You just have to shake your head sometimes. Over the last decade, we’ve seen Tigger do everything, right? Well, he did something Sunday that no one will ever match, until Tim Finchem or his successors get another wild hair up their asses and change everything around. He three-peated two tournaments at the same time.
Yes, you read that right. He three-peated two tournaments at the same time. How is this possible? Well, this year, the entire format of the PGA Tour changed when the FedEx Cup was began. The nearest comparison to the FedEx Cup is NASCAR’s season-ending chase for the title. Players build up points all year, and the points winner gets a big bonus. This has meant a realignment of tournaments to get the biggest tournaments (and thus the biggest names) in the hunt for the cup. It led to the death of the International, for instance, and the renaming and moving around of the Western Open (something I will remain very, very bitter about until such time as it’s back at Cog Hill permanently). One of the tournaments affected was the Amex, a World Golf Championship event. The WGCs are the official second-tier events, just below the majors and of near-equal standing with the Players’ (which was moved from March to May because of the FedEx Cup and the desire to put a big tournament in between the Masters and the US Open). It was renamed the CA Championship for its new sponsor and moved from September to March. This year, and for the next three years after, it will be played at the Blue Monster instead of being a roving site.
Tigger was the two-time-defending champion at the CA Championship (winning in San Francisco two years ago in that thrilling playoff with John Daly and in England last year). He was also the two-time-defending champion of the Ford Championship, Doral’s traditional tournament. Thus, he defended his CA title and his title at Doral successfully, at the same time. Only Tigger, man. Only Tigger.
Now, though, the question has to be asked: is Tigger a Horse For A Course? Out of his 56 Tour victories, 18 of them have come at five courses: four at Augusta, four at Bay Hill, four at Firestone, three at Muirfield, and three at Doral. Out of his 12 majors, eight have come at three courses: those four at Augusta and two each at the Old Course and Medinah. He’s obviously looking forward to the US Open in 2009 and 2010. They’ll be held at Bethpage and Pebble respectively, where he’s already won US Opens. He’s trimmed down his schedule to the point where he’s only playing the courses he likes. In fact, I only see one course this year he’s going to play that he outright doesn’t like, and that’s Southern Hills. Of course, he has to be there because he’s going to defend his title at the PGA no matter what (plus, the PGA is the closing tournament for the FedEx Cup, and not even Tigger would turn down the chance at pocketing that bonus cash). I don’t really blame him for not liking Southern Hills. Given the weather in Tulsa that time of year, the fairways there are like asphalt.
The stabilization of the CA Championship has also given Tigger a chance to break a record sooner than anyone thought. It was believed that Sam Snead’s eight victories at the Greater Greensboro Open would be an untouchable record, given the level of competition these days. Given Tigger’s love for Doral, it’s not only touchable, but conceivable that it will be broken. This was Tigger’s sixth CA victory. The CA will be at Doral for the next three years. Tigger Hearts Doral, and Tigger gears up for the WGCs like he does for the majors. It’s not beyond belief that he can accomplish a six-peat at the CA and make it nine wins at the same tournament. Thus, he’ll already have that record covered at Masters Week 2011, where he’s going to make certain that that Masters will be his seventh and his 83rd tour victory.
Yes, it’s Wrestlemania Week, and I just did five graphs on golf. Come on, folks, what was the most exciting news that’s happened lately in wrestling? Probably Ric Flair giving the Florida basketball players a pep talk on Friday (and it worked; they’re in the Final Four). We’re now in Vince’s hands, and all we can hope is that he does the right thing. So, let’s kick this column off with a question.
I’m middle management. I live in the suburbs. I drive a mini-van. I’m seeing a shrink. Now I’ve joined a gym. How close to being an official Yuppie am I?
THE PIMP SECTION
I’ve got a DVD review in queue right now, waiting for Travis to approve it, so watch for that. Travis always delays on this stuff. In the Super-Secret Writers’ Forum, he said that he wanted this particular review this week, I bust my ass to do it, now it’s been in queue for two days. Oh, but I still love you, Travis, since you provide the swag that I so richly deserve.
Win ROH Tickets for this weekend’s shows.
Burnside forgets Margot Kidder and to close an italics tag.
Vin-Man reinvents Team Canada, and I don’t have any complaints about his choices.
Grut pens an ode to anabolics, and we all find out that Fingers won’t let us use the word “douchebags” in a zone page summary.
Wheeler is absolutely right, and I’m glad to see that someone else was offended by what happened to Our Lord and Savior last week. I received a few e-mails from Cena-tards criticizing me for that (none of which were good enough to make You’re A Moron, tragically). However, he does need a slight bit of reeducation: after saying he wouldn’t use nicknames without malicious intent, he drags out “Michael P. S. Hayes”. Considering what a mark I am for Hayes, that’s a big naughty. But Andy is so loveable and cute that he’ll get away with a knuckle-rap.
Uh, Rushfield…it’s “serotonin”. Trust me on that one. I should know after years of taking SSRIs. The second “S” is that particular word. Besides, you have no excuse for misspelling it this week, since the chyron got the spelling right.
Brashear lays out the short version of the feud between El Hijo del Santo and CMLL. It makes Vince versus Bruno look like a tea party.
Fernandez proceeds to make all of us who lived our adolescence in the late 70s and early 80s sad.
Wind proudly travels to the beat of a different drummer. Many different drummers, in fact. And although I love the Elvis Costello reference, I think that a more appropriate entry might be Keith Moon’s work on “5:15” from Quadrophenia.
Fann has obviously never met wrestling fans, who not only accept mediocrity as a way of life, but cheer it.
MEMORIES ARE MADE OF TRAUMA
And what were you doing six years ago Monday night? Personally, I was trying to digest four of the most mind-bending, f*cked-up hours of wrestling programming in history into a column. It was the night that began with Vince McMahon cutting a promo and ended with Shane showing up in the ring. On Nitro.
Yeah, Monday night was six years to the day of the broadcast of the Final Nitro. It doesn’t seem that long, does it? It actually seems longer since I did that big column about the End Of Days, and that was only a year ago. Six years, though. And yet we have reminders all around us, with Booker and Flair on our screens every week for WWE and Big Sump Pump and Sting appearing on Impact (with a returning Jarrett happening soon). Combine that with Russo and Jarrett making their best efforts to turn Impact into Nitro Mark 2, and you have an excuse for the memory cheating a bit.
Do you realize that Nitro’s now been off the air longer than it was on the air? That’s what really blew Kace Evers’ (no relation’s) mind when I said that to him. We were going over some topics about what he wanted to discuss with me on this week’s podcast, and the subject of the Final Nitro came up. He didn’t believe it until he checked the dates. Kace, though, said that it was a little different for him, because he grew up in Flair Country and had all of JCP’s programming as a kid, which expanded into the Saturday evening programming on TBS when cable came around. Since Nitro was the direct descendent of those programs, it seemed to him that Nitro existed for longer than it did. In fact, Nitro went through so many changes and alterations in its time (aided and abetted by the chaos that was the NWO) that even people without that particular benefit may think it was around longer.
For something with such a short relative life (especially when compared to Raw), it made one hell of an impact, though. However, that was mostly due to the storylines, especially the NWO (and from a more negative direction later on, the Summer Of Suck and Russomania). From a technical standpoint, the production values were always inferior to Raw, due to the fact that Turner assigned its lowest-tier production people to the show. This even boiled down to the entrance music. WCW wrestlers often received stock themes owned by Turner’s music library, ditties that would show up on other sports-related programming on Turner networks. Contrast this to WWE’s tailor-made pieces by Jim Johnson. With the exception of the NWO Porno Music, no great entrance themes came out of the Nitro Era (Booker’s old music, if memory serves, predates Nitro, putting it right up there with “Sexy Boy” on the endurance scale).
Most people claim that the biggest influence Nitro had on Vince was to get him to listen to Shane and Russo and start the Attitude Era. It goes back further than that, though. Nitro’s insistence on a more realistic type of wrestling programming forced WWE to stop turning every wrestler into a character. They couldn’t create a gimmick, throw a wrestler into it, and bring him out to the ring anymore. The audience wouldn’t accept it. So more WWF wrestlers came out to the ring as wrestlers. The characters that were created post-Nitro tended to be of better construction, and given to performers who could make the gimmick live. Mankind, Goldust, and especially Kane would probably have been flops without the environment created by Nitro.
So, what’s the point? Nothing, really. It was just interesting to note with this being the first anniversary of the Final Nitro that fell on a Monday. But enough good came of its short life to deserve raising a glass to its memory and do a little retrospective.
HE HAD THE MASK, BUT NOT THE MASKING AGENT
I sort of feel for Joey Mercury. Getting cut before Wrestlemania is like losing your job right before Christmas, without the option of being able to take a temp position as a mall Santa. However, did anyone not see this coming? Not only did he get suspended under the Wellness Program, but he was floundering on Smackdown without his two running buddies. Without an MNM/Hardly Men match at WM, he had no short-term future, and apparently he was judged to have no long-term future either, especially if (as most of us suspect) he couldn’t get off the performance enhancers.
There could have been one way to rescue him, but I don’t think the booking would have allowed it. Imagine if he did a run-in during the ECW Originals versus New Breed match on Sunday, on behalf of the Originals. After he helps the Originals win, he gets a mic and reminds everyone that his name is really Joey Matthews, and he’s an ECW Original too (which he is). He’s done a lot of soul-searching and realized where his loyalties lie. He’s coming back home, back to ECW, to help his fellow Originals counter the New Breed. He then spits on the fur coat and walks away with the Originals.
That would have been nice to see, wouldn’t it? But the Originals/New Breed storyline is still scheduled to be blown off at WM, so extending its life for the benefit of Joey Mercury wouldn’t have been worth it. Too bad. He really was trying to get this whole thing to work, but not in the way WWE wanted him to.
So what’s in his future? Somehow, I don’t see him going to TNA. They already have too many people at his level and not enough programming. He’s caught in that midcard hell, not enough X Division and not popular enough to join the upper-mid-card. ROH? Maybe. He’d be a bit of a name for drawing purposes, but their chemistry is just so good right now that this would be an unnecessary disruption. Maybe All-Japan will call him. I can see him being a good fit for them.
Well, thanks anyway, Joey, and sayanora.
Other than that, we’ve got spoilers for the next three weeks of Impact available where they belong, in the Den Of Smelly Proles. Obviously, Fingers has listened to me in regard to putting anything by Woj-Suck in the wrestling section. Dear God, I’d rather read Richard “The Remora” Trionfo’s summaries over at 1bullshit Junior than Woj-Suck’s stuff. Here’s a short list of why:
1) The Remora at least has a passing familiarity with the English language.
2) The Remora doesn’t use exclamation points, a sure sign of markdom.
3) The Remora doesn’t use nicknames, especially nicknames that are never used. Since when has anyone referred to Sabin as “The Future”? And the only person who uses the term “The Austin Starr” is Don West. That alone should be a sign that use of that nickname implies impaired intelligence on the part of the writer.
Yet Woj-Suck persists on sending his shit to us, and Fingers insists on using it in some fashion. Fortunately, Fingers has read the signs of impending pissed-off status on my part and relegated Woj-Suck to the whiteboards where he belongs. Good for Fingers. He always has his pulse on The Pulse.
I don’t feel like commenting on them, since dwelling on their booking for too long will undo the wonderful work the Seroquel’s been performing on me. I swear that fed is going to put me in a nice white jacket that ties in the back.
I will, though, comment on Da Meltz’s claim of TNA running a PPV in Chicago. The question is the venue. WWE has exclusive rights to the Horiz…dammit, Allstate Arena. The United Center is too big. The venues that ROH play are too small. About the only choice is the UIC Pavillion. If that happens, expect there to be a push to get Cunt Cabana into TNA, since he’d only be a half-mile or so from his claimed home. More about Cunt a little later.
Now, to cover the show that Mercury’s old pals are on…
THE SHORT FORM
Ashley Massaro, Torrie Wilson, and Candice Michelle over Missus Hevia, Jillian Hall, and Melina Perez (Pinfall, Massaro pins Hall, victory roll): Man, have the women been getting vicious lately or what? There was some nasty goings-on during this match. Good work on match booking, though, keeping the trained women wrestlers in there as much as possible. I also approve turning the WM match into a Lumberjill contest; it’ll help hide the deficiencies of both participants.
There’s so much silicone in there that it’s like getting hit by a truck
CM Fuckin’ Punk over My Illegitimate Son Ken Doane (Pinfall, Go To Sleep): You know, if they turn this into a full-blown feud (and it’d be a great one), the conflicting loyalties would drive me to a nervous breakdown.
I have to plead guilty to hypocrisy here. Obviously they gave Punk time on the show to get a cheap pop for him in his sort-of hometown (believe me, Punk’s not the type of guy to come from Rosemont). Yet, when ROH does this with Cunt Cabana, specifically in giving Cunt some sort of title match every time they come to town, I criticize them. The difference here is in the wrestlers. Cunt is a caricature, a joke, and a mediocre wrestler at best (with a now-inappropriate location of residence; Maxwell Street has turned into high-rent condos). Punk is CM Fuckin’ Punk. That helps to lessen the hypocrisy, but it’s still there, and I have to note it, because if I don’t, someone will. Oh, believe me, someone will.
Well, the boy needs to be taught a lesson…
Vince McMahon, with help from GarriLance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Gym Bunny, Johnny Nitro, and Jamalga, over Bobby Lashley, No Disqualification Match (Pinfall, Umaga Samoan Drop): Well, it was a PPV Pimp Match, and it got some guys who don’t have WM matches some camera time. Plus, it was relatively inoffensive, something rare in the Trump/Vince feud. Harmless waste of time, really.
There goes Cade’s tough-guy image
FudgePacker and Randy Orton over Jeffykins and Mattsy-Poo (Pinfall, Orton pins Jeffykins, RKO): I guess that WWE has figured out that the Seroquel has increased my mental tolerance toward pain, so now they’re going right to the equivalent of shocks to the genitals. Good try, really, but I’m stronger than that. You’ve built up my tolerance to this bullshit yourselves.
After the Punk/Doane match, I don’t need to be conflicted any more than I am
The Great Ha-Ha Khali over Ric Flair (DQ, Carly-ference): Well, if there’s anything sadder than knowing that Ric Flair doesn’t have a date on Sunday, it’s seeing him in this match as a substitute. And seeing Carly have to interfere. At least they left the PPV Pimp for the apres. I’ll just go bang my head into a wall now. It’s less painful.
Funny, this usually works
The Undertaker and DAVE over Shawn Michaels and the useless load of flesh carrying the WWE title, PPV Rematch/Double Pimp (Pinfall, Batista pins Cena, Michaels Sweet Chimp Music): We didn’t want to see this match the first time it happened (look in our news section for the preliminary buyrate of No Way Out if you want proof of that statement). Why did anyone think we’d want to see it a second time? But it was worth it for the incredible face pop that Michaels got when he nailed Cena with the superkick. Oh, we in Chicago remember last year’s Wrestlemania, and we are very, very slow to forgive. Some of us haven’t forgiven Vince for WM2.
Those flexibility exercises are really paying off for UT
Insensitive: I think that everyone knows that I take insults to Chicago personally. The opening promo was definitely an insult to Chicago. Now, I regret not going to the show, but I still can’t figure out how to successfully smuggle a sniper rifle into the Horiz…dammit, Allstate Arena.
WWE’s version of “Eight Men Out”
Since I did the right thing and claimed parentage of Ken Doane, I think Howard Finkel should do the same with Nick Dinsmore
Windbag Sweeping Down The Plain: Guess that Ross got in the HoF on historical contribution, because God knows he’s become a shell of his former self in recent years. I’m not sure that this makes up for the two times that Vince fired him (including one termination that borderline violates the Americans With Disabilities Act). I guess he deserves it. It’s not to parallel Lawler’s entry, though; Lawler got in mainly as a wrestler. Deserving, yes, but more a reminder that he’s getting to the incontinent sheepdog point of his career.
This one’s for Grut
And that’s it for this Tuesday. Next Tuesday, coverage of you-know-what. I’ll get my snarky macros together and get ready. Otherwise, I’ll be guesting on Kace’s podcast this week and maybe, just maybe, do something that I’ve never done here before…