Tuesday, August 31, 1999

Ringside Shadows #66: The Tuesday Review

The pattern continued this past Monday, and somehow managed to widen the gap even farther between the WWF's and WCW's products. We saw Sid's undeserved push continue (with hints of his next 'conquest'), Alex Wright's re-debut in Berlyn, and one helluva Lucha tag match in Turner-World, while Vince & co. gave us an uneasy alliance in the Rock/Mankind team, a tag "rumble", and more than a handful of PPV-calibur matchups. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's just take a gander over at...


-Even from the opening minutes, I knew I was in for a long night. Sid didn't even bother giving the far-superior European grapplers a chance to break a sweat before he imposed his visage upon us. Why do I get the feeling this whole push has 'DUSTY RHODES' written all over it? In the meantime, I really have no idea what Sid was trying to say. Would it have been so hard to just powerbomb the workers, and say "I'm Sid. I'm mean. Be afraid."?? Because I didn't even get that much from his meaningless babble. But hey.. the blue lighting sure was neat...

-Signs of the night: "I miss Ralphus", "Raw is Tennis".

-WCW just won't let us forget the KISS concert last week, as we watched that terrible introduction more than once. Didn't last week's ratings plummet give them any clue that viewers don't want Gene Simmons and company?

-(:sigh:)... the plight of Lash Leroux. A highly promising young talent who busted the hell out of himself for the production of a VIDEO GAME, but doesn't even get a chance to show what he's got in an undisturbed match, sans run-ins. Speaking of which.. didn't I hear Hogan say something along the lines of "We realize that the fans are getting sick of run-ins. From now on, we're gonna go for a definitive ending. No more disappointments"? So what's changed since then?

-I don't think I've seen as compelling a storyline as Vampiro came out with last night in years. Thrilling dialogue, like "You owe me." "No, I don't." "Yes... you do." "No, really.. I don't." "Yes." Wow. To say it blows my mind is an understatement. The man's an excellent worker and has the fans behind him, but give him a bit before you drop a mic in his lap.

-At the very least, they're allowing the better talent a chance to work on their mic skills in the revolution's interview. The more I see of Shane Douglas, the more I'm disappointed. The expectations coming in were so high that everyone must've overlooked his failing ringwork and aging body. Meanwhile, Benoit's mic work is slowly coming along and Malenko's blooming faster than anyone could've expected. Beside that, I'm sure Matt Spence was excited.. they said 'The Deal' and 'Benoit' in the same sentence! On the air!

-I nearly flew out of my chair when I saw Kaz Hayashi coming towards the ring, as the man's work very rarely disappoints. Last night's event surprised me though, full of blown spots and poor work all together. Maybe if Lenny had been working, instead of Lodi, who I don't think is quite ready for working Nitros just yet. Once the dust had cleared, we'd witnessed our first cruiserweight match in weeks that managed to make it through to a finish without Sid mucking up the works. And Kaz even picked up a win! Thank the lord for small miracles..

-I enjoyed the light piano medleys that made their way into programming around the 9:00 hour. They were lightly in the background during the beginning of Hogan's babblings (giving us probably one of his more enjoyable interviews, as a result.. it gave me something to put my focus on), and were later mentioned by the big "T" Schiavone.

-F'n A! Kickass! THREE of WCW's talented youngsters saw cameras last night. A shame that we didn't get a chance to see Blitzkrieg's finisher, as that would've really made my day. Unfortunately only one of the aforementioned talent's matches managed to deliver, in the form of this La Parka (!!!!)/ Blitzkrieg v. Rey / Eddie meeting. While a bit spotty at times, the action was almost non-stop and almost a textbook of available lucha libre and lightweight maneuvers. Blitzkrieg is like a younger, faster, Rey who never wore a gas-mask, teamed with Konnan, or considered himself a No-Limit Soldier. His teammate, La Parka (who bore a strong resemblance to a much larger Darth Maul on this night..) is just... hilarious. I can't see this guy without laughing. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for Darth Parka and the young talent, but any night that sees Rey and Eddy take one home isn't a bad one by any stretch of the imagination.

-A couple quick thoughts on Berlyn: The interpreter (or at least the one he brought along Monday) MUST GO. I can see this working with a big, overbearing German guy, but the peppy woman he had with him who couldn't even read her teleprompter completely screws the image he's looking for. Otherwise, the gimmick has promise. I like the high-contrast 'helicopter lights' look that he uses for his introduction, and the air of a snobby German artist is captured to a "T" here. Give it some tweaking and he could be a monster heel.

-OK, let me get this straight. The Rednecks take home the 'v' in a match that saw no opposition (hell, they won it with a KNEE DROP) while Benoit sells the majority of his US title match with Jerry Flynn?! And they wonder why we say something's wrong..

-Waitaminute.. am I just a moron with no memory, or was it a BLACK hummer that hit the limo all those weeks ago?? This is straight bullshit, they even threw together some new footage with a white hummer. WHAT. THE. HELL.

-I did get one helluva laugh watching DDP jump into the ring, punch Hogan and leave.. after which nothing really happened as the three in the ring went on as thought the assault hadn't happened. Somehow, that little segment could be used to pretty much sum up WCW in 1999 thus far.

-It was around the Mike Enos / Evan Kurragious match that I just threw up my hands in confusion and surrendered any hope of understanding I might hope to hold for the show. Let's see.. these two were in the 3rd hour.. Vampiro came out for no apparent reason, continuing his "you owe me" angle of brilliance.. the Demon pulled the pointless run-in total to two for this match (though I wonder if what he did can be considered a run-in.. maybe a roll-in, as that scary-spikey-coffin thing just kinda rolls where it likes..), and then babbled a bit before the angle went to commercial. WHA?!

-Goldberg was even humorous last night. Why was he spitting? He wasn't even active during his first segment. Plus; I think he had to use the little boys' room.. he was doing a pee-pee dance while Hogan meandered on the mic.

-I'm still wondering.. was Rick Steiner stiffing Perry Saturn during his run-in? Even if he wasn't, he was making the 'revolutionary' look like pure 'S', which justified the stiff-ass side kick he gave the DFG.

-Sadly, rumor has it that Benoit will drop his US title to the walking push, Sid, at their inevitable meeting further down the line. This is pure bullshit. How long has the crippler been loyal to WCW? He's finally awarded a major title (or at least, as major as things get in WCW these days), and he goes into a losing feud with a noted egomaniac, pushed right from the get-go, who isn't even worthy of licking Benoit's boots. Sick.

-Goldberg's no-selling is nearing Taz-levels. Meanwhile, Sting discovered Randy Savage... which comes as a complete shock. I thought he was headed to the WWF? Heh. (Note the HEAVY sarcasm)

Overall Grade: D+

A slight step up from last week's bitter performance, but nothing NEAR the level this program should be performing at. The lone bright spots of the program were in the hands of their youngsters, as everything else (well.. even a good portion of that..) was dull, unorganized, and completely nonsensical. Despite Raw's pre-emption, if this manages to pull down a ratings victory I'll eat my keyboard and take a photo.


-Every week headed into his interviews, I start to wonder why the Rock isn't more original.. and every week after said interviews I'm left wondering... why not? Rocky seems to throw in just enough new material to keep it fresh, while maintaining his old for the fans that are only there to hear the catches. I am getting sick of this 'turn it sideways and stick it straight up your ass' bit though.

-Chyna has what could be the worst-masked kicks in wrestling history.

-Shane's boys took some hardcore bumps during their match with Foley... the 'Do Not Enter' sign comes to mind. While we're on the topic, did anyone NOT see the Mankind / Posse match ending like that, once Shane announced himself referee? Post match, I'm wondering if the new ring girl was supposed to screw with the victor, or if she just f'ed up of her own accord. Either way, use her somewhere else.. she sucks.

-After last night's performance, I think we have ammunition enough to merit the Undertaker's loss of mic privileges for some time. Not only was he cooler, and a helluva lot more intimidating, but he seems to have trouble fitting words together into a working sentence. What'd he say on Raw, anyway?!

-The match itself was about as good as you're gonna get with the competitors. It looks like Wight's big push is just around the corner.. Taker was hinting at it with his "When he realizes.." comments. While short, the match was explosive.. especially the ending. Must've been some kind of record or something, destroying the announce table within the first 15 minutes.

-During Al Snow's interview, I think everyone in the arena figured Val Venis was up to his old tricks again, judging from all the heavy breathing in the background. Snow shouldn't be included with such segments, especially when he's doing his 'charming dog owner' schtick. It's almost sad. Further down the way.. The Bossman gave us the memorable 'you fucked up' moment of the night, when he told us "I had a dog once.. he got run over by a dog." Bravo... I've been saying that all day.

-Upon hearing Taka's music, I was pumped.. but deep down I knew to expect disappointment. The crowd was almost totally dead for this festival of power, showing what the WWF's audience comes to see anymore. The men in the ring gave us a decent effort, and did about as much as you can hope to in the 5 minutes (give or take a couple) they were given to work with. The highlight of this one was probably either the Asai Moonsault Taka nailed early on, or the set of counters and exchanges late in the match.

-Good thing they didn't screw up the tag team bit again.. Ah well, at least we saw a couple wicked Jeff Hardy bumps.

-One of the more memorable sets of verbal exchange in quite a while, as the Rock / Mankind coalition was formed. Hearing 'the great one' scold Foley as a child was so fitting, it's a wonder nobody discovered this chemistry in the past. Unfortunately, I knew where this was going as soon as I saw they were looking for the tag belts. Sure enough, we've transgressed back to the tag scene of last summer, with the belts meaning nothing, being tossed back and forth between main eventers thrown together on a whim.

-So much for the GTV naysayers. I'm wondering.. what was Meat coming out for, in the first place? He apparently didn't have a match scheduled.

-D'Lo / Billy Gunn? Is this an attempt to get the "Ass Man" back over as a face, or Brown back over as a heel? Either way, it effectively killed the heat for this one, as fans didn't know whether to cheer or boo. As for the conclusion.. good lord was that predictable. You saw that coming so far away you had time to throw together a 5-course meal, devour it, allow it to digest, and crap it back out again before the guitar finally hit.

-Gangrel v. Shamrock was a much better matchup than the vampire's meeting with the Rock, which was god-awful. There were some nice exchanges and some harsh spots, but nothing to write home about. Another match that suffers in a card featuring 7 minutes, an exorbitant amount of interview time, and commercials all squeezed into a 2-hour block. Post-match, I was saddened to see Jericho wasn't in the arena. I'm really looking forward to a clash between these two though, and I don't think it's in position to disappoint, though it may leave a sour taste in the mouth. No matter who comes out on top, Shamrock will be way over as a face, only to leave and lose his built up heat for a run in the UFC.

-Taking a page from Matt Spence's book, I'll make a quick comparison: The current Women's division, or a swift kick in the groin? Which to choose...?

-Was the Undertaker even legal in the main event?? I figured we might see him in the ring for at least a moment. Maybe his ankle injury is more severe than we'd thought? I did like the double people's elbow, though. See my previous comments about the title change, and was it just me or did the Rock seem reluctant to fork over one of the belts to Foley?

Overall Grade: B+

Not a bad Raw at all, and the bookers are certainly taking leaps and bounds from the direction they seemed to have headed for last month. It bothers me a bit that Raw wasn't half the show we saw last week on Smackdown, but I suppose with a new show that's to be expected.

As for me, I'm out of time. Take it easy, and...
until then, i remain

Monday, August 30, 1999

Ringside Shadows #65: A Little Bit of Everything

It's been quite a memorable week, from the debut of ECW and WWF's Smackdown to the events that transpired in each program.. and... oh yeah! WCW still airs a Thursday night program, don't they? It's been a while, but I checked out the first hour of Thunder last night too.

But then again, I'm getting ahead of myself.. Let's start this beast out with comments on..


I liked just about everything about this show. The decidedly different color choices (blue in the place of red EVERYWHERE, including the ropes.. I'm surprised Kane didn't come out in blue), the dual, circular Titan trons,and the set... which was superb. Following the last airing of Smackdown,which saw the monumental forming of the 'corporate ministry', Thursday's offering was easily just as memorable, if not more so. There were a couple noteworthy points, so I'll delve right into those

-I was expecting an hour-long program, so needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to see it continue to a 2-hour performance. Some things shouldn't be rushed, and I don't think it would have been nearly as successful had the HHH / Rock match had been shoved into the same hour as the interview that set it up.

-Good god, is the Rock over!!

-Mankindis god, on a mic and in the ring. Nobody can even compete with this guy..

-On the same page,Al Snow played his part to a 'T' as the overly-worried owner. It would seem that Lawler's not the only puppy-lover seeing air time on Thursday nights.

-The tag division continued it's destined journey down the toilet bowl. I knew these gold straps would be used as a weak means to push Show & Taker as complete monsters, but I imagined they'd get a bit more inventive with the tag scene itself. How long have we seen the Acolytes and/orX-Pac & Kane involved with the title match? Repetition leads to boredom, which in turn leads to a different choice with the remote.

-Jericho's debut was slightly impressive, but he's showing a bit of rust from the long absence, and he hasn't had time to adjust to the slight changes in the construction of WWF rings. Give him a couple weeks and a more suitable opponent, and we'll start to see some magic. I was completely loving the double powerbomb again though, and his Liontamer (er... "modified crab maneuver", according to WWF.COM) hasn't lost anything.

-Following the match, the Fink managed to be funnier than his initial 'warrior' appearance.. hey, at least he made his attack from the FRONT, before being jumped from behind. Also, a Shamrock / Jericho program could be beauty.

-Good to see there's still a TINY bit of unity in the former 'Union' as Mankind andShamrock have recently made saves for Test..

-Regarding HBK's turn, even after reading the spoilers I enjoyed it.. watching the crowd get so into him as the show opened, and watching exactly how events transpired sent shivers down my spine. I can only compare it to Jericho's arrival on Raw a few weeks ago. You knew what was coming, but you stillcouldn't brace.

Overall Grade: A-

An overly-glorified Raw, quite a bit better than the offerings of only a few weeks ago. Still, I wonder if the curse of a new show will strike yet again. Seems everyone gets really excited for the debut of a new show before, weeks later, it becomes dull and throwaway

Moving on, let's take a look at..


I was running to the supermarket with my girlfriend during the first 15 minutes of the program, so I must've missed the powerbomb through a table, as well as a bit more commentary directed totally at TNN and it's television audience. Aside from that, in the fleeting moments we were treated to actual ECW TV, I was very impressed... with the in-ring action. I enjoyed the hell out of the RVD/Jerry Lynn match they gave us, with more than a couple beautiful spots.. the most memorable of which was the sunset flip powerbomb from the ring apron into a table, and the multiple van-daminators through chairs. I was sick of Alfonso and his whistle after the first couple times I heard it, though. My question is this..is every broadcast set to include 40 minutes of commercial time?!?! Good god, we saw about 4 minutes of ring time, then went to a commercial. I think we came and went about 3 times during the said TV title match. That, and Styles needs to be ringside... with a color commentator. By mentioning Austin, ECW as a whole came off as a cheap, bitter, poseur of a program and did very little to shake this image. The amateurish quality of the video, the interviews and the backstage bits further dismissed this as a promotion not quite ready for the big time. Having never seen Taz in action, I'd thought the tales of his legendary no-selling were just exaggerations.. a quick squash later and I don't see a man deserving of this title. Good to see Cyrus again, but who's he surrounding himself with?! I guess you've gotta build mic skills somehow, eh?

All in all, I was completely impressed by the match quality and intensity,but was almost repulsed by the interviews, production quality and MOTHERLOVINGCOMMERCIALS!!!!!

Really quickly, I'll drop in some thoughts on Thursday's


Sid's unjustified push through the roof continued, as everybody's favorite job boys, The Public Enemy met their fate as victim numbers 2359 and 2360.. The night was later graced by what became a masterful piece from Rey, Kidman, Eddy and the Rednecks. Especially near the end, these six threw together a dynamite performance that kept me at the edge of my seat beyond the ending. So many near falls in such a short amount of time won't fail.. sheer beauty. Check the skies for the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, but I actually enjoyed the opening of the Cat's segment. Creating a tie between Iaukea and TAFKA Prince was just hilarious, and Sonny's rendition of 'Purple Rain' was just tantalizing. Maybe Monday night we could hear a little "Pussy Control"? It was around the beginning of the match itself that I decided enough was enough andit was time for some soup, so I readied my supper in time for Smackdown. Judging from the results I read, they handled the in-ring meetings ofSid and Benoit about as well as they could, considering the horrible push Sid's been getting lately. Is it just me, or does the big man really seem to harbor some sort of fear when confronted by our favorite crippler? He didn't want any part of him Monday night,and both had their finishers applied at the conclusion of Thursday's meeting.. I hope I'm reading this correctly, as putting Benoit over Sid would be HUGE.

Finally, a quick word on


Remember when all the hype went into the original Thunder airing? Sting and Hogan were to meet and figure out what to do about the World Title, recently held up. It was huge. Now Sting has it in his CONTRACT that he won't show for Thunder, and you'd have a helluva tough time convincing Hogan to do the show, as well. The same can be said for Heat, anymore. What was once a good forum for expanding upon feuds has become a bit of a music video show, and a recap of the week's events. Still, the jury's out a bit longer on this one for me.. for one reason. This deja-vu match deal,replaying important events in the WWF's history could be a VERY good idea, if played off correctly. Unfortunately, it seems as though Vince is still afraid of his past and won't mention anyone no longer under his employment. A shame, as I'd like to see a Michaels/Hall Ladder match on USA sometime.

Closing up, I recieved some viewer mail regarding some recent comments made in regards to D'Lo Brown. Hilgemann (djh@tznet.com) wrote in to say:

"I don't get it. First, it was Dale, and now you. Your both extremely intelligent guys as far as I can gesture, and hell you in particular are part of the triad. But, it's as if you expected something else to occur. New Age Outlaws, Outsider's, Harlem Heat, The Steiner Brother's, The Rocker's,and hell you can go all the way back to Strike Force with Tito Santana and Rick Martel. Mizark and D'lo were a Tag Team. Mizark turned bad,they are obviously both going to be going into single's action after this feud which had to take place is over unless Mizark tags with JJ down the line. D'Lo is the next Rock only with great wrestling ability,so what's the problem? Listen to the ovation he gets. The guy is over,and I quite frankly think it's great that they decided NOT to have Mizark return and tag with D'lo. Just wondering what your thoughts are. If you really think about it, you know that's the way it had to be. They couldn't exactly just have Mizark return and not have anything to do with D'lo. So, it's either D'lo tagging with Mizark upon his return,or Mizark turning on D'lo upon his return. I believe the WWF went the smart route. Don't you? D'lo is a break out star in the process. D'lo has championship material written all over him. He's one of the select few. Ric Flair is able to do it, Shawn Michaels is able to do it, Bret Hart is able to do it, the Rock is able to do it, and many other's are able to do it, but these are the guys off the top of my head that doit really well. And that is being able to draw great heel and face heat. Triple H could get good face heat because of DX, but thus far until this Monday really he wasn't too capable of getting good heel heat because he really comes off more as annoying with his too intense, boring, and repetitive I am the game comments, and makes you want to change the channel, instead of a great heel like Vince McMahon. D'lo has shown he can do it. He has drawn great heel heat. Just think back to the D'lo Sucks chants, now they've turned into just D'lo chants much like the Rocky sucks chants turned into just Rocky. And all this without reallybeing able to show off his mic skills which from what he has shown are very good. As D'lo Brown's #1 fan, I'm glad they decided to get this feud on now, so he can move onto bigger and better things. I'm looking for a response to justify your comments. Keep up the great work and sorry for the length."

Rare as this is,I'm gonna have to say it... you've changed my mind. After reading your comments, I can see that a feud with Henry, while a step down from his intercontinental feud, was a necessary step in D'Lo's ascension to greatness in the WWF. You really made some excellent points, citing the great tag teams of old, leading to the superstars of their respective eras and really impressed me along the way. My question is this: Since such a turn needed to happen in order for Brown to logically move on, why couldn't it have occurred earlier? He was riding such a surge of popularity during this brief Intercontinental run that even the slightest error could have cost him (and the WWF) everything they've built to date. Why take that risk? Why not get this altercation out of the way before the status-raising feud with Jarrett? The fans' opinions are so fickle these days that their views can change within days if workers aren't feuding with the right people. I fear that the upcoming revenge program with Mizark will, in the end, result in a loss of fan recognition asa serious contender and could really hurt D'Lo's status when all is said and done.

Great letter, and thanks for writing. It's good to see that more and more people are realizing what a star D'Lo really is.

And that should do it for me. I'll be back eeearrly Tuesday morning (I open work at 7:30 am... yeowch!) for the Tuesday Review, so..
until then, i remain

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

Ringside Shadows #64: The Tuesday Review

Look at me.. I open up my last column telling everyone how my posts will be fewer and further between, promising the Tuesday Reviews on time, and I follow it up by taking my sweet-ass time posting this beast. Before long, I'll be proclaiming each column as "the single most important column in the history of our sport". Hey.. that has a nice ring to it... Hmmmmm.

But anyway, on to that which I've promised, your annual Tuesday Review.

Nitro continued to shove Sid down our throats until we choked, but steered him clear of anything to do with The Cat. Meanwhile Lex Luger made his return and Bret Hart was nowhere to be found. On the flip side, RAW came off a decent PPV with a stellar show. The expected title change came to pass, D'Lo proved he hadn't been advanced to Intercontinental status just yet, and Chris Jericho gave us further understanding of what exactly the 'Y2J' problem really is. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Before I begin; a *Warning*.. this column is neither hotter than a dancing bobcat with its ass on fire, nor brought to you by Larry King (he looks like an Owl!). It IS, however, brought to you by Tampax. Because... well.... men don't need tampons. Hoo haaa!


-Seems they had a full house, rowdy as hell and ready for a great show. Give it another couple weeks' worth of this shite.. the crowds won't last.

-Ok, I'm confused as to WCW's record-keeping.. If you're in NO WAY involved in a matchup, parade out with your own ref and take out both opponents, not only does it boost your record, but each man downed counts as a separate win?! Maybe THAT'S how Goldberg managed. So, given that theory.. if a worker were to win a 4-way dance, he'd gain 3 wins for his efforts, right? Hell, forget it.. I'm almost through trying with WCW.


-Apparently last night was everybody's night to shine on the mic... Hey, while we're at it let's give it to Sid TWICE. And we'll let the new lighting boy play with his toys, too.

-The only way I'd consider Sid the "millennium man" is in regard to some old-school INXS lyrics... "The 21st century's yesterday".

-...and Luger's 'suspicious' of Hogan, warning his good buddy Eric Draven (make that... Sting...) not to trust him. Waitaminute, Flexy Sexy Lexy... last I heard you cashed in on the old Stinger and joined the nWo Wolfpac revamp... with Hogan.

-We're meant to believe Bischoff drove HIMSELF in the f'n limo hummer? Yea, I'll believe that, as my chauffeur drops me off at my morning class in my brand new Prowler... Then again, it's always fun to watch Uncle Eric try to be inventive as he alienates a good chunk of his core audience.. the internet.

-We're treated to a waste of time between Buff and Ernest Miller. As mentioned above, conspicuous in his absense is Sid, who figures these 2 will do a good enough job killing the segment on their own.

-Just when we think the show can't go much farther downhill, we head into full spiral as DJ Ran is on the air. But hey... my sweet, tender, beautiful Nitro Girl Spice (siiiiigh) was featured in the segment, so it got my vote.

-Old man Goldberg's favorite son even got a turn on the mic. Hootie hoo!

-Credit where credit's due.. I picked up this line from 2xzone.com.. a segment from the new Rednecks song... one of the few bright spots in WCW last night. "We have a huntin' dog in our pickup truck, we like long-legged country girls that know how to...love." Also memorable was watching Curt Hennig nearly end his career on a 4-wheeler.. great stuff.

-I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.

-Well let's see.. a match with potential... the rejuvinated (and rising star) Lenny Lane, who's really becoming a joy to watch, takes on the ultra-talented Juventud Guerrera, jr.. Ooop!! Here comes Sid. What a world. I wonder why Juvi decided his best course of action was to just jump into Syko's palm, rather than to attempt a dropkick of some sort.

-Quote of the NIGHT. Sid was "68-0", and lifting Lane for a powerbomb.. just as Lenny's crotch reached Sid's face, Heenan blurts out "I SMELL 69!". I wonder if he realizes the significance of his statement.

-I can't keep a straight face during these Rednecks 'concertos'. I've played guitar, bass, drums and vocals in multiple bands, and I promise you.. despite my years of performing, I've got nothing on these guys.. ha..

-I feared the absolute worst when the Benoit/Steiner match was booked. Thank god for small miracles.

-OK, quick lesson. It's a good thing to show vignettes.. It's a bad thing to show the same... f'n... vignette... 3 times in one night.

-Even the Eddie/Vampiro and ICP/Rey&Kidman matches were disappointing, proving that WCW was truly a lost cause on this night.

-Hey! Let's give Hogan some mic time! Yea! Do they realize that to turn him heel again they've got to turn him on his own little son?

-Benoit took a meaner bump than usual on the headbutt.. Performing it on one guy hurts... performing it on two is downright insane. I'm afraid to watch his match with Sid on Thunder, provided he doesn't get fed up and just stiff the shit out of Ms. Bass.. (oop.. a page out of John's book.. you didn't see that..). A shoot fight between these two would be worth my right leg, as Sid wouldn't stand a chance.

-As usual, Booker T looked like gold last night. I'm hoping it's an angle leading to a breakup, but it could be just fatigue... as Stevie Ray lounged about the ring, looking lazier than ever.

-The main event was dropped onto our laps, fresh from 1985. Truly terrible. Every piece of garbage thrown to the ring following this disgrace was deserved by Dusty Rhodes and the WCW booking commitee.

-And finally.. KISS. Not much else I can say, except I could actually HEAR remotes across the country clicking. And Brian Adams looks like even more of a tool in his little cape.

Overall Grade: D-

The only saving grace for Nitro this week came in the form of the Rednecks, and a couple off matches from the "Dead Pool" and the "Filthy Animals". Nights like this make me sick to even consider myself associated, in whatever sick and twisted way. After Nitro, I strode to my room where I had myself a good, long cry.


-YES! THIS is the way you handle a heel!! HHH was rough as HELL, and did his little shindig to perfection. Then again, the arm's "break" was such a terrible bit of audio editing, I couldn't help but groan. Would it have been so hard to just let him fall, and announce his injury later?

-What power does Shane hold in the WWF, that allows him to book matches? He doesn't look like a commissioner to me..

-God, I missed seeing Jericho oversell. His giant swing in front of the backstage curtain was priceless. Every week the future looks brighter and brighter for the Y2J.

-Meanwhile, we see Pepper's been dognapped again... they ran out of options with Snow months ago, when everybody was doing the same thing with head. Barring a complete character revamp, they've dropped the ball yet again with him.

-Just as I'd predicted, the tag division lies in ruins again now that the Show and Undertaker have taken the straps. I'm in total agreement with Dale over at the Big 3 Oratory... Kane with a headset is among the funniest images in recent memory. I was waiting with baited breath for another thrilling "suck iiittttt".

-As somebody who's watched his best friend become engaged after 6 months, and his father remarried after 5, I can safely say that the Test / Stephanie bit wasn't THAT ridiculous. Stranger things have happened.

-Did anybody else catch Mizark Hizenry after receiving the European belt? He tried to put it on, but couldn't fit it around the chocolate's big waist. Guess he hasn't lost too much weight.

-I get shivers down my spine watching D'Lo deliver that frog splash... Sweeeeeeet....

-Jeff Hardy is incredible. Anyone who caught his suicide dive from the guard rail on the Rock last night knows what I'm talking about. And they buried these guys WHY?? Also of note was Gangrel's near squash.. This guy's not THAT bad..

-Watching the Fink come out to the old school Ultimate Warrior's music was funny, especially amidst the interest surrounding Hellwig's comments lately, but the rediscovery and mockery of old themes needs to stop here.. It was funny with the Stooges, it was enjoyable with the Fink, if we see anything else it's gonna begin to get annoying.

-Speaking of which, the Fink and Jericho make a great duo. I wouldn't be surprised to see the two of them begin a quest to recapture Howard's spot as ring announcer. And Jericho's dual powerbombs were amazing. I was waiting for him to bridge one into the lion tamer, but it wasn't meant to be.

-How'd the Hollys match end?! We missed it...

-...X-Pac was just pinned by motherloving VISCERA! What has he done wrong?! Nobody should sell for that waste of space, let alone lie down for him. This guy's never gonna have credibility.

-Chyna took a nice guitar shot, and sold it as thought she'd just been beheaded, collapsing to the ground and not moving. So is everything cool between she and Ass now or what? I'd be willing to bet we'll see them together again before we see them at each other's throats. No explanation.

-OK... Shane could take a fall through the table from the top rope like he did at Summerslam (amazing, btw..), yet a couple seconds of socko and a toss over the top is enough to take him out for the remainder of the match... well... until the end.

-Damn, is the Rock over.

-Speaking of the great one.. his commentary was a joy to listen to, though we needed JR's voice of reason to really bring it out as well as it should have been. "Mankind's coming back! I gotta give it to him, he's got.. Ut.. never mind, he's down again. Mankind sucks!" We're listening to the future of the WWF.

-The finish of the match was very well done, from the stiff chair shot for Mankind to the unexpected lash out at the Rock to Shane's recovery in time to make the count. I never thought I'd say it, but HHH deserves the belt...

Overall Grade: B+

The burial of X-Pac and the descent of D'Lo back to the ranks of the european championship are the only things keeping this from an A. Truly one of the best Raws in recent memory, and the Nitro it opposed only made this one shine all the brighter.

One last bit.. I've been told that I've never done so, so a big, fat ass "WHAT UP!" and "YOU KICK ASS" to Filippo and Dale here at the Big3. Go check out their stuff, they're among the best.

And I'm out.
until then, i remain

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Ringside Shadows #63: 1999 Summerslam Results

The week's just started, but with it comes the beginning of my Junior year of college life. As a direct result, the majority of my free time is going out the window and I won't have nearly as much time to spend writing up columns. That's not to say you won't see me around... I still plan to complete my full WCW talent evaluation, as well as the big project I have on the horizon with Matt Spence. Plus, I'll be here twice a month with both PPV previews and reactions as well as every Tuesday for the usual Tuesday review. In addition, you might just see a random column thrown in out of the blue though not at the same rate as you've seen this summer. Look at me, I take a simple "school's starting.. I won't be here as often" and turn it into a fraggin' epic poem. I could probably give Sid and Hogan a run for their money... Moving on..

I'm a bit slow, but Sunday night was Summerslam.. and my predictions continued their tradition of suck, as I pulled out with a miserable record of 5-4. The best, mind you, of all Triad members (Spence and John both pulled down a 4-5)... too bad I'm not included in the alcohol bet, as very little appeals to me more than free drinks.

Even more disappointing than any of that though, was the result of the Test / Shane McMahon match. Not that I wanted Shane to win, personally.. I was just looking forward to seeing a column today about Nash, Sid and Hogan with nothing bad to say... from John C. Some things just aren't meant to be, I suppose.

Before i finally get into this (I assure you, there IS a column somewhere here..), I'd like to say it's good to see the Big 3 back in full force once again. The problem was truly selective, as I could access the board with no problems from home, but once I arrived at work, "The specified server could not be found". Anyway, on with the...

Summerslam Reaction

-Pre-show, we were set to revel in the glory that is the 'new, improved Heat set'.. but instead recieved a shit-ton of feud recaps, set to music. Guess this show's going out the window..

-Early on, Jericho's presence was already known. Looks like the Fink will be taking the place of Ralphus as his flunky in the WWF, which shows us that Chris's debut really was thought out way in advance.. it was the Fink who ratted on Road Dogg and X-Pac during the 'vandalism' of Chyna's car months ago. Nice to see some common sense thrown into the usually-unbelievable booking arena.

-D'Lo is over! Huzzah! Hurrah! The impossible has finally come to pass.. an extraordinary athlete who's been accepted by the fans! Don't stop his push here.

-Sounds like the action from these two was a bit sub-par once again, which is really a shame. Both are great workers, capable of really putting on a clinic, but I wonder if that's even what the WWF wants anymore. Aside from some high-flyers from D'Lo, this one was a disappointment.

-I'd have expected the Debra / JJ split to be a work if it weren't so obvious. This is the second time we've seen this.. if it happens again... well... you've heard of the boy who cried wolf? Completely out of the blue though, was Mark Henry's turn and impact on the match. It looks like D'Lo really HASN'T made the full progression to intercontinental material, as he'll be feuding with Mizark now, over the European glory.

-As soon as I saw the #1 and #2 draws in the Tag tourney, I knew the end result would be disappointment. They couldn't let both of these teams last more than 5 minutes, as that would lose interest and the match would take forever.. so, we're stuck with a mini version of the classic Brood/Hardys feud.

-As for the finish.. I don't have much to say. Val Venis and the Godfather sat out, thanks to Godfather's tail bone injury.. which probably improved the match quality once the smoke had cleared.

-Like him or not, you gotta admit there's no attention-getter in wrestling today like Jericho's Y2J countdown. This guy's gonna be big.

-Sounds like just another WWF garbage-core match.. At least they're trying to throw in something new, with Road Dogg following the action to do real live commentary. What's the deal with everybody stealing Pepper? Al Snow's gimmick seems to have gone the same way as that of Val Venis: there's little that they can do with him which hasn't been done before.

-All good women's divisions in history are constantly turning over in their graves thanks to the kind of "action" that was displayed last night. If nothing else, at least Luna's back. Give her an opportunity, and maybe then I'll have a real reason to be happy.

-The Shamrock/Blackman feud succeeded in going absolutely nowhere, as Shamrock went over again, further dismissing Blackman as a credible challenger. Week after week and now month after month, they keep building this guy up just for Shamrock to kick his ass again. And they wonder why the fans could give a piss.

-On the other hand, the Shane/Test blowoff (I'm hoping..) went against my expectations and was actually watchable. Hell, if they'd featured this on Raw I'd tune to it above another Hogan main event. Shane is crazy, taking the leap from the top rope through a table, and really regained any respect he'd managed to lose in the past. He's far from a credible wrestler, but as an occasionally-active physical mouthpiece, he's taking giant steps.

-Good to see the bookers have learned how to use the Stooges, at long last. So long as they don't constantly ram these guys down our throat, they're a welcome surprise.

-Months ago, X-Pac was quoted as saying Summerslam '99 would be a memorable show for all his hometown fans, sparking internet debate that ultimately placed him in the Intercontinental picture. After the event, I'm left wondering... what's so memorable about dropping the tag titles to 2 oafish main eventers, where they will surely lose most of what glory remains to their name? Had Waltman gone over or just dominated for more than the opening, it would've done wonders for his credibility. As it is, I don't see him going anywhere fast.

-Why is it that the only offense X-Pac usually lands anymore consists of groin shots, bites, spinning heel kicks, and a bronco buster? Shake it up a bit...

-I realize the point of the Rock/Ass match was to elevate Gunn's reputation through association. Now I wonder if bookers realize it didn't work.

-My roommate is addicted to Megaman Legends.

-An expectedly formulaic matchup between the aforementioned Gunn and the Rock. If both had put forth the effort of a lifetime, we'd have seen something between good and very good.. As it were, both men set it on cruise control and let the autopilot glide them into mediocrity.

-The main event looked to have been given ample time, with all three men recieving nearfalls prior to the end. Ventura made a statement meant to lead us into believing he and Vince were still at ends, yelling "go back to your old man" at Shane. I'm not sure what to think of his refusal to count for HHH. I suppose this wasn't a no-DQ match, but why even allow the chair if he wouldn't count for it's result?
-Finally, the WWF surprised everyone, apparently including JR, as Mankind joined Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and the Rock as 3+ time World Champion.

That'll pretty much do it for me right now. Look for the Tuesday Review later tonight (It's late.. I know.. my apologies) or tomorrow afternoon.
until then, i remain

Friday, August 20, 1999

Ringside Shadows #62: The Tuesday Review & Summerslam Preview 1999

This being my first post at the opinions section here, I figure a short introduction is in order, but first I'd like to thank the administrators here for inviting me to post my thoughts in a new forum. It's always flattering to recieve an invitation such as this, and I'll do my best to live up to my reputation. Thanks, guys. As for me, I've been posting my thoughts for over 6 months now, on a multitude of different boards, thought primarily on the Big 3 Oratory section. I'm a 3rd year graphic design student located in east Indiana, so I do all my own banners and I'm not a big fan of much of what we've seen recently in American wrestling. I try to keep an unbiased opinion in my writings and will usually have my infamous 'Tuesday Review' up like clockwork every Tuesday to give my thoughts on the past evening's events. I'd go on, but I think I've taken up enough of the column with this already. I'll jump into the column, leaving you with the knowledge that there's no such thing as a "mark", so let it go already.

Wow, it's been a while, eh? Somehow, I failed to remember a call to the phone company upon my recent move, and couldn't get online to write upa Tuesday review or Sturgis preview last week, as I'd planned. Incidentally,my sunburn is still peeling from my week on the lake in Michigan, and my wallet is on life support following the spending spree that was the San Diego comic con. In this installment, I'll be offering a Summerslam preview, a couple (dated) letters I'd meant to post, and my thoughts on a select few of the recent happenings in the world of pro wrestling. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's kick this mother off with a...

Summerslam Preview

The World Wrestling Federation seems to have returned to form a bit with this PPV, keeping us guessing up until the very last week regarding just who would be featured in the lineup, which could've been a good thing... had they really clarified a couple issues before this Sunday. Where did the women's title match come from? Why are we having a tag team "turmoil" match? Where's Jericho? Plus, will the notorious bookers of the Fed manage to give us more than a couple good matches on a card that features 9 matches? Only time will tell...

The Acolytes v. Prince Albert&Droz v. The Hardy Boyz v. Hardcore Hollys v. Edge&Christian v. Val Venis&Godfather v. Mideon&Viscera
"Tag Team Turmoil"

The WWF web page boasts "This match will pit seven of the best tag teams in the world against each other in the same ring.".. which I consider almost insulting. The day Mideon and Viscera are considered "best in the world" at anything is the day I take a long walk off a short bridge. The same could be said for Venis/Godfather, as well as Prince Albert/Droz. You'll find no argument here about the Hardy Boyz (surprise...), and I get the feeling that justice may be around the corner again for these two, considering their recent alignment with Gangrel. Predicting this is about as easy as successfully predicting the Royal Rumble... it ain't gonna happen. I'm gonna say right now that if Mideon and Viscera walk off with this, I'll take a month off from the WWF. In the end, it boils down to the Acolytes, the Hardys, and Christian/Edge, all of whom have had words of late. In the end, strength lies in numbers.. I'm gonna go with the Hardys, with help from Gangrel... barring an interference from Michael Hayes.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz

Ivory v. Tori
For the Women's Title

Well, here's one for all ages.. finally, a women's title defense with less focus on T&A and more on pure wrestling, which is why this will probably flop. WWF fans aren't there to see good, technically adept wrestlers. They're around to see the outrageous acts, the "accidental" nudity, just to see how much farther Vince will go. Sad but true, the division has died following Sable's departure as the WWF has no high-flying beauties (isn't that an oxymoron?) under their banner. If Tori comes out in a new outfit, it'll be a step in the right direction.. that 'cat' motif is horrible. As for the match itself, it really depends on what kind of night the two ladies involved feel like having. Tori has yet to tear out anything overly impressive, and the same holds true for Ivory. Sunday could become a launching pad for the Women's division, but I'm willing to bet it will instead mark it's grave. I'm expecting to see Tori recieve what she should've captured at Wrestlemania.
Winner: Tori

Steve Blackman v. Ken Shamrock
Lion's Den Weapons Match

An extension of the 3 month old Shamrock/Blackman feud that started just before King of the Ring, I don't think we'll see much that we haven't seen before. Unless these two go absolutely brutal on each other and shoot to an undetermined finish, the result might be ugly. Mrs. Shamrock's baby boy is apparently still active in the WWF for the time being, but how long until he makes his much-anticipated return to the UFC? Though an injury angle would hurt Shamrock's credibility, I think it almost has to be done to save kayfabe. Then again, everybody knows where Kenny's headed... why not let him go out in style, with a 'v' here? Much harder to predict than I'd imagined, I'm gonna have to go with Shamrock.. a loss might take him out of future contention for the world title.
Winner: Ken Shamrock

D'Lo Brown v. Jeff Jarrett
For both the Intercontinental and European Titles

FINALLY, an Intercontinental feud worth the time of day! Given another couple months of similar treatment, I believe the belt will have reclaimed it's previous spot as second only to the grand daddy of them all, the prestigious World Title. Personally, I really hope it doesn't end here between these two. Each can put forward so much more than they have in this feud, and a good, technical encounter is just what Titan needs right now. The outcome of this one seems to have been scripted wayyy in advance, as Debra finally makes her split from Jarrett official here. I'm not sure what's happening with the European title (perhaps a merge with the IC belt?), but regardless, I see D'Lo holding onto the belts for just a bit longer here.
Winner: D'Lo Brown

Kane/X-Pac v. Paul Wight/Undertaker
For the Tag Team Titles

Quite a bit of history in this one, but I fear the Tag belts will be lost in the shuffle with a Wight/'Taker victory, as was the case around this time last year with Austin/Undertaker and Kane/Mankind tag reigns. I'd look for some teased tension between the two goliaths, leading to their obvious eventual split.. but a tainted victory leaving them without the belts. A DQ or countout victory is my call, leaving the belts around the waists of X-Pac and Kane, but allowing another check in the 'v' slot for the twin towers '99. Could Jericho make an impact on this one, and begin his rumored feud with X-Pac?
Winners: The Big Show / The Undertaker

The Big Bossman v. Al Snow
For the Hardcore Title

I was hoping to be wrong with my prediction at the last PPV, which called for the Bossman recieving the belt.. no such luck. So this month we get a rematch with a 'revamped' Al Snow (trading Head for a funny little dog), in what will probably rival the tag match for worst of the night. Not even Foley could carry the Bossman to a good match, so what can we expect out of Snow, besides a victory, and another Hardcore Title award?
Winner: Al Snow

Shane McMahon v. Test
"Love her or Leave her" Match

A prime example of a feud that's drug on for much too long, with little redeeming qualities. Still, the transformation of Test from 'sticky-sweet, hopeful courter' to 'angry, heelish overprotective boyfriend' keeps me interested. Could Stephanie notice such a change and take action? I'd say give it a month. Meanwhile, Test will pretty much manhandle Shane here as the Mean Street Posse are nearly completely in shambles and unable to interfere. Barring a new member's surfacing, this one's already in the books.
Winner: Test

The Rock v. Mr. Ass
"Kiss my Ass" Match

I'm not sure if the subtitle is an actual stipulation in this one, or just something the webmasters threw in to give it 'added appeal', but it's a pretty disturbing image. Here's a feud that's only taking place because of a serious lack of main event heels in the current roster. Were there anyone else remotely available, I doubt the "Ass man" would be featured this high on the card. Somehow, I doubt I'll ever be able to swallow this guy as anything more than an overpushed midcarder. That image leads to his downfall here, especially considering his recent domination on raw.
Winner: The Rock

Stone Cold Steve Austin v. Mankind v. HHH
For the WWF Championship... special guest referee Jesse Ventura.

Recent rumors regarding Stone Cold's sudden refusal to take a pinfall from HHH have supposedly lead to Mankind's inclusion in this match. I find that a bit difficult to believe, as everybody and their mother's known about HHH's title "clause" in his contract, and a world title reign near Summerslam is almost a guarantee. Still I'm willing to place money on a Mankind loss here, whether it be at the hands of Austin or HHH. The hype seems to be a bit too much in Helmsley's favor, and I'm betting he won't be granted the belt until the Raw following this event or the next PPV excursion. On a final note, Mankind's presence here will do wonders for the match's workrate, no matter how rusty he is.
Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

While the true judgment of this PPV will come with it's execution, on paper it doesn't look extremely interesting. A few choice run-ins (and some mic time for Jericho) could change that, and I'm sure the crowd will be extra hot in Minnesota, but I don't see a PPV that can top Spring Stampede as best of 99 here.

Moving on...
I recieved a few letters regarding my last Tuesday Review, which follow...

TReLaNe (jmiller23@uswest.net ) gave me some insight regarding DDP's 180 powerbomb a few weeks back..

"DDP has been using it for a while but for some reasons only as a heel."

That was his entire comment. Short, and to the point... a good change of pace. About DDP as a heel... I'm not sure what it is, but I always enjoy him so much more when he's not a fan favorite. As a 'face' champion, I completely despised him. As a full heel now, I think he's found a very good role as the 'mentor' of the Triad. Not to mention the fact that his ringwork seems to improve by a good 200% when he works as a heel. Go figure. It could also be that I'm loving his recent willingness to job to both Benoit and Kidman on TV. Either way, thanks for the correction and your mail.

Unreal410@aol.com wrote in to correct my shortminded comments on Benoit's "new" music:

"I just wanted to let you know that is Benoit's old music as well... It was used when the Horsemen broke up right after Flair had his head slammed into the cage door by Curt Hennig."

I'd completely forgotten that music, but when I think about it, you're right. I hope we're in agreement that the music still doesn't suit his character, though. Hell, just so long as he doesn't walk out jamming to something from Chad Brock next week, I'll keep my bitching to a minimum. Thanks for the response.

Fellow Columnist Matt Spence (mspence@email.com) gave me something to chew on, in a recent e-mail and I'd like to hear from any lucky fans who are concerned with Japanese Puroresu on American Television:

"I remember us having a bit of a discussion about Japanese wrestling on US TV. Well, that looks to be a serious possibility right now. First, NJPW TV is already on digital cable in certain areas. However, the chance for it to expand is there.Go to www.1wrestling.com and check out the column called "Puroresu Power" from 7/27 if you want to read more about it. It's quite interesting."

If anybody currently gets such a program, or has any idea how I might go about picking up such a station, drop me a line. In the meantime, check out the aforementioned article as well as "The Deal", coming to you on a more reliable schedule than Ringside Shadows, on several Oratory sections across the net. Look for a little something from Matt and I within the next month.. I guarantee it'll be worth the wait.

Finally, Kevin Doherty (kdoherty@cosanostra.net) wrote me a lengthy mail, most of which focused on events that have since passed (damned vacation..), but some of which is still relevant.

"why is it that when there's two groups of two or three talented wrestlers, it's a tag match, but when they're mediocre wrestlers, it's exploded into 3 matches?"

That just seems to be the way WCW works, though hopefully things are changing. A lot of the backstage politics keep deserving workers and feuds from recieving the kind of attention the deserve and need to grow. If you look at the feud in question (The Hogan/Sting/Goldberg v. Steiner/Nash/Sid disaster), you'll see the two biggest names in the WCW backstage area in Hogan and Nash, as well as a monster ego in Sid. These 3 demand such attention alone, putting them together ranks among the worst ideas of the century. About your question though, there really is no great answer, except that it's a valid observation and definately something that should be checked into in the near future.

He goes on to say:

"I strongly recommend listening to the August 2nd edition of WCW Live from the archives (the first 15-30 mins), as they had Vampiro and ICP on, and Vampiro was much more vocal about his dislike for Konnan"

I'm gonna agree here, and tell everybody who hasn't already to check out any of Vampiro's WCW Live interviews, as they're always entertaining, and really allow you to pull for the guy and further understand the events that pull workers down backstage. Thanks for your e-mails, and keep reading.

This is running a bit long, so it looks as though I'll have to save the majority of my thoughts on what I've missed for a later column. Thanks for reading,
until then, i remain