One last note before I dive in, look for 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to an ECW PPV Preview' in the next few days, comin' atcha from John C. and myself. As two fans whose exposure to ECW is limited to their TNN airings, we're hoping to offer something of an intelligible preview for everybody out there in the same position as we are. There won't be much talk of history in this preview, nor will we get too in-depth about the clash of styles. Rather, look for a clash of our own, as John brings his humor and I... well, my whatever. Here we go..
WCW Live! Report (w/ Ernest Miller)
-Bob tried to convince us that Nitro got great feedback... however, checking with the 'feedback' link from the Nitro report sends us to a page at least half full of logical complaints regarding Monday's show. I'm... impressed, actually.
-It's official, and I'm surprised I didn't notice it.. The guy that ran out and distracted the Disco Inferno last night? The same 'fan' who was recently obsessed with Lenny and Lodi. He was trained by Dean Malenko, so good things could be around the corner.
-Ryder tells us he hasn't any idea what the future holds for the cruiserweight strap.
-He follows up that tragic news with one helluva confirmation. Jushin ''Thunder'' Liger is indeed interested in wrestling a few matches with Chris Benoit in WCW.
-Jeremy mentions that the "Larry" chants that went down on Nitro (in regards to Larry "The Axe" Hennig) really brightened his son Curt's day. The former Mr. Perfect is proud of his father, and his face lit up when the chants began.
-Bob calls the Vince McMahon skit "very inside". ...as if it wasn't obvious who Nash was portraying. More on this later.
-Ryder tells us the production screw-ups weren't intentional, and hints that measures have been taken towards those responsible.
-Bret Hart is a rumored guest for a WCW Live, possibly before the upcoming Mayhem PPV.
-Vampiro will be on WCW Live tomorrow (tonight). Always a great interview. Check it out if you can.
-Bob says the Misfits weren't a one-shot deal, and they'll have an ongoing impact on Vampiro's matches.
-Ernest Miller joins the show.
-Miller works the injury, telling us his knee is feeling better than it did last night, and that he wasn't ready for his match with Lash on Nitro. He expects to be 100% in three weeks. The injury is reportedly a slight tear of the ACL.
-Upon returning, the Cat has set his sights on Lash Leroux and Norman Smiley.
-Miller brings up Russo and Ferrera, telling us they're responsible for Sonny Onno's replacement (with the crowd of women he brought with him on Nitro)
-"The Cat" is a legit karate hall of famer, after being voted in by a panel. He was just inducted this year.
-The men behind the book have "A lot in store" for Miller.
-Expect 3 or 4 new Cat-Bo videos in the near future, which Miller insists are "funnier than the first one". (I actually enjoyed the first Cat-Bo, though the humor wasn't with Miller himself.. rather the morons he had surrounding him)
-Miller tries to tell us he had a say in Hogan's 'departure', trying to insert himself into a future angle..?
-EM talks about his relationship with Eric Bischoff, saying he'll never turn his back on a friend no matter what. You've gotta respect the guy for not taking the easy shots at his former boss.
-Ernest proves he's in it for the money, claiming he has four movie scripts waiting for him. He then lays out his career plan, which includes establishing himself as a wrestler first, then moving on to film. (Ahhh, the Terry Bolea plan)
-As the Live crew threatens to "call his momma", the Cat tells us his mom is doing great and just celebrated a birthday.
-Miller constantly slams Bob Ryder, poking fun at his obesity and hair loss, among other things.
-The guilty parties for discovering Miller are everybody's pals, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. Hogan even claimed Miller would "make a good wrestler".
-Miller brings his legitimacy into question, claiming the best way to break bricks with your hands is to block out the pain and keep telling yourself it doesn't hurt. (Funny, I trained for 5 years in Tae Kwon Do, achieving first Dan Black Belt status... and that's not how I was trained. Sure, mind over matter is a part of it.. but not so much in the vein of blocking out pain. Rather, you convince yourself that your target (the concrete) is actually placed lower than it is, and strike as though it were on the floor. But I'm not doing this justice, so I'll just shut up..)
-The 'shoot' match with Jerry Flynn from Nitro a couple months back was brought up. Bischoff apparantly wanted a fixed shoot, with the two men connecting on their attacks but working towards a predetermined finish. In essence, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. The booking squad had trouble with this, and all parties agreed that a DQ was the best way to work it.
-Miller said that he would be proud to have his mother on television with him.
-The Cat left the show.
-Jeremy tells us the "powers that be" (there's that goddamned phrase again! enough!!) listen to WCW Live, holding a special interest in the Post-Nitro show.
-Bob briefly talks about unions in professional wrestling. He condemns their future and possibilities, saying you need a large amount of wrestlers to agree and nobody would trust each other. He makes a good point, saying wrestlers should manage their money better for the future, as they do make a good amount of it.
-Jeremy wonders "Who could have imagined David Flair as entertaining?" Bob agrees, and says how great it is to see him used.
-ICP is officially out. Ryder tells us they gave their slip to management one time too many, and were finally taken up on the deal.
-Apparantly the rumors about FOX starting their own fed have surfaced again. Weren't these rumors a big deal last time Hogan supposedly left WCW?
-Bob discusses how cool it would be if Nitro won a quarter-hour segment, correctly calling it a huge moral victory.
-Borasch reminds us that Sting's contract mentions a limited number of Thunders, but the man behind the Crow still needs to work house shows.
-Bob calls Madusa's finisher "the tongue thrust".
-Newsarama Bob says War Games and the WW3 Battle Royal were dropped because they flopped in the last few years.
-The show wraps up by telling us the rumors about a Kid Rock concert were just that.. rumors.
Yesterday's review sparked some comments from readers.
Steph (firstname.lastname@example.org) had a couple comments about Nash's portrayal of "the promoter":
"I don't know if ANYONE else really enjoyed seeing Kevin Nash's portrayal of Vince McMahon, but I found it rather humerous.
The problem with RAW anymore is that everything is taken way too seriously.When the Bossman threw the "tear gas" into the Big Show's lockerroom and Jim Ross almost had a heart attack because of it, I switched the channel. I'm not inclined to believe Paul Wight's skin is turning colors. I have no interest in learning that Tori has an infatuation with Kane. If I see any more of Test and Stephanie, I'm going to lose my dinner. I cannot continue to watch the crap that Vince McMahon puts on television every week, listening to the announcers tell me someone has been crushed by a car...someone's been set on fire...Mark Henry's still in sex therapy, etc.,etc. It's gotten beyond ridiculous.
Kevin Nash was amusing last night. His portrayal of Vince McMahon was right on the money, and I had a laugh when Sid mentioned that two years ago, Vince threw his career down the toilet...only to have Nash lift the toupee to reveal he wasn't McMahon so that Sid would stop screaming at him. Nash's "You'll Screw Yourself Speech" was hilarious...although it should have been directed at Bret Hart.
I've seen so many Nitro reports on the internet today (including yours) where people said what Nash did was tasteless. Why...because it was the truth?? Vince McMahon is a sly, cunning promoter who promises a lot of people the world...only to turn around and stab them in the back. If you don't do for Vince today, you might not have a job tomorrow. Let the truth be told that if you want a place in the WWF, you have to be one of "Vince's boys"...which is exactly what Nash was saying. So, he burned some bridges. If he never wants to work at Titan again, what's the big deal?"
Honestly, the Vince skit wasn't such a terrible idea. In fact, had it been executed by someone else (who, I haven't any idea) or even a bit better by Nash, I wouldn't have had much to say about it. However, I smelled a bit too much of Russo and Ferrera in the bits... taking this chance to stab their loyal employer of 2 years when he's not looking, after abandoning him for more money.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm far from a McMahon supporter. I think the guys' a weaselly, slippery little business-bitch, only out for himself. A hypocrite is probably the nicest thing I could call good old Vince. However, there comes a point where poking fun just crosses the line into cruelty and stops being funny. When DX invaded WCW a year and a half back, I loved it. Juventud's recent poke at the Rock was fun. When Bischoff descended on his motorcycle to challenge Vince, it was stupid. The "billionare Ted" skits were shameless, not to mention one-sided, and were stupid. I could've probably handled Monday's prod, if it weren't spread over the course of 4 segments, totalling in about a half an hour of screen time. It's a little thing called overkill.
Your statements about the WWF are well-put, and true. I'll agree with you on every one of them, but I'll also remind you that a good chunk of today's wrestling depends on a suspension of belief. Austin didn't really pass out at Wrestlemania XIII, but it made for one helluva great visual. The Bossman and Prince Albert weren't in the car when The Show pushed a dumpster on it, but the image following will stick with me for years as probably the coolest shot of 1999 WWF. I guess you win some, you lose some. McMahon's had his share of misses, continues to miss today, and will miss far into the future. To quote a wise man: "You can only please half the people, half the time". Besides, risk is how Vince decides what formula to go with. Wrestling may well have died 10 years ago if a younger McMahon hadn't reinvented the industry. I'm willing to give him another year, before I make any kind of generalization about wrestling headed into the underworld, without a chance to return.
I liked the Sid segment too, it was possibly the most redeeming portion of the entire portrayal. And I'll agree that there is a place for humor in wrestling.. this just wasn't it. Why didn't Nash pull the same thing, only portraying Bischoff? Would it have made a difference to you? I'm sure we'd be hearing a loud chant of 'hypocrite' across the net, though not necessarily from you. Nash turned on a promoter that was very good to him for several years. That's what it comes down to. And if he's willing to accept the consequences, more power to him. Thanks for the letter, I do appreciate it.
Adam24358@aol.com took offense to some statements on the same matter:
"How could you think Nitro was not better than Raw, Nash was distasteful? Did Nash lie, shoving Austin down everyone's throats, until they regergitate, yeah that happened. Saying the WWF wrestlers have only one catchphrase, true again. Ripping on Austin for not working with Jarrett, oh so Austin's allowed to be Hogan Jr., Boy was he distasteful. Not everyone can be making fun of cancer even though his dad died of it two years ago, but that's the WWF so its entertainment. Back to Nash, did he not play the role perfectly, telling the girls to save it for the PPV, his reaction to the asshole chants, it was McMahon, but of course 95% of the internet can't see that with their heads up Vince's ass. I guess WCW won't be good enough until Vince Russo is the WCW Champ, Madusa's the U.S. Champ, and Bret Hart starts hanging around the catwalks because according to you guys, making fun of death is what we want to see."
I followed you until you started telling me what I'd like to see in WCW. After that, I got a bit confused. Let me put it in print: McMahon is not god. I strongly, strongly dislike the man personally. But I don't enjoy personal attacks, either. Vince was a prick for having his way with Bret, and then dismissing any responsibility. Nash is a whiny bitch for taking Vince's money as his top main eventer for over a year, and then pulling this. A lot of what Nash said was true, but a lot of it wasn't. But like I said in the previous letter, I could've taken it into stride.. if it weren't shoved down my throat for over a half an hour. Are you suggesting that my head is up McMahon's ass? If so, I'd question whose columns you've been reading. I gave Raw a higher grade than Nitro, because Raw was a better show, not as an invitation to McMahon, screaming "Here I am, already bent over for you!" For the past month, I've found Nitro as the better show. Monday, it wasn't. That's it. I don't see where 'making fun of death' came into this argument. Thanks for the response, though.
Lastly, James Dyer (email@example.com) brings along some intelligent (and well stated) commentary on the state of things, as well as columns on the internet:
"I hope you have plenty of technical twenty minute matches on tape to enjoy. (I do.. =D) From here on out we will not see them in wcw ever again. I sympathize with you because I enjoy that brand of wrestling. Unfortunatly five million homes in the USA do not! So please try to rate the show on an entertainment level(which is enjoyable to me) instead of a technical wrestling level. To be honest it makes you look like a misdirected individual. You know, my grandpa used to tell me the way things used to be, but I just deal wth whats going on, not what went on before. You are talented at getting your point across, just try to look at the right picture. WCW is about money, plain and simple. Ratings=Money Vince and Ed=Ratings Therefore Vince and Ed=Money So deal with it! (Excuse me Mr. Spence)"
Your point is well said, and I won't disrespect it with a drawn-out, tired answer. To put it simply, I've been trying to rate both programs on an entertainment level for some time now. Granted, it's a difficult task.. especially when the potential is there (A Benoit/Malenko match is a perfect example). It's like starving for weeks, while a chunk of beef is dangled just out of reach. I can see so many other routes, and that clouds my judgement in a way. To be honest, yesterday's report was probably the most honestly rated I've ever released. Neither program did a good job of entertaining me. Maybe I overanalyze, maybe I expect too much. But they didn't entertain me.. rather, they left me with a feeling of discouragement. Rest assured, your letter has made me think, and in the future I'll try to be more lenient when I write up the Tuesday Reviews. Thanks for the great letter.
As for me, I'm outta here. Like I said, John and I will be back sometime this week with our ECW Preview, so...
until then, i remain