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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pushing Through

Professional wrestling, what are you doing to me? I return after a long hiatus and (all humility aside) post an article that I consider to be pretty damn good. How do I follow up? Good question... In a week where XPW decided to rise from the ashes of mediocrity and hold a reunion show, Test gave his opinions on gun control, and Roadkill did something or other, I had to question. Am I back in a wrestling rut? Am I going to disappear for 4 months? Not this time. I am going to attempt to fill the void.

First, let me handle some comments from my last article:
JJ said, “Cena is the best and thanks for saying he’s a winner.”

Well, JJ, I think you’ll notice that many of my 411 colleagues agreed this week, as Cena won Wrestler of the Week voting. Let me make this statement clear right now, the fact that fans that do like Ring of Honor are considered “smart” bothers me. If you were truly smartened up to the business, you would understand that the purpose of any business is to make money, nothing more and nothing less. Eliyahu Goldratt will tell you, that is “The Goal.”

No one is truly smartened up to the business, not even Vince McMahon himself, but I guarantee you that there is no one in the world today that has a better understanding of it than him, because if they did, they would be making a few million dollars, and not armchair booking from their blogs. I think it’s great that Nigel McGuinness found his niche as a heel, and that Kevin Steen is getting a push, but there is no way that anything that ever happens to an individual superstar in Ring of Honor will be bigger than a WWE Superstar earning a main event spot at WrestleMania, and it makes me throw up in my mouth to see 411 writers voting otherwise. Are those writers really the ones who are “smart?”

Guest#3855 said, “Hardy is a loser and Hornswoggle is a winner? You’re freakin' crazy!”

Well, Guest, I am not trying to suggest that the Swag is a more important superstar. I do think that he has found his way into being one of the most popular superstars on the program and is being rewarded with a fitting spot at Mania. Hardy is probably the only guy getting bigger pops than Mr. Swaggle right now, but Hardy should be main eventing. That is why he is a loser. It’s because he broke out and became the hottest thing in the company, and he is doing the same damn thing he did last year. Obviously no one is ready to throw him into the WrestleMania Main Event yet, and whether the reason is lack of faith or politics is moot. Even if Hardy wins MITB, he will not unseat Triple H, John Cena, or the Undertaker for a World title anytime in the near future. If WWE doesn’t capitalize on Hardy while he’s hot, he will go the way of Samoa Joe in TNA. You gotta strike while the iron is hot. Hell, if the AWA had done it with Hulk Hogan, they might be the promotion left standing today.

Wally wrote, “You forgot about Batista. I'd say he's in the loser category right now. They have nothing for him.”

Actually, Wally, I didn’t forget about “The Animal.” I didn’t write about him, but I didn’t forget about him. Even now that it has become apparent that he will be thrown into a meaningless Smackdown vs. Raw showdown with Umaga, I still don’t really have a lot to say about him. Quite frankly, I think that Batista is an arrogant dickbag, and for my 50 dollars, I would like to see him put Umaga over. After all, Umaga has been doing the favor for every major Raw babyface for the past year and a half. Why not reestablish him with a major victory over a major superstar? Batista turns 40 next year. When he debuted, he was fed Kane, so that he was established as a monster. I think it’s about time to pass the torch. There is nothing gained from giving Batista another three World Heavyweight Title reigns. I am of the mindset that Batista is only in pro-wrestling for the money and the glory, and not one bit for the love anyways.

The Glide wrote, “Mad props on the Val Venis love,” and Guest wrote, “What's with the rager for Val Venis???”

I have been a wrestling fan for a long time, and the key to making money as a professional wrestler seems to be having “the look,” being able to deliver the big match, and being good on the stick. Val Venis is three for three. So what’s the problem? He was saddled with a stupid comedy gimmick, and could never break past the midcard. For the past four or five years, Venis has been used to put over anyone and everyone. A rose by any other name would have smelled much sweeter. I shuddered on the night when it was announced that any former Intercontinental Champion could wrestle for the IC title, and Sean Morley once again returned to the Val Venis name. I am sure that it gets a decent pop on house shows, the same way Scotty 2 Hotty got a decent pop ten years after the attitude era, but the difference is that Val Venis was a can’t miss prospect, that was never allowed to shine. Take off the purple tights, lose the name, lose the music and the titantron, move to Smackdown or ECW, and become a main event f’n wrestler. You are too damn good to be anything else.

Jason S. said, “Isn't it getting a little old and pointless to talk about HHH's death grip on the main event and/or title scene?”

Yes, Jason it is old. No, Jason, it’s not pointless. Triple H had his picnic reuniting DX and having some fun with buddy Shawn Michaels for a while, knowing full well that his spot at the top was only on loan. Even while “putting over” John Cena, he took every opportunity to outshine him. When Chris Jericho returned, backstage Triple H was his harshest critic. Triple H will undoubtedly one day have more World title reigns than Ric Flair, and will do whatever else is needed to massage his bloated ego, but frankly, Triple H as World Heavyweight Champion, where every Raw begins with “Time to Play the Game” and a twenty-minute NWO-Hogan-esque promo and concludes with Triple H defeating Jeff Hardy, Mr. Kennedy, and any other up and coming superstar on the roster is not something I enjoy watching. I will not be surprised if Ric Flair defeats Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania and is named number one contender, and loses his career to Triple H at Backlash. It would look nice-ah next to Kane’s mask-ah on the Game-ah’s mantle-ah.

Ok, on to new business.

Smackdown Sucktown:
It was announced that Big Show’s new home is officially on the Smackdown brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. My first thought was good. Smackdown needs some name talent. Especially after the raping they took after the last Draft Lottery. Maybe King Booker would still be in the WWE had he not been moved to Raw. Anywho, looking at the Smackdown roster page is a sad affair. Clumping in the ECW roster only gives you a brand that has Big Show, Great Khali, Mark Henry, and Big Daddy V all working the same monster heel gimmick, to take on monster babyfaces Kane, Undertaker, and Batista. No wonder I don’t watch Smackdown anymore. Finlay and Flair appear on Raw, Gregory Helms is hurt, and Edge, Victoria, MVP, and Jamie Noble are the only other Smackdown talent I remotely give a damn about. It’s almost becoming glorified developmental. Smackdown has announced My Network TV as its new home, which is much more of a coup for the network than for the program, but isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Vince takes a bite in the butt as far as the expense of the move to HD, but I guess rumors are that they can get their Thursday night timeslot back. Don’t underestimate this benefit, as I am one of many with an actual social life, who doesn’t sit at home from 8-10 on Friday’s to see Chuck Palumbo, Jimmy Wang Yang, Deuce, and Domino. Perhaps the head to head competition with TNA will also force WWE to balance their rosters a bit more. I don’t think it will take too much for Smackdown to pull high three’s on Thursday’s and drive TNA off TV.

Bush League Buttsex:
The internet was up in arms with stories of a WWE contracted wrestler appearing in the crowd of a TNA House show. It’s too bad that the WWE contracted talent was Tommy Dreamer, otherwise this could have actually been a story. The man formerly known as the “Innovator of Violence” is pandering in the most recent issue of WWE magazine to get a spot in Money in the Bank. Unfortunately for Tommy, I can think of a number of other wrestlers I would much rather see get the spot. Dreamer’s best days in the WWE were when he wore a New York License Plate version of the Hardcore title, which I can’t find a picture of anywhere (admittedly I didn’t look too hard). Team 3D and TNA’s acknowledgement of Dreamer’s presence screamed we are a distant second. I don’t foresee WWE announcing that Lance Hoyt bought a ticket and is sitting in section 222 and asking if WWE fans would wish to see him in the WWE, to which fans would respond with a rousing chorus of “who’s?” Still, I am sure that the figurative love fest between Brother Ray and Tommy Dreamer served to make both men feel better about themselves.

Mikey Whipwreck V.2.0:
Speaking of Dreamer, his protégé Colin Delaney officially signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, thus furthering the illusion that literally anyone can sign a WWE contract. Now we can count on many more pasty white teenagers showing up on Indy Shows around the country, similarly to how a number of fat hardcore white guys and guys shorter than 5’5” appeared when Mick Foley and Rey Mysterio achieved prominence. Delaney has the pleasure of being WWE’s new Zack Gowen, only the tenacious Delaney will be working with Big Daddy V, Matt Striker, and Tommy Dreamer, rather than Roddy Piper, Vince McMahon, and Hulk Hogan. Still, I gotta give Delaney props. He is living the dream. In 6 months when the storyline dries up, I will be side by side with World Wrestling Entertainment wishing him the best on his future endeavors at NAPA Auto Parts.

The Rock at the Oscar’s:
Quite frankly at this point I would prefer Oscar at the Rockers. What does that mean? I’m not sure. I guess it would be a VH1 reality show about Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels living together and having various Oscar’s over for dinner. Oscar de la Hoya, Oscar de la Renta, Oscar Gutierrez, Oscar Peterson, Oskar Schindler, Oscar Wilde, Oscar Roberston, Oscar the Grouch, whomever. Watch and Discuss. Basically, the point is, this is NOT wrestling news. The Rock is no longer a wrestler. Goldberg is no longer a wrestler. Brock Lesnar is no longer a wrestler. Chyna is no longer a wrestler. One of my biggest pet peeves is clicking to my favorite wrestling website and reading the headline that Chyna is hosting a show about Robots or Goldberg is hosting a show about cars. Who gives a shit? However, the fact that the Rock is inducting his father and grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame IS wrestling news. Unfortunately, for WWE fans who don’t like the sight of the Rock in a Tux, get ready for round two, as Dwayne Johnson will not be dropping any people’s elbows, no matter how loud the “Please come back” and “One more match” chants are during the Hall of Fame Ceremony. In fact, I would expect Dwayne to keep the charisma in his back pocket all together, as the night is not meant to honor him, but rather honor his father and grandfather. FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO THE WWE is more than out of place at such a ceremony, if you smell lalalalalala, what Tim Haught is cookin’. EDIT: I wrote my scathing editorial prior to John Cena’s comments, but I have to give props to Cena for calling out The Rock on his abandonment of professional wrestling fans. Here we are hanging on to every word he says and everything he does, and he gives us absolutely nothing. Hard not to group him with those aforementioned in my blurb.

Total Nonstop Agony:
Are you f’n kidding me? Two years after his failed attempt to be a professional wrestling manager, and two years after his 15 minutes of pop culture relevance, Johnny Fairplay is going to sign a two-year contract with TNA? I have never seen a company so proficient in killing their own momentum and wasting money. If that was not enough, TNA is punishing the Motor City Machine Guns for refusing to get color in their PPV match against Team 3D and Johnny Devine. I am not going to blindly defend the company or the Guns. The best way to analyze this situation is to rationally break it down. TNA considered this a high profile match. I will go ahead and say, sorry TNA, but if you believe that, part of the problem lies right there. Just because this angle has drug on forever, and will likely start over with a new heavyweight that hates the X Division, Team 3D and Johnny Devine vs. MCMG and Jay Lethal did not add nor subtract any buys to your pay per view. MCMG’s winning the tag titles? Sure. Jay Lethal showing what he has in a classic X Division showdown? No doubt. A watered-down six-man tag match blowing off a tired angle? Not really blade worthy. Let them save the juice for their tag title run. TNA will run an angle like this every three months, which equates to four hairline scars a year. Robert Roode, you have been feuding with Booker T. in the angle that is supposed to make your career for some time now. Prepare to don the Crimson Mask, but win or lose, don’t expect to break through the glass ceiling. TNA wrestlers better pray that they don’t start losing their hair. Oh, and as a side note, what did Lethal get for regaining his X title and being put over? A feud with Sonjay Dutt. Congrats… In more what the hell are they thinking news, Abyss is getting repackaged. Granted he’s been around for a while and they have done all the monster feuds they could do, but c’mon TNA. The Undertaker was hot for over 15 years before they repackaged him as the Bikertaker. How about you let Abyss be over and contend for the World Title. Sting left. Give him Sting’s place.

WWE, We Waste Earnings:
Speaking of wasting money, it would be unfair to castrate TNA without mentioning WWE’s decision to drop 20 million on a one-time appearance of a relatively unknown boxer. Now I see why they call him Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Makes you wonder how much Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield got paid for his SmackDown appearance a few months back. Granted he is past his prime, but at least your average person knows who he is and what he does for a living. That 20 million dollars is equally to 400,000 buys at 50 dollars apiece, and the buys have to come from non-crossover fans who like Mayweather but would have ordered WrestleMania anyways. I am surprised at how many buys his boxing pay per views have done, as I thought the sport was all but dead. Still I question how many new buys Mayweather can translate his boxing popularity into, especially since ESPN has stuck it to the WWE by ignoring the angle altogether.

Raw Thoughts:
Great to see Chris Jericho get the win en route to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. However, the crowd reaction definitely shows the discrepancy between Y2J and Jeff Hardy. Despite the fact that the win meant absolutely nothing to Hardy, the crowd was firmly behind him for the majority of the match. Don’t overate this match though. A rematch might be great, but this match was sloppy.

I don’t understand the decision to throw a plot twist into the Finlay/McMahon/Hornswaggle saga this close to WrestleMania. Finlay had alluded to a deal between him and McMahon for weeks, and McMahon always squirmed. Apparently, that has been dropped. Hopefully, JBL’s accusations end up being nothing more than a lie intended to protect him from McMahon’s wrath last night. Worst-case scenario involves a rehash of the bastard storyline and Ken Kennedy becoming a McMahon. This storyline was so hot two weeks ago. Throw in JBL and a plot twist and now its just more bullcrap.

How about DH Smith eating a fat piece of squash? I am sure there are many online who are up in arms about Bulldog’s son’s not-so-triumphant return, but it worked for me just fine. Umaga needed reestablished. DH is coming off a suspension, and the so-called can’t-miss-prospect is still young. I would prefer to see him teaming with Cody Rhodes and Bobcore Holly shipped to outer space and left there, but unfortunately I don’t own a rocket.

In my opinion, Lance Cade and Paul Birchill could end up right behind Mr. Kennedy when it comes to being the stars of the future. Speaking of Kennedy, I wouldn’t have believed they could take his awful music away and replace it with music that is more awful, but somehow they accomplished it. Keep the new music, drop the lyrics.

You want a great song? Look no further:





1 comment:

Daron Smythe said...

Mayweather is far from an unknown boxer. In fact, he is the highest grossing boxer of all time, hence the nickname "Money."

His fight with De La Hoya a few months back drew 2 MILLION buys on PPV at a price higher than any WWE PPV. It also drew a 17,000 live crowd.

In fact, after a little fact checking, it drew 2.15 million buys.

Here is a link to the article:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/18577413/

The main problem with that angle is that Mayweather was (and is) clearly the cocky heel in any situation. Big Show should be the babyface, defending wrestling against an outsider.

It's kinda like when two assholes fought each other in school. Did we care who won? Nope. Ideally, they would both get hurt but we didn't care that much about it.