. All in all, a good package. But it’s the extracurriculars surrounding this that everyone’s talking about…
As everyone knows, I came down on TNA’s side in the whole Aries/Strong situation. That being said, I think that a two month suspension is a little harsh. TNA’s biting off their nose to spite their face. They had a good push working with these guys that could draw money, and now that push is definitely dead. In fact, TNA will probably end up losing more money out of this than Aries and Strong will. That punishment gave us two definite winners in this whole thing. The first is ROH, who don’t have to worry about Aries and Strong being otherwise occupied for the next two months, and they get the benefit of any shoot promos that either would like to do. The other is Alex Shelley, who no longer has to share a push with two other guys. After Waltman no-showed that PPV, Shelley was left for dead until the ShelleyCam came along. TNA still has to pay him back for throwing him to the wayside. Now’s the time to do that.
Here’s a backbreaker to tide you over for the next couple of months
Bobby Roode and Savory Steak Sauce Boy over The Two Guys Who Dishonor Joe Walsh (Pinfall, Roode pins Road Hogg, clothesline from the rear): Who did Bobby Roode not f*ck to deserve being put in this match? Yeah, he got the pin, but, still…an Angle Advancement Match, having to team with Savory Steak Sauce boy in the second-worst configuration of Team Canada possible (only Young/Steak Sauce is worse), having to go up against NAO. He doesn’t deserve this. Suddenly, I feel the need to give him a hug.
The one thing we can’t fault Monty Sapp about is his dropkick
Samoa Joe over Shark Boy, Non-Title Match (Submission, Kokina Clutch): We do love Shark Boy here, and it’s not because he gives us interviews. I’ve loved him for years now. He definitely has charisma and a good moveset. He shouldn’t be used as chum like this. Jesus, how hard is it to find D-Ray and give them a face push in a tag scene that needs another face team desperately right now? Well, at least we can be glad for small favors, like the fact that they gave him some offense.
This is definitely a Brown Trousers Moment
James Storm and Chris Harris over Rhiyno and Ron Killings, Tag Title Match (Pinfall, Storm pins Killings, Death Sentence): “This is a Pay-Per-View-quality match-up,” sayeth Tenay. Yeah, if the PPV is No Way Out. It’s just another ad-hoc tag team going up against the champs for the belt. Didn’t we just see a match like this? Oh, yeah, if you were watching Smackdown, you did. The only difference here is that AMW is better than MNM, and everyone loves Killings and Rhiyno, as opposed to the Smackdown ad-hocers. It was also a much better match than the Smackdown one, which is only to be expected due to the amount of sheer talent in the ring (and the Abyss-ference worked surprisingly well). But the point of fact is that it’s a Camera-Time-For-The-Boys Match at heart, and there’s no reason to give hope to the challengers in this kind of situation. The only hope, in fact, is that TNA’s idiotic booking of their once-vibrant tag scene actually leaves the door open for some marks to believe that a team like Killings and Rhiyno could actually win the tag straps. They’ve totally flushed the Naturals down the toilet, NAO’s screwing around with Sheremetyevo, and for some reason, they’re reluctant as hell to drape the straps on the ex-Dudleys. So who does that leave? No one. Therefore, it’s better in their minds to create an artificial situation that provides some “threat” to AMW, made even more blatant by the fact that the tag straps aren’t going to be defended at Destination X. All I know is is that it’s not working with me, no matter how much you pimp up Killings and Rhiyno as former world champions. Sorry, boys, try again, with a real tag team this time.
Ron Killings, the unknown fourth member of the Gap Band
You know, I don’t know what approach is better: WWE’s blatant spoon-feeding of angles to the audience or TNA’s “let’s just throw the matches out there on the Impact after the PPV and do little to promote them” approach. All I know is that I can’t comment a lot on the latter since virutally nothing happens outside the ring. So, therefore, it’s another selection of screen caps only:
So which one’s Ebert and which one’s Roeper?
Wait a minute, that’s the same outfit West wore last week. Dude, if you’re doing a multiple taping, you always bring a change of clothes to wear between episodes.
If you really want to humiliate Gayda, make everyone watch THAT match
Hey, no PPV this weekend for a change. Well, thank God for that, although that means I’ll be stretching for material for Tuesday. Well, shit happens. Let’s hope that I have something other than the Short Form on Tuesday. I’ll see you then.