Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc., 04.01.08

Who would praise the colossus of an ape? – the Marquis de Custine

Ah, the Marquis de Custine…no one bites as wittily and nastily as a gay Frenchman. But the point is made. Wrestlemania is, indeed, the colossus of an ape. And my job, as always, is not to praise…

Yes, I’ve been gone for a few months. I have no excuse save exhaustion, really. This job has been kicking my kiester ten ways to Armageddon, or another WWE PPV of your choice. That being said, it is Wrestlemania. You’re being drowned in unwarranted praise by other columnists. You need someone to tell you the truth about the four hours of crap you were force-fed by Vince. And you know the only one who can, and would dare, tell the truth is me. Therefore, you need me to come back into your lives like the walking Jeremiad that I am. In fact, since this is Wrestlemania, I’ll concentrate on wrestling and not interject things like politics into this column. Besides, I’m working on a McCain-running-mate thing right now in my head, and someday, when I get a few free moments that aren’t swamped by a feeling of total exhaustion, I’ll actually type it in.

I can do that sort of thing. I’m just that damn cool. And you’ll listen to me because, hey, I’m me, I’m far more intelligent than you, and, as said, far cooler. You’ve all been my bitches for eight years now. You should be used to enjoying the butthurt.

So, under the presumption that the only other news from the weekend is the TNA guys acting like putzes that this site will naturally have covered like fleas on a Marine, let’s take a dip into the deep, comforting pool of cynicism and negativity…

TURNING FLORIDA INTO AN OPEN-AIR CESSPIT, AS IF JEB BUSH ALREADY DIDN’T ACCOMPLISH THAT

You may wonder why I go into this ready to blast away with both barrels. “Eric,” you whine, cry, and mewl like the incomprehending 10-watt-bulb that you are, “why not give it a chance? It’s Wrestlemania!” Didn’t I tell you to shut up? The vast majority of moments at most Wrestlemanias are as pleasant as a colonoscopy. And if you’re as tight-assed as I am, that’s really, really unpleasant.

As a demonstration, let’s take our opening match. Here’s High-Quality Speaker Boy playing the heel as so few other than he can do these days. On the other side, here’s Fit Finlay, a man whose badass credentials are unmatched. They both like to beat the crap out of people. Period. Full stop. There’s your motivation right there. Two guys who specialize in excretory extraction through pummeling. But, no. That’s not good enough for WWE. There has to be an angle behind everything. And in the angle in this case is the goddamn midget, whose sell-by date expired over a year ago…oh, wait, there’s a new twist. The conflict is now over the paternity of a midget. Yeah, that’ll tack on, what, three days to the sell-by?

This angle is an act of disrespect in every way. On the one hand, there’s a guy who took his admittedly-marginal talent farther than anyone could have ever conceived and became one of the top heels and top mic men of the 2000s. On the other, possibly the best pound-for-pound pure brawler of the last twenty years. And yet someone in Titan Tower (guess who) believes that these two need a program featuring a midget.

Now you know why I’ve taken those long breaks. I still have a nice supply of good drugs that I’ve been rationing carefully until such time as I can get medical insurance again, but they’re still not enough to deal with WWE’s mind-bending, never-ending deluge of sheer stupidity. The only nice thing I can say about this is that they got the damn midget out of the way early.

As for the match, this is supposed to be Wrestlemania. So exactly how special is what, for all intents and purposes, is a hardcore match? You want something that could have been a truly great opener? Make it No-DQ, Falls Count Anywhere. If you must have this abominable angle, that’s a good way to advance it without destroying the match flow. And God knows that these two could definitely sink their teeth into a roving brawl. If you’re going to go garbage, go all the way, especially at Wrestlemania. It’s supposed to be special, after all, despite the fact that I literally prove every year that it’s not. You sheep still think that, and you’re the ones who bought the damn thing. Me, I downloaded it as usual, didn’t pay a cent, and got a good night’s sleep last night. You people are such sheep, you bottom for Welshmen.

(And speaking of Welshmen and bottoming, the season closer of Torchwood‘s gonna be a good one. Can’t wait for it. And the Doctor returns on Saturday…oh, those thoughts are so comforting as I have to confront our annual nightmare…)

Well, at least the shillelagh is legal in this one

Ah, Money In The Bank…a few years ago, a dubious proposition. Now, a Wrestlemania tradition. Who’s going to argue with it, especially with Joey and Tazz helping on the mic? The match has proved to be always entertaining despite some dubious booking on the inclusion side. That tradition also continues this year. Punk and Benjy? Sure. The rest of them? Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s vomit time. Jericho, of course, is in his own category of demigodhood (which is in my power to grant should I so choose), so he is not to be included with the others. Well, it could be worse. There could be a Hardy or two involved…oops, I spoke too soon, didn’t I? Of course Mattsy-Poo had to get involved in this one at some point. If you’ll excuse me a moment, I’m going to go find my knives and stab something.

Okay, I’m back. So I’ll have to go out today and get some wall spackle and a new inflate-a-bed, but it was worth it, believe me. I only wish that the tip of my knife could have penetrated the soft, gelatinous, giving membrane of Mattsy-Poo’s eyeball. It’s fortunate for the world, or at least that portion of the world that I could get to, that Punk won the match. Quite a large number of people are alive today due to that single fact. It wasn’t that bad of a match, either. MITB is slowly working its way toward formula (and there’s already one formula in there: Benjy will do a spot that will look like the greatest thing you’ve ever seen and/or will kill him), but it isn’t there yet. The spots flowed reasonably well this year too. So, nothing really to complain about, especially the winner. The ROH-bots spazzed, I spazzed…hey, there was a lot of spaz to go around with that result.

Well, the March sale at Home Depot was ending…

Screw the rest of the match. This is what I came here for.

This year’s Money In The Bank Kama Sutra Moment

“Brand supremacy”? Between DAVE and Jamalga? Well, I know how I can shave a little time off of covering this. It’s called “fast-forward”. I triggered pretty fast on that powerbomb that ended it. How to describe it? “Ugly as a corral of asses” just about covers it.

Yes, please, don’t let them get near each other, for all our sakes

Still not convinced that Vince still hates ECW after all this time? How about an ECW title match that not only took less time than it takes to take a leak, but less time than it takes you to shake your dick after you take a leak? That, my sheep, is hatred. And giving the belt to Kane in the current racinated state of ECW? It would have worked in old-school ECW (with a few twists here and there), but not now. ECW has verged on being a joke since its revival. Now it’s arrived.

If that’s what it takes for Kane to have a world title again…no, afraid not.

Okay, we can insert the obvious observation about Charles Robinson being the ref for the Flair/Michaels match and move on, can’t we? Good. First of all, the match itself. The booking and flow were magnificent. Michaels let Flair take control of the pace and the action and just went along with it. The sixty years of combined experience in the ring really showed. This match didn’t drag one bit, had no dead spots…I’m damning with faint praise for a change, really. These guys should know what they’re doing, especially with each other. They’re two of the five greatest all-around pro wrestlers ever. The only sadness to this match is that it should have been the main event. Not five snowflakes, but definitely in the four-and-a-half range.

Now, is Flair’s career really over? If you answered “yes” to that question, please leave the room and start banging your head against the nearest wall until your brain cells engage. Two reasons alone point to no: 1) This is wrestling, and 2) What does twenty-four plus one equal? Do you really think that we’re going to have the Silver Wrestlemania without Ric Flair involved? They’re probably already booking a six-man with DX/Flair on one side. Get real, folks.

And I’d better not hear one word from anyone about Flair no-selling Sweet Chimp Music. He’s Ric Flair. He can no-sell anyone’s finisher.

(That being said: Houston? Okay, they did Twenty at MSG, but there are other venues in their home open sewer. Doesn’t that pathetic excuse for a city have two new baseball stadia opening next year? You really don’t think that Steinbrenner couldn’t have been convinced to have the Silver Wrestlemania open his pinstriped palace? I’m confused. Of course, I haven’t been following wrestling closely lately. I’m sure there was an effort made on Vince’s part.)

That says it all, doesn’t it?

Oh, this isn’t going to end well

“My mind to your mind…my thoughts to your thoughts…”

T&A Match…as I said, I ignored it. Let’s move on, except for one note: 1bullshit Junior said that some developmental talent was used for Melina paparrazi, including Matt Sydal and…uh, oh, that pathetic suburban piece of crap who dares to state he’s from the city. Hey, two years ago, CM Punk was toting a tommy gun in support of Cena, and now he’s the Money In The Bank Winner. Can this mean that the dreams of all the mentally-deficient ROH-bots are about to come true? If so, please let it be Sydal instead. He kicks ten serious kinds of ass.

And your winner…every VD clinic in Florida!

And after the T&A came something I never thought I’d see: a Triple Threat Match where the only acceptable winner would be Trip. As everyone knows, I am consistent in my dislikes. Hence, you probably already know where my sentiments lay going into this match. Orton should never have a strap around his waist under any circumstances. Cena should be shot like a rabid dog…sorry, that was two matches ago. Let me strain for another metaphor…Cena should be hung from multiple lampposts should he ever get near a title. Hence, Trip was the only acceptable winner in this match. If for nothing else, it would be a make-up for that abortion of a main event that was inflicted on us Chicagoans two years ago.

So naturally Orton won. But, hey, it was Trip’s finisher that won it for him. Yeah, that’s some consolation. And I’m perfectly willing to get back into this full-time? God, these drugs must be good. Heavy on the Triple Threat Formula, especially eliminating Trip from the ring. That shows you how “talented” (suppress giggles) Orton and Cena are. They can’t handle complex match booking. They never could. They never will. And yet they’ve hogged that belt for the last two years to the exclusion of nearly everyone else.

I think we’ve discovered something about Trip’s ego. Yes, we know it’s mammoth. But with age has come maturity, something he almost certainly picked up from Michaels. I think he’s finally had the realization that he overdid it in the early 2000s. He believes that if he won the strap now, he’d be open for criticism from everyone that the only reason he’s won another world title is because his wife’s the booker. That could be seen as a purely ego-driven circumstance, but I think there’s something more there. He may never hold another world title as long as he’s married to Steph. And it’s his decision in this case. He’s now in a weird bind. He got everything he ever wanted. Then he found out exactly hollow those wishes were. Can an ego like Trip’s be self-abnegated? It’s between you and your Jung.

You can tell Orton was a Marine. Two shots at the target, and both of them miss.

You know, I really don’t know how to feel about this. A bit queasy, maybe.

Simple message: Floyd Mayweather is not Mike Tyson. Paul Wight is not Wife-Beater. This isn’t ten years ago. Hell, I won’t even dignify this with a screen cap. Next.

No, wait. I do have one thing to say. Poor Paul Wight. He’s the designated Wrestlemania freak show. First the sumo match, now this. Do you think he’s wishing that his injuries really were career-ending? The guy’s a humble, mild-mannered man in real life, but there’s only so much abuse mild manners and humility can take. I think he’s mentally healthy enough at this point to accept this as a payout, but how much before he snaps? I like the guy personally. I don’t want him to have to take this abuse.

Now, it’s time for next.

The only question on everyone’s mind coming into this show was whether they’d blow the Streak on Edge. Of course, Edge’s streak could be blown on UT. There was no question about that. But was Edge sufficiently important enough? Oh, come on. Ric Flair wasn’t sufficiently important enough. Trip wasn’t important enough (and that match at Wrestlemania 17, NOT X-7 OR X7, YOU ‘TARDS, is one of the most consistently underrated great WM matches of all time). Edge sure as hell isn’t important enough. And the bookers agreed.

This is UT’s sunset cruise title run that we’ve expected for a long time now. I fully expect him to have his retirement match at Silver next year (in his home state…hmmm, could Michaels be planning something similar?), probably against Kane, and go out undefeated. This should go along with a Hall Of Fame induction, now that Flair’s broken the barrier for “active” wrestlers gaining HoF entrance. If he’s announced for the HoF, you know that’s what they have planned.

Actually, that might be a good thing for him. He’s definitely gone into a mode of playing up to his opponents. Edge did a damn good job carrying him in their match, and UT responded. The last time he did something like that was against Angle. It turned into a much better match than expected. Nowhere near MITB or Flair/Michaels, of course, but not a disgrace like the mess from two years ago…oh, WWE, I will never, ever forgive you for giving Chicago three crappy Wrestlemanias. But the subject here is UT. He’ll go dog-ass for a year on us, lose the title back to Edge at some point (definitely before SummerSlam), take a two-month break around November, come back for Royal Rumble, then gain momentum heading into WM. You can probably book this in your sleep, including his feuds after he drops the title. Sometimes, you have to give them credit for being consistent. Of course, when “consistent” is equivalent to “untalented from a creative standpoint”, it’s just another cross, or holy symbol, to bear.

One of the greatest Wrestlemania traditions: the Undertaker’s entrance

UT becomes the first person in the history of Florida to take out the white trash

Of course, after the match, some people were burned by the pyro. That’s all we’ve been hearing about. TMZ has footage of it here. You’re deves, you’re going to click it. So just do it.

I will let you make your own judgment regarding this mediocre-at-best show. Of course, you’re going to love it. Have I said the word “sheep” in here enough? I’ve been doing this now for eight years. I have no illusions about what people are going to say. It’s Wrestlemania. The misplaced love is always there. So just go on and do it. But realize, in your heart, you know I’m right, and in your guts, you know I’m nuts.

And speaking of nuts, let’s see how far they went on Raw in support of this mess…

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

J. T. Gee and Shad Gaspard over GarriLance Cade and Trevor Murdoch (Pinfall, Gee pins Cade, rollup): Gee, wasn’t Shad supposed to be headed to TNA? Like, yesterday or something like that? And didn’t Cade and Murdoch once get entrances? And why are we asking these questions about those four, like they’re relevant or something?

Paul London and Brian Kendrick over Bob Holly and Cody Rhodes, Non-Title Match (Pinfall, Kendrick pins Rhodes, rollup): Hmmm, the signs were all there for a feeding. Breakup, blown singles pushes, reuniting out of nowhere (and with no entrance). And yet…oh, come on, how I am supposed to concentrate when they’re showing excerpts from a Flair/Steamboat match from ’89? That’s more distracting to a wrestling columnist than a nude nymphet nibbling your ear. Okay, that’s over now, so…I lost my track of thought…oh, yeah, I really hope for the sake of London, Kendrick, and the massive Internet BJs they were receiving during the days on Smackdown when they were going tooth and nail with MNM that this is the beginning of a push and not merely an excuse to break up Holly and Rhodes and start Cody’s singles push…oh, wait, has my cynicism exposed their plans yet again? Glad to see that I’m still in tune with WWE’s not-so-hidden plans.

Chris Jericho over CM Punk, Non-Title Match, Non-Briefcase Match (Pinfall, Jawbreaker): Okay, now I’m paying attention. My attention was not spoiled. Very nice little match indeed. No complaints at all. Jericho had to get his back from last night, and Punk pulled the Special Guest routine. So, I’m not upset over the result. After all, they were given the transition slot. Good for all of us, and since so few things WWE presents these days are, we can almost consider this a temporary detox.

Randy Orton over Matt Hardy, Non-Title Match…again? (Pinfall, RKO): And from complete and total interest, we veer right into complete and utter apathy. The mood swings are almost menopausal, and definitely palpable.

Maria Kanelis over Santino Marella, Anything Goes Intergender Match (Pinfall, headbutt to testicles…his, not hers): Well, the interference by the entire diva community was legal, so there was no problem with that. However, and let’s be honest, there are many, many of you out there for whom this was an expression of your greatest fantasy. Admit it. The truth shall make you free.

Angle Developments:

Now This Is What A Heel Champion Is Supposed To Be: Oh, man, did High-Quality Speaker Boy blow the roof off. It shows how much Orton’s refused to learn on the mic. Every time he speaks, he needs a warning crawl across the screen about how heavy machinery shouldn’t be operated during this segment. And, of course, since we can’t have good things, we have to have a Hardy show up to close the segment. What exactly is preventing us, as fans, from slitting our wrists?

Sinking Even Lower: Please go above and read or re-read the nice things I said about Paul Wight. That nonsense on Sunday followed up by Khali on Monday? What did this man do to deserve this? Don’t bring up anything in WCW; he was young and naive, Bischoff was a grandmaster blandisher, so I don’t blame him for that. Please, feel for him. Remember that a giant’s heart is larger and breaks with greater force.

All Four Humours: Boy, could you see FatDust biting his tongue and choking down the bile during that little encomium to Flair or what? It’s one of the most unintentionally hilarious things WWE has done in the past few years, at least for us old-school fans who know the whole story about those two. “So they might have patched things up,” you say, you foolish being. They’d need a patch the size of Siberia to do that.

Ten-Bell: Well, I had it ruined a bit because I caught the spoiler in re the Horsemen on 1bullshit Junior. However, this whole thing was truly beautiful, with the exception of Cena being called to the ring. By all rights, if DAVE was called up, it should have been Orton, to unite Evolution. However, the audience would have booed the crap out of him. But if that’s all I have to quibble about, then it was perfect. It’s going to be temporary, but let’s just bask in that near-perfection and be rubbed by the warm-and-fuzzies. On the rare occasions when WWE does something right, they do it right all the way. This was just right.

I’ll close this off here, except for one thing: just for kicks, and since it’s post-Wrestlemania, I will graciously allow comments to be turned on. The other writers here know how much I am opposed to comments on articles, and they’re in shock right now. I will allow this honor once. I am fully expecting you to behave like the retards you are. So go at it. Have a thrill for once in your pathetic lives. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll see you in a week or two. God knows you don’t deserve it.

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