Yup, I’m back. Apologies for missing last week’s column but, to paraphrase Our Father Who Art In Heaven, a.k.a. Ted “Theodore” Logan, this has been a most unusual time. People coming, people going, things getting out, things getting put back in, university here, hospital there, drink, drink, drink, various assorted endeavours and encounters, plus a grand total of three short films getting finished. Madness in a downloadably Scottish format.
Still, you’ve passed the audition by clicking on the link, so feel free to read on, you are well within your rights. Just know that I won’t be around next week, since I’ll be bothering the Greater Manchester area instead. This conveniently means that I’ll miss out on the WrestleMania weekend altogether, though you’ll be able to find my predictions somewhere in the Roundtable (unlike my SNME ones, which went missing somewhere). Assuming that I am able to find a decent torrent on Tuesday and download it in time to actually watch the bloody thing, I’ll be back with the supposedly regularly scheduled Anti-Pulse the weekend after. I have to be now that Widro’s got money invested in it.
In the meantime, enjoy.
Oh, and V For Vendetta? The movie scores a very good 7 out of 10, while the comic remains on cloud 9. Don’t bother worrying about which other people think is the better version, though. Either way you’re onto a good thing.
TOP 5 SCIENTOLOGISTS:
1. Jason Lee
2. J.J. Abrams
3. Beck Hansen
4. Jenna Elfman
5. Kirstie Alley
SATURDAY NIGHT’S MAIN EVENT:
Well, they got half of the title right. Next time they might want to scrap the latter portion in favour of “NBC Albatross”, “Unrealistic Expectations” or “Useless Nostalgia”.
Yes, apparently many of the WWE’s usual suspects are rather surprised that they only got a 3.2 rating. Some sources are claiming that the company was actually expecting to pop the 6.0 barrier, which they might well have done had this been 1985 or 1999. Unfortunately, this just so happens to be 2006 – a minor fact that a lot of powerful people in WWE seem to have constantly forgotten. For all the unfounded pretentious mumbling about time being an illusion that only moves in one direction if you allow it to, the truth is that both Saturday Night’s Main Event and WWE are horribly, horribly out of time.
Firstly, the sheer arrogance of the company in expecting to draw double the rating that they did for SNME is… well, sadly, it isn’t surprising in the least. It is just another reminder of how hopelessly detached certain individuals can become from reality when they find it ill-fitting. To draw people to your product you have to offer them something and, again unsurprisingly, SNME offered little that a two-hour infomercial for WrestleMania XXII could not. Raw and Smackdown traditionally do the very same thing throughout March. Raw has the established Monday night advantage and so draws slightly higher ratings than Smackdown, which occupies the same 2.X/low 3.X depths as SNME.
One of the main criticisms of SNME is that there wasn’t enough wrestling involved. There were only three matches, one of which was basically both a brief heel turn segment and a cheap Playboy advert, and the rest of the night was filled with extra-curriculars. This line of thinking is, frankly, bollocks. The real reason for the company’s success at the time of the original SNME shows was not down to fine matches but to the marketability of turning Hulk Hogan into a real-life superhero. That’s basically what got them MTV, action figures, cartoons, movies and umpteen-zillion various other commercial endeavours. By the time of the Attitude, it still wasn’t wrestling that got them back onto the zeitgeist. This time around it was due to joining the likes of South Park and Marilyn Manson as a hyper-real, suitably degenerated form of entertainment that the jaded generation could occupy themselves to, regardless of what their parents might have made of it. Hulk beating the bad guys and Austin beating the boss. The Ric Flairs and the Chris Benoits putting on mesmerising clinics in the squared circle played a part and had an audience, but it was never the headline feature. Wrestling? Ask Bret Hart how far wrestling can get you in a race with the Sportz Entertainment Xpress. Now it doesn’t even say ‘wrestling’ on the marquee, it says ‘WWE’ and the only show that says otherwise is WrestleMania – the only show of the year when you can realistically demand to see at least one fantastic match.
For the grand return of SNME, the ratio of ‘wrestling’ to ‘other crap’ was about right. The problem was that the ‘other crap’ was absolutely dire. The ‘other crap’ was what could have drawn some of the mythical ‘casual audience’ to the show, yet they certainly didn’t use their big names well in this regard. I didn’t even know The Undertaker was going to be on the show until Tazz mentioned it halfway through, for instance. Hulk Hogan, the best possible link to SNME of old, despite having already agreed to appear at the Hall of Fame ceremony and having a new TV show to promote, was nowhere to be found. The Rock remains out of bounds but Austin was there to do the usual routine of drinking beer, making idiots yell “WHAT” and refusing to help. Perhaps there is somebody in WWE who genuinely believes that bringing back Austin for an unfunny and prolonged skit that makes the challenger for the US title look like a fool, whilst reducing the United States Champion to a blink-and-you-miss-it irrelevance, was actually a really clever idea. Hell, if they were that determined to have Austin there for a beer-drinking contest then they could easily have had him officiate one between JBL and Benoit.
Of course, the bigger problem with SNME was that it was a WWE show. Even if they had pulled some genuinely entertaining ‘other crap’ out of their asses, the sort that could really generate some big buzz, and thrown a four-star match in for good measure, they still would only have managed a 2.9 rating. The old-school soundbite promos that opened SNME were a cute little throwback but certainly did not offer anything particularly enticing that may have made extra viewers stick around. Why should they care if a couple of forty-somethings are having a fight so that one of them gets to fight the other’s sixty year-old father in a couple of weeks? Triple H was never the reason for the Attitude audience anyway, so why should they care if he has issues with Marky Mark? Why should they care if J.R. Ewing is going to have a beer-drinking contest, which they could see at any given bar on a Saturday night if they felt to inclined? Why should they care if Darth Maul’s voodoo cousin is coming to get ’em? The Edge/Foley confrontation was actually handled fairly well, though I think their caveman demographic is rather low, so the use of fire was rather a waste. Also, having Foley no-sell the thumbtacks to the face was a tad excessive considering it was enough to keep even Cactus Jack down at Royal Rumble 2000. Honestly, how can Edge top that at Mania? Bring out a shotgun? Try to re-enact Tiananmen Square? Obviously asking such questions is what WWE wants us to do, though it is inevitable that the answers they provide will prove to be unsatisfying. They are offering us video game violence while TNA has it in wildlife documentary fashion courtesy of locking Joe and Sabu in a cage.
So that was it. The second ‘homecoming’ show from WWE in less than six months and the second one to disappoint all but the most easily amused of viewers. That this should include the diluted creative minds of WWE should not surprise us. Neither should the same thing happening again in July when the second SNME show arrives. Neither should NBC doing anything in their power to get out of the SNME clause in WWE’s contract. Neither should the coincidence of this happening around the anniversary of the last Nitro.
Speaking of which…
TOP 5 WEIRD VINCE RUSSO MOMENTS:
1. WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette
2. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vince Russo
3. Hulk Hogan Memorial Title
4. WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Oklahoma
5. WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Medusa
WCW: GONE AND ALMOST NOT FORGOTTEN
As you have no doubt noticed, Inside Pulse Wrestling is currently doing a special retrospective feature on the final days of WCW. Because superlatives are so very welcome, and because religious ones get us double points, it is being called the Month From Hell. Don’t expect anything extra from me during this feature. I have enough trouble getting this thing and my comic book reviews done without adding to my schedule. Besides, there are no new perspectives that could reasonably be taken about the whole affair and, since I had no access to either Raw or Nitro in those days, I can’t offer a personal remembrance beyond reading some far-too-excitable online reports about the sale. The only onscreen evidence I got to see was, ironically, the notorious skybox shot of the WCW C-squad at WrestleMania XVII. If I remember the people shown in those brief and distant glimpses correctly, the only ones to still have substantial career opportunities are Stacy Keibler and Chavo Guerrero – the former for a dancing show, the latter for having a dead uncle. Harsh, maybe. True, certainly.
Anyway, don’t let me put you off reading the feature. There is some good reading material to be found in it. Material like…
A Personal Reminiscence by Eric Szulczewski (and yes, I do want a f*cking medal for spelling your name correctly)
A Brief History Of Wrestling Territories by David Brashear (interesting points, and it is still definitely a new wrestling landscape by virtue of technological advances if nothing else)
The Night Hell Turned On The Defroster by Steve Murray (the Bischoff idea was good, expand on it)
Product Placement by Tom Pandich (you know, I’d nearly forgotten about the great wrestling games on the N64)
There are also book reviews of The Death Of WCW The Story Of ECW by Jed Shaffer. The difference in the titles is your first clue.
More to come…
TOP 5 INDUCTEES FOR ANOTHER WCW HALL OF FAME:
1. Ric Flair
3. Eric Bischoff
4. Booker T
5. Arn Anderson
A DECADE AND A BIT OF DESTRUCTION:
“When they heard Paul speak about a raising from death, some of them made fun of him, but others said, ‘We want to hear you speak about this again.'”
– Acts, 17:32
WrestleMania! Again! Why didn’t anybody tell me?
Since it is that time of year again, it is surely only a matter of time before some blathering idiot starts talking about how The Undertaker’s winning streak is, like, a bad thing and, um, should, y’know, end, ‘cos he can give da rub to some younger guy… or something equally and utterly moronic. As I said on the forums last week…
“Captain five minutes ago is too recent for any wrestling writer to be in the same time zone as, time zone wise
How many [eople cam te;; I’m totally stoned whilst typing this
3P:fifteen as if it was a nicety.”
Can you tell it had been a long day? Accompanied by substances of an abusive nature? And no rhetorical questions, at all?
There’s more forum crazy here.
Oh, glory be.
Let’s just close our eyes, concentrate and try really, really hard to stay within the bounds of common sense. The Undertaker is the longest serving wrestler in WWE. Regardless of what you may think of him, he is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the locker room. He has not held that many titles or won that many in-ring accolades when compared to other long-termers like Triple H or Shawn Michaels (who entered the promotion before Taker but did have a four-year holiday). He never bothered making movie/TV/book/music deals to raise his profile or earn a bit extra. He has his many, many fans, but so do many others. He has his gimmick, but doesn’t want that to be the be all and end all of his legacy. The one thing that he does have that nobody else has is the fact that he has never been beaten at WrestleMania. Knowing the position of authority that he occupies in the business, and knowing the outright scary levels of both apathy and intimidation that he can reach, do you really, honestly, genuinely think that he would ever deem anybody worthy of ending his streak, tarnishing his legacy, and stealing one of the most unique accolades in all of wrestling as he approaches retirement?
If so then, well, you are beyond hope. You are stupid with a capital Sid. It doesn’t matter how much you think it could benefit somebody to defeat Taker at Mania. Everybody is well aware of that but it remains a non-factor. In the warped logic that infects wrestling, it is probably now an equal honour just to be able to say you lost to Taker at Mania. Well, in theory. The reality is that, much like Triple H’s ten title reigns, the streak becomes rather less impressive when you consider the quality of the matches that compose it. In preparation for the demise of Mark Henry, let’s cast our minds back to 1991 and examine the streak more closely…
1. Jimmy Snuka (WMVII)
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful eve… This match was about as good as you would expect it to be considering the participants were the until-recently Mean Mark and a freed-from-the-eighties Superfly. Like most of the matches from Taker’s Grey Era (that’s Survivor Series ’90 to Royal Rumble ’94, humanoids) the only entertainment comes from the occasional camera shots of children in the crowd looking shit-scared at the apparent zombie in the ring. One of the kids on this occasion was Macaulay Culkin but unfortunately the WWF was never able to turn this into a movie, so we were spared Home Alone 2: Lost In Parts Unknown, which went on to become something far lamer that involved some fat Irish women and her pet pigeons. I remember getting the Home Alone 2 video game for the Game Boy at Christmas and shockingly enough it was absolutely awful. I’m going off on tangents already and this is only the first match in the streak. Doesn’t bode well.
2. Jake Roberts (WMVIII)
I know that it can be hard to remember a time when The Undertaker could seem like a refreshing character but back in 1992 nobody really knew what was going on with him – in a good way, not in a Michael Jackson way – or whether or not his first face turn would work. He had started to get some cheers when he nabbed the title from, of course, Hogan and took it for a three-day vacation to a run-down motel on the Montana border. Now the title was for Flair and Savage to worry about, Hogan was doing manly things with Sid, Bret and Shawn weren’t ready, and The Undertaker was an easy merchandise mark, so it fell to Jake Roberts to get the audience fully behind the guy. This was easier said than done, but Roberts did it very well and said it even better.
3. Giant Gonzalez (WMIX)
Oh dear god… Never underestimate the power of the “Yeah, but he’s big” argument when it comes to Vince McMahon. Gonzalez was seven-and-a-half feet tall, which was more than enough to land him a job in the WWF even though he had already stunk up WCW, was actually a basketball player and not a wrestler, could not talk particularly well and was subsequently lumbered with the heatless Harvey Wippleman, and was overweight for his size, which further restricted his already missing-in-action movement. Then they dressed him up in a giant body suit with airbrushed muscles and bonus hair. Then they carted The Undertaker out to the ring with a vulture. Then, most inexplicably of all, they dragged the feud out until SummerSlam before finally ditching Gonzalez and moving Taker onto the shorter, fatter, relatively better Yokozuna. The match itself? I have had more exciting staring contests. For some reason, Gonzalez appeared on an episode of Baywatch wearing his wrestling costume.
4. King Kong Bundy (WMXI)
The Undertaker skipped WMX, having turned American and then died shortly beforehand. Then a little girl saw him slid down the slid and he got better, particularly after beating himself in front of a large paying audience. By now it was expected that his opponents were going to be shit. Not even the arrival of the Purple Era (SummerSlam ’94 to SummerSlam ’96!) could counter the might of “Yeah, but he’s big”. Meanwhile, the WWF had just rehired Bundy to join the Million Dollar Corporation stable because it was the only way to stop the alien pod baby from hatching and unleashing the virus (or something). There was a history between Taker and Ted Dibiase but this was not mentioned onscreen, perhaps due to a widespread lack of interest from everybody involved. Let’s face it, the end result was The Undertaker against King Kong F’N Bundy, why bother exerting yourself? They could have had Stephen King writing the storyline, Trevor Macdonald on commentary and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders around ringside and it still would have been The Undertaker against King Kong F’N Bundy. All the company could offer was some chubby supporting actor from NYPD Blue. I feel sleepy already.
5. Diesel (WMXII)
I remember being surprised that The Undertaker had finally managed to have a really good match at WrestleMania. I may even have been flabbergastered, though obviously with the limited equipment available to me in 1996, it was a little hard to tell. Ross Williams and I have had many an intoxicated argument about unimportant matters, one of which was whether or not this was a better match than the Bret/Shawn Iron Man effort. I’m not about to get into that again but, yes, this was indeed a fine match. Nash’s brief heel run at the end of his first WWF stint was endlessly entertaining. By that point he had figured out that the name he had made for himself, coupled with the millions Ted Turner was about to start paying him, meant that he no longer had to give a shit unless it was in somebody’s gym bag or onto the chest of a high-class hooker. Taker was gearing himself up for a rather special year. He was now the de facto locker room leader and, with business down but Vader and Foley on their way, he started to feel the flames of the fire under his ass. That was a strange couple of sentences involving matters of the anus but, hey, the important thing to remember is that the match was good.
6. Sid (WMXIII)
Speaking of which – crap, crap, crap. Both in the ‘bad’ sense and in the ‘Mister Hanky’ sense. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this was (maybe) the scene of the crime, where one of the greatest urban legends in the history of wrestling (might have) happened, i.e. Sid literally shitting himself towards the end of the match. The only better one is Savage doing private things with Stephanie that became public to an angry few. But you probably all know about such matters, just as you know about the spectacularly random title scene at the time, which ultimately wound up with our defeated and (possibly) defecated champion dropping the title (and perhaps his bowels) to none other than The Undertaker. The match was neither good nor bad but, in keeping with the bland spirit of WrestleMania XIII, was simply there, happening. Nonetheless, Taker’s second title reign came at the right time. 1997 was the best year he has ever had, with numerous fine performances against Foley, Bret, Vader, Austin and Shawn, which in turn led to the arrival of a couple of welcome additions to the WWF. One was the Hell In The Cell. The other was this guy…
7. Kane (WMXIV)
I mentioned above how strange it was to remember when The Undertaker seemed fresh. The same can be said of Kane, trebly so when the two are feuding with one another. Back when it started, however, it was all very shiny and appealing. Kane’s arrival towards the end of the inaugural HITC bout had been built up to tremendously well and the heat was positively scalding. His arrival was essentially Anti-Shockmaster. Austin/McMahon and Survivor Series ’98 are all very well and good, but let’s not forget the creation of Kane as one of Vince Russo’s finest accomplishments. We had never seen lightning in a wrestling arena before. We were so young. They would beat this feud into submission in later years, never really letting it go, though while their first match together was by no means good it was by all means special. The original version of Kane (with mask, with hair, without voice) was an instant success. A by-product of this feud was a casket-related incident at Rumble ’98 that injured Shawn Michaels’ back and kept him out of action for four years. Considering the relationship between Michaels and Taker in the aftermath of Montreal, I doubt that he was greatly bothered by this development. It has been well-documented that Taker physically threatened Michaels with retribution if he did not drop the title as scheduled to Austin that night. Instead Michaels went out and petulantly sold the Tyson “knock-out” punch. Children, children, why the negativity?
8. Big Bossman (WMXV)
If you are wondering how the WWF could possibly provide us with a worse Taker Mania match than Bundy and his uselessness, a dumber ending than Gonzalez and his chloroform, and a generally crapper state of being than Sid and his (alleged) lack of gastrointestinal fortitude, look no further. Taker was getting on rather nicely with his Goth Era (Survivor Series ’96 to SummerSlam ’99, pop-pickers), was just starting the interesting, if flawed, Ministry of Darkness stable and then someone decided that they should have a Hell In The Cell match for WrestleMania. Foley was tied up with referee duty and Kane was busy trying to get laid, so Taker wound up getting the match. He just needed an opponent… Hang on! The Big Bossman? “Yeah, but he’s big”? Genius! Or not… particularly the ending to the match, which saw The Brood drop onto the Cell from the rafters, construct a makeshift gallows and then hang Bossman. He got better. Well, he’s dead now, but you know what I mean. Still, better being hanged than having to compete in a Kennel In The Cell match…
9. Triple H (WMXVII)
The arrival of the Biker Era (Judgement Day 2000 to Survivor Series 2003, don’t you know) brought with it Taker’s second genuinely good match at Mania. I think that the build-up to the match also saw the first substantial mention of his winning streak, though I could be mistaken about that. The match has been rather unfairly overshadowed by the showpiece of Rock/Austin, the clinic from Benoit/Angle, the rush of Vince/Shane and the sugar-high TLC but, hey, when you’re dealing with the Best Mania Ever then you just have to grin and bear it. I can grin slightly thinking of Eric S yelling at his monitor after reading this part, but only slightly. Only slightly. Anyway, Taker had recently taken a little break to heal his groin and foot injuries before returning in a refreshed and furiously invigorated manner as the American Bad Ass. Triple H had turned himself from a midcard after-thought into an internet darling due to his tendency to have really, really good matches and untearable quads. It was Limp Bizkit against Motorhead and Lemmy was too busy ploughing traffic through Chyna’s nether regions to care that he had lost. I kind of wish that Biker Taker had replaced his cherished urn with a red baseball cap now. Or maybe Fred Durst’s severed head… yes… yes, that’d do it…
10. Ric Flair (WMXVIII)
Oh, WrestleMania X-8, when will you learn? Wait, don’t answer that. Sometimes it is better not to know. Like with Trish not doing Playboy. I’m sure that if you remember anything at all about this PPV outside of the main event it would be the main event, if you know what I mean. If not, you might well be Triple H. And if that’s the case then let me let you in on a little secret – the goldfish was never meant to be there. Moving swiftly back on track, the only other things I can recall about the event are Mighty Molly winning the Hardcore Title and the absurdity of Edge and Booker feuding over a Japanese shampoo commercial. That’s something for two World Champions to be proud of indeed. As far as Taker/Flair goes, well, I’m not about to find a copy and watch it. Are you? Thought so.
11. A-Train & The Big Show (WMXIX)
Yikes. I guess that the disgruntled gods of “Yeah, but he’s big” were not sated by regulation-sized Ric Flair in the previous year, so WWE offered them two lummoxes this time around. Of course, this was meant to be a tag team match but then various people noticed that Nathan Jones had a habit of being horizontal when he was meant to remain vertical and so booted him off to the sidelines, which is rather surprising when you consider that they had given Scott Steiner two PPV title shots in a row prior to this. Jones did manage to turn up during the match to kick some big guy in the head without falling over, which was relatively impressive and something that he really should have done to Brad Pitt in Troy. In any event, the match was completely forgettable and so people choose to remember the bizarre sight of The Undertaker lumbering around onstage with Limp Bizkit instead. Such people potentially have poor taste in music. Hey, I’m not American, I didn’t buy all those Limp Bizkit albums… or all those Creed albums… or all those 50 Cent albums… and I’m suddenly feeling the urge to rise up with fists against MTV…
12. Kane (WMXX)
The twentieth anniversary of WrestleMania is as good a place to find excusable nostalgia as any. It was, as they put it, where it all began… again, namely The Undertaker remembering that a) he was dead, b) he had a brother, and c) they hadn’t had a good scrap in a wee while. With that, the Perpetual Twilight Era of his career started. Kane had changed a great deal since their original fight and now resembled Uncle Fester with the personality of Freddy Kruger. The Undertaker just put on some eyeliner and bought a new hat. There wasn’t much different about him, and the blatant ‘Sara’ tattoo automatically breaks character whenever there’s a close-up but, hey, he had a new hat. It was a nice hat. It was the highlight of the match.
13. Randy Orton (WMXXI)
This was the infamous occasion when The Undertaker made his way to the ring on a skateboard. Unfortunately he has yet to turn up as a hidden character in Tony Hawk’s. It was also one of the most blatant in-ring examples of his gradual morph into Surly Taker mode. Having vetoed the original plans for him at the event (teaming with Kane to face Snitsky & Heidenreich) because, frankly, he couldn’t be arsed with such nonsense and wanted to do a proper match instead, you might have expected him to put a bit of effort in. This was not the case. Orton, who only wound up here because there was nothing else for him to do after DAVE got the title push, managed a glorious total of six offensive moves during the match. I believe that Taker sold two of them. With the in-ring workrate being little more than the wrestling equivalent of an Elvis concert from 1977, there was nothing else to do but sit back and laugh.
14. Mark Henry (WMXXII)
Unless he suffers a truly crippling injury between now and WMXXIII, you can rest assured that he will be back in 2007 to claim a fifteenth victim. This may very well be his last match, though we have of course been saying that for a while now, so if I had to hazard a guess at his opponent then it would be Edge. I know that making long-term plans with Ensign Injury is a bit naive but he is the only other active wrestler with a fairly impressive winning streak at WrestleMania. Barring anything stupid happening, Edge will soon be 5-0 at Mania. It seems only fitting that Taker should go 15-0 by stopping him in his tracks, especially as they have recently made mention of Edge’s streak on-air.
Then some fools can bitch and whine about how such “fresh young talents” are being held down by that grumpy old man with the hat. And they can start planning his defeat. Again.
Some people never learn. Some people still listen to Limp Bizkit.
To be continued?
TOP 5 JOBS WHERE WOMEN EARN MORE THAN MEN:
1. Sales engineers
4. Transportation workers
5. Automotive service technicians/mechanics
“I’ve learned something too: selling out is sweet because when you sell out, you get to make a lot of money, and when you have money, you don’t have to hang out with a bunch of poor asses like you guys. Screw you guys, I’m going home.”
WWE kicked off the WELLNESS PROGRAM at the Raw/Smackdown taping this past Monday, surprising the rosters with a ‘baseline’ test. There was no prior announcement about the test happening but nobody will be punished if they test positive for any banned substance. They will merely get very unsubtle hints about cutting it out of their system, since they will be face a 30-day suspension without pay should the same substance show up in the next test. The only people conspicuous by their absence were Goldust and Rob Conway and let’s just not even go there. As far as the legitimacy of the tests is concerned… well, I can just picture Triple H strutting around backstage, sniffing coke, popping pills, washing them down with whisky and then taking a bunch of steroids, grinning malevolently and asking just what anybody thinks they can do about it…
I am also all but convinced that, with the launch of the Wellness Program and the Raw skit with Vince making Shawn pee into a cup, the sole reason WWE is bringing back Test is to make him into a random drug-testing character. He can goose-step his way down to the ring, yelling “Test, test, this is a test”, make people pee into a cup and then do something with the aforementioned cup. Hey, it’s dumb enough that it might actually happen. Sounds like it would be more entertaining than a disgruntled stable led by Jim Ross consisting of Test, Jindrak, Haas and whoever the hell else is coming back. Nobody else remembers the U.N.I.O.N. but I do and it was bloody dire.
And why the f*ck did they sign MORDECAI? Out of all the overweight tall people in the world, they dredge up the one that didn’t even last as long as Giant Gonzalez… Maybe they can dress him all in black this time, stick a Guy Fawkes mask on his face and call him C. Then he can feud with Paul Burchill over who has the best and legally safest movie tie-in gimmick, which will of course be trumped in a few months time when Vince dons a purple helmet and proclaims himself the master of magnetism.
Or have Test and Fertig form a Scientology stable. Oh, yes, they would…
“That makes me a saaaaaaaaad panda.”
The all-but-final card for WRESTLEMANIA XXII is up for all to see. Well, part of it is. Important Safety Tip for you, MM – using a dark blue font on top of a dark grey background is bad news for vision. Anyway, there are some minor changes to the line-up, as seen on Raw and Smackdown this week. Edge will no longer be facing the fat hairy guy that wears flannel, but the fat hairy guy that wears a torn Cactus Jack shirt. Blonde Skank and Brunette Skank will be having a pillow fight, reminding us all of the really good porn that the internet, our sweet salvation, can give us for free. The Boogeyman will now be facing Mr. & Mrs. T, which perhaps marks the first time that three black people have been in a match together at WrestleMania. Furthermore, Blackberg has unsurprisingly entered the Money In The Bank match. Shawn and Vince will now be having a No Holds Barred match, which should be more accurately dubbed No Interest Required. The Blackjacks, William Perry and Tony Atlas will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, since none of them are in possession of an ego quite as fat as that of Dusty Rhodes. You can also look forward to seeing MNM shunted off to a WWE.com and/or DVD ‘exclusive’ match, defending their titles against The Mexicools and/or The Hooliganz and/or Kash & Noble. Quite why they would not want to give Melina some exposure on the biggest show the year is a mystery to me as well. By the way, speculation about Mama Benjamin becoming the Raw GM just brings me down. If they want a female GM again, Melina would be an absolutely perfect fit. Or just scrap the Women’s “Division” altogether and make Trish the GM. Oh, also, Trish will be ending her near-16 month reign as Women’s Champion by dropping the title to Mickie James at Mania. Never mind, eh?
See? All better now.
“You’re watching MTV, the cool, brainwashing, 12-year-old-and-younger station that hides behind a slick image. We’re so cool that we decide what’s cool. And now MTV News. The News that is single-handedly dumbing-down our country, which is cool.”
ROSEY got released. The recently re-hired Jamal is still with WWE, for now. Eric Bischoff, widely speculated to have been the manager of a returning 3 Minute Warning, remains under contract and is paid for doing nothing. Sweet mother of morons, who is keeping the books for this company? Paul Heyman?
“You can’t do it, Kyle. The Jewish blood in you is too strong. You can’t throw away something you spent fifty bucks on, Kyle. The Jew in you won’t let you. You can’t do it, Kyle. Just try. Try and prove Mel Gibson wrong, Kyle.”
ASHLEY MASSARO got a three-year contract extension, surely giving her far more pocket money than her allowance, which was announced on her MySpace page. If they now subsequently release her for revealing business details on the internet, I would not be at all surprise. I might even laugh. I’m about due for one of those again. Hey, the lack of them is not my fault, I used up my weekly ration on South Park‘s return. I don’t want to put up a picture of Ashley, so here’s something far more attractive…
Don’t be too surprised to see Jeff Hardy go the same way. Meanwhile, Ashley continues to date Matt Hardy, leaving Shannon Moore to weep into his emo-goth beaker of chocolate milk, summoning up the courage to reveal his true feelings, possibly in the form of pretentious poetry…
“Okay. Last night, all four of us were at the bowling alley until about 7:30, at which time we noticed Ally Sheedy, the Goth chick from the Breakfast Club, was bowling in the lane next to us, and we asked her for her autograph, but she didn’t have a pen, so we followed her out to her car, but on the way we were accosted by five Scientologists who wanted to give us all personality tests, which were administered at the Scientology Center in Denver until 10:45, at which time we accidentally boarded the wrong bus home and ended up in Rancho de Burritos Rojos, south of Castle Rock, and finally got a ride home with a man who was missing his left index finger, named Gary Bushwell, arriving home at 11:46.”
Continuing the theme of utter shit music at WrestleMania, this year’s event will see “PERFORMANCES” by Michelle Williams and P.O.D., the former singing “America the Beautiful Occupier” and the latter performing Rey Mysterio’s entrance music. After Motorhead, Limp Bizkit, Saliva, Drowning Pool, Megadeath, KISS, the DX band and others so utterly wrong that I choose not to recollect them, surely it must have dawned on somebody in WWE by now that using live performances for wrestler’s entrances simply does not work?
“Gay people, well, gay people are EVIL, evil right down to their cold black hearts which pump not blood like yours or mine, but rather a thick, vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in their pea-sized brains which becomes the cause of their Nazi-esque patterns of violent behaviour. Do you understand?”
Spike TV will not be changing the broadcast slot of IMPACT on the 1st April and it will in fact be going head-to-head with the WWE Hall of Fame special on USA Network. Bret Hart or Jeff Jarrett? You decide.
TOP 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK SCOTT STEINER:
1. “So are you gay or what?”
2. “How about a sitcom with you, Luger and Bagwell?”
3. “Did you belly-to-belly the guy that gave you that tattoo?”
4. “Exactly how many inches was Midajah’s clitoris?”
5. “Do you know where you are?”
THE WEEKLY GRADES:
In tribute to the one and only Ross Williams, who used to do this in his much-missed Real Ross Report recaps of Raw and Smackdown, welcome to a second-hand but technically new part of the Anti-Pulse. It’s perfectly straightforward. Every week, somebody gets graded with an A, then a B, a C, a D and even an E based on their performances. As it was the only wrestling show I watched this week, the grades are specifically related to SNME…
GRADE A – Booker T
No, he didn’t wrestle. No, he didn’t even appear at ringside. However, we are dealing with some pickings so slim that they make Torrie Wilson seem obese in comparison (go on girl, finger down the throat, quick as you like). All that Booker had to do was bring the funny by overselling an obviously fake injury and a random burst of Boogeymania. The fact that this included dancing a jaunty jig in a distressingly small and loose towel was enough to guarantee that he was top of the class this week. Hopefully he will be given the opportunity to work at becoming the prominent colour commentator he wants to be in the years to come. Memo to the camera operator – don’t pull back far enough to see the top of the fake wall El Boogey was hanging from.
GRADE B – Edge
Another one that didn’t wrestle… but then he didn’t do a jaunty jig either. What he did do in the limited slot available to him (cue several Lita jokes) was give a concise and straightforward heel promo. We heard about what Mick Foley was, we heard about what he is, and we heard about what he might become after WrestleMania, only for Foley to offer a rather brutal retort. More than ever before, Edge looks like a man that you want to punch in the face without a moment’s hesitation. They’d be fools to not give him the title back by SummerSlam.
GRADE C – JBL
We’re into the average grade now, which is probably rather fitting for JBL considering his place in the grand scheme at the moment. He gets kudos points for a couple of nice little barbs during his pre-contest rant (most notably the Canadian beer and the “You elected him!” adlib) but sadly, after Austin arrived, it all became rather tedious. It isn’t really JBL’s fault that the segment was so utterly lacking in flavour that even McDonald’s would have turned it down but, hey, he didn’t exactly try to take charge during the verbal sparring. Also, it makes little sense that JBL would be booked to be so afraid of drinking when everybody knows him from the APA days and we seen him totally plastered at One Night Stand.
GRADE D – MICKIE JAMES
Finally, a heel turn! Huzzah! That doesn’t mean that I like her any better though. The music is annoying, the costume is hideous, the character is not at all original, and I have yet to see any evidence to support the theory that Alexis Laree is actually a decent wrestler. True, she is better than the vast majority of the Divas but then my opinion of them probably merits Grade Z (see below). I just find it all rather depressing that the company would only give her a big push on Raw if she got implants and showed her thong at all times, and that she was desperate enough to do it.
GRADE E – CANDICE MICHELLE
I’ll ask it again in the vain hope that somebody in the know can tell me… why is she breathing? Why did some god/thetan/deity/circumstance/moment decide that, of all the possible genetic combinations of humanity that could have been given the unique welcome to existence that one should have to be given to her? Her… her and her supposed sexy self, which apparently knows no further talent than the ability to turn around slowly. Well, good grief, you can cope with gravity! Hallelujah, it’s a f*cking miracle, please take my money, please, take it, you are clearly so much better than any of us could ever hope to be. Sweet Jeebus, why? Why Playboy? Why Divas? Will you just bonk anything? Are the vacuum cleaners in your house safe? Just have some standards for once and stop drooling over the porn-on-a-stick dangled in front of your eyes by the media, right hand down your pants and the left not knowing what its doing. If you really want to admire someone, go and admire the plastic surgeon and/or the Photoshop guru.
TOP 5 SOUTH PARK CHARACTERS:
– JEREMY LAMBERT has your regularly scheduled dose of TNA scuttlebutt, including wide-eyed horror involving Scott Steiner, which is, of course, also regularly scheduled…
– MICHAEL FITZGERALD, the other UK representative of Inside Pulse Wrestling, reviews WrestleMania V and has no time for Run DMC…
– BIG ANDY MAC previews this weekend’s ROH show, which includes more scary Japanese dudes…
– BAMBI WEAVIL tries his damndest to muster up enthusiasm for WrestleMania…
– MARK NEELEY reviews an early Jeff Jarrett compilation tape, which is presumably the wrestling equivalent of that movie where Joey played baseball with a monkey…
– MANOLIS VAMVOUNIS talks to a Marvel editor and nabs some free comics previews, presumably by making with the comfies…
– WILL COOLING wraps up his Brian Bolland feature in style, perhaps whilst counting down the days to Bristol…
– IAIN BURNSIDE (remember him?) posts a link in his wrestling column to his comic book reviews from last week, since this week’s batch aren’t up yet… or read… or received…
– SCORPION SCOTLAND is a funky satirical magazine stemming from the nicotine-fuelled mind of my former history tutor, so give it a look…
Elsewhere, Scott Keith reposts recaps of everything anybody has ever done in the general vicinity of a WrestleMania. As if you haven’t read them already…
IAIN BURNSIDE is rumoured to be missing six weeks of action due to shoulder surgery in the near future…