In Memoriam: Ian Stevenson. Now he can really investigate whether or not past lives are real.
Well, hell, Trip Howell finally got the monkey off his back. The final round at Riviera was, like last year’s US Open, a definite case of “Can’t anybody play this game?”, and, again, like last year’s US Open, the main demonstratee of that principle was Lefty. Everybody thought that after last week’s bitch-slap at Pebble, Winged Foot was dead and buried. It came back to life on another legendary course with a vengeance. Here’s a hint, Phil: when you go into the seventy-second hole of a tournament needing par to win, you f*cking play for par. You don’t get cute with your approach shots. Gee, you think you might have learned that by now. Doing that only, like, cost you a major nine months ago. Then, if you find yourself involved in a playoff with the only player on tour that’s at hot as you right now, and he’s in trouble, and, moreover, he’s in trouble on the exact same hole he screwed the pooch on to lose this tournament four years ago, you crank it up and shut the door. Gee, what happened to that Killer Instinct you supposedly developed?
That being said, though, I’m happy for Trip. He has had such a run of bad luck when it comes to actually winning over the past five years that you have to feel for him. He came out of college with so much hype that he was instantly anointed Tiger Competition. Instead, he’s had a run of famine in the winner’s circle. All those second-place finishes gave him a rep of someone who’s unable to seal the deal. But you just had a feeling about this year. Yeah, another pair of runner-ups so far, but something, anything, had to happen for him. This must feel really good. And it’s just about the right time for him to start a charge…
…oh, shit, the Accenture Match Play is this week. I’ve got to do something for Tailgate Crashers on that. It is the year’s first WGC tournament and with the Players’ now moved to May, the biggest thing in the game pre-Masters. Let’s see where Trip is in the brackets…oh, poor guy. If he gets past Stuart Appleby in the first round, he faces the winner of Sergio/Darren. He’s f*cked. But should he get past that and the seeds hold, there’s, yep, Lefty in the third round. Now that’s something to look forward to. As I said, more about that later this week in Tailgate Crashers. You may want to watch, because Tigger’s playing.
Oh, God, another extra article. Over the last week, I’ve done a Double-Team Short Form, the Impact Short Form, the Smackdown Short Form, two DVD reviews, the No Way Out Round Table, the Oscars Round Table, and a contribution to one of our Oscar Week features (which should be out, if my memory of the schedule is correct, on Thursday). And you bitch and moan because I couldn’t fit the normal Tuesday column into my bizarro work schedule. I was planning to add WSX on to the Short Form list (as requested by numerous readers), but thank God MTV pulled the episode. It takes a lot of time to do this stuff, you know. I actually have to, like, watch the shows and everything, which is enough trauma for anyone sane, let alone me.
There was another big sporting event this weekend? Kevin Harvick? Who’s that? Oh, hell, just click on any of Price’s articles. He knows more about this than I do.
It’s on to the Pimp Section…
THE PIMP SECTION
Visit Pulse Wrestling
Visit Tailgate Crashers
Visit The DVD Lounge
Visit Machine Gun Funk
Visit Popcorn Junkies
At least until the end of the month.
Burnside must have been watching a different show on August 9th, 1999, because I distinctly remember Flex burying the debuting Jericho, one of the most egregious of his multitude of sins.
Vinny makes it official: I’m over .500 again in Round Tables.
Rushfield finally gets his TNA recap up. How is it that with the number of articles I do and the weird-ass work schedule I have, I bust my hump to get my Short Form up on Friday morning, and Rushfield gets to wait until Monday?
Biscuiti makes the obvious choice.
Daniels should have watched Riviera, but he didn’t. That’s why I cover golf at Tailgate Crashers.
Tierney is doing the daily blog thing in order to gear up for baseball season. But, Gene, if you keep going tl;dr every column, you’re going to burn out before Opening Day, and so will the audience.
Pusey reminds us that the Hammerstein Ballroom is used for other things on the 364 days a year that ECW isn’t there.
What Fernandez doesn’t mention is that pretty much anywhere you go on the South Side, your local hot dog joint will be named Nicky’s. And they’re not part of a franchise. They’re just all named Nicky’s.
I’ve got to give Noyes a whole lot of credit for telling it like it is concerning A Man For All Seasons. He and I have had it out in the past, but when the guy’s right, I give him full props.
Oh, boy, another early death. Mike was 42…my age. Oh, if you think that doesn’t send shivers down my spine, you don’t know. Oh, man.
This is a tough one for me. Awesome was one of my Guilty Pleasure guys, and he had a habit of delivering, even under the worst of circumstances. He took a lot of shit from the IWC due to the nature of his departure from ECW and the That 70s Guy gimmick (which dove-tailed directly into the Fat Chick Thriller one, so the memory tends to blur). He also tended to piss off a lot of people backstage, but he was a member of a very big club. Because of that, it wouldn’t have been a certainty that he would have received one of those post-One-Night-Stand WWE contracts. Yeah, they wanted him despite the fact that he did his damndest otherwise, but he knee was just too shot after he blew it out in order to even have the chance.
Mental health, as I certainly know, is an iffy thing. If the thought came to him that he was useless unless he could get into a ring, those thoughts could have been aggravated by whatever he was taking. But there’s no accounting for anyone’s mind when they reach this point, where ending it seems to be better than living. I’ve been able to stop myself a few steps away from that any number of times, but I know how easy it is to take those final leaps of logic. It’s a tough thing for people, especially men, to admit they need assistance in the psychiatric department. For some guys, it means they’re not a man, because they can’t tough it out. What are you going to do, reach inside your brain and reconfigure the neurotransmitters that are causing you to go haywire? Brain chemistry isn’t the engine of your car. You can’t just put new plugs in and drive away. Even psychoactives aren’t a sure thing. But not getting the help in the first place is moronic. Please, if you take any lessons away from what happened here, let it be that. Don’t think you’re any less of a man because you feel you need help. You’re not. What you are is human.
I’m just hoping it wasn’t a drug-induced psychosis. If the coroner finds anything in Awesome’s system that could have significantly altered his mental state…I don’t need another Phil Mushnick column or someone like Colin Cowherd going off. We as fans don’t need it. Right now, it’s a simple suicide (if anything like suicide can really be considered simple). Please, let it stay that way. Suicide we can cope with. We won’t be able to understand it, but it’s easier to deal with.
I know that someone is going to upload a collection of Awesome versus Tanaka to PWT or XWT within the next couple of days. I know that I’m going to download and watch it in my copious free time. I’d like to remember him at his best, no Seventies or fat chicks present, thank you. And, please, let’s have the first person who says “You know why he was the Fat Chick Thriller? Because he was so well-hung.” shot. There are certain times when discretion is the better part of being an asshat on the Net.
IF IT HAD BEEN A BIGGER HIT, I WOULD BE CALLING THIS PPV “THAT JEFFERSON STARSHIP SONG”
And yet again WWE inflicts us with the most useless PPV of the year. No, it isn’t the worst. Great American Bash has that in hand quite nicely unless they keep December To Dismember around. But it is the most useless and always has been. I’ve been saying for seven years now (yep, it’s been seven years as of this week) that the best thing WWE can do is eliminate No Way Out. Of course, they won’t do that because PPVs Make Money (except, of course, for the aforementioned December To Dismember). But it desperately does need to be eliminated. There’s only one reason that you need to know as to why this should be: they have to build to No Way Out. That build takes away from the build for Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is supposed to be special. It’s Wrestlemania, after all, the most holy day on the wrestling calendar. To extend the tenuous analogy, Royal Rumble begins a wrestling fan’s Ramadan, with Wrestlemania being the Eid where we gorge ourselves silly on Wrestling Goodness. Rumblemania is one of the Five Pillars Of Wrestling, a time to demonstrate our faith by working ourselves into a tizzy about possible matches and the consequent angle build-ups. Slapping No Way Out in the middle of this is the moral equivalent of the Prophet saying, “You must fast each day to prove your faith, except for this one Sunday, where you can pig out as much as you want and Allah won’t mind.”
Apparently the Prophet anticipated the Super Bowl, but that’s neither here nor there.
The Brand Split has made No Way Out an even worse proposition. Ostensibly, this is supposed to be a Smackdown PPV. Yet they seem to be gob-smacked every year by the fact that there’s another brand that they have, and this brand needs attention and care in this Rumblemania season. This year, there’s a second brand that also needed to be succored, thus leading to the creation of a card that you would normally only see on one of the Four Bigs, only without the hype necessary to make it seem a Big Event. In other words, it’s something trying to be something it’s manifestly not. Kinda like Murtz’s D-List staff pretending to be real celebrities.
Oh, but it’s wrestling, and it’s news, and I have opinions, etc., on it, so I have to cover it. As if my life wasn’t misery enough. Let’s begin…
First of all, thank you, High-Quality Speaker Boy, for the mini-rant against bilingualism. As I’ve said many times, if you’re in someone’s country, you speak the country’s dominant language (and unlike most other Americans, I’ve followed through on this principle; God knows I tried to speak German when I lived in Germany). It would make my life much easier if this was the case. I hate feeling impotent every night when dealing with my 110 monolingual Spanish employees. Of course, if they spoke English, they wouldn’t settle for that crappy job. Ah, well.
Our first match pointed out the complete uselessness and confusion surrounding this PPV. After pulling the Ladder Match off the card, after hearing everything about Vince wanting to keep the Faerie Princes and MNM apart until Wrestlemania, we get a six-man featuring the two teams. And to that, we add the US champion, not bothering to defend the secondary belt on what’s supposed to be a brand-specific show (exacerbating this is the fact that, despite my fondest desire for this not to be so, the other secondary belt holder is also in this match). Who the hell is booking this? It damn sure isn’t Michael Hayes, who definitely knows better. It’s quite obvious that he’s being overruled by Steph and Vince. How have we been able to withstand almost six and a half years of Steph holding the book? Why haven’t we risen in revolt yet? Oh, yeah, that’s right, you’re a bunch of passive sheep, and there’s no way in hell I can start a revolt by myself. Well, screw you.
Talk about teaching someone a lesson
You see, when a man and his midget avatar love each other very, very, much…
Speaking of that little sketch, it wasn’t enough that they destroyed Little Bastard by creating Little Boogey. Now they’ve given him the ability to speak. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Besides, if he was able to speak (other than in whispers to anyone but Finlay), shouldn’t he be speaking Gaelic? Of course, then you’d have the problem of being able to find a midget wrestler who speaks Gaelic. But, as usual, they didn’t think this through. Quel surprise.
You know, if they’d announced beforehand that the Cruiserweight Clusterf*ck was to be held under Gauntlet Rules, I probably would have reevaluated my winner. Actually, probably not. I still would have selected Daivari, but I would have regretted the selection more the moment Daivari came out for the first match. But, Jesus, jobbing to Scotty Go Potty? Taking a pinfall to the Worm? Come on, man, he deserves better than that. He draws more legit heel heat than any cruiser on the roster. Vinny pointed out in the Round Table, though, about the difficulty WWE would have of running him as a heel in his hometown at Wrestlemania, and that might be a reason for him not to be holding the title right now. In that case, why not turn him face? Is there a legitimate reason not to? Or is it simply the perceived racism that WWE believes America holds to people of his complexion? I’ve said many times how easy it’d be to turn Daivari face. One promo, one statement from him that, say, his parents fled Iran because of the Revolution for freedom in America, and, voila. It’s the American Dream, Vince. Hell, in that vein, have FatDust give him a rub, telling the audience that Daivari is an example of the American Dream in action. I can think of this shit. Why can’t they?
As for the actual winner, hold it, isn’t Chavito the number one contender to the US title? Why the hell give him the cruiser strap…oh, hold it, they actually set this up nicely. Remember Vicki’s promo earlier? Anyone else think that she’s got someone who can challenge Benoit, continuing that angle? Remember, the whole Benoit/Chavito thing was never about Chavito. It was about Vicki. Now, does anyone else think that, given the events in the first match, that it’s going to be Porter, and thus the whole thing will be pissed down the drain? Now that’s more like WWE.
This will mentally scar Daivari for life
Novocaine Helms and the Temple Of Dumb
It’s part of their Dancing With The Stars audition piece
And they thought they couldn’t get lower than Tank Abbott
Truly poetry in motion
This would have never happened if Kaz Hayashi had been there
You think Yang ever suffers from vertigo?
And the booking was a kick in the teeth
I refuse to talk about the whole Boogey/Finlay match. I’ve already said much more than this mess deserves.
He could have stayed retired and trained the women, but, NOOOOOOOOOO
As I said in the Round Table, Booker/Kane was a very unsatisfying experience. Nothing on the line, nothing going on per se. Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Old School Booking. Creating a feud simply out of a Royal Rumble elimination was a nice little throwback. However, there was the implication here that this was set up because here’s two members of the upper-mid-card with nothing to do right now, since everything is on hold until after Wrestlemania. Even given the old-school feud, it just seemed thrown together for no reason and with no purpose. Decent match, of course (they’re both very experienced pros, after all, and Jacobs doesn’t have bad matches against good opponents), but signifying nothing.
Benoit T makes a rare appearance
Since I think that everyone’s bored by now with the participants in the tag title match, I’m confident in saying that the greatest amusement came from Michael Cole losing his voice during the call. This incident shows another facet of High-Quality Speaker Boy that makes his greatness shine. He slowly took over the call from Cole, when he could get Cole to shut up, that is. And, quite frankly, Cole should have shut up. This was demonstrated when he said, “We know very little about Lashley.” Uh, wasn’t Lashley on Smackdown before he went to ECW, Michael? Didn’t you cover him for months after his debut? Dear God, Cole, you can lapse into ‘tardom at the worst times.
Gravity is so overrated
Let’s put aside the sheer idiocy of an ECW title match on a Smackdown PPV for a second and concentrate on what High-Quality Speaker Boy said (mostly because it’s better by default if we do that). Lashley served his country in the Army and got a pimp video. High-Quality Speaker Boy says that FudgePacker also served his country in the Army and thus deserves a pimp video. Well, I served my country in the Army and have done more for wrestling than either of those two, so, therefore, WHERE THE HELL IS MY PIMP VIDEO?! I WILL NOT BE HAPPY AND SATISFIED UNTIL I HAVE MY PIMP VIDEO!!
Go, Bobby, Go!
I watched the Diva Talentless Search long enough to get some caps for Slayer. Then it was FF time.
And so we come to our messed-up main event for the evening. I was a little skeptical when the entrances started over thirty minutes from the end. I was expecting this one to be shorter, if only to minimize the prospect of any disasters occurring. If any of these guys got hurt now, the amount of scrambling that would have to go on would be ridiculous. I should have had no worries in this regard, though; the entrances took ten minutes as usual. Twenty minutes was just about the right amount of time that should have been given to this match. Of course, the match should have never happened in the first place, but we’re stuck with it. Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t go all the way and make it a tag title match. And then swapped the belts just to put both Wrestlemania main events on Raw. That would be just like them.
Of course, I didn’t care. There’s a level of PPV Pimp that’s toxic, and this one surpassed that mark. Can something be called a Weapon Of Mass Destruction if all it does is numb the mind to the point of non-functionality? And, of course, the wrong team went over. What purpose did that serve? Do they think we actually expect DAVE and UT to show up on Raw claiming that, since they beat the tag champs, they deserve a title match? And then, given the four choices available, they had the worst of those choices do the Oh-So-Obvious Turn. Look, we all know that UT’s going to blow the roof off in Detroit. We know that, if there can be such a thing as a face in that match, he’ll be it. You don’t need to force the issue. It’s much more interesting to keep this match as Title Versus Streak. We don’t need face/heel paradigm to sweeten it.
All in all, an appropriate ending to this PPV.
And we have launch
Yes, I know the irony of wasting so much space on such a useless three hours. However, I cover the news. This is news. Deal.
And now we have to deal with Raw and the aftermath. Hail the conquering zeroes…
THE SHORT FORM
Jamalga over Jeffykins, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, Samoan Spike, New Intercontinental Champion): Disappointing, really. I wanted Jeffykins to be turned into a smear on the mat. Oh, well, guess I’ll just have to be satisfied that he finally dropped his strap. And you have to admit that with Jamalga having a title, it does add a bit of a frisson to the Trump/Vince mess.
If you ever wondered where “Trick or treat, smell my feet” came from, here’s your answer
Ric Flair and Carly Colon over GarriLance Cade and Trevor Murdoch (Pinfall, Colon pins Murdoch, backcracker): Gee, didn’t I say last week that Flair and Carly would be forming a team because of the nature of the resolution of their issues? Carly should be very, very happy. After all, he not only gets to team with Flair, he also saw what happened to Batista after Flair teamed with him. Carly can’t help but think that he’s now going to get that final push he needs. And so many of you are going to be happy with that. Not me, and since I’m the only one who matters, this is a bad thing.
You’ll believe a Puerto Rican can fly…look, I just did that review of Hollywoodland, so I’m in a Superman sort of mood
Edge over Rob Van Dam, Money In The Bank Qualifying Match (Pinfall, spear): Hmmmm, so, logistically, how is this going to work? I don’t think anyone can imagine them doing MITB without Van Dam being one of the ECW reps (Punk will become the other rep after he beats Nitro on Tuesday night). Second Chance Match on ECW, justified by Orton-ference here, perhaps? If not, and they actually leave Van Dam out, what the hell does he do at WM, which, need we remind you, is in his home state? Does he go for the ECW title? No damn chance. They’re not jobbing Lashley out to anyone right now. We all know that Rob’s on his way out anyway, but that doesn’t justify leaving him out of Wrestlemania. They can extract one more big audience pop and one more surge of merch out of him prior to his departure. Leaving him out of Wrestlemania isn’t an option. So, what do they do with him? That’ll be interesting to find out.
Van Dam becomes a little disoriented when he finds out that he’s on Raw again
Melina Perez over MickieLexis LaJames, Women’s Title Match (Pinfall, bridge roll-up, New Women’s Champion): Hold it, isn’t Melina in deep shit with Vince for being a complete bitch? Or did they finally realize that she was the only female heel on the roster who could logically take the title from LaJames (given the complete disappearance of Victoria lately)? Well, it’ll be a short reign, because she’s going to job, hard, at WM. As to whom she will job to, pick a face, any face. Anybody else thinking Ashley in some sort of cross-brand women’s clusterf*ck/catfight? They set one up nicely at No Way Out.
This one’s for everybody backstage
The Great Ha-Ha Khali over Rory McAllister and Robbie McAllister, Handicrap Match (Pinfall, Khali pins Robbie, throw chokeslam): On the minus side, the Highlanders got no entrance (but at least got chyron), and they can now consider any sort of push they once had completely dead. On the plus side, we’ve now figured out a way to deal with Burnside.
Imagine the damage that would have caused had either of them had a brain
John Cena over Randy Orton, Non-Title Match (DQ, Edge-ference): Yeah, it had to be non-title, because we can’t have Randy Orton participate in a world title match at Wrestl…oh, right. Forgot about last year. I tried to block it out of my mind, in fact. However, a tag title match? That’s a possibility. And don’t discount a title switch next week because Edge is in MITB. Edge can definitely do double-duty, especially in a pair of multiple-participant matches.
Like Cena’s unfamiliar with the concept of having no oxygen get to his brain
Oh, f*ck, they rehired Ed Leslie
Michael, Study Your History: “Who did Churchill ever beat?”, Mick? How about Hitler? And, remember, he did have something to do with beating the Kaiser as well, but he’s more remembered for jobbing to the Turks at Gallipoli. Not to mention that he spent years in the mid-card before his final mega-push, which makes him the High-Quality Speaker Boy of his day. So he’s got pretty good credentials.
If this is supposed to turn LaJames heel, I think they would have chosen someone other than Grisham to slap
The Perfect Choice: No arguments from me regarding Curt Hennig in the Hall of Fame, and I don’t think you’ll get an argument from anyone. I think I can speak with the Royal We by saying that the only regret we have is that he isn’t alive to be honored. All I know is that the induction speech has to be given by Lanny Poffo and the award presented to a crying-like-a-baby Larry the Axe. It’ll be freaky for this old AWA watcher to see Larry cry. Of course, I might just be joining him when I watch it.
And that covers everything that I want to. Be back later this week with the various and sundry Short Forms, and I do promise to get that article in on the Accenture. Until then, I’ve got a doctor’s appointment to go to, so enjoy.