Pulse Wrestling Answers #031

Apologies for missing last week. Things get a little hectic when every elderly relative gets exceedingly ill at the same time. It’s still busy, busy, busy with the cups of tea and boiled sweets but I ought to get a quickie Q&A done, so off we go:


Anon:

“Q: What’s odd about Nancy and Daniel’s funeral?

A: Triple H wasn’t there for the burial.”

Enlightening! I have a strange, inhuman theory about how Benoit’s dying words whilst hanging himself on that weight machine were “Chris Benoit is 4 real!” but we don’t need to get into that yet.


What happens when terrorists try to terrorise the Scottish…


Mike Long remembers Jindrak because you don’t:

“hey Burnside,
glad to see you will continue answering questions with
your endless supply of knowledge. I had already
figured out & downloaded that song but no matter. I
did think of my first question in a while, I just hate
that it has to involve you know who.
I remember after everyone’s favorite moment in the
history of the world, (WM XX) that the first
reincarnation of the draft was basically the most
pointless thing ever. Dupree, Nidia, Jindrak? Benjamin
was good but still. However, I do remember that
everyone’s fave HHH did get drafted, and then a week
later he was TRADED right back to RAW. I remmember the
internet making a deal about it. Was this just a trick
by WWE or was HHH really supposed to go to Smackdown
and he nixed the idea like only he can? I remember I
was looking forward to HHH vs Guerrero on one side and
__ __ vs Shawn Michaels one on one at Backlash”

I don’t know who, actually. Voldemort? He’s a tool. Skeletor, Megatron, Lo-Pan, Doctor Doom, Mumm-Ra or Mr Burns would have had Harry Potter strung up by the scrotum and disembowelled long ago rather than faffing about with disgruntled school teachers, predictably grumpy teenagers and spooky noises in dark places. I suppose he has more kewlevil points than Darth Vader but since 1999 so do fluffy kittens and pairs of mittens and all things that rhyme. I hear that when the kewlevil council have their meetings then every time Darth steps out of the room somebody either yells “Yippee!” or “NOOOO!!” just as he’s about to leave earshot.

So, Triple H. He was never really meant to be going to Smackdown because, to paraphrase Paul Heyman, he didn’t want to work Tuesdays. There’s no specific reason for it so far as I know but there seems to be an unspoken agreement that, no matter who the champions are, Triple H is the backstage leader of Raw and The Undertaker serves as judge and jury on Smackdown. Moving either one of them is almost certainly never going to happen. Most of the internet fanatics had gathered that, so when they did the 2004 draft they threw in a ~~SWERVE~~ by briefly pretending that the Hs were getting switched. As you said, it got people talking at the time but it made bugger all difference to the ratings, since the fans they were trying to swerve very easily found the Smackdown taping spoilers, learned of the 3-for-1 deal and promptly lost interest in having the superiority of the Hs rubbed in their face yet again. There was a Triple H vs Eddie Guerrero match on the eve of the draft lottery, ostensibly two Smackdown guys having a title match in the Raw main event, but it was a throwaway contest just like most matches on draft shows seem to be. Sadly, we’ll never get to see those two have the brilliant feud they would have had with one another.

It was indeed a rather pointless draft lottery all in all. Edge came to Raw in it and soon started honing his heel persona, yet it would take another couple of years and a whole lot of extracurricular activities before he would reach the main event. Shelton Benjamin was the one who got the biggest push coming out of the draft, only for management to eventually lose interest in him and his video games. Over on the Smackdown side of things, the guy who came out of the draft the best was probably Theodore Long, which says it all really. Booker T did well for himself in the long-run too of course, yet back in 2004 he was left trying to beat the Undertaker with voodoo mud and stop Kurt Angle from doggy-f*cking his wife or something. It was a strange time. Still, had it not been for those silly moves necessitating the arbitrary conversion of Bradshaw into JBL, we would never have wound up with the first truly entertaining colour commentator of the 21st century. Musn’t grumble.


The APA love to get jacked…


COMDUKAKIS gets EXTREME:

“Couple ECW related questions that are fairly minor but had me thinking. First off, did they sell season tickets to the ECW shows on Philly, did hat guy just stand outside all day to be first to his seat, or were a select few allowed “reserved” seating out of tradition? Second, if you watch the recent dvds and WWE 24/7 Vince is a cheapskate when it comes to music. He just saps the life out of many of the entrances with generic music dubbed over the real themes. My first though is how did he lose the rights to so many of his own musical selections. Second, how could Heyman afford to use Metallica, Alice in Chains, Offspring, etc. and pay royalties while Vince won’t even pay for any of the entrance music no matter how integral to the character (the most glaring being Sandman). Or did Heyman just not bother to pay royalties?”

They did indeed sell tickets for the shows. Heyman may have never been a sound business type but he understood that minor point well enough. Once things really started to take off at the so-called ECW Arena though, they began something called Club ECW that encouraged people to keep coming back and rewarded those that did. It basically meant that if you bought advance tickets for the next four shows, you got let into the arena through a secret entrance early in the afternoon and so could stake out a regular seat for yourself. It helped form a community spirit among the regulars and soon the likes of Sign Guy, Faith No More Guy, Hawaiian Shirt Guy, Team Taz Guy and Hat Guy were as much a part of the show as any of the prelim wrestlers. Whether or not that’s a good thing is open to debate. It makes for a good atmosphere that can come across well on TV, though on the other hand it can lead to a lot of pandering to over-familiar fans as in TNA. The ECW fans were certainly an, uh, enthusiastic bunch to say the least. There’s one classic story about a guy who went with his girlfriend to see a show headlined by Terry Funk vs Shane Douglas in a 60-minute Iron Man Match. They get there at 2pm even though the show doesn’t start till 8pm – and of course by the time the main event comes around the arena is sweltering. The crowd goes wild, the match gets to the last ten minutes and this guy’s girlfriend passes out from the heat. A guy next to them asks if he’s going to check on her or not and he replies “Fuck her, this is Funk and Douglas!” To say they got a little carried away would be something of an understatement. They loved to push the buttons of the Atlas Security guys around ringside too. One of the security guards was later working at a convention when one of the old ECW faithful stepped out of line for whatever wrestler he was waiting to see, came up to the security guy and asked him for an autograph and photo instead, since this security guy had once knocked this fan on his arse at an ECW show and the fan saw it as an honour and an initiation of some sort. And to think all that happens these days is a few signs get confiscated!

On the music front, they basically just used the songs without paying for as long as they could get away with it. For most of ECW’s existence they were well below the radar and more often than not could use whatever bands they wanted, though there were exceptions of course. Unsurprisingly, Metallica found out about their extensive use of “Enter Sandman” and demanded they pay royalties, so after that point ECW used a cheaper cover version by Motorhead instead. Given Triple H’s manly love for Lemmy, I’m rather surprised he hasn’t convinced WWE to pay for that version for Sandman nowadays. That’s also why they used the Kilgore version of “Walk” for Rob Van Dam rather than the Pantera version. Also, as ECW became more well-known and reached a larger audience it was not only easier for bands and their managers to find out when their songs were being used for free but the fee they could demand had increased in keeping with the number of viewers – especially on PPV and DVD. As time went by, their finances became ever more restricted and their legal matters continued to accumulate, they relied more and more on less prominent bands and sound-a-likes rather than the real songs. That’s been going on in wrestling for ages, of course. Check out Chris Jericho’s “Evenflow” rip-off in WCW, the Legion of Doom’s “Iron Man” copy in the WWF and Christian Cage’s “Just Close Your Eyes” knock-off in TNA. Where it gets really complicated is trying to figure out what songs WWE can get away with including on their DVD and 24/7 releases and what songs they have to dub over. There are so many weird variations, like the Demolition theme being edited out of the WrestleMania Anthology even though it remains on the Tagged Classics versions of the same shows. Perhaps they don’t even know themselves and are just trying to keep the lawyers at bay by making them search for a pattern that doesn’t exist.


Enter Sandman… in 1999…


Lev gums up the works:

,i>”Hi Iain,

Hope you’re still doing Pulse Answers because I have another question, my good man.

In the dying days of WCW there was a heel commentator who, judging by his voice, was clearly Latino. And he was pretty funny. But I can’t for the life of me remember his name.

So who was he and what’s he doing these days?

Cheers,

Lev”

Unless you’re referring to Konnan, I’m stumped. He did do quite a bit of colour commentary for them in 2000 while nursing a torn tricep injury and I can’t recall any other Latino commentators in WCW. As far as what Konnan is up to nowadays, well, mainly pissing people off. He quit TNA after several months of friction between him and management over, among other things, his health problems and the LAX de-push, finally demanding a raise and walking out when told he should wait a while and ask again later when heat over disparaging remarks about TNA he made in an interview had dwindled. Of course, the fact that he was under contract and left a TV taping without warning may count against him should TNA go legal over it. Then again, if he’s just going to stay in Mexico to work for AAA again it probably doesn’t matter. For others with no guaranteed contracts elsewhere, it’s a bit of a difficult situation. According to Konnan, Senshi, B.G. James and Kip James have all asked for their releases too but haven’t taken the final step of quitting. He also said in a recent interview that “All of the talent is frustrated there. No one watches the show”, with the remaining X Division guys being particularly pissed off about their lot. The phrase “make the most of it” comes to mind but so does “If you don’t like your job you don’t quit, you just go in every day and do it half-assed; that’s the American way.” He’s also been doing the rounds of the media circuit in light of the Benoit situation with delightfully helpful comments such as “Vince McMahon has gotten away with murder, both figuratively and literally.” Attaboy, Max.

Anyway, Konnan will be going back to work with AAA on a more regular basis as soon as his hip heals. I don’t think his kidney transplant has happened yet as the most recent donor didn’t pan out, though there are a number of other contenders lined up. Knowing him, he’ll be back to yell incomprehensibly and throw his surgical shoes around before he is actually cleared to try and wrestle.

But if anybody knows of any other probably-Latino commentators from the dying days of WCW, let me know.


Shawn Michaels versus Max Moon from the first-ever Monday Night Raw…


Matt chimes in with:

“What’s your favorite kind of gimmick match? And your pick for the best gimmick match of all time? I just came up with that when seeing the TNA Ultimate X promo… It’s just a fancy ladder match. Fucking Russo. It’s hanging from some ropes instead of a ladder. They act like it’s the biggest innovation ever. Fuck, they SAID it was the biggest innovation ever.”

The biggest innovation ever was chili-coated peanuts, but it’s a close call.

Actually, Ultimate X is relatively sensible when compared to some of the other gimmick matches TNA has come up with. There’s absolutely no point in them cheapening it by wasting it on a 10-man undercard clusterf*ck at Victory Road though. Hell, it isn’t even for a title! It would be like WWE having an Elimination Chamber to determine the number one contender to the Cruiserweight Title. Madness. The one I never really got was Monster’s Ball. So the wrestlers get locked in a room without light, food or water for 24 hours do they? Well, gosh, don’t tell Konnan’s imaginary union about that one. The King of the Mountain match is a shade too dense for its own good too. It’s a ladder match, yet you have to pin a guy before going up the ladder and you’re going up to hang something before you retrieve it right away and the guy you pin has to go into a penalty box for two minutes and if the match takes place on the eve of a full moon the villagers must sacrifice seven goats before the bell rings or the dark druids will rise again. C’mon. Money in the Bank is as complex as a multi-man ladder match needs to get. And that’s not to mention the inverted Battle Royal, the Last Rites match, the Blindfold matches, the Hangman’s Horror or, surely the worst of them all, the Electrified Cage Match between Team 3D and LAX. Really, who the hell thought that was a clever idea?

My favourite type of gimmick match is one that suits the storyline rather than being randomly imposed just to try and attract attention. Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon both had an Intercontinental Title belt, so both were strapped over the ring and they each had to climb up and get them. The Horsemen kept on interfering, so Dusty Rhodes had to persist until he got Ric Flair one-on-one in a steel cage with the title on the line. And so it goes. Makes more sense than realising Jay Lethal, Kaz, Homicide, Christopher Daniels, Shark Boy, Sonjay Dutt, Puma, Senshi, Elix Skipper and Petey Williams have nothing else to do so they can just swing around on cables for a bit in an Ultimate X match for no discernible reason other than enjoying a good jump. In saying that, I suppose the Royal Rumble counts as a gimmick match and nobody has ever really been able to top that one.


Wrestling botches, including Hernandez on the meant-to-be electric cage…


Some less rushed reading material before I skedaddle

– There was another TNA PPV and another Roundtable for it. I should perhaps contribute to one of these things again but the thought of sitting down to think about what zany antics Backlund might get up to next just fills me with dread, to be honest. Far better to save such effort for fretting about what whacky tomfoolery Gary might get up to next instead.

– There was a WrestleMania III in 1987 and Kyle David Paul will let you know what happened in the first part of it.

– Ring of Honour does a lot of stuff without spelling that H word correctly and Pulse Glazer shall be paying particular attention to, ooh, just about all of it.

– Wrestling involves various stocktype characters and Mark Allen does a good job covering them.

Pulse Wrestling’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern Era. You must have heard of it by now, since with a title that elaborate there’s no chance of escape, so just go make sure you’re up to date with it.

Until next time, send in your questions and enjoy the silence.

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