VS. #12 – Sawitz vs. Burnside

Features, VS.

1. So now that we’ve seen the draft lottery, what roster was most improved by the moves that were made?

Iain Burnside: Raw, obviously. It’s a bit like asking “which letter comes first in the alphabet – A, B or C?” The peculiar thing is that the drafts made for the C-show have greater potential than those made for the B-show.

ECW lost Bobby Lashley but for the past few months he has been more of an irregular guest star than the champion anyway. The bulk of the would-be extreme spotlight long ago shifted onto Punk and Burke, and by proxy Cor Von, and their status is immediately upgraded by adding Chris Benoit to the mix. The most logical move would seem to be getting the title onto Benoit and slowly build to Punk getting consumed by jealousy and turning on the old codger. And if Benoit DOES become ECW Champion, I predict 64.8% of the internet will change their opinions of it and claim it’s a world title after all. In the freak show department they lost Snitsky and gained Boogeyman. Six on one hand, half a baker’s dozen on the other. At least Boogeyman has greater entertainment potential. Now that Little Boogeyman has gone, how about we get Boogeywoman into Extreme Expose? Smackdown, on the other hand, lost not just Benoit and Boogeyman but their King & Queen and fastest-rising young star. In return they got a giant who makes Mark Henry seem like a competent wrestler, some geezer who really shouldn’t even be wrestling anymore, some blonde woman and Chris Masters. Rey Mysterio will be back soon enough but how long can a feud between him and Edge be strung out for? Barring a miraculously quick recovery by The Undertaker, they’re still going to be hurting for main event feuds by Survivor Series. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Randy Orton ended up leaving Raw after all once he’s finished losing to the Hs. And with a bit of luck Ken Kennedy’s unresolved issues with Edge will be picked up on before WrestleMania, since that’s a logical title match to build towards.

So that’s one brand almost certainly still in need of change and another with potential to succeed with a low aim. Then there’s Raw, which can immediately shove Booker and Lashley into the main event scene at Vengeance, do more or less the same thing with Kennedy when he gets better, and has another freak that can easily be kept strong for whenever Cena needs another monster heel to slay. It’s all very straightforward and top-heavy, again underlying the problem of having three different rosters – it becomes nigh-on impossible for each to have a quality main event scene, a strong undercard and a decent batch of youngsters. But none of that matters because we’re only supposed to think about Vince McMahon.

Scott Sawitz: Well, anytime you have a draft lottery there are going to be winners and losers. And WWE programming always revolved around keeping Raw as it’s most populated show; it’s the original, it’s the flagship and it’s the only one that’s live. Ergo there will never be a mass talent exodus from the show to load up Smackdown or ECW. So Raw has improved the most.

And what the draft did was get rid of some of the dead weight from Raw for some of the better talent in the other two brands. Khali, having outlived his usefulness on top, is on Smackdown. Flair’s time has long since passed, and maybe going to Smackdown might give him a new life with some different talent. But Booker and Lashley give you a boost up top. Booker and Lashley give you some potential new blood for Cena to work with, which is never a bad thing. Snitsky gives you a monster to job to the man when you’re in a pinch for a 7 foot job boy.

Judge Blatt’s Ruling: Both men agree that RAW got the biggest boost from the draft lottery. I declare this one a tie, as both guys might as well have said the same thing. Good answers, both are awarded a point. Score is tied 1-1

2. What wrestler was given the biggest opportunity from the moves that were made in the draft?

Iain Burnside: Ken Kenny Kenneth Kennedy Kennedy hahahaha say it again, Kennedy, lol, didn’t see that coming Kennedy. There is no bigger opportunity than the promotion recognising your work and giving you a chance to shine on what they feel is their premiere stage. Hell, Kennedy’s arrival would have been the show finale had it not been for the Vince McMahon nonsense, which again raises the question of why they had to do the Draft Lottery and Mr McMahon Appreciation Night on the same show rather than spreading the ratings wealth. Hell, doing a draft in the wake of his ‘death’ to try and stabilise the chaos would have actually made sense in the storyline context. Better than Shane just turning up and announcing it. There is of course a fine difference between the opportunity afforded to him and that given to Lashley. Kennedy has just been handed a promotion, whereas in Lashley’s case it’s more like getting a new job title rather than truly breaking any new ground. Oh, and let’s not forget C.M. Punk, who may not have been drafted but still has a great opportunity ahead of him courtesy of now being allied with Chris Benoit as per my answer to the first question.

Scott Sawitz: Call me crazy, but Benoit has the best opportunity of everyone in the draft.
On Raw and Smackdown he’s lost in the shuffle, a former world champion who’ll never get any sort of extended run on top as a champion again. On ECW he immediately becomes a top guy and has a roster of guys he’s worked with in the past. Being on top of ECW is the same as being a midcard guy on the other two shows, so it’s not as if he’s losing anything in terms of stature. It’s just now he gets to be the focus of a show, hopefully, for an extended period of time.

It’s a series of fresh matchups and he gets to spend his ECW tenure with a new group of guys, so seeing him with new guys in the ring as opposed to the usual suspects should be fun for fans as well.

Judge Blatt’s Ruling: I believe the answer we were looking for was Viscera. If you look past that obvious answer, then I think between the two answers is Chris Benoit, who was knocking into the glass ceiling on Smackdown, and now he has the opportunity to not only help one young guy, but an entire roster. We just have to hope that he doesn’t get hurt. Point Sawitz, who is ahead 2-1. Personally, I think that John Cena benefitted the most after he was given a whole new list of heels to fight.

3. Should the Ring of Honor pay per views be specific shows or compilations of specific matches? Why?

Iain Burnside: The ROH PPVs should be distributed to children in the womb so that we can drill it into their heads from birth that it is the only wrestling promotion in the world worth watching. Happy now, Aaron? This is a peculiar question considering their PPVs are both options combined. They put on one specific show and air a compilation of matches and angles from it on the PPV. I know, I know, it’s not exactly the same thing but why buy a bottle of ketchup when you can f*ck a tomato for free, know what I mean? I prefer cherry tomatoes. They go places. Dark, hideous, amoral, Randy Orton type places. And it’s HONOUR. Get the U in. You watch a wrestling PPV and it’s all the one show and it all builds from curtain jerks to main eventers via midcard peaks and troughs and bits and bobs and it’s all good, all in front of the same crowd, all feels like an evening’s event. Or you watch a wrestling PPV and it’s all finely selected bits and bobs from all over the damn place and it’s all pretty decent actually but, still, you do sort of miss the bad. It makes the good look great. It allows the bad to gradually heft itself up to the level of good and be all the more appreciated by those who watched it happen from a great distance, hidden safely behind a message board, clutching an unopened packet of condoms. Or maybe the self-nerding are persuaded to go ahead and sheath it and slice their tomatoes because they get a compilation of the most honourable, like Joe and Punk and that kicking monkey. Then they find out those guys are all elsewhere now, in places where they can buy jars of sundried tomato paste rather than saving their pavement pennies up for one. So, to follow on from your first question mark – I don’t care. As for your second, well, because I’m not going to be buying any Ring of HonoUr pay per views. Hell, Ican’t, not in the UK. Oh, I’m sure I’ll buy some more of their DVDs at some point but only if there are enough snowflakes to cover up the tomato stains. It’s a fruit, fruity, fruity, delicious, fruity, fruity, fruity, fruity, foodstuff. Those types who are going to buy the PPVs will buy them even if it was three hours of McGuinness ironing his socks. English people do that. To those who could potentially buy them, it makes little difference. The objective isn’t to utilise PPV as a revenue stream in the way WWE does but to use it as a stepping stone for people to get into the DVDs, merchandise and, if possible, live events. For that, they need a sample of what an ROH show is like rather than just bunging a bunch of matches together. Besides, who knows what the main selling point may be for some of these new viewers (if they get any)? For some it will be Danielson, for others it could be Daizee bloody Haze. No need to limit their options, just show off all of what they’ve got and hope it shines. As JBL reminds us every fifth sentence during title matches, YA GOTTA DANCE WIT WATT BRUNG YA TA THA DANCE, MYKILL!! ROH started with great live shows and grew from there. Go with it. Grow some more. Grow tomatoes in yer garden and smear it all over the world. I’ll be over here, wearing a belt.

Scott Sawitz: ROH should be specific shows, not compilations. The point of the PPV is to
draw in new fans; their base is going to be buying them, for the most part, but anyone can buy one of their comp tapes online. Advertising the product and finding people who will go out to the live events because of the PPV is what it should be about. Giving some sort of exclusive material on the PPV is a reason to shell out the cash; putting a match comp with no real basis is something anyone can buy on the web, so why spend the money on a PPV? Give us characters, stories, things that will get people involved to the point where they want to shell out more cash and become a fan.

It may seem simple, but giving people a group of people to like or dislike makes them more interested the product. I have no idea who’s in ROH and who isn’t, but if I saw them give a cool interview or hit someone with a flaming barbed wire chair then maybe I want to see them again.

Judge Blatt’s Ruling: Despite Burnside’s mistake that I would be judging this one, I’m awarding him the point. He hit on the real problem here: These ROH PPVs are ALREADY compilations from one event. While those who don’t know any better won’t miss the matches that were left out, but it’s already an edited show. Score is tied at 2-2

4. What is the most compelling relationship story in wrestling history? We’re omitting Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth from the question.

Iain Burnside: Perry Saturn and Moppy. Grut and Widro. Me and Jeff Jarrett. H and the other two Hs. Eddie and the Reaper. Flair and the taxman. Drugs and the bloodstream. Sting and Robocop. Dink and Wink and Pink. Paul E and male pattern baldness. Batista and the Wonder Woman lunchbox. Shawn Michaels and Shawn Michaels. The USA and Canada. Kidman and powerbombs. Samoan foreheads and caucasian foreheads. The irresistible force and the immovable object. The numbers 1, 2 and 3. Billy and Chuck. Kanyon and whoever’s listening. JYD and dem cakes. Koko and Frankie. Jake Roberts and his false teeth. Mark Henry and KFC. JBL and the intranets, who now want to suck him off rather than slag him off. JBL and shower soap. ECW diehards and ROH fanatics. Jim Hellwig and WOYAH WOYAH. Blue Blazer and gravity. Al Wilson and Dawn Marie. Hogan and hummers. Barry Horowitz and his back. Jerry Lawler and William Shatner. Jerry Lawler and fourteen year-young girls. Heidenreich and twelve year-old girls. Heidenreich and Snitsky. Snitsky and six-month old babies. Babies and Rocko. Rocko and Socko. Socko and detergent. Detergent and Mick Foley and Cactus Jack and Dude Love and Mankind and Cleveland. Cleveland and Quagmire and funny names, including Waylon Mercy. Jim Ross and Skittles. Tazz and cheese. Cole and cock. Styles and financially-replaced dignity. Maven and Virgil. Vincent and loneliness. Elizabeth and Luger. Terry Funk and a horse.
Mickie James and another horse. Al Isaacs and Yokozuna. Marty Jannetty and God. Randy Orton and headlocks. Khali and his cat (someone tell him it isn’t here and he’ll go away, just you wait andsee). Kurt Angle and milk. Eugene and straws. Chris Jericho and soya milk. Being gay and touching other men. Touching Trish and touching yourself. The Scorpion King and Mr Nanny. Mo and Oscar. Roddy Piper and underwear. Gorilla Monsoon and finding out the hard way about not discussing ‘the Gorilla position’ in certain company. Vince McMahon and Skrulls (THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED). Chavo and Pepe. Chavo Classic and his tailor. Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeefcake. Shockmaster and Cheetum. Finlay and Little Bastard. Big people and small people. Left and right. Squares and circles. Shane/Jackass and Steph/Hs. Buying PPVs and not buying PPVs (it’s the new buying PPVs). Mae and Moolah. Goldust and Dusty. WWE and Canada. Lita and Durex. Video libraries and music rights. Goldberg and car windows. Sid and hopping. Lemmy and Hs. Taka and Funaki. Brock Lesnar and lederhosen. Katie Vick and Kane. Kane and Fake Kane. Undertaker and Underfaker.

Undertaker and Kane. Yeah, that’ll do. Check it out… when they were children Mark Callaway accidentally set fire to the family house, killing their parents and hideously scarring his half-brother Glen. ‘Family friend’ and Glen’s real father, Paul Bearer, then raises Mark and skews his psyche into becoming The Undertaker, picking up supernatural abilities somewhere along the way. Meanwhile, Bearer had Glen locked up in a mental asylum. The fire had left him more psychologically and neurologically scarred than physically damaged, making him insane and incapable of feeling pain. Somewhere along the way he may or may not have slept with a girl named Katie Vick. When he got out he went to Spain to learn supernatural abilities of his own, then answered Bearer’s call to help him take the Undertaker down after those two had a major falling out. After spending most of the year feuding with one another, Undertaker and Bearer reconciled and formed the Ministry of Darkness, leaving Kane out in the cold once again. The Ministry allowed Bearer to push Mark into even darker territory than ever before, hypnotising various other wrestlers into becoming minions. In a quest for more and more power they became allied with the McMahons and their movement morphed into the Corporate Ministry. Meanwhile, Kane was left to his own devices and decided to explore girls. First came Chyna, who betrayed him and broke his heart. Then came Tori, who did the same thing but hurt him even more because his good friend X-Pac, who had helped him overcome the mental blocks preventing him from speaking, was in on it too. Such hurt saw Kane return to his roots and reunite with Mark, who had seemingly freed himself from Bearer’s influence and ditched his Undertaker persona once and for all, returning as a biker to take revenge on the McMahons. The Brothers of Destruction ran rampant over the next year and stood side-by-side during the Invasion, helping to defeat the Alliance. They became strong enough to go their separate ways soon afterwards, especially following the brand extension. However, after being forced to endure another major change, Kane’s fragile mental state cracked once again. He was unmasked, forcing him to confront his ‘scars’, and was easily manipulated by a desperate Vince McMahon into helping to bury the Undertaker alive. It served only to awaken the spiritual side of Mark again, helped in his recovery by Paul Bearer, and again he defeated Kane. However, smart enough to know that he could not trust Bearer for long, Undertaker killed him off or something soon afterwards. Seeking something real, Kane again tried to get a love life in his own warped way, this time kidnapping and impregnating Lita, only for Snitsky to kill the unborn baby. Kane snapped again, yet the following year both brothers were on the same brand again and could team up to help one another out. Oh, and there was stuff about an urn in there somewhere too. And possibly a sister called Jezebelle, again fathered by Paul Bearer. Such convoluted nonsense… and yet people love it! Hell, they’ve even made a novel and a comic book series about it all. It’s hard to remember a time before Taker had a brother and it’s impossible to imagine that any wrestling
promotion will ever be able to match this relationship’s implausibly great story without the fans turning on it (see: Abyss). Kudos to the real Glen, Mark and Paul for their wonderful character work in getting this claptrap over to the point where even the dreaded smarks take it at face value.

Scott Sawitz: Hmm. . .this is a tough one. My choice is Vince and Linda McMahon.
Considering McMahon has gone on record stating he’s cheated on his wife, as well as he makes out with whomever is the hottest new Diva whenever possible, the fact that Linda hasn’t either let CM Punk violated FCC standards with her on television or divorced Vince is compelling in and of itself. It’s been a relationship that defies convention; Vince gets to be the bad guy and gets to slobber over any girl the fans react favorably too while his wife stands there like a statue. If that’s not compelling, I don’t know what is.

Judge Blatt’s Ruling: Burnside’s list can’t be topped. Despite the fact that I can’t see the connection between Maven and Virgil. Point to Burnside, who is winning 3-2

5. In the history of Pulse Wrestling, who has been the most influential writer?

Iain Burnside: Any that gets me a proper fifth question to answer instead of deluding themselves into thinking this “IWC” nonsense means a damn thing.

Scott Sawitz: There’s the easy answer and the right answer, but they’re two separate
people. It would be easy to talk about how without Scott Keith, a lot of us wouldn’t be here. He’s basically been the standard by which any wrestling writer is held to, as he’s seen more than nearly any human being ought to. Tons of folks flock to his blog and everything else he writes. Scott’s the model of the kind of writer everyone wants to be like, i.e. being able to write books, et al, and actually make money doing so. He’s a phenom that everyone wants to be like in terms of style, but he’s so good at what he does that imitating him is hard. You have to have an encyclopedic nature of the industry and be a terrific writer to boot; thats hard to do. What’s a
bit easier is what the right answer does.

The guy who’s the most influential is Eric Szulczewski. Why? Because lots of folks try to imitate his quite visceral and unique loathing of certain things. He’s a terrific writer with a style more people try to ape than anyone else in our little community; only he can make a rant about how
Republicans ought to be in death camps seem cute and funny. Anyone else would be thought of a crazy leftist who probably has some issues, but somehow he manages to get away with it because he does it so well.

You can read plenty of other websites in the IWC and there’ll be someone who tries to combine a rather deeply intellectual prose with thoughts about the grandeur of professional wrestling. Hell, there are people who try and emulate his opinions and pass them off like their own. He has a scathing style that leaves nothing alive in its path except perhaps some souls who’ve learned something along the way. But what people forget is that he’s a relatively smart guy who knows what he’s talking about, as opposed to the usual gang of idiots who copy his style but don’t have the sort of gusto or the articulation Eric has. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so Eric must be flattered a lot by the idiots who try to bust as much balls as he has does but without the verbose fun he brings to the table

Judge Blatt’s Ruling: I don’t think that this one needs judging. Of COURSE the IWC isn’t important, but it’s the reason we’re all here. It’s been spread a bit thin and thanks to easy publishing platforms like WordPress, Blogspot and Moveable Type, all it takes is a grammar school education to start a wrestling website, and sometimes these “writers” don’t even seem to have that). The point goes to Sawitz for a tie score 3-3 and everyone loses.