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Bret Hart: Too Poor For Real Pants by Kendall Shields: http://davidbix.googlepages.com/realpants.pdf

 

Kevin Cook on HHH as a nuanced portrayal of a gay man:

I was reading the other gay thread and it's a real abortion. So to bring some positivity to the board I thought I'd start a thread on positive representations of gay people in pro wrestling.

 

My favorite example is Triple H. WWE gets a lot of flack for not showing long-range thinking in booking and character development, but the way Helmsley has evolved over the years puts the lie to this.

 

He debuts as a blue-blood snob, bringing a different stripper to the ring with him every week, clearly overcompensating for what went on at Groton. Soon enough he starts palling around with a leatherboy and a pre-op female-to-male tranny undergoing hormone therapy, and they have an ill-defined menage-a-trois, showing how The Cerebral Assassin has become more comfortable with his experiences and more open to exploring his sexuality.

 

Not long after this, though, like so many conflicted gay men, The Game, in a fit of self-loathing and despair, marries a (rather mannish) woman and tries to fit into a heteronormative society. At first he is able to convince himself he is happy, especially as his new wife's father is able to help him with his career, but after a traumatic incident forces him to reevaluate his life, he ends things with her. Unfortunately there is violence involved, but that's frankly pretty common in this sort of relationship.

 

At this point The King of Kings had really upped his steroid intake, which is very common among body-image obsessed gay men who aren't fully comfortable in their own skin, and he even began sporting a handlebar moustache, hinting that he felt real sadness in having missed out on the wild years of the 1970s. He went back to his old lover Shawn Michaels temporarily, but that very night he got violent with him. Soon enough he began hanging out with an aging old queen, a big Chelsea clone, and a rentboy; the four of them formed a sort of alternate nuclear family, an understandable reaction to a world that didn't understand them.

 

As had been typical for him, though, The Connecticut Blueblood tried to exert too much control. His rentboy friend wanted to strike out on his own and establish his own ties to the world; his Chelsea clone friend chafed under Hunter's controlling influence; and eventually even his aging queen friend grew sick of his heavy-handed, domineering ways. As all these relationships fell apart, our man's professional life did as well. What's his response been? It appears that the next evolution for his character will be the long-awaited establishment of a mature, mutually fulfilling relationship with his one true love, the aged leatherboy Shawn Michaels, who's turned to God in an attempt to suppress his own doubts, but appears to have accepted the Episcopalian stance on love between men and God's feelings on the matter. I'd expect there to be some tension over past instances of domestic violence and whether or not HHH can reconcile his long-held doubts on the nature of faith and come to terms with the Anglican Communion (as a Connecticut blue blood, doubtless the family that rejects his sexuality is Episcopalian), but WWE's traditionally sensitive and subtle exploration of these compelling issues should make for fine drama.

 

Looking at this dramatic arc that's taken place over nearly a decade, you have to admire Vince McMahon for showing a talent for long-term booking that even Giant Baba would admire. What other kinds of sensitive pro-wrestling depictions of the joys and sorrows of modern gay life can you think of?

Wrestling Death Apologist BINGO:

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Jose Fernandez on bad people in the wrestling business:

Jerry Lawler allegedly sodomizing 12 years old girls is something that made me hate him for years and years and I couldn't even look at him without being sick. But there's a point where I realized... it's all pro wres, nobody's a saint. The father of one of my heroes in wrestling (and a fine wrestling legend by himself) was a rapist, my all time childhood idol is an asshole who gets a kick out of belittling people, and in my top 100 there's sexual weirdos who fucked young hairless boys at the arena showers, known drunks who put other people's life in danger several times, legit lunatics, coke fiends, alleged rapists, somebody who threw a hooker off a hotel window killing her, somebody who was drunk and ran over an old man also killing him, a guy who did porn with a "female" swedish bodybuilder, several guys who left their families to marry girls "in the biz" (and one of those guys started "dating" her when she was 16 or so), one of the pioneers in bringing coke to the lucha locker rooms and allegedly getting hooked many guys who would eventually become dangerous junkies and/or murderers, etc.

 

VIVA PRO WRESTLING~

TomK on the Memphis TV format:

This is a most falls in the TV time remaining match. It is a goofy match format that is going to show up a bunch on these sets. Memphis TV show was really straight forward in presenting itself as a TV show. This wasn’t a taped wrestling show in a studio but rather a TV show with a set format announced at the beginning of each show. Time had been set aside for interviews, individual matches, etc. Often times guys fuck up the format as guy will interrupt something that had been set aside for something else. Lance Russell is stuck in position of put-upon Kermit the Frog trying to run a smooth TV show if it wasn’t for these crazy Muppetts.

 

Last match on TV show is worked as TV time remaining match. Take headline guys and put them in a match with no stipulations or titles on the line. Depending on how the rest of show went this match will go long or short. Sometimes it will have multiple falls sometimes no falls, etc. But it’s a match designed to fill the end of TV time. In Memphis you will never get, the “sorry you can’t see the end of this match, we’ll tell you next week” main event. The match is made for the TV format. These are matches that will sometimes feel pointless. In kayfabed terms these are wrestlers who have been booked to wrestle with nothing except their pride on the line. These are matches that will sometimes feel rushed. Again in kayfabed explanation they are wrestling till the expiration of time and don’t have time to slowly lay out a game plan.

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Of course he got banned. Why, look at his final post.

 

I know this sounds ridiculous, but...

 

Has Santo's relative lack of bookings compared to the past led to any rumblings that he'd consider dropping his mask for a ridiculously huge payday?

Jerk. Who says something like that? A guy who's on THIN ICE, that's who. AND THAT ICE JUST MELTED.

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Wasn't there a "Jerry Lawler isn't very good" thread started on DVDVR years ago? I remember some real gems being in that thread.

Don't think it was the purpose of the thread, but a few things Resident Evil got involved in went that way. Anyway, I think that's all lost to time in our post-NSW world.

 

As to the topic at hand, can't talk about the greatest things written on wrestling message boards without talking about TomK's TNA workrate reports. Let's revisit some of the greatest hits, shall we?

 

Episode#1:

~WELCOME TO THE SERRENGHETTI!!!!- Alot his changed since I last regularly wrote about this promotion.

 

Back then Ron the Truth Killings was the real out of nowhere star. In 2002 Ron “the Truth”Killings was working the gimmick of being an "Uppity Negro" demanding an immediate end to racism and reparations for past crimes. He was so over with the Nashville crowd with that gimmick that the fed really had no choice but to give him the belt. He was booked as a heel.

 

Ricky Steamboat was working as authority figure who felt that the solution to race problems require a more gradualist approach. He was booked as a tweener.

 

Monty Brown was working a Booker T Washington/Armstrong Williams/Stephin Fetchit gimmick argueing that Blacks needed to stop asking for others to help them and just work to do the best they could while just being thankfull for the opportunities that Whites give them. He wasn't particularly over. He was booked as a face.

 

Two years later:

 

The Fed has moved form the Nashville ASYLUM to Orlando.

They wrestle in an eight sided ring instead of a four sided one.

 

Killings is a babyface, nowhere near the title, he keeps his mouth shut and lets the lighter skin folk in his tag team do the talking for him and dances and smiles.

 

Steamboat left TNA spent some time working backstage with ROH, where he was credited with helping to slow down the ringwork to make it a less spotfest based promotion, he then went on to work as road agent for WWE.

 

And Monty Brown is doing "Ooga-booga" jungle mic work and is really really over babyface. Something reassuring about Monty Brown still working self-hating Black man as babyface gimmick. In wrestling, somethings don't change.

Episode #3:

Weird. Weird. One of the strategies I have for writing about this kind of show is to just write a ton and edit away what I think is unnecessary. So in my critique of the first episode I wrote a long thing about how bad the video packages are for this promotion. Talked a bunch about how shitty the fake Clash of the Titans stuff was. The point I was trying to make is that portraying wrestlers as mythic archetypes instead of as human beings is shitty Battledome, Kinghts and Warriors, American Gladiators stuff. Who identifies with Cyclone, gets an emotional connection with Gemini, is upset when Laser stops appearing and titanium takes his place? I originally wrote this long thing about how they need to fire the ex WWF guy and bring in some Swedish Lars Von Trier follower…and how Dogma could save wrestling as their would be no more blown up cars, casket riding, no more magical moving sets (van Gogh that moves from Bischoffs office in each town they work)…TNA is wrestled in one studio in one area, give me some local color to help me care about these guys instead of making me feel like I am anywhere in the world I want to know that I am in Orlando…I proposed that a Dogma director would say fuck this to the THESE ARE THE WARRIORS OF THE FUTURE stuff and instead do a single camera shot in a local Orlando church maybe of Aj Styles seething at Gail Kim for being inappropriately dressed in a house of worship. I had written that it would be far more compelling than these shitty “THIS IS THEIR DESTINY”” stuff. Than I cut that whole thing out as felt it was unnecessary. Figured the Bill and Ted’s reference would get the idea across without the long tangent into Swedish Olympian Frank Anderson fantasy booking… So in episode three they do a video package from a local funeral home filmed single camera style and it does more to get every character across than any of the Sadhai video packages. It was appropriately tasteless and heelish…never felt a sense of cool heels as much as tasteless heels and neat how Jarrett really allows himself to play a secondary character here letting everyone else get their characters across. I would have liked a Frank Anderson appearance, perhaps playing the Hammond organ as I was unsure of where the music originated from…but minor complaint. None of the matches make the what worked column this week but this does...Dogme will save wrestling I tell ya.

Episode #8:

GAWD is Gail Kim useless. I could understand using Kim if it was an attempt to leverage Doug Basham into leaving WWE…but couldn’t you leverage him with, you know, money. Her interference is normally blown. Her acting is terrible “I don’t trust Larry”. I mean she’s just awful on the mic. Her line reading in the scenes with her threatening Tenay or Zbysco would be unacceptable in an elementary school production. I once saw an all Down Syndrom production of a play that the kids and adults in the group had written themselves developed out of improvisational exercises. Kim caused more wincing and embarrassment. Actually made Tenay and Douglas look like master thespians in comparison. I mean they got rid of Athena for her? How much are they paying Kim? TNA is located in Orlando. Fucking Orlando. It’s not like it’s hard to find Korean girls with implants in Orlando. You should be able to find one who can act.

Episode #9:

-Wowza was that the least gritty "look at this guys gritty background" video package ever? I mean Detroit. De-fucking-troit!!! It shouldn't be hard to find depressing shots of urban decay and neglect in Detroit. Instead they do a birds eye view of shockingly clean empty abandoned lots that leave the viewer going "wow that sure is a lot of picturesque open space." Rhino tells me his life was so tough "My mother had to work...wait wait it's not the fifties anymore...she had to work two jobs...wait it's 2005 everyone works two jobs...she had to work three or four jobs that's the ticket. Look where I trained had exposed beams...EXPOSED BEAMS...it was tough and gritty like a Chipolte restaurante." I don't understand what kind of idiot booker would watch the first year of ROH and decide to copy the "you violated the code" angle and not the "all that's left of my childhood hangout is this rubber chicken".

 

-UGGH. GAWD is Gail Kim useless. I could understand using Kim if it was an attempt to leverage Doug Basham into leaving WWE…but couldn’t you leverage him with, you know offers of money or a push. TNA is located in Orlando!!!! They are an hour away from Gainesville. Have they surveyed the local community colleges. They are brimming over with fake titted Koreans whose only goal in life is to be a bar maid in Panama City. You got to figure some of those girls are in the theatre department and can actually semi act. Even if they can't act..I imagine they can do better than Gail Kim's line reading. I mean it's Florida. I mean I realize they had a hard time finding good shots of decay in Detroit but still. Urban blight is to Dertroit what fake titted girls are to Florida. Hooters started in Clearwater Florida. There are as many Hooters in Florida as their are Starbucks in the Northeast. I'm sure there are at least 15 Annie Kims who can half convincingly say "you guys seem really cool. I'm so glad you guys came in. Everyone else here today was really boring" and yet they are paying Gail Kim to struggle to say "Christian Cage you made the wrong choice". If Gail Kim is working for free then I could see justifying it. But otherwise it's Florida I'm sure there are a ton of bars who would pay to provide TNA with eye candy...Don West is an ex home shopping guy I know he could squeze in the plug..." No not like this !!!Damn that Jenny Kim, who can be seen tending bar every Thursday at Da Party Shack... girls 18 and over, boys 21 to enter. Friday's is foam night."

Episode #11:

“Baroquely gruesome bloody chunks of flesh”….Bah? Goth poetry that shitty won’t even score you the fattest Dead Can Dance fan. I really don’t get the appeal of Mitchell. When Mitchell disappeared for a while and Slash and Cobain did their own mic work it so smoked Mitchell’s mic work. When TNA stopped using Mitchell and Slash, Meltzer was apoplectic complaining about how they were missing the boat on Mitchell and how great Mitchell was. Not a word about Wolfie D…but somehow the Sinister Minister was the great talent that TNA was making a mistake by not holding onto. Week after week Meltzer puts over how great Mitchell is on the mic…and I don’t see it. He doesn’t have the timing down right for his ringside interference so all that he has going is his look and mic skills. I’ve been watching Smackdown regularly and am pretty impressed with Marty Wright. He has really good intensity in his facials and great bass voice for his singing. Outside of the Rey/Eddie angle the Boogeyman’s bits are the only wrestling things that kids talk about. Does anyone think Mitchell is anywhere near as good as untrained Wright? Don’t get me wrong when WWE eventually releases Wright I don’t want to see TNA picking him up to work a jacked dark skinned Sinister Minister gimmick. Nope I don’t want to see that. He does have a nice bass singing voice is jacked and has good intensity…if they gave him some dental fronts I could see TNA giving Wright a Paul Robeson gimmick where he re-politicizes Killings. That could actually rule.I'd enjoy seeing that. Even if done poorly that would smoke this "baroquely gruesome chunks of flesh"stuff. Can someone buy Mitchell and Raven some better written comic books to rip off? Someone needs to tell them the Warren mags are remembered for the art and not the writting.

Episode #12:

Like I mentioned on the top side the managers/seconds in this fed are really amateurish. But when all in the ring together it was just glaring. I mean Damn with the exception of Simon Diamond this really is a fed filled with awful awful seconds. I mean damn. “Ravens, Rhinos, and dumb beasts of the Serengeti”… Bah? Goth poetry that shitty won’t even score you the fattest Dead Can Dance fan. (yeah I’m gonna keep on telling that joke until I troll Dean into sharing his fat girl in alley behind a Peter Murphy concert story), “Ravens, Rhinos, and dumb beasts of the Serengeti”…Really? James Mitchell is calling other people out for having cheesy gimmicks? Mitchell really is the dad who wears a shitty elaborate Devil costume on Halloween where his nine year old thinks it’s cool but his twelve year old is just embarrassed. Scott DÁmore isn't even a poor man's Percy Pringle. He's a poor man's Royce Profit…Guys aren't fit to shine Nate the Rat's shoes. And then there's Gail Kim. Has Gail Kim always been this cross-eyed? I mean I’ve written a lot about how useless Gail Kim is but this is first time I noticed how ridiculously cross-eyed she is. Has she always been this cross-eyed or did she just buy Navin R Johnson brand fake lashes? They’re working some angle where Kim is upset because she thinks Jarrett cheated on her with Jackie Gayda? That makes no sense at all. Gail Kim is so cross eyed she looks at Jarrett and sees the Fabs. “Baby, baby calm down. That was Lane you saw with Gayda. You know me baby…the Gator's heart is only big enough for one woman...and she's you."

Episode #13:

WHAT IN FUCK HAPPENED TO TRACI BROOKS FACE????? I mean I'm not naive. I understand that wrestling is self destructive career and I've seen how it prematurely ages people but still...Traci Brooks always had a strong jaw but she once had nice soft cheeks, and sparkly eyes...but no more. Her face now looks like a mannish Leona Helmsley. Not even curent Leona Helmsley but Leona Helmsley ten years into the future. It almost looks like she deliberately made her face into that...Outside of HHH is there anyone who fantasizes about Charles Bronson in drag? Does Traci think HHH is going to give up his current trannie? I mean maan. What the hell happened?

Episode #15:

-Speaking of meaningless taunts. You know I’ve talked a bunch of trash about Christian’s fashion obsessed taunts. And I want to make it clear that its not that I don’t think wrestling angles can’t be built around aesthetic arguments. I really liked the Rap v. Country feud in WCW. I mean of course it was a different time. It was post Cold War, pre War on Terrorism and economy doing well enough that people were able to build their identities around aesthetic purchases and were really loyal to those purchases. At the time I thought the feud was the future…a world where Brad Armstrong and Kendall Windham feuded over the merits of NO rap vis-à-vis Dreamworks style Country, where Al Snow and Val Venis would feud over the merits of representational v. abstract art. It's 2006 and a different time. Nationalism means more to peoples identities than their artistic choices these days (although I can’t think of a successful nationalism based angle in last 5 years) but I still think you can build angles in 2006 around artistic choices. That said the choices need to be really clear. You can feud rap v. country, representational v. abstract art, neo-grunge slob apparel v. glam fashion. You can’t build your feud on artistic distinctions that are too small. Can't feud Atlanta Bass vs. NO bounce. What Christian does which is try to build a feud on boot cut v. straight leg jeans is stupid. But for however stupid that it…not as bad as this weeks Jarrett mic work based on making distinctions between different modern country artists. Jarrett accused Sting of being so uncool that he listens to modern country that appeals to thirty year old suburban housewives instead of listening to modern country that appeals to twenty year old suburban housewives. “You used to be cool and listen to Aaron Tippin CDs…but now you’re content to buy Montogomery Gentry CDs”…oooh BURN!!! WORST WRESTLING TAUNT EVER!!! You can't build a feud around that.

 

-So if you’ve been reading these or watching the TNA you know the best angle on TNA has been the 3LK/4LK dissolution storyline with everyone involved delivering strong mic work and this nice slow build. Did a nice enough job laying the foundation for the story with the sports entertainment segments that I thought when the actual turn came it would be meaningful enough to make you want to see the matches and give them the kind of heat they need. I wrote last week that I thought they kind of blew the turn. This week really felt like they ruined it. How do you do such a good job building towards a climax and then go and blow the climax? Last week they did the beating of Bullet as a backstage angle which lessens the impact, this week they needed strong face mic work to reinforce that what the heels did was truly beyond the pale.

 

Ron Killings grabs the mic:

 

”You know I wasn't gonna be a part of all this. Crew was done. Family was over as far as I could tell and I was on my own. But after what Konan did to Bob..I mean he let you in his home. He let us all in his home. Kip here ain't blood of him but he's adopted the name James. I ain't blood of his neither but until he's out of the hospital..I too am gonna take the James name. And Ron The Truth James is gonna beat a mudhle in you in his name"

 

or you just do BG:

 

“When I was young I thought my dad was superman. Thought he was the toughest man alive. He was the fighting fireman and he had some wars in the ring, absolute bloody wars from one end of the South East to the other. He had chain matches, cage matches, boot camp matches and he’d be hurt. Wrestling is a hard life. He’d be hurt bad but never show the pain. Had too much pride. Had his face destroyed and had to be surgically rebuilt. Never showed the pain, never broken…but last night I saw him lie in the hospital after what you did to him. Not even in the ring…you didn’t even have the balls to attack him in the ring but on the street like a common thug. Saw him in the hospital and he looked broken. Not just physically broken but he trusted you…let you share Thanskgiving…held his hand in prayer before we ate…You tried to break my dad…and I swear on all that is Holy that I will break you.”

 

Might be better to just have it be BG as you want to start the angle with James bros consistently outnumbered...that way you can build to them trying to recruit a third partner. I guess you could do the Flair goes to Blackjack's ranch angle and have BG recruit a Fuller to fill out the trio...”I know my dad and my family and your family haven’t seen eye to eye. Our families been feuding for decades but their was some respect behind that feud and there is a bond in the blood that we’ve spilled together”…or you have BG go to Ole’s house to recruit CW or Roger “Ole I know you and my dad haven’t always seen eye to eye and the two of you took years off each others lives, and you’re family and my family have some issues. But I was down on the Fuller ranch and I couldn’t appeal to their sense of loyalty to your rivals. And then I thought to myself well I should go to the Anderson ranch, cause if I can’t appeal to Ole with that I can always appeal to his racism.” You could have Fuerza “the Mexican man of honor” repay the blood debt. You could also just bring in any of the other Armstrongs to fill out the trios feud. You do the trios matches for awhile and in best of all possible worlds you eventually bring in a recovered Bullet and an older Puerto Rican(Pierroth or Gypsy Joe) to set up the 8 man brawls. Well anyways enough of fantasy booking…the point is they did the climax to the angle last week and they needed to do mic work this week to reinforce the importance of the climactic act. Instead Konan comes out and intros his Latino Xchange with Apollo and Homicide. They beat up Naturals and Kip and BG make the save for the Naturals.

 

Yep the James Boys aren’t upset that the Latino Xchange lured Bob into a mugging…they’re just faces coming out to stop heels from taking advantage of a couple undercard babyfaces. Shitty. This felt Invasion, Bret hart in WCW or Goldberg in WWF levels of blown. They might be able to recover the angle but this was a screw up.

Episode #16:

AW man this is a show that really points out the weakness of the "what worked/what didn’t work" format. It’s a format that doesn’t allow for the “thumbs in the middle” response. As this was show where really felt like all the "what worked" parts had enough flaws that I could see putting them on the "what didn’t" work side. Maybe I should split this "What's Ok" and "what's inexcusable"...Bah! And we start our thumbs in the middle section with “Hey Kids Its Squashes!!!”. Jay Lethal is good firey guy who eats a quick squash well. And Joe is good with his squashes and ex-Hot Shot Cassidy O’Reilly eats an atomic drop like no bodies business. I mean watched that Samoa Joe squash and went “HOLY SHIT look at that atomic drop.” Still at this point Joe and Abyss are long since established and I’m tired of seeing them in squashes. Give me real matches…this is another area where my proposal of more trios matches could help. Mix these guys up some. I’m tired of both Lethal and O’Reilly as squash material too. O’Reilly has really been with the fed since the beginning and was one of highlights of the fed during the Hotshots v. AMW period. A Lethal vs. Cassidy O ‘Reilly match could be really great and help make either guy. Instead I’m watching a squash where Reilly gets no offense. Shannon Moore steals Aj’s plaque. Not even a trophy but a plaque. They couldn’t afford a trophy? Stealing a trophy, smashing a trophy …that’s a wrestling angle. Stealing an employee of the month plaque and waving it around…that’s what the asshole cashier at Chick-Fil-A does to the suck-up cashier. Then post match Christopher Daniels runs in wearing his Target plaid shirt looking like a manager at Chik-Fil-a. I felt like I was watching wrestling angle built around the latest Ryan Reynolds movie. I mean I watched Ultimate Fight Night. I saw Spike trying to cross-promote "Blade… The Series" with UFC. Chuck Liddell’s gonna be a vampire and Spike is using an ex member of Onyx to play the Wesley Snipes role. Watching this match made me worried that they’re going to have Joe play the Luis Guzman role in "Waiting at Shenaniganz…The Series". Don't wan to see that. Sticky Fingaz is gonna be playing Blade???..The opening theme song is gonna be “BlacVampirafinda”????

 

Every week you think you’ve seen the peak of awful Jackie Gayda mic work, and then she goes out and tops it. This week they went all out and had her interact with Shane Douglas and Scott DÁmore. At the same time!!! Is this a rib? Wow that Jackie Gayda back stage segment was painful. I mean I guess they should be commended for putting Dámore and Gayda in one section together. Concentrate all the suck in one place. But it would be smarter to have neither on the mic than put both on it together. You know I shit on Vince Russo as being one of the stupidest bookers in the history of wrestling. But he had this idea that you could just take professional actors and with minimum of training plug them into wrestling angles. People pretty universally mocked him for this idea. But you watch Raw and Thea Vidale is really the best thing on that show. With no wrestling experience she seems to be a better second than Dámore or Mitchell. Watching Jackie Gayda, I couldn't help but think "you know Adele Givens has big tits and a horse’s face put her in the same outfit and I’m sure that she could have pulled off this backstage skit". It's TNA they might not be able to afford her but still. There must be an Onyx back up dancer who could do better than Gayda. I mean you don't need to be Adele Givens to do better than Gayda. Fuck is there a Comedy Sportz in Orlando? Any three guys from the Orlando Comedy Sportz could do better than this segment..

Episode #17:

Wow the whole first thirty five minutes of program is built around them promising to bring out Sting and then they say “ Whoops he’s not coming this week…tune in next week”. That’s some sub-WCW shitty booking. I mean there is promising and not delivering and there is promising and not delivering. You build whole show around a promise you don’t deliver?? Christian then comes out and does a Roddy Piper level hack joke, Jarrett comes out and I thought he was about to tell a really really filthy joke. But then changes the punchline so it doesn’t even make sense. Three things can promise “If I owe you money, it’s in the mail. If not there it’s on the way, and Sting will be there next week”…”Sting will be there next week”?? How do you replace “I won’t come in your mouth”with “Sting will be there next week”? There is bowdlerizing jokes and there is bowdlerizing jokes…Guy goes into a talent agency and says “Do I have an act for you, see in this act Sting doesn’t show up.” Its not funny…But still punchline is don’t trust this promotion to deliver Sting to you next week either. You promise something and don’t deliver it, then harp on how you failed to deliver?? I was amused by following up the 35 minutes of teasing Sting and not delivering with teasing Chris Jericho…Hey we might get Chris Jericho or be stuck with just Christian. HA! HA! Got you again.

 

Yowza was that a lot of Shane Douglas this week. I thought the acting in those investigative reporter Missy Hyatt wants to get into locker room skits was bad. But damn Shane Douglas acting makes Missy look like Dame Judi Dench. I’m not sure how good or bad the AJ Styles, Daniels mic work was…I thought AJ might be working insincere subtle heel (which would be cool since AJ makes a great heel) but who the fuck knows as Douglas was mugging all the way through that and I couldn't focus. I mean if Douglas is supposed to be some sort of Steven Colbert/Gary Gnu type of overbearing reporter than he shouldn’t be doing interviews for non comedy stuff. Missy scenes only involved her trying to get a peak at Zenk’s junk, not interviewing people in blood feuds. At one point in the show I swear Shane said "Something smells rotten to the Franchise". Oh yeah speaking of comedy, when exactly did Larry Zbysco become Mr. Roper?

Episode #18:

YOU STILL GOT IT!!!

YOU STILL GOT IT!!!

I mean Sting was never known for his dynamic mic work so you get what you pay for but…

 

“YOU STILL GOT IT” may be the worst chant in the history of bad wrestling chants.So when Schneider first proposed the 80s project I wasn’t really interested and I offered a counterproposal of doing a 80s studio wrestling project. When I think of 80s US wrestling what I think of is studio wrestling. As a lot of what is available is either footage of complete studio matches (or TV matches from Irish Boys and Girls club, etc) or clipped arena matches. I was watching a lot of Joe Blanchard’s promotion at the time and struck by how much more I was digging the studio matches which were worked really tight to the looser arena matches. Thinking about the difference between un-amplified string band and or jazz music and arena bands and what not. People have written a lot nostalgically about studio wrestling angles but I haven’t seen alot written about the actual way matches were worked in studios…the difference between WWE,FLA, Memphis, Georgia, SE Texas studio matches. And really thought it would be interesting thing to look at from today’s perspective as studio wrestling is completely dead at this point with the exception of Memphis and TNA. So the point is I like me some studio wrestling and think that there are some advantages to the form. I’ve written in the past that I don’t think that TNA takes advantage of these. I’ve written that one of the advantages of broadcasting from same location instead of being a touring SUPERSHOW is the possibility of local color. I’ve written about Dogme. They’ve ignored that idea of local color. I think on some level I’ve been alone in that criticism. As Meltzer and the sheet writers all were really impressed with the look of the show and the move from Nashville Fairgrounds to Universal Studios. Russo was on WOL the other week mocking the old Nashville Fairgrounds and how there were farm animals out back. In the latest Observer writing about MTV’s search for wrestling commentators Meltzer wrote: “Every time I’ve seen a TV company get into wrestling and attempt to hire based on look with no regard to ability to do the job, you end up with game show looking wrestling that has no heart and nobody cares about.” And listening to the Universal crowd chant “YOU STILL GOT IT” really felt like I was watching a game show looking wrestling promotion that has no heart (and I really don’t care about)…actually less like a gameshow and more like a infomercial as “YOU STILL GOT IT” feels like something the studio audience would shout at Ron Popeil as he shows them a new invention. Popeil would show them the new RONCO product and on cue “YOU STILL GOT IT!” “YOU STILL GOT IT!!” And while nothing inherently wrong with infomercials tonight’s’ episode really wasn’t as dramatic or entertaining as most Popeil ones.

 

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE..

Episode #20:

-PPV airs Sunday. SUNDAY. This show airs Saturday and repeats the Monday after the PPV airs. This show did a really good job heating up a couple angles for the PPV. But you don’t do the big DVON gets bloodied and Dudleys want revenge under 24 hours before PPV. You don’t do the big Christian wants belt under 24 hours before PPV. It just all seemed a week too late. You do this a week ago and then recap it this week. Hey remember when the slow dissolution of 4/3LK was the hottest thing going in this promotion? The big challenge match is in under 24 hours and no video recap? Nothing? Nothing! I mean they’ve fucked than angle up so much that I can’t imagine a video package could save it but still. They did do a nice job of over last 4 weeks constantly building the 3 way and Abyss v. Rhino. But thats been only thing they've tried to sell. Still this was first time watched episode where felt like they really wanted to sell the PPV. It's more than a litle late to be start selling it now. Comes off amature. Like an indy promoter who spends all his time booking a show and never bothers to put any energy into advertising.

Episode #21:

Cool, Christian won the title and he puts over the history of the title and its prestige. And then he goes and does the whole whiny I was held back “shoot” talk that every champion these days now feels they have to do. AWWW poor HHH, he should have gotten the title years ago should have gotten it conception if it wasn’t for people behind the scenes. Aww poor Shane Douglas. Aww poor Christian. You got the title cause you beat your opponent. You’ve been working toward getting the title for your life, you get opportunity and you rise to occasion. How hard is it to say that? Why does one need to talk about promoters not thinking that you’ve got “it”? TNA crowd surprises me by not starting a chant.

 

The “heel”stable LAX comes in with Homicide wearing a T-shirt advertising the Puerto Rican wrestling magazine, and Machete waving a Puerto Rican flag. They’re wrestling Immigration Officers? LAX is a Puerto Rican stable. Is La Migra supposed to be a face gimmick in FLA?? Keeping the Cubans safe from the dirty Haitians?? I mean LAX are Puerto Rican's not Mexicans. PUERTO RICANS!!! Puerto Ricans allied with the evil INS to keep the rest of la RAZA down would make sense. In a match opposite them is confusing. The crowd is chanting “Where’s your green card?”!!!! So La Migra are faces? They’re chanting “where’s your green card”at Puerto Ricans?? On commentary “someone needs to send these guys across the border”. Yeah you send Puerto Ricans to Mexico and the Mexicans will fuck them up!!! Is Don West suggesting that the James Boys need to bring in Mexicans to help them war with the Puerto Ricans? Cause that could be cool. Or does Don West think Puerto Rico is not part of US? This match stank Machete worked majority of it and came across as poor man’s Apollo. I mean there are a ton of Puerto Rican wrestlers out there, how did they choose this schlub. Where is Suba? Suba wouldn’t return TNA’s calls? La Migra looked pretty bad as well. And match made the fans, the bookers and the announcers come off as being ignorant of basic Junior High level geography.

Episode #22:

Why are the heels forcing Jackie Gayda to dress like a trampy chimney sweep? All the guys get together at Russo's house to talk buisness. Disco sees Russo's daughter's Mary Poppins DVD sitting there and tosses it in the player:

 

Disco: Super calli fragilistic expialadocious. Supercali faragilistic expia lie docious...

 

Vinnie Ru: See I don't get this movie. Why are Jane and Michael not schtupping? Their brother and sister after all. Thats what families do. How am I supposed to buy them not schtupping? Plus if this bankers wife wants to be all liberated why is she not showing her tits? Shes in a full length dress all covered up. How is that liberated?

 

JB: That Dick Van Dyke . He's so dreamy. I love those Euros. He's like a more rugged Galliger brother or Jarvis Crocker, you know. Oh you handsome chimney sweep.."I wish I could sleep with common people"

 

Disco: umm didleiddy iddy umm diddle eye umm diddle...

I MEAN WHAT IN HELL'S NAME WAS JACKIE GAYDA WEARING? That wasn't a French maid outfit. You can get a "sexy" French maid outfit at any costume store in Orlando. She was dressed like a trampy chimney sweep. It was all soot colored with the weird cut of shirt arm pieces. Did thye have to get that custom made? I mean is trampy chimney sweep a standard stripper costume in Orlando? I read the Radar article about the Backstage sexcapades at Disney World. I could see being next to Disney would make folks get weird fetishes. But striptease to the tune of Chim-Chminey? Chim Chimeny Chim Chimney Chimney Chim Chim Chiree a Sweep is as lucky as lucky can be! Who fantasizes about a sexy chimney sweep? I mean I can understand a fantasy about forcing your medicine down Julie Andrews throat. "UH UH UH YEAH SWALLOW THAT SPOONFULL OF SUGAR, BITCH!" That makes sense. But fetish costume based on someones fantasy about Dick Van Dyke cleansing your chimney??? Really? How much booking power does Borash have?

Episode #23:

God the whole roster were trolling Fla. tanning salons in hopes that they might meet Vince and convince him that it was okay to touch them. A1 is part of a Canadian team…where their whole gimmick is that they're from Canada and he looked darker than Sonjay Dutt. Gail Kim is Korean but looked too dark to get a BET job. Borash looked Pakistani. The two of them standing next to each other looked like twins in the Khmer Rouge.

 

“WHAT’S UP! WHAS UP” Ouch. When it comes to directors Uncle Pooty is no Dr Teeth. And damn is Ron Killings flow bad. I’m not sure whether he was trying for a fake Keek Da Sneek flow or a fake Project Pat flow or maybe a combination. Whichever it was he didn’t pull it off. Instead he came across as though he was out of breath. I mean Big Pokey doesn't get winded. Killings is an athlete he should have better wind than Big Pokey.

I'll probably dig through the archives more later.

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Wade Keller's NEW CONCEPT FOR TNA summarized:

 

For those of you who don't have access to the original article, or those who have access but aren't foolhearty enough to read through that whole stupid thing, here's some easy to digest bullet points to sum it up.

 

-Wade asserts that TNA is in a pretty sad state. Sensible enough.

 

-Wade goes on and on and on for what feels like 80 pages with warmed over analysis of why things aren't working out to well. He also has added an extra layer of wishy-washiness to this, making frequent refernces to how their current strategy might work anyway, or not, who knows?

 

-During this, he re-establishes a theme from a recent piece about the "Fire Russo" chants, reminding us that all of the stupid stuff that TNA does is because of Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantel. Vince Russo is in every way flawless and faultless. He is hip and with it, as evidenced by writing a show with the first joke about a Malcom X shirt in 15 years. Although I guess that was something Jarrett or Mantel, as apparently TNA is paying Russo to do literally nothing if we're to believe any of this.

 

-Wade eventually takes his mountain of analysis and concludes that TNA is failing because they are trying to compete directly with the WWE, rather than carving out their own identity. They are trying to out-WWE the WWE, and it makes them look second-rate.

 

-Wade begins to lay out his solution: TNA must differentiate themselves from the WWE, thus avoiding being seen as a WWE knockoff.

 

-TNA must instead try to present themselves as being similar to UFC, so that viewers can see them as being a UFC knockoff. Okay, he didn't actually say that, but that is the obvious final step in the logic he presented. He never makes it, but if he was smart enough to do so, he wouldn't have written this in the first place. At no point does he mention that every single successful worked shoot promotion in the history of worked shoot promotions happened before the rise of Pride FC and the beginning of the MMA boom. At no point does he mentioned that the one promotion that tried to seriously incorporate shoot aspects into their worked promotion after this period took a major financial hit for doing so, and the guy who spearheaded it got turfed out after heading up the promotion for the better part of 30 years. At no point during any of this is any compelling evidence put forward that this anything but the smarkiest of smark pipe dreams, a desperate grasp for credibility for something that was never meant to have it. On the plus side, stupid people on the internet are really, really funny.

 

-"That means presenting each wrestling match with state-of-the-art moves that look like two people engaged in an actual, realistic fight". It should be noted that Wade first coined the term "state-of-the-art wrestling" in reference to the big Dragon's Gate six-man from ROH Supercard of Honor last year. That's his idea of an "actual, realistic fight" apparently.

 

-"That means dropping all crazy and outlandish cartoonish gimmicks and building around personalities real people can relate to instantly (as UFC does," due in no small part to UFC being real.

 

-"which is one of the reasons more 18-34 years olds watched a bunch of relative MMA nobodies on Spike TV last Thursday night in the Octagon than Labron James vs. Shaq on TNT)." Notice the rather direct implication that Shaq and LeBron are not real people and/or are outlandish cartoon gimmicks. Again, this sails clear over Wade's head.

 

-"No unrealistic three-way matches or even three-on-three tag matches." Wait, wait, wait...I thought those were state-of-the-art? I guess Wade is way ahead of the curve on these things, but does TNA need to completely overhaul their promotion yearly to keep up with the bleeding edge of wrestling style?

 

-As has previously been mentioned, SH00T~! refs!

 

-All mat wrestling should basically be a SH00T~! to establish the legitimacey of TNA's new fake real sport, unless a hold looks really cool or gets over, in which case it's totally okay to smash that legitimacy into itty-bitty pieces. Again, if this is the case, one kind of wonders why they're going out of their way to make it so damned realistic in the first place when, by Wade's own admission, fakey stuff is okay so long as it's...you know...good. Again, Wade is completely unable to connect the dots that he made himself.

 

-"How about highspots? They're still okay. In fact, that's one of the keys to the new formula. But like the mat holds, a lot of attention must be paid to making them more realistic. More liberty can be taken here, because fans will accept a move looking contrived if it's exciting." Whoosh.

 

-"The key is for TNA to differentiate itself enough from WWE in terms of the fakery, lame ref bumps, convoluted finishes, and cartoony characters, that TNA fans could proclaim that they love both UFC and TNA. They love UFC because it's totally real, and they love TNA because it's not embarrassing to be caught watching, but it's generally more athletic and crazy than UFC." I think we've found the source of the problem.

 

-"And more consistently good, because there won't be any dud fights written into the scripts like UFC fans suffered through with Saturday's Diego Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck grudge match." Book exciting matches? GENIUS!

 

-"The key for TNA would be to find as many ways to be both realistic and exciting, then default to 70/30 ratios of exciting to realistic or realistic to exciting, but never less than that." He still hasn't explained why his fake real sport needs it's realness protected while everyone watching knows it's fake, and reminds us with things he finds suitably cool. I mean, he's pretty directly stating that realism isn't exciting, but he needs it to protect the credibility of something that everyone knows is fake, including him, which he would acknowledge while pushing the realness of it, except when it's cool to be fake, which is more common than when it's real, but they still need to protect the realness of the fake real sport by presenting it as real while presenting it as fake, only real, except when it's fake....wait, what was I talking about again.

 

-"And anything that is either 95 percent exciting but 5 percent realistic or 95 percent realistic but only 5 percent exciting would be scratched off the list of moves or holds ever displayed in a TNA match." Oh, man. I can't imagine God loves me enough to give me this AND Pee Wee Moore's Competitive Wrestling Report in the same week....but please, please, please somebody tell me that Wade has a chart documenting this list. He must. I must have it. I bet it has saving throws and everything.

 

-"Weight divisions would be an option worth seriously considering." Absolutely not. TNA isn't about weight divisions. It's about NO DIVISIONS!

 

-"Wins and losses would begin to mean 1,000 times more than they do now. Matches would be precious commodities." That's a great idea! You know what else would do that? COMPETENT BOOKING! When I was in high school, I was taught that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It seems pretty appropriate to call Wade's glorious new idea "booking suicide".

 

-"Wrestlers on the roster would only perform once a month on TV at most." Well, I'm not opposed to cutting down TV time for Lance Hoyt or Abyss or Petey Williams, but I'm sure there are less drastic ways to do it.

 

-"To drive home the point that wins and losses mean everything, certain indy wrestlers could be brought in to work a two month program where they score a couple upset wins, but then lose three and a row and are never seen again." Paying people to make unnecessary TV appearances on an already overcrowded show? I could swear I've seen this somewhere before. I mean, I know Russo is in Wade's ear, but this is ridiculous.

 

-"To spread out the star power, even if top stars performed in the ring less frequently, wrestlers, like in UFC and Pride, would form factions. They'd train together (sometimes in real life, sometimes because it made the most sense for marketing the wrestlers). If a wrestler wasn't on the show, he'd be at ringside for one his faction members (just as Tito Ortiz was cheering on Kendall Grove and giving him advice on Saturday night)." Stables? How come no one in wrestling has ever thought of this one before?

 

-"By taking this approach, PPVs would begin to mean something, and thus, from the fans' perspective, would be worth purchasing. If you listed the last 100 matches from Impact and TNA PPVs, how accurate would you be if you had to put check marks next to only PPV matches? They're more often than not interchangeable, which is why TNA, in its current state, doesn't draw well on PPV. Even most TNA Impact fans can live without seeing the PPV matches because it's the fourth brand, and Impact gives them their fourth brand fix each week." You know what would also fix this? COMPETENT BOOKING! But no, we need to make our fake sport into a fake real sport, except when it's fake, to make it cooler than when it's real, which, itself, is fake, but is fake-real, as opposed to fake-fake, but will be presented as real-real, though it will be acknowledged as fake-real, and by proxy, fake-fake, which actaully means it will be presented as fake-fake-real-real-fake-real, except when it's fake-fake-real-real-fake-fake....man, why do I have this sudden urge to hurt something?

 

-At this point, Wade is in full-on blathering idiot mode, and remains that way for the remainder of the piece. There's no real individual points to take away that haven't been made already, he just throws them into a blender and comes up with something that reads like a card for Smark Bingo. He asserts that this is all a great idea, that it would be hugely successful, and does not seem to notice any really glaring flaws in his logic whatsoever. He has no basis for any of these claims other than saying that he's really really sure it will work.

 

-For those of you reading this, I'm sorry I brought this upon you. I'm sure you will heal. I don't know if I can say the same for myself.

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This is an old DVDVR thread with a ton of Meltzer quotes on WCW from (somewhere around) the beginning of the real spiral until the end. It's long but it's one of my all time favourites and it's always good for some nostalgic laughs. I really did enjoy WCW in a perverse "this is actually happening" way.

 

http://board.deathvalleydriver.com/index.php?showtopic=294

 

I swear I went through them once and actually did an MS Word file where I put them all in chronological order, as this jumps around from one period to another somewhat, but I can't find it. It's hilarious reading though as clearly there are periods that Meltzer is on the verge of pulling out a handgun and giving some mercy to his television.

 

I mean right off the bat we are already into:

 

Quote #3

 

"Madusa came out in a bikini. The implants looked ridiculous but this is a business of excess. She came out with Nitro cologne. It was the weirdest thing as Heenan was getting over just how horrible smelling the cologne is. It is a WCW product and they were pushing how bad it smelled. Madusa started screaming it was bullshit and threw the cologne on Heenan, who reacted like it smelled like cow manure. In fact, they actually used the word manure to describe the smell of the cologne. This was weird to say the least" - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter: November 1, 1999.

And the WCW wacky train is off and rolling.

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More TNA Workrate Report highlights!

 

Episode #27:

JB gets darker and darker every week as he trolls Florida tanning salons. "Please let Vince show up at this one, please let him show me his cell phone pics." He's gone from being darker than Gail Kim to darker than Jay Lethal.

Episode #28:

The new James Gang theme song is awful. “The James Gang in town” voiced like its Pretty Ricky talking about his Chevy? How is that good entrance music for Bullet Bob and co? Couldn’t they get someone to do a fake Drive By Truckers sound? “If I was a Fuller, I’d have put him away. And I’ll fight till the last Armstrong’s last living day. I’ll fight till the last Armstrong’s last living day."

 

BI-WEEKLY JEREMY BORASH TANNING WATCH ALERT: J B is now carrot orange. Well maybe closer to the color of the Oompah Loompah’s in Gene Wilder’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Watching him bug out his eyes (which is how he sold the entire Dudley promo) he really looked like Ted Turner had colorized The Jazz Singer. An orange minstrel singing Mamie.

 

Episode #30:

I liked Larry Zbysco’s comedy run. Really amusing vaudeville/Benny Hill arms akimbo confused run. God Axl has gotten fat. And I don’t know why he’s chasing Larry but still amusing comedy run and really Don Knottsish enough of a running gait to make you think that Axl might actually be able to catch him before blowing up.

 

Scott DÁmore on commentary is bad. But I think the clincher for me was him saying "Bobby Heenan once said on commentary....". Its wrestling you plagarize and canibalize the past....you don't do proper citation.This promotion is run by marks.

Episode #33:

-Well enough with the mediocre and on to the out and out embarrassingly bad. Way back in episode 21 I pointed out how embarrassing it was for them to book a Puerto Rican heel stable vs. INS officers face team. But Damn. This may have been more embarrassing. LAX take over the Spanish announce table (well it looks like Puerto Rican Moody Jack has let them take over his space as he’s joining their cause). They put up signs saying ZONA LIBRE DE GRINGOS, NO ENTRE, and SPANISH ONLY…Is there anyone who actually fears that this is what Latinos in the US are going to do? Anyone? There is anti-immigrant movement in this country but this isn’t even the immigrant activist boogeyman that scares Lou Dobbs, Micheal Savage, and the Minutemen Project. Lou Dobbs isn’t worried that Hispanics are going to be denying gringos entry to their neighborhood. Fuck, Savage would love it if Hispanics would just stay in their own ghetto. The Minutemen? I don’t understand why guys who like 70s muscle cars (http://www.spiritofallegiance.com/ ) would be anti-Mexican. But still LAX don't represent their fears. Scott DAmore books Canadian feds and knows how to book heel Canadian language minorities who want French only areas. But Hispanics aren’t Québécois. Not figuring that out makes you an idiot. If you’re going to do a race baiting angle you need to appeal to people’s actual racial fears and resentments. You need to appeal to prejudices and stereotypes that the audience identifies with. Booking Homicide as Fred LaMelvielle is stupid. Shows absolutely no understanding of America. It’s not a stereotype that has any emotional power. You could tell that Tenay and West realized this as they tried to sell and explain the angle, explaining what a Gringo is (http://bad.eserver.org/issues/2002/60/blanchette.html ) as though they were explaining something as foreign as poutine, or the difference between the Blue Tories and the Red Tories in the Progressive Conservative Party. Painfuly embarrasingly stupid.

Episode #34:

Shane Douglas is back. Tery Taylor is still employed. There are Communications School drop outs all over Orlando. Why are they still using Jeremy Borash? How has his riding companion not caused backstage friction? What the fuck? I mean I've talked shit about Borash for as long as I've been doing these things...but honestly I can't remember him ever looking as creepy as he did this episode. Steiner tells him "Nobody eyeballs the Big Bad Booty Daddy" and yet Jeremy just can't keep his eyes off him...staring longfully out of the corners. Plus is he now wearing a promise ring? I mean I have to assume that was a promise ring....nobody can be that pencil thin. But promise ring? thats just pathetic. Oh so you've chosen abstinence. You want us to believe that that was a choice? Has he not told his parents? "No no the reason you don't see any girls in my room is because I made a promise. See the ring?" Just creepy and pathetic.

Episode #36:

-So they’ve been running this stupid LAX take over the Spanish announce table angle for weeks and it’s not made any sense. They put Konan on commentary and he’s kind of semi able to do a semi meaningful explanation. “We’ve created a border, we’re going to treat you like you treat us.” talking about the racist industry, the x division is stolen from Mexico, etc. Amusing as I think Konan has done this angle in TNA at least two other times already. At one point seconding the SATS as authentic luchadors to take on the X Division copycats…I swear that really happened. I couldn’t make that up. Well so he’s doing this whole angle complaining about the racism in wrestling when Tenay interrupts him “Look at the situation of Sonjay Dutt, a person of Indian descent, who has made the best of a situation”. Nativist Mike Tenay lecturing a Mexican on the model immigrant was amazing “Why don’t you Mexicans learn from the Indians, works hard, goes to college, does well in science and look at him there doing better than a lazy US born light skinned black.” …. I don’t remember a ton about the actual work in the match but it did effectively tell the story that the matchmakers want told...and commentary got over Konan and Tenay's character. To point that at end of match I was really hopeing next week TNA outsources the play by play job to a call center in Bangladesh.

Episode #38:

-The return of your JEREMY BORASH TANNING WATCH: Holy Fuck JB has reddish orange highlights/frosting on top of his hair that perfectly matches his tan. Yeah that’s right his hair and face were the same color of orange. AArgh the backstage stuff was painful. Why am I watching Borash anyway? They have Cornette. Cornette can speak, don’t put him behind closed door. What the fuck did Sting say? What the fuck was that Sabin/Lethal handshake snap thing? I mean there have to be some Christopher Reid videos on youtube…learn to shake hands. Are they working a Jeremy Borash helps Eric Young turn face by coming out of the closet angle??? I mean that’s pretty progressive, but it feels like that may not have been the booking teams idea. You just put Borash in the scene and it comes across that way:

 

“Give it to me straight, Jeremy. I can take it Jeremy, you’ve got to give me something.”

“You need to tell people about it Eric, you need to tell everyone. Tell it to the world, Eric.”

 

I guess that wasn’t as bad as the Dudleys, and James Gang doing snaps. As not sure who is a shittier television presence: Slick Johnson or Jeremy Borash. And damn those were some shitty snaps. Plus its 2006, who wears a X shirt? I mean I think I remember Kenny making that joke about Leonard’s mom in 93. People gave Kenny shit cause it was dated joke then. I was still in highschool when that snap was relevant. It’s 2006. Plus can someone explain whats up with the crowd reactions?? Two guys jone on each other’s moms and people start doing the robot in response?? Chris Sabin’s white stoner dork in a cypher’s hand motions were hysterical. At one point, I think he did a pirouette while throwing out his def poetry jam arm. Meanwhile Sonjay Dutt is doing the robot and Dvon is doing old school body waves. What the fuck??

 

They should never have Jackie Gayda and a bulldog’s face in the same picture.

 

WOW. Two episodes ago they put Konan on commentary and he was able to make the LAX take over the Spanish announcers table make sense… And then they go right back to nonsense. So its gone from Latinos as French separatists, to the whole“the immigration issue” where Mexicans and PUERTO RICANS were having a “day without immigrants” protest, to “we are treating you the way you treat us”, to Konan calling for “minority solidarity”…Konnan wants to recruit Monte Brown and Ron Killings for the Latin American Exchange???? “Latin American”!!! Is Monte Brown now Dominican? What happened to the immigration issue?? I thought that was supposed to be “political and topical at the same time”…Now they’ve just turned Konnan into a watered down version of Ron Killings from three/four years ago. Killings was really great in that role. Konnan can’t figure out what the hell he’s supposed to be doing in this angle. He does Spanish mic work about Latino Pride, while doing the “whiny minority”heel stuff in English. The whole thing just makes no sense. I would never advocate doing a Black vs. Latino feud. My work has me regularly struggling to defuse those tensions. And I remember being really concerned when the Kerwin White gimmick was introduced as it had potential to play into those tensions. While I would never advocate booking it, there are a million ways to set up a Black vs. Hispanic feud. A million. But booking it by having face blacks happily cultivating white patronage vs. heel angry Hispanics demanding better treatment??? Who came up with this? Blacks as model minority vs. uppity immigrants? Really? Is that White America’s current view of minorities? Either we live in strange times or the TNA bookers are idiots.

Episode #39:

-Shane Douglas has the Naturals run a 40-yard dash and then says “4.3. Not bad!!!!” Up to now my favorite pro-wrestling absurd bullshit athletic claim was the time Paul Boesch described a strong wrestler as having once gone up a ladder carrying a horse on his back. The 4.3 is almost as absurd. “4.3 not bad”

Episode #42:

Did TNA hire a dialect coach or something? AJ Styles sounds more like Larry the Cable guy than ever before and well someone told Bubba, “You guys are announced as coming from New Yawk…you need to study these Jackie Mason records.” There were moments where he sounded like he was working a Jewish grandmother gimmick, “Listen don’t get into any trouble. Be good”. He went from Bubba Duddley to Bubbe Duddley? Bubbe Leh Duddley actually feels like the type of gimmick Devito would be doing in ECW. Hmm...Honestly I could see that being a nice way to freshen up the 3D act and get around the WWE's lawyers. Do a promo of the Dudleys in Dachau. Like those promos WWF used to do where Tito Santana and Tony Altas went to find their roots. After the experience in Dachau team 3D decide to ditch their anglicized "stage names" that ECW's self hating Jew promoter insisted they use, and get back to their heritage. Could WWE really sue over Robert, David and Little Kike Dudlinski?

 

"Don't schtupp the Dudlinski's".

 

"Bruddah David, schlepp that table over here." ...Ehhh…maybe it wouldn't freshen them up.

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Kevin Cook and Bobbins (I think) channel a certain reviewer:

 

Dump Matsumoto vs. Chigusa Nagayo, 8/22/85

 

What a disappointment. The match starts off with Dump covering up for her lack of high-end, state of the art offense by choking Chigusa with a chain. There is a decent portion where Chigusa brings some nice counters to the table and Dump brings some high end, state of the art offense like a scorpion hold, but Dump insists on bringing the match down. She transitions using a fork (and later, a pair of scissors) with which she stabs Chigusa again and again, and Chigusa, after working in a nice payoff spot with her own scorpion hold, goes down into the gutter with her by banging her on the head with a metal box before the match falls apart entirely. After the match there's some sort of angle in which no one brings any state of the art, high end offense to the table. 1/2*

 

Annoyingly, the cameras kept panning to people crying in the stands. There may have been high end, state of the art offense somewhere in the portions where the cameras kept showing us people weeping because of this match, but probably not enough to bring the match up to more than the * range.

Negro Casas vs El Hijo del Santo 07/18/87 - Hair vs Mask, LA.

 

The first fall starts with some armdrags, hammerlocks, overhand wristlocks and armbars by Santo. Obviously they're setting up an arm-based storyline for this match, but after a short period that contained absolutely no high-end offense, Casas wins the fall with a Magistral Cradle out of nowhere, using the arm that had earlier been worked on, completely forgetting to sell the story of the match. In celebrating his win, he even did a back handspring and punched the air with his supposedly injured arm. rolleyes.gif

 

The second fall consisted of Casas working over Santo's neck with chops, dropkicks, snapmares and punches (although most of the punches missed their intended mark and hit the face). There was a particularly nutty moment where Santo's arm was draped over the bottom rope, and Casas grabbed it and twisted it around the rope, even though that had NOTHING to do with the story of the match. rolleyes.gif Once again there was no high-end offense brought to the dinner table. And Casas didn't sell his arm once. Santo made a comeback with a kneelift to the face, backdrop to the back and kick to the ass, before winning the fall with La Tapatia, none of which made any sense considering the earlier armwork. Santo also forgot to sell his neck.

 

The match really heads south in the third fall as Negro punches to transition. rolleyes.gif And it really degenerates into a spotfest, with neither man gaining a sustained advantage, or bringing any logical limb-based storytelling to the coffee table. There's just a series of 2 counts, none of which mean anything, before Santo wins with the camel clutch. So the match gains half-a-star because the finish obviously came from the earlier armwork weakening Casas' arm enough to get the hold on, and make him submit. But that was negated by them forgetting to tell that storyline properly for the duration of the match, and by the terrible selling by both men. rolleyes.gif

 

After the match, Casas finally remembered to sell his arm, as he was crying as his hair was getting cut off. Still, that was too little too late. 3/4*

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Episode #49:

Hey the X Division guys are watching Jackass to train for their future matches. AWESOME!!! I mean they're going to fuck this up but the thing about Jackass is that those guys actually know how to sell big spots. Each skit/ match builds to one big spot, spot is sold as something that hurts and skit is over. None of the no-selling stringing of meaningless spots together that the X division guys tend to do. Big spots lead directly to finishes. You can see why Jerry Lynn doesn't understand this.

Episode #50:

-So I went to see Jackass II the first weekend it came out. It's very different from the first movie. The Jackass guys do more gross out humor in the second. The first one had gross out humor. But who hasn't engaged in self destructive behavior for amusement in our youth? Who hasn't shot a bottle rocket out of their ass? Who hasn't had their friends push and crash them in a shopping cart? Who hasn't snorted wassabe or eaten urine flavored Italian ice? It was about a bunch of self destructive guys doing things that young groups of self destructive guys do to entertain each other. The first Jackass movie was really marked by the other pranks, the pranks done on the general public to get a reaction. Ingenious stuff like boxing in a store to see what the merchants will do, shitting in a hardware store to see how people react, and putting a toy car up their rectum to see how a doctor will react. While the prank is about the reaction shots, the pranks are still built on self destructive behavior: forcing yourself to shit in public, putting a car up your ass, and getting KO'd. The humor linking all the sections of the movie isn't about hurting others it's about the entertainment value of self harm/self destructive activity. The combination of stunts we've done with stuff we would never even think of was the key to Jackass' charm.

 

In the second Jackass movie all the gross out humor is ratcheted up a couple of notches. It was made four years later and is marked by how old everyone is. And so the ratcheting up of the gross makes sense. Anyone over 25 knows that if you go to a party where people propose playing truth or dare, you need to leave immediately. Because if you're still entertaining yourself that way when you get older, it's going to involve some scat. And well the key to JackAss II is that the humor is about aging. The best pranks built on tricking the man in the street are all done by cast members pretending to be old men or women (well there is a brilliant bit in Bangladesh but still)...these are pranks which are funny because of the age that the cast is pretending to be. The rest of the stuff is funny because of the actual age of the cast members. The first Jackass was great because it made me nostalgic for my youth; the second is poignant because it's a reflection on aging. These guys are too old to be still engaging in self destructive behavior for humor. And each one of them on some level seems aware of this.

 

This isn't young guys who feel like nothing can hurt them. These are guys very very aware of their own mortality. They are still willing to put their own bodies at risk to achieve a laugh. They know that self harm is their bread and butter but they are very aware of the physical consequences of everything they do. The cast is constantly negotiating the value of a joke vs. the personal consequences. Dave Englund nearly has a breakdown before agreeing to get shot. Bam Margera tries to negotiate his way out of getting hit in the balls by counter proposing that he'll instead take a dildo to his ass. Chris Pontius suggests drinking horse sperm so that he can get out of doing anything potentially "worse" later on. The recognition of mortality is the key to Jackass II. Young guys engaging in self destructive behavior for their own amusement is expected. Old guys doing it are poignant and it makes for much more biting humor.

 

Ideally if you were going to have wrestlers represent Jackass II, you'd have Rip Rogers, Chavo Sr. and Gypsy Joe. Well ideally you'd have Puppet and Iceberg attached to each other by a bungee cord but that's neither here nor there. Rip Rogers, Gypsy Joe, and Chavo are guys who know that wrestling is about destroying ones body for entertainment purposes and they know that they're old men in a young man's game. You run Chavo Sr. vs. Alex Shelley. Gypsy Joe talks a reluctant Rip Rogers into getting into a shopping cart and taking a gigantic bump to distract Shelley. That would make sense. You could do the same thing with Dutt, Lethal and Sabin. You wouldn't get to deal with aging but you could do the same guys engaging in high risk behavior to get results. Chris Sabin wrestles Alex Shelley. Jay Lethal talks a reluctant Sonjay Dutt into getting into a shopping cart.

 

But that's not what TNA did.

 

So let me get this straight. Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal apparently decided to kidnap Johnny Devine put him in a shopping cart and then crash the shopping cart into the ring post in order to distract Alex Shelley? This is supposed to have something to do with Jackass movies? How is hurting your opponent an example of high risk self destructive behavior? What the fuck are Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin and Jay Lethal doing? It's like someone watched them doing their robot dances during the cypher and decided they should repackage them as "a bunch of rich kid ravers living off their parents' money, they have all the talent in the world but they can't be serious. They're more concerned with getting high and having a good time than wrestling matches! "

 

The cultural milieu that Jackass represents isn't the cultural milieu Special K represented. Repackaging the X-division guys as Special K completely misses the point of the Jackass franchise. And only serves as a reminder that neither Chris Sabin nor Sonjay Dutt belong so much as lacing up Elax the Exploited Child's boots.

 

Whatever you want to say about WCW, they at least understood the Robocop concept.

10/12/06:

-THE GRIOT RETURNS---"HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE AS WOOD"---"HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE AS WOOD"---"HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE AS WOOD"--"HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE AS WOOD" "OKADOWA KWENZA JANI" she's a rich girl, she don't try to hide it she's got diamonds on the souls of her shoes---"HIS HEAD AND HAIR WERE WHITE AS WOOD"

 

Unlike alot of other people on the net I am happy about Angle going to TNA.. I was really worried about Angle going to MMA. MMA has yet to have a big death. Eventually they will of course, but they haven't yet. Former Olympic gold medalist dieing while training for MMA would just set the sport back a ton. The neat thing about the way WWE has successfully branded itself as equaling pro-wrestling in the US, is that if drugged up Olympic gold medalist dies while working for TNA, AWA, PWFG , etc...WWE will still be tarred. So happy that he isn't in MMA. For drugged out of his gourd guys who throw alot of suplexes, he'll eat more stuff than Steiner. Unfortunately I don't think he is as good at drugged out of his gourd mic work. He was pretty good tonight but really there was no menace to it.

10/26/06:

Wait, so the big Bobby Roode “hottest free agent” angle ends up with him becoming Robert Roode, referred to as “one man enterprise”, and paired with Traci Brooks (wearing glasses and dressed like a flight attendant)???!!!! HOLY SHIT!!! The big Bobby Roode push consists of giving him Mike Rotundo’s old WCW gimmick!!! That rules. WWE just released Tim Horner, put him in an alien costume and run Roode vs. Planetblazer Horner and you have a match worthy of a Clash. Fuck! Franklyn Kazarian and Christopher Harris need to join Robert Roode Enterprises. Jeremiah Lynn? Nah. Sibling Raymond? Maybe. Head of Security Curtis Hughes still works indies. The Taylor Made Man is backstage. Is Terry Runnels still taking bookings through Race? Christopher Harris, Franklyn Richards, Robert Roode vs. Thomas Rich, Richard Morton, Terrence Taylor would make for some fun TV. I mean it’s Russo so he’s all about playing to the internet. So instead of Roode Enterprises vs. York Foundation we’ll be stuck with Roode Enterprises vs. Impacfull Players (Polaco, Storm and Jason). Aw man…The Polaco shoot promos where he talks about how he has struggled against corporate culture of Wallmart, so Roode Enterprises will be a cakewalk. Fuck Christopher Harris. Have it be Robert Roode, Franklyn Richards and Terrence Taylor on Brooks team with Taylor playing the Shelley Levine character. Taylor constantly worrying that he might get replaced by youngster Jason would be great. Didn’t have lot of faith in blue chipper Robert Roode promos…but this has endless possibilities.

 

I kind of liked the three minutes of Abyss vs. Hoyt. I’ve been told that it is rare for a US match to be worked based on hierarchy..and thought this did a nice job of being built around hierarchy with Hoyt as guy way in over his head who needed to throw out everything to compete with Abyss. Both guys stink but match was short enough not to completely expose them and got that story across. There has been a lot written lately about TNA having to compete with UFC..but fuck that shit. IMPACT is on the same station as UFC. Thats not competition. TNA is on opposite Real World/Road Rules Challenge. For amount of time spent doing video packages, interview vs. amount doing physical challenges, tonights Impact was similar ratio to this weeks “Duel”. Think Jarret was a more interesting interview than anyone on this weeks Duel. Sting and everyone else, not so much. As to the actual physical challenge the “duel”provided more visually interesting and violent action. For competitive match not leading to title Brad vs. CT was more heated than LAX vs. Naturals. The rollerderby was highly edited but told its stories in a clearer fashion than the reverse battle royale. Several stories layed out in the opening womens heats. The final women’s heat was pretty anticlimactic is it was worked totally competitive. I’d say final women’s heat and the actual over the top battle royale sections of Fight For Right would be about a draw. But that’s not why I mention the “Duel”. I mention the Duel because while I liked the story of Abyss vs. Hoyt, Aneesa vs. Paula told the same story in a much more compelling fashion and was more athletic and violent. Abyss vs. Hoyt was absolutely smoked by Aneesa vs. Paula. Oh yeah for over the top mugging Snidely Whiplash evil, Beth smokes James Mitchell too.

 

This show sucked ass…Again a bunch of incite into serial story telling available here:

 

http://www.worldandi.com/public/1998/november/crawford.cfm

 

“Why does serialization attract us so strongly, and why did the serial novel so capture the imagination of Victorian readers?... Linda K. Hughes and Michael Lund point out in The Victorian Serial that installment novels tapped into the very philosophy of Victorian life. Personal development became something of an obsession for Victorians, and serials mirrored the belief that personal and cultural progress was gradual, positive, and inevitable. As Hughes and Lund demonstrate, the reader has to believe in slow, positive growth for the serial to really work. Victorians saw society as heading toward ever greater perfection and achievement; serials played out that theme in microcosm…. The real temptation of the cliff-hanger for the author dwelt in the enticement to put action over characters. The masters of the serial, Dickens, Thackeray, Collins, always understood that the reader had to care about not what was happening, but who it was happening to. Jeffrey Walker, associate professor of colonial and nineteenth-century American literature at Oklahoma State University, sees the serial form as an "emphasis on the psychological." Characterization, not action, drives the great serials with "so much more detail, so much more of a thorough investigation of how people related and talked." The reader wants to discover the ultimate destiny of the characters, how they change and develop over the course of the story. Cliff-hanger endings might produce anticipation from installment to installment, but powerful characters kept readers coming back again and again to the same authors. Plot-driven serials, according to Walker, become "flat, underdeveloped, ultimately uninteresting."

 

Impact was all about lots of stuff happening at the expense of any character development. What I wrote last time: “The endless action/ “stuff happening” in this TNA episode just felt obviously hack and overwritten but I think it also hurts any possibility for character motivated story telling.. This much meaningless stuff actually kills anticipation for next episode in serial. “This was even more magnified today. You get the sense that bookers don’t trust the workers when they need to throw around this much extraneous shit.

 

And well then there was the Fight for the Right… Reverse battle royale was just awful. I mean all battle royals are going to be hurt by the problem of people standing around doing nothing. But point of battle royals is normally to stay standing. Here point was to go over the rope…so standing around doing nothing even sillier. Then you add on the idea that there where a million sub plots. Why is James Storm just watching but not participating? Why is Brother Ray watching but not participating? Apparently BG James is not only not participating but he isn’t there? Rhino cares so much about his match with Christian that he isn’t participating but is interfering? Are Shane Douglas and Bubba really debating something? Robert Roode is a one man enterprise? Matt Bentley is going to be in the new Flock? Or is he going to be the Pentagon to Raven’s Octagon? Is that Konnan? Why wasn’t he in this? The goal with the Pat Patterson style battle royals is you build to certain big spots but you try to keep the multiple storylines simple and you give time for each one. Here everything happened at same time, couldn’t keep track of any of it…thus none of it matters. The actual battle royale part was even quicker and thus even more formless. The whole thing up to the final Abyss vs. Hoyt section was flat, underdeveloped and ultimately uninteresting.

11/9/06:

-The LAX beating of AMW during autograph signing was great. Loved the attack on Harris’ hand. The wall bump by Storm was pretty great. Luckily more people haven’t watched Jersey All Pro.. As while the beatdown was great the wall ride just reminded me the degree to which Hernandez is a poor man’s Monsta. Which only reminds you that Abyss is a poor man’s Suba, that Konan is a poor man’s Johnny D, that Rhino is poor man’s Magic, that Sabin is poor man’s Dixie, Senshi is a poor man's Low-Ki, Lethal is a poor man's Rainchild, Dutt is a poor man’s Insane Dragon and Petey Williams is a poor man’s Elax. Are Killings/Hoyt supposed to be working a poor man’s J-Train/Laithon gimmick or a poor man’s Buff E/Mace Mendoza gimmick? Either way pale imitations.

 

On paper, one would think it would be impossible to screw up the Shane Douglas v Bubba Ray confrontation. I mean this has a lot of things going for it:

 

(1) Shane Douglas is delusional. Shane Douglas delusional and bitter is one of my favorite things in all of wrestling. So I’ve been thinking a lot about wrestlers “shooting” on the mic lately as have been reading a lot about the behind the scenes story of the development of the Loose Canon persona. The WWE DVD plays down the drug use and suggests that Pillman died from a “broken heart”. Meltzer writes about how great the gimmick was and if only Pillman wasn’t so drugged up. Somehow this all misses the point. The Loose Canon gimmick wasn’t a gimmick based on a guy “shooting”on the mic. The loose cannon gimmick worked because the gimmick was there is this guy who is completely coked out of his gourd and thus unpredictable. The “shooting”was part of the unpredictability. But the gimmick was “unpredictable coked out of his gourd”. “Shooting” wasn’t his character, it was symptom/ of his character. Shoot angles by and large suck. They suck because the “shoot” isn’t a manifestation of the character, instead the shoot is the end in of itself. The essential premise is wrestling is a carny hustle---wrestling fans know it’s a carny hustle and thus don’t believe a lot of the angles being pushed---that when a wrestler tells the audience the behind the scenes truth, the audience will then trust the wrestler and his angle. But for the most part shoot angles end up being an excuse for lack of character development. Great, so Rob Van Dam is speaking truth to power, so what? Why should I care? What’s his motivation? What does him sharing the backstage gossip say about his character? Speaking truth to power doesn’t always make you honest, sometimes it makes you a whiner. Shane Douglas’gimmick at his best is that he has a huge ego and is delusional. My all time favorite Shane Douglas angle was the one he did with Terry Funk in XPW. Terry Funk and Shane Douglas did this “Who made who “ angle with the premise being that the two were arguing over backstage slight where both were taking claim for making the other. Nothing is more entertaining than Shane Douglas shoot mic work where he explains how he “made”a guy who had the NWA belt in the 70s. Shane Douglas accusing other wrestlers of resting on their ECW legacy, is about as hilariously delusional as you get and should make for entertaining TV.

 

(2) Bubba accuses Shane Douglas of being bitter and holding a grudge. In general nothing is stupider than wrestling angles built on perceived backstage slights. I really don’t care who rubs who the wrong way by failing to shake hands in the locker room. I’m not a wrestler; I don’t care about backstage rules of etiquette. On the other hand Bubba Ray Duddley and Shane Douglas worked for ECW. EC fn W!!Breaking backstage etiquette in ECW isn’t about hand shaking. It’s ECW. Breaking the backstage code means you either failed to share drugs or you failed to share a ring rat. I can actually understand an angle built on either of those sleights. I mean I don’t know who is face and who is heel in an angle between a bitter guy and a guy who bogarts drugs/ring rats. But I can see it motivating a feud.

 

(3) The angle makes the Naturals heels again. The Naturals are far better as heels than they are as faces.

 

So in summation this angle has a lot going for it in theory: (1) it plays into Douglas’character of being delusional, (2)it has the potential to set up realistic motivated feud as it plays into what the audience understands as being the backstage environment in ECW, and (3) it makes the Naturals heels. This should work and work well. But NO. You get small hints of (1) and (2), but those are buried in long Russo “mystery”mic work. “What is the mystery of what Douglas whispered to Bubba”. The majority of the mic work was built around the awkwardness of the two referring to “what I had to say when I whispered in your ear”, “what you had to say when you whispered in my ear”. The mystery of “the whisper” became the center of the mic work. Mic work wasn’t about motives, or grudges, that should make me care. Mic work was about “mystery”. What’s my motivation for caring about that? And well (3) wasn’t really accomplished as the beat down was kind of half assed. They barely beat Bubba, and D-Von (who is really good at bleeding and selling guy jumped) is only seen in backstage video. Tenay is shown the backstage video and tells us that the camera man tells him that “That’s the dirty work of Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas”. Cameraman caught the Naturals beating down D-Von backstage and wasn’t able to tell anyone tell after they came out and beat of Bubba? This whole thing was just incredibly poorly executed.

 

-On paper booking a tourney should be pretty easy. I’m not the biggest fan of tourney style wrestling at this point but still. Was this aired the same week as the push-over competition on Real World/Road Rules Duel? Simple tourney where you watch Derrick move his way through it. Derrick smallest guy, works underdog constantly sprawling. Has real competitive first round match against tall lanky CT. He goes in low and takes advantage of the height difference. Second round match he’s paired up against Eric who has about 280 pounds on Derrick. Derrick manages a couple shuks and go behinds in order to get Eric off the plank. Brad has an easy first round against Kenny, a competitive tough fought second round against Evan (who is booked as your other big athletic scrapper). You’re actually stoked to see the finals as you have a sense of what both guys bring to the match. A couple weeks back I watched the GDR episode with the one night tag tourney where they squeezed an entire tag tourney plus a qualifying battle royal into a one hour episode. No match went over three minutes and honestly watching it, it feels less like a tourney and more like a gauntlet match. If this was edited into a tag cybernetico it would get nominations for match of the year. They ran seven matches in the course of an hour and I can probably tell you the teams and who went over which match. It did a nice job even in that constrained time establishing tiers/levels of wrestlers. So Texano Jr./Heavy Metal beating Hombre Sin Nombre/Olimpico and Terible and Misterioso II defeating Blue Panther/La Mascara left you stoked to see the final match up. I wanted to reference The Duel and GDR “tourneys” because they are both tourneys where every match took place in under three minutes. But every match told a story about the qualities each “wrestler” brings to the ring. And so in the final match up the viewer knows the skills that everyone brings to the table and it is that knowledge that makes you anticipate the final. That’s what tourney booking should do.

 

TNA’s Fight for the Right tourney failed to do that. TNA actually had longer matches than either Real World/Road Rules Duel or Guerreros Del Ring. This isn’t about the match length. This is about the booking of the match finishes gave you know sense of what the skills the wrestlers bring to a match. If you don’t know what each contestant brings to a contest why do you want to watch the next round?

 

The three way collision stunk. Slick Johnson refs. Killings has a nice dive and Aj Styles tried to tell an in-ring “overcoming hurt” story but what was the point? Every one came out with a second and the body of the match was focused on the interactions of the various seconds eventually leading to Bobby Roode’s removal from the match. Oddly the seconds didn’t lead to the match finish. Match finish being a really flat Killings misses a move and then is rolled up finish that really had nothing to do with the whole structure. And after match that part of the finish was completely secondary. Post match is all about the seconds. Backstage Bobby Roode complains to Brooks about the match. “I need crowd control and an image consultant”, You need to start interviewing people: crowd control person, pr person and an image consultant”. For a second I’m excited as “crowd control”? Could it be Curtis Hughes? Terry Runnels is leathery enough to be a pr person. But fuck. Its Russo, so I figure P.R. person means they’re bringing back Apollo.

 

Fight for your right final is Abyss vs. AJ Styles. Again AJ Styles tries to make a match of it. And fuck his performance tonight has been really impressive. Abyss stinks. His offense stinks but he’s big enough that it’s impressive when he eats offense. He’s essentially Rochester Roadblock with a push. I mean it’s always impressive when Luger racks Roadblock. Actually that is unfair as Roadblock had better looking offense. The problem with Spike vs. Abyss was that while Spike had much better looking offense than Abyss, Abyss would eat the offense and then no sell it shrugging it off, and well too much of the match time was wasted on Abyss’ offense. Here this is worked not with AJ as underdog but AJ as the man. Remember back to the Hashimoto vs. Nathan Jones match, imagine a poor man’s Hash vs. a poor man’s Nathan Jones. AJ pretty much controls most of this on offense with Abyss cutting him off a couple times. AJ does a really impressive job over rotating to sell for Abyss’shitty stuff, as he really makes the Black Hole Slam and retard run to corner spots look devastating. Then they do a ref bump a Christian run in with a chair shot, double count, ref conference restart, James Mitchell run in, Christopher Daniels run in, and Chris Sabin run in. Um the finish of this match was worked like a “Please Don’t Stop”match except they replaced multiple giant finishers into two counts with multiple run ins into two counts. First of all the body of this match really wasn’t building to a please don’t stop finish. Second the idea that an audience might chant “Please Don’t Stop Running In”is hilarious. Felt like the bookers had no confidence in the wrestlers ability to convey “big match”and so instead threw out every booking device to give the audience an edge of seat” experience. Unfortunately this absolutely shat on the match. Plus how does this set up the final? Fight for right tourney earns you a championship shot. I want to see Sting vs. a guy who can beat AJ Styles after eight false finish run ins? What does Abyss bring to the ring in a match with Sting? The ability to win a match when there is a ton of extraneous shit happening? My favorite “booking”to give this a “big match”feel was camera focusing on Sonjay Dutt exaggeratedly shaking his knees nervous on the edge of his chair. Dutt was so focused on the match that he didn’t realize that Sabin had left his chair to run ringside. The whole thing was just poorly conceived.

 

I’m not exactly sure when it happened but somewhere down the line “MOTY” became the functional equivalent of a little girl singing “Greatest Gift of All” at a talent show. Lots of kids will perform at your talent show. There will be a kid who manages to do an impressive ballet piece to Ciara’s “Oh”, there will be a kid who does a comedy act where his Jesse Jackson impression has a fat woman laughing so hard that she goes into apoplectic shock, there will be a group of boys doing a step dance routine so complicated that people will talk about it for days. None of those things will win. The little girl singing “Greatest Gift of All” will always win. It will be the least memorable performance, it won’t get talked about after the show, it won’t have the emotional connect that some of the other performances will have but it will always win.

 

Hey remember when Samoa Joe was threatening Scott Steiner ““I’m gonna make your children cry”, and Steiner was calling Joe a “half breed”? Samoa Joe gets on the mic and guarantees Angle “I will crush you”, and Angle says “My match against Samoa Joe I guarantee it will be a match of the year”. You know I kind of was enjoying the pull aparts between these two but this promo package kind of killed my desire to see that match up. These two guys apparently don’t want to crush each other. Samoa Joe wants to crush; Angle just wants to have an athletically impressive match.

 

I think it was 2003, Tenzan had just won his first or second IWGP Heavyweight title, and Kobashi had started his GHC title run and I started writing about my dislike of a type of Clash of the Titans main event wrestling that I referred to as “Jim Steinman/Meatloaf” booked wrestling. I liked some of the actual man vs. Mythical God matches (Kobashi vs. Ogawa, Kobashi vs. Honda) but most of the two Gods meet left me feeling as unmoved as “Bat Out of Hell.” So the Steinman/Meatloaf riff has been something I’ve been using for about three years now. The problem with that particular talking point is that I actually like matches between two “bigger than life” wrestlers. I just don’t like when they’re Jim Steinman productions. I like Gospel music. If you look at my Ipod I’d say about a solid third is gospel or gospel derived music (Little Richard, Carter Family, Aretha, Erma, and Carolyn Franklin, etc.). Music about the “bigger than life”: God, commitment to God, trying to let God into ones life. At its best, more than any other musical genre it’s a genre about the artist having strong convictions about the material. The material matters more than anything else. And I believe in Samoa Joe. I think he has the skills and the conviction to be a Mahalia Jackson type performer. But Angle is Whitney, who puts vocal histrionics above everything else. And well let’s be honest Kurt Angle is the Whitney Houston of wrestling: lots of natural gifts, no real ability to put those gifts together in a meaningful way, and an embarrassing drug casualty. Is it possible that with the right material, the right arranger, with Joe in the control booth these two could have a good collaboration…where Whitney’s talents can be put to work for a solid song?? Yes.

 

But Angle announces “I can guarantee one thing, my match with Samoa Joe will be match of the year”…and well he’s guaranteeing that it’s going to be Whitney style histrionic meltdowns and melismas for cheap pops. Fuck the last time Angle built a match around delivering “the best in ring performance” was 2005 where people heaped praise on him and Bette Midler harmonizing on “The Greatest Gift of All”. I have no desire to see Samoa Joe dragged into that type of shit.

11/16/06:

-Two Hours??? TWO HOURS??? HA! One of my favorite goofy TNA apologist talking points is “all these problems would be eliminated if they were given two hours”. You know if only the Clippers were allowed to play twenty four minute quarters. If the NFL moved to a forty week season then people would notice how great the Lions really are. “Unhappily Ever After” has a really great cast, but what can you expect them to pull off when they only have a half hour show to work with. The problem with “Mama’s Family” is that they really can’t get off the comic bits in the 30 minute framework. If they were only given an hour “Mama’s Family” would be really funny. That’s not the way it works.

12/7/06:

-I’m not a fan of jingoism but I understand it. The new LAX entrance video is one of the most jingoistic offensive things in wrestling today. It’s a bunch of archival clips of brutal Latin American dictators mixed in with Gandhi follower Cesar Chavez. Clips of death squads and United Farm Workers picketing. This is the functional equivalent of an evil black stable where the video package is footage of Papa Doc Duvalier, Martin Luther King, and Idi Amin as though they were all one and the same. Sand People Exchange entrance video made up of clips of Ayatollah, Gandhi and Ghadaffi. It’s shockingly jingoistic and offensive. Message of entrance video is that all political Hispanics are of the same cloth, all trouble, should just shut up and pick the oranges. It’s incredibly offensive piece of propaganda but I understand that it’s designed to appeal to (to draw) a jingoistic audience that wants their minorities quiet. I understand what the entrance video is trying to do and who it is trying to appeal to. I don’t understand the actual angle that they are working. After the Petey Williams/Homicide match, LAX jumped Petey beat him down and buried him in the Mexican flag. AMW ran out and Gail Kim grabbed the Mexican flag taunting Homicide with it….So the Canadian was buried in the Mexican flag and then the Puerto Rican was taunted by the Korean stealing it? What the FUCK??? Who is this supposed to draw? Who is this supposed to appeal to? Are there alot of Canadians with dual U.S. citizenship who have grievances with Mexicans? A lot of Korean American women who were slighted in high school because Puerto Rican boys only sat with Mexicans? TNA is located in Orlando. Haitians hate Cubans and vice-versa. If TNA ran Ricky Reyes vs. Haiti Kid they might be able to draw enough extra people to justify moving from the Chilly Willy Igloo Theatre to the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue Stage. I mean if you’re doing jingoism you need to appeal to an actual real jingoistic audience. Angry Canadian –American’s really feels like a construct and not a real audience.

12/14/06:

-Well I guess one could claim that the break up of AMW was the longest term booking Russo has ever done. I mean these two have been teasing dissention since the second episode of TNA 5 years ago. That my friend is slow build. The AMW vs. LAX match is the opposite of that. AMW lost to LAX in a salute the flasg match on the PPV. Ignore the stupidity of that booking. Ignore the fact that salute the flag matches are intended as easy send the crowd home happy house show matches where crowd gets to feel the participatory pleasure of singing the anthem at the end of match. TNA is all about crowd chants, and they don’t deliver the one match that by design is supposed to elicit that type of crowd participation. You have to ignore all this because it’s Russo and having the US win would be expected, this is a swerve and is gonna be as big of a deal as that time when Hacksaw lost the flag match and had to renounce America and become Canadian. Ignore the stupidity of the PPV booking for a second and just remember that the PPV just took place and the following week they’re having a rematch where Konan has to be locked in a cage and if AMW looses they have to disband. That’s three months of booking right there. AMW challenges for a rematch, LAX counterchallenges with the break up stip, Harris still concerned about his vision, Konan in a cage stip is raised, etc. Instead you have AMW break up in a throw away 6 minute match (with two minute commercial break) a week after PPV. Who agreed to all these stips? This whole angle has been compressed to such a degree that none of it registers as being a big deal.

12/21/06:

And then there was the non-Sting portions of the Abyss angle. Hey Tomko has a DVD. Nice, I remember when Jarrett was lugging around a VHS tape a year ago. Glad to see that TNA has spent some money on moving to digital in their backstage skits. Tomko and Christian appear on video screen outside prison talking about Abyss’ old cell. Idiot Mike Tenay announces “That must mean that Abyss was in prison”. Hmm Christian and Tomko film outside a prison point to a room and refer to it as Abyss’ old room…and somehow Tenay is able to deduce that Abyss used to be in prison. Ok so I was wrong last week. Angle isn’t Cyril. Abyss is. Christian and Tomko as Timmy Kirk and Jazz Hoyt could be entertaining but at this point it isn’t. Sting is better than Luke Perry and James Mitchell is still useless. Really no onne should be allowed to talk in this angle other than Sting. Everyone else really feels like they are doing amateur theatre. I mean there is some good amateur theatre, but this wasn't even fake Up with People in mental institution bad, not even Guys and Dolls in an old folks home or Macbeth in prison. This was shit. Amused that they ran something like three Christian vs. Abyss PPV matches already and they decide that the way to freshen that match up is to have Christian work heel and Abyss work tweener.

1/11/07:

-This was the Jeremy Borash show. Why is Jeremy Borash on my TV? They already have a semi-competent backstage interviewer in Leticia. Do they really need two backstage interviewers? Where is Leticia? Jeremy Borash was all over this show. I mean he must have had five different comically inept segments. Borash asks Joe “For once you didn’t interfere with Angle’s match”…”for once”? He’s only interfered in one Angle match the one on the last episode. Angle was face last episode so I was expecting him to be heel here, instead this question and the whole framework of show has Joe as heel. The Borash interviews Samoa Joe and James Mitchell segments were set up with Borash asking an initial question then camera panning away from Borash while they answered. This had the nice feature of keeping Borash’s reaction shots from fucking up interviews. When Borash interviewed the Dudleys he positioned himself between the two and you were stuck watching a lot of Borash mugging. Why is Bubba doing a Slaughter impression? Or was that a Kirchner impression? It came off like second rate Portland Rambo impression. Not even a poor man's Sgt Danny Davis. They WWE's released Doug Basham no reason not to bring in the real Sgt Danny Davis. They replaced "Tenay does sit down interview with jungle drums playing in background" with "Borash does sit down interview in empty movie theatre". They’ve either replaced the sit down interview theme music or they were watching Cocoon as the music was all swishy and space operaish. The sit down interview was hilarious as Borash asked Chris Harris “How are you doing emotionally?” If Jeremy Borash is going to be doing fake Sally Jesse Raphael, he needs to start wearing scarves.

 

And then there was the JB and Eric Young segment.

 

So apparently it wasn’t anal lube. Traci Brooks sent Young out for protection. I thought he had a week or else. This would be the end of the week..but I’m guessing that Russo remembers giggling all though sex ed and thinks birth control devices are just naturally funny. So they are going to drag out Eric Young buys birth control for as long as they can. This week Eric Young shows up back stage with the pill and thinks he is supposed to take it and it is supposedly making his breasts tender. First of all this isn’t funny, second they went with the making breasts tender joke and not the regulating period joke, third the pill isn’t something you can get over the counter. It’s prescription med..everybody knows this. I mean DAMN! Ok about a year ago I was out at a Mongolian Barbeque place and the IT guys at the table next to me were discussing the birth control patch. One of these nerds said he didn’t understand “what happens if it falls off in the heat of passion”. At the time I was blown away by this level of ignorance and because I’m an ass started loudly talking about it. “HEY DID YOU HEAR WHAT THIS IDIOT AT THE TABLE NEXT TO US SAID?? HE ASKED WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BIRTH CONTROL PATCH FALLS OFF IF YOU’RE FUCKING TOO VIGOROUSLY!! I BET HE THINKS YOU NEED TO SWALLOW VIAGRA QUICKLY OR YOU’LL GET A STIFF NECK. WHAT AN IDIOT!!” I want to apologize to that table of IT guys as even they wouldn’t write a comedy segment as ignorant as the Eric Young, Jeremy Borash one. So the joke was supposed to be “HAHA look at that naïve Eric Young he thinks men are supposed to take the pill”. Instead the real joke is “HAHA the comedy writers at TNA have never been around actual women and don’t know anything about how birth control works”. Russo has a wife and he’s raising two daughters who he supposedly had a part in conceiving. I mean I realize after you’ve spent enough time in wrestling you just assume that everyone has access to whatever prescription drugs they ask for. But still.

 

Eric Young asks Borash to touch his newly tender breasts.

Young: “Grab That”

Borash ”No thanks, I’ll take you on after the show”

 

I bet you will.

1/24/07:

Speaking of Tenay and West this may have been one of the worst displays of Tenay doing play by play on mic work ever.

Samoa Joe: Fans have one burning question for me: Why would I help Kurt Angle?

Tenay: What’s the story? There has to be a reason Samoa Joe would help Kurt Angle.

Samoa Joe: I’m proving a point

Tenay: I heard Samoa Joe say he wants to prove a point.

 

You heard him say that? Guess what so did the audience. We are watching the same show.

 

Even if this was a radio drama the audience would still here the mic work, you don’t have to repeat it. Speaking of radio dramas: HURRY MAN HURRY!!! I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Borash clapping coconuts to capture the sound of Sting riding in on his white horse. This is a prerecorded show!!! A Prerecorded show! And they let that go on the air!!

 

And it’s the poorly written Russo mystery tour. Who is Christian’s mystery consultant? Why is Samoa Joe out here to help Angle? Is consultant here? Who is it? What does Ryan Shamrock have in her envelope? Detective Angle struggling to put together the clues really makes him look dumber than Shaggy. Dumber than Scooby Do, without really the charm of Scooby Dum. And then we semi solve another mystery. Right before Sting reveals the big mystery of Abyss’ past, they decide to do a close up of the audience sign that reads “TNA is Professional Wrestling, not Soap Opera Wrestling”….Not editing that out may have been more embarrassing than Tenay and West reading Green Hornet scripts too.

 

So months ago Christian promised that he would reveal a secret from Abyss past. He said this secret was so horrible and sickening that Cornette wouldn’t be able to use Abyss anymore, and so horrible that when people found out it would in essence end his career.

 

Really, so Abyss shot his dad three times in the back. That’s the big shocking reveal. ? He didn’t even kill him; just put him in a coma. This is supposed to be the thing that would disgust Cornette? Cornette? Cornette hears this and goes “Fucking pussy, let me tell you about Bruiser Bedlam. “ No one pushed Johnny K-9 harder than Cornette. Well that’s not true, as I have tapes of 90s Midwest indy that Damore booked where Bedlam was the champ. Russo brought Snuka into WCW. Brought New Jack into TNA. Repeatedly brings Luger into TNA. Mantell co-booked WWC and IWA with Invader 1. Abyss didn’t even succeed in killing his dad. Why is attempted murder supposed to be so shocking?

 

Abyss had shots of prison in his entrance video…where we supposed to believe he was in prison for drug dealing? Extortion? Graffiti?

 

I guess the shock is supposed to be that he shot his dad? But it’s wrestling. Didn’t Vince try to kill Linda, Shane try to kill Vince, Vince try to get Undertaker to rape Stephanie? Why would attempted patricide be a big shock?

 

So it’s Russo and I was expecting incest and so I guess should be shocked that he didn’t go back to his old formula. I assume Russo read the Bible and went "incest isn’t that shocking, it's normal...I knew it all along". Russo found the gun in his daughters draw one night and decided to read her some Biblical passages. While fingering her he explains “See incest happened all the time in the Bible, but what God really frowned on was patricide. PATRICIDE is TERRIBLE! MOST TERRIBLE OF CRIMES! No crime more horrible in God’s UHHUHHH eyes. Damnit!! How many times do I need to tell you? You need to swallow. He frowns on spilled seed too”.

2/1/07:

A Few Good Black Men?? Oh see the joke here is that black entertainment is just watered down second rate copies of the stuff that white people come up with. Did Patrice O Neal cuckold Russo when they both worked in the WWF? “HA, HA Blacks have no ideas of their own, they aren’t creative. See I’m creative that’s what I always explained to Vince”. So they have Ron Killings in a spoof of Maverick distributed direct to DVD black movies, where Ron Killings is riffing on Jack Nicholson in front of cheap graphics and the boom mic falls on him. “Ha Ha Black entertainment is second rate”. One can argue whether this is a good way for TNA to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month or not. But one can’t argue that it’s not a good idea to spoof cheap production values of Bad News Ballers when you had your announcers reading from scripts on camera last week. Nothing in Master Ps filmography is as poorly written as the Abyss prison story. You’re running Chris Sabin doing an old man impression and yet you’re doing spoof’s of bad movies. “Ha Ha that movie is bad, unlike this comedy bit where Chris Sabin is using a walker…see its funny because Jerry Lynn is old. I mean I don’t think people will get the joke so Chris Sabin will have to say ‘Hey I’m Jerry Lynn. I’m Jerry Lynn’ again and again so people get it but it’s still brilliant”. There’s nothing wrong with doing a comedy segment but doing a comedy segment mocking cheap second rate knocks-off’s when you are a cheap second rate knock off is a mistake. TNA isn’t even the “Orca”, to WWE’s “Jaws”. For a cheap knock-off“ Orca” showed far more creativity.

 

And well the undercard? Again, you can watch indies on youtube with longer better matches than anything on Impact. I liked some of the early parts of the X-Division five way. Starr and Shelley work as a heel team working really basic offense against Jay Lethal. Lethal works face getting beat on, getting comebacks (including chopping Starr’s chest beat red), getting comebacks cut off and it really feels like the start of a good well paced tag match. Then Jerry Lynn is tagged in. And it's Jerry Lynn on fire doing "on fire" shouting and Lucky Pierre doublejerking handmotions. Lynn’s house of fire offense looks shitty, he attacks everyone face or heel and we move from the slow early build straight into a really shitty dive train. No midrange section to match, just early slow build and then shitty Jerry Lynn and dives. And well these were unimpressive dives too. Maan poor Robert Roode is stuck in an endless series with his former Team Canada partners. Petey Williams isn’t good at eating offense or selling but manages to be unobjectionable in the parts of the match where Roode was on offense, and Roode is good enough at eating ranas that the Williams multiple rana sections where ok. But really Petey Williams should stick to ranas, as everything else was cringe-worthy. I don’t know why people spend so much time mocking the Canadian Destroyer when his floatover to Russian legsweep, may not be as preposterous but looks far worse. At least with the Canadian Destroyer (like the rana), its move that a good opponent can make look ok. Moves where execution/set up matters more than the opponents’ bumps…uugh! Sometimes watching Williams wrestle is like watching a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy wrestling. Wrestling is two guys pretending to fight. Backyard wrestling is people pretending to be guys pretending to fight. So imagine a mime trying to mime “Backyard wrestling”, now imagine a kid whose first grade class went to see that mime. That kid taught Petey Williams how to execute a Russian leg sweep.

2/9/07:

-“None of the above” was the most texted guess as who would be Christian’s Special consultant with 34% of the vote… Yikes how many people voted in this thing? Couldn’t have been more than a handful. I mean the internet really killed the old wrestling hotline carny game. I never called a wrestling hotline, but I did call Jerry Lee Lewis 1-900 line enough times to admire the carnyness of 1-900 numbers. Anyone who has watched late night TV commercials knows that the text messaging carny hustle has almost replaced the 1-900 one at this point. And so on some level you have to admire TNA getting involved in the new hustle. But damn it’s like they don’t understand how a hustle works at all. Listing Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Samoa Joe or “other” really makes “other” look like a disappointment. “Hey maybe it will be one of these two big guys..if not it will be someone not as big.” Plus they have actively pissed off Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. If they ever had the money to get these two, they might want to. Right now both are pissed that there names are being used without getting paid. The reason the internet killed wrestling hotlines is that the internet provided the info on wrestling hotlines. You’re having people text to “guess” who the consultant will be in a taped show. People who text, people who use new technology…will probably also understand how to use the internet And “vote” to “guess” who the consultant will be? You’re vote here doesn’t matter, it doesn’t determine anything. No one called in to vote to “predict” if Face would die at the end of the A-Team. They voted to determine if Face would die. The hustle is to have people text in to vote for what they want Rhino’s weapon of choice to be, not to vote to guess what it will be. Running the results also make your audience look dumb. Especially when the storyline is this clear. The conclusion to the mystery consultant story was obvious and 66% of the voting audience can’t follow this story. That may not be something you want to advertise.

 

-So the second Mystery is solved. Scott Steiner is the special consultant. This is better mystery resolution than the Abyss one. No crazy swerve, pretty obvious conclusion. Christian is actively better at the “mindgames” mic work then Helmsley. He still isn’t as good as Wes from Real World/Road Rules challenge. And well one of these days I need to do a whole idiotic “Lessons of 2007; What Wrestling Should Learn from MTV/VH1 ‘Reality’ Television”. The premier of “I Love New York” was the most watched show in cable, absolutely beating all wrestling and that week’s “Sopranos” premier. I’m sure with enough liquor in me I could come up with a bunch of shit on the lessons these shows provide on how you elevate new stars, build matches, get across lots of characters, create worked drama etc. But anyway as a preview : “The Lesson of Wes’s Mindgames mic work”. Two kinds of folks do “mindgames mic work” in reality TV; crazy/delusional folks “New York/Beth” and sane guys “Wes”. The thing about arguably sane people playing “mindgames” is that at the end of the day you don’t think “Wow that Wes he sure is a Machavelian genius tactician”. No at the end of the day you think “Wow that Evan is really dumb for falling for that shit”. Your “sane mindgames” worker never comes across as smart so much as his opponents come across as dupes. There is a reason that no one (with the exception of Batista) leaves a program with HHH as hot as they were when they entered it. Batista was booked to see right through HHH’s mindgames (Batista was also never stuck in matches with HHH in the build to the PPV…as tags, singles , 3 ways whatever no one looks good in loosing to HHH). Mindgames mic work, by and large makes your faces look like chumps. Christian promised someone who wrestled just like Angle and had a similar mind state. Steiner is drugged out of his gourd nut who does a lot of meaningless suplexes. When Christian first mentioned this clue the audience chanted “RVD”, which would I guess also have made sense( spotty druggy who bangs people up while throwing visually dainty looking offense) . RVD has supposedly asked for his WWE release and aw Fuck, I imagine watching the inevitable TNA Angle/RVD/ Lynn three way dance will guarantee me a place in the Heavenly Choir. I imagine you could rape ponies in front of a troupe of Brownies and still argue with St Peter “ Yeah, I guess that was awful but. Did you see when I watched that TNA PPV. That’s got to count as penance. How much more self-flagellation do you guys need?” At least Russo finish will keep it from being pimped as a WON MOTY “people who didn’t like this don’t understand the future of wrestling, yadda yadda”. Sorry, getting distracted. Point was obvious conclusion was Steiner, with RVD at least making sense as a second possibility. For some reason Angle is confused and thinks, it’s either Goldberg, Brock Lesnar or Samoa Joe. Tomko provides the clues of goatee and sunglasses…so it could be either Scott Steiner or Jim Neidhart. And this convinces Angle that it has to be Samoa Joe. Mindgames stuff doesn’t make Christian look clever so much as it makes Angle come across as an idiot.

2/15/07:

-ROCKY BLACKBOA~!!!: Aw so much to criticize.

 

One could criticize the racism and misogyny involved the portrait of the fat gold digging chickenheaded black woman with stanky whiting sandwich breath. But FUCK, it’s Russo. I’m not sure if the minstrel jiggaboo caricature might be more progressive than any of his other female caricatures. One could criticize the stupidity of running a comedy segment that mocks the poor writing, acting and production of a black B-Movie, on a show that’s this poorly written, acted and produced. I mean the joke here is supposed to be “HA HA look at how bad and stupid this segment is”. On a show that also has a poorly written fake B-level American Idol spoof where Jay Lethal does a B-level spoof of an actually famous wrestler. Show with a poorly acted, poorly written sketch where Chris Sabin impersonates a senior, etc. Show this poorly done can’t really run a segment built on concept “this is deliberately bad” when there is nothing on the rest of the show written as well as Camron’s “Killa Season” movie. It’s just stupid.

 

But lets ignore all that for a second. Racism, misogyny and stupidity is Russo’s bread and butter. So I’m going to ignore all that and instead focus on the point that Russo is really shitty at telling race based jokes. I mean ethnic comedy is one of Russo’s specialties but he stinks at it. “Rocky Blackboa”? “”Rocky Blackboa”? It’s an old hack joke that Russo is trying to tell. Racist jokes built on black man presumptious enough to claim the cultural trappings of whites goes back over a century. Been told by millions of wannabe comedians black and white. I want to ignore the racism and talk about the joke structure. Real issue isn't the racism of the joke but how poorly Russo tells it. “Rocky Blackboa”? How poorly does that joke read? Scan it a couple times; try to say it out loud. It’s incredibly awkward. “ A Few Good Black Men”? Read it. It’s cumbersome. He’s added an extra word which throws the rhythm off. This is easy hack joke. But the secret is to keep the original meter. You don’t just add the word black.” A Few Good Bros”, “A few Good Homies”. Neither of those are funny but at least they aren’t unfunny and cumbersome. “I dream of Black Jeanie” won’t ever register a chuckle, “I Dream of Jea-Nay-Nay” will. “RamBlackO” doesn’t work when RamBro does. You read “Bill and Ted’s Black Bogus Journey “and it’s clunky and awkward. You read “Bilal and Ty’s Crunk Journey” and instantly your head is filled with pictures of Marcus Garvey getting fit for a grill, Scott Joplin scratching out ragtime beats in front of awe struck turntablists, and George Washington Carver getting addicted to internet porn "You can do that with peanut butter?". Try to read “Rocky Blackboa” outloud. It kills the joke. “’Darkie’ Balboa” is right there… If you’re going to do an unfunny race based joke at least do it right. I mean shit there must be at least thirty unfunny fake Def Comedy Jam stand-ups with aspirations to one day be the next Shucky Ducky trolling the Orlando Funny Bones. None of them would have written a joke as cumbersome as “Rocky Blackboa”.

 

-I am not expecting that the Angle v Steiner matches will be any good. But I had high hopes for their verbal confrontations. I’ve read the transcripts of Angle radio interviews and was actually looking forward to crazy angry mic work between two delusional druggies. Two nut-jobs yelling nonsensical stuff at each other should rule. The Angle v Steiner confrontation was just really disappointing. Scott Steiner’s stuff doesn’t make a ton of sense but his cadence and delivery are really great and he projects heel character well. He talks a bunch about contracts and stuff, about how he wasn’t able to negotiate his contract because the promotion was so busy signing Angle and how Angle isn’t “special”..Angle hasn’t done anything Steiner hasn’t done..and that in fact Angle’s wife is regularly calling Steiner looking for sexual favors. Tenay and West are disgusted “How much can a man take?””No need to drag family into this”. And Angle comes out all incensed and I’m stoked. Was sitting their anticipating Angle coming out “Not special? I defeated Lou Thesz and Danny Hodge in an impromptu three way dance backstage at the Olympics. And when I defeat you, I’m gonna make my wife come into the ring and take a shit on your face”. Instead Angle comes out and isn’t incensed about Steiner claiming that he cuckolded him. NO. Upset about being told that he isn’t special? No. No, the thing that makes Angle upset is the insinuation that Angle came to TNA for the big money contract. “I didn’t come here for the money…I came here for the company”. Steiner just talked shit about Angle’s wife and Angle responds by talking about the nature of contract negotiating and backstage egos. Man that’s the shittyest game of dozens ever, can you picture Angle in middle school: someone tells him “Your moms a whore” and he responds”Well you’re not a good team player”.

 

And then they end the verbal confrontation with Angle suplexing and manhandling Steiner “with ease” until Christian and Tomko come out to make the save. Not a pull apart confrontation but rather Steiner gets manhandled and has to be saved by other heels. They ran a successful program where Angle and Samoa Joe did lots of pull aparts that led to a PPV that did big numbers. Angle really can’t deliver in ring and so once people actually saw the match up they had no desire to see it again and their next match didn’t draw. And now no one wants to see Angle v Joe again. Angle tells Joe that in order to get title match in tonight’s gauntlet “you have to go through me” and it gets no pop. No one cares anymore. I mean that’s a simple formula that you can use with Angle: Introduce new opponent--run pull apart confrontations-- which leads to PPV match—PPV match kills any desire to see more matches. Instead they have Angle toss Steiner and put him in ankle lock. Why should anyone want to see the match? This whole segment was put together by idiots. Man they really need to fire their writers and find the most hack hacks at the local black talent night at Funny Bones. Lazy Lamont, Platinum, Lewis Lewis, Hollaback, and Peanutbutter Pryor all would be smart enough to understand that all the money is in the posturing and jone’ing. Once a guy gets knocked down and his boys have to come over to rescue him, it’s over and no one cares anymore.

 

-There has to be a cultural studies major writing a paper “Imagining the Evil Latino” that follows all the ridiculous permutations that the LAX stable has gone through. When Canadian Scott Dámore was on the booking team, Latinos where portrayed as Quebec style separatists. Russo comes in and made a couple of completely failed attempts to do jingoism and then went with what he knows: not conflicts based on nationality but conflicts based on ethnicity. And so we have the “New York Style” Latino v. Italian feud. Honestly this is far more relevant than Damore’s booking as conflicts between old and new immigrants are very real. Of course Russo doesn’t have anything interesting to say about those conflicts. Nothing to say at all. Pretty much just his old playground power fantasies of being a “tough” New York Italian. Fantasies one assumes he formulated while pissing his pants after getting beaten up by Irish girls. Everytime the priest would come visiting, Russo would clench close his eyes and say to himself "This isn't happening. I'm a ganster. Tough New Yawk Gangster.".So while not as idiotic as Damore, still not really relevant or good. Unique Jones and Earl Earl would have one hack “Italians drive their cars like this, while Latinos drive their cars like this” routine that would be deeper than the writing here. So Italian Brother Ray brings in his actor “cousin Steve Shirpa” who threatens to get his family to whack LAX. Umm?!? This is like Sting bringing in his friend actor Peter Weller to watch his back.

 

Peter Weller: Sid, Ole, Arn, Flair…Dead or Alive, you’re coming with me.

2/22/07:

I love me some contract signing. Love Dusty signing a contract with the Assassin. All the clichés: the challenges, the shit talking, the briefcase, the signing, the upturned table-- I dig all that shit. And they hit most of the spots here.

 

But they fucked up with the “shit talking”.

 

They fucked up the “shit talking”. How do you fuck up the “shit talking”? Shit talking should be the easiest thing in the world. Ideally you drop a grand on some blow have both guys pull some lines and then Steiner yells shit incomprehensibly and then Angle mumbles shit incomprehensibly and you bleep out the cursing and pray that neither guy’s heart explodes. But you don’t need to do that. You really don’t need much for successful contract signing shit talking: “I’m gonna beat your ass”; “Screw You!”; “Screw You Harder!”; “You suck!”; “Well you suck harder “ ; table gets flipped. It’s that easy Nothing fancy just needs to convey two guys who want to rip at each other.

 

Instead they had Angle and Steiner exchange insida shoot comments. Their mic work managed to emasculate both of them.

 

I’ve written before about how “shoot”comments need to be extensions of character and not just insider stuff thrown out for color.

 

People seem to forget that Brian Pillman’s gimmick wasn’t “guy who shares backstage gossip”. No. That’s the Mean Gene hotline’s gimmick. Pillman’s gimmick was out of “control crazy unpredictable guy”. His “talking out of turn”/shooting was a way of demonstrating his unpredictability. Shane Douglas’ gimmick wasn’t guy who “shared insider gossip” either. Shane Douglas gimmick was guy obsessed with his own self importance. Part of the way he demonstrated that was through shoots where he placed himself at the center of wrestling history. Steiner’s gimmick is similar to Pillman’s. Uncontrollable drugged up crazy. You kill that sense of uncontrolableness by giving him the kind of really scripted insider coffee line that Russo gave him. His gimmick is guy who will say anything…not guy slipping in carefully worded witty insider comments. The shooting is part of the “you can’t predict what he’s going to say or do” gimmick. Overly scripting him as guy who shares insider information really is regimicking him as Mean Gene’s hotline. Mean Gene isn’t threatening to anyone. Scripted Steiner really was Mean Gene trying to impress Harold Ross at the Algonquin Round table. That’s about as emasculated as you can get.

 

So Steiner does a really overly insida shoot scripted line about gold medals and a cup of coffee, which incenses Angle so much that he does a insida shoot line about how the “business no longer needs money hungry egotistical whiny bitches”. Not that Angle hates “whiny bitches” or that “whiny bitches” affect him in any way. Instead that Angle is emasculated frustrated middle manager who worries about how other people’s workplace attitudes affect the “business” at large.

 

So instead of getting across two guys who want to rip ate each they managed to do mic work that conveyed two completely emasculated guys. So who are the insider shoot comments aimed at?

 

Some time ago WWE moved Shane Helms to Smackdown and gave him the gimmick of being guy disliked backstage. I don’t know if it was a rib on Batista or what the idea was, but Helms’ heel gimmick was guy who didn’t show proper respect to other people in the locker room. Nobody cares about that shit other than the folks in the locker room. About a month into gimmick Shane Helms started heeling himself on the crowd and on his in ring opponents. That gets some response. Guy who thinks he’s better than/disrespectful toward audience or toward opponent gets a heel response. Why should the audience care one way or another about the guy who is disrespectful to folks backstage? Is there a reason I should be upset that Shane Helms kayfabed Scotty 2 Hotty? “Damn him he should have shaken Scotty’s hand”

 

I’m a fan; I’m not in the biz. Why should I care if someone’s whiny backstage? I’ve written a ton of critical things about Shawn Michaels. I’ve never criticized him for thinking it was funny to force Sunny to eat his feces. Nope I criticize him for boring me in his matches. How he acts backstage doesn’t affect that. I have heard lots of stories about the hazing Kawada put Omori through. Kawada is a great wrestler who entertains me. Why should the audience care that someone is whiny or a douchebag to their colleagues? The audience is made up of audience members. The audience is not made up of road agents. They don’t need to worry about backstage interpersonal squabbles.

 

Lots of times when I say that stuff doesn’t work for me, people answer that I’m not the “average fan”…and what I think doesn’t matter. What matters is what does the average fan think”. And I’m not the average fan. I subscribe to the Observer, can watch upwards of twenty hours of wrestling in a week, and spend a lot of time thinking about professional wrestling. In today’s society that’s outcast freakish behavior. There was a point back in the DVDVR500 days where I balanced career, education , social life, and maybe 45 hours of wrestling a week. At the time I was obsessing about lots of stuff, collected 78s, first edition books, world war two era toys made out of paper due to metal rationing, various ephemera, etc. Post Hurricane Katrina I bought myself an Ipod and haven’t been tempted to go to estate sales looking for 78s or even purchased an Lp or 45. Even though I’ve changed my lifestyle so that in case of evacuation I won’t be left like the jazzmen mourning their sheet music…I still will regularly pick up wrestling dvds. So the point I’m making is that I’m crazy. And I don’t care about what wrestlers are like backstage or what Vince thinks of the Olympics. Why am I supposed to believe that the vast majority of fans who’s interest in wrestling is only casual are going to care about the minutae of backstage politics?

 

It also should be pointed out that if you are a fan who cares about the minutae of backstage politics, you’re probably following the “biz” closely enough to laugh at the idea that Angle is giving a speech on the evils of selfish ego driven performers creating a toxic back stage environment.

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Kevin Cook on the Benoit murders: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?show...amp;hl=examined

 

This is great stuff, Loss. This isn't a direct reaction, but this is what this made me think.

 

Intelligence interests me a lot for the same reasons wrestling does -- hidden histories fascinate me -- and while in many ways it couldn't be more dissimilar, the two fields demand something very similar, a total dissolution of your own identity and your ability to trust people.

 

When you read about the early years of the CIA and the men who built it, you read a lot of stories very similar to those of wrestlers who have died. Suicides, insanity, broken families, murders, disappearances; it's really horrible stuff. Anyone who got too involved with covert action or counterintelligence, anyone who really understood the inner secrets of American foreign policy, ended up horribly damaged in some way. There are a lot of theories about why this is but I think it's simple enough; when you demand someone give up their ability to maintain a true personality to do their work they're going to get fucked out of all recognition.

 

I'm not really too sure where I'm going with this, but a couple of points come to mind. Benoit is accountable, of course, but I think in a very fundamental way wrestling itself -- the nature of it, the secrecy and working -- is what caused this and the rest of the explanations are red herrings. By all accounts it's all he cared about. It cost him his health, his family, his friends, and it also gave him those things. I think he reached a point where he lost his passion, looked at what wrestling had cost him, and realized it had all been for nothing. I don't think that's the true cause of the murders, but I do think that's the line of thinking that ultimately led to this.

 

The other point is this. If you saw The Good Shepherd, that's a heavily fictionalized account of the life of America's greatest spy, James Jesus Angleton. The usual line on him is that he went insane with paranoia because of the nature of intelligence work, seeing KGB everywhere, and crippled the CIA for years with his counterintelligence purges, which ruined the careers of a lot of honest men. The real truth is a lot murkier. His biggest fear was that the KGB would be able to insert moles in both the FBI and CIA at the same time and construct a feedback loop. Something like that actually happened with the Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames cases, after Angleton was discredited and forced out. He was insane, and he did see enemies where there weren't any, but he understood the nature of intelligence in a way others didn't, and on the very fundamental points, he was ultimately right.

 

It's an odd comparison, but it seems similar to the position of guys like Hogan or Nash. They always preached that the road guys like Benoit followed was a dead end, that if you understood the nature of the work you'd understand why what they did wasn't just unnecessary, but was counterproductive. They thought Guerrero and Benoit and those guys were marks working themselves to death for nothing but the praise of a handful of hardcore fans whose opinions didn't mean shit. I think ten years later it's pretty hard to argue with them, and I think hardcore fandom is complicit in all these deaths, though hardcore fans as individuals aren't, if that distinction makes sense.

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God I totally missed the TomK compares Angle to Whitney Houston thing the first time around. How did I miss that? That made me laugh so hard.

 

Steiner just talked shit about Angle’s wife and Angle responds by talking about the nature of contract negotiating and backstage egos. Man that’s the shittyest game of dozens ever, can you picture Angle in middle school: someone tells him “Your moms a whore” and he responds”Well you’re not a good team player”.

This is also my favourite quote about the entire history of TNA. It sums up so much of everything the company represents in a nutshell.

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I think it was 2003, Tenzan had just won his first or second IWGP Heavyweight title, and Kobashi had started his GHC title run and I started writing about my dislike of a type of Clash of the Titans main event wrestling that I referred to as “Jim Steinman/Meatloaf” booked wrestling. I liked some of the actual man vs. Mythical God matches (Kobashi vs. Ogawa, Kobashi vs. Honda) but most of the two Gods meet left me feeling as unmoved as “Bat Out of Hell.” So the Steinman/Meatloaf riff has been something I’ve been using for about three years now. The problem with that particular talking point is that I actually like matches between two “bigger than life” wrestlers. I just don’t like when they’re Jim Steinman productions.

Now there's no need for that! Jim Steinman wrote the Hogan "Rock n' Wrestling" theme. Tomk should show some damn respect. Actually, Hogan & Steinman are a good match. What's more of a "Bat Out of Hell of wrestling" than Hogan/Rock or Hogan/Warrior?

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Kevin Cook on the Benoit murders: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?show...amp;hl=examined

 

This is great stuff, Loss. This isn't a direct reaction, but this is what this made me think.

 

Intelligence interests me a lot for the same reasons wrestling does -- hidden histories fascinate me -- and while in many ways it couldn't be more dissimilar, the two fields demand something very similar, a total dissolution of your own identity and your ability to trust people.

 

When you read about the early years of the CIA and the men who built it, you read a lot of stories very similar to those of wrestlers who have died. Suicides, insanity, broken families, murders, disappearances; it's really horrible stuff. Anyone who got too involved with covert action or counterintelligence, anyone who really understood the inner secrets of American foreign policy, ended up horribly damaged in some way. There are a lot of theories about why this is but I think it's simple enough; when you demand someone give up their ability to maintain a true personality to do their work they're going to get fucked out of all recognition.

 

I'm not really too sure where I'm going with this, but a couple of points come to mind. Benoit is accountable, of course, but I think in a very fundamental way wrestling itself -- the nature of it, the secrecy and working -- is what caused this and the rest of the explanations are red herrings. By all accounts it's all he cared about. It cost him his health, his family, his friends, and it also gave him those things. I think he reached a point where he lost his passion, looked at what wrestling had cost him, and realized it had all been for nothing. I don't think that's the true cause of the murders, but I do think that's the line of thinking that ultimately led to this.

 

The other point is this. If you saw The Good Shepherd, that's a heavily fictionalized account of the life of America's greatest spy, James Jesus Angleton. The usual line on him is that he went insane with paranoia because of the nature of intelligence work, seeing KGB everywhere, and crippled the CIA for years with his counterintelligence purges, which ruined the careers of a lot of honest men. The real truth is a lot murkier. His biggest fear was that the KGB would be able to insert moles in both the FBI and CIA at the same time and construct a feedback loop. Something like that actually happened with the Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames cases, after Angleton was discredited and forced out. He was insane, and he did see enemies where there weren't any, but he understood the nature of intelligence in a way others didn't, and on the very fundamental points, he was ultimately right.

 

It's an odd comparison, but it seems similar to the position of guys like Hogan or Nash. They always preached that the road guys like Benoit followed was a dead end, that if you understood the nature of the work you'd understand why what they did wasn't just unnecessary, but was counterproductive. They thought Guerrero and Benoit and those guys were marks working themselves to death for nothing but the praise of a handful of hardcore fans whose opinions didn't mean shit. I think ten years later it's pretty hard to argue with them, and I think hardcore fandom is complicit in all these deaths, though hardcore fans as individuals aren't, if that distinction makes sense.

This makes me want to read more about the CIA/FBI and everything surrounding them.

 

Nash and Hogan may not have as devoted as Guerrero and Benoit but they too were built from the same cloth. Hogan has a lot of the same working traits that Benoit and Guerrero do. Nash has some too especially when he was in the WWF and his first stint in WCW.

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I don't necessarily think that's true. The thing that everyone praises about Hogan and Nash is that they realize that the point of wrestling is to make money, not to leave a lasting body of work that gets 4 and 5 star ratings from the Netcop. Wrestling isn't art, it's a business. Of course Hogan and Nash were driven to succeed in wrestling, but they also didn't destroy their bodies beyond what was required or asked of them. Well, they did, but that's a side effect of too many steroids in Hulk's case, or old basketball injuries destroying Nash's knees. But they didn't do diving headbutts after breaking their necks because they thought not doing it would be cheating the audience.

 

One thing that gets overlooked in the Nash & Hogan > Benoit & Eddie arguments is that Nash and Hogan obviously have huge physical advantages over the other two, and Benoit and Guerrero if they half-assed it in the ring were unlikely to get the "YEAH BUT HE'S TALL" benefit of the doubt from Vince. Benoit and Eddie also didn't have the benefit of there existing a huge rival promotion throwing huge sums of money at WWE main eventers and not caring when their new signees half-assed everything and used their show as a vehicle for their own amusement. Nash and Hogan got so much for doing nothing because they had a lazy mark boss. It's a lot harder to cheat the system when you're working for Vince.

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I think it was 2003, Tenzan had just won his first or second IWGP Heavyweight title, and Kobashi had started his GHC title run and I started writing about my dislike of a type of Clash of the Titans main event wrestling that I referred to as “Jim Steinman/Meatloaf” booked wrestling. I liked some of the actual man vs. Mythical God matches (Kobashi vs. Ogawa, Kobashi vs. Honda) but most of the two Gods meet left me feeling as unmoved as “Bat Out of Hell.” So the Steinman/Meatloaf riff has been something I’ve been using for about three years now. The problem with that particular talking point is that I actually like matches between two “bigger than life” wrestlers. I just don’t like when they’re Jim Steinman productions.

Now there's no need for that! Jim Steinman wrote the Hogan "Rock n' Wrestling" theme. Tomk should show some damn respect. Actually, Hogan & Steinman are a good match. What's more of a "Bat Out of Hell of wrestling" than Hogan/Rock or Hogan/Warrior?

 

Pat Patterson as the Jim Steinman of professional wrestling is an interesting analogy. Kinda wish I knew more about the production end of music to know whether or not fits better than the John Laurenitis-as-Steinman argument that TomK seems to be making here. On the surface, it seems to, but then the only Steinman I can think of that I actually like is "Ravishing", appropriately enough. If nothing else, always amuses me that Hulk Hogan's original theme was the instrumental version of a song about fucking outdoors.

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It's a lot harder to cheat the system when you're working for Vince.

Posted Image

 

Speaking as someone who tends to avoid the HHHatred when it's not super-ridiculous like the recent video game stuff or Dr. Black promo edited off TV, I doubt that a lot of guys would be able to coast the way HHH does if they didn't work Vince by being the awesome bodybuilder son in-law. Most of the time he's not much more than average in the ring (it wouldn't shock me if Vince would cut down anyone else who over-relied on Irish whips like that for being "unrealistic") or cutting promos.

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What people forget about Hogan was that, in the prime of his career, he was a master of some basic elements of a match: knowing how long you stay on offense to warm up the crowd, at what point does the heel take control, when do you give the fans that false hope, when does the babyface comeback finally kick in, and how do things build to the finish.

 

Nash understood how to manipulate people backstage, but he didn't understand how to manipulate a crowd enough to sustain his runs on top. Hogan understood how to control the crowd, so his runs lasted longer and were more successful.

 

Between Eddie and Benoit, Eddie always struck me as the one who understood more about how to control the crowd beyond doing eye-popping highspots. But when he hit his prime, big men tended to get most of the attention, leading him down the paths he chose to take.

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Not if it saves him from a worse fate, Boondocks. Both Eddie and Benoit drove themselves mad with envy from playing by the rules and always seeing the con artists who didn't really care about being respected get ahead of them. If you're obsessed with wanting to play living legend, but that spot will always be out of your grasp because there can only be a handful of living legends and those spots are already taken, then you can either accept your lot in real life and make the most of it or go crazy trying to live up to impossible standards in a fake meaningless world.

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Also....

 

3/9/07:

-Hey its Hector Guerrero. Cool. I’ve recently watched his Mid South stuff where the Guerreros represent Spanish aristocracy and Hector throws hot sauce in the eye of working class Hispanic Jose Lothario. Dundee/Lothario/Brickhouse Brown vs. Landel/Guerreros is pretty sweet. Chavo and Hector buy Jim Cornette off with golden pesos to help them against the RnR Xpress. Somewhere I have a tape of the Robert Fuller/Gordon Solie post Continental fed where Hector turns on Todd Morton by throwing hot chile in his eye. The whole period of WCW Worlwide when they brought in Hector to work against their green US juniors is pretty sweet. Hector rules. It’s ridiculous that this fed has Bob Backlund and Hector Guerrero available and isn’t running Bob Backlund vs. Hector Guerrero. This whole show was built around trios matches. Not well worked trios matches but trios matches. Those trios could have used veteran anchors. The only two things that draw in America independents are nostalgia feds and lucha. Vince Russo is an idiot and doesn’t realize that it’s MidAtlantic/Memphis nostalgia that draws. Instead Russo’s brought in Backlund and Johnny Rodz. I don’t think 70s WWWF nostalgia is a draw anywhere. If it was a draw it would be in the old WWWF territory and not Florida/Detroit/St.Louis TNA locations. I remember when WCW was in I think either the Omni or Charlotte and Russo brought out wrestling “legends” Tito Santana, and George Steele to no pop. Russo is an idiot. Still Hector is a guy who actually worked both St Louis and Florida.My guess is we won’t get Hector wrestling and only get this one bit of mic work. But still: Hector Guerrero on the mic~! I’ve always liked Hector Guerrero on the mic. He’s going to be added to the Spanish announce team. His little bit in Spanish hypeing the show was pretty solid and he’s going to be a nice addition. I wonder if they’ll ever have him turn heel on Moody Jack by throwing hot sauce in Jack’s eye. TNA’s Hispanic Legacy Foundation maybe the most carny bullshit charity ever. I was disappointed that they didn’t put up a PO Box for donations.

 

-“Abyss is Crazy” “He’s Snapped!!!”---you can’t have your crazy character snap. His gimmick is that he’s crazy. He’s been snapped for three years now. It’s no longer shocking. “Oh no the guy who was institutionalized and wears a mask is acting nutty.” Man this show was all about exposing the problems with the Abyss character. Exposing the stupidity of his moves, the poor quality of his acting and the poor quality of the writing of his character.

 

Socal Val takes a nice bump on the Black Hole slam…but seeing her take it just served to remind you that it’s essentially a swing dance move. She’s pretty tanned for a swing dance revivalist, as those girls tend to be paler than the palest rockabilly goth. But still that green dress and that color of red hair and watch Abyss lift her and swing her. Abyss is too small to be believable as Vince Vaughan but yeah he might make a fine John Favreu. Repackaging Abyss as swing dance revivalist might not be a bad move. It would also explain his little Charleston shuffle across the ring thing. I don’t know if you could explain away his arm crossing as jazz hands. He would need a better tailored vest, too.

 

Chirstian really captured the right tone talking to Abyss about the loss of a father figure but watching Abyss try to do his mime of various stages of grief, reflection and anger exposed both the shittyness of Abyss and the stupidity of the writing. So around 92-93 I took a class on 18th/19th century melodrama. I don’t remember a ton about the class and I think I probably failed it. I do remember that there was a piece of critical writing built on “a physical handicap theory of theatre” where every theatric genre is built on a handicap.. Tragedy is represented by blindness, comedy by deafness, melodrama by muteness and I forgot what form of theatre dealt with cripples. I do remember that the theory was taken seriously enough that people wrote about how the interest in mental handicaps in the 20th Century changed the nature of the stories at the center of theater/cinema. Really I’ve seen Gilligan get hit with a coconut far too many times to be able to read serious scholarship on 20th Century social breakdowns manifested by fears of amnesia as represented in popular culture. So I remember that and I remember the stuff about how early melodrama was built around hiring pantomimes and acrobats to avoid actors unions (similar to development of reality programming to avoid writers unions). Melodrama historically developed from pantomime and the issues that melodrama does and does not address can be traced to issues that can and cannot be addressed in mime. Mime is concerned with verbs, not adjectives, adverbs or nouns or some such. . And so I read a bunch on the issues that mime cannot deal with. Mime of course deals with the physical not the psychological. Mime is about things in the present tense not reflections on the past. Deals in the concrete not abstract, etc. The reason I remember this point is because I spent the entire semester filling my notebooks up with doodles of Red Skelton and Marcel Marceau being tortured in Hell as S Clay Wilson style demons demanded that they mime things that are impossible to mime. Elaborate drawings of demons demanding “Mime ‘I used to be virtuous’, mime ‘” Drawings of Skelton crying at his inability to perform task of performing “art is difficult” in mime. Demon “Mime “formerly my father was an ambitious man but now he’s resigned to life of toil’” …”Mime ‘ My mother gave me an example of devotion and self sacrifice’ “ . These are things that are impossible to express though mime. Concepts such as virtue, or complexity of art…backstories about relatives or characters reflections on the lot of relatives really can’t be pulled off.

 

Abyss isn’t a good mime. He’s a shitty mime. Every show he crosses his hands in front of his face and pushes against the invisible box that is holding him captured. Not once do I believe that either he’s stuck in a box or that his character believes himself to be stuck in a box. He’s an awful mime. He’s such an awful mime that I think it has saved Russo from some of the criticism that Russo deserves. Russo has written a story built around Abyss’ having to be reflective about his past experiences with his father and his current loss of surrogate father. Even a good mime couldn’t pull off the material Russo has given him.

3/16/07:

-Christian is working chickenshit/undeserving champion and eeked out a win at PPV. Tenay refers to Christian as being “The Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”. Does Tenay even understand that quote? Christian is lucky like Lou Gehrig? What the fuck? Dumbest thing Tenay has ever said. Think about that for a minute. Really this show sucked ass and made absolutely no sense and I really don’t have it in me to explain all the ways in which it was awful. But do you need more than Tenay saying “After the last PPV, Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”. Is there anything I can say about the rest of the show more damning than just quoting Tenay? Do I even need to say "the show overall was stupider than Mike Tenay's dumbest quote" or is that implied?

 

- So first couple months of ECW on Sci-Fi they ran these segments where they introduced one over the top stupid gimmick each show. Guy would come out lay out the premise of his gimmick and then Sandman would play the role of Showtime at the Apollo Sandman and get the hook. Yadda yadda. In TNA putting Devito in a Macho Libre costume wouldn’t have gotten the hook…it would have been considered a push. Lethal needs to “get out of his shell”?? This strikes me as dumb. Doesn’t quite make me nostalgic for the Jackass fan gimmicks but still. Criticism of X division workers is that they’re not “real” wrestlers—just guys pretending to be wrestlers. Repackaging one with gimmick of “guy pretending to be a wrestler” is stupid. I realize Rich Little is performing for the White House Correspondents Diner and all but really is the lowest form of comedy. Stupid and what in fuck’s name is that backbreaker into a stroke finisher that Lethal debuted? Yikes that was indyriffic.Meanwhile, the whole Raven dressed as character from Clockwork Orange beating Serotonin in ring post-match was kind of a neat look. But it all involved no mic work. This week they do the beating segment backstage with Raven doing his third rate Kevin Sullivan with Jersey accent mic work: “What I care about is inflecting psychological damage”…You can find 15 fat fake Wiccans at the Orlando Torrid who can do better Kevin Sullivan mic work. Immediately after they run the “spooky” Raven segment they have Jeremy Borash say “I’ve seen things in my day, but this is unbelievable”. Borash is more shocked by Eric Young cleaning a toilet than he is by Raven caning his charges. Well I mean its Borash so …still they shouldn’t have run the two segments together. And fuck, Eric Young has a MYSTERY friend?? Not another mystery. Does anyone want to see them do another mystery and did I mention that Mike Tenay said “Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”? He said that and you still go "Mike Tenay is smarter than the idiots booking this shit".

 

-The whole premise of the show was nonsense. AJ fell from a 20 foot scaffold but it turns out he was just PRETENDING that that hurt him. What’s point of running a scaffold match if you’re booking that the bump doesn’t actually hurt the guy who takes it. AJ takes off his neckbrace and crutch to attack Rhino from behind. For some reason the idiots behind this show think that heels should only have the advantage during commercial breaks. LAX gets in all its offense during the commercial break, we come back from commercial to see 3D’s comeback offense. AJ attacks Rhino during commercial break and we come back to commercial to see Rhino’s comeback brawling. If you never see heels get better of faces why should you want to see a PPV match between them? Rhino and AJ have been feuding for months now. Their first match was a last man standing match. The feud started with a last man standing match!!! AJ is unscathed from falling off a scaffold!! Why should I believe the next match stip is going to mean anything more? Cornette makes the Lethal Lockdown announcement that they are going to have a fake Wargames type of match with Angle as captain of one team and Christian captain of the other. There was a PPV the weekend before this show. No real mention of the outcome of PPV, no explanation as to what the reason they’re having this Wargames match, no explanation of why these guys are captains..nothing. Wargames is for ending feuds, not an excuse to build stables. Wargames in't for “Hey you guys put a team together and wrestle”. Its a blowoff match and Cornette is booked to essentially tell Angle and Christian to put together a softball team for the company picnic. Christian wants Abyss on his team, Sting says Abyss is his own man…and Cornette says “we can find out which side he’s on by having a tag match with Abyss/Sting v Styles/Christian “. WHAT??? Meltzer was once heavily criticized for referring to Russo’s booking as retarded. And I’ve met plenty of mentally retarded people who have put together meaningful lives and actually contribute positively to society. I really don’t know what word to use to describe the incredible mindless stupidity of Russo booking. Oh yeah and did I mention that Mike Tenay said “Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”? He said that and still watching this show you go "Mike Tenay is smarter than Russo".

3/25/07:

- The show had a million and three sports entertainment and backstage segments and outside of the Sting, Chris Harris and Miss Tennessee v. Gail Kim ones they all sucked. They’ve repackaged AJ Styles as flabbergasted flustered Barney Fife, Jerry Lynn mutters endlessly, Bob Backlund brings in a urine sample as though anyone believes that TNA drug tests, 3D talk about their high school football days, Abyss’ mother shows up and Abyss sells “torn/conflicted man in need of direction” by grabbing at invisible balloons. The show opens with Angle on the mic while Rhino and Samoa Joe stand behind him in the role of Angle’s muscle. Angle is the least mic worker of the three at this point and he’s the guy on the mic!!! It should be pointed out that this is a fed that also gives Jerry Lynn and Raven extended mic segments but still. Regimmicking Rhino and Samoa Joe as Jindrak and Horshu is insane. Rhino doesn’t have the ring skills of Jindrak and I like Joe on the mic but he’s no Horshu. Angle does some sort of Voltron “three parts of machine” mic work and its one of those booking committee talking points where Tenay has to repeat “three parts of machine” again and again. The Team Angle v Serotonin match is a squash but it’s a dull really unimpressive squash. Johnny Devine does a great eat of a gore but really shockingly unathletic, unintense looking squash match. Samoa Joe once did an interview explaining how Hashimoto explained that the most important part of wrestling is the eyes. Watching the squash, Angle’s eyes look glazed over like he has no idea where he is, Rhino’s eyes look confused like he’s trying to remember where he left his keys, and Samoa Joe’s eyes just look bored as he’s struggling to stifle a yawn. Post –match Raven “tortures” Serotonin in a backstage segment. They need to stop putting Raven on the mic. This week he directly rips off Florida era Kung Fu Billy Graham mic work and totally fucks it up. And then for some reason they have Raven “torturing” Serotonin with hot wax. He’s been pasting them with cane shots for months and now he’s using hot wax? This is completely backwards. You introduce hot wax before you start strapping her with canes and paddles. What is he going to do next week? Lite spanking, gentle choke play? Completely backwards.

4/5/07:

-And holy fuck was that main event a mess. Ok the whole booking behind the main event is stupid. Angle and Abyss are wrestling with the winner getting Tomko’s services? The whole show is built around this premise. Trying to book Tomko as Batista to Christian’s Helmsley is incredibly stupid. Tomko has never been protected before in TNA. Never presented as anything special. He was never presented as being Chrisitan’s muscle, Christian’s Batista. Tomko has been Christian’s flunky, his Stevie Richards, his Virgil. You can tease the muscle (Hercules Hernandez, Batista) turning on the “manipulative evil mastermind”, reclaiming his manhood and becoming a threat. You can’t really do that with the flunkie. Virgil had to wear a dress and hang out with Piper as Virgilina to become a face. That may have been a racial thing that sullen black flunkee can’t actually reclaim manhood but rather needs to be emasculated again before he becomes a face. Fuck what the hell was going on with Virgil in drag thing? The point is becoming a face doesn’t make the “flunkee” character into a credible threat character. Just doesn’t work that way. They did nothing to establish why Angle would want Tomko’s services. Nothing to sugest why he feels they’d be useful.So Abyss and Angle wrestle with the winner getting Tomko’s services. Part before the commercial with Angle working the leg while Abyss fought back with power actually was surprisingly watchable for Abyss v. Angle. But that may have been only a minute long. We come back from commercial break and holy shit this may have been worse than their first matchup. For some reason Angle needs to do these complicated ROH finishes with tons of reversals. They look awful and he isn’t capable of doing them. Luckily the giant monster from the insane asylum knows mat counters. That was part of physical therapy program at the asylum. Angle hits a German that looks absolutely ass, they do a ref bump and for some reason Abyss (the heel) is given a visual fall..this whole thing was a fucking abortion. And not one of those good abortions that frees you from having to marry the girl. No. Just a horribly botched abortion where no one leaves the better. Angle wins the match, winning Tomko’s services and of course Tomko turns on him. Why is turning on Angle now a good strategy? Why do the swerve now instead of at the PPV? It might have meant something if he actually waited for the Wargames match to turn, but no. The only logical reason for the swerve is that Russo feels a show has to end with a swerve. Why didn’’t Tomko just sign contract with Christian’s team at the beginning. Is he still a guy with questionable loyalty who just wants a title shot? So they’re continue the angle where the heel team is made up of people with questionable loyalty. Someone’s watched too much HHH written wrestling where heel is booked to be fighting the odds.

 

-That was the main story of the whole show. Tomko has questionable loyalty, Abyss and Angle fight to win Tomko’s contract and Tomko swerves angle. It was idiotic but I’m not sure if it was the dumbest booking on the show. This is a show where Cornette is booked to set up the Abyss vs. angle match by announcing “This is a wrestling program, not a debate, not a soap opera”. Three segments later Christie Hemme and VKM are booked in a televised debate. Oh yeah and if you thought Hoyt's dancing was bad, wait till you see his eye rolling and signifying. Show starts with Sting and James Mitchell doing a “My Dinner with Andre “ segment. Mitchell explains that Abyss’ mother was the shooter and Mitchell is controlling Abyss by threatening to tell the truth to the police. Sting tries to make the most of this segment. Sting is guy who has been pushing a whole “truth will set you free” argument for last month and here he is faced with the social consequences of the truth. Traditionally a babyface wouldn’t keep a crime secret, as he’d worry that not helping the police makes him complicit. But Sting is forced to grapple with the social structures behind the Stop Snitching ethos. And he seems to understand it better then Anderson Cooper. Still the whole segment was dumb. James Mitchhell is a horrible actor, and the whole premise of “I’m going to tell you a secret about a crime” is ridiculous. They’re on TV. I mean I realize no one watches this show. But still they’re on TV, it’s no longer a secret. Even if we were supposed to pretend that the “My Dinner with Mitchell” segment wasn’t being watched by national audience, Mike Tenay clearly watched it as he explains the premise of it several times. Is Mike Tenay wearing a Stop Snitching shirt under his tux? I mean Tenay knows about an unsolved crime and isn’t calling the cops. How am I going to take Tenay’s moral outrage seriously anymore? Petey Williams needs to sit Tenay down and explain moral courage.

4/12/07:

-And they’ve added the “whoever gets the fall gets title match” to a WARGAMES match. It’s like they don’t understand the idea behind WARGAMES gimmick. So you have the Wargames format which is a team format and have grafted on dissention in the teams and those shitty three way dance spots where one guy stops another from getting the pin. Wargames is a really great gimmick, but booking it like an Elimination Chamber match suggests a complete misunderstanding of the gimmick. So last week they tried to book Tomko as Batista, this week they announce that the Wargames match will essentially be worked Elimination Cage Style. It’s one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying the post-Russo booking and doing it poorly is just sad.

 

- Oh yeah the team Christian backstage segments built around abusing Abyss STINK. Abyss is now Eric Young? You can’t book a retard forced against his will into a heel stable as both a comedy midcard angle and as a main event angle. One or the other, but you can’t do both. Watching those backstage Christian and his team segments really drove home the point that Christian is a poor man’s Jarrett. And well Christian isn’t saddled with the suck that was D’amore. Really what the fuck? Let’s write Scott Steiner as Bluto Blutarsky? Oh that Russo such a comic genius. Christian playing Jarrett surrounded by gang of fools just stank. It’s one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying Post-Russo TNA booking and doing it poorly is just sad.

 

-It’ been a long time since they showed the full LAX entrance video with the United Farm Workers and Castro. For some reason they did it in full this week. So I just spent six days in Orlando. And my experience there pretty much confirmed some of the stuff that I had written before. I didn’t go to either of the Haunted House themed parks but I did go to the Holy Land Experience, Biblical theme park and Orlando is filled with part time non-union actors who can do Evil tool of Satan better than either Raven or Mitchell. Going down Orange Blossom Drive, it’s pretty clear that fake titted Korean stippers who are willing to take garbage bumps are a dime a dozen. Fuck you cold build a whole Menace II Society based division around Jackie taking on a new Kim sister each month. The local Hooters also had enough trannie faced strippers both working there and as customers to build a WWE DIVA army. No reason to actually go out and hire ex-WWE DIVA rejects. Well I could see bringing in Linda Miles just because she's a Rutgers alumn and feuding her with Backlund feels like the type of “hip”and “relevant” Russo booking that Keller admires so much.Did Panther Claw play for the Lady Vols? Really that’s pretty dated by now. Of course it’s Russo and a year from now Tanahashi will be booked as an anti-social student who writes disturbing screenplays. So despite Keller's protestations, it’s not like Russo has ever shown any grasp on relevance. But that’s all beside the point. While some of my stereotypes were confirmed, others were really changed. I had made fun of the LAX angle and joked about them needing to do Haitian vs. Cuban angle. I had been to Miami before, never Orlando. Never driven through the Orange fields outside Orlando.There is a large middle class Mexican, Columbian, Guatemalan, and Peruvian population in Orlando. A great Guatemalan Bakery. A couple Columbian pastry shops. Separate shopping malls that appeal to people from each country of origin. Multiple car dealerships aimed at ex-pats from each country. Mexican rock band MANA sells out.The LAX angle of course isn’t marketed to those people, it’s marketed to the gringos who hate immigrants. I’d like to believe that those gringos are at least savvy enough to realize that Puerto Ricans aren’t immigrants..but whatever. Point is that more than likely there is a real local audience that the angle would appeal to. Following the local Spanish language papers a lot of attention is being given to efforts to mobilize around helping protect female H-2 farmworkers from sexual violence and harassment. Making sure that these women know that sex slavery isn’t part of being an orange picker or tomato canner. Apparently there has just been a settlement in a sexual harassment case brought by Haitian women who were working in a Naples cannery and as the President talks about increasing the number of H-2 guestworkers, its important to build institutions to protect them and educate them to their rights (however limited they may be). So I’ve written before about how the LAX entrance video package is the most racist thing in wrestling today. Message of entrance video is that all "political" Hispanics are of the same cloth, all trouble, they should just shut up and pick the oranges. But knowing that the major "political" farmworker initiative the Latino community is pushing is designed to help farmworkers who are victims of sexual harassment and rape, affects the way I view it. Context on the one hand makes the LAX video package even more offensive. ” Damn those Latinos, where do they get off organizing against rape!!!” and on the other hand less shocking it’s just Vince 'rape is a victimless crime cause all them bitches want it' Russo" demonizing someone who stands between him and pussy....He's probably mad that his maid quit when he tried to forcefully sodomize her. Russo isn’t racist, he’s just for decriminalizing rape.

4/19/07:

-This wasn’t a very good show. Doesn’t WWE own the Vinnie Vegas gimmick? I always liked Vinnie Vegas. The Vegas/Mr Huges tag team were actually pretty fun and it was amusing gimmick. It might actually be a good gimmick for Sonjay Dutt. University of Maryland South Asians who wear a lot of Gucci and have deluded themselves into thinking that they’re high rollers because they do lots of internet gambling and go to Atlantic city on the weekends are a real contemporary subculture. There are a ton of South Asians pretending to be stereotypical guidos after reading too many Mario Puzzo novels and convincing themselves that there are real parallels in their immigrant experience. I imagine Dutt has enough experience with that subculture that he should be able to pull it off. But it’s TNA and they aren’t smart enough to do that. I’ve already covered the stupidity of the Jay Lethal stuff; Black Machismo is a great ring name but the actual gimmick is bad and has no legs. And covered teh stupidity of the LAX/3D angle; Spike is crazy but electricity stuff doesn't work and the violence in this angle has been escalated to a point where another attack on Spike is meaningless. Is Daniels now working a silent gimmick? Jeremy Borash tries to talk with Daniels but Daniels says nothing. I mean I’m no fan of Daniels mic work but they’re giving him a mime gimmick? Damnit when will Sting get to work someone who can do mic work? The show ends with everyone on the PPV (other than Daniels) doing mic work to hype their matches. And damnit, Angle at this point is a shittier mic worker than even Jerry Lynn. Shelley, Aries, Low Ki. Konan, Bubba, Jerry Lynn, Christian, and Angle all hype their matches. Jerry Lynn says explosion too many times but at least his stuff makes sense. Angle's mic work consists of him announcing a bunch of times that his team has five members.”We will beat them because we have five”. That’s the talking point to get me to see the match? Why not just announce“See the match because the teams have even members”!!!? Oh yeah and I almost forgot, YIKES was the Roode/Jackie vs. Petey Williams/Gail Kim match fugly. So WWE ran mixed six person Melina/MNM v Kendrik/London/ and Ashley matches to set up the Mania match between Ashley and Melina. The best parts of those matches were the MNM v. Kendrik/London stuff (but those guys weren’t booked for Mania) but the matches did a nice job of protecting Ashley and Melina. In Tna this best parts of the match are the Jackie Moore vs. Gail Kim sections. Kim has a nice knee drop and bumps well, and all of Jackie’s stuff looks good. But HOLY SHIT didn’t Petey Williams and Robert Roode train together??? For two guys who train together these two looked like they were on completely different pages This match stank because too much time was spent with the male workers. The finish with all the run-ins did nothing to hype anything. Since when did Roode start using the “It pays to be Roode” line ? Yikes that’s embarrassing.

4/26/07:

- Is Nash supposed to be parodying the stupidity of Russo? Last week Tenay explained the Nash angle as “Nash is lending a hand to many of the X division wrestlers, giving them suggestions on how to expand their character and fanbase.” This week Dutt comes out in Nash’s Diesel costume and they mock it as shitty gimmick. The gimmick that got Nash over is mocked as being as shitty as OZ, or Vinnie Vegas. The message of the segment being that it’s the performer and not the gimmick that gets a wrestler “over”. Of course this is followed up by Lethal coming out and continuing to do his Savage impression. Nash tells him he’s booked them in a three way and Lethal makes some joke about how "Machismo is a One woman Man”. Fucking pussies won’t let him joke “You mean with Steph and Shane again. Oooh yeah”. Promotion wants to do parodies but doesn’t have the balls to make them edgy. Speaking of the stupidity of Russo, AJ Styles continues to be booked as guy who takes a giant death bump on every PPV and then sells no damage on the follow up Impact. Its like wrestling doesn’t hurt. Christopher Daniels with the tails and Sting mask looks like the gayest thing that ever gayed. If they didn’t tell me it was a Sting mask, I would have thought he was working an Eyes Wide Shut perversity gimmick. Sting announces to Angle that next week “you and me, winner gets Christian Cage”. Did he check that with the NWA committee? Get Cornette’s approval? The PPV match stipulation was winner gets title shot? And the follow up show has Sting say “that PPV stip is now null and void”. That’s how you kill match stips. And damn Russo must have had a horrible highschool experience as the show motif of slow witted guys getting manipulated is played too hard. James Mitchell taunting Abyss by blowing in his hair really makes no sense for the character but felt like it had to be autobiographical. Really you can’t have slow witted guy being abused be both the main event angle and the midcard angle. You run the same angle twice in one show and they cancel each other out. When Mitchell wasn’t blowing in Abyss’ hair he was threatening to call the police to have Abyss’ mother arrested for “perjury, obstruction of justice, and attempted murder”. “Perjury”? “Obstruction of justice”? Abyss’ mom testified against Abyss? Really? He’s protecting the mother who testified against him? So in the end when Abyss fucks up did Mitchell call the police? Or did they just beat on him without having his mother arrested? The final beatdown on Abyss was plenty grizzly but it went way too long and this type of thing really needs Tony Zane and Mike Jackson to try to run in and stop the beatdown before getting tossed out of the ring. Or at least TNA security. Where’s Sting? I thought Sting was about giving and giving and giving. Sting isn’t going to come out. You need to have someone try to stop the carnage even if security, Tony Zane, Mike Jackson and Sting are all thrown out of the ring, you need to have someone make an attempt to save. If no-one cares enough to try to stop the beatdown, the message to the audience is that no-one cares. If no-one else cares, why should the audience?

5/3/07:

-And well then there was the FOUR CORNERS SUICIDE STAMPEDE!!!! Four Corners Suicide Stampede!!!! Awesome it’s a match with a stupid name and ridiculous rules. Yeah last week was a complete anomaly. This is what TNA is all about. It’s a four way tag match where winning tag team gets to challenge X division title holder in a three way. Think about that for a second. Oh yeah and they’re wrestling with rule that you can’t tag your own partner. This was one of the most transcendently bad and stupid things I’ve seen in TNA. I mean think about the purpose of the match, think about the stipulations. I mean reverse battle royale was awful in execution but the actual idea wasn’t this dumb. Don’t get me wrong this was also awful in execution. Why are Shark Boy and Senshi a team? Kazarian and Alex Shelley? How did they decide how to put teams together? If you’re not allowed to tag own teammate why would you ever want to tag out? Alex Shelley tags self in while his partner is in ring and asks for the finger point finish, exposing the stupidity of the entire concept. First couple tags are done as accidental tags: Shark Boy accidentally tags out by high-fiving Williams. But then pretty much everyone goes “fuck this, this makes no sense anyway" and just come in and out without bothering to tag. At one point it was like they were using lucha rules, except instead of “wrestler can enter ring whenever another wrestler goes to floor” they were using “wrestler can enter ring whenever another wrestler takes a flat back bump”. If someone takes a flat back bump, that’s signal for you to enter and replace him??? God this was a fucking mess.

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Another classic workrate report. This time, it's Phil Schneider looking at the first Russo/Bischoff Nitro. The end of WCW ensued....

 

The Dream Team, the men who brought you Mark Henry - Sisterfucker, “There are No Hulkamaniacs Here”, the crucifixion of Steve Austin, Silk the Shocker's Birthday, Hugh Morris’ incontinent old man, Jake “The Milkman” Millman - King of the Turkey on a Pole Match, Beaver Clevage, Chucky challenging Rick Steiner, the castration of Val Venis, The Kiss Demon, Crusierweight Champion Oklahoma, The Ultimate Warriors’ Magic Mirror, Pinata on a Pole, Kevin Eubanks - Master of the Diamond Cutter, Drug Dealer Droz and suicidal Hawk, NWO Late Night, Nicole Bass frenching Val Venis, and The Giant plummeting off of Cobo Hall are back to save WCW. This is a monumental meeting of world class incompetents. It is like if Joel Shumacher directed a Joe Esterhas script, or Andrew Lloyd Weber adapted a T.C. Boyle short story, or Phil Collins wrote some songs for Puffy Combs. And boy did they deliver, with a spastic BIG SHOW~~, trotting out lame surprise after lame surprise like some drunk frat boy, who keeps switching positions, thinking if he can fuck hard enough he can make his frigid girlfriend cum. I'm not even faking one today boys.

 

What Worked

 

- I hope I don’t lose my smart fan status for this, but I thought Eric Bishoff made a decent on air heel. His smirky contemptuousness actually translated decently. If I was ever going to watch Nitro again, I am sure he would start grating on me, but I didn’t mind him tonight.

 

- Kidman actually showed some skill ON THE STICK, and delivered the only interesting SHOOT~~ in a night of SHOOTS~~. Pretty funny lines, although anyone who thinks Hogan will do anything but crush Kidman is a deluded idiot.

 

- The first couple of minutes of Shane Douglas vs. Ric Flair was pretty stiff and compelling, as their heat is so long term and legitimate. The rest is down there.

 

- Shane Helms’ funny hat.

 

What Didn’t Work

 

- Is the way to make a show compelling to have the exact same formula in every segment? Match or lame ass shoot interview, BIG SURPRISE~~!!! , rinse, repeat. Boy for all that talk about elevating young talent, we sure didn’t see any wrestling matches with them.

 

- Boy, Vince Russo has a really compelling camera presence, with his gut sticking out over his sansabelt slacks, his half unbuttoned K-mart casual day shirt, neck creep beard, unibrow, squeaky whiney voice with added Jersey accent, and tendency to spend his camera time spewing fetid spunk all over my screen with lame ass insider SHOOT~~ comments like some smark at an indy show who reads Wrestline. Boy, I have a new least favorite television presence. Sorry Mark Madden, you're number two.

 

- La Parka is the king of fashion, and I was hoping for a cooler suit. Little disappointed in the chairman.

 

- Luger and Page (with new haircut, snazzy) mail it in for a couple of minutes, before Buff Bagwell comes down and starts NIGHT OF SCREWJOBS. Bagwell vs. Luger might be redeemable as we can see who really has the world’s worst clothesline.

 

- Man alive, I imagine the shot of Mark Madden’s pasty white fat jiggling in the ring was some sort of “Fuck You” to the audience, Russo and Bishoff giving a collective middle finger to anyone who was still watching, “You want shocking, you sheep, here is MADDEN UNDRESSED!!”

 

- WOW ITS SHANE DOUGLAS, HE IS THE XPW CHAMPION!!! WHAT IS HE DOING HERE!! HAS HE BEEN BRUNCHING WITH RUSSO!! MAN IS HE FAT!!

 

- Hogan has been wrestling for almost 20 years and he still blades in full camera sight like Hardcore Nick on some backyard wrestling bootleg. Nice to see him toss around Kidman like a little punk. I think Hogan has been watching cousin Mike’s ECW title defenses and has decided the way to make himself look credible is to get himself a pinball. Welcome to Little Spike Kidman.

 

- Sid vs. The Wall has a good chance to beat Sid vs. The Nightstalker. I think these young kids can do it.

 

- LOOK ITS SHAWN STASIAK!! WHAT IS HE DOING HERE!! DIDN’T HE HAVE A JAKKED LEVEL COMEDY GIMMICK IN THE WWF!! MY GOD HE ALMOST KILLED HENNING!! THE CROWD IS GOING MILD!!

 

- Flair vs. Douglas could actually work without any more booking. The real life heat made for a decent segment, but the rubber baseball bat shots by Tubby McFatass, and the realization that this feud will just be another vehicle for Russo to put himself over, sort of built up the bile in my mouth.

 

- LOOK IT’S THE COLORADO KID!! HE IS THE NWA NASHVILLE CHAMPION WHAT IS HE DOING HERE!! Hey that’s not the Colorado Kid. Oh, it’s just Mike Awesome. Boy, what an awe inspiring debut for the ECW champion. They kill the crowd with half assed SHOCK!!! after half assed SHOCK!! and expect someone to give a shit about Awesome. Having him jump Nash just made him look small, and his mic work was tentative and lame. About the poorest scenario for a big debut you can get. Horace + Awesome v. Harris Brothers jerking the curtain by Fall Brawl.

 

- Hey a Hummer, isn’t that cute.

 

- Main event was the same crap match, crap run-in that every show was. The brawl at the end was weak, especially since it appears that they are pushing Timmy Bishoff’s sensei The Shat in the main heel faction. The big problem with the NWO, and what eventually killed it’s heat, is that the faces never were able to exact retribution. The egos in the group would never cleanly job. Now they have made the egomanical superstars the babyfaces, and they can have Hogan, Nash, Luger, et al cleanly defeat the forces of evil and reign supreme. It is sort of brilliant actually, but anyone who thinks making the young guys evil job boys to the same old turds is progress are deluding themselves. Hogan is still on top, like he always is and always will be.

Another classic post from Jose Fernandez:

 

A few years ago, a pretty popular Mexican wrestler "discovered" the internet, and told me how he ran a search for his name and found people (in the United States!!!) were raving about him. He was shocked. Anyway, we went over some reviews of his matches, and after reading one of them, he paused (we were on the phone), and said "... did I do that?".

 

Professional wrestling is something open to interpretation, but I'm not sure what's some people's obsession with looking at wrestling as something too deep and artsy. It isn't. It's entertainment for the masses.

 

Think about it this way: Negro Casas knows more about wrestling than the entire internet put together, and he would never do anything that the old women that attend Arena Mexico wouldn't understand.

 

Jerry Lawler (who I'm not a fan of, but is a perfect example) told stories for people that fuck in trailers with their own cousins, not for pseudo-intellectual teenage "insiders".

 

Jaguar Yokota and Devil Masami, two master storytellers, at their peak, laid out matches for an audience of teeny bopping girls who, for their life, couldn't tell you five different move names.

 

What I'm saying is that there's storytelling, but it's usually nothing too complex - definitely not what you sometimes read in match reviews.

 

The moral to this story is that the old and toothless rudos fan from Arena Mexico that waves a bell and dances a jig when the bad boys win, slack jawed yokels, and Japanese girls that touched themselves thinking about Rick Astley and Glenn Medeiros, probably "get" motherfuckin' professional wrestling better than your favourite match reviewer.

More Jose, on the heels of Antonio Pena's passing:

 

Peña was a genius. He provided people with the best wrestling they had seen at a time when the (superior) CMLL product was labeled as old and boring. He did what Vince McMahon always claims he did (but didn't): he took wrestling out of dirty and smokey arenas, because he turned those same places into colorful places with lights all over the place and pop hits playing on the arena's sound system.

 

When he went out on his own and couldn't get good arenas in the hot cities due to the decades-long CMLL monopoly, he literally created his own wrestling cities. Once his good workers left, he found a new niche audience that didn't care about quality wrestling - but even then, he was always aware that you need good wrestlers around, so Gran Apache and the Diabolicos were always there as the glue to hold stuff together.

 

He was a guy that would give everybody a chance. If you were good looking but a bad worker, you'd get your chance to work with world class professionals to get better. If you were a good worker with no charisma (or at least his vision of charisma), you'd put on a mask and get your chance to put on good performances.

 

People who don't know about lucha talk about this boom like it's something that just happened overnight, but after a bad slump where the promotion almost died, he has been drawing huge for the big AAA supershows during more than half a decade, and filling arenas for weekly TV for just as long.

 

He did a lot of things that nobody thought he could have done - like outdraw the WWF in their own turf, take wrestling to the mainstream and make it a "cool thing" instead of entertainment for the poor, and provide us with countless hours of entertainment (for the good and for the bad).

 

His "let's throw shit to the wall and see what sticks in" approach to wrestling is what made his booking style unique - he had a lot of busts we have forgotten about, but when he had a hit, it almost always was a huge hit.

 

Ultimately, I'll personally remember him as a guy that, at several points in time, created and pushed a human ice cream cone, Power Rangers, mariachis, football players, hockey players, teenage soccer players, soccer playing goats, a pumpkin, ninjas with colorful attires, ninja turtles, Elvis, one eyed monsters, a stable of kickboxers, a Tiger Mask clone, a fourth rate Dump’s Army, a dozen different types of insects, Chucky, several stables of wrestling clowns including gay clowns, Micro Konnan, two monkeys, Acapulco beach bums, a gringo lion, evil goblins, a shark, male and female mentally ill wrestlers (including an insane version of Gloria Trevi, a famous star convicted for being a pedophile), rabbits, mafioso, midget versions of Mankind, Goldust, and Vader, zombies, bats, ghosts, spectres, dead men, evil monks, two dozen masked martial artists, Japanese kamikazes, satanists, aliens, a very fat guy and a very tiny guy with currency names, crying monsters, an evil policeman called Policeman, whatever Alebrije and Cuije are supposed to be, street gang members, midget street gang members, evil witches, Andre The Midget, mini Head Hunters, a Fuhrer, several monsters coming from deep in the sea, Blue Demon from other space, Hannibal Lecter, American farm boys, several scarecrows, bullfighters, mummies, yetis, roosters, transvestites, the wolfman, an over the top gay character mocking a rival network's president, snakes, Dracula, a hunchback, Aladdin and his genie, rappers, skaters, underage street cleaners, female strippers, themed male strippers (an Aztec, a nazi, and a pharaoh), a stable of wrestlers named after guns, Kiss and Marilyn Manson themed wrestlers, The Crow, a male version of the Spice Girls, a sultan and his slave, a wrestler based on a serial killer, sewer rats, second and third versions of half of those mentioned before, an evil El Santo, a stable of American rebels, a Canadian vampire, five dancing skeletons, and GRONDA.

 

Rest in peace.

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