Greetings everyone. Welcome back to your weekly installment of the Internet Wrestling Community’s only happy place, A Look on the Bright Side.
I had a whole introduction ready on the fact that we’ll be seeing the end of the storyline arcs of Tony Soprano and Harry Potter within the next 4 months. But, then something popped up to make that seem even more trivial than it was originally.
The big news of the week is, of course, the Virginia Tech shooting. Or at least, that’s the biggest news currently being reported. I don’t want to trivialize anyone’s loss, but it should be pointed out that 178 people died today from bombings in Baghdad. When is the President going to fly over there and speak to their families? Every single day in Baghdad for the last four years was like Monday in Blacksburg. Will this be pointed out by any mainstream media, or (heaven forbid) Fox News? Of course not.
But honestly, I’m not going to go on a political diatribe here. What I want to address is the fact that the shooter in this tragedy was a seriously mentally disturbed individual, who was obviously not getting the help that he needed. Eric is occasionally somewhat flippant on the various medications he takes – but at least he’s gone looking for those medications, and more importantly, for the help that he recognizes he does need. Medications like Prozac and other anti-depressants have become somewhat of a cliche – but there is no denying the fact that these medications help people live a normal life when they otherwise couldn’t. (Full disclosure: my wife is on Zoloft, and has been since the birth of our second child. And believe me, I can tell the difference on days when she remembers to take it, and days when she doesn’t.)
Now, my main concern here is you – the audience. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to hypothesize that the audience of a pro wrestling web site is going to be significantly “geekier” than the general population. Most of you have probably been picked on at some time; most of you have probably felt rage against the privileged of the world; quite a few of you have probably entertained thoughts of suicide, or (god forbid) murder against what you perceive as your “enemy”. And if you haven’t, I’m willing to bet you know someone who has – or at least, someone who you’re pretty sure has at one point in time.
(Further full disclosure: I was a geek in high school. I am 37 years old now, but I still have very clear memories of what it was like to be 17, 19, 22 years old. And up until I was about 19, my life was hell. Now, I wasn’t the brunt of massive torture or anything – but I certainly did not enjoy my high school years. I was in the marching band and the drama club – but I just balanced that out by also being on the soccer, wrestling and track teams. But believe me – I am familiar with the concept that you are indeed all alone in the universe. I know what suicidal tendencies feel like, and I know what it’s like to entertain fantasies of blowing away half of your high school class with a shotgun.)
I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: if you fall into that category: SEEK HELP. If you know someone that you are sure falls into that category: HELP THEM. Too often, we are the last to perceive these issues in ourselves, or we ignore obvious red flags in those we know. Believe me, it is not a sign of weakness to admit that you need help. Everyone has their issues, and obviously some are more serious than others: the chances of any single person turning into a mass murderer are, of course, very small. But – that chance is there. And if what happened on Monday in Blacksburg could have been avoided but for the lack of effort on those in a position to help: that is the true tragedy.
Now, onto much lighter matters….
The WWE Hall of Fame
Got quite a bit of feedback about this one, including Aaron’s most recent column, Iain’s Answers,, and reader Greg Smith in email. Now, realize that I was only talking about “absolute locks” – as in, wrestlers that literally could not do anything between now and their induction date to disqualify them (outside of obvious issues, like killing somebody).
Between them, here were the nominees:
The Rock: Yes, I absolutely should have included him. That was totally my bad. Absolute lock.
Mick Foley: Yup, him too. Absolute lock.
Chris Benoit: He was named more often than anyone else. My personal bias is that he sucks on the mic, and he’s only held one world title: though it came though one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Probable
Rey Mysterio: Incredible heat, sells merchandise like crazy, brought in the Latino market mostly by himself. Probable.
Booker T: Depends entirely on how much the WWE values a wrestler’s time in WCW, *when he comes up for eligibility*. Depending upon Vince’s whims, he goes from “absolute lock”, to “questionable”.
William Regal: I’m not seeing this one. Most of this strongest matches were in WCW or other organizations. He’s never distinguished himself – IN WWE – that I’m aware of. Possible.
Kane: He was the monster of the organization for a long time – if you pissed off the GM, this is who you faced. (Now, it’s Umaga.) Plus, got to the be the World Champ. So, I have to agree he’ll most likely make it – at least out of loyalty. Probable.
Duggan (from Iain): never sniffed a world title, and barely held any of the secondary titles. Plus, he was truly horrendous in the ring. But, the marks did pop for him. Maybe.
JBL: if induction into the hall was measured by achievement rather than company loyalty, he’d never get in. Sadly enough, he probably will be rewarded by Vince. Reluctant probable.
Holly: see above, but even more so. Reluctant maybe.
Edge: If he keeps up his current pace, yes. Probable, with a caveat.
YouTube Video of the Week
Well, this made me laugh.
Around the Pulse
Eric responds to my questions about wrestlers’ names from the last column. And I suppose I understand most of his reasoning – but making a blank statement of “I hate stupid names”, and then using “Michelle McCool” just a few paragraphs later? And really, I wasn’t as concerned with him using whatever names he likes, as much as him calling out other writers on the site because of names they choose to use – especially when those writers are using the current names That seems a bit, shall we say, presumptuous.
Big Andy Mac gives us an RoH update.
Brashear delivers another excellent “Great-ing Gimmicks” column. Honestly, I don’t even know how he pulls off this column – does he have every single episode of Raw and Nitro ever made sitting in a massive tape library?
Andy argues against the concept of cross-brand PPVs. I hear what he’s saying – but it’s tough to argue against a card like Backlash, with 5 championship matches already announced.
And for something completely different: you know, when you Google yourself (in an attempt to find out who referenced the Hall of Fame stuff – not just cuz I’m an egotistical prick, of course), you find the strangest things
The Week That Was
And now, we get to the meat of the column. The idea is fairly simple: I point out (at least) 5 things from each major show that should be getting more attention, but aren’t. (And occasionally, I just point out some absurdity just to tweak the rest of the IWC.) There’s way too much negativity infused into columnists who write about pro wrestling: this is just my little attempt to balance it out a bit.
Love the concept? Hate it? Think I missed something important from last week? See something this week that you think should be here? Email me by Tuesday evening.
And be sure to take part in the Insidepulse Forum for A Look on the Bright Side thread too.
Monday Night Raw
1. Soccer chants = awesome. Seriously, the Italian crowd kicked ass. One day, the WWE will grow enough balls to hold a Raw (or, god forbid, a PPV) somewhere in Scotland. And then, you shall learn what a crowd can do, eh?
2. I don’t care that it took outside interference from Bobby Lashley – I marked out like a 12-year-old for Santino’s victory.
3. The microphone setup is TERRIBLE this week. I’m hearing every footstep on the canvas, but absolutely nothing from the crowd (and no, that’s not due to lack of audience participation: I can hear them in the background, but they should be front and center in the foreground).
4. Honestly, I love every exchange between Maria and Cena. For multiple reasons: a) Maria always looks hot, so just seeing her on the screen puts a smile on my face; b) Cena really does a great job with the “You’re really stupid, but also really hot, so I’ll be nice” attitude, c) Maria never changes from her “You’re the champ – I love you!” expression. That’s some dedication to the craft right there.
5. HBK shows up in the midst of Cena’s promo – nice. But, had anyone announced Cena vs. HBK for next week yet? Oops.
6. And the fashion show confirms for us that a) Micki James does indeed have a hot, tight little ass, b) Maria’s outfit (and more importantly, hair) might be the first time a Diva showed up on screen, and I actually froze in place with my mouth slightly open, c) it takes some effort to make Torrie look unattractive – they accomplished that. (Wait – she won? WTF?)
7. Okay, so here’s the deal: when a guy like MVP has a great match against Benoit, it’s because Benoit is so great at making his opponent look great, and has nothing to do whatsoever with the lame-ass ability of whoever his opponent might be. But, when Jeff Hardy has a good match against Lance Cade, who hasn’t had a single great match in WWE before now… yeah, ignore all of that reasoning. It’s just simpler this way, right? (And hey – exactly when did he become “Lance” again? Wasn’t he Garrison for the last year or so?)
8. One thing I am really pissed off about concerning my hiatus that started in October: I missed the entire run of Rated RKO. The other thing I’m pissed off about: Orton never took advantage of the opportunity he had in that storyline, and never grew as a character, or as a wrestler. How in the hell can you be involved in an angle with HHH, HBK, and Edge – and not progress even one inch?
ECW on Sci Fi
1. I’m with Rob Blatt on this CM Punk/New Breed/Originals storyline. It’s extremely early, but it looks like they’re going for a nice multi-layer angle that will keep people guessing for a while. Just pray they have the patience to do a slow-burn on it, instead of springing the big swerve on us next week.
2. I have no idea what Snitsky’s music is, but I’m digging it. The crushing bass at a slowly building tempo is perfect for his entrance.
3. That was a very nice veteran move by Tommy Dreamer in the finish of this match. They almost completely screwed up the sunset flip and the “grab the bottom rope” move, but Tommy did whatever was needed in order to pull off the spot.
4. Hey, anybody else notice that Scott Keith’s review of The Four Horsemen DVD ended with a conclusion that it could have been so much more… but he still rated it 9 out of 10? Umm… so how much more could it have been, really? A half point? A point? Was he planning on destroying the entire rating system with “This one goes to eleven”? Well, thanks Nigel.
5. Honestly, I love any wrestler, especially a new one, that knows how to take the “pick one body part and destroy it” strategy, and actually follow it through. So, Elijah Burke is quickly gaining almost as much love from me as he gets from Eric.
6. Alright, we’ll make it obvious: if CM Punk is not a plant inside the New Breed, then this is a totally wasted angle.
See ya next week, folks.
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE