Another week, another vacated title, another batch of odd booking, another dead wrestler and, of course, another batch of questions that need answered. Are we to be surprised?
The so-called Big Gold Curse has now become so pronounced that even WWE.com has acknowledged the rather astonishing run of unfortunate events that have happened to recent World Heavyweight Champions. That title seems to be acquiring bad mojo like a powerful and symbolic trinket from the pages of some cheap, second-hand fantasy novel, inevitably souring all the noble knights and evil overlords who allow themselves to be consumed by the quest to obtain it. The title first arrived in Smackdown in June 2005 with Batista, who soon tore a muscle and was booked to drop the title so he could take time off to heal… Eddie Guerrero was slated to get the title, yet instead he died… Batista, to his credit, worked through the injury at a time when the company needed him on-screen, only to tear another muscle a few months later and be forced to have surgery… Shawn Michaels was the first choice as the next champion but he was protected by God, or rather a Wednesday morning prayer group he attended every week and didn’t want to miss due to the Tuesday tapings, and kept out of harm’s way… Kurt Angle rather randomly acquired the gold instead, and by the end of the year he was rushed out of the company amid a flurry of health concerns and a reputation diminished by self-medicating on delusion… Randy Orton was to have been next in line, yet he was threatened by several inanimate objects in a hotel room and forced to violently defend himself from them, a course of action that ought to have put paid to his main event aspirations once and for all had it not been for the even more unfavourable circumstances of others… Rey Mysterio instead became a cruiserweight World Heavyweight Champion, only for his knees to finally blow out and his appeal tarnished by some shoddy booking… JBL was to have taken the gold next, yet he was forced into early retirement due to chronic and escalating back pain… Booker T stepped up to the plate and actually did rather well for himself, proving the exception to the rule… Batista then got another crack at it, although poor performances, juvenile behaviour and a backstage humbling from the aforementioned King left his stock at perhaps its lowest value since Evolution was formed… The Undertaker sought to sort all of this silliness out with a lengthy, popular, no-nonsense reign, only for the oldest man to hold the gold to tear his bicep and be forced to the sidelines… Ken Kennedy Kennedy ROLF was seriously considered as the next champion only for an injury to force him out of contention and off of the brand, eventually turning out to be not that serious at all and leaving him lost in the shuffle on Raw… Edge went the other way, getting a chance to establish himself as a genuine ‘great’ on Smackdown, only for a freak injury to force him to vacate the title and take a few months off… The Great Gary… well, he would need to try pretty damn hard to have any worse luck than inadvertently contributing to the death of one of his training partners, so perhaps he is a suitable title holder for now…
Some may speculate that this is all down to the Big Gold Belt feeling lost and lonely after it was moved off of Raw and away from its loving father, Triple H. That’s understandable. After all, the only person to hold the title on Smackdown and not suffer for it was King Booker, the Champion of Champions, as close as it could get to being around the waist of the King of Kings on that brand. Ironically, Booker and the Hs shall be meeting in the ring at SummerSlam next month. If Gary is still holding the title by then he may well be feeling an inexplicable sadness eminating from his shiny prize. However, closer inspection reveals that this is purely a Smackdown problem rather than a World Heavyweight Title concern. It all started in August 2002, when Brock Lesnar became the first Smackdown-exclusive title-holder and was being lined-up to defeat Hulk Hogan in a major WWE Championship match, only for Hogan to refuse to return just to put Lesnar over. That led to some hasty booking changes, with Lesnar’s manager, Paul Heyman, ditching him for the next champion, The Big Show, whilst Lesnar turned face. Show soon dropped the belt to Kurt Angle, whose serious neck injuries became ever harder to work through and eventually forced him to undergo major surgery a few months later. The belt wound up back on Lesnar but only, in a cruelly ironic twist, after he fell on his head after a botched shooting-star press, luckily escaping any serious neck problems of his own. Look at where all these people are now… Lesnar had a premature midlife crisis of sorts and turned his back on wrestling, winding up in a major legal battle with WWE… Angle was covered in the previous paragraph… Show was forced into retirement due to the excessive wear and tear the business was taking on his excessive body… Heyman tried his best but his power struggles with Stephanie McMahon were always futile and he has been run out of the company for, presumably, the last time… Hogan finally had it pointed out to him that he was too big for his boots, missed out on one of the most lucrative matches in wrestling history at WrestleMania 23 and failed to impress with his self-promoted show in Memphis…
Meanwhile, we also had Eddie Guerrero, whose title reign was cut short due to the championship pressures proving too much for him, though of course he died anyway. Then there was JBL, already covered above, and, a few years later, Rob Van Dam, whose reign was never meant to last long but was made even shorter after he was arrested for possession. That would seem to put paid to the theory that the world champions would be safe so long as they were not on Smackdown, yet bear in mind that, technically, Van Dam was an ECW wrestler by that point in time. More specifically, it would appear that the champions need to be on Raw in order to stay safe. Could it be that the title curse is actually trying to enforce acceptance of what WWE has been trying to drum into everyone for years now – that Raw is the only brand worth bothering with? Is this all a sign from the fates that there should in fact only be one WWE Champion to cover all the brands of the WWE, and that additional ‘world champions’ are in fact completely pointless? Is Triple H so reluctant to go to Smackdown because he knows about what will happen to him if he does? Did King Booker only escape the clutches of the curse because of lingering guilt the Big Gold Belt held over from the way he lost at WrestleMania XIX – or was it due to that bag of magical mud the voodoo psychic gave him in May 2004? Did John Cena modify the WWE Championship belt because he incorporated some of that voodoo mojo into his new design, perhaps sticking on the spinner with some of that mud? Is there any chance of WWE incorporating all of this into a quasi-kayfabe swords-and-sandals paperback novel?
Too many questions… just too many questions… perhaps the only answer is that if you’re a wrestler and you’re not Cena or an H, then you’re more than likely screwed…
I dread to think what might happen to the next person to become champion…
Now, as I can’t be arsed writing about Kronus, let’s get on with things…
Bill Wannop has some more information on the identity of the mysterious Latino colour commentator from WCW discussed in #031:
“Hey Iain love the column, the youtube videos make my day every week! Keep it up.
Anyways this is regards to that question regarding the Mexican announcer in WCW. I believe the person he was referring to was Juventud Guerra, who was known as the Juice at that point. He was mostly copying the Rock, and had a strong accent, and was pretty funny on the mic. He even did the peoples elbow and Rock bottom when he was in the ring. If only he had more control out of ring, he could have been great in WWE. He is a little question as well. Did Juvi and Rock ever have show down in WWE? I seem to remember the Rock seeing him back stage and saying something, but I don’t remember any real feud.
Thanks for the great column and if you post my answer/question it would be cool if you posted a link to my website, http://www.auto-insurance-knowledge.com.”
Juventud Guerrera made his WWE debut on Velocity, defeating Funaki on the 16th June 2005. He was released on the 4th January 2006, one day after dropping the Cruiserweight Title to Kid Kash. He was let go for a number of reasons, most of which can essentially be boiled down to him being an immature prick. He would often incorporate a number of banned moves into his matches, even after his 450 splash wound up injuring Paul London, would try to get himself over by having his matches run way past their allotted time (it failed), was so troublesome that not even Super Crazy or Psicosis wanted to be seen with him backstage anymore, and wound up charging thousands of dollars to Rey Mysterio’s credit card. All in all, he was simply far too much trouble for WWE to bother with, especially given their already stagnated interest in cruiserweights. I can’t recall him and The Rock ever having a backstage skit together and it seems unlikely given Rocky’s complete absence from Smackdown during Juvi’s tenure there.
The Juice is loose and desperate for attention/drugs…
Meanwhile, Lev has some more to add:
“Regarding my question about the Latino WCW heel commentator:
Likely you’re right and it was Konnan. I wasn’t aware he even did any commentary, but now that you’ve pointed it out I don’t know who else it could be. The one event I clearly (read: vaguely) remember is during the reformation of the nWo in 99/2000. A group of wrestlers (can’t remember who but I’m fairly certain one of them was Jarrett) laid out another wrestler (again, don’t remember who) and spray-painted the nWo letters on his back. The main commentator acted confused and stunned but this heel commentator acted delighted as he slowly read the letters. Then the screen faded to black and the show was over. So if was Konnan on commentary on this particular episode of Nitro then you’re right.
Sorry I don’t have any more info for you, but this was 7 or 8 years ago when an hour of Nitro used to screen in Australia at something like 1am in the morning. Yet for some reason that commentator and that way he pronounced nWo has always stuck in my mind. Or maybe it’s like that Mr Bookman episode of Seinfeld where Jerry remembers something one way and is certain he has it right only to learn he’s been wrong the entire time.
Anyway, I’m on a tangent. Thanks for your help.”
Crikey. Well, all that occurred on the 20th December 1999 episode of Nitro. The main event had Bret Hart defending the WCW World Heavyweight Title against Goldberg in a Starrcade rematch for the vacated title. There was a ref bump (shocking), Bret kicked Goldberg in the balls (hilarious) and put him in the figure four. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash came out with baseball bats and started beating Goldberg with them (anti-Semites). Roddy Piper came out to try and make the save but Bret made the pin and won the title anyway (surprise). Jeff Jarrett then came out and whacked Piper on the head with a guitar (classic Jarrett), pulled out a can of spray paint (from where??), the nWo theme started playing, he sprayed the nWo symbol on Goldberg and Piper, then Nash told the crowd “the band is back together”. That’s how it went down. Strangely, the commentators listed for that night were Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan, none of whom I could imagine throwing their shoes at anybody or asking where they’re dogs at, yo.
Still, the important thing is that somebody got kicked in the balls.
It happened to Gary one time.
Gary… kicked in the balls…
The stillbirth of the nWo 2000
Jason Kizer seeks meaning from the words of those who lack it:
I watched the new Iron Sheik shoot interview over the
weekend and I have to say first that it is HIGHLY
entertaining. I particularly liked the part where he
argued with his drug dealer for 10 minutes before
talking to the interviewer (DON’T FORGET THE CRACK!).
Watching a drunken (among other things) Iranian
ranting about almost everyone in the business has a
However, he makes a few claims early in the interview
that caused me to break out my extra large grains of
salt. He claims to have trained some of the biggest
names in the business including Ricky Steamboat. I
even checked Steamboats bio on wikipedia which seems
to confirm this but it doesn’t go into any details.
Now maybe this is common knowledge that I’ve managed
to somehow avoid in my 17+ years of being a fan but I
swear this is the first I’ve ever heard of this. Of
course if I were Ricky I think I might keep this
little tidbit under my hat as well. So, is this legit
or is the Sheik lying through his pointy toed boots?
And if this is indeed false what in the blue hell
could he possibly be basing this on?”
“1. Since you reminded me of him with that clip of Sandman’s entrance; what the hell happened to Joel Gertner after ECW became another thing for Vince McMahon to make money off of? I don’t remember him rating a mention in the first ECW DVD (especially since none of the TNN-era stuff made it on there), and I don’t remember hearing about him working in TNA or anything.
2. Speaking of obnoxious heel managers who used to entertain me, whatever happened to Don Callous/Cyrus the Virus? I know he was in TNA for awhile, but what’s he up to now?
3. Is there any reason that Victoria became a total jobber in the women’s division, beyond the whole “she probably won’t be in Playboy” thing? Or is it the “she’s not Stratus or Lita” thing? Or was there some amusing story I missed by not reading the second stuff from Meltzer on the correct week?
4. Okay, one for you to hopefully unleash your incredibly amusing absurdist sense of humor on, if you deem fit; let’s say that TNA decides that since Jay Lethal being a Randy Savage impersonator has worked so well, they’ll make their whole show an ’80s WWF tribute/cover/parody extravaganza. Who plays whom? And how depressing is it when they get to finding an Elizabeth for Lethal/Savage? Which ethnic stereotype does Joe become? Does Jarrett attempt to be Hogan, and if so, does it involve a hilarious fake muscles? Have fun with it. I think you could really make something of this. And hell, maybe it would be better than what they’re doing now. If nothing else, Triple X as Demolition could lead to some great comedy.”
1. Joel Gertner was in TNA in the early months, briefly managing the Rainbow Express there in the summer of 2002. They were Kwee Wee and Lenny Lane and so gay that even Marc Mero was taking notes. He popped up at the Hardcore Homecoming show in 2005 as one of the announcers, and then two days later he was at the first One Night Stand to do some interviews and get beaten up by Kurt Angle and JBL, as all men must be. He’s currently helping to run a promotion in Connecticut called MXW Pro Wrestling.
2. Don Callis turned up in TNA in the summer of 2003. In January 2004 he defeated Erik Watts in a match, which meant Watts was fired and Callis controlled the promotion. If you think I’m even going to try and figure out what that was all about, you’d be wrong and I’d be swearing at you. Callis was at the same Hardcore Homecoming event as Gertner, with the pair of them assisting Joey Styles on commentary, but that’s more or less been it as far as his current involvement in wrestling goes. He used to write articles for Slam Wrestling and do a radio show in Winnipeg called “No Holds BarredÃ¢â‚¬Â on CITI FM but he has mainly been busy working outside the industry, apparently doing rather well for himself at international trading. I’m sure we’d all agree that Callis would be a useful colour commentator, or manager for someone like Bobby Lashley, but good on him for making something of himself in a less intense work environment.
3. Victoria signed a new three-year WWE contract in May this year, so presumably she’s not in danger of getting released. Management seems to recognise her as a talented wrestler, since the reason for her and Jillian Hall swapping brands in the recent draft lottery was simply to freshen things up for the women by swapping the best female workers on each brand over. According to the usual sources, the powers-that-be know those two are the best they’ve got but don’t think they are marketable. This means their roles are simply to make the Ashleys and Marias look good instead of getting any real success of their own, much like how men such as Stevie Richards and Val Venis are used. It has been said that Victoria is willing to do Playboy, though the gig will no doubt always be reserved for whichever fishmonger wins the Diva Search.
4. Well, the only suitable person to take up the mantle of Elizabeth is Lex Luger in drag. He just turns up at Lethal’s matches in sparkly gowns, ripping off his skirt to expose his underwear and distract Lethal’s opponents so he can get the win. Additionally, since Lethal is the counter of Savage (at least in terms of the black:white dichotomy), he shouldn’t protect Lexabeth with searing jealousy so much as encourage other people to beat her up and/or make out with her all the time. Of course, she would mainly just stand there taking drugs when on camera. Eventually Lethal would succeed in ditching her and hook up with Queen Lugerri. Jarrett wouldn’t be Hogan, that’s not nearly enough for him. Jarrett has to be Vince McMahon to finally get it out of his system. This would mainly involve him wearing hairpieces and doing play-by-play whilst laughing manically and failing to remember what comes after the number 2. Except for when in the bathroom. Samoa Joe would indeed have to become Hillbilly Joe, complete with moobies that inch perilously closer to falling out the top and/or side of his dungarees. He’s already got the chops for Polynesian dancing, so all he has to do is incorporate a cartwheel into his rendition of “Don’t Go Messing With An Ethnic BoyÃ¢â‚¬Â, plus some clapping in which both hands find one another rather than his thighs. One day he’ll wind up punching himself in the balls, I swear.
It happened to Kane one time.
Kane punched in the balls
When Victoria killed the Diva Search
Mark B takes a walk on the lame side:
“Hey Iain. Love the column. I never really have any questions I can think of to ask, but it’s always educational seeing what everyone thinks. Anyway, just wanted to correct you on something small: Christian Cage’s theme song is an instrumental version of “Tourniquet” by Evanescence. I’m not proud that I know this or anything, but I promise you this is the case.
I feel I should ask a question to go with this, so here you go: what would you say is the lamest “finishing move” ever created? My money is on the Worm, personally.”
Cheers, Mark. Having attempted to compare the tablature for “TourniquetÃ¢â‚¬Â and “Just Close Your EyesÃ¢â‚¬Â, I can only conclude that they may or may not in fact be the same song. Hey, I first took guitar lessons when I was 8 years old and I still can’t play the bloody thing more than one chord at a time. Don’t even get me started on F.
Still, check out the videos below and see what you make of them.
As for lame finishers, here are some of the worst culprits
The Discus Punch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so, spinning around before punching somebody makes it hurt more? Good luck working that one into a bar fight, Kerry. Unless the spinning somehow invokes the spirit of Cthulhu, or rushes all the steroids into one emphatic burst inside the fist, it remains firmly entrenched in the land of the lame. Hell, Von Erich didn’t even manage the feat of spinning so much as lurching vaguely in a circle. Perhaps he should have practised the spinning backstage. Whilst pissing. On hookers. In someone else’s room.
The Claw Hold Ã¢â‚¬â€œ oh, Kerry. Oh, dear.
The Heart Punch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ again, punching somebody throughout the course of a match will do only moderate damage to them. Punching somebody in the chest at the right moment of the space-time continuum will cause their heart to spontaneously combust on a temporary basis, thus allowing you to pin them and steal their steroids.
The Polish Hammer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as used by Ivan Putski, this one is basically a double-axe handle only without having to go up the ropes or jump or even raise your hands above your head lame like the letters l, a, m and e arranged together in that order. On the other hand, it could just be a codename for something in Rob Van Dam’s glove compartment.
The Sleeper Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one guy gives another guy’s head a cuddle. The other guy takes a nap. Um, what? That’s not winning a match by using your skills to get the best of your opponent, that’s just having your opponent treat a headlock with utter apathy. Thank goodness Triple H got over his attempt to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtake it back’ a few years ago. I suggest he tries Ã¢â‚¬Ëœporch monkey’ instead. With another Booker T feud on the horizon, it would not be at all surprising.
The Bear Hug Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s not even a localised cuddle like the Sleeper, it’s just a straightforward cuddle. Perhaps sometimes the perpetrator will get over-excited and shake his opponent a little bit. With such devastation, it’s little wonder that the opponent forgets the very easy counter of a kick to the balls. Except not really.
It happened to Umaga one time.
Umaga kicked in the balls
The Worm Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it has to be included for sheer lunacy alone, yet I’ve never really had a problem with it. After all, who could expect anything but lunacy from a match involving a guy named Scotty 2 Hotty? Suspension of disbelief is tricky when someone like the Texas Tornado is being presented as a credible contender yet has to win his matches with a Discus Punch or a Claw, yet it’s somewhat easier on the lower end of the card when it involves someone ridiculously happy just to be there and get to bounce around a lot.
The People’s Elbow Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was ostensibly based on a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœproper’ move (Muta’s snap elbow drop) and was originally conceived of as an ironic knock on just how lame the original Rocky Maivia character was, plus it has rarely been used as an actual finisher but still c’mon
The Kona Crush Ã¢â‚¬â€œ OMG HE’Z TOUCHING MY HEADSIES!! Perhaps it was a form of Jedi mind trick that caused migraines to appear. Perhaps it was something that people in Hawaii did when they got bored. I don’t know. At the moment, Crush and Kerry Von Erich have stood out from the pack with two mentions apiece.
The Battering Ram Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as done by the Bushwhackers, it looked to have even less of an impact than Edge’s spear. In fact, Edge would need to start spearing people by looking down, reading a newspaper and casually strolling across the ring and perhaps accidentally bumping into his opponent and mumbling an apology for it to look anywhere near as lame. It would have been more believable had Luke and Butch’s opponents given up after getting their faces licked.
The Samoan Spike Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the phrase “Fingerpoke of DoomÃ¢â‚¬Â springs to mind
The Count Out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ HUSS! I guess that the Berzerker was always under the impression he was competing in a Battle Royal of some kind, since his finisher was indeed just throwing someone over the ropes and waiting for a count-out. Nowadays he just sits at home in his pyjamas, watching the Royal Rumble Anthology, yelling “HUSS!Ã¢â‚¬Â at the telly and eating Mr Fuji’s commode contents.
The STFU Ã¢â‚¬â€œ okay, this one definitely leads the lameness league by virtue of us supposedly having to accept it as a serious submission hold capable of winning major title matches. If somebody would like to explain to me just how it is supposed to hurt at all, feel free.
Compare and contrast, with assistance from Underworld and Heroes
Ã¢â‚¬ÂJust Close Your EyesÃ¢â‚¬Â by Waterproof Blonde
“TourniquetÃ¢â‚¬Â by Evanescence
Next week: I’m out of the country but still planning on answering questions, so send some in because I’ll be drinking plenty and ranting about Transformers not kicking one another in the balls nearly enough for my liking. Hey, I’m actually using alcohol consumption as a selling point for the column. How about some Wellness over here, Widro? When do we get some replies to our pleas for help?? Eric is starting a union!! ON YOUR HEAD BE IT!!
Go watch some Transformers from an age when you could actually tell what the hell the robots were supposed to look like.
Go read the latest batch of our Top 100 countdown. Apparently my Brock Lesnar entry has ruffled some feathers. That’s entry as in “write-upÃ¢â‚¬Â, not “anal buggeryÃ¢â‚¬Â. Important disclaimers benefit everybody.
Go read Pulse Glazer not talking about anal buggery whilst watching ROH, yet so obviously contemplating it.
Go read The Moss Covered, Three Handled Family Gredunza, find a way to incorporate the phrase into a conversation at work, and then let Kyle David Paul know how it went. He’d appreciate that more than anal buggery. More than a kick in the balls, even.
Jim Ross kicked in the balls well, maybe hard to tell really, isn’t it?
Go read David Brashear discuss black people, or, more specifically, someone from Harlem pretending to be royalty while someone else spits worms over his wife. How does Barack Obama plan to counter such ethnic problems, pray tell?
Go make me a sandwich.
Go and keep an eye out for my super-secret Simpsons column, coming soon to an Inside Pulse section near you