Tuesday, October 26, 1999

Ringside Shadows #84: The Tuesday Review

Why did they tear down Mr. Toad's wild ride? Anyone who's experienced this thriller of thriller-coasters knows the terror held beyond the famous doors knows no bounds. The attraction was in Disney World... and in the end, you die and go to hell. I'm not making this up. It was the funniest, most out-of-place piece of work in the park's long history, and I loved it. Every visit to Disney World would begin and end with a ride with Mr. Toad. A few months ago, they tore down the cult-favorite ride in favor of a Pooh attraction. How's this related?

Why did they tear down the 'new' WCW regime? I figure it's for similar reasons. Give it a little thought.

Russo and Ferrera tried their damndest to deliver the goods last night, in what was dubbed 'the most shocking Nitro ever'. I'm still awaiting that big shocker. Was it Goldberg's second loss? The Outsiders' return? Was it the announcement of the World Title tourney? Or what about Norman Smiley? The world may never know.

Meanwhile, Raw countered with one of the weakest cards to date.. and one helluva impressive cage dive from Test. But I'm getting ahead of myself.


-I still haven't a definite opinion on Russo and Ferrera's work here yet. On one hand, they've done their job; my interest is piqued, and I'm enjoying the tournament, Benoit / Malenko, a rejuvenated Sting, and Bret Hart's rediscovery of the persona that carried him through his championship years in the WWF. In these instances, as well as a few others, they're doing a marvelous job and deserve all the praise they get.

On the other hand; I don't know who's a heel and who's a face anymore. With the exception of Sid, Sting, Hart and Goldberg.. who knows? I'll touch on that when it's relevant further down the page. The new men have taken the credible excuse of "using WCW as a new challenge" and blown it right back out their asses. If they did indeed view this as a new opportunity to challenge their storytelling skills, they didn't view it in the correct way. The challenge was to put out a good show within the confines of WCW's previous limitations, not to step in and pick up right where they left off in the WWF. Case in point; their first night in the booking dept, Nitro saw its first evening gown match. Last night, the Outsiders took on a team of women with insane breasts. That's not why I watch Nitro.. that's why I rent porn. Unless Russo and Ferrera take a step back and recognize the true challenge, things are set for a rocky decline.. and fast. Hell, if Turner had given the go-ahead a couple months ago, I think Bischoff could've produced this card. Then again... maybe not.

-Sting showed some fire, some energy for the first time in months last night. It's almost as if he had direction, like he knew where he was going with certainty. I like it. Plus; appearing sans face paint and ring attire, he gave the opening of the show a strong, believable start. My only complaint is his waste of an entire igloo's worth of water.. do you know how many hungry people he could've fed with that?

-I knew poor JJ would be taking a fall when he took his glasses off after entering the ring.

-It's official; Norman Smiley is one of my favorite athletes. Not only does he know what he's doing in between the ropes (apparantly a moot point anymore), but he's got that charisma schpeel going and he's downright hilarious on the stick. Why won't they push him as a credible worker, rather than the inept fool who's bumbled through 2 matches now? I'm confused: what exactly put Bigelow out? I thought this guy was in line for a moderate push.. he's supposedly a great guy backstage and has been busting his ass at house shows getting into shape for this program. Just goes to show you.. everybody gets screwed in wrestling.

-Who's the heel? The Revolution, the Filthy Animals or Harlem Heat? The Animals turned heel last week by 'mugging' Ric Flair, and made it official by ditching him in the middle of nowhere this week. The Revolution turned heel a couple weeks back, and continued this week by running the 'kidnap Torrie' angle. Finally, Harlem Heat played the apparant heels in their attack from behind on the past Nitro. 3 Heel teams in the tag divison.. and the bookers wonder why nobody was cheering.

-Kidman's career is in trouble.. they stuck him with the old 'Syxx w/ a camera' gimmick that killed Sean Waltman in WCW during the nWo's heyday. While we're on topic, the segment that aired with Flair being ditched in the desert was disturbing. I'm still left wondering; are we supposed to be cheering for these guys? The only thing that's for certain: Flair's gonna be as over as ever if and when he returns for this feud with the Animals.

-I'm not sure what was more entertaining.. Hennig's feigned rebirth in the ring, or Disco trying to get a headset on over that mammoth hat. I wanted to believe what Hennig said prior to his match about re-dedicating himself to the sport and discovering the fire that made him outstanding in the late 80s and early 90s. The effort he mailed in with second rate postage last night made it nearly impossible, though.

-Y'know, too many angles are revolving around the new booking team, and their treatment of the talent. Hennig, Savage, Bagwell, Hart, Hogan, Jarrett, Nash, Hall, Sting, Madusa, and a couple others are all using this move as an angle, and it reeks of oversaturation. It's a nice angle for one, maybe 2 wrestlers. Don't kill it by flooding the gates.

-At least Jarrett hasn't been killed just yet. He seems to be gliding into a high midcard position that could possibly include a couple main events.. his woman-beating hasn't come to the front (yet), and he isn't overdoing it on the mic. Short, concise and to the point. I like it.

-Great psychology, if the workrate was a little slow for the Saturn / Guerrero match last night. Given another month or two to develop and work with each other, these two could really produce something special. As I mentioned before, the psychology in this one was second to none, and every aspiring grappler should take a look at it and take notes. Selling a leg injury as Saturn did, or a rib injury like Eddy improves the match quality and the believability, not to mention helps build the other man as a credible worker.

-Good backstage development between Benoit and The Revolution. It's clips like these that I don't mind in the least, as they logically set up and progress a big feud, stressing the emotion and ferocity of it all. It was fun watching Saturn flail uselessly at the cage door with that trash can.

-It was nice seeing the Outsiders back in the ring and on the stick. It'll pass.. give it a week.

-I was surprised as hell to hear the Macho Man's entrance theme blast across the speakers midway through the evening.. his interview was in the vein of these 'pseudo-shoot' spots that are quickly becoming the norm for Nitro, and I haven't a clue who or what he was talking about. I'll admit, though I haven't been a big supporter of the Macho Man lately, I'm really interested to see who his new protege will be.

-Anybody miss The Cat on WCW tv these past 3 weeks? Yea, me neither.

-I accept Chyna as a men's competitor, because she asks to be one and she has the size to stand up with most of her competition. Madusa neither asked for this, nor has the physical capacity to stand up against this. I dislike her, but things are getting way out of hand in this area.

-Apparantly, Hennig has split from the Rednecks already, unless Armstrong appears in the stable within the next 2 weeks.. Plus, what happened to Dustin Runnels?

-The Steiner / Luger match was even worse than I'd imagined it would be. I wonder if either of these two has any illusions about their abilities? If they had half a brain, they'd each have realized the necessity of a carry-job in their matches and annexed this match before it went to television. I like the direction they're taking the Jarrett feud (Though it tries to establish Luger, a heel, as a face and Jarrett is yet another tweener). So long as it ends up that Jarrett really didn't hit Elizabeth, I'll be pleased. Was it too much to ask, for this one to end a double-countout? Finally, of note was the uselessness of the effects crew, who turned Luger's entrance lights back on in the middle of the match.

-Shades of the Intercontinental Tourney in the WWF about a year back, placing Konnan & Kidman against one another in the first round.. X-Pac / HHH, anyone? Much as I hate Konnan, nobody should be forced to take that mother-of-all-uglies pedigree, delivered by Stevie Ray. Ugh.. does he even have a clue what he's doing?

-DOA's in the fed.. and they dumped Vampiro? Motherfucker.

-A good, stiff-looking brawl between Benoit and Malenko, with a questionable ending. Though I'd rather see the technical exhibition that was their last meeting, this style better suited the atmosphere than a mutual respect masterpiece. Watching the fans go nuts when Benoit hit the rail made me wonder what I'd do if I were in that front row seat.. I'd end up saying something like "How's it feel to go from Liger to jobbing to Steiner?"

-It was good fun, watching Rey carefully back out of his spot in the parking lot as he gave chase to the Revolution.

-That is how Brian Knobbs should be treated. Meanwhile, Sting looked a lot better this week as he adopted a sharper heel attitude and dropped the weak shoulder straps from his wrestling gear.

-Damned, Booker T got some height on that skipping hook kick! I'll applaud that any day of the week. I don't know which match the ref was watching, but Stevie's shoulders weren't down. The camera angle made it painfully obvious, and they didn't bother with a replay.

-Why didn't anybody touch on the last time Hart and Goldberg met?

-David Flair saw his first interesting segment last night, and promptly showed us he's still not ready.. though he does seem to be sculpting his body a bit. Give him another year, and see if he's learned anything from his dad. At least neither man advanced.

-I don't agree with the decision to put the US title on the line throughout the tournament. This way, the belt is guaranteed to make it all the way to the finals, even if it changes hands 8 times on the way. I'd have thought this belt would distance itself from the tourney and make its own name. The match itself suffered thanks to this injury angle Hart is working, giving him more of an underdog role. I was wondering how they'd get him over Goldberg while maintaining both men's credibility, and figured it would include Sid or the Outsiders. I didn't imagine they'd send out all 3. Nowhere near the superb match these two could've brought out, and Big Bill didn't learn a thing.
Overall Grade: B

Actually, a bit of a step up. The new team surprised me throughout, pleasantly on a few occasions and not-so pleasantly more than once. It's still a little early to form an opinion on where things are headed, but the two paths are definately starting to become more clear-cut now. There's big room for improvement, but they've also taken some giant steps. If Eddie or Vince-O realize the true challenge, things could get very interesting.


-What an abysmal start the an overall weak program.. I missed the opening minute, and noted that HHH and the Outlaws seemed to be quite buddy-buddy, which took away the surprise of the DX reunion later in the show. And let's see... the most crucial moment for gaining viewers, the 9 o'clock hour. WCW's pulling out all the stops by busting out Goldberg and the Outsiders. Raw counters with the 'feud from hell', the 'clash that wouldn't die', the 'collision not even their mothers will watch', the Godfather / Mideon & Viscera non-feud. Does McMahon really have this little of a clue? Why didn't he just send out the Gobbledy Gooker?

-The only reason to watch the WWF right now is the tag scene. Period. With Christopher & Taylor back in the thick of things, we're bound to catch some outstanding action. Throw Too Cool, The Hardys, Edge/Christian, & The Hollys in the ring, and what do you get? Pure entertainment. I haven't looked forward to a tag feud like this in ages.

-Rather than watch the women's segment, I called up my buddy Cheez and played a game of 'who loves whom'.. I called him first, proclaiming "I love Moolah" and quickly hung up. He called back with "I love Mae Young". This went on throughout the worthless segment. Try it, it's a lot more entertaining.

-The Wight angle just gets worse and worse. I've already said enough negative about this feud to fill a dozen pages, so I'll note the only positive effect.... Wight's intensity has shot through the roof. That hammer shot was hilarious... He reacted as if to say "what? A hamme...ut.. oh OH!" There's no retrieving that gold chain now that it's gone down into the forest of Prince Albert's torso. I doubt Albert himself could find it.

-Can a Jericho / D'Lo feud be far off, pending the result of Y2J / Chyna? I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the possibilities. Let's hope Jericho feels like working again when that one rolls around. As for this tag match.. why was D'Lo even there? Was he ever active in the ring? And what happened to Stevie Richards' association with Mankind?

-Speaking of Mick, I had a strange feeling Mankind would walk away with the belt last night. Guess my intuition isn't always right, eh? Despite the nonsensical finish, I'm glad to see Venis & Snow involved in a major feud, both have the skills to take the company far into the new millennium. If they get over now, the WWF is set for years. I was considering buying Mick's book, then I took a look at the price tag.. $50?! I'm a college kid, I can't afford that.. Maybe I'll wait for the paperback. Or hit the Library. Or just listen to them read it line-by-line on Raw, as they've been doing the past couple weeks.

-Why does Kane have to use that stupid voice box again? I thought he was ok to go without it now? Either way, he sounds like a ninny. Let somebody else do the talking.

-They may not be in shape, but the Dudleys worked their asses off last night. Meanwhile, the Kane / X-Pac storyline took a twist that I saw coming about 15 miles down the road. With the X-Man's full heel turn, this feud should finally kick into high gear.

-My respect for Test just went up dozen notches.. For a man of his size, a jump from the top rope is commendable.. and he takes a dive off the top of the freaking cage?! Unbelievable. The WWF has a real gem in this guy, and it looks like they realize it. Given another year or two, he'll be even more incredible. I hope working with the Bulldog teaches him a bit about pacing himself and working psychology into a match. With the right tools he'll be unstoppable. Anyway, I better get off my knees.. Shane took a nice dive too.. though the MSP took the brunt of his fall. Quoth my roommate: "Shane climbed that cage like a monkey! He was in DRESS SHOES!"

-The Acolytes segment was just what I don't like to see on a wrestling program. Put that up next to the Benoit / Malenko segment on Nitro, and you'll see the best and worst that 'bonus' segments bring to the show. If that arm wrestler steps into a ring soon, heads will roll and the WWF will have lost one fan.

-The main event was a slow-paced, 'methodical' dump-fest. I'm not sure who said it first, but these words ring true: "Whenever an announcer calls a match 'methodical', it means it's slower than an old man's piss and boring as hell." The DX reunion was a well-played trump card, that'll certainly shake things up in today's WWF, and rivals the original lineup for it's long-reaching effect. You've got a world title contendor in HHH, an intercontinental challenger in X-Pac, and multiple-time tag team champs in the NAO. The only thing that was wrong with the face DX was the questions about their rank, without a world title contender. Now that HHH has silenced the critics, DX is as alive as ever. It'll be fun seeing how this plays out.
Overall Grade: C-

Far from average, I'm being gracious in giving this show a C-. Of the whole night, the only thing that remains in the front of my mind is the Viscera/Godfather match to open the show, while I'm reminded of Hart pinning Goldberg from Nitro. Not a good way to kick things off.

And I'm outta here. I'm not sure when to expect another article, but it may be a while after the post-heavy week I've just finished up. Keep the llama alive!
until then, i remain

Friday, October 22, 1999

Ringside Shadows #83: A Complete Waste of Time

I don't have much to say before jumping into this, as the majority of my audience is more than likely skipping this post, as per my advice. However, if you missed the Juventud / Silver King v. Blitzkrieg / Kaz Hayashi match on Thunder, you missed one of the sweetest tag matches in the history of mankind. Do you realize what it takes to get me out of my seat? I sat and shook my head when Shawn Michaels took his infamous leap from the top of the ladder in the Summerslam IC battle against Scott Hall. My jaw hit the floor and my ass sat in the chair when Mick Foley jumped from the Hell in a Cell. Last night, when Blitzkrieg hit a crazy series too fluid to imagine, capped off by a leaping enziguri and Kaz suddenly drilled a reverse springboard moonsault from the top to the floor on Juvi, I jumped off my sofa. Utterly unbelievable. Anyway.

I recently picked up a copy of WWF: Attitude from Acclaim. It's a waste. Its only saving grace (as was so with Warzone) is the create-a-wrestler function, which is remarkable. I'd meant to capture a head-shot of my created athlete, patterned after myself (with underwear on my head), and just include that with a column. However, the wonder that is technology intrigued me once more, and I went techno-happy, capturing 33 still shots and a Quicktime movie document in just under an hour. The sick thing? I pulled it all off in the computer lab on campus, where I collect my paychecks for the next year and a half. I received five dollars and fifteen cents for what you're about to take in.. enjoy.

What you are about to see is not a recreation. Both the characters involved, and the events surrounding them are real. No punches were pulled, no kicks feigned, not a powerbomb was botched. This is the big time. "Ms. Biggie" takes on Jerry "The King" Lawler for the 7th contender's spot in the climb to the European title. All right here, right now..

The competitors

Entering the ring, Biggie takes a moment to pose for the millions upon millions of jealous men and adoring women who would give their lives for a glimpse beneath the underpants, and a chance at the fame, the fortune, the fantasy... the Drqness.

A crowd-pleasing crotch chop

...and there it is. The groin of groins, the pelvic region to write home about, the promised land.. Maybe I'm taking this WWF-style shooting a bit too far. Let's say the average-sized 'area' possessed by the man who doesn't know the meaning of the word miniscule, the one true Biggie.

Ms. Biggie talks trash

OK, 3 scenes of this calibur will tell you one thing for certain.. I must've been on something when I captured this. At any rate, the legend himself takes the opportunity to size up his opposition, and talk a little trash. Being that I hold no control over what this tool chooses to say, nor when he says it.. my witty insults usually come off as something lame, like "You must be off..your..track..". Rest assured if this were 2020, and programmable phrases were available, Ms. Biggie would be uttering something more along the lines of "...don't make me bring out the llama. I'll do it! I'll do it! He's raaaaandy!"

Jerry Lawler talkin'

...meanwhile Lawler banters on for hours with the longest and largest collection of lame insults in the game. He's just shivering in this one, though, imagining what fate may be in store with him should the llama be released.

The true legend, Ms. Biggie starts off the match with a little sweet chin music, his cheap-ass maneuver of choice. Due to his choice in footwear, this move has been aptly nicknamed by those who have felt its wrath in the past as "The Loafer". The easiest non-basic move in the book, this more than likely won't be the last time these loafers come out to play. Meanwhile, Lawler starts his offense with a weak little reversal into a bodyslam that flattens your hero and mine.

Bouncing right back up, Biggie screams "To hell with psychology, I work for Vince McMahon!! WAhoooooooo!!" and delivers a strong boot to the midsection that Lawler has no choice but to sell as though he'd just taken the largest shit in the world.. sideways. Before The King knows what's hit him, Biggie turns it into an X-Factor, then goes for an early pinfall which ends without a single count. In disbelief, Biggie looks to the stands like a deer in the headlights, slowly raises his left arm, and then does the unthinkable.. sticks it down the back of his pants. The stench fills the arena as the big one delivers "The Stinky Poo Poo Claw" directly to Lawler's mouth.

Enraged, Lawler connects with a stiff jumping lariat that knocks out 4 of the clown prince's favorite teeth, one of which is very.. very long! Never one to be taken advantage of, not to mention by a 300 lb, panting, sweat-beast of a man, Biggs drives home the official favorite move of Attitude, the life-threatening arm bar. Lawler has no choice but to answer this challenge with a vertical suplex, and some mighty no-selling of his own.

Impressed by his opponent's vast knowledge of sports entertainment, the endowed-one takes a step back and offers his hand in a gesture of friendship and comradery. Never one to pass up an opportunity, King accepts and shakes Bigg's hand, only to see it reversed into a DDT!! Biggie takes the opportunity and stomps a veritable mudhole into the royal one as he lies on the mat. Biggs wanders over to a rope, ascends, and displays his masculinity in a generous crotch chop up top. Meanwhile, Lawler recovers. Seeing his opponent's motion, Biggie attempts a hurricanrana (which, if you know me, is hilarious to even imagine), but it's reversed into a powerbomb!! Slow to get up from this assault, but not too slow, the Big Bad Underoos Daddy reaches out on his way up from the floor, grabs lil' Jerry, and gives it a mighty twist. Lawler collapses.

This time Biggie wastes no time, and jumps right into his submission hold of choice, the figure four leglock. After a strong fight, Lawler reaches the ropes.. but no sooner is he on his feet, then "Big-Small-don't-Matta-at-All" leaps into the air and nails a hurricanrana. With Lawler winded, Biggie takes a swipe at WCW and "hulks up" for no reason whatsoever. After this debacle, he finds his way back to the Burger King's favorite spot on the mat and does.. some maneuver that almost resembles a surfboard..

Sensing victory, Biggie "hulks up" yet again and picks up Lawler's stunned corpse from the mat... but no sooner than he reaches a standing position, Lawler busts out a last-second reversal that sees Biggie searching for the other part of his tongue somewhere in the arena. Big-Man takes offense to the reversal, and apparantly sticks his hand into Lawler's larynx. That can't be right..

Lawler recovers his trachea, and doctors are able to deliver last-second surgery to repair the wound, as the match picks up with a big Lawler powerslam. We've only 10 slides remaining as Y'r Mom's latest lover hits another senses-shattering arm bar, and Lawler struggles to maintain consciousness. As the lights swirl, Biggie tries to help King back into our world with strong kicks to the kidneys and abdomen. King cries foul, and a flock of carnivorous pigeons fly over the ring and drench both competitors in shit (picture not available). Several minutes and a quick hosedown later, Lawler remains on his back as Biggs misses a moonsault and lands directly on the top of his head.

Never one to cry over spilled milk, the Biggest of them all answers his mistake with an audience-pleasing third arm bar of the nighr. At this point, there's nothing left for King to try except a choreographed dance number, which both men deliver to perfection. As the crowd hangs from the rafters, the Big Show Ms. Biggie mocks the Rock with a samoan drop and the People's Elbow! Just to show what kind of shape he's in, Biggie jumps from the ring and completes two full laps around the apron before climbing back in and punching the King. Picking him up for another penal-twister, King surprises our Godsend and throws him into the corner. Once there, the Pizza King tries his best to destroy Biggie's fancy facial work and has seemingly taken the advantage and momentum for himself!

..But Biggie was only playing opossum. As Lawler attempts to whip him back into the corner, Biggie pulls out the loafer and takes the King down hard. The match's last few moments are documented here, in Quicktime format. You can actually see Lawler cry in pain as he says "i quit". Post-match, Biggie stands and looks down with disgust at his fallen opponent. All his efforts are rewarded with this sad little congratulatory screen, and a playing of his music. Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with the Big wonder, and he delivers the ugliest X-Chop you'll ever see as he heads to the back.

Boy, that was ugly.. there isn't really much I can say to follow that up... sooo...
until then, i remain

Ringside Shadows #82: The World's First WCW Halloween Havok 1999 Preview

It looks to be that time again.. and it appears the more things change, the more they stay the same. One year ago this month, WCW made what would come to be known as probably the worst decision in a long line of decisions. Halloween Havok '98 ran beyond the 3 hour mark for the first time in recent memory, which upon first glance appears to be a blessing. WCW, however, managed to screw it up as only they can. The move was both unprecedented and unmentioned up until the weekend of the event, both to fans and distributors. On a card that featured the Warrior's much-heralded rematch with Hogan (a match that would become the long-winded one's last in WCW), and a Goldberg title defense against DDP which remains the big man's best match to date, the powers that be decided not to announce the extra time extension. As should be expected, the distributors filled the slots immediately following the PPV and all hell broke loose as the 3 hour mark passed before either of the main events had seen conclusion. Some providers stayed with the feed, some cut off. A few offered a refund, a few a free replay of the event. Any way you slice it, WCW screwed up... bad. How do they answer this mistake? By playing the DDP/Goldberg match the next night on Nitro (during the head to head period, of course) and further alienating their dwindling PPV-purchasing audience.

This year, we're treated to another double-main event, again including Hogan and Goldberg, and only time will tell if WCW officials decide to attempt another blunder the size of last year's.

With that said, a glance at the card revels a quite unbalanced lineup. With one, maybe two exceptions (the cruiserweight championship match and Fair/DDP), each clash features a good-to-superb worker meeting a sub-par athlete. Take a look yourself: Bret Hart meets Luger, Benoit takes on Rick Steiner, Sting meets Hogan..

The PPV could be outstanding.. or, if the decent workers discover a collective off-night, it could be a nightmare.

Disco Inferno v. Lash Leroux

Could be one to keep your eye on.. Leroux seems to have potential in the ring, as well as on the mic. Though a bit annoying, the cajun accent gives the young cruiserweight identity, which is incredibly important in this world of cookie-cutter workers all vying for the viewers' time. I've been keeping an eye on Lash since his premiere on Nitro several months ago, and he continues to steadily improve. Meanwhile, Disco seems to be breaking out of a major slump. Both men are good workers, neither anything to write home about right now, but both carrying definate potential.

When push comes to shove, I'll be rooting for Lash.. but my brain tells me it's too soon for Disco to drop his current strap.
Winner: Disco Inferno

Brad Armstrong (BA) v. Berlyn

Honestly, I don't have any interest in this feud. Berlyn could've been huge if his premiere hadn't been screwed so, and now he's feuding with another also-ran in the form of "BA". I'm struggling for anything worth mentioning here... never a good sign. So I figure I'll spare the agony and just move on. Berlyn begins a new push in the Russo / Ferrera Era, and it begins here.
Winner: Berlyn

Chris Benoit v. Rick Steiner

If Chris Benoit returns from a Japanese stint that sees him going over Jushin Liger, only to job to Rick Steiner.. I can't really put to words what I might do, for fear of their inclusion as evidence in the resulting trial. It says something if the best brawler in the world can't carry you to a great match, and the previous Steiner/Benoit encounter on Nitro wasn't very good. Steiner's sad new style (some deviation of pseudo shoot-brawling that makes Ernest Miller look like a technical genius) borders on disgrace, and destroys any match in which he's involved before the bell sounds. If I were to choose between watching one of Steiner's recent matches and a rough enema performed by rabid, gay dingos... I'd have to choose the latter. However, if the said match were with Benoit I may reconsider, just to see if the "Pegasus Kid" were up to the inhuman effort it requires to carry this hunk of fat to a watchable match. Benoit takes it home within the first 5 minutes.
Winner: Chris Benoit

Ric Flair v. DDP

Actually, this could turn out to be pretty nice. If the finger of god touches this match, and delivers a no run-in, well-planned, nearly retro Flair match that sees about 15 minutes of old school technical holds.. it would surely steal the show. Flair still has a couple outstanding matches left in him, and if he works his freckled ass off, DDP can still put forward a nice encounter from time to time. I wonder what a match this could've been if Page had discovered his current drive about 15 years ago. Shudder to think.

As is, this is a meeting of the question marks. Both men have no readily set future in the Russo and Ferrera scheme of things just yet. Flair seems to have a bit of direction, heading into a feud with the Filthy Animals... but that doesn't seem like a long-term plan. Those facts lead me to believe this won't be the end of it all. Between the two men, Flair would benefit the most from a victory.. all I ask is to see selling like he showcased on Nitro, where he took the diamond cutter like a true champ.
Winner: Ric Flair

The Filthy Animals v. the First Family

In most instances, a heel v. heel feud results in little to no fan interest. However, the recently turned Animals were still receiving a pop when mugging the Flairs, so that won't be the case here. I guarantee this one won't end cleanly, and the action will probably blow for the majority of the match. The only worker worth mentioning in this one is Rey, and I fear falling back into association with Konnan will have another adverse effect on his workrate. As is, the formula calls for the little man selling most of the match, until he makes the hot tag to the big(ger) man, who cleans house. Look for Rey to become very familiar with the mat this Sunday Night, and maybe a Harlem Heat intervention.
Winners: The Filthy Animals

Bret Hart v. The Total Package

If I didn't pick Hart, who appears on the verge of finally recieving his WCW World title, it would definately be taken as a request to be committed. Luger's coming off a big revamp (which consisted of... new tights, and the return of Elizabeth (oh, new music too..), but Hart's coming off an even bigger return to the ring. In his current incarnation, I'm not sure Luger's up to being carried by anybody.. but Hart may just give it a go. Watch for an early Hitman domination, followed by a Luger comeback with forearms and clotheslines, concluding with a Bret victory. That's the formula Lex has used every match for the past 15 years... why change now?
Winner: Bret Hart

Hulk Hogan v. Sting

The rematch to a rematch that followed a rematch made necessary by a rematch. Doesn't seem as revolutionary and earth-shattering a meeting now as it did at Starrcade '97, does it? As for my prediction: see last month's PPV preview. Things haven't changed much since then. Hogan still thinks he's a face, and Sting's still a fading star. Much as I'd like to see Hogan/Hart next month, Sting/Hart would be a better match all-around, and would add a touch of credibility to the bruised title.
Winner: Sting

Goldberg v. Sid

At the very least, they dropped that moronic 'win streak' of Sid's. This one goes in the same no-brainer book as Hart/Luger. The new 'creative team' (I love that blatantly PC term. If you're gonna mention them at all, just call them writers.. or bookers..) is said to be building Goldberg as the man to carry the company, and his path begins anew here. Sid may walk out with the belt through a DQ or countout, but Goldberg takes the win.
Winner: Goldberg

Ms. Biggie!!
What's this beast??

Well, that's the WWF Attitude wrestler I mentioned in yesterday's post. That's me, "Ms. Biggy". If you're looking to waste time.. I can't think of a better way to do it than my next post. Be warned however, the load time may be large.. but I assure you it will be worth your time. I went a bit tech-happy when capturing the stills for this one and hit about every highlight from my match against Jerry Lawler earlier today. It's a stupid little thing I feel like doing, and you won't be missing out on anything if you skip it.

One more note before I run. Congrats to Dale Blasingame on recently passing the 100 mark with his 'Warmin Up the Band' column. You can check out his landmark column by clicking here. Inside is a simply hilarious drunken conversation between Dale and Matt Spence, which is particularly funny to me, as I've been lucky enough to catch both in such a mentality. Nothing brightens my day quite like a drunken banter from one of these two. Nice banner, Dale...

Speaking of Matt Spence.. he's closing in on his 200th issue, so I figure I might as well throw some congrats his way. It takes a lot of dedication to get this far, and he deserves all the praise he gets. Maybe someday Matt and I will get off our lazy asses and deliver the big project we've been working on all summer before the end of the century.

While we're on the topic, John C. is approaching his milestone 172nd column. Good work, fool.

As for me.. I'm trotting along in a distant 4th. But hey... 3 columns in as many days is a good start.
until then, i remain

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Ringside Shadows #81: News of the Day and Jigglypuff

I had a good idea all ready to trot out tonight in a full-blown column, but it just doesn't seem relevant to me right now. I've been killing some time over at Xavier Doom's Slayground, which is like heaven to fans like myself.. and realized I had a couple things to say that don't really have enough substance to make a full column on their own. Be prepared for full ramble-mode. This could go on for several pages or several paragraphs, and I accept no responsibility for what may follow nor the adverse effects it might have on you and your children.

And for good measure I'll close it all off with my bag o' mail, ever-growing.

Jigglypuff vs. X-Pac

Why's that here? You'll just have to wait for the letters, now won't you? Let's go..

Jeff Jarrett

I don't really want to go too in-depth with this one yet, as I have a letter that touches on it. However, the sudden jump between the big 2 has finally given us something new and noteworthy to chat about... and I can't help but feel this means something.

Remember when Syxx/1-2-3-Kid/X-Pac started the exodus from WCW back to New York 1 1/2 years ago? The Raw following Wrestlemania that saw his return will go down in history as the night that saw the momentum head back in the WWF's favor. I, along with most everybody else, couldn't believe Bischoff would let this one slip through his fingers.. and in the end it cost him his job. Somehow, seeing Jarrett on Nitro and hearing about his reasons for leaving remind me of that night in 1998. Don't misread this: the only thing the two jumps had in common was the fact the men involved left one promotion for another.. X-Pac was fired while injured and had nothing nice to say about WCW and those on top, while Jarrett left the WWF on the best terms possible and even did an unnecessary job to leave the promotion as strong as possible. Still, I can't shake this intuition that there's more than meets the eye in this situation, and I wonder if the momentum might be up for another shift?

While we're on topic, I'd like to praise both parties involved with this split for their professional attitude and mutual respect. With one exception, the WWF avoided mentioning Jarrett in a bad light (and the mentioned instance was just good heeling), even wishing him luck on their web site. Jarrett avoided mentioning the WWF by name, and held back what could've been an explosive shoot. For that, both parties have my respect. There should be more of this in the news.

The WCW / NJPW relationship sours

In what's probably one of the last things I'd wanted to hear, it looks like the talent exchange between WCW and New Japan is coming to a close after several years' worth of excellent matches and saved cards. For those who don't follow Puroresu closely (myself included, so I'm opening myself up to severe ridicule here), NJPW is responsible for shipping over Jushin "Thunder" Liger, and the Great Muta, as well as WCW's eventual reception of Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit. This deal is to thank for what has been dubbed the greatest match ever seen on Nitro (a matchup between Jushin Liger and Brian Pillman), and several remarkable PPV and TV meetings, as well as providing a venue for Scott Norton, Malenko, Benoit and the nWo Sting to enjoy Eastern tours.

Simply put, this was a big deal.. and I was in hopes that the recent return of Benoit and Malenko to the land of the rising sun was a sign of things to come. I'll be sorry to see it go, but who knows.. it could be for the best. Sometimes blessings are well hidden.

Paul Wight's Current Angle

In the past two weeks, the WWF has proved something that hasn't been this obvious since WCW's "smoking Giant" angle.. they have no idea what to do with Paul Wight. I've learned through the past years that when the WWF tries something this pathetic, it's a last-ditch effort to form some controversy and eventually some interest around a worker that's otherwise losing heat quickly. Sometimes the controversy sticks, and it ends up catapulting the man to newfound stardom (Jarrett's beleaguered woman-beating angle generated some intense heat near the end of his WWF run).. but more often than not it only serves to further bury and lose the worker (Chaz, with the Beaver Cleavage gimmick).

A gimmick like this cancer angle is not only disgusting, but degrading and almost insulting to those who suffer every day with the virus. Beloved referee Mark Curtis, of whom the WWF made nearly no mention after his passing, died of the big "C". Maybe I'm taking this whole thing too seriously.. but even I realize that some things shouldn't be touched, and this is one of them.

Terry Taylor

There have been some small rumblings saying Terry Taylor is WCW-bound once more, and I think they're horsehit. What you're hearing is a classic example of jumping the gun and maybe a bit of wishful thinking. It's no secret that Taylor was one of the most respected bookers backstage at Nitro, and was single-handedly responsible for the cruiserweight division's success (the division his floundered since his departure, seeking direction). Were he to return to Nitro, doubtless the entire show would become much more enjoyable. I don't think that's bloody likely..

Taylor just felt a giant weight lifted from his shoulders... Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera, two men who owned the WWF book, have just left their guard with little to no warning. Things must be chaos in Titan right now, and if Taylor has anything upstairs he'll seize the day and grab what's his... a good chunk of the booking responsibility. Why would he head for WCW, where he'd doubtless pick up where he just left off as the guy with good ideas that nobody listens to? Russo and Ferrera will no doubt seek at least as much power as they were enjoying in the WWF, if not more, and there just isn't room for him in Atlanta anymore.

The main reason for the confusion and speculation about Taylor's departure is his contract's status. He's probably the last of the holdouts since the big shake-up, and for good reason. Vince wants everybody to sign a no-compete clause. Everybody. Taylor has no problem with that, but Vince is looking for a bit much... he wants that clause, without guaranteeing a job for Taylor along the way. Let's take a step back and look at the situation... In a town with two restraunts..BK and McDonalds, your boss at McDonald's offers you a slim raise, in exchange for signing a contract stating you won't work for Burger King for 1 year following the end of your job at the golden arches. But he won't promise you'll keep your job beyond the weekend.. Now you've got a family to feed, a mortgage to pay off, and you need a steady income to assure you aren't late on any of your bills. Vince wants Taylor to commit, but won't make a commitment himself. He wants to have his cake and eat it too..

Taylor has a damned good point, and I'm behind him 100%. And some McDonald's fries would sure hit the spot right about now, too..

Shirley Manson

Ain't she fine???

WWF Attitude

Finally, I picked up WWF Attitude from a friend over the weekend.. and I can safely say that Warzone has some competition for the enviable title of "worst wrestling game ever created". Sure, the create-a-wrestler functions are unbelievably detailed (The process takes about an hour, if you're nit-picky like me.), and just an all-out riot to behold. Hey, all the wrestlers have their original themes.. neat. Once your grappler climbs into the ring, you may as well take Matt's route and find a donkey, fit it with iron shoes, and wait for it to deliver a swift kick to your groin. The intros are ugly and delayed, the load time is atrocious, the moves are more difficult to execute than last time around, and it's just an nasty looking game. Honestly, I've never seen a game that showed the programmers' rush more so than this one. Not only that, but until you've been playing for a solid week the opponents are next to impossible. I can't tell you how frustrating it is being powerbombed multiple times by Sgt. Slaughter, while he mentions how he does it "all for his country".

Aside from the terrible graphics and gameplay, the game's a blast. I've programmed a wrestler that looks incredibly like myself, and given him moves that there's no way I'd be able to perform... let's just say it's a riot seeing a 6'2", 160 lb. guy deliver a running ligerbomb to a 7', 400 lb... followed right up with a wicked hurricanrana. I'll try to capture a couple screens sometime, so I can share the monster that is 'Ms. Biggie' with everybody in the weeks to come.

Finally, the reason everybody's here...


As always, the readers' comments appear in italics while my response makes itself known in the world-renowned plain font.

Ryan (rcdr@pacific.net.ph) proves he's among the Parka Patrol in his response to my plea for a La Parka win:

"actually, la parka did win a match... his debut had him going over juvi with his twisting plancha off the top rope thing. he also won two tag matches. the first one was a six-man tag when he was wearing that ricky ricardo (as heenan said) outfit, the one with the tasselled vest and big hat...he hit a flatliner on one of the smaller cw's and got the pin. he was on fire that night, as you might observe the second one was the luchalibre rules-falls count anywhere-hardcore match when he delivered a powerbomb on either damian or ciclope, whatever, on the table for the pin... i hope he lasts longer...his nutty dancing is enough to put him over, just like norman 'the man' smiley...just have him utter some rude spanish phrase and he'll be alright... VIVA LA PARKA!!! and norman too"

It's great to see the big man's got more than one fan out there.. I don't think humor wrestling is performed anywhere as well as La Parka is known to deliver. And who knows.. maybe all the bitching and moaning mounted to something.. Parka took home a singles 'v' this past week on Nitro. I just hope that wasn't a last hurrah for the Skeletor-maniac.

Anyway, thanks for dropping me the mail and the clarification on La Parka's record. I got a good laugh out of the whole deal.

Chris (eolivas@earthlink.net) gives me the reason to post a picture of a Pokemon in a column:

"You get me all excited and mention Jigglypuff but oh nooooooooooo not 1 mention of this great talent! Who is rounder than Viscera and Can sing better than Road Dogg? Who has the ability to put someone to sleep better than Hogen? There is only 1 and that is Jigglypuff! From now on you mention this wonder of the world you put it in your article's! A Crazed Jigglypuff Fan, Chris"

Today gives us proof that even X-Pac can't resist the urge to "catch em all". To everybody out there who insists that Pokemon is a girlish fad for little kids... well, you've never seen my Pikachu keychain. It lights up when you twist it's ass!! How f'n cool is that!!

Hilgemann (djh@tznet.com) lends a comment about Russo, Ferrera, and Jarrett:

"Of all the angle's? If Vince Russo was the WWF's head writer which he was, then he probably is the man responsible for the JJ women beating angle, right? So, why does that not make sense to you? Just wondering. Secondly, I think it's pretty obvious in the my opinion, or at least I'm hoping that Steve Richards or Dude Love threw the book away. You could see the Rock reaching for the book and trying to talk. Stevie wants to be Mick's best friend and what better way then to eliminate the Rock from the picture, and set up a nice Mankind/Dude Love Stevie Richards feud? I've read that the WWF likes Stevie and this would get him over pretty damn well as a heel I'd think. Damn, is it me or is the WWF's Tag Team division as strong as it's ever been, not to mention the World Title picture. Now if only they would drop that idiotic Woman's Title, have Jericho beat Chyna's ass up for the IC Title, drop this horrible Bossman/Show feud, and finally no more Mideon/Viscera, or Godfather. Just bring out ho's, no one cares about the Godfather wrestling anyways. Just some random views, and it really was great to see the Hardy's, and Edge/Christian get the pops they did last night. Now for WCW, I don't think it's right for anyone to draw an opinion on the NEW WCW yet because it's only been one show."

Starting with the easy answer, I agree completely that it's too early to comment on the 'new' WCW. I was merely offering my first impression, and thought I made it apparant that I hadn't given up hope yet.

I think the best way to go about the Godfather/Mideon and Viscera feud is to have a 'loser retires' matchup.. that way everyone wins.

Your comments about the belt holders in today's WWF are well-founded. Things are really looking good if a couple feuds turn out correctly in the near future, and the WWF will finally have all their belts on the right people.. with Austin regaining the world title, Jericho carrying the IC gold, D'Lo grabbing the Euro title, and the Hollys holding the tag titles. Now for the rebirth of the Light Heavyweight belt..

Moving on to the first of your major points, I wasn't questioning the logic behind Jarrett's angle extension of sorts, but rather the choice in general. JJ's been through so many terrible gimmicks in the past, and I thought he'd found something worthwhile with his 'Don't piss me off' persona. After the great public outcry over this woman abuse gimmick, why would Russo and Ferrera choose this creation over any of their other characters to bring blatantly to their WCW regime? Personally, I was breathing a great sigh of relief when I heard JJ was WCW bound, as that would mean the end of this disgusting angle. Then again, it may be too early to say if that's what's going on again, so I'm safer to just say I hope it isn't what it appears to be.

As for the Stevie/Mankind/Rock situation, I hadn't really thought about it before I got your e-mail (which, incidentally, was delivered before Sister Midnight posted her theory on the Big3 main board.. just to avoid any issues that may arise there. she beat me to it), but now that you mention it.. that looks to be the logical way things will be playing out. I think it's great to see Richards elevated this quickly, as he's a great worker and quite charismatic. I worry about his neck's injury, but if he feels confident enough back in the ring, I'm all for it. I've been very impressed with the WWF in the past month, and it's ascension of younger talent.

Anyway, a well-thought e-mail, and thanks for writing.

UDMatt99@aol.com sent along a comment that was delivered to me a couple weeks late.. guess technology ain't all that great, eh?

"Maybe The Rock was making fun of Juvi Juice because Juvi stole the goddamn People's Elbow and then yelled one of The Rock's catchphrases into the camera?"

The sarcasm of my initial statement must've been overlooked... Either way, I think it's funny to imagine anybody 'stealing' a move that the Rock never really created in the first place. That's like saying "I'm mad as hell! Chris Benoit stole his belly-to-belly suplex from Scott Steiner!"

Bryan (Jones820@aol.com) had a couple questions:

"hi...im a long time reader of your and I wanted your opinion on two things...

First how good do you think a Booker T -Goldberg match would be? Personally I think Booker has the ability to carry Goldberg to his best match ever... assuming the booking committe lets them wrestle...

And which Tag team do you think is more over The NAO..or the outsiders? A match between them would surely suck...with the aging Scott Hall being the best worker and Billy Gunn's horrible rocker dropper...but the heat would be unmistakeable..the mark in me would enjoy it... what do you think?"

A Booker T / Goldberg feud would be something to get excited about for a couple reasons. First, I think Goldberg could actually teach Booker a thing or two about intensity. The former TV champ has all the tools with that exception. He always looks like a deer loking into headlights in the ring, and if Goldberg has one thing down, it's that monster look.

I'd agree that Booker could easily carry Goldberg to his best match ever, which isn't really saying much. Currently, "the man"'s best match was in his first meeting with DDP.. and I think Booker's twice the worker Page is. Watching Goldberg sell the Harlem Hangover or seeing Booker T breakdance up from a spear would be memorable material, to say the least. Finally, the most important thing that would come from a feud of this magnitude is Booker's advancement to main event level. Even a job would result in an elevation for Booker, provided he gave the former World Champ a good run for his money.

The NAO/Outsiders is a difficult question to answer. At one point, both teams have been monster over. In the end, I think I'd give the nod to the Outlaws, by a hair. Longevity means something, and Gunn and Road Dogg have stayed together as a team much longer than Hall and Nash. It would certainly be an ugly match if those 4 ever met, too.. I can see the ending now. Gunn screws up his Rocker Dropper on Hall, while Nash lightly drops James on his back in a powerbomb attempt.

Thanks for writing, both are interesting concepts..

Hilgemann (djh@tznet.com) is back for more, proving I don't do the mail thing often enough:

"I just keep reading... and I guess I don't understand why this hasn't been mentioned. WCW a while back. David Flair US Champ. Rey Jr. not defending the cruiserweight title. Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash. Just really poor feuds, and match ups. The only good thing ever included the Tag Team Title matches. It really can't get much worse, and it didn't. It can only get better, and it did and has. Filthy Animals vs. Revolution. What more can you ask for?

On the flip side, the WWF sucks right now, but wrestling goes through cycle's and there are several reasons why WCW is better then WWF right now, including the fact that the WWF just sucks right now. But, it can only get better, and no one seems to be looking at the prospects on what might be on the horizon."

I think your statements have definate value, as things certainly work in cycles.. but I'm betting you're cutting this cycle short way too soon. It's taken WCW nearly 2 years to recover and deliver a strong product following their slump. Just when I'd thought things couldn't get any worse, they found a way to do it. I'm afraid that's what we'll be seeing in the WWF before long, if they don't get their act together really fast..

"1. Kane and X-Pac. X-Pac is obviously going heel. Change is good. Wrestling is built on change. Even Hollywood to Hulk was good change.... for a while.

I wish I could share your optimism about the X-Pac / Kane feud, but I think after teasing it before us twice without any further build... it'll probably be quite a while before these two finally meet head-on. I'll be waiting with baited breath, as I'm sure you will be too.

"2. Test, Gangrel, D'lo Brown, Stevie Richards, and Chris Jericho. Five of the more talented mid-carders that are virtually without angle's right now. Test has Stephanie, but no wrestling angle, and one can only imagine that a Bulldog vs. Test feud is on it's way. Only my insight, but I'd love to see Richard's be Jericho's lacky. Gangrel has been mentioned a few times and what he thinks about the TIT invitational. And D'lo is holding the Euro title, but we all know what happened to Droz."

It looks like nearly everyone you've mentioned has since moved on to a feud, or seems to be on the verge of one. Test found his way to the Bulldog feud we all knew was coming, Gangrel now seems to be in a big feud with both his past Broods, Jericho's set his sites on Chyna and Intercontinental glory, and Richards has a program with Foley apparantly on the horizon. As for D'Lo, I'd say give him a couple more weeks before he's back in a feud with meaning.

"3. Women. From the looks of it, Chyna is going to win the title. That sucks, but it'll still be fresh and new. Interesting stuff comes from this. Where does JJ go from this? Who is Chyna's next feud with, and so on. Other shit includes Women's Title, and old ladies. And Bossman vs. Snow."

In my opinion, the women's division is dead. Moolah is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.. when she holds the title, kiss it goodbye. Where does JJ go? WCW, apparantly. :)

"4. Other good stuff includes the world title picture which is pretty strong. Triple H, The Rock, Austin, and the elevation of Venis who is a pretty decent worker."

The world title picture is looking healthier than ever, with the Rock and Austin reigniting that old fire this past Monday and HHH acting as the sleazy champion that will probably screw them both out of the belt at Survivor Series. Things are fresh up top, and it's a welcome change.

"Anyways, I guess the point being is that the WWF at some point if it hasn't already will hit rock bottom like WCW a while back, and can conceivably only get better. And while I think Nitro will always be more keen on wrestling and the time it's given, the WWF usually gives the Main Event a pretty good amount of time, and at least the way things are looking some new fresh feuds are on the horizon. And the WWF usually does a pretty good job with their PPV's. Which is the way it's supposed to be at least if you ask me. That's speaking from a business stand point, but obviously the average fan wants everything on free tv, and who wouldn't. "

I don't really think there's much I can say that you haven't already touched upon, or I haven't already stated further up. I'll agree that the WWF does look to be turning things around, but I'm not ready to say the spiral has quit just yet. This past PPV was quite good, and the next one looks to be even better... so all signs are pointing to the end of this quiet dip in the WWF's performance.

Finally (whew!), Kelly McCrae (jerichoholic83@wrestlingfanz.com) had a quick note to share about the Rok's lines:

"You had an email on your story thing about how the rock's lines will be after Russo has been gone and on Raw he did the same thing he did a while back with saying the other wrestlers catchphrases so maybe he's starting to dig up old material."

At this point, I haven't seen anything from the Rock suggesting otherwise. He hasn't created anything brand spankin' new, but he was never really that quick to phase out his tried-and-true phrases, so it's still too early to say whether this is conclusive evidence or not as to his originality. It's gonna be an interesting little side to keep your eye on.. Thanks for the mail and for keeping the watch alive.

Well, that should pretty much do it for me. I'll be back tomorrow with the "World's First Havok Preview", so keep your eyes peeled for that.
until then, i remain

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Ringside Shadows #80: The Beginning of the Russo / Ferrara Era

To be honest, I didn't notice too much difference...

...aside from the 35 backstage shots, the gratuitous T&A that's been Raw's fortay in the past months, an interrupted cruiserweight match, Goldberg's breakneck re-ascention to the top, an evening gown match, and a blatant direct approach to the "smarts" on the net, things were the same.

These two are trying to create "Nitro is War", and that isn't supposed to be happening. Meanwhile, Raw is struggling to regain itself in the wake of this move, and things aren't getting done by themselves. In Vince's flailings, he's actually created a pretty decent drama series, but his path still leads somewhere away from pro wrestling. It's like a bad joke.. "How many columnists does it take for Vince McMahon to discover the err of his ways?"

But I'm getting ahead of myself.


-No time was wasted before we were shown the cruisers have no place in the new regime of WCW. I was actually hoping for a good display of Evan Karagious' skills here, so I could form an overall opinion on him. Then again, I'm among the masses that have been asking for a Bret Hart title shot in the past year, so I guess everything comes with a price.

-Sting's new haircut makes him look like a girl. Not to say that's a completely bad thing, but I'd figure the workers would want to distance themselves from that image as much as possible, especially in this industry.

-Everybody that knew who Ferrera and Russo were knew they'd be debuting on this evening.. why confuse the average fans by even mentioning their names? Catering to the internet won't help WCW much any more, especially after trying to get over this 'Hogan quits' deal by using the same means.

-I think I blinked and missed the Vampiro/Disco Inferno match. What the hell did they decide to do with the tattooed wonder?! I could see it would be a sick outcome when I caught the look on his face while entering the arena, but god.. is he supposed to be credible now? I've heard the rumors about the infamous '90 day notice' and Vamp's supposed firing,
but I didn't really think he'd jump ship. Now I'm seeing posts regarding a backstage discussion and a 'big role' in the future of the company. I think that's great and all, but doing the job in less than a minute is no way to treat anybody, especially somebody with talent... and it's certainly not WCW. On the other hand, PPV matches are finally starting to have some meaning. Lash LeRoux's commentary during the said match was a welcome and necessary addition to hype his title shot at Halloween Havok, though he doesn't seem ready to be anywhere near a mic just yet.

-Madusa pretty much said it all backstage, which makes me sad to see her comments were scripted. If you're planning on having a women's division, make it a women's WRESTLING division.

-I hadn't watched for it before, but yes.. the rumors are true. Mean Gene is a mic hog. Meanwhile, Bagwell confirmed all of our fears... his push is imminent, his ringwork is sad, and he does know more than 5 words.

-Looking for a good example of overbooking? You needn't go farther than last night's Harlem Heat v. Rey / Konnan match. There was so much unecessary shit going down inside the ring, outside the ring, on the headsets, and backstage that nobody human could correctly follow things. Whatever happened to "Rey pins Booker to win the gold"? Last night, that simple sentence was elongated to "Rey pins Booker with the help of Konnan to win the gold while Eddy chats on the mic and the First Family looks on, only to run into the new champs later". So much for the product I was enjoying over the last couple weeks..

-I'm wondering. Why did the ref even count the Filthy Animals pinfall? Last I checked, double-teaming like that was illegal, even in a tag match. If Konnan had stood in the ring looking on, rather than holding down Booker, I wouldn't have had any problem with it. At the very least, it marks a definate heel stable for WCW (Though they have Torrie, so they'll still get face pops..) and a jump in credibility for Booker T.

-I don't think David Flair looked at Kimberly's face the entire time she was talking to him.. hey kid, experience tells me it doesn't pay to be that blatant..

-Last I checked, Meng was still a part of the First Family. But I don't care..

-Clutching his "contract" (read: notes for his promo), Sid reminded me of a scene from Wayne's World. Remember the part where Wayne reads from his notecards, on the backs of which he'd written clever phrases like "Sphincter Boy" and "He blows goats... I have proof"? Here's a real-life reinactment.

This man has no penis

-It was a good move, introducing a future Outsiders / Goldberg collision down the line.. however, I think we saw way too much backstage footage of Hall and Nash being escorted away from the building. A couple seconds would have done well enough.. instead, we're treated to 3 or 4 minutes' worth of the Outsiders' idea of drunken humor.

-An example of one backstage segment that served a good purpose: Bret Hart telling everybody he'd give Hogan first dibs on the title if he won it. It kept you guessing, and for once I was surprised when the run-in did occur.

-Flair played his role to a "t" all night long, both in the hotel scene, as the father motivating his son to fight back, and as the enraged guardian in the ring taking on all of the Filthy Animals. It really is a shame his time is coming to a close, as he remains the best there is in the entertainment aspect of this business.

-Hell, I was even rooting for David Flair for a moment, before I remembered how terrible he was in the ring. If this angle involved anybody else, it would be unbelievable. Just another reason why they shouldn't have rushed the great son into the ring, as his inclusion into this angle not only screwed a more deserving athlete out of a chance to raise their status (Rey, Juvi, Psychosis.. anybody with less than 10 years beneath their belt could've filled Flair's role), but may have injured Kidman's rise as well. Lil' Naitch did take that shooting star press like a trooper though, after Kidman botched it and kneed him directly in the face.

-Bret and Sting put forward a nice little match, though it was again a bit below my expectations. Maybe I've been watching too many of Hart's great matches recently to remember any of his not-so-great ones. Both these men let us know they can still work the style last night though, and left me anticipating a rematch with more buildup behind it. The excellence of execution has finally paid his dues.. welcome home, Bret.

-WOOOOOOO! As the llamas prance in joy, the world gasps.. La Parka took home a rare Nitro victory! Who cares if Bagwell 'let' him take it, or that this will probably be the last we'll see of him in a long while. It's worth it. As for Jarrett's arrival; I don't pretend to know what he was talking about, but he looks to have been immediately thrust to high-midcard rank. If the storyline goes that he's taking Buff's slot as the man to go to in the new regime, it's all cool by me.

-At this point, the WCW spot of the year is that ugly triple-superplex that Saturn, Chavo and Eddy pulled out. Just nasty, nasty stuff that I can't believe the younger Guerrero walked away from. If the crowd were into this one, it would've breezed right through to grab the match of the week award. As is, it still managed to grab it.. though the absense of noise was distracting, the bumps and work in the ring more than made up for it. Not only that, but the right man won! Now to include Chavo and his stable in this Revolution / Filthy Animals feud, so the win wasn't useless..

-Whoever decided to include a technical worker like Norman Smiley in a hardcore match needs to have their head examined. Horace has a decent resume extending back to Japan and the indy circuit dealing with hardwore working, but Smiley was completely out of his element and the style clash wasn't a nice sight to behold. I didn't have much room to notice however, as Smiley's woman-like screaming had me on the floor. I really like this guy, his big wiggle's hilarious and now this screaming!

-Anybody (myself included) hoping Jarrett had left the woman-beater angle behind in the WWF was rudely awakened last night. Of all the angles to keep alive, why this one?

-A nice spot to end the night on, as Goldberg spears Luger (I won't call him the 'TP'), who was racking Hart. The fans went home happy, and that's something WCW's been missing for quite some time. A final note: As I watched this match finish up, I saw a couple full cups of drink hit the ring and was reminded of the D'Lo/Droz accident. I can understand tossing some debris into the ring on a night that sees an indecisive finish, but what the hell. Some people shouldn't even breathe, and that encompasses everybody who would toss anything at the workers at a live show.
Overall Grade: C

Quite simply, an average show. A couple spectacular advancements went down, but they were cancelled down by the collection of suck and overall Titan-esque feel of the night. Nothing stands out in my mind as being unbelievable, nor 'shocking' as the headers promised. But then again, it's still too early to offer an accurate depiction of what the future holds for WCW.


-Monday's Raw was missing something. The spontenaity that usually fits in with Pro Wrestling was gone, traded for an almost cinematic sense of scripting. The workers seemed to be just going through the motions on this night, rather than really becoming the roles they occupy while in the arenas. For that reason, the Raw section of this review will be treated not as a wrestling program's review, but rather more as a theatrical review...

-The opening segment was a good preview of things to come, focusing on feigned collisions, dramatic interludes and a tense, more theatrical feel in the air. You could feel the electricity as the Rock and Austin eyed each other down and prepared to go at it.. I think I wouldn't be totally against another feud between these two somewhere down the line. Vince should've stayed retired.. his presense wasn't necessary here.

-The scripted atmosphere was best noted in the Dudleys v X-Pac / Kane beginning. Kane cut off BuhBuh at a moment in his speech that seemed almost too perfect. Meanwhile, the Kane/X-Pac split and feud that was teased Sunday night has apparantly been completely erased again. I wonder.. when will they get on with this? We've been through the same situations twice before, perhaps the third time's the charm?

-Hughes blew his line by delivering it too early.. Or maybe that was his problem all along? He acted as though he had lost before seeing Faarooq's hand. Hughes had a full house, and he offered the pot to the Acolyte when he announced he had 2 pair. 2 pair doesn't beat a full house... 4 of a kind does.

-Poor Mae Young showed her age by completely forgetting her lines, and then covering that even worse by reading them as though she were reading a book. Moolah tried to save the segment, but it was doomed before either spoke.

-I saw the happenings following Mark Henry's sex therapy session coming 12 miles away. And yet, I still watched. Much like Rosemary's baby, you couldn't take your eyes off of it. Sick.

-Bradshaw's got the 'clothesline from hell'... I nominate the Godfather / Mideon & Viscera fued for 'feud from hell', as the only one who could possibly enjoy a feud of such pure and utter dumplings would be the dark lord himself. Do they think we're gonna watch this? I'd rather ritualistically pluck my pubic hairs, one at a time with a pair of rusty tweezers.

-Jericho's honesty is one of the greatest things the WWF has going for it right now.. and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited at the prospect of seeing Chyna suffering in the LionTamer.

-They really did a good job in making it seem as though that trashcan could hurt, during the Bulldog attack on Test. If only it hadn't gave when it hit the mat, and bounced merrily on it's way. I guess the Posse needed to be somewhere, and the Bulldog seemed to need a little help... right? If not for their inclusion, this could be a breakout feud for both men, re-establishing Davey Boy as a viable contender, or building Test as a high midcard, occasional main event athlete.

-Nobody can make you feel sorry more than Mick Foley, and his work during the Rock encounter was outstanding. It's something I'd been waiting a long time to see, as Rocky's self-centered character trait is really annoying most of the time. Of course, they'll probably make it out to be somebody going through the Rock's things and tossing them, or something else completely unbelievable.. giving us the inevitable reunion. But until then, watch Mick. He knows what he's doing.

-I'd like to see the Venis / Snow feud continued in the future.. these two have styles that seem to compliment each other. Why not just give us an old fashioned wrestling feud, without any of these silly stipulations and mic work.. just solid matches? If they can deliver that, I'll never have a bad thing to say about the new direction again.

-The crowd's ovation for the Hardys and Edge/Christian was one of those moments that reminds me why I watch this stuff. It made me feel good to see two teams of the sport's best finally recognized for their talented encounters in the past. And hey.. looks like the Hardys
are on their own again.

-I wonder how the Bossman talked that cop into convincing the Show his father hadn't died 2 years ago of cancer, but instead had actually died last night?

-Another good example of leaving the show with a memorable spot that works. It's strange to see the WWF de-emphasizing their champion in order to push a feud that hasn't even begun to resurface, but that's just what they're doing here. I wonder.. will Austin and Rocky be too obesessed with kicking the hell out of each other to take advantage of
the title shot(s) at Survivor Series?
Overall Grade: B

Much better than last week, though still suffering through many of the same problems that has plagued the Federation in the past years. The road to recovery has already begun, and from what I can see at this point the next PPV looks more promising than the last.

That should do it for me. I'm sorry I couldn't get the column out yesterday that I'd promised. I didn't get home until much later than I'd expected (I was in South Bend catching the Notre Dame game this weekend), and didn't have much time to work on the letters and column itself. I should have it ready either tomorrow or Wednesday, and I'll return again Thursday evening with the "World's First Halloween Havok Preview".
until then, i remain

Friday, October 15, 1999

Ringside Shadows #79: The World's First WWF No Mercy 1999 Preview

You know what I hate? Long-winded columns that take their sweet-ass time in getting to the point. Don't get me wrong, there's definately something to be said for people in the know, and some subjects require a full bakers' dozen of pages to get the idea across. So, before my mailbox fills up with hatemail... I'm not knocking anybody with this comment. I'm knocking myself.

You know what I tend to do more than my share of? Long-winded columns that usually take their time in getting to the point. That's why tonight, I'm taking a break on myself as well as the readers and offering a "bare bones" version of the World's First No Mercy Preview. Screw all that unnecessary lead-in crap, to hell with an in-depth analysis of why the WWF can suck an NFL-approved adult football through a coffee stir. You wanna preview that cuts through the crap, the skinny, the poop? It's right here...

Just as soon as you've finished reading that long-winded intro that's taken it's time in getting to the point.


Y'know what? This isn't a completely wretched card. Sure, there's the obligatory stinkers (Moolah? Chyna? The Acolytes? Billy Gunn?), but the WWF has taken about a 45 degree turn towards goodness with this card. Hey, maybe the departure of Russo and Ferrera was a good thing...?

Val Venis v. Mankind

Hooty-llama-hoo! A keeper! Just when things looked bleak for Venis, a heel turn, a new attitude and an upper-midcard elevation hit us in rapid succession. The bookers behind the 'new' WWF deserve a pat on the back for their work rediscovering and reviving the big Valbolski, and for providing us with this match. A win here could mean serious business for the lovable porn star with the heart of coal, but I'm going with Mankind to reclaim some much-needed credibility with the 'V' in this one.
Winner: Mankind

The Bulldog v. the Rock

It's good to see Davey Boy back, even if he is rolling in dog excrement. Seems as though Vince is holding true to his word, elevating the former European champion straight to the top. Nobody's really mentioned this, but Vince has done more than please the British legend by elevating him this quickly. Anybody remember one of the WWF's major problems a few months back? It dealt with a lack of credible heel contenders to Austin's belt. Nobody would buy HHH (I'm still not sure they are, even now), Rocky was a permanent face, the Big Show wasn't ready, and the Undertaker had pretty much worn out his welcome with 2 feuds over the belt. Suddenly, The Bulldog's gone over a former World Champion strong and is next in line for a world title shot.
Winner: The Bulldog

Bradshaw v. Faarooq v. Kane v. X-Pac

I'm a bit lost as to the origins of this one, but if it means an all-out war that kick starts the Kane/X-Pac feud, I'm all for it. If either of the Acolytes win this one it'll be nonsensical, useless, and will place into question the credibility of both the men involved in the upcoming feud and the importance of the feud itself. With that said, they'll probably put Faarooq over with a lame-ass powerbomb. I still maintain hope, however.. I'm going with Kane, the man who shouldn't be in the tag scene.
Winner: Kane

Chyna v. Jeff Jarrett

Chyna's more than likely being handed the Intercontinental glory here.. and that's a sick, sick thing. Not the fact that a woman's being given a belt... that's actually the only somewhat redeemable part of this storyline. I'll always root for the underdog, be it Rey Mysterio Jr. in his world title shot against Ric Flair all those moons ago or Chris Benoit in his feud with Raven's Flock even longer back. What bothers me is they're giving the belt to a woman who sucks... just to show they can. I wouldn't rule out yet another Debra swerve in this case, but the only thing that will make this result less bitter is if Jarrett moves on to a feud with Austin.
Winner: Chyna

Fabulous Moolah v. Ivory

After this travesty, if I ever hear JR berate WCW for the age of their main eventers on-air again... it won't bt Chyna bitch-slapping him into oblivion on Raw. This..should..not..be. It's a general rule of thumb that your women's division is officially dead when you've gotta hand the belt to Moolah. I never thought that was a possibility this late in the game.
Winner: Moolah, sexy as ever

The Hollys v. the New Age Outlaws

I'm a bit confused over this one, after the proceedings on Smackdown(!) this evening. I'll bet Rocky says something about that being their last match ever, and the PPV match is once again for the tag belts. The Hollys aren't bad, but they're no Funk and Foley, either, and that's what it takes to carry the Outlaws to anything more than a match worth it's weight in llama chips. So this one will fall into monotony. Look at what's next!!
Winners: ehh.. let's give the Outlaws yet ANOTHER (groan) Tag Title

The New Brood v. the Old Brood

During this match, you'll more than likely hear 3 explosions. The first being Matt Spence exploding from the sheer anticipation and pleasure somewhere over in Maryland, the second being my own explosion, due to the same circumstances, and the third being Jeff Hardy hurling his body off the top of the ladder to the floor, or some incredibly insane, lunatic bump. If this match doesn't rule the largest ass ever conceived, I will eat my own butt. Seriously. My own butt. Quote me on that.

The match itself? I'll have exploded, so I won't mind either way. However, the old Brood needs a valet more than the Hardys right now, so I'd give them the nod.
Winners: Edge and Christian

HHH v. Stone Cold Steve Austin

There isn't much I have to say about this. The match will probably be above my expectations (as the Austin/Rocky match from Wrestlemania was), but HHH isn't the worker the Rock is (which means he's... a poor worker.), and Austin's just returning from a legit injury. I'd give this one an indecisive finish, and when the dust clears HHH is still holding onto the belt.
Winner: HHH

And that does it for me. Not as short as I'd hope, but it's no book either. Let me know what you think about the briefer preview.. and I should be back Monday with a good chunk of letters, and another of those 'opinion column' things.
until then, i remain

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

Ringside Shadows #78: The Tuesday Review

(quick note; the links referenced in this old column don't work anymore, as the site's been down for years..)

Before we jump in, I'd like to thank everybody who voted for me in the 'mack daddy of columnists' poll, over at the Steel Cage Asylum. It's been a nice ride, and I'm flattered to have made it this far. I've been told I'd need to shill a hell of a lot in order to take the win in my current round against the Scotsman. However, I think I'm above the ridiculous amount of endorsement that would be necessary to achieve such a feat. So, don't look for any blatant shilling on my part, just thanks and a good chunk of hope.



Coming off something of a somber week (due in large part to the Owen Hart remembrance), I was hoping for a bit of a pick-me-up with this week's shows... and I suppose they delivered. Neither lived up to their potential, though that's not to say either was completely unwatchable. Both programs showed evidence of patient, eventual main event pushes for deserving midcarders (the WWF in Jarrett, WCW with..who else..Benoit), giving a strong sense of hope. Then again, both shows gave us a nice steaming pile of pooh in the ring (literally and figuratively) at several points throughout the night.

But hey.. I'm getting ahead of myself.


-Looked for a moment like they were thinking of resurfacing the Canada gimmick with Hart last night, as Luger threatened to call immigration..

-Some things shouldn't be rushed. Bearing that in mind, "big" Tony Schiavone's attitude during Bobby Heenan's hyped tribute to long-time commentating partner Gorilla Monsoon was atrocious and uncalled for. In a rare moment of weakness on Heenan's part, Schiavone trucks on through and hypes the main event while "the Brain" struggles to maintain his composure. I realize officials may have been on his back to move on and leave the tribute as a short memory, but sometimes emotion needs to come before business. I blinked, and I missed the most difficult words Heenan has ever spoken.

-The night started off not with a bang, but a whimper.. they went to commercial not 2 minutes into the opening match of Saturn / Mysterio. That's like lighting a pack of M80s directly in front of us, only to have them turn out to be those sad little ash 'snakes'.

-That double-leg scissors spot was nasty.. and I'm still confused as to why Kidman had to jump in the ring. Maybe payback for Rey's nonsensical ring entrance into a Kidman match a couple weeks back? Or maybe just so they had a reason for the tag match farther up the card..

-A rare peek at the backstage preparations of NWA legends Ric Flair and Arn Anderson gives us... Arn brushing his teeth, while Ric admires Meng? Bizarre.. Still, the aforementioned Meng promo was pretty funny. I liked the slow-mo voice-overs from different matches, proclaiming how unstoppable this man is. They hold consistant with the speed in which he works.

-Kaz Hayashi worked his ass off last night, going out of his way to put Disco.. er.. excuse me, "D.I." over strong. All Schiavone can do to recognize his efforts is slide away in his little rolling chair and comment on how hard the announcing table is. Sadly, according to Russo and Ferrera, this may be the last we see of Hayashi.. unless he learns to cut a promo in English really quickly.

-Meng/Konnan was our match of the week?? How sick is that? Both men blew up around the 15 second mark, showing that they need another couple months working house shows before they make their returns to Nitro. Am I the only one that found it ridiculously funny, seeing the 3 pre-teen, Tommy Hilfiger-clad fans that cheered Konnan standing just behind him on camera? That's his target audience, to a "t".

-Iiiii'm already sick of the 'Outsiders buying tickets' bit.. I used to like watching Hall in the ring during his prime, but it's just not the same. Two 40-something guys trying to act like they're the rebellious youth doesn't cut it for me anymore.

-Goldberg's regressed back to the jobber-squasher of old, minus about a third of the intensity. I wonder if WCW keeps trotting out these workers that were reportedly released (and for good reason, at that..) just to spite the net?

-As a general rule of thumb, if I see Hogan coming to the ring, I'm looking for the remote in an instant. Last night was no exception, though I sat for a good 10 minutes wondering where the action was. On Raw: Austin meandered along.. on Nitro: Hogan tripped over words. The Hulkster's avoidance of the question heard 'round the net answers more questions than his words could.

-Poor David Flair. I've been in that situation before...

-Wanna know how to make me hate you? Book a Brian Knobbs / Stevie Ray "street fight" ass-lovin' match... and throw it into the head-to-head section. Maybe if the stip was "loser leaves WCW forever, under penalty of death." I'd check out the post-match activities, just to see who won't be gracing us with his suck. This match was shit. This match was regurgitated gruel, lovingly dipped in glucose, regurgitated again, dipped in honey, and then scientifically added to the stankiest of the stankys, bringing to you... well, some really repugnant stuff..

-Follow that up with a kickass Revolution interview and angle development, along with an appearance by the coolest of all Luchadores, La Parka (who, again, thanks to Russo and Ferrera, won't be appearing on WCW tv much longer) and you've got a bit of a recovery. The biggest of the luchas needs to lose that new skull mask, though. Speaking of which, I don't think he's won a match in WCW yet. Which is a joke.

-Not only did we see the La Parka strut, but the Big Wiggle made an appearance, too. Norman Smiley is hilarious, and has been building his charisma for some time now. If he didn't look so damned goofy, he might have a very promising future.. the ring skills are there, the crowd loves him, he's got the body. But he's jobbing to Berlyn in a throwaway match..

-Flair has lost his mind. With that said, he's still a damned good interview, with intensity second to none.

-The match of the evening for both shows was Nitro's Kidman/Rey v. Malenko/Saturn matchup. These 4 dove in, and gave one helluva showing and a candidate for tag match of the year in my book. Kidman took a nasty bump while we were at commercial, when he was german suplexed to the floor, landing flat on his back a'la Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy. This kid's got real potential. Meanwhile, Rey and Saturn picked up where they left off earlier in the night, and helped deliver a classic. The spot with Malenko delivering the cloverleaf in his corner, only to be tagged out stands out as the defining moment of this one, which performed its function and delivered a solid conclusion to the Revolution split angle.

-Let me get this straight.. Van Hammer, jobber extraordinaire, moves from an unsuccessful TV title shot a couple months back on PPV to a US title challenger.. Meanwhile, Benoit.. a former US champ, goes from holding that belt to challenging for the TV belt? Somewhere, something got switched..

-While the majority of the viewers were watching Austin/HHH, WCW gave us a match between two of the top performers of the past decade in Curt "did Flair just call me Mr. Perfect?" Hennig and Ric Flair. 10 years ago, the roof would've blown off the place with this one, but with Flair in a steady decline and Hennig mailing his efforts from a Post Office somewhere in South Africa, it didn't meet the expectations. Still, it was a much better match than anything on that 'Heroes of Wrestling' extravaganza.

-As the majority of the internet hit orgasm (well.. maybe that's taking it a bit far..), Chris Benoit found himself in a main event match. As Steiner refused to sell, I'd have given a good sum of money, and eaten that gruel/stank mixture to see Benoit go over hard on the Dog Faced Gimp. Post match, the bookers showed they do know how to build a PPV matchup, giving Goldberg the edge to close out the program as the fans went nuts. This would've been the perfect lead directly to the PPV, were it this weekend.
Overall Grade: B

Definitely a step down from last week, not to mention the week before that. There was way too much poopy in this card to rank any higher than a B, but the Benoit/Hart, Saturn/Mysterio and Saturn/Malenko v. Kidman/Mysterio matches helped give the show a respectable final product.


-Good lord, there were a lot of people in Atlanta to see this..

-Both in the intro segment, as well as the match itself, I was waiting to see JR deliver a stunner to HHH or Chyna.. alas; it wasn't meant to be, and Austin consistantly forgot his little buddy, leaving him to his own devices ("laying there like a slug.. his only defense.." -great quote by Lawler, from a great movie, A Christmas Story.) That doesn't scream camaraderie to me..

-OK, the schpeel with the dogs is beyond old. It was stupid when WCW ran the "Steiners sic dobermans on Sting" bit, it was mindless when the WWF ran the "Let's lock Bossman and Snow in a cage with dogs" bit, and it's ridiculous now with the "There's a ton of Bulldogs... and they POOP!" bit.

-I'll admit I'm not the Road Dogg's biggest fan.. not by damn sight.. but I've got to admire his heart. He was one of the more vocal members of the WWF following Owen's passing, and he remains the only athlete to send get-well wishes to Droz on tv.

-One of the uglier Rocker Dropper (Famouser)s I've never seen. Billy Gunn sucks. There's nothing more to it.

-Y'know what? I didn't watch the women's title match.. I think my roommate said it best: "Grandma, why are you in the ring?"

-Just when things looked bleak, out comes the Brood & Christian/Edge match. I won't complain at all about this, as they were given a nice amount of time, and actually seem to be going somewhere. Jeff delivered a crazy...whatever it's called.. graceful moonsault... to breakup a pin attempt, before all 4 men dove from the ring apron in succession. I could watch this all night long.. my only question: What happens now that both teams have been counted out? Do they stagnate at 2-1, or did both teams pick up a win, bringing the record to 3-2.. and a victory for Christian and Edge. Either way, this was a nice way to swerve everybody who thought the Hardys were guaranteed winners here, sending the series to the full 5.

-...now that we're a full 2 months backwards in the X-Pac / Kane storyline, they've managed to get it back to where it was originally.. why? And why was X-Pac shitty about Kane's save? He was allowed to finish the match..

-It was nice to see the Headbangers back in the ring, as they're sure to add some spice to the struggling tag division. Once the originality of their reunion wore off though, their rust really started to show. That "stage dive" was nearly as ugly as Billy Gunn's famouser or Brian Adams' piledriver. Meanwhile, Jericho continues to leave me feeling unhappy. He was so entertaining in WCW, and now... he's just a shadow of his former self. I keep waiting for the old humor to resurface, but he shows no signs of going back. I've never laughed so hard as I did at his trip to Washington DC about a year back.. what happened to that guy?

-Mark Henry showed us that through all the house shows, the strenuous tour schedule, the training, and the injuries.. it's worth it in the end..

-I'm in full agreement with Bill Lupo about the Big Show terminal cancer segment. If this is a work (which is where my money lies), it's disgusting and doesn't further the WWF's product at all. However, if it's for real.. my prayers go out to Wight and his family. The segment seemed a bit humorous though, as you never saw any clothes on the Show.. was he sitting there naked, pondering his father? Does D'Lo just come up and sit down next to giant, lumbering naked men? Hmmm..

-HHH took quite a bump or two, falling into those concession stands. I wonder.. who were they catering to with those things? There wasn't anybody down there, and the fans couldn't get to that area. Austin proved he had good taste by spitting the Icehouse all over HHH.. Icehouse is among the nastiest beers known to man. How they thought people would enjoy that piss water is beyond me.

-As soon as I saw the laundry basket come out, I knew they were gonna try a NAO/Hardcore Legends deal all over again. The difference? Chyna didn't take the bump. Or was it coincidence that the camera cut away twice.. once right before the laundry basket's flight, once after.

-I don't have to point out that Bret isn't the only one letting this vendetta go on too long.. As long as Vince books blatant suck, like the Bulldog "rolling in his own excrement", both parties are at fault. The fans are sick of it, guys. Move on. Meanwhile, the Austin 'rattlesnake' bit was ridiculous. Not only did he lock Helmsley in that locker room, but a cameraman as well! Shades of the incredibly cheesy Ultimate Warrior/Jake Roberts segment years ago.
Overall Grade: C

A better show than last week's dysmal effort, but still nowhere near the level this program should be performing at. Way too many interview segments (big surprise there), accompanied with crappy matches. Not good, guys, not good.

Finally... I've a single e-mail that need answering:

'Mello Jello' had a brief comment on the Rock, and his originality:

"I listened to The Rock on the SportsBabe back before wrestlemania. He said he has a little notebook where he writes his own material down. He said he writes all of it. Of course, he could have been lying but someone would probably have called him on the lie. Just thought I would send that nugget your way"

Yea, I'd heard about that comment as well.. though I still don't 100% believe it. The true test will be the test of time, to see if Rocky remains as inventive and funny as he was when Russo and Ferrera were still under WWF employment.
Thanks for reading, and sorry that was so brief..

As for me, I'm outta here.. the final encounter in Final Fantasy VIII awaits. Shill.
until then, i remain