Look on the Bright Side

Good morning, kids. We’ve had a pretty strong week for wrestling around here – D/X had a lot of fun on Raw, ECW picked up their game BIG-TIME, TNA made a smart move with the return of Jim Cornette (no, I’m not doing a one-week about-face on the show – who do you think I am, Scott Keith?), and even Smackdown was decent this week. Anytime I can have five pages of notes from three shows just on the positive side, it’s a good week.

Before we get to the world of sports entertainment, however, let’s talk some sports. As you may have heard, Larry Brown was fired from the New York Knicks. This has started a round of “the worst run organization in sports” conversations amongst talk radio stations, The Sports Reporters, etc. And that brought back painful memories of the fact that there is one group of long suffering baseball fans who have never gotten the true recognition they deserve. Cubs fans get fellated by the media for their “lovable loser” status, and the Red Sox of course had their infamous curse, and inability to win the World Series. But hey, let’s take a look at their franchise history:

Boston Red Sox (1907 – 2005) – 5 World Championships, 9 Pennants, and 16 Playoff Appearances
Chicago Cubs (1903 – 2005) – 2 World Championships, 10 Pennants, and 14 Playoff Appearances

Honestly, that’s not bad – oh sure, it’s far short of the Yankees, but so is everybody else in the league. (Besides, it’s good to have the Yankees and their fans around: it gives every other baseball fan in the world a united front of mutually agreed upon hatred.) Now, let’s look at the two current worst teams in the major league:

Pittsburgh Pirates (1891 – 2005) – 5 World Championships, 9 Pennants, and 14 Playoff Appearances Kansas City Royals (1969 – 2005) – 1 World Championship, 2 Pennants, and 7 Playoff Appearances

Honestly, that surprised me – the Pirates won five freaking Championships? To go with the five Super Bowls for the Steelers? Jeezus. Well, I guess I can understand that: this is God’s reward to their fans for actually having to live in Pittsburgh.

Now, let’s look at the franchise record for the true worst team in baseball history:

Philadelphia Phillies (1890 – 2005) – 1 World Championship, 5 Pennants, and 9 Playoff Appearances

Really, it’s not even close. Sure, the Royals only have 1 WS title, too – but they’ve only been around for 36 years. 115 years of history, and one stinkin’ world title. That, folks, is sustained incompetence. When you add in the fact that they’ve had only two seasons of 100 wins, to go with a whopping 14 seasons of 100 loses (in case you’re curious, the “lovable losers” have 5 and 2, respectively) – this should give you an idea of why Philadelphia sports fans learn to boo before we learn to walk.

Amusingly, there is one team that, while having a much shorter lifespan, approaches the Phillies in terms of ineptness:

Montreal Expos (1969 – 2004) – 1 Playoff Appearance

And this is the team now inherited by the area I now call home (but only for two more months, thank God). HA! Good, the absolutely clueless imbeciles in this area deserve this team. (Mark my word, there is no group of alleged “fans” more annoying than the arrogant and ignorant followers of the Redskins. The fact that they have 3 Super Bowl titles and the Eagles have none is proof that God hates me.)

The People’s Front

Jonathon Ramsey wrote about the U.S. Open:
That course ate everyone alive and also goes to show that some big timers just can’t handle the pressure on an already pressure-intense course.

Absolutely true. Honestly, I absolutely hate the “bomb and gouge” tactics used by most of the pros nowadays. Give me Jack Nicklaus working his way around the course by hitting 3-wood and 1-iron anyday over the same sleep-inducing drive-wedge we see at the Masters and Doral and the like. Golf should reward the best players in the world for playing smart, and hitting the important shots when needed. I don’t expect to win in my weekend match if I slice the ball two fairways over, and neither should Phil.

Mark Bontomasi writes an extremely complimentary email:
I’ve been reading your column since its debut and I definitely find it refreshing that someone in the IWC will highlight the good things that are taking place. Normally, I am not one to write people, I just sit back and enjoy the hard work they put into their stories, but I felt I should e-mail you and let you know that Eugene’s real name is Nick Dinsmore, not Rob.

Argh – I knew that. Well, that’s the hazard of writing your column late at night when you have to be up for work in the morning. But, to address the more important part: honestly people, you can have a direct impact on what you see here on Inside Pulse by simply using your email. Everybody who writes here does so because they have a passion for their subject, and nobody is paid to do it: our “salary” is feedback. If you like something, just email the author and tell him/her so. If you don’t like something, do the same – just please, do so calmly and rationally, there’s no need to get profane or rude.

And finally, a quick apology to Penny, from Monday Night Rabble fame:
How could I have echoed Jeremy when the Rabble was put up 4 days before his?

Good point – that was a poor choice of words on my part. I simply meant to say that the two of them made very similar points, and didn’t mean to imply that she was just parroting his opinion. I responded directly to Jeremy simply because he’s a fellow writer here at IP, and I talked to him on Sunday night before posting my column. So, sorry about that, Penny.

Pimptastic

Of course, Vengeance was last night, and PK covered it for you live.

I told you last week I wasn’t covering TNA here in the Happy Fifteen anymore, but Douglas Smith is, and his TNA: In the Zone this week did an excellent job of covering the good and bad from the past couple of weeks.

A very interesting report on the first house show in Philly for the new ECW. Sounds like everybody involved had a really good time.

Botter has an excellent write-up on the WWE Wellness program in his “Five Things I Think I Think”. Plus, he saves you a buttload of cash by bringing the hotline news directly to you.

The movie guys are giving away some horror DVDs, the greatest camp movie ever made, and a Vin Diesel movie. All you have to do is answer some trivia questions. What a bargain!

Plus, Travis reviews Steve Martin’s last good movie, and the first great movie of the 90’s.

gloomchen reviews a whole crapload of MySpace bands. In her pajamas. Wow – that’s hawt.

Ssquared discusses, along with many, many other things, the music at his “some undetermined time in the future” wedding. Trust me, Shawn – it’s just easier if you resign yourself now to the fact that, one way or another, the damned Electric Slide will be played at the reception.

Daniels talks baseball, trashes the World Cup, and absolutely takes the hammer to Isiah Thomas (deservedly so).

The Happy Fifteen (or so)

Love the concept? Hate it? Think I missed something important from last week? See something this week that you think should be here? Email me by Sunday evening.

Monday Night Raw

1. The guy gets killed by the IWC, but I have to admit: it warmed my heart seeing Dusty Rhodes on screen shamelessly pimping his DVD. And asking if the male strippers had any money in their outfits? Genius.

2. The tag team Bra & Panties match served multiple purposes: first off, all we really want to see is all of the girls stripped down anyway, so they wasted no time with that. Secondly, it very clearly showed the delineation between the top women wrestlers (like Mickie) and the Divas that sometimes wrestled (like the other three). And finally, it continued to develop Mickie’s storyline while both Trish and Beth are out with injuries. (And JR got in a nice line after Mickie took his hat: “That’ll go on Ebay.”)

3. Let’s be honest, they’re doing a fairly effective job of building Umaga as a monster, and they haven’t sacrificed anyone truly important to him yet. And HOLY CRAP could that kid he was in the ring with this week sell his ass off. John McChestney didn’t get one single offensive move in, and he made everything that hit him look like he’d been shot. I never thought I’d say this:, but this guy could teach Mikey Whipwreck something about how to take a beating. (Plus, Armando’s reaction to the crowd chanting his name with him was simply awesome)

4. The handicap match with the IC title contenders was entertaining, and everybody got a chance to shine somewhat. And I just hope and pray that Benjamin can bottle up some of the attitude he was showing towards Nitro (“You suck! He did that to your ass? Step your ass outta the ring for a second.”), and continue to develop it. I know I shill for this guy too often, but I will continue to scream it from the mountaintops: if he could just get a strong personality to come through on the mic, then he literally has no ceiling on his potential.

5. There’s been some grumbling about the D-X Reunion around the Net: typical crap like “oh, it’s 40 year olds trying to act 15”, and “how can the owner’s son-in-law be a ‘rebel'”, and such. Really, I’d like to know what is so wrong with watching two guys at the top of their game, who have given us dozens and dozens of classic matches over the years, go out there and just have some fun? They work off each other like no two performers in modern history, they’re both on Mount Perpetually Over, they’re giving valuable experience to the Spirit Squad (and hence, not killing the heat of anybody truly established), they’re selling a ton of merchandise, and the crowd is eating it up with a spoon. Plus, they get to throw in a handful of good inside jokes like the question about the father of Steph’s baby, and they’re having fun with Shawn’s new image (the “ask God for forgiveness” line, cutting HHH off before he can discuss penis size, and putting on the blindfold before the female cheerleaders came out). (And watching Shawn push the fat midget who was trying to scoot on his butt across the ring just cracked me up for some reason – that was my favorite part of the whole reunion.) For Pete’s sake – can’t some of you people just sit back and enjoy anything?

ECW on Sci Fi

1.


Oh yeah – I’ve found my new favorite. And I think I’m the first at IP to claim her: Hevia can keep Victoria, Hatton can have Maria, and Eric can continue to lust after a girl half his age. I’m sticking with the hotness that is Trinity. (I’ve always had a thing for brunettes anyway.)

2. “Now, RVD needs to get rollin’, if you know what I mean.” Wow – how did they get that line past the censors and the network?

3. At the end of the Macho/Sandman “match”, Joey threw out: “White Russian legsweep on this big, steaming pile of sports entertainment.

4. Paul Heymen to the ref backstage: “Count the pinfall, or take the tap: that’s the only things a referee does here.” Okay, that’s more like it – set expectations, and don’t beat the audience over the head.

5. Test is coming in? Well, good – I always liked him, and thought he could have been huge after the Stephanie storyline if booked well. And honestly – ECW desperately needs more decent big guys. You really don’t want your roster to stand toe-to-toe with the “rival” WWE, and be 6″ shorter on average every single time.

6. Right after Orton’s entrance, Edge gave him the “okay, here we go” chest slap. Orton exchanged nods with Edge and Lita, and then – right after Lita looked away – just blatantly looked her entire body up and down, followed by a facial expression that just screamed, “Yeah, I’d hit it.” (Or, knowing his “women issues”, something more like, “She better keep her handbag close by backstage.”)

7. The main event was really stiff, considering most of the entrants: Orton’s dropkick on RVD made 5-6″ of blatant contact with Rob’s face – ouch. Actually, I was worried that it was stiff enough to piss off RVD right afterwards: his next two kicks on Edge looked very, very legit.

8. My opinion of Randy Orton has fluctuated over the past year or so, but the performance he put on during the end of this match, with a dislocated shoulder, was nothing short of incredible. In case you missed it: while dropping a knee onto Angle’s leg, Orton came down badly on his right arm, and dislocated his shoulder. He quickly tagged out to Edge, and could barely get himself out of the ring (Edge and Angle rolled outside the ring to keep the camera off him). Once he rolled out, Orton popped his shoulder back into place, and continued the match. During the match, he landed hard on the shoulder while tagging in Edge (ouch), took a pescado outside the ring and fell to the floor with RVD’s weight on his right shoulder (friggin’ OW), took a chair shot from RVD on the same shoulder (jeezus), and somehow managed to pull off an RKO. I’ve dislocated both of my shoulders before (at separate times), and you have no idea of the pain that courses through your body when you try to move, or even breath. I have no clue how he possibly gutted the end of this match out. Kudos, Randy.

Friday Night Smackdown

It’s actually on Friday night in the DC Metro area? Again? Wow – twice in 3 months. My schedule is just thrown all off now.

JBL is, far and away, the best thing about this show right now. He’s getting storylines across, he’s complimenting wrestlers without breaking character, and he’s just plain funny. In fact, all five points are about him this week.

1. Comparing London and Kendrick to Michaels and Jannetty was very smart, and can only help keep those two over with the audience. (Of course, comparing their match to an “APA vs. Road Warriors” match was an insult – but hey, take the good with the bad.)

2. Constantly referring to Tatanka getting inducted into “the Bingo tribe” was almost as good as Simon Dean’s line about how the Indians sold Manhattan, and got back: “What? Indiana?” (Also, the match gave me my first pleasant experience in seeing The Great Khali walk out. Dean also cracked me up when he was begging off Khali, and reverently touched his boot.)

3. His match analysis, especially in terms of psychology, was spot on also – like when he talked about how Gunner Scott was good technically, but should never have tried to go toe-to-toe with a brawler like Finlay. And his reaction to the Little Bastard (“That’s great! How do I get one?”) was gold.

4. The Weppner/Ali and Louis/Schmeling references brought a smile to my face.

5. “Rey Mysterio. He’s got butterflies in his stomach. He hopes he doesn’t end up in Mark Henry’s stomach, because tonight could be the night that Mark Henry becomes World Champion.” So, apparently, now it’s possible to become champ by pinfall, submission, or swallowing your opponent whole.

6. Referring to Teddy Long’s treatment of King Booker (the steel cage match announced next week with Lashley) as “racist” was brilliantly subtle.

See? With some effort, it’s always possible to see the glass half-full. See you next week.