Ringside Shadows #115: In a Word..
I think I overuse the word "mediocre".
Of course, with lukewarm programming on both sides of the fence the likes of which was aired last night, I've little alternative. Wait.. scratch that. Things were never really lukewarm. Both programs went from frigid lows to scorching highs on a whim, and we were all along for the ride. After a rehash of every Hogan interview ever aired (that I could have done without), I was treated to more of the Jung dragons... (that I liked). Another elongated Raw introduction follows itself up with two of my favorite workers worldwide. The said match is then given a solid 2 minutes to run its course, before an ugly, hurried finish ties it all up. Things just couldn't get on level ground either way last night, and I only hope Wrestlemania ends up a little better lest it be labeled as poor as last year's offering.. itself quite mediocre.
The McMahon Spring TV Special
Apparantly it wasn't enough to merely stick it on cruise control, sending HHH to pull out the same epic saga of a promo as the week before. No no, this is the week before Wrestlemania and I'll be damned if we won't start the program off with every remote relative of the McMahon family on the rampway, absorbing the adoration of the masses. Hey, Vince... do you realize why "In Living Color" went off the air (well, besides the fact it just wasn't funny anymore)? Nobody wants to see a complete family tree endlessly throughout the evening.. as to why, that's anyone's guess. It's one of the mysteries of the universe. I won't even get into the specifics, nor the magnificently gaping holes in the plot therein.. the problem's a bit deeper than that.
Honestly, I don't think you need to look much farther than Linda herself for the problem. The woman wasn't meant for television, as she's proven time and time again. Her voice grates at the nerves, her "hard-ass mom with a 'tude" persona doesn't work and the crowd could give a shit if it were Linda McMahon or a dancing monkey with one hell of a package. Hey, the monkey with the package would likely get the bigger pop of the two. To include her in the promotion of an already lackluster main event is nonsensical, but to give her a full 10 minutes of uninterrupted mic time (more than Mick Foley, even) borders insanity.
I suppose I'm just a bit sick of the main event angle as a whole. Including family in wrestling angles is always a bit difficult to swallow once or twice, but the McMahons have jumped back and forth between alliances and oppositions faster than anyone in their right mind could possibly track. Believablility has since gone out the window, as Vince has tried to kill his own son (not to mention ripping off Austin's "20,000 people calling you an asshole" line, and going full circle along the way), Stephanie's called her mother a slut and wrestlers seem thrown in just for shits and giggles. If they try to spread this one any thinner by continuing it beyond the big WM, you can count me out.
The 'New' Nitro
"When you tune into the April 10 Nitro you're going to see just how serious we are in turning the company around." -Vince Russo last night in a wcw.com interview.
If I tune in to see Bischoff and Russo's smiling faces in an on-air feud right off the bat, I'll be very.. very upset. I'm not sure what's more unsettling.. the image itself or the fact it's more than likely about to happen. As I said just after his big jump from the WWF, Russo could be a big deal... and not an altogether bad one, either. If given a superb talent coordinator (my suggestion at the time was Ric Flair) to slip in a couple worthwhile workers along with Russo's infamous scripts, things could be in really good shape. If he's allowed free reign with Jim Duggan, the Harris Boys and Oklahoma again, everything could be headed to the big ring in the sky for Turner's bastard child, wCw, in a hurry.
I've more confidence in Bischoff than Vince and Ed... under Eric it was a game of hit and miss. Under his watchful eye, the world's top workers jumped at the chance to visit the aprons (and wallet) of wCw. Juventud Guerrara. Chris Benoit. Rey Misterio, Jr. Eddy Guerrero. Each made their first TNT appearance under Bischoff's eye. Sure, the main event was plagued by the likes of Hogan and Nash.. but we're living with that right now. After a couple months of this putrid shit, I'd gladly take a return to the form of 1997 or even 1998. At least then you had a decent undercard with which to work.
Russo is promising "the best Nitro that you've seen in a year." He claims it'll "make a statement that Nitro is getting back in the game. " I hope so. You've got our attention for what may be the last time, guys. You'd better make the best of it this time.
Sometimes Stuff Sucks, Even When it Shouldn't
Hey, it was great to see Benoit and Guerrero in the ring (even better, considering how long it had been since we'd seen Eddy). They looked strong as a team, and started to get the crowd into it.. which was commendable, considering they only got 2 f'n minutes! How the man himself can justify a half hour crock of shit for an intro, but less than 5 minutes for the top workers in the world is beyond me, and I'd wager he would have a hard time explaining it under pressure himself. Add Chyna to the mix, and you've already guaranteed failure... but Vince remains a genius, right?
Gimmicked wCw shows are, as a whole, stupid.. this week's installment was no exception. With little to no planning (as evidenced by the shaky cameras, weak lighting, poor ring setup and about 15 other notables through the night), a strange placement and matches that didn't really do anything to make us notice something was different, events of this kind give wCw the bush-league feel they've been trying to avoid for yearsn now. On top of it all, what the hell was up with Liz? Did she really think those various objects were helping Luger win the matchup? Ahh, come to think of it.. it was fun watching Sting sell an ice cube tray to the ass. I'll let it be.
Goddamned, did I miss Mae Young and Moolah. I don't think we could've made it through another Raw without their gorgeous visage(s). The joke's been over for months now... why can't we just let it DIE?!
It was nice to see DDP back. A shame he wasn't around to do anything but plug wCw's new movie. If the guy's gonna risk himself to fly in for an interview (his back isn't near healed yet, so a ride on an aircraft was risky), why would they dis him so, relegating him to an injured reserve billboard? Still, he provided the line of the night (as noted by Blasingame) "My back... is gonna be jacked!" All that, and Kimberly should be kept a long, long ways from microphones nationwide.
You know, if I'd blinked I may have missed it. Hogan put over a couple athletes below the age of 45. Watch the skies, for the armageddon is surely at hand. I'm convinced this was less the actions of the Hulkster himself and more those of his superiors, but it was still a thing of beauty to see. Despite becoming Hogan's personal bitch in the span of one night, Vampiro's push is headed heavenward with no signs of slowing down. There's one I owe to wCw... I can't really do much but recognize their efforts in this case, while the rest of the talented minority await their turn.
Am I Ready for Wrestlemania?
Eh. It doesn't really seem to be coming up this weekend. The WWF's done little to promote anything other than the main event (which I'm personally not especially looking forward to). The card's already overflowing with gimmicked matches, which beg to be overbooked. Benoit/Angle/Jericho should be brilliant, so long as Jericho comes ready to work (and Benoit ready to whip him into shape, should he not..) but in an ideal world, that would exist as the only multi-participant match of the evening. Special stipulation matches work best when allowed to stand out as the unique events they are. Throw in too many of them, and the audience becomes overwhelmed and bored by the main event. Sure, the tag team ladder match could be nice.. but I'd be willing to bet the result would be nicer if limited to two teams. Did the Bossman really need to show up on the card? Or Moolah? OR MAE?? Did Chyna need to play a role in the Radicals / Too Cool feud? I refuse to get as worked up as I was for last year's big event.. feuds aren't nearly as well built as they appeared to be before last year's big XV, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one to feel let down by such a disaster.
I'll wholeheartedly agree... the matches themselves should be much stronger this year (the majority of the poor workers are neatly tucked into matches of their own), but I won't even give this one a chance at PPV of the year, which is where it should rightfully be.
And that should do it for me. Following the chaos that was last week's posting schedule, I'm planning to settle down a bit this time. John and I will return Friday evening with (what else) the World's Greatest Wrestlemania Preview.. the grand daddy of them all. Here's hoping it isn't mediocre.
until next time, i remain