Pulse Wrestling Answers #044

“ian,

I really enjoy reading your material. Very insightful with that dry
British wit. My question is: Why should I give a f*ck about WWE?

Cryme Time, gone. Sandman, gone. Booker T., gone, Ric Flair, about
to be gone. Shawn Michaels, injured. Edge, injured. The Rock’s
retired, Jericho has remained sane enough to resist the Evil One’s
temptations and John Cena is still the freaking champion. It’s bad
enough that today is the sixth anniversary of 9/11, but then I have
to read that two of the more entertaining wrestlers in the company
(Booker T and Sandman) are gone. With the exception of C.M. Punk,
there really is no reason to watch WWE right now. I’m just watching
it out of habit. And I tried TNA, I really did, but it sucks. It’s
a shame but I am not going to waste what precious time I have
watching the show. I’ll still read your commentary.

I don’t know if there is an “answer” to my question, but if you
honored me by responding to it, I’d be greatly flattered.

Regards”
– Ray Carcases

Cheers, Ray. There is of course no point in spending time doing anything you no longer enjoy, be it watching WWE, watching Rocky V, listening to the KLF, eating toenail clippings or not using lubrication. As much as it may shock and/or amuse you guys, I hardly ever watch contemporary WWE. If something that sounds at all interesting happens, such as Mark Henry eating the Undertaker so that Edge’s briefcase might become champion, then I might nab a copy of the show from somewhere. As you can imagine, that is not a regular occurrence. Hell, I don’t even bother with the PPVs most of the time since the non-Rumble, non-Mania events are at best glorified Clash of the Champions cards now. Whenever I do get a chance to sit down and watch some wrestling I’d much rather chuck in a DVD of something from yesteryear that I know I will enjoy, or bemuse myself with something random on YouTube. Actually, this is all tied into my grand scheme of not watching TV anymore. If I hear enough good things about a show, I can check it out online. If I like it enough, I can add it to my burgeoning DVD list for purchase at some point in the future. In the meantime, there are plenty of better things to be getting on with.

To be fair, I did make an exception for the Comics Britannia season on BBC4 but, hey, where the hell else am I going to see Alan Moore singing a song about Steve Ditko? Some opportunities are intoxicating.

Still, in the interests of fairness, I’ve taken the headlines for each brand off WWE.com today to see what they consider to be the selling points of the shows:

RAW:

Triple H showed no pity when he took out Umaga with a sledgehammer. Now, the Samoan Bulldozer looks for revenge when he returns at No Mercy.

Some glorious kayfabe in here, as the Hs are interviewed about Samoa’s greatest villain returning to action. “I’m sure he’s looking for me… but there’s one thing Umaga should know that I’m sure everybody else knows: I’m not hard to find. All he got to do is come looking. I’ll give him all the fight he wants. If I can finish the job, I will.” Might want to work on your grammar, H. Stephanie asks him what he got her for her birthday… “I GIVE YOU FIGHT!! GOT COME NOW!! CAN YOU DO ANY LESS?? PLAY THE GAME, SUCH A GAME!!” By the way, kudos to WWE for once again sending mixed messages about their suspensions. Jeff Hardy was suspended for the build-up to SummerSlam, so he was kept off the card and missed a huge payday. Umaga is suspended for the build-up to No Mercy, yet he gets onto the card because otherwise the Hs would have nothing to do beyond squashing Carlito in an “only Carlito gets to use the sawn-off shotgun and vial of smallpox” match. Consistency, people. Consistency.

View action-packed images of Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy defeating Shelton Benjamin.

Nothing to do with Jeff or Shelton in particular at all, merely a link to all the photos of the last episode of Raw. Ho-hum. Time to check the grand hypothesis that wrestlers always look like they’ve just been kicked in the nads whenever the action is paused…

Yup. Kicked and caressed.

Is Candice’s success against Beth Phoenix only temporary?

For some reason they compare Candice’s victory at Unforgiven to David slaying Goliath. I can’t imagine that there were scores of people in the crowd going off to the bathroom and merchandise stalls during the David/Goliath bout, let alone David appearing in Playboy. Oh, the article also contains quotes from Trish Stratus, which must surely be invented or else it’s a rather lame reason to pester the woman.

Hornswoggle isn’t the only little man to make it big.

A story on such other renowned midgets as Verne Troyer, Gary Coleman, the guy from Willow (who for some reason I was convinced was a shrunken Val Kilmer when I was young), Hobbits, the Lucky Charms leprechaun and Dink, among others. To be fair, this is in keeping with a long-standing tradition of entertaining midgets in the wrestling industry. It also let me get a good look at a close-up of Hornswoggle’s face. I was fairly surprised to see an uncanny resemblance with a bloke called Pete that I used to play poker with. He worked at a golf course until he got fired for passing out drunk in a bunker one night, without any trousers on. He was more concerned with the whereabouts of said trousers than with his employment status.

Cena forced to watch attack on his dad.

Curiously, the section of Raw Top Sellers that highlights the most downloaded bits and bobs for desktops, mobiles and such contains links to items for popular stars like DX, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Stone Cold and Maria. The photo used for this section is of Bobby Lashley. Either somebody has set their sights far too high and in the wrong direction, or else they are inexplicably confused as to what Maria looks like.

SMACKDOWN:

Which “dwarf stars” belong in the same little league as Hornswoggle?

Exactly the same as the one from the Raw section. Way to brand extend!

Batista will defend his new title against The Great Khali at No Mercy.

Oh dear lord. I do so hope it involves someone swinging on a rope. And when-oh-when do we get to see Batista hit someone with a lunchbox instead of a chair?

Matt Hardy & MVP don’t need to get along. Just that common desire to wear WWE Tag Team gold.

Hilariously, this leads to an article that describes MVP as the “Balling Superstar”. Wonderful for putting on flyers for certain unregulated adult clubs, not so good for a United States Champion.

Ashley withstands the elements and avoids elimination on episode one of Survivor: China.

The photo makes her look like a vampire with training fangs on who suffers from an eating disorder. Coincidentally, she fell victim to an illness whilst in the wilderness that let her throw up an awful lot. Hmm. This whole thing must have seemed like such a good publicity stunt way back when it started.

Theodore Long and Kristal are ready to say “I do” on Friday Night SmackDown, and special guests like the Ying Yang Twins are arriving for tonight’s star-studded wedding.

Who the f*ck are the Ying Yang Twins? If it’s nothing to do with porn, I’m not interested. Sorry, I mean, ‘special’ porn. Like that ‘special’ boy from the gym changing rooms at school, I’ll bet. Ah, yes, nothing says ‘wedding’ like prepubescent homoerotic exploration. Not that I’ve dabbled in such matters but, hey, this is Smackdown. This is relevant. Look at the announce table. One of them clearly explores for kicks, the other for giggles.

ECW:

I’m dreading this one.

As first announced on WWE Mobile on AT&T earlier this week, Kevin Thorn, Elijah Burke and Tommy Dreamer will meet in a Triple Threat Match, as the Elimination Chase to No Mercy continues on ECW on Sci Fi.

Yes, but the important thing to remember here is that we can give WWE money so they send us urgent text messages. I’d love it if somehow they sent one from Shawn Michaels that read “Hs need help bro, bring shovel & bible – again! Lol!”

WWE has come to terms on the release of ECW Superstar Marcus Cor Von.

So he had a family emergency, believed to involve his sister and her child, which led to him taking several weeks off of work and then leaving outright or being told to go away. I’m so tired of writing about stories such as these. It makes me feel like I’m some glossy-faced glam-mag scribe, bottom-feeding his way to the latest revelations about Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse and the like. Yes, that’s right, I know who Amy Winehouse is. My finger is no longer on the pulse of pop culture but sadly I can still sometimes feel its breath on the back of my neck.

Elijah Burke has said he’s a better competitor than ECW Champion CM Punk. Was he proven wrong?

In case you’ve forgotten, Elijah Burke doesn’t like CM Punk. It might have slipped your mind. Probably not, considering it accounts for 75% of ECW’s output these days but you never know.

The Miz blogs about partying with celebrities in Las Vegas during the MTV VMAs weekend.

“Miz.” “Blogs.” “Celebrities.” “Las Vegas.” “MTV.” “VMAs.” Wow, it’s pretty rare to see so many words that irritate me gathered into the one sentence.

Balls fires back at The Miz for the “chick magnet’s” ECW.com mockery of Mahoney.

What’s more surprising – that Balls Mahoney is now the secondary babyface on ECW, or that the WWE writers have stumbled backwards into a well-written storyline? True, it isn’t one that will lead to good matches or features people the audience greatly cares about. Hell, it probably won’t even make it onto PPV. Still, it’s a simple enough story that’s easy to relate to and is played remarkably straight. Weird Guy has a crush on Cute Girl. Cool Guy and Cute Girl’s Friends mock him for even thinking about it, yet Cute Girl starts to fancy Weird Guy nonetheless. Imagine if they had done the same thing with Mick Foley and The Rock ten years ago. Golden.

So, let’s see what WWE’s main reasons for watching WWE appear to be.

You should watch WWE if

You enjoy seeing Triple H beat people up to make himself look good.

You gain pleasure from looking at Jeff Hardy’s pretty hair.

You think about beating up Candice Michelle.

You enjoy mocking people who are smaller than you.

You like the idea of Randy Orton kicking people in the head, especially the elderly.

You really, really enjoy mocking people who are smaller than you.

You think that Dave Batista is the epitome of cool.

You enjoy such passive-aggressive homoeroticism as displayed by Matt Hardy and MVP.

You watch reality TV shows. In reality. Really.

You know who the Ying Yang Twins are.

You have a mobile phone but not the fiscal responsibility to limit its use.

You don’t mind not seeing Marcus Cor Von.

You can think of little better than seeing seven thousand Burke/Punk matches in 2007.

You really, really watch reality TV shows. No, really.

You hope that the girl gets Balls.

I can only claim to fit into one of those categories. Well, maybe two on a good day.

Hope that helps!


“”Mark Jindrak – the Stuart Sutcliffe of Evolution”. I love it, best reference I’ve read in ages. Although he was never actually in Evolution, right? Just filmed vignettes and stuff. I think he would have been alright, could have kept Randy Orton in a tag team for a while and therefore out of the title scene until he was anywhere near ready. I used to love WCW on Friday nights on channel 5 in England. Him and O’Haire had a kick ass double finisher – top rope frankensteiner into swanton bomb. Man, I loved those two nearly as much as I loved Kronik. I miss the shocks and surprises of WCW – and the general lameness that every wrestling promotion should have. TNA’s my new favourite. My favourite wrestling moment ever was when Scott Steiner got up out of his wheelchair and joined the amazingly cool NWO black & silver. Those guys were bad ass, apart from Jeff Jarrett. I don’t like how my two favourite promotions have so much Jeff Jarrett. He sucks. I guess I’m the type of fan not cool enough to read internet wrestling websites. I don’t care about workrate or how well someone sells, I want to see squashes and surprises. Like Kurt Angle turning up, before he took everything over and made it shit. Triple X coming back, that’s more like it. Until they got crap after about a week. I want to see stables and backstabbing to join opposing stables. I’m not stupid, promise. I just like the unexpected.

I was only going to say about Stuart Sutcliffe, but that got me on a roll. Thanks for reading, if you did. DDP was as rubbish as Jeff Jarrett as well. Please tell Aaron Glaizer to write more columns.”
– Ashley Nicholas

I did. He just seemed confused. Actually, I think we made him cry. Huzzah!

Mark Jindrak was strongly considered for the Randy Orton spot in Evolution in the summer of 2003. Orton had already developed a reputation for being injury prone at that point. He had torn his rotator cuff in November 2001, aggravated it further after a house show match with Batista in July 2002, separated it once again after joining Raw in September 2002, broke three bones in his foot in February 2003 and then further injured his ankle in March 2003. This put paid to the brief first run of Evolution, though they would reform and go from strength-to-strength soon after this point. Orton was left teaming with Jindrak at house shows, which led to further speculation that both men, who were friends with one another, would join the group. After some bland performances in singles dark matches however, Jindrak was omitted because the agents felt he wasn’t able to connect with the fans to a level that would be acceptable for the major heel force on Raw. Also, for obvious aesthetic purposes, Triple H wanted to keep the group at four members. Since Orton’s injuries had cleared up by that point (until his shoulder surgery in April 2005) they went with him. I’m sure the added bonus of being a third generation superstar helped make his case too, since it tied in so well with the evolutionary theme of the group. Still, it is odd to think just how close they came to going the other route. Even if they had let both Orton and Jindrak into the group, we’d just have wound up with a silly storyline about the two of them squabbling over the Hs affections. Disparaging young Randy can be fun but without his involvement we’d never have got that tremendous stretch of Raw episodes from November 2004 to April 2005, never have been able to see DAVE step up for that great feud with the Hs, never have seen Mick Foley’s last truly great performance, never have seen Stacy Keibler take an RKO, most likely never have seen Hulk Hogan get miffed about his SummerSlam pay-off and again break his ties with WWE and never have seen so many headlocks in our lifetime. I don’t know how many of those things count as positives or can be directly attributed to Orton’s efforts but they’re worth consideration.

Anyhoo, here are Jindrak and Sean O’Haire taking on Kronik. A match with, so far, only one dead participant! Bonus!

By the way, I don’t consider any wrestling fan who reads wrestling websites to be cool. Or anyone who is a fan of wrestling. Or anyone who reads websites. Come to think of it, I don’t consider anything or anybody to be cool. That explains one or two things about my perception of the world.


“Greetings,

Do you also feel that the Big Bossman had a better moveset than Ric Flair?

Seriously, Flair always had a limited moveset and relied heavily on established
“spots” that he would repeat in every match.

But my real question is the following: whatever happened to Pete “Duke of
Dorchester” Doherty? He was, after all, homicidal, genocidal and suicidal
before Sabu ever stepped through the ropes.”

– Sylvain Parent

Pete Doherty is a skeevy musician, a Judge Dredd artist, a deceased Irish footballer and an Australian Nobel prize winner. He was also a wrestler from Boston who start out working at a local shipyard before becoming a renowned heel jobber for the WWF, with something of a cult following in the New England area. He made an appearance at an ROH show on 16 April 2005 only for Homicide to jump him. By that I mean beat him up, not literally jump him. Homicide’s only an ickle fella after all. For his sins, he also played Klondike Kramer in No Holds Barred. All I can say about that is that in retrospect it was a far better ring name than Pete Doherty. It makes him sound like an evil ice cream van driver, out for revenge against any Germans that cross his path. Doherty was indeed ahead of the times in some respects. He was squashed by King Kong Bundy on a number of occasions, so one time he just whacked him with a chair from behind before the match started. Bundy no-sold it and turned around ready to let fly with his fists, so Doherty just lobbed the chair at him and legged it out of the ring. That’s the sort of thing that made Crash Holly rather popular at the turn of the century.

Can’t find a video of Doherty in action but that just gives us another excuse to focus on the excellence of No Holds Barred. Here’s the music video, complete with stereotypical ‘80s hair-rock and an intro and outro by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan:

Bobby Heenan: “Nobody can replace me.” Truer words have never been spoken, Brain.

I can’t find any information on Doherty’s current whereabouts. Presumably he just retired and went back to live a happy regular life in Massachusetts. He did get to win what was billed as his farewell match in Boston, defeating none other than The Genius, Lanny Poffo. I’m told it got a huge pop from the crowd, so good on him.

As for the respective movesets of Ric Flair and Big Bossman well, you may have a point there, although perhaps Bossman is not the best comparison. The thing is that even though Flair may have relied on a specific set of moves and rarely deviated from them, he knew exactly when to do them, exactly how to wrap the crowd around his little finger whilst doing them, exactly how much leeway his opponents should get from them and exactly what logical order these moves should be played out in so that they added up to a delectable whole. As the old saying goes, it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it. Although it should be remembered that Flair comes from a period when he would wrestle in different territories for different audiences and thus always seemed fresh, this isn’t something peculiar to him; it’s something that practically all the true greats of the modern game have in common. Shawn Michaels. Bret Hart. Hulk Hogan. Even *whisper* John Cena. Of course, there can be hugely adaptable ring technicians like Bryan Danielson that can vary their moveset tremendously from match to match, yet without a unique streak of charisma to filter it all through they’re never going to be able to appeal to a mass audience.


Speaking of John Cena, it may have been brought to your attention lately by several keen-minded observers that he has now held the WWE Championship for over one year. By the time this column goes up he will have surpassed not just the dark reign of Diesel in 1994-5, but the dwindling humdrum of Hogan in 1989-90 and the twisted groove of Randy Savage in 1988-9 as well. Perhaps you consider this to be a bad thing but I think it’s tremendous. Considering the WWE’s McMahon storylines have been derailed rather significantly while suspensions, injuries and Congressional investigations cast a large shadow across their shows, is there even any point in considering putting the title onto anybody else until, say, WrestleMania 24?

In case you were curious, here is the combined number of days that the longest-reigning world title holders have spent as champion. The totals take into consideration the WWE/WWF/WWWF championship, the World Heavyweight Title, plus the WCW, NWA and, just for larks, the TNA world titles too:

01/ Bruno Sammartino – 4,040 days from 2 reigns
02/ Lou Thesz – 3,749 days from 3 reigns
03/ Ric Flair – 3,744 days from many reigns
04/ Hulk Hogan – 3,362 days from 12 reigns
05/ Bob Backlund – 2,138 days from 2 reigns
06/ Harley Race – 1,801 days from 8 reigns
07/ Dory Funk Jr – 1,563 days from 1 reign
08/ Dan Severn – 1,559 days from 2 reigns
09/ Gene Kiniski – 1,131 days from 1 reign
10/ Jeff Jarrett – 1,063 days from 10 reigns
11/ Pedro Morales – 1,027 days from 1 reign
12/ Pat O’Conner – 903 days from 1 reign
13/ Triple H – 875 days from 10 reigns
14/ Jack Brisco – 867 days from 2 reigns
15/ John Cena – 783 days from 3 reigns [as of 22.09.07]
16/ Bret Hart – 710 days from 7 reigns
17/ Orville Brown – 692 days from 1 reign
18/ Buddy Rogers – 573 days from 1 reign
19/ Randy Savage – 573 days from 6 reigns
20/ Steve Austin – 529 days from 6 reigns
21/ Kurt Angle – 482 days from 7 reigns [as of 22.09.07]
22/ Naoya Ogawa – 469 days from 2 reigns
23/ Sting – 466 days from 8 reigns
24/ Kevin Nash – 456 days from 6 reigns
25/ Terry Funk – 424 days from 1 reign
26/ Shawn Michaels – 424 days from 4 reigns
27/ Dick Hutton – 421 days from 1 reign
28/ Batista – 414 days from 3 reigns [as of 22.09.07]
29/ The Rock – 394 days from 9 reigns
30/ Vader – 387 days from 3 reigns
31/ Booker – 379 days from 6 reigns

It might be unusual to list a Top 31 but Booker needs some love.

A few notes…

Arguably the man on this list who will wind up making far more money than the rest of them is at number 29, so this is by no means the sole way of measuring success.

The ridiculous treatment shown to world titles during the Attitude years can be seen in the low placing of both him and Steve Austin.

The ridiculous self-benefits of owning your own promotion can be seen in Jeff Jarrett cheekily nicking a top ten spot for himself, not to mention the Hs creeping nearer to one by virtue of shagging the boss’ daughter.

It was painful at the time but now there’s just something wholly chucklesome about Nash ranking higher than Michaels.

Ric Flair’s reigns can be broken down to include some or all of the following depending on who you talk to and how drunk they are:

01 – NWA World Champion, 17.09.81 to 09.02.82
02 – NWA World Champion, 09.02.82 to 15.01.83
03 – NWA World Champion, 16.01.83 to 08.02.83
04 – NWA World Champion, 11.02.83 to 10.06.83
05 – NWA World Champion, 24.11.83 to 21.03.84
06 – NWA World Champion, 23.04.84 to 06.05.84
07 – NWA World Champion, 24.05.84 to 26.07.86
08 – NWA World Champion, 09.08.86 to 25.09.87
09 – NWA World Champion, 26.11.87 to 20.02.89
10 – NWA World Champion, 07.05.89 to 07.07.90
11 – NWA World Champion, 11.01.91 to 21.03.91
12 – WCW World Champion, 11.01.91 to 01.07.91
13 – NWA World Champion, 19.05.91 to 08.09.91
14 – WWF World Champion, 19.01.92 to 05.04.92
15 – WWF World Champion, 01.09.92 to 12.10.92
16 – NWA World Champion, 18.07.93 to 01.09.93
17 – WCW International Champion, 18.07.93 to 19.09.93
18 – WCW World Champion, 27.12.93 to 17.04.94
19 – WCW World Champion, 24.04.94 to 17.07.94
20 – WCW World Champion, 27.12.95 to 22.01.96
21 – WCW World Champion, 11.02.96 to 22.04.96
22 – WCW World Champion, 14.03.99 to 11.04.99
23 – WCW World Champion, 15.05.00 to 22.05.00
24 – WCW World Champion, 29.05.00 to 29.05.00

It’s best not to fret about it so much. By this point I think even Triple H has given up trying to figure it out.

Let’s honour the man with his half-hour bout against Jumbo Tsuruta from All Japan in 1982:

And don’t forget to ask him for sound financial advice. I hope he doesn’t put the Figure 4 Process on the wrong account. Nothing says ‘give me your money’ like an old man in a sparkly robe. Hey, it worked for the tap-dancing blue elephant, the nodding toy pitbull, the runaway red telephone on wheels and the three singing women in shiny pink dresses in their adverts. Again, a good reason to not watch TV.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, I’ve a new Discworld novel to attend to. Enjoy yourselves, send in more questions and we shall return soon with more answers

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