Pulse Wrestling Answers #019

Curiously, I seem to have developed the pathetic habit of being rather busy of late. This past week saw, among other things, struggling to comprehend the heel-toe schematics of a ceilidh, finding a couple of snazzy restaurants to add to the snazzy restaurant list I don’t have, willingly being made to go and see 300 again, some unexpected hospital trips to visit a relative, and the self-inflicted torture of the Two Day Hangover. Therefore, I completely missed out on the post-WrestleMania scuttlebutt of the internets. Woe is me. Still, it’s never too late to indulge, especially on Easter, so before the questions there’s time for one last batch of Mania mania…

Back in November I posted a WrestleMania 23 card on the forums and thought it would be a lark to compare and contrast it with what we actually got…

Handicap Match:
D-Generation X vs. King Booker/Finlay/William Regal

Some inconsequential frolics, much like the Rock/Foley/Evolution match from a couple of years ago. Hunter probably deserves another Mania victory by this point so let’s make it in a non-title match like this. They can base the feud around Regal and how he ‘mentored’ HHH back in the day. Now he’s disappointed that his former ‘pupil’ is wasting his potential to truly be the King of Kings by acting like a juvenile prick. Now Regal’s back on King Booker’s good side, he doesn’t mind so much. Start it at the Rumble, have DX invade Smackdown a few times, embarassing Regal, irritating Booker, kinda charming Sharmell, and then Finlay can beat the crap out of them on Raw. DX will win, because that’s what they do, but thankfully the storyline provides an easy way in to breaking them up.

It would have been waylaid due to the waylaying of Triple H to injury but that still does not answer the question of how one can waylay oneself. It would also have required Smackdown to keep a coherent storyline involving Booker’s “court” going, which never happened either what with Finlay forgetting at random whether he was mates with King T or not and Regal going off to form a low-level job team with a different Dave. Ah, well.

Intercontinental Title Match:
Carlito vs. Ken Kennedy

Carlito can get the belt back at some point. Kennedy, after missing out at the Rumble, grows ever more desperate to find a way onto Raw. This is not because he feels Smackdown is inferior, which is a stupid bit of booking, but because everybody on Smackdown hates him – not just the wrestlers but the referees, announcers, commentators, Divas, Teddy Long, everyone. He vows to jump ship after winning the IC title but, naturally, he doesn’t. He can then go on to win the next King Of The Ring and piss people off even more before, perhaps, being elevated to the main event later in the year. Carlito can pout and describe things as being cool.

Carlito and the Intercontinental Title getting onto the WrestleMania card? Wow, I must have been drinking hard that day. I do wish they had kept up Kennedy’s hatred of Smackdown though. If, as mentioned, they sculpted it so that he was hated there and not because he just preferred Raw then it would have added quite the unique layer to his character. Instead, he just shouts words – some of them twice. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he won KOTR this year anyway, assuming they do it. He could cash in MITB, lose to Undertaker, then win KOTR, challenge again and be successful after convincing the McMahons, Kane, the Boogeyman, Giant Gary, the Cybermen, the Spirit Squad and the entire population of Samoa to do a run-in.

Anniversary Guff:
Hulk Hogan vs. The Big Show

I don’t want to see it but it will happen. Show is not daft enough to turn down such a big payday, especially not after nearly four months of resting after dropping the ECW belt to Lashley next month (more on that in a bit). Fifteen minutes of crowd popping, of which roughly five will be spent on the match itself. Hogan’s hip triumphs over Show’s back.

Obviously it would have happened but for fatness and stupidity getting in the way. Yay!

Street Fight:
Mick Foley vs. Vince McMahon

Again, it will happen but I’m not bothered about it. The match would be better if it were Mick and Shane but Vince’s sixtysomething ego won’t allow that and Shane probably can’t be arsed anyway. Shane will certainly get involved though, as will Melina and Nitro. Put Mickie James out there to support Mick and we can neatly bypass the tedious Women’s Title match as well.

And, again, it would have happened but for Donald Trump’s TV show seeking some more exposure and Vince getting a full-on metal chubby for Lashley. Yay! It would have got rid of the Divas match and gotten Johnny Nitro a bit of exposure though. Boo!

Hell In The Cell:
The Undertaker vs. Kane

I know, I know. But be fair. If there was ever a rivalry epic enough to warrant three Mania matches (other than Rock/Austin) then this is surely it. Plus, after all he’s done, Kane really does deserve a decent send-off. He won’t be the face here but he will get a respect pop from the crowd. Also, it is fitting to have these guys work this gimmick match together at long last – especially considering how Kane made his debut. Guess who wins.

I still think it would have been a great way to send Kane off. Still, by all accounts he’s just going to be taking an extended vacation ‘at some point’ (the same one Michaels has been meaning to take for two years now) before coming back for more whacky antics. Bet you would have preferred this to Gary though

Tag Team Championship Match:
The Hooliganz vs. The Hardy Boyz

Right, now I get to fiddle with the titles a bit. The Spirit Squad get the Raw tag belts back, presumably by getting some DX help just to embarass Edge and Orton, but the group is still having problems. Eventually, one of them gets really fed up and jumps to Smackdown, taking one of the tag belts with him. He spends a few weeks trying to find a new partner, eventually settling on, oh, Tatanka or whoever. The other Spirit Squad members get particularly pissed off about this – especially after the Smackdown tag champs defeat the would-be champs and take one of the Raw belts. They come over for Armageddon to try and win it back but fail. The Hooliganz then have the sole tag team title in WWE. Jeff Hardy soon jumps ship after some more reunification fun with Matt during the Rumble and thus we get this kinky little match. Chuck on the added tension of Ashley ‘managing’ the champs but being in ‘love’ with Matt, so they can publicise her Playboy spread without having a crappy lingerie match or something. The Hardys get the titles as Smackdown goes about forming a reasonably capable tag team division. London goes on to win the Cruiserweight Title from Helms at Judgement Day and becomes an insufferable prick because of it, leading to a split with Kendrick and a big ol’ Ladder Match for the belt by SummerSlam.

Not only did none of the above ever come close to happening, which I never expected it to in the least, but Helms didn’t even hold onto the CW belt! Tragic. I get the feeling that we’ll be able to count all of London and Kendrick’s shiny pants appearances on WWE PPV in the future on one hand.

3rd Annual Money In The Bank Ladder Match:
Edge vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Van Dam vs. C.M. Punk vs. Chris Benoit vs. Gregory Helms

Yeah, Helms. He still has the CW belt. He feuds with Benoit and defeats him for the US belt at No Way Out to unify it with the title he loves so much and feels is superior. Wave bye-bye to the US belt. I’d like to have Benjamin win it but it probably would be better to have Punk take the briefcase instead. Edge can come out on Raw the next night and bitch about being lost in the shuffle of a six-man match rather than being involved in the main event. Determined to make sure he is not overshadowed in the same way at WrestleMania 24, he issues a challenge that very night to The Undertaker. He’s the only other wrestler with a decent undefeated Mania streak and believes he should inherit that accolade and send Taker packing. Cue a one-year build, which will mostly revolve around Edge insulting Taker and Taker stalking Edge in a weird amalgamation of Hart/Austin ’96 and Hogan/Sting ’97, so by the time the match comes around it is almost as big a deal as the title match.

You’ll note that I had Edge lose the match but still claim an undefeated streak at Mania. Don’t think WWE won’t contemplate pulling the same trick next year. They couldn’t even comprehend a one-year build to a match though, let alone contemplate it. Their idea of long-term planning was having Cena sign to face Umaga at New Year’s Revolution when they still had Armageddon and December to Dismember to promote in the interim. MITB should be used as a long-term device rather than a novelty nickname followed by a swift kick in the pants. Imagine if Kennedy decided that he was going to hold the world title for all of 2008 and so set a date to face the champion at Armageddon. The match would be booked and he would embark on months of gruelling training to prepare himself, taking on the greatest the company has to offer, trying desperately to get the title off Undertaker so he can face someone who jobs cleanly, failing miserably, then getting his groove on after his team beats Taker’s at Survivor Series and swaggering his way up the road to his destiny. Sure, there’s always a risk of injury ruining things but contingency plans are never really any worse than short-term random booking and the pay-off to long-term booking is so much sweeter. Would it kill them to try it more often?

Undisputed WWE Championship Invitational Tournament:

Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Orton wins the belt at New Year’s Revolution in a dubious double-pinfall that is nonetheless awarded in his favour. He then starts referring to it as the World Title, playing off of his ‘youngest world champion ever’ tag. Cena wins the Rumble. This is non-title but the winner goes on to face the winner of…

Batista vs. Lashley

DAVE gets the belt back from Booker at Survivor Series and, to set things up for Orton later on, starts referring to it as simply being the Heavyweight Title (also making the Cruiserweight Title seem more important). Lashley becomes ECW champ at December To Dismember. There’s already some backstage heat between these two. Hopefully it leads to a better match than DAVE could have with Booker. Again, non-title, but it leads to…

John Cena vs. Batista

Realistically, the only possible match WWE could put on that would justify taking place in the main event before 70,000 fans at the biggest show of the year. The winner becomes undisputed WWE Champion. This means he is allied with ALL three brands. If the brands are nothing but a modern, McMahonified version of the old territories then the WWE Champion should be the equivalent of the old NWA Champion. Each show maintains a major singles belt of its own, one that will be capable of headlining events, but there is also this superlative title that would change hands very rarely and could actually once again give us a championship that feels like it genuinely matters. Obviously, Cena is the only guy that can hold such a belt at the moment.

As expected, it never even came close to happening. Probably for the best since the crowd would probably have left during Cena/Batista on account of the former DAVE running out of good luck charms a long time ago. The premise of having one WWE Champion for the WWE still makes perfect sense, however. Perhaps if they start establishing international brands and reduce their North American rosters to just one real brand then they might go ahead with it. A bloke can dream…

So, how do we solve a problem like WrestleMania 24?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the main matches will involve Cena, Kennedy and perhaps Lashley. There is no obvious combination of matches that springs readily to mind but I am eager to see some suggestions. Cena/Undertaker would be a marquee match, with Cena now 4-0 at Mania and the long-shot potential of it being champion against champion. Sadly, they missed the boat on it this year and used up the goodwill of giving Taker one last spot under the championship light. Cena/Kennedy seems the most logical pairing of the younger stars even though Kennedy is far from proven as a main-eventer and there are too many greedy older guys who want the attention. The most obvious example of them is Triple H and, judging by the look on his face at the Hall of Fame alone, there is no way he will willingly miss out on headlining another Mania. HHH/KK certainly has the potential to be an involving feud and culminate in an old-school bloodbath of Flair-and-Dusty-at-a-razorblade-convention proportions. So, Cena/Lashley perhaps? Wee Bob’s prospects may yet depend on Sci Fi TV executives’ willingness to persevere with ECW but even if the show were dropped it’s unlikely they’d stop pushing him. He seems destined to get the Batista spot whether we want him to or not. Then there’s MITB, where potential winners would seem to include Punk, Nitro and Porter. Punk’s chances at keeping his job let alone his push change on a weekly basis. Nitro is faring little better at the moment and is in danger of being squeezed off of PPV for good at this point. Porter is gearing up to be 2007’s version of turning ‘showing real potential’ into ‘push him hard and fast at all costs’, which did Lashley little favour and he was starting off from a better base. I say that they bugger the lot of them and have the veteran win MITB for once. Benoit. Flair, perhaps. Someone with plenty of experience and past glory who has been struggling to make his voice heard later and suddenly finds himself with one last chance at going out on top. There’s money in them there Balboa tales, ya know.

Curious. Emphatically curious.

Elsewhere, Lester had a few words to add about WrestleMania 23 itself:

”huio iann it’g lester fom ther online, hwere’s my thouerghtes on wrestllingmania2 3

1/ monery in the bunk ladersd and chairsmatch feturng radny ortiz.edge.matt harey., jeff harety, kmer. mennesdsym cmeponk the king and chis benoitg for the brief case KENDNAY !!!LOL!!!

thsin match weasd fdor some money in a bank but hey disnt say what baxcnk it coufllld be hasrd ifd hthe winnner dioenst hve sn account at thr bank how eould hw get his monday? anyeysmt he midget cklimned the lader butg kennedy killed him and won becasdyue of oit. ii like dit and think jeff did ewell for jumping far.

2/ kane bvs giant garfy

thnat gary is a bigf guy, likr i said kane jut coukd n’t jumpover him so he klost butg rhe did pick him up but hem hee lost some more. who can stop giatn gary i don’r konw nyone who an juimp uover him

3/ mpvp vp christ benot

c/ uvndertakr vs ibdave batsita

theyr had the rmatch tha wveyry one one wonderesd ahout and howu was david sgougng to end the streak? wel, hte idn’t ebcasue undertkaerwon by pinfall when he pinned him

d/ ecw vs streaker, kevin; convon and burk

DECWCECWCECWECWECCW!! LOL! they won when one rof thre ecws beat oe o f the streakers it hinkg it was sandman

e/ blade bullionare vince vsd tramp with SCONE COLD and una and slashley
they sahved him good

f/ shnanmichedls vs joncneacne

ther aews som efast car!!! KENNEDY!:RMOLOF9) htins mach ws prety borien g and it eent on for agesd, i sorrta feill aslep afor awhile htere but youn jknow michles ast he showvasde of the inmonrtals, eh’s alwys sgoinf ot steal somethinf, i din’t see when he stole thid time but he lost snd thne cena won.”

My, but you are an odd little fellow. Have you considered starting your own blog? It’d be a real winner, like Jarrett. Or these.

I have a few more Mania thoughts to add, because lord knows the internets haven’t seen enough of those this past week…

– Aretha Franklin: more or less attractive than Eddie Murphy’s fatsuited lady turn from Norbit?

– Considering I was exceptionally tired, then on a bursting caffeine high, then exceptionally drunk, then unconscious, my memory of the show is rather unreliable. I do remember feeling exceptionally sorry for the poor, defenceless ladder that Edge and Jeff Hardy’s arse senselessly broke in half though. Usually it would just be Jeff Hardy’s arse that was broken in half but I guess JBL was safely ensconced behind the announcers’ desks.

– It took me ten minutes to realise there were six people announcing MITB. I’M SPECIAL.

– Kennedy!!!! KENNEDY!!!! bank lol

– It was a very lame finish too. The first of many. Punk and Kennedy worked with one another all week to design a memorable spot and the best they could figure out was a gentle poke with a ladder?

– Kennedy gets a post-match interview. Nobody else does. Nobody else gets a pre-match interview either. And all so we can suffer the indignity of the “Mr Money in the Bank Bank” catchphrase. Cry me a river, I’ll lob the inevitable T-shirts in it.

– BANK = KENNEDY LOL99

– Do you think the Great Gary knows that he is actually employed or do you think he spends his days off concentrating very hard on walking in a straight line, yelling incomprehensibles in Backlundese and clobbing folk? He’d be an excellent postman.

– No flaming chain either. Disappointing. Inflammably disappointing.

– Cryme Tyme, Eugene, Slick, IRS, Dusty, Steamboat, Patterson, Brisco, Fink, Slaughter, Moolah, Mae, Kelly Kelly and those other two all get to appear on WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Carlito is sitting on the toilet with a DS Lite, having a heart-to-heart with his Nintendog.

– Benoit/MVP was match of the night – although, to be fair, I really stopped paying attention after it. Attention can be a sensitive thing and curbing this match after less than ten minutes, with a diving headbutt no less, was enough to drive it off with beer. At least they seem content to let Porter slowly build himself up. Keep the Benoit feud going for another month or two, then let Finlay have a crack.

– Who the hell was that blond with Trump?

– How completely bored does Trump look?

– Why is the Million Dollar Belt not on the line?

– Batista’s entrance irritated me. Not just because he seemed to have difficulty in ascertaining which part of the stage set-up led to the ramp but because the champion should always come out after the challenger. I know it doesn’t happen much nowadays but at WrestleMania in a major title match they should have stuck to the old principle. Let Taker go out first with his druids and such, then bring out Batista, don’t have him play to the crowd, have him march straight into the ring and nut Taker in the head. He’s meant to be The Animal, he should show no fear of the Dead Man in the least.

– Fun match though. And if the rumour about Taker telling Batista to ‘get the f*ck out of the ring’ after the finish are true then, well, so what? It’s hardly the same as Michaels doing a similar thing to Bret after their WM12 match, when they were equals and closed the show with an epic encounter. This was Taker’s night altogether and Batista has done precious little worthy of respect in the past year.

– Baby McMahon POV? And no HYPNOTOAD? For shame.

– EZEEDUB! I still can’t remember anything about Burke.

– Good to see that Austin got top billing for the match involving two other people and two more supporting members. Referees put butts in seats. This match confused me, mainly because I was trying to maintain an analogy in which Umaga was Will Smith and had great difficulty in doing so.

– Women! Of a sort.

– Nice to see Michaels finally let go of the DX tights. Pity he still has the DX entrance. Cena’s entrance made me think I had accidentally changed channel to Tim Westwood’s Whacky Races or something. I was also rather sad the car didn’t turn into a breakdancing robot. Can’t win ‘em all. Drunk Audience Guy’s impromptu appearance was the highlight of the night. Just a bizarre match all round, especially for the staggering levels of love given to it. They certainly missed the boat in not allowing Taker to close the show (let alone undermining the Rumble once again).

Meanwhile, on planet Earth:

Christopher Alden has a correction from last week:

“Hey, good column.

Just thought I’d mention that Carlito won the US title in his debut, from John Cena of all people, so there’s one that you missed.

So, what, am I #3,429 to bring that one up? :)”

The one and only, actually. The question was about people who won titles in their first match in a promotion, which Carlito did on Smackdown on 7th October 2004. I also forgot to mention Gail Kim, who won the Women’s Title in a Battle Royal on Raw in her debut on 30th June 2004. And let’s not overlook poor Mike Awesome, who nabbed the Hardcore Title from Rhyno in a lamentable WWF debut on Raw on 25th June 2001.

If you can think of any others, send ‘em in.

Ryan Ro appreciates the female form:

””WWE has various concerns, including missed spots being more noticeable, calling spots being more audible, the Divas perhaps not appearing so ‘perfect’, and older stars like Shawn Michaels perhaps showing their age more clearly.”

*rolls eyes*

It would only help the WWE to have more than body type of woman on their roster. Seriously.

Ah well. ROH!”

This is in response to the story about WWE’s reluctance to embrace HD broadcasting. I can’t help but agree. Their talent scouting department is geared towards finding men with physiques similar to Cena or Batista rather than wrestling talent similar to Michaels or Benoit, while the women they seek all have to be of the Playboy bimbo type. I believe they even signed a deal with a modelling agency called Hawaiian Tropics, which speaks for itself. Jim Ross gave a speech a couple of weeks ago in which he said they probably wouldn’t put any women on-air if breast implants were not so commonplace nowadays. He also hinted that the transformation of the Women’s Division into little more than an excuse for thong shots and softcore porn was what ultimately convinced Lita and Trish Stratus to try their hands at something else. It’s hard to blame them. It’s certainly why Molly Holly cut her losses and left a few years ago. I think it’s hilarious that they finally got younger kids interested in the product again on the back of acts like Cena and Mysterio, yet if their parents take them to the shows they’ll be likely to see Candice’s boobs or Melina’s snatch. And if anybody knows of any good reason why the Extreme Expose people continue to be granted oxygen then please let me know.

Mike Long provokes some thought:

“2 kind of thought provoking questions
1. I’ve learned over the years that many members of
the IWC don’t really like HHH. I’ve heard many of the
backstage politics stuff he has pulled in the past,
the most blatant one I remember is refusing to put
Booker over at Mania 19. My question is when are other
major times this has happened? I know Hunter, Shawn,
and Taker are famous for it.
2. Speaking of Taker, he is famous for almost never
losing to anyone, and in almost any instance where he
does, it is almiost NEVER clean. I can think of Cena
on a TV show in 03, FBI interfered (yeah,the FBI) and
even my favorite wrestler and who I consider the
greatest, Bret Hart couldn’t beast him clean on a big
stage. Rumble 96- Nash interfered and Summerslam 97-
HBK did the famous chair shot. I’m just wondering who
can actually say they’ve beaten this man CLEANLY?
There has to be others not named KHALI or Foley.”

1. The important thing to remember about Triple H is that every single wrestler with a prolonged run at the top of a promotion quickly learns how to utilise backstage politics to their benefit. The difference with him is that he wound up marrying the boss’ daughter, which most fans were naturally rather sceptical about. People can’t deny their relationship is anything but legitimate by now but it still leaves the Hs open to a great deal more criticism than they would likely otherwise receive. Anyway, some of his more memorable moments include:

– Scrapping the logical outcome of the Hs/Angle/Stephanie love triangle storyline in 2000, which would have meant him turning face as Steph and Angle hook up at Unforgiven. This was right around the time that Stephanie started getting some tangible power behind the scenes and had only recently begun her real relationship with the Hs. Ostensibly, they didn’t think that Angle would be up to the task of following through due to the concussion he had sustained at SummerSlam. However, that didn’t stop them giving him the title the following month at No Mercy, embarking on a title run that would have been far stronger had he been teamed with Stephanie at the time. As it was, the top heel spot remained Triple H’s and the top face spots were taken up by The Rock and a returning Steve Austin, with the Hs having a very memorable feud with the latter. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it?

– Squandering the goodwill that the fans had for him upon his return from injury in early 2002. His and Stephanie’s fascination with one another meant enduring their hideous on-screen divorce storyline, which completely overshadowed the first-ever Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho, undermined the importance of that title, and completely forgot about Stephanie being banished ‘forever’ after the Survivor Series 2001. Ironically, now that he wanted to be a face, the fans didn’t care. He dropped the title to Hulk Hogan in one of those clever ‘taking one for the team even though it can’t hurt me’ schemes, of which Hogan is of course the master.

– Raw being dominated in the summer of 2002 by a seemingly endless series of segments designed to drum into one and all the benevolent brilliance of The Game. Numerous shows were built around the nWo dreaming about bringing the Hs over from Smackdown to Raw, which were followed by numerous shows built around Eric Bischoff dreaming about bring the Hs over from Smackdown to Raw, which were followed by numerous shows built around Shawn Michaels extolling the virtues of bringing the Hs over from Smackdown to Raw. This of course culminated in the HHH/HBK feud that superseded everything else on the show in terms of backstage interest, including the fate of the Intercontinental Title. After the WWE Championship became Smackdown-exclusive, it was meant to be elevated to the top singles belt on Raw and had undergone a gradual series of unifications with the WCW United States, WWE European and WWE Hardcore titles. Rob Van Dam, back when he was still rather popular and almost motivated, was at the driving seat of this process. The Hs, however, saw things differently. He felt the fans would not buy the IC belt as the top prize for the brand and so brought about the creation of the World Heavyweight Title, with a similar design to the Big Gold Belt of yore to appeal to his Ric Flair markdom. That part made sense. Simply having the belt awarded to himself, then defeating and temporarily ceasing the IC belt in order to get more heat on himself did not. Now that he had a fledgling title to establish he had a sound reason to veto several muted defeats, including RVD, Kane and Booker T, yet still found time to give his good personal chum Michaels a cup of coffee with the title. Yay.

– The reformation of DX, which as a one-night-only deal would have been fantastic, utterly squandered the long-term potential of the gimmick. Even if it had only been for Vengeance and SummerSlam, it would have worked. Instead it was dragged out for months in an incestuous storyline between them and the McMahons, in which they ran roughshod over the Spirit Squad, the Big Show, Finlay, Kennedy, Regal, Kennedy and Kennedy (LOL) among others. They did lose to Umaga individually but only after heaven and earth moved to allow a succession of run-ins for a cheap victory that did little to enhance his status. Even after the Hs were out injured and Michaels was left alone he vetoed the idea to add new members to the group, feeling instead that it was a private club for the two of them to enjoy and get over on. Nobody else was allowed to play and so an ideal and self-explanatory storyline in which new and younger members, who would prove to actually be degenerates, would eventually turf out the older guys and feud with them. Punk, London, Kendrick, Kennedy, Kenny, Carlito, there were several potential fits but none of them got the chance.

– Blocking Shane McMahon from introducing Norbit at WM23. To be fair, this was more Stephanie’s decision than his. She is rather paranoid about losing her status as ‘Vince’s favourite’ now that Shane has seemingly rekindled his interest in becoming more involved in the wrestling promotion aspect of the family business, planning the proposed development of international brands. It’s a silly, petty little sibling squabble but at some point down the line Vince will be unable to run things anymore and one of them will wind up in charge. Which one it is, and what the other one will do, remains up in the air. I still believe that the Hs have the potential to become a very competent booker should they man up and gain some autonomy over Creative in the future. He’s got a great old-school sensibility and a solid grounding in the fundamentals of the business, while his masturbatory tendencies seem to have begun to dry up. Sure, there’s the recent DX thing, but that seems to be a more general crisis of a recently-married man dealing with fatherhood for the first time than anything else. At least he gets the fratboy out of his system without it impacting on his family life.

That’ll do for now.

2. I was sure I had answered this question in a previous column but I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, the last time Undertaker was pinned was by John Cena at No Way Out 2007 but it was far from clean, taking an F-U and Sweet Chin Music after Batista turned on him with a powerbomb. The last time he was pinned cleanly it was indeed to the Great Gary at Judgement Day 2006. Before that it was to Kurt Angle at No Way Out 2006. Before that it was to Brock Lesnar in a Hell in the Cell match at No Mercy 2002, which of course followed the double DQ main event at Unforgiven the month before that pissed off so many people. He was actually pinned cleanly by Test in an eight-man tag match on Raw on the 12th August 2002. It was in the middle of the turgid Un-Americans angle and saw Taker, Rock, Booker and Goldust taking on the Hs, Test, Christian and Lance Storm. He was pinned by The Rock in a handicap match on the 28th August 1999 on Raw, which saw him and Kane lose to Rock, Mankind and Shamrock. Steve Austin pinned him in the main event of SummerSlam 1998. Kane pinned him on the 10th August 1998 edition of Raw to win the tag team titles for himself and Mankind in a four-team match also involving Taker/Austin, Owen/Rock and the Outlaws. That’s all I could find.

Next…

Meesah Matt Reed keeps me busy:

“I was playing WWF No Mercy, and I got to thinking…

It’s time for another great game of “Where the Hell Are They Now?”

Our contestants today:

Brian “Grandmaster Sexay” Christopher

Steven Richards (And the rest of Right To Censor, for that matter.
Especially Godfather.)

Christian (Unless he really is TNA’s Christian Cage, and if that’s the
case…I miss the badass Opera/Metal theme WWF gave him.)

Steve Blackman

Prince Albert

Perry Saturn

Essa Rios

Ken Shamrock (In fact, why did he quit MMA for Pro Wrestling in the first
place?)

Doink (Not that I wanna see him again or anything)

Scott Hall

Diamond Dallas Paige

Bill Goldberg

I’ve got more, but you probably don’t want to answer them all in one
collumn.

Also, who were those punks they fed to MVP for three weeks straight? Indie
Wrestlers? Guys from OVW?

One more question…

What in the HELL were they thinking trying to turn Viscera into Mark Henry
for that last push?”

Good ol’ WWF No Mercy. The general consensus among those in the know is that it was the best wrestling video game the company ever lent its name to – and not just because it had Essa Rios on the roster. Personally speaking, the Smackdown series always seemed more enjoyable due to being on a console that didn’t require you to re-enact the artificial insemination of an octopus whilst trying to use the controller. Thankfully, after the similarly scarring GameCube controller, Nintendo have managed to dumb things down considerably with the Wii. The result? They get their most popular console in two decades. Hey, the more people remember that playability is far more important than pixel count the better we’ll all be.

But I’d better not waste anymore time, we’ve plenty of people to check up on

Brian Christopher – His last stint with WWE was in 2004 and lasted less than a month. Jim Ross had re-signed him as a favour to Jerry Lawler in his last act as head of talent relations and, a couple of Raw squashes later, he was canned for turning up shit-canned at shows. He’s still wrestling on the indie circuit, most notably Memphis Wrestling (quelle surprise) and NWA Mid-South. Somewhat depressingly, this included teaming with Rikishi to feud with Too Cool II. What’s next, a Bushwhackers tribute tour?

Steven Richards – He is still, somehow, employed by WWE. His only TV appearances this year have been two defeats at the hands of C.M. Punk, one on the 27th February ECW show, the other on the 3rd April. It’s quite ridiculous. There are so many potential ways in which they could use Richards effectively it would be impossible to list them all here. He’s got more to offer than three-quarters of the ECW ‘roster’ but remains constantly overlooked. Pity.

Christian – Rumour has it that he remembered his surname, got a new belt, and will soon be headlining a show in a big match involving a man who flips, a man who makes Dolph Lundgren seem like a competent entertainer, Chris, a former supporting cast member of Sunday Night Heat, a psychotic junkie, a guy with moobs, a guy who runs into stuff (including plant pots), Steve and, with a flute up his nose, Jeff Jarrett. They are the new face of professional wrestling.

Steve Blackman – He retired due to neck problems in 2002. Since then he has opened up a training school for self-defence and MMA in Harrisburg, PA, which you can check out here. Slightly more unusually, he and Ken Shamrock have started their own clothing line. It’s for professional fighting outfits so, sadly, we are unlikely to see Steve hanging around at a soiree, looking shifty, lingering his kendo stick in the direction of Kate Moss. Rumour has it he is also considering getting Angle-style neck surgery to return to the ring. Dude why? Of far more interest is the rumour that he might provide the voice of Skeletor in the upcoming He-Man movie, which, curiously enough, is also slated to include Al Snow as Man-at-Arms. HEAD CHEESE AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE!!!! LOL! KENNEDY!!! (9)

Prince Albert – WWE released him in 2004 and he began working for AJPW under the moniker of Giant Bernard, which still sounds remarkably sensible compared to “A-Train”. He joined NJPW in 2005 and has been rather successful, winning the New Japan Cup, fighting Brock Lesnar for the IWGP title, reaching the final of a tournament for the vacant and aforementioned belt, and currently holds the IWGP tag belts alongside our dear friend Travis Tomko. Bernard & Travis in Bernard and Travis Hit the Road, coming soon to an imagination near you…

Perry Saturn – In 2004, whilst driving his girlfriend to work, he heard a commotion at the car next to them and saw two men trying to rape a woman. He broke it up and was shot three times in the neck from a .25 calibre handgun for his troubles, suffering severe vertebrae damage. Apparently he didn’t even realise it at the time and just thought the pain in his neck was from a punch. He had a steel plate and screws put into his neck and returned to wrestling five months later. Sadly, he never made a full recovery and is only very occasionally able to wrestle on indie shows now. He had been due to compete at the Hardcore Homecoming event but was forced to pull out at the last minute because of the pain.

Essa Rios – My friend and yours, Mr Aguila, spent most of his time working in Mexico after leaving WWE in 2001. He made a brief return to the USA for TNA as part of Team AAA during the 2004 X Cup but joined CMLL in 2005. He is currently a member of their major heel stable Los Perros del Mal, the “Dogs of Evil”, led by Perro Aguayo Jr.

Ken Shamrock – The most confused-looking dangerous man in the world is going to be coaching the Nevada Lions group for the International Fight League next year. He left UFC after Tito Ortiz beat him for the third and final time last October but he has yet to make any official decision about fighting again. In truth, he quit pro-wrestling for MMA as he was originally trained as a wrestler, making his debut in 1990 and touring with the UWF in Japan. There, he came under the tutelage of Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki, who founded the MMA group Pancrase, which he promptly joined. From there he returned to the USA to work for the fledgling UFC until Vince McMahon came along with a rather tempting $3 million contract to join the WWF in 1997. His stint there has been largely forgotten but in retrospect he played a pivotal role in establishing Steve Austin and turning Bret Hart heel. The fans at WrestleMania 13 did not truly turn on Bret until Shamrock challenged him and Bret chickened out. Even when Bret was beating the unconscious Austin after the match had ended there was a sizeable portion of the crowd either cheering or refusing to boo him. It took the presence of a legitimate fighter like Shamrock to finalise Bret’s fall from heroic grace. Of course, this was all vastly overshadowed by Mike Tyson the following year, yet it is still worth noting.

Doink – Doink never dies, only the actor who plays him.

Scott Hall – He got fat:

As for what else he’s up to, well, nobody really seems to know. His plan was supposedly to drop weight and work some indie shows on the back of the WWE Legends deal he signed but, as Sean Waltman put it in February – “I would call Scott if I knew where he was; he keeps changing his number. The guy’s seriously MIA, he’s probably drunk somewhere I’m worried about him.”

DDP – He hasn’t bothered wrestling much since leaving TNA a couple of years ago. Perhaps his most high-profile appearance was defeated his life-mate Chris Kanyon at the Legends PPV where Kanyon outed himself. Far more people paid attention to the lawsuit he filed against Jay-Z, claiming that he invented the Diamond Cutter hand gesture first. This kind of case hinges on people potentially being unable to distinguish between the performers using the symbol. Clearly, the stupid would struggle to figure out whether or not they were watching an internationally renowned rapper or a wrestler who no longer wrestles. The rest of us should be fine. Additionally, he is pursuing a low-budget acting career of such little significance that all involved should be dismissed by society. One of these films, Knight Fever, also stars Al Snow and Jacqueline Moore (and the wonderfully monikered Ahmed Ahmed). Another, Horrorween (yeah, I know) also stars Candice Michelle. People find the money for this but not for a live-action Thundercats flick? Terrible. Other than that he seems to be peddling yoga wares on his website and sleeping with his wife.

Goldberg – He is duty bound to mention ‘possibly turning up at a wrestling show’ and ‘maybe going to TNA’ in every single interview he does nowadays. For now, he hosts the road rally ‘reality TV’ series Bullrun on Spike TV.

As for Montel’s three jobbers, I assume you mean El Gran Latte, Liechtenstein Heavyweight Champion Cedrick Von Haussen and Ethiopian Heavyweight Champion Viko Vatamongo. Vatamongo was of course the former D-Ray 3000 in TNA. I miss his team with Shark Boy and long for the duo to get that dream match against Funaki & Scotty 2 Hotty. I can’t find any information about the other two, who were most likely just local jobbers brought in on the cheap for a one-off. The El Gran Latte character is thought to have been a cheap shot at Mistico after he pissed off management in their prolonged contract negotiations. I’m not really sure I get the joke but then my sense of humour can’t work main event style.

Viscera has one of the weirder character arcs in WWE. He’s gone from a shellsuit lovin’ rap fan to a lazy fat guy being carried around in his chair to a McMahon bodyguard to a would-be goth to Barry White to generic chubby bloke. As with most character changes to undercard WWE workers there was little reason for him becoming the World’s Largest Love Machine. Judging by the expression on his face whilst dancing with the hos and suchlike, it seems safe to assume that the character was based on fond memories of staff night outs gone by. It’s a scary thought, don’t dwell on it.

Next…

Keep the questions coming.

Until then…

Eric keeps his Short Form thing going. The latest one includes a diatribe against Cena and his cuddly finishers, which should amuse you all. The fact WWE still needs to develop someone they have decided to build their company around certainly charms the piss out of me. If I stop to consider that a Cena heel turn would likely lead to the current hate-filled fans cheering him, I’d surely need to change my pants.

Aaron modestly responds to AIM, ROH, WrestleMania, the Pulse Wrestling staff, and has more on John Cena. Appreciate the info on the Dragon Gate specifics.

Keith is still trying to pull a Sam Tyler and take refuge in the past, reviewing Nitro and Raw from the Monday Night Wars. He’s currently in December 1996, when Disco Inferno faced Glacier and Goldust clashed with Jerry Lawler. And things have gotten worse??

Allen takes a look at the Undertaker’s previous world title reigns. Bearing in mind that his current one is slated to last several months, at least, he might even manage to finally have a reign that doesn’t suck the altogether out of everything.

Big Andy pays homage to Colt Cabana. What’s the big deal? He’ll be back in ROH by 2008 anyway.

Steve Murray does his chirpy thing and includes the following music video, which I will nick for this column by virtue of it ruling the world:

Danny predicts the Backlash card and probably does a rather accurate job of it, though I doubt we’ll ever get both tag belts defended on a PPV again.

Brashear reflects on the turbulent history of the NWA World Heavyweight Title. The lineage is certainly impressive but why people should still care about it I do not know.

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