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Ringside Shadows #85: It's Been a Week... You Think You've Got Enough to Handle... the (overly cynical) Tuesday Review?!?!

what up

So I turned on my tv last night, hoping to catch some wrestling. 3 hours later, I shut it off without really seeing anything resembling what I'd hoped for. Sure there were a couple worthwhile matches.. most vividly Benoit/Malenko and the 4-team match on Raw. However, each show managed to screw their potential match of the night over in about 15 different ways.. assuring we'd never have a chance at enjoying ourselves. About a third of the way through Nitro, while thoroughly enjoying a gorgeous Buff Bagwell v. Stevie Ray classic, I turned to my roommate and said "This would be so much more entertaining if both men suddenly exploded on the spot." Now, I'm not one to pass up an easy gimmick when see one. Thus, every time you see this Slpode! little GIF tonight, it means I wish the segment would've ended with a meaty explosion.

Hey, if the programs won't entertain me, I've got to find a way to entertain myself. Besides, that's all that'll really save me from hurling myself in front of an oncoming street cleaner after the crap we saw last night.

With that said... Let's get it ON!


-If I had to choose one positive development from the arrival of pure evil to WCW (in the form of these mysterious 'powers that be'), it would be the re-emergence of Bret Hart. As one of the best-rounded wrestlers of our time, Bret is also one of the few who actually gives thought to his character outside of the programs themselves. He's the kind of guy that figures "as long as we're doing this storytelling thing, it may as well make sense.", something with which I agree wholeheartedly. That being said, Bret's attitude just didn't fit in the WCW of a month ago. On-the-fly booking with little or no thought given to character development or even telling a good story had Bret coming to arenas without a clue of his character's role or stance on any of the show's other issues. It's good to see the old Bret back, especially in his opening interview(s), not backing off an inch when Sid stepped into the ring.

-The censors need to take a stance. The opening 10 minutes of the show was "screw this", "screw that".. and then suddenly they decided to bleep out the word "screw" in a later sentence. The funniest part? When they came back from that prolonged bleep, the first word out of Sid's mouth was "ass".

-The idea of a run-in isn't to run down the ramp, hover at ringside for 5 minutes, and then become involved in the match. Not only does that kill the sponteneity, but makes thos involved look ridiculous. Why wouldn't they just come out with the man they were helping? Case in point: The Misfits' interference in Vampiro's match last night. They hauled down there and just lounged about, trying to look mysterious for a little bit before they became involved in the matchup. Otherwise, I think it was a brilliant decision. Kudos to Jeff Jacobson, who nailed this one right on the head.

-Malenko's getting better at his facial expressions and charisma. The look on his face when Benoit's music hit was just priceless. Speaking of which, the Crippler still needs some new tunes.. badly. This angry, unstoppable, immovable man gimmick (a great fit), really doesn't work with the light, catchy, late-80's synth-pop he's using for an entrance theme. Like I said, if you're gonna go the sports entertainment schpeel, go the whole 9-yards.

-Hey, look! Ernest Miller lives! Slpode!
At the very least, this one was kept to a minimum.. and surprisingly, the right man came out on top.

-I don't know what to think about this week's installment of the "Kid-Cam". Was it a work, or was it for real? I couldn't care less, but I'm leaning towards a real muck up on the post-production's part. It wasn't the first, and it surely wasn't the last. Why wouldn't Lex & Liz do the segment live, rather than completely botch the voice-overs, as they did last night while Tony and Brain scurried to cover up for it? Either way, I thought it was hilarious. If anybody behind the scenes were responsible for their own actions, everybody would've been without a job this morning. Everybody, except the lighting crew.. and that's just because they're brand new from last week.. when the "old" crew turned on Luger's lights in the middle of his match.

-As taken from a news post, Ernest Miller would like to take a less comical approach with his character in the future. ..(Snort).. Somebody give this man a mirror, I don't think I could create much more of a monstrosity in the create-a-wrestler options of Attitude.

-My roommate and I took great enjoyment in turning Scott Steiner's interview into a full-blown advertisement for steroids. Slpode!

-The crowd was into the Nitro Girls' (Riot grrlz) little skirmish. Me, I thought it was just stupid. I'd rather the Nitro Girls were seen and not heard.

-OK, Bagwell... we get the jist of this gimmick.. you don't have to go mentioning the words "powers that be" every time you're on a mic. A quick thought.. we went from egomaniacs in charge with Hogan, Bischoff, and Nash to egomaniacs in charge with Russo and Ferrera. Slpode!

-Were they trying to jam as much nast into one segment as humanly possible? They sent out Stevie Ray, Butt Fagwell, and DOA. Within 2 minutes of each other. And they disgraced every strap match in history by completely forgetting the rules. The point of a strap match isn't to pin your opponent, make him submit, or even hang him over the top rope. It's to TOUCH ALL 4 CORNERS. Why is this so tough to remember anymore?? Slpode!

-Kevin Nash is never working in the WWF again.. That was probably one of the most tasteless segments I've seen in some time. It would've been a different story if it were entertaining in the least bit.. but this was just stupid. The only legit prod they really could've made, screwing somebody in the main event, wasn't even used. The only part of this mockery that I found remotely entertaining was Sid's reaction to him.

-I think it was when the promoters tried to sell Meng's banana assault as the second coming of christ that I finally asked myself "what the hell is this..?!" Slpode!

-What's happened to Curt Hennig? He almost showed shades of his old self as his match began last night, maybe to show his father he can still go.. but after about a minute, slowed back down to his usual, slower-than-piss self. Is it wrong for me to hope? Hennig's father cuts a better promo than half the fed, and remains younger than Madusa.

-OK, it was amusing at first. Now get Norman Smiley out of the hardcore division before he gets hurt legit. I'll bet that catcher's gear is responsible for the color he showed last night.

-Everybody's got a tire iron anymore.. Slpode!

-God damn it, was there a match on this card that wasn't overbooked to hell, back, to hell again and then back for one more go?! There's a thing called a 'clean finish'... LOOK INTO IT! This is just sick.

-I'll say right now that I don't like Duggan in a ring. But he plays the sympathetic face sooo well.. The sad thing is he was the only one in that room acting. Russo's addiction to ratings is such that I have no trouble buying him as the piece of shit heel. Duggan deserves more than this.

-Jarrett / Booker T could've been one hell of a matchup, if they'd been given more than 5 minutes. Jarrett was selling like a champ, which is something Booker's never really been treated with, and both were on pace for a very good match. ..and then out came those Harris boys.. Slpode!Slpode!

-Somebody tell Karagious that Madusa's old enough to be his mom. And she's married. And plastic. Nast.

-This is an excerpt from WCW.com's report: "Malenko picked Benoit up for a powerbomb, but ran Benoit's head into the cage before delivering the maneuver." Did they watch the match? They mixed the competitors up for one, and completely blew any other call in the match, and somehow managed to de-emphasize Benoit's diving headbutt from the cage. At least the crowd got off their asses... the place blew up when the Canadian Crippler took that leap. I didn't expect to see anything that could top Test's leap last week, but this was it.. Wow. Again, if they'd given this one more than a couple minutes, it would've done more than just deliver a memorable spot or two. I'm starting to wonder about Malenko's role in WCW though, as he's dropped several in a row now.

-Probably the only match on the card with a well-booked finish was the 'main event' of Sid v. Hall. It put Hall into the next round, while logically progressing feuds between the Outsiders, Hart, Goldberg, Sid, and the tournament itself. Kudos.

Overall Grade: D

Poor, poor showing. Russo and Ferrera need to get their heads out of their asses, and either book a wrestling show, or look for a job with the Young and the Restless. I'll be at Nitro next week, but I'm no longer looking forward to it.. if they pull out half as many backstage shots as this week's show, things aren't gonna be pretty.Slpode!Look for me next week, I'll probably be holding a sign reading "I Schill for Schiavone".


-Well, I can't argue with how they launched the show. Vince hasn't been silent in stating that he caters to the fans, and the best way to get a crowd pumped is to start a card off with the Rock in action.

-As goofy as that whole "I threw a dumpster on you, and you're OK" bit was, it provided one HELL of a cool visual, with the Big Show towering over the carnage screaming. ..of course, they follow it up with an even more over the top display that featured everybody getting out of the room except the Big Show. How did the cameraman get out of there so quickly? And why didn't Wight just kick the door in? If he can turn over a car and move a full dumpster, not to mention the Godfather's disregard for a door last week, then Show should've had no problem going through one. Slpode!

-I think the WWF may be trying again.. what other excuse is there for putting The Hardys, Edge, Christian, Too Cool, and The Hollys in the ring at one time?! Goodness... they should've given this a full hour. As seems to be the trend when good action is involved, the crowd was dead silent.. disgusting me. Not only that, but whoever was in charge of camera angles apparantly began suffering violent seizures and switched views at key moments (like the middle of Jeff's suicide dive out of the ring) seemingly at random. At least we caught it on replay, but it's not the same.. Still, I'm excited as hell about the tag division.

-Torri bothers me. I can't put my finger on it.. maybe it's her constant inclusion with any interview that mentions Kane. I dunno. Meanwhile X-Pac is starting to become interesting again, as the heel who isn't afraid to speak his mind.

-It was nice to see Foley working the style that made him famous once more, even if it was just a junk brawl. I haven't quite concluded how the bowling ball spot could be worked without a... terrible result. Even with a cup, and a plastic ball it wouldn't exactly be feathers.

-It's no wonder Mankind's book is near the top of the New York Times' best seller list.. with Billionaire Vince disposing of copies at the rate of about a dozen per Raw (and 5 for Smackdown).

-Austin / Gunn was about as good as can be expected. Austin proved he's a trooper, working with that nasty cut over his left eye. Many a man (Bossman) would've cut straight to the finish after a vision-obstructing cut like that.

-WWF Attitude is the largest bastard of a game ever released.. Tag matches are a joke, as it's basically a 2-on-1, and I'm still not sure how it determines who the winner is after the time limit is gone. Basically, if there's more than 2 people in the ring.. it's already over. Slpode!End gripe.

-It looks like Test / Stephanie has gone the way of the Kane / X-Pac bit a month back. They screwed it up the first time, let's try just starting it all over again. Meanwhile, this really has become a victim of "In Living Color Syndrome".. For every Wayans that was on the late 80's comedy, there's a McMahon on today's WWF tv.

-Selling like a king? Look at X-Pac, as he eats a Kane chokeslam. Does the big red machine have trouble keeping friends or what? Running down the list off memory, we've got the Undertaker, Mankind, McMahon, Chyna, Road Dogg, and now X-Pac. Give it time, I'm sure Tori will turn on him, too.

-I've been pulling for Kurt Angle for quite some time now, but after his promo last night.. I'm not so sure any more. If he can't handle a taped interview, how's he gonna manage with a live crowd? He's decent in the ring, but not good enough to make it without a mic.

-The Headbangers & Dudleys usually work as strong as, if not stronger than all of the WWF roster.. But something was wrong last night. Both teams went UPS and mailed it in. Slpode!

-Good booking on the main event (after you get past the fact that, well.. it was SHANESlpode!), right up until Vince entered the ring. After that, the missed belt swing and Austin's obligatory stunners were all too predictable. At least "Shane-o" doesn't hold the belt today. He'd be halfway to a grand slam..

Overall Grade: C

Just an average show. Nothing mind-blowingly amazing, but nothing mind-blowingly stupid either. Not too many explosions..

Before I get outta here, I've a couple letters that need response. So here we are:
As always, the viewers' comments will appear in italics, while my responses are in the tried-and-true regular font.

Randy McDermott (rjm3991@kcpl.com) wrote in first to correct my oversight about the Foley book, a big thanks out to Beau Shatava (beausw@webtv.net), mello (rancid@usit.com ...hey, I'm listening to Rancid's first album right now.. coincidence?), and John Seidel-Quast (jquast01@gw.hamline.edu), who all wrote in to correct my err. Thanks everybody!

"The Foley book is available through amazon.com for $17.50. Of course you do not get the overpriced WWF licensed t-shirt with it."

I've also learned that the WWF.COM version is an autographed copy, so I suppose the extra 32.50 goes towards that and a t-shirt. Thanks again, to everybody who wrote in.. I'm planning on ordering it now.

Dpez71@aol.com had a couple comments about the origin of the "Kid-Cam" angle Kidman is currently 'enjoying'..
"Hey I know that you are probably right and that the camera gimmick will kill some of Kidman's heat but I personally thought that it was a rip off of Shawn Michaels. Obviously you remeber when Michaels had the "kliq cam" well I thought that "kid cam" was making fun of that and not being like Syxx's old gimmick. BTW if you know anyone who can make a banner please have them email me."

I must've overlooked Michaels' Kliq Cam angle, but that's certainly a possibility as well. I'm just waiting for WCW to try using it as a foreign object, and then showing us another unobstructed shot from the kid-cam.

As for the banners, I do all of my banners as well as most of John C's, Dale Blasingame's, Matt Spence's, and (coming soon) Mark Gugs'. I also put together the 'oratory' banner that stands watch atop the main Big3 oratory board. I've had a couple more requests for banners, but at this point I'm neck-deep in design work, and can't see myself with the time to do much of anything aside from what I've got on my everyday plate right now for at least another month.
Thanks for the mail!

Finally, ThornWithin (twithin@telebot.com) had 2 comments based on last week's Tuesday Review:
"I started to like your columns,
I like Norman Smiley too, he is indeed one of the most hilarious wrestlers in wcw right now, he has that strange charisma that cant be easily described. He is especially hilarious When he begs "ala flair stile" :)"

Agreed. If Smiley can break free of this current Hardcore run, I think he could easily be the runaway star of the Russo/Ferrera Era. And I'd have no problem with it.

"As for Goldberg, i dont agree that he didnt learn a thing, he is improving, big time! And he could really big on the mat and on the stick too, in my opinion, he is a natural wrestling talent."

I'd agree with that, for the most part, as well. When I said Goldberg hadn't improved, I wasn't referring to in general. The big man has taken leaps and bounds in the past year towards becoming a competant worker, and I continue to keep my eye on him. Rather, he didn't benefit from his match last week vs. Hart nearly as much as he could have. Bret Hart could teach Goldberg more than one thing about psychology, selling, building a match, and working a crowd. In my eyes, that's just what Goldberg needs right now.. and it could come in several forms. Maybe a Flair, maybe a Hart.. maybe a Benoit.

That should do it for me. I'll try to get another post up before the weekend, so..

until next time, i remain

The Triad


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