I’ve read so many books in the past week that my brain is now finding it hard to come to terms with text. It takes a minute for it to remember that I’m meant to be adding the words to this column, not just reading them. Thankfully, it has yet to forget that PWA is about wrestling and not things like the Company of Scotland’s Darien scheme, the franchise extensions of nineteenth century Britain or the end of Lend Lease, so you shall all be spared the six-feet-deep details of such matters. However, here’s my favourite line from one of the more relevant books from the reading pile:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂYeah,Ã¢â‚¬Â Steph added, “How do we explain a Smackdown talent suddenly showing on Raw for no apparent reason?Ã¢â‚¬Â
The book was of course Mick Foley’s Hardcore Diaries. I was going to throw in a cheap plug to try and stay in the spirit of the thing but apparently Amazon UK are out of stock already. That’s rather appropriate since it might save some of you from spending your money on a book sorely lacking in point. Have a Nice Day was something of a revelation, a genuine autobiography from a wrestler with an engaging writing style and good sense of humour. Foley is Good was padded out to be more of the same but rescued by framing it around comparisons between wrestling and the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœreal world’ and the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœreal media’. Hardcore Diaries has no framework, no new insights, and no cohesion. It is just a rambling and jumbled assortment of anecdotes about how great Foley is (fluffed with overbearing self-deprecation), how wonderful all the famous people Foley has met are (but he’s not insecure at all, no, no way, not Mick), how hot Melina and the other Divas are (with obligatory and somewhat begrudging references to his wife), and all the wonderful charity work that Foley has deigned to carry out. Well, yes, it is wonderful that he does a lot of charity work but reading about it for one-third of the book gets a bit too Bono after a while. No doubt you’ve heard how Ã¢â‚¬Ëœscathing’ this book was meant to be about Vince McMahon and WWE’s writing staff. Trust me, it isn’t, not unless you consider Vince giving more attention to the DX reunion than Foley’s One Night Stand involvement to be a major revelation. If anything, the book makes Foley come across poorly. He’s the guy contracted to just two PPVs a year who starts getting bitter about not getting enough attention from management at a time when management was concerned with a storyline involving two full-time wrestlers that would generate huge merchandise sales. He’s the guy who convinces himself that him teaming up with Edge to face Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer was the selling point for One Night Stand ’06, when it was always a distant second behind Rob Van Dam challenging John Cena to a title match at Hammerstein. He’s the married man showing an inordinate amount of affectionate attention to a younger woman even when, by his own admission, it made his wife unhappy and also jeopardised Melina’s relationship with Johnny Nitro. He’s the guy who rejected the original idea for the book – a collection of his WWE.com blog entries – but instead churned out a collection of diary entries that offered little difference in style.
Oh, and the Ric Flair stuff is glossed over rather quickly in the final fifty pages or so, with none of the insight into the infamous in-flight conversation that cleared the air between them, so don’t buy the book if you were mainly interested in that. In fact, the only people who should buy it are those who enjoyed his previous releases and were foolish enough to expect a decent read third time around, like me, or any poor souls out there who are completely obsessive about Foley and really can’t live without knowing his thoughts on Paul Wolfowitz. Personally, it will take a hell of a lot to get me to buy the next Foley book. And I even own Scooter.
But back to that quote. It is of course by Mrs Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and has unintentional humour brimming over the edge. Things happening for no apparent reason in WWE? The brand extension being made into a mockery? Gosh, never thought that could happen. Hell, in the past week alone we have had:
– Shane McMahon turns up to take charge of Raw for a change, since that show was promised a new General Manager over a year ago but has yet to implode without one (and the same goes for ECW), which makes a mockery out of any angle involving Teddy Long on Smackdown.
– Shane’s main goal was to beat the crap out of the ECW Champion. Except not on ECW.
– The GM spot winds up going to Cancer Kid for the night. Fine. So does that mean Raw should have a GM after all? Confusion
– Cade & Murdoch become #1 contenders for the tag belts, despite Cryme Tyme holding that spot from months ago and never getting their shot.
– Shawn Michaels drops the DX tights and the DX music without any attempt at an explanation for the change.
– Michaels pins Randy Orton and the decision is a double-pin. How the hell does that even happen?
– Matt Hardy is still on Raw and holding one-half of a Raw championship, despite ostensibly being a Smackdown wrestler.
– Michaels and Orton’s match was over the #1 contender spot, but Edge got given a title shot just by asking The Coach, who is supposedly an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœadvisor’ to the McMahons, yet one of the McMahons was in the building, yet Cancer Kid was charged with running the show. My head hurts.
– Lashley defeats Shane to retain his title in a title vs. hair match but Shane keeps his hair. Wheeee
– Vince McMahon is smart enough to remember to turn up at ECW to confront the ECW Champion, unlike his son was.
– Two non-wrestlers and a Raw guy get to challenge for the ECW title at the PPV. Nice.
– RVD wants CM Punk to join the ECW Originals despite him having had absolutely no sodding contact with the original ECW. And let’s not forget the whole Straight Edge thing
– Teddy Long gets to book a Smackdown title match for Backlash. Would that not be up to the McMahons now then? Or does someone need a terminal condition to book PPV matches – either cancer, like Pena, or supreme stupidity, like Coach?
– Deuce and Domino get a shot at the tag champions mere weeks after management reportedly came to the conclusion that they just weren’t good enough to stay out of the development leagues. Unless they are really fast learners, this makes no sense.
– Mark Henry gets another push and is still employed. And fat. Let’s not forget useless either.
Sheesh. That’s a lot of No Apparent Reasons for this week, let’s get on with things…
First up, it’s the
Pulse Wrestling Staff Roundtable Results for TNA Lockdown ’07
Ã¢â‚¬ÂDDP hasn’t been sleeping with his wife for some time, as she’s not his wife anymore. From Wikipedia, sir:
On July 3, 2004, Page announced that he and Kimberly had amicably separated. Kimberly and DDP officially divorced late in 2005.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wikipedia is a HOUSE OF CARDS THAT LIE but it is correct in this instance, they did indeed divorce in 2005. Yet another couple of victims of the wrestling business blurring with their real lives. After all:
What do you say to your wife after including such tomfoolery in your job description? Ask her about her favourite Bobby Lashley matches?
Now, allow me to re-enact a Bobby Lashley match.
First, the crowd reacts to Bobby Cosby’s entrance:
Then, we experience the joy of the match itself:
But wait! It’s a run-in by John Cena!
There’s only one way to save the show now:
And from this day forth the ECW crisis was resolved. Let the word go forth.
A non-prize to whoever knows the white guy.
To the Q&A at good long last
Our famed forum former, Kurtis R. Osterlund, has more on the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdebut title match victories’ front:
“Hey there former Bob Backlund, James Hatton, Grant Morrison and whatever else I may be forgetting. I thought of another person to add to your list of corrections. Perry Saturn won the TV title from Disco Inferno in his WCW debut back in 1997. I’m sure there are some other people out there I haven’t thought of, but I’ll leave that to other people.“
Actually, Saturn defeated Chavo Guerrero on WCW Saturday Night on the 1st November 1997 – two days before he won the TV title on Nitro. I know Saturday Night just barely scrapes into the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœit only counts if it’s on TV’ front, since it’s only on TV if people actually watch it, but there ya go. Close but no cigar.
Matt Reed returns with a follow-up and assorted extras:
“You forgot to tell me about Bull Buchanan and Godfather’s careers last week. I’ll chalk it up to a simple misreading, and ask you straight up this time.
Also, how would you feel about a reformation of the Nation of Domination?
With Ron Simmons as Manager, Mark Henry, Shelton Benjamin, Cryme Tyme, and
And anyone you can think of that would be better, of course.
Oh, and concerning No Mercy’s controls…
You really didn’t use the stick for anything but taunts, and the Z button
didn’t do anything, so you could basically hold the controller like the SNES
controller, and have no problems…unless you have tiny hands or something.
I personally have huge ass bear hands, so it was never a problem for me.
TNA tonight reminded me: What the hell is the REAL Randy Savage up to? He’s obviously cool with this, otherwise TNA would have been sued into oblivion by now.”
Sorry about missing a couple from last week’s list, they slipped right out of sight:
Bull Buchanan – After the splendour of B-2 failed to right the world’s wrongs in WWE, he joined AJPW in 2003. Billed simply as Buchanan, he joined a stable alongside D-Lo Brown, Taka Michinoku and Taiyo Kea that called itself ROAD (Roughly Obsess & Destroy… I love splendid Japanenglish). They were forced to disband after losing to another group called the Voodoo Murders (VDM) after Buchanan and D-Lo turned on ROAD to join their enemies. So, basically, it sounds like he’s having loads of fun.
The Godfather – Last used regularly by WWE in 2002, the respected businessman Charles Wright declined an offer to tour with the short-lived WWA group and instead became General Manager of the respected business Cheetahs. Here’s hoping it got easier for him.
I’d be all for a new Nation of Domination since I loved the original incarnation of the group but, let’s face it, WWE will never bother with it again. Groups that left an indelible impression on the fans, like DX or the Horsemen, can be resurrected quite easily. I can’t imagine many fans being non-nonplussed about NOD nowadays, while those who started watching this decade would find it all rather vague. Imagine how it could be explained to them – “Well, you know The Rock, right? Well, he used to hang out with these other guys before people really liked him – and those guys were REALLY black except for Owen Anyway, they had kinda lost their identity by then but when Faarooq was in charge they were militant and sorta racially motivated. Kinda modelled on the Black Panthers, but in the original incarnation there was a white guy and a Hispanic guy, only they left to start their own gangs. Oh, and two weedy white rappers. And a black lawyer. And it was all to get at Ahmed Johnson. Who’s Ahmed Johnson? Ah, crap Ã¢â‚¬Â
See? Besides, if the writers gave Lashley a stable they’d want it to be one of their ideas so they get the credit for it. That line-up would certainly work well though. Just add Charlie Haas as Owen.
I am contractually obligated to include a clip of what most people first remember when they think about the Nation:
I’m sure most people could handle the N64 controller without any difficulty but I’m very much a simpleton when it comes to video games. Tetris, Minesweeper, Treasure Island Dizzy, Space Invaders, Championship Manager all the classics. 2-D 4LIFE KENNEDY BANK KENNEDY LOLS
And let’s look at:
Randy Savage – After his brief cup of coffee with TNA, he injured his back in a training session with some of Harley Race’s WLW students in early 2005 and stopped taking bookings for any other indy shows. In December he appeared at a children’s Christmas show in Tampa and sang “T’was the Night Before ChristmasÃ¢â‚¬Â looking like this:
And telling the kids to stay strong and be leaders or he’d come back and beat them up. Rumour has it that he looks even more different now as he has shaved the beard off altogether. I guess we’ll find out soon enough as he is coming out of seclusion to be in the next series of The Surreal Life, which puts him right up there with such luminaries as Chyna and Maven.
Gerry Lawrence Stumbaugh:
“Hey Ian –
As usual, I’m really enjoying yr column. Here’s a puro question fpr ya –
I recently came across a recent Pro Westling NOAH match featuring Ted Dibiase Jr. He seemed like a great worker to me, but I can’t find any bio information about him on either the US NOAH site or anywhere else. Can you tell me anything about him and if there are any chances he might come to the US at some point?
Thanks! Keep up the great writing.”
Yup, Ted Dibiase Jr is indeed the son of the Million Dollar Man himself. He and his brother Mike Dibiase made their pro-wrestling debuts last year as a tag team. Here’s the happy family:
Teddy Jr is the one in the middle bearing a strange resemblance to Bryan Danielson. They were training at Harley Race’s academy (yup, the same one Savage hurt himself at), picking up tips from Trevor Murdoch, Ace Steel, Rick Steiner and Kenta, among others (including, presumably, his father). The academy does have a talent exchange deal with NOAH so no doubt Dibiase Jr wound up appearing on some of their cards that way. The brothers have also appeared at IPW in New Zealand and IZW in Arizona, which might be nearer to home for you. Keep an eye on Dibiase Sr’s schedule for upcoming wrestling shows.
Assuming neither of them leaves the industry I’m sure WWE will nab them before too long. Their father was let go from his agent duties for being Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtoo honest’ but that’s nowhere near a wicked enough sin for the company to pass up the opportunity to sign two young third-generation wrestlers, particularly brothers and especially talented ones, which it is safe to think these guys could become. Despite his fondness for rewriting history Vince still has a fascination with wrestling lineages so long as they pose no direct threat to his interpretation of events. That’s why WWE has always made such a big deal out of the wrestling family backgrounds of guys like The Rock, Orton and Carlito and is already planning big things for Harry Smith and Cody Rhodes. Plus, they still have the original Million Dollar Belt locked away in Titan Towers
Aaron Sirois is a Big Red question Machine:
“Some questions for you Iain,
Where is Paul Birchill? Are they holding off bringing him back until Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest?
Do you know of any plans to reform La Resistnace on Smackdown?
And why are they just coming out with a Sylvester Terkay figure?”
It’s doubtful Burchill’s status has anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean since somehow one of the most phenomenally successful movie franchises of the decade has completely passed by Vince McMahon. The reason they scrapped the gimmick was because, having not seen the movies, Vince didn’t get why the character was acting the way he did rather than like Jean-Pierre Lafitte. So, after recovering from knee surgery, it was straight back to OVW for our dear Johnny Depp impersonator, which was probably rather fortunate. We all know that he’ll most likely never get a big push on the merits of his talent instead of a flavour-of-the-month comedy routine, but it’s nice to hold out hope for the lad. There’s always a chance he could get brought back to the main roster and given time to shine under his handle as The Ripper. Then again, the curse of glowing online praise from JR’s Ross Report may strike again:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂFrom what I have seen out of OVW, Paul Burchill is still improving and has the chance to be a fine talent much sooner than later. UK’s Burchill has a nice skill set and his continued maturation mentally is the key for him as it is any young talent. I definitely think Burchill is a keeper. (I hope I just didn’t jinx him!)Ã¢â‚¬Â
I would’ve thought a Paul Burchill vs. Harry Smith feud is a no-brainer for the years to come.
Oh, and for those of you who missed it, before she was Ariel on ECW the busty Shelley Martinez accompanied Burchill to the ring as Buxom Wench Shelley in a Velocity match against Road Warrior Animal.
And I just have to include the C-4:
I seem to have spent an awful lot of time discussing Burchill. Also, I got to type the word “buxomÃ¢â‚¬Â. I enjoyed it.
As for La Resistance, I don’t think even WWE knows of any concrete plans for their future. Who the members might be, what show they might be on, whether anybody gives a shit its all rather confusing. They would have been on ECW as Dupree/Grenier had Dupree not gotten suspended again. They might still wind up their in some capacity to help get the upcoming ECW Tag Team Titles up and running, assuming Dusty Rhodes gets his way and the belts do make it onto TV, but that might involve Conway/Grenier instead. That combination wrestled a dark match at the Smackdown tapings last week and lost to Jamie Noble and OVW starlet Kofi Kingston, which doesn’t bode well for their future either. There have been a lot of mixed signals from WWE management to various tag teams in recent times. Stevens & Idol were due a big push but got sent back to OVW. Deuce & Domino were due to be sent back to OVW but now it seems like they might get the title run they were originally slated for. Vince flip-flopped over keeping MNM together for months before finally letting Mercury go, while the Hardys reunion was very reluctantly made into anything permanent. Haas & Benjamin were kept apart for ages after Charlie came back to WWE, and then jobbed out completely after the reunion. Dusty Rhodes still hasn’t given up on Cade & Murdoch despite nobody else giving a damn, while the McMahons were only concerned with embarrassing the Spirit Squad. Meanwhile, London/Kendrick get even less attention to their lengthy tag title reign than Helms did for the duration of his run with the CW strap. It’s all a bit wank, really.
And I believe a more appropriate question would be “Who the smeg is Sylvester Terkay?Ã¢â‚¬Â to which my answer would be “The Black ScorpionÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Kevin Sunday had a rug that really tied the room together:
“So, I understand that, due to declining ppv buyrates, we’re going to be seeing a lot more cross-brand promotion on the used-to-be one brand only pay-per-views. But I what I don’t understand is, how an 8 year old is going to pop a buyrate for the first pay per view after Wrestlemania (8 year olds, dude . . . ). C’mon.
And in the event that it does, any word that Vince will indeed implement a new Juniors Division, this time being 20 and under competitors, just like in hockey?
Anyway, the ludicriousness of Monday Night Raw’s main event led me to one question: When Shane McMahon made his first formal entrance into the squared circle against Mick Foley in 1998, did he have any training before or after? Jumping across the ring to perform a Van Terminator isn’t the easiest thing to do.”
Backlash has always tended to confuse me, particularly in recent years, since the method behind the madness seems to be little more than getting people to pay for an inferior rerun of WrestleMania. The old adage of Mania marking the end of the WWE Ã¢â‚¬Ëœseason’ is no longer sustainable due to the number of shows and business interests they have, yet I would still prefer them to break the monotony somehow. Have one Ã¢â‚¬Ëœseason’ that goes from the post-Mania Raw through to the first Raw of the new TV season, then another running from then to Mania. Twist matters by adding different Ã¢â‚¬Ëœseasons’ for Smackdown and ECW if necessary. Plan out one or two major storylines for each block and have certain goals to accomplish by the end of each period. One of the many problems they have in hiring Hollywood scriptwriters is that stories need structure to be truly effective and at the moment there is absolutely none.
None of that has anything to do with 8 year olds. I dread to think what WCW might have done with Michael Pena. “He challenges Jarrett for the title and JJ gets the figure 4 on him but he won’t quit cos he’s gonna die young anyway so he don’t care Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbout the pain, so JJ freaks out and slaps his nuts wit a guitar but the belt changes hands from the DQ even though it’s a no-DQ stip! SWERVE!Ã¢â‚¬Â Yeah, cheers Vic.
Shane McMahon did of course have some training. Vince certainly wouldn’t let his untrained son go out there and try to have a match or any type of physical altercation on TV – not necessarily because it would be dangerous but certainly because it might make the McMahon name look bad. Shane has literally been involved in the business all his life and, growing up with hundreds of wrestlers hanging out at shows, had no doubt absorbed most of the basics before he even left university. When it was decided that he was to get involved in the on-screen antics of his father he started paying even more attention to those who were willing to instruct him. These included old timers already close to the family, like Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco and Tom Pritchard, as well as friends that Shane made within the business, like Paul Wight, Steve Blackman and the Hs, not to mention those with nothing better to do, like Stevie Richards. He’s never had any formal training at a dojo or anything like that and, for the little wrestling that he does, he’s never needed to attend one. Hell, he’s Shane McMahon, dammit! Anything he ever wanted to know, any move he ever wanted to try, he’s only got to go and ask any wrestler or agent and they have little choice but to teach him.
Mr Brashear has the same from Mexico, and cream to treat it with
Mr Wheeler considers a second hour of TNA Impact and comes to a conclusion very similar to mine. But Andy, really, Lost has far from run out of ideas. Have faith, man. Each one of us was brought there for a reason
Mr Blatt continues to make ECW more enjoyable than WWE. Also, italics are EXTREME
Mr Murray keeps it on the bright side. Steve’s picks of current WWE wrestlers bound for the Hall of Fame are spot on but he missed Duggan, Benoit, Mysterio, Booker, Regal, Kane and Holly…
Mr Allen looks back over Tough Enough and kicks it all off with one of my favourite quotes
Mr Glazer really, really hates ROH. Seriously, he can’t stand it. The love is all just a big ruse. He’s bringing them down from the inside on the outside. They’ll never see it coming.