Ringside Shadows #110: Let's Get a Big Hand For Mediocrity!
Hey, hey.. it's the return of everybody's favorite ramble-o-rama, the Tuesday Review. I'll try to keep the column short this week, but considering the ammo last night's programs gave me, I may have a bit of trouble doing so. That, and the fact I've never kept a column as short as I'd hoped...ever. At any rate, Nitro wasn't as insufferable as it had been in months past, but it didn't exactly give me just cause to waste another $30 on Uncensored this weekend. The return of Sting seemed to boost morale, if just momentarily, and Hogan continued his stampede over the airwaves. Still; there were a couple points of note, including but not limited to the addition of the Jung Dragons (and the more than overdue push of Kaz Hayashi therein) and the inexplicable continued elevation of Vampiro.
Raw lost a step somewhere, but made it up in the eyes of the ticketholders by the time we went off the air. Vince's return was handled as well as can be expected, with the big boss making sure the night's most memorable entrance was saved for himself. We had a couple nice little matches with Malenko vs. Essa Rios, the European 3-way and the Radicals' tag match. Shane's lost a thing or two in his months away, Jericho's face run just isn't working out, and Tazz needs a much heavier push before we can even dream of nationwide acceptance as a legitimate badass.. and look at me bitch! We haven't even made it to the major points yet guys, so brace yourselves. Troubled waters ahead
The same old story..?
Here comes the statement of the week... I took a look at the Rock, and saw something I liked. Something I thought Rocky had forgotten long ago; desire. Maybe he's really into this new push, maybe he's sick of being ridiculed amongst my peers and I, but the people's favorite son has unleashed a completely new perspective in the past month. I'll admit, his ring skills still don't send me to the moon in a state of orgasm (to be honest, nobody's do), but he's at least giving us the old college try. That, and he's becoming one of the least egomaniacal men on television.. be it doing his best to elevate Benoit, taking the Dudley Death Drop through a table or just giving the crowd the catchphrases they want, Rocky's really been on a roll lately. I may never proclaim him as the messiah, but I'll give credit where credit is due.. he's making the most of what he's got right now, and he's sharing the wealth. I can't give him negative marks for that.
Picking up where the Rock left off, Vince made his much-heralded return to the WWF last night. As if his "corncob up the ass" strut down the entryway didn't send the crowd into an uproar to begin with, he nabbed the task of returning the Rock's predictable Wrestlemania title shot as well.. and it was all over after that. Vince could've set fire to an infant and the audience would've cheered him on. Despite all his glory-hogging, I honestly missed the old bastard. RAW just isn't RAW without his vintage sneer, or his ragged voice tearing up the speakers.
Holy lord, what's this? Bam Bam Bigelow's found himself in unfamiliar territory; an angle. The beast from the east has been floating harmlessly in storyline limbo since the inexplicable disappearance of his Triad teamup with Kanyon and DDP, which I actually enjoyed. Even if he just takes the role of a father figure for David and Crowbar, I wouldn't be against it. In those moments handcuffed to the ringpost last night, Bigelow showed more personality than ever in his 20 year career. He can still move faster than the majority of men his size, and he can keep up with the younger men at the moment, so why not? Give him the shot he never got during the Goldberg feud. Give him something, just do it soon.
Finally, Sting and Vampiro didn't exactly end the rumors surrounding their future as a tag team, finishing the night in the same ring. Despite both men's "loner" gimmicks, I think a team could work in the short term and could really push both into solid main event competition (back into competition, in Sting's case). Vampiro's suddenly on the verge of being there right now, and an association with the man in black could be just what he needs to fully break through. I've been really caught off guard by his whiplash of an ascention, and the audience's acceptance of him is a pleasant surprise. With Jarrett continuing his move for the World Title, it doesn't make sense to not have Vamp wearing the US gold. Overall, the Nitro main event was actually stronger than it's been in months, with the crowd doing more than just tossing garbage in disgust.
There's no 'I' in team, but there is a 'me'
Goddamned, I'm sick of watching a 20 minute promo to open up Raw. Mindless repetition nearly cost Raw everything all those years ago and though I'm not calling for the downfall of this dynasty just yet, the cracks are beginning to peek through again. So we're told HHH has a great mind for booking... that may be so, but it's no excuse for giving him an uninterrupted forum at the opening of each show. It's obvious that Hunter's brain works a bit slower than the more witty talkers of the past, and he shouldn't be talking more than five minutes, max. When you throw in Stephanie's stalling and cheap heat, Road Dogg's flat intro line and the Rock's imminent rebuttal, there's little time for anything worthwhile. What used to be a special feeling following the fireworks and that familiar heavy guitar lick has since been replaced with glances at the clock and switches to Nitro (!) in hopes of some action.
Speaking of Nitro; I wonder..how much did they offer Arn to dis Flair for the yellow and red stain? For a moment, I was expecting to actually hear him say the words "Hogan's the man... Flair isn't." Sure, it was implied, but I'd like to think Anderson knew better. His monologue was, as always, masterful.. but this one lacked something. Perhaps the Enforcer's getting a bit sick of the state of things? Nah.. I smell a swerve in the works here, spelling the oldest horsemen in history in Flair, Arn, Luger and an unnamed 4th member. Hey.. what's Mongo doing these days?
Oh yeah, and Hogan should be commended for carrying on after that obviously painful shoulder separation. He's a hero.
And that should wrap up this slightly slimmed down version of the Review. I don't think I've ever been that positive in the past... call it a forgiving mood. I'll be back tomorrow (possibly even later tonight) with a quick take on the youth of the sport and then again Thursday with a preview for WCW Uncensored, reprising my 'World's Greatest' team with John C. For those who continue to ask, I really don't know when to expect the next installment of my WCW talent evaluation. I'd planned to get one out before my little hiatus, but was stricken with "the rrhea", and couldn't get much time away from the pot to type it up. Rest assured I plan to have it completed soon.
Also, after reading my last post I realized a good bit of my statements toward John came out a bit pissy, which wasn't the point at all. The whole thing has thankfully pretty well blown over for now, so I'd rather not open it all up to debate again.
Before I go, I've a fun little observation, sent in by one of my readers; firstname.lastname@example.org: "If Paul Bearer is the father of Kane, doesn't that mean that Kane's name is Kane Bearer? I would love to hear them announce him like that."
until next time, i remain