Ringside Shadows #70: Bits and Pieces of Goodness
It's been something of a busy week in our world, with the majority of the attention (positive or otherwise) focused on the oft-criticised shoulders of WCW. Whether it be the state of tonight's Nitro, Eric Bischoff's release, or last night's Fall Brawl results... it's been anything but a slow news week in Turner-land.
Jumping in feet-first..
Nitro's ratings solution.. a cartoon?
I rose from my slumber this morning, and checked out my weekly copy of ZENtertainment in my mailbox before heading to class, where I caught the horrific news regarding 'CHOWDAHEADS'... Take a look:
"TNT's WCW wrestling program MONDAY NIGHT NITRO will add the animated short series CHOWDAHEADS to its line-up with tonight's broadcast. The crude, crass series stars three teenage wrestling fans doing their best to put the SOUTH PARK boys to shame. It's produced by MANDALAY SPORTS ACTION Entertainment and Jason Hervey (DIFF'RENT STROKES' Charlie)."
I'm not sure where the execs are heading with this, but it would seem their aims are set for the hole in the toilet. I don't want to say anything certain until I've seen the segment, however I can't help but listen to my gut feeling. Sick bits like this will do nothing but further the downward spiral that has become professional wrestling. It's a bad time to be a 'pure wrestling' fan such as myself... granted, the business as a whole is enjoying one of it's most profitable runs ever, but at what cost? As of last night's PPV results, WCW is headed downhill at a sharper and sharper angle , the WWF is doing its best to eliminate the 'sports' from sports entertainment, and ECW is destroying the beauty that was their competition with the constant commercials (if I see Kevin Nash, screaming "I've got monster truck madness" one more time..), terrible replay setup, and tour dates. For the first time in quite a while, I head into Monday Night without any enthusiasm. And as a fan for more than a decade now, that's very.. very bad.
Scratch that 'no enthusiasm' bit. I'm excited, if only for one match. For some crazy reason, I get the feeling WCW will let Benoit and Malenko cut loose and finish the classic they started last week on tonight's installment. I'm sure we'll be treated to 2 commercial breaks as a minimum (which will then be used as an example of the duo's failure to draw ratings), but I somehow have a feeling that this one will end cleanly.. for a change.
I'll keep this one short. I don't want to make a comment on Bischoff until I know it's for real. Something smells really fishy about this, and I wonder if unca' Eric isn't pulling the wool over our eyes one more time. Just a case of the boy who cried wolf, I guess.. regardless, if the whole thing is for real and last night's booking was an example of things to come, well.. hurry back, Eric.
Which leads me neatly into my..
Fall Brawl Reaction
(I'll keep this short, as I'm not planning on making this a massive post)
-Rey comes out with blond hair...? Why do I get the feeling this is bad? If he maintains a nice workrate, I can live with it. As for the match.. sounds really spectacular. I'm a bit confused as to why officials decided to open the show right up with their 2 best matches.. at least this month's PPV offered 2 matches worth our time. I'd have liked to see this one, if just for Eddie and Vamp stiffing the hell out of each other and watching Kidman register the pinfall.
-Wish I could've seen the Kaz/Lenny match too, but in the end I think the right man won. Lenny's further over, and I agree with Matt that Kaz would work better as a heel.
-Boy, is it good to see the Revolution came out of last night without a belt nor a win in their hands. Great way to take any credibility the group may have mustered up and stick it straight up your own ass. If anybody truly thinks Rick Steiner, High Morrus and Brian Knobbs should be working, let alone going over Malenko, Benoit, Saturn and Douglas... drop me a line. Who made the decision to let Steiner kick out of the DVD? That's what I call... credibility... beauty..
-I guess Bagwell didn't want to job again? Why are they even booking him in feuds if he won't lie down clean once in a while? If this guy keeps it up, somebody needs to remind him where he came from, what his role with the company is, and that egos like this will NOT help matters. Then again, I could be wrong.
-At this point, I could care less that Harlem Heat are the 9-time champions... Hoo boy..
-At the very least, Benoit got some offense in on Sid... even strapping him into the crossface before lying down to another sad powerbomb. Still.. this is no way to elevate somebody, and fans aren't likely to accept the crippler as a world title contender, especially considering the loss was clean.
-Finally, I'm not sure what to think of the Sting heel turn.. if that's even what it was meant to be (which is my guess). I'll have to draw my own conclusion from the fans' response tonight before I can say anything for sure, but for once WCW did something right in building this up and then throwing it at us from left field. I never expected Sting to turn, nor side with Luger again. A second shining spot in an otherwise bleak and sickening pay per view.
Overall Grade: D-
Before I close things up, I've got a couple letters to work on... here goes..
Seph (firstname.lastname@example.org) comes in with a follow up to her last letter:
"Lately, I've been bored seeing the Rock on RAW...paticularly because I'm sick of hearing him repeat himself 4 or 5 times a program. However, his impersonations of Kane and the Undertaker last night were gold. When he rolled his eyes back in his head and chanted "Die Die Die" I just about died. It was hilarious!"
I'm in complete agreement. The Rock has moments where he's pure gold, but then he has those when he's nothing more than brass-coated excrement. As a mic worker who prefers using catch phrases during each outing, there's only so much you can do before getting monotonous, repetitive and boring. This is what separates men like the Rock (the cream of the crop when it comes to incorporation of a catch) from men like Jericho and Foley (who can take nearly any situation and twist it in a humorous light that favors them). John touched on this in he and Dale Blasingame's recent installment. It's quite good, and definately worth a read.
"I also had a problem with the way the Edge/Christian vs. Acolytes match was portrayed. Edge is my favorite WWF Superstar. He's young, athletic, and extremely talented. As JR would point out, he's also "quicker than a hiccup." The WWF did make it sound as if their victory over the Acolytes was a fluke, when the fact is, it should have happened much sooner."
This seems to be a recurring problem.. not only with the WWF, but with the Acolytes. The same sort of tainted win took place during the Hardy Boyz' (that just looks weird.. a z as plural posessive.. whatever..) only tag team championship victory. Only time will tell, both in the case of Edge and Christian and the Acolytes, who move on to a feud with the Dudleys. The main comment I refer to when worried about my favorite workers' being held down is "they're only so many years old..". It's important to remember that Edge has only been in the WWF for one year, and in that time has managed to capture the Intercontinental championship. Give him some time to grow, and I'm sure the WWF will repay him for his work.
Next up, How316@aol.com vents some of his frustrations on the Hummer angle..
"regardless of the stupid color of the hummer, Hogan was "pointed" to as the driver. If you recall, the Hummer angle was first started between Nash and Macho, when Nash was hit. This happend while Hogan was out with a legit injury. Hogan was in a cast, recovering from a legit injury. Hogan could barely walk, I'm supposed to believe he could drive the Hummer w/ a bad leg?"
Sorry I didn't get to this one sooner, as it's almost a moot point now. I think the plan all along was to reveal Lex as the hummer driver.. thus, Hogan's injury wouldn't have been important. Then again, I doubt the bookers were worried about little details like this. Either way, your comment serves as a common one.. that of frustration. I wonder how many more fans WCW can afford to lose?
Closing up, Bryan Van Dusen (email@example.com) had a response to one of my '23 questions' answers:
"I had to write and give my opinion of the best finisher in wrestling...The Falcon Arrow. In case you haven't seen it, it is performed by Hayabusa of FMW (Japan), it's a 450degree twisting moonsault. Hayabusa starts by standing on the top rope with his back facing his opponent who is on his back like someone is going to splash him. Hayabusa then jumps back and twists his body so he is facing towards his opponent and then does a 450 slam. It looks amazing. I saw Jakked last Saturday, and Papi Chulo totally amazed me. He may be one of the most underrated wrestlers in the WWF."
I'ce only heard tales of the Falcon Arrow (most of them from my buddy Matt Spence..), but haven't purchased enough puroresu to witness it firsthand just yet. (I think?) Regardless, I'm in full agreement with you that Hayabusa is a spectacular worker, but the trend with the 23 questions schtick was to keep it to American wrestling, so as to avoid confusion amongst the readers as much as possible. Otherwise, Jushin Liger would've been somewhere on my list, and I'm sure Hayabusa, Mitsuharu Misawa, and the Great Sasuke would've made their way on there somewhere as well. My experience is really small with japanese grappling, actually, but I've been breathless for what I have managed to catch.
As for Papi Chulo, I again couldn't agree with you more. But, sadly, with the death of the WWF LHW division I don't think he's in the right place to showcase his skills anymore. Raw has never been big on the style chulo works, and I don't think we'll see him anywhere but Jakked or Livewire these days, which is a real shame.
And that should pretty much do it for me. My eyes have recovered enough from my last long session of Final Fantasy VIII, so it's time to go kick the roommate off the tv and pick up where I left off. Squall is such a little dick!
until next time, i remain