In Memoriam: John Kenneth Galbraith. His accomplishments are some of the few things in economics that are incalculable.
Well, that was a thrill. I was heading out Friday to Missouri for an interview when the starter fizzed on the Damn Vaninator. Fortunately, I was able to reschedule for this Friday, which means another week without a weekend Short Form. In fact, I didn’t bother to watch any wrestling until Backlash on Monday morning. I needed that little demi-break, actually. I read the spoilers and was pretty happy about not having to cover it. There’s only so much that dedication can bring to the table.
So, yesterday was A Day Without An Immigrant. I passed by the former workplace and noticed that Tyson had shut the place up for the day. They needed to, actually. Tyson is one of the greatest examples of dependence on illegal immigrants that I’ve ever seen. Seriously, working for Tyson is like working on a plantation in the antebellum South: people of color doing the work and all the overseers are ofays (and if you count complete compensation, the slaves were getting a better deal). It’s a surprise that they won’t hire me for a management position. I’m as ofay as you can get, after all. However, Tyson is just the whole meat industry in…well, I can’t really say “microcosm”, because they’re the biggest one of all. I can’t count how many jobs I had to pass up on applying for because “bilingual English-Spanish” was mandatory. Damn me for taking German because it helped me in other ways, huh?
(And Memo to Jimmy Greer: I’ve gone on record a number of times saying that I’m in favor of the strictest immigration policy possible, especially toward Mexicans. Illegals should be charged with felonies and deported after serving their sentences; jail the children too, for that matter, unless they were born in this country. Take the money for prisons out of the military budget. Simple.)
God, I’ve got nothing. I mean, if this was on the 1st, I could piss off the neocons by quoting Marx and being serious when I did so. The Champions League finals aren’t until the 15th, so I’d be rushing it with Gunners LUV. The Sox’ success is now expected, not surprising. Is a chip-in to win a tournament recognized when you can’t recognize the guy doing the chipping? Oh, who cares? On with the pimps…
THE PIMP SECTION
Daniels properly defers to me when attempting to discuss an AL and NL team in the same city. Actually, Chicago is a unique case even in that area. The Cell and the dump on the North Side are less than ten miles apart, which is less separation than the Bronx/Queens and Anaheim/Chavez Ravine. When you can do a day game on the North Side and a night game on the South Side and get between the two for a buck and a half on the El without having to change trains, it’s an interesting experience. Plus, both teams have been active for over a century, unlike the ones in Noo Yawk and LaLa Land. However, he’s right when he says that there’s a definite Have/Have Not element in each pairing. If you attempt to blame the situation in Chicago on the media element involved in ownership, please remember that the Angels were owned by Disney for years, and they couldn’t alter the dynamic in LA.
(Yes, I did initially type “Angles” for “Angels” in the above and caught myself. This is a wrestling column, after all.)
Anderson was insulted by Backlash, but not by Cena’s WM entrance. He needs to get his priorities straight.
Murray always has good things to say about wrestling. I always have good things to say about Murray. Karma.
Hevia knows that I know more vector calculus than he does.
Burnside had a bad week. As for Who, no, I didn’t cry, but I marked out. Remember, for a good portion of American fans, Sarah Jane was our first companion, and you never forget your first.
Basilo Hearts Claritin.
Goober went over the first round of the draft. Since the Bears traded away their first-round pick, I don’t care.
Tierney gives proper respect, but…Gene, it’s simply called the Daily Herald, not the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. Respect our minor newspapers, the Daily Herald and the Daily Southtown, and they will respect you.
Any wrestling news? Nothing that I won’t allude to during the Backlash recap, so I might as well get to that…
TWENTY LASHES, WET NOODLE OPTIONAL
In golf, the period between the Masters and the US Open is notorious for being dead. Nobody pays attention to it, including the players. This is why they’re futzing with the schedule next year to put the Players’ in between them in May rather than in March. Wrestling has that same problem. In between Wrestlemania and SummerSlam, no one cares, including the wrestlers. They’ve been trying to change that lately. Look at the main event at Backlash last year, for instance. And now, of course, they’ve got One-Night Stand in this period. But this card didn’t provide much hope going in. They made some tactical errors concerning the three most important matches on the card: putting MITB and the IC strap up for grabs between Van Dam and Benjy, the botched promotion for the Triple Threat, and the existence of the McMahons/Michaels match. So, I went into this with very little hope. Did it live up to those expectations?
If there’s one way to get me to tune out, it’s by putting Carly and Gym Bunny in the opener. I don’t give a shit about this feud at all. The only reason anyone gave a shit about it was because they liked Carly and liked the face turn. I actually might get to like Carly, but only if he doesn’t acknowledge the face turn by starting to do face-like things, like constant run-ins during matches featuring the guy he’s feuding with. They have the templates to work from for this type of character in Wife-Beater and Flex, but they can’t repeat the same mistakes those two made, most obviously pandering to the audience. Yes, I know, you like to be pandered to. That’s your problem, as well as an excuse for euthanasia for all of you. As for this, hopefully it’s the blowoff. This thing’s been on an on-and-off slow burn since New Years’ Revolution, and it hasn’t excited people at all. Carly has someone to move on to (most notably a repeat feud with Benjy). Masters…who cares? Really, who cares? When the crowd chants “Masters Sucks”, they’re not responding to heel actions, they’re simply stating a fact.
Abuse of fabric gets Gym Bunny a fifteen-yard penalty
Here’s the downside of the YouTube video: before the video, we were being beaten over our head to take Jamal’s new persona seriously. Now, after the video, we can’t take it seriously at all. Thus, when Ross and Lawler attempt to sell this guy as the deadliest thing this side of Abyss on a coke bender, all we can do is laugh. And all we can do is pity Ric Flair for having to try to get this guy over. Ric’s been in worse situations before during his long career, but thanks to modern technology, he’s never been in a tougher one. So, yeah, it’s worth our feeling sorry for him. He’s Ric Fuckin’ Flair. He deserves everything we can come up with.
Vince finally reveals the new dietary requirements under the Wellness Program
We have to treat the Stratus/LaJames match with a great deal of leeway due to the fact that Trish did get injured during the match (six to eight weeks, ’tis said). However, they were going pretty well before that, so we’ll give them credit for what they were able to do. Injuries happen, after all, and kudos to Trish for wrestling after the injury. The problem with this whole situation, again, is the fact that they only have themselves to play with each other for now due to Victoria being moved into…well, I’d say “non-wrestling role”, except that she’s been moved so far down the ladder that it’s pathetic. What can they do for competition so that we don’t have to take the notion of Torrie Wilson, Number One Contender seriously? Draft Melina over to Raw is one obvious possibility. Utilize some of the ECW women during the transition period, just for something different to tide us over. But they haven’t got anyone in the minors except for the just-signed Tracy Taylor, and she’s a long way away from being ready. So expect more from this, and a probable title change at Vengeance.
Seriously, let’s hope it’s not bad
The problem with the Winner-Take-All match was certainly not in the competitors. Benjy’s game for anything, and Van Dam fits him well. Not to mention that this is a PPV match with Van Dam, so he doesn’t slip into formula like he does on free TV, so he can cut loose a little. As most people said, the problem was the booking going into this. We all knew that Van Dam had to win this match if MITB was involved. Does he need the IC strap? Is that the only way they could figure out something for Van Dam to do until the build-up to ONS? He could have had a feud with Benjy without involving the IC title. Now, they have to figure out how to incorporate the IC title into what they’re going to be doing with ONS, and it’s become a lot more difficult given the results of the main. We now are absolutely certain who the title match will be against at ONS, and it’s going to end up being a Raw title holder and a Smackdown title holder against each other (on an ECW show, no less). Will it end up being for one belt? Will they make it for both? And where will High-Quality Speaker Boy end up? More about this later.
Van Dam’s indicating to Benjamin who’s getting the monster push
As per Kane/TBS, I was more entertained by the sound of the guy cutting grass outside the window of my home office. At least it drowned out Ross’ senile blather. The best thing about the whole situation was TBS’s pre-match promo. It was his usual quality effort, but why did he have to remind the audience that he was in an Adam Sandler film?
So, how could the intro of God have been worse? They could have had someone dressed as Muhammad doing the introduction. They could have had Super Porky come out in a white beard and robes in order to fulfill his last contractual obligation. Let’s face it, they had a number of ways where they could have had this angle descend even further into bad taste. What they actually came up with was quite tasteful on Vince’s scale. So, count your blessings, so to speak.
I just have one comment to make about the match: when historians eventually delve into the immense body of quality work filed under “Shawn Michaels”, they may state that his greatest work was done between the end of 2004 and the end of 2006. Despite an aging and aching body, he produced a masterpiece with Angle, made Hogan look good, and made Vince McMahon look like a threat in the ring. From those future wrestling buffs, he’s going to get a lot of “greatest ever” mention for those accomplishments alone.
Unfortunately, Michaels’ tag partner couldn’t help him levitate
Yes, I would be flailing around about Cena retaining the title except for one thing, and it doesn’t even involve Raw: the word that Rey-Rey’s going to drop his title to High-Quality Speaker Boy in order to take time off to recover from injuries. That leaves the door open for a Van Dam/High-Quality Speaker Boy title match at ONS. This is a vast improvement over any type of Van Dam/Cena match. Not on a quality level; I’m not that blind with my dislike of Cena. There was one thing most people remarked on when considering Van Dam/Cena: the ECW manque crowd would go batshit with anti-Cena sentiment. They’ll also go batshit with anti-High-Quality Speaker Boy sentiment too, but this sentiment will be what WWE would consider the “right” sentiment: legit heel heat as opposed to “I Hate Your Fucking Guts, You Useless Piece Of Wigger Shit” heat. When siding between kayfabe and shoot, WWE goes for the former every time (except under extreme duress (read 1998)).
So, therefore, they could keep the belt on Cena for the time being and attempt to figure out where to go from here. But is a Trip face turn part of where to go? Yeah, Trip doesn’t want to go face. Yeah, “creative” doesn’t want him to either. But the crowd is again dictating the situation. The crowd wants Trip to go face; the crowd wants Cena to go heel. “Creative” isn’t prepared for that. If they try to make a move in that direction, they’ll bungle it like they do everything else. So, therefore, I’ll focus on something else.
What do they do with Van Dam and High-Quality Speaker Boy? Do they get the former to drop the IC strap in the next month and a half? Do they get the latter to drop the US title before he meets Rey-Rey? I wouldn’t do it afterward, because their piss-poor booking of High-Quality Speaker Boy has left him vulnerable to looking weak. A good solution would be to vacate the strap in favor of, say, giving it to his bitch Orlando Jordan again. But you know what that’ll lead to: Teddy comes out, says no, makes a US title match between Jordan and Benoit, and we’re back to where we started thirty seconds later. Of course, you can substitute Lashley for Benoit in that situation and they get to go where they’re going to go anyway, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth about having someone other than Benoit in that scenario.
But it’s actually better for High-Quality Speaker Boy to be holding both the World and US straps going into ONS. This way, you can do a better version of what they tried at Backlash: Van Dam cashes in MITB for a shot at the World title, but in return, the IC title is put up for grabs so that High-Quality Speaker Boy can reunify the secondary belts. That stip fits in with the character quite well, I think. What better way to prove that you’re a Wrestling God than to have three pieces of gold scattered around you? Of course, that’s not the way it’ll end up. Van Dam wins, and is thus in the position of holding the Smackdown primary title and the Raw secondary title.
Now do you see where this is going? This allows Van Dam to become the primary recruiter on both shows for ECW. When ECW is formed, Van Dam brings both straps with him. All of a sudden, ECW has a primary and secondary belt. They could even break up the Spirit Squad to get two of them to come to ECW (Jeter and Doane would be the best pair, I think) to have ready-made tag champions (although Joey Mercury is ex-ECW…). The rest of WWE would then have the option of creating a new lineage for the straps that left, or declare that the remaining titles are unified between Raw and Smackdown, which would cause Burnside to need a laser rangefinder to determine how far his ejaculate spurted. This would only leave the argument about whose lineage the new ECW titles would have, and we need something pedantic for the fanboys to argue about.
I can deal with that.
Chris Arrington, though, puts together a good case for the contrary:
I know that people are saying it’s JBL vs. RVD, but when Cena won I started to think otherwise. You want a title change to legitimize the threat of ECW. If you give it to Edge and have him lose it in June then you might as well have him fight Eugene for the rest of his life because his career as a serious wrestler is over. HHH is not going to lose to promote another promotion, and not to someone the likes of a guy who once kissed Ted Dibiase’s feet. So that leaves Cena. In the ECW environment. Against one of the most beloved guys of that era. That’s Philly style booing fun for the whole family!!!
But, again, think about what I said regarding the right type of booing. Plus, Cena’s reactions are starting to get a little better, regrettably. Witness Raw and his entrance. Of course, he was the better of the options from a smark audience standpoint, which is a surprise considering the great reactions Doane got in OVW (and we were in OVW Country). The Spirit Squad is going to be poison for these guys, I just know it.
“Anybody got a clue as to what we’re doing?”
Oh, God, yet another PPV that was boring as sin, yet not offensive enough to pull out a photomanip. Guess I’ll have to save them for Great American Bash. But for now, I’ll just move on to Raw…
THE SHORT FORM
Maria Kanelis and the Ten-Buck Tramp over Victoria and MickieLexis La James, Cheerleader Drag Tag Match (Pinfall, Trish-ference): Hold it, did Maria and Wilson exhibit something resembling…workrate?! Yes, it may have been in a retarded, fitful sort of way, but that was actual workrate. Did LaJames put something in the water when she arrived? And if Trish will be on camera during her rehab, that’s just about the best way out of this dilemma that I can figure. So this turned out to be more interesting than I could have anticipated.
Johnny Jeter, Mike Mondo, and Nick Nemeth over Goldust, Gene Snitsky, and the retard (Pinfall, Jeter pins the retard, Johnny-Go-Round): Okay, I have to give them credit for this: I don’t remember the last time we were twenty minutes into Raw (including commercials) and we had two matches in the books, both of which were of reasonably substantive length. The participants leave a lot to be desired, of course, but it’s the thought that counts. If we can get this every week, hey, give the Spirit Squad the GM slot on a permanent basis. And as long as they follow a “death to retards” policy, I’ll support them. You’re going to lose Slick Rick as long as Oblivion is able to add substantial gameplay, but it might be worth the sacrifice.
Kane over Rob Conway, Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Ref (Pinfall, Tombstone piledriver): A Comedy Double Angle Advancement Match…oh, poor Conway. Poor, poor Conway. This is not the way he wants to get camera time, let me assure you.
KC Evers (no relation) does wonder about certain things:
Is Conway’s contract almost up or something? And why do I have a feeling May 19th is tied in with Katie Vick?
Dunno about Conway’s contract, but, frankly, I can’t wait to see them start jobbing Henry out the door later this month. And if they even mention Katie Vick…after Vince’s sacrilege, I wouldn’t be surprised, really.
Jamalga over Rory Fox (Pinfall, Samoan Spike): If it was really A Day Without An Immigrant, what was Osama doing at ringside? Way to support Hispanics, dude. And as for Jamalga’s opponent being a “young man”, if this is the same Rory Fox I remember, he was an up-and-comer in HWA six years ago. I think he passed “young” a while ago.
Rob Van Dam and Carly Colon over Gym Bunny and Shelton Benjamin (Pinfall, Colon pins Benjamin, rollup): Shots of Vince playing tonsil hockey with Candice, Joey being “called to the back”, Charlie Haas doing a bit of interference…this match is the closest we’ve come to Crash TV since Russo left for WCW. Not overbooked, just overinvolved and distracting. How is it that we were used to entire shows being like this in 1999?
John Cena over Ken Doane, WWE Title Match, Trip and/or Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Ref or Refs (Pinfall, F-U): Another Angle Advancement Match, but which angle was being advanced? Was Cena playing second fiddle to a teased DX reunion? Let’s hope so, not because we need a DX reunion, but because Cena needs to be second-fiddled as much as possible.
Joey Goes Apeshit: Okay, so now Ross’ return is set up, and the transition to ECW truly begins. And, boy, did the crowd know what was going on. Dunno what the proportion of smarks was in the audience, but Columbus is a pretty smark town to begin with. It turned out to be good foreshadowing, really. Congrats, Columbus. But f*ck A. J. Hawk being drafted by the FudgePackers. As for the promo, it was Joey’s greatest moment so far in a WWE ring, and it gives great hope for the fire he’s going to bring to ECW; hey, he got Slick Rick to turn away from Oblivion, and that’s really saying something. The only part I was dismayed about was the “not needing a color commentator” remarks, because I think we’re all dreaming about Joey and Tazz being the ECW commentary team, and that part of the promo might shoot that idea down.
KC Evers comments about this high point:
At 1 Hour, 40 Minutes into the show we have something interesting happen! Granted it was from the announcers which is pretty telling about how this show’s kept me interested tonight.
Yeah, that’s it. As I said, it’s boring out there right now. As Countdown To ECW starts approaching, things will heat up, but until then, we’re going to be scrounging. I’m taking another weekend off from Short Form duty, so I’ll see you next week, when I won’t even have the advantage of coming off a PPV. That’ll be a short column to do.