Thank you all for the higher-than-usual quantity of feedback for the last column, which you can check out here if you missed out on the fun first time around. It certainly warmed my cockles, wherever those might be, especially since they were all actually well-written and insightful comments. Not a “suxx0r” nor a “teh” in sight and no snarky little so-and-so telling me to stop watching wrestling and/or cheer up. Perhaps the Stupid Happy crowd are finally coming to their senses, aided by some entirely accurate reasoning from yours truly. I would have followed the previous column up last week but my surfing lesson wound up in another dislocated shoulder, which meant another trip to the hospital, which meant much one-handed faffing for the remainder of the weekend, including viewing flats on the Sunday, which meant the Anti-Pulse continued to shuffle further and further away from the weekly schedule it held once upon a time.
Time… could certainly do with getting some more of that. If anybody knows a good dealer then please let me know, I’m very discreet.
Also, perhaps more realistically, if any of you budding comic book artists would like to discuss collaborating with me on an upcoming graphic novel then drop me a line. I won’t spoil the surprise but it will be epic, like Braveheart but with brains.
Brains… not to sound like I’m channeling my inner zombie or anything but I could probably do with some more of those too. Mine are still recovering from a most unusual Friday, when work had little to do with actual work and more to do with a veritable paper aeroplane squadron, a wind-up toy car, a record-length paperclip chain and/or whip, and a small pink hat that inspired much jauntiness. Things perhaps should have cleared up a little after that but instead they succumbed to poker and the Best. Flush. Ever., much beer, much curry, an intense large-breasted maths teacher and fun with ceramic cows. Now there’s just a vague hangover (not really) and a vague interest in seeing Portugal make David Beckham cry (really).
Things are no less vague in regards to wrestling news this week, which has been mostly predictable and not particularly interesting. Vince continues to go crazy in a well-documented way. People continue to fail to see the difference between ECW and ECW2 – and even between their memories of ECW and the realities of it. Jarrett continues to offer boring in-flight entertainment on course to Planet Joe. Nostalgia continues to be the only thing other than WrestleMania that WWE can use to satisfy their need for higher ratings. Ho continues to lead to hum. Ho-hum.
At times like these, what else is there to do but turn things over to Will Cooling and see what he makes of TNA’s current direction? I’ll even be kind enough to throw in remarks of a nonchalant and giddy manner! Yeah! Giddy! Fucking giddy!
“So Jeff Jarrett won the Title in an overbooked mess again. To be honest on one level I’m not particularly disappointed, in many ways Jarrett is a better wrestler than Christian Cage but my god on every other level it tries my patience with Jarrett and his make believe wrestling company. TNA is a company that should be a success, fighting a stagnant monopoly but has the stench of death reminiscent of WCW or ECW in their last days. The reasons are many, and if you and my host Mr. Burnside would allow me I’d like to explain them.”
Well, I wouldn’t dream of going so far as to say that TNA should be a success in this day and age, but consider yourself thoroughly allowed…
“The first and obvious reason is the company’s addiction to hiring expensive former stars of WCW and WWF. The thing the company doesn’t realise is that the reason they are *former* stars, is they aren’t stars any more. The likes of the Dudleys, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and the James Gang et al were let go by the WWE because they offered nothing constructive to that company. Now arguably they’re worth bringing in to feed to TNA’s stars of the future, but they’re not doing that. The Dudleys and James Gang are busy feuding with each other, with one of them almost certain to end up with the belts before the summer’s up. Kevin Nash is up to his old tricks of burying cruiserweights with his current X-Division feud, so diminishing one of TNA’s few success stories. Whilst Scott Steiner has bizarrely been pushed to the main event, despite the world’s biggest Billy Graham fan being a shadow of his former self. Coupled with other ghosts of wrestling TNA always looks to the casual viewer as an old codgers retirement home, where the clapped out wrestlers bored thousands of people at WWE events get to bore hundreds of people at a theme park.”
There are probably a few scant idiots that clamour to see anything and everything involving the ex-Dudleys and the ex-Outlaws. Thankfully, you and me and the rest of the people in this world capable of not putting crayons up their nose simply find them tiresome. Basing their feud around the fact that they once did bigger and better things in a bigger and better place that TNA is emphatically not ever going to match was truly backwards – and following that up with rants about what ‘extreme’ means do nothing but remind people they could be watching ECW instead of a bitter reject. However, at the time of writing, TNA seems to be content to use Styles & Daniels as the driving force for their tag team division, which makes sense considering they have little left for the X Division and are frozen out of the Heavyweight Division. A Team 3D title reign is probably inevitable since it would give them rather unique bragging rights, but hopefully by that point the James Gang feud will be over.
Nash and Steiner are a bit of a different story though. Yes, they are in poor condition. No, they are not good workers. No, they are not stars anymore. However, depending on the outcome of Nash’s latest venture, Chris Sabin and in particular Alex Shelley could stand to benefit greatly. They can’t let it run on for too long since there is no point in continually beating the audience over the head with the faults of the X Division style, and it does all depend on the story of the blow-off Nash/Sabin match, but it is certainly far better than having Nash chasing the World Title again. Steiner might not be up to much either, yet his feud with Joe was a ratings success and very effective at marking Joe’s transition to the ‘real’ main event. It’s difficult to know that Steiner could do anything else particularly useful other than provide unintentional comic relief on the mic, yet a rematch with him challenging World Heavyweight Champion Samoa Joe could certainly carry one of their PPVs.
And Portugal actually have made David Beckham cry. Thank you, Mr Scolari. Now if your team could only score some goals I would be ever so happy.
“However, the younger stars aren’t always better, particularly one wrestler that is the centre of an absurd amount of hype, namely Christian Cage. Now, don’t get me wrong I liked Christian, about five years ago when he was still funny and had the Hardyz killing themselves to make him look good but despite what certain people (looks at Iain) will tell you he’s been pretty mediocre since he went solo. Christian isn’t a good wrestler, with a limited moveset, a complete absence of a coherent style and serious pacing problems. He isn’t even very good on the microphone any more, with his straining to be a serious main eventer meaning that he’s adopted bland grutting monosyllabism of every HHH wannabe. And with such a talent, that never managed to draw in the WWE nor managed to consistently enthused the crowd what did TNA do? Pushed him to the moon, giving him the title and giving him two pins against the supposed ‘monster’ and erstwhile main-eventer Abyss. If that’s not an inferiority complex then I don’t know what is.”
Ha! Rooney got sent off! Who would have thought that standing on an opponent’s testicles in front of the referee would have been a bad idea, huh? Muppet.
As for Christian, I certainly never thought that he was anything more than average when it came to actual wrestling ability. He’s never had any genuinely memorable solo matches, with the closest probably being his match with Jericho at WrestleMania XX – and even that was due more to the ongoing storyline involving Trish Stratus. However, it certainly hasn’t been five years since he was ‘funny’ or entertaining. He was one of the few things worth watching in WWE over the first half of 2005. The Anti-Cena crowd and those that gave Edge and Lita hell about their backstage behaviour turned Christian into a cult favourite of sorts. WWE didn’t have time for him, the feeling became mutual, and the most difficult of his fans felt even more passionately about him. Coming into TNA the way he did meant that there was no way to present him other than as a major babyface. In time it would become apparent that Christian is simply a far more effective performer when he gets to be the smarmy heel that caused such a stir in the first place. Don’t write him off just yet – the upcoming feud with Sting will be just what he needs to get back on top form.
“Ah but everyone says, what about the X Division? Well what about the X Division? Oh sorry, I’m I meant to be impressed by the whole scale stealing of ROH’s ideas, wrestler and wrestling style? Ignoring the fact that having a division dedicated ‘to having great matches’ is (from a kayfabe stand point) completely nonsensical all the X Division has done is provide some great matches, great matches that ROH would’ve/has already done anyway. The really annoying thing about the X Division is that its classic random match booking with only a couple of attempts to actual fashion a decent feud. And despite what everyone fools themselves into thinking, the very fact that the X Division is the best thing in TNA is actually a worrying sign in itself. A classic ruse of directionless promotions is to chuck random matches with great workers on the undercard, whilst keeping the same old rubbish on top. For the X Division, read WCW cruiserweights, right down to Kevin Nash burying them.”
If you would like the same matches provided they occured in ROH and not TNA, then that seems rather churlish. Also, the random match booking is not the main problem with the division. The problem is the lack of truly distinctive personalities for the majority of the division, which in and of itself is not actually much of a problem unless the promotion happens to be determined to drag itself to national prominence, which of course TNA is. Efforts have been made lately though, with the likes of Shelley and Senshe and Sabin beginning to come into their own in this post-Styles era of the X Division. It is tricky with just one hour of weekly programming. Let’s just hope that TNA don’t listen to the worthless idea of introducing another title, which has been proposed by many people for whom oxygen should not be mandatory.
“However, the key flaw in TNA is the simple lack of originality. TNA truly resembles WCW in that its merely a hotpotch of differing wrestling influences that are stuck together like parts to a Soviet car. TNA has no coherence, you put the channel on and one minute they’re talking about how their the ‘real wrestling company’, the next you have Don West wittering on about the TNA ‘knockouts’ and then you have AJ and co doing the gymnastics. This has always been the problem with TNA, they don’t really have any purpose or point accept living. Say what you will about ECW, but Heyman was trying to achieve something with his company, that they would be ‘Nirvana of wrestling’. TNA doesn’t do that, it has no great ideas about how to present wrestling nor does it have any particularly original ideas about how to reinvent North American Heavyweight wrestling*. “
Well, that’s true, and it is the main reason why no other wrestling promotion could ever hope to become anywhere near as successful as even Friday Night Smackdown. Niche promotions like TNA, ROH and CZW can run their markets and be rather successful but they will never reach the masses that are quite content with the homogenized variety of WWE. Perhaps TNA should have a more easily identifiable style, but any worthy identity is not so much self-constructed as it is eagerly applied by others. They lack one at the moment mainly because they are trying too hard to please every single possible section of the fanbase that might possibly be jaded with WWE – from the flippy-floppy jumpy cruiserweights to the bloody brawling of hardcore to the faux-MMA technical style to the remnants of WCW and beyond. The only real way they can find themselves at the moment is by comparing themselves to WWE and trying to kick against whatever they find there, which can make their product very tiring to watch. Don’t have Mike Tenay tell me that TNA is the only place to see Styles and Daniels reach ever higher and ever more glorious heights of excellence – just let me see it for myself.
“TNA is a company dying on its feet. Debts running into millions of dollars, a television rating that refuses to move, PPV buyrates that are pathetically weak and a part-owner who is obsessed about being the tippy top guy. Sure there’s good things (hint-SAMOA JOE) but they are overwhelmed by the bad, and unless things change I doubt we’ll be celebrating their tenth birthday.”
They certainly aren’t in danger of dying any time soon. They are in a far better situation now than they were before the Spike TV deal, which was ironically due to WWE’s desire to get back to the USA Network, and for the first time they do actually have a genuine break-out star in Samoa Joe that could perhaps net them some new viewers from the UFC shows. A tenth birthday celebration is still too tall an order for them but Impact might yet have longer left than Smackdown.
“*Personally I think the way forward is to adopt a move mat based, realistic style that actually look likes the stuff is hurting. Couple that with a more understated, faux-sports style of program presentation and you’d have a style of program that may just appeal to UFC fans and/or old school wrestling fans that have been lost.”
Trying to tap into that UFC audience certainly is the most sensible route to take. One of the best lead-ins they ever had was when the show began with a violent Joe/Daniels match already in progress. Relying on any “funny” sports-entertainment segments on a regular basis, particularly as anything more than throwaway momentary relief, is not the way to go. Employing the X Division on a regularly random basis with little structure to their matches other than each taking it in turn to leap over the top rope won’t allow the show to flourish either.
TNA – not great, not horrible, merely there to be taken or to be left.
Thanks to Will for his comments. Send me some of your own and I’ll add them to my collection.
TOP 5 RECENT TOP 50 WINNERS:
1. A.J. Styles in 2004-05
2. Eddie Guerrero in 2003-04
3. Kurt Angle in 2002-03, 2001-02 and 2000-01
4. Chris Jericho in 1999-00
5. Mick Foley in 1998-99
You remember the Top 50, right?
If you answered ‘yes’ then you should be delighted to know that this year’s installment of the Burnside & Williams traditional annual treat is currently being deliberated and should be with you within a few scant weeks.
If you answered ‘no’ then, please, do not fret. There is help available. Simply check out last year’s effort – with part 1 and part 2 and part 3 all but a few clicks away – and revel in all that is good about wrestling. Revel! No raisins!
Well, the revelling is over all that was good in wrestling this time last year. And I’ve kinda spoiled the ending in the Top 5 list, but spoilers are fair game for the slow. All that is good about the scene by this year – as hard to detect as it has been at times – is the domain of the Top 50 2005-06. The #1 spot has been settled, as has the rest of the top ten (though the order is still not quite confirmed). Deliberating these things always brings out the agro in me and Ross. Usually we just wind up arguing about agreeing on account of both of us being so very correct. It always leads to some genuine nuggets of golden and non-bogus insight however, particularly this e-mail from Ross about the main event of Vengeance (written pre-show):
“How slow are the WWE these days? They’re clearly going to either demean ECW with this Edge vs RVD match or the WWE title loses cred.
So why don’t they just have a ladder match with both belts above the ring? Then, they can have Rob get up there and about to grab ’em, Lita pushes over the ladder, leaving Rob dangling from where the belts are hung, Edge climbs another ladder and is about to launch the spear, Rob knows what’s coming so has to make a choice – he chooses to grab the ECW belt and takes that down with him in the spear. He’s out, Edge gets the ladder, goes up and grabs the WWE Title. All wrapped up nicely with a pretty bow. Edge looks like the big winner but Rob had the chance to CHOOSE and went with the ECW World belt, giving that a good boost and not making it look like a dead duck.
They even had the most obvious ‘in’ to this match of any I’ve seen – both won their World Titles off the back of cashing in the Money in the Bank – both of which were won in Ladder matches.
To which the only possible response is – “but of course”. Perhaps the explanation for them not going in that direction was that, quite simply, nobody thought of it. Perhaps somebody did suggest it but it was rejected due to certain people not wanting the dX reunion match to be overshadowed by the spectacle of a dual-title Ladder Match earlier in the evening. Perhaps they just didn’t want to do such a stipulation with the ending Ross proposed because they really did want to keep the title on RVD for the time being. We shall never know.
By the way, I hope that all of those who bought Vengeance feel suitably ashamed of themselves. The company clearly cares far more about delivering a strong rating for the next Saturday Night’s Main Event than they did about constructing a decent PPV with a memorable ending to the title match, such as the one proposed above. They knew that you would bend over, drop your trousers and chuck your wallet through your legs at them no matter who walked out of there as the WWE Champion. Even without the dX factor, the show would still have pulled a minimum of around 220,000 buys in the States (at a rough guess the final figure will be more like 300,000). Trying to get any higher than a 3.2 rating for SNME, particularly in July, is going to be a far harder sell for the promotion, and so, quite sensibly, they have opted to save the title switch till then. Of course, since it’s now a triple threat with Cena involved, the delicious irony of Lord Williams’ idea has been lost.
For some reason there have been many comments about RVD’s title reign unexpectedly lasting beyond Vengeance and how this shows that WWE management is finally, solidly behind him. I would say that the midcard position of his match with Edge was sign that they are not particularly any more fond of him than they ever have been since 2002. WWE found itself in the rather precarious position of having to simultaneously promote the new ECW show whilst gearing up for that mightily important SNME, which really has to perform better than last time if they want to retain any bartering rights with NBC. July does not have any Raw or ECW PPVs to prepare for, which leaves plenty of time to build to an Edge/Cena title match for SummerSlam – leaving RVD to defend his ECW title on the card too. His original opponent for the August PPV was going to be Kurt Angle, yet Angle is apparently starting to come to his senses and plans on taking some time off to physically and mentally rest. Van Dam has been working with Big Show at ECW house shows, so they might run that for SummerSlam instead. The only other options are to throw Sabu into the title hunt, to continue to play on the Raw rivalry by sending another of their roster to challenge for the belt (Foley? Kane?), or to thrust an as-yet-unseen commodity into a feud with RVD. Of course, the latter option would probably involve Test (duhhh…) and nobody wants to see that.
Yes, ECW2 is already running out of options. That’s an inevitable side-effect of having absolutely zilch to offer the audience other than “we’re not Raw or Smackdown!”, which is really nothing to brag about considering the show is taped in front of people that paid to see Raw or Smackdown. Despite this, ECW2 continues to be a ratings success. The latest installment got a 2.2 rating, which is not just a phenomenal effort for any show on Sci-Fi but higher than Smackdown’s 2.0 for the same week. I know, I know, different days and times, but still quite peculiar. However, the sole selling point is just the chance that guys like Edge and Cena might turn up and somehow settle the confusion surrounding the WWE Championship. Once that is settled, by SummerSlam at the absolute latest, then the show will be cut adrift unless the hurry up and get some genuinely entertaining new additions installed. I’m not one to wax lyrical about the glory days of ECW, nor am I about to tell you that the old-timers like Sandman should receive strong pushes in 2006. ECW2 will live or die on the back of its unique storylines and exclusive characters, not because of a Raw crossover or specialist nostalgia. At the moment, this consists of the following:
– An absolutely worthless woman peddling an unsexy, out-of-place and quite frankly uncomfortable striptease just so we can be introduced to her protective boyfriend. This is meant to make him the heel but I’d be more inclined to applaud him should I somehow have given a shit. There’s no need to do such a thing live in the arena when the most successful demographic is young kids that just want to cheer on Rey Mysterio. Plus, I just have zero interest in seeing Kelly naked. Or clothed. Or breathing. Or buried. Her existence means as little to mine as the flap of a butterfly’s wings in China. Apparently her push and continual exposure on the show, literally and figuratively speaking, is due to Vince McMahon being rather fond of her. The man clearly has a thing for young blondes, yet letting Stacey Keibler slip through his fingers and continuing to bother with Kelly makes precious little sense.
– The proverbial steaming piles of sports entertainment that are caned by Sandman each week. The bit with Eugene at One Night Stand was cute, and Macho Libre was enjoyable for a one-off, yet there is nothing to stop them from beating this gimmick into the ground and, lo and behold, it is already beginning to outstay its welcome. They obviously want to try and placate the old ECW fans by simply having Sandman on the show – even though Vince cannot understand those old fans and therefore switches to fearing and hating them in equal measure – yet cannot be bothered to think of more than one solitary thing for him to do. I don’t have to explain why debuting C.M. Punk as a foil for Sandman would be a good introduction for him, yet it seems that Sandman’s first real nemesis will be Mordecai the Vampire instead. Well, f*cking joy of joys. They should have turned Triple H into a vampire back when Blade: Trinity came out…
– A tarot card reader that recaps the previous week’s episode. Um, okay. Ditch her, ditch Kelly, hire an actually attractive woman that knows how to strip and have her do the introductory recap whilst stripping, giving Vince his mandatory jollies and doing so in a far better environment than the Smackdown audience. Or just treat the audience with some degree of respect and believe that they have either kept themselves up-to-date or can miraculously bring themselves up to speed with the complicated structure of the WWE creative team’s masterpiece offerings.
– The Vampire. He stands outside. Hey, I too have been outside… Audience attachment! We have a breakthrough!
– Tommy Dreamer gets beaten up by The Big Show and enjoys it. Right, okay, and so what? When they ran this sort of thing with Dreamer back in ECW in the ’90s, their fans appreciated him. In 2006, he is just that jobber that drank Taker’s tobacco spit to the general audience – if they even remember him at all. He is too old to gain from any unexpected final victory over Show down the road, as if they would run such a thing at all, and we already know that Show is big (there was a clue given, you may have spotted it) and that he is just generally pissed off at the world in ECW2. The problem is that, apart from Angle and possibly Van Dam, they have nobody who can believably beat him. This means bringing in larger wrestlers like Mike Knox and Test (duhhh…), which ultimately makes the roster seem like nothing more than Raw Jr and resorts the reasons for watching to nothing more than “if you missed Raw you could always watch this crap to make up for it!”.
And, um, that’s about it. Hardly screams MUST SEE!! does it?
There is still time for matters to improve, but only the most deluded of optimists could actually believe that they will. Heyman, whose job description defies convention, has already been muscled out. Vince, who cannot find suitable directions for his existing shows, has bulled ahead with a trademark self-gratifying direction. Punk has unrealistic expectations on his shoulders and is being set up for a fall by those who would kick him to the ground.
At times like these, who could possibly be so critical of TNA?
TOP 5 RANDY ORTON MOMENTS
1. The thumbs-down take-down removal from Evolution. Try to forget how rushed it was and what came next and just remember how easy-cool this moment was.
2. The brawl with Cactus Jack at Backlash ’04, which briefly made him into a superstar in anybody’s language and not just WWE’s.
3. Back when he interrupted a rambling Shawn Michaels promo to kindly update us on his shoulder injury with an RNN Update. The incredulous look on Michaels face was what made it so damn funny.
4. His drubbing at the hands of The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXI, where he had a grand total of five offensive moves – only two of which were sold. A humourous f*ck-you to the future.
5. HEY! The first time you – HEY! – heard his ultra-gay current theme music. HEY! Oooh, bet his opponents are shitting themselves…
Yes, some people have been giving Randy Orton a hard time again lately. This was mainly due to his recent interview with Silvervision, which was actually quite sensible for someone with such an undesirable reputation. Then it came down to name association and apparently he said all the wrong things again.
Vince McMahon – he’s loyal to you if you’re loyal to him
I’d put the word “hopefully” in there somewhere but this is still an honest and accurate statement.
John Cena – can’t wrestle but damn he’s entertaining
Again, right on the money. People started to fret about Orton claiming that someone else can’t wrestle but forget that Cena himself said, live on Raw, in the middle of the ring, that he can’t wrestle. Besides, nobody would dare suggest that Hogan could wrestle and yet the masses continue to mark out for him. Why? Because he’s entertaining. And what does Orton think Cena is? Uh-huh, there you go, now shut up.
Triple H – needs to start counting his calories again
He certainly does. I guess some folk were just a little miffed at Orton feeling he was close enough to Triple McMahon that he could make fun of him in an interview. Yeah, it was a bit arrogant of him but it was better than the stock answer that most WWE stars come out with in such situations.
Ric Flair – he has a beautiful daughter called Ashley
As before, but with contraceptives.
Batista – one of my best friends in the business
So obviously Orton hates Booker T and is a paid-up member of the KKK, right?
Umaga – one of many great Samoans who have been in our business
Now he’s even being generous and using superfluous words like “great”. Why the hell is this person asking him about Umaga? What sort of mindset goes from Triple H to Ric Flair to Batista to Umaga to…
The Great Khali – he needs to take a speach class
Khali?? They can’t even spell “speech” properly. Perhaps they were distracted from their typing by Orton taking a dump on their mother’s chest. Obviously.
Hulk Hogan – I’ll see you at Wrestlemania!
And if such a match ever comes to pass then Orton will probably get a hell of a lot of cheers should they go ahead with the “he wants to f*ck Brooke” aspect.
Orton cut things a little closer to the bone in his interview with Sky Sports. He starts off by continuing to tease a Hogan match, saying that he would “definitely pick Hulk Hogan” if he could choose another legend to kill. When asked to pick a current star to face, he went with John Cena, saying “I would like to knock him down off his pedestal and prove to everyone that I am the young talent to take it to the future”. So far, so kayfabe. This continues when he is asked about a possible Evolution reformation, which he rebuffed with “As far as Triple H is concerned or Ric Flair, I think they have had it. Their careers are pretty much over. Wrestling is in my blood and I am not even in my prime yet, I have enough going for me right now without them”. Then things took a left-turn through the fourth wall when asked who his friends were backstage – “Rey Mysterio is a very close friend of mine. A few of the wrestlers that have been let go, like Maven is a good buddy of mine. I get a long with everybody. Me and Cena are close; I get along pretty well with Umaga, the big Samoan fella. A lot of us started out together about five or six years ago, like Shelton, Charlie Haas. All of the guys who are my age, the up-and-comers, we have a bond”.
So he’s very close friends to the guy he spent months feuding with in a deeply personal way, he’s close to the guy that he just cut a basic promo on, and he can somehow get a long. Way to blur the lines, kid. Maybe he does genuinely think Flair and HHH are past it, who knows? That’s the good thing about Orton – he might live up (down?) to his reputation as being a complete cock, but since you don’t actually have any contact with him you can just sit back and laugh at whatever nonsense he might try. Go get hammered and flash your knob at Trish again, I’m sure that big Samoan fella will have a mighty big Samoan chuckle with you afterwards.
Right, I’m going away. Time to stop pondering wrestling and start pondering about the possible delights of the season finale of Doctor Who. The Billie, The?
In the meantime, go and read something more regular. I’d suggest Lambert for TNA, Botter for IWC irritation, Brashear for a naked fat guy, Clark for cruiserweights, Eric for pretty pictures, and Steve for happy pills.
Paper dreams can still mean paper cuts.