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Mark Coale



Those Who Fail to Learn from History are Doomed to Repeat It

A new home (well, a return to an old home), a new name. And I mean no disrespect to Jim Cornette or the Midnight Express by abondoning the "From the Darkside" name. But I was tired of it and this is a great time to change.

What's the deal with the title? Well, as people have read my work before know that I'm a traditionalist (or purist if you prefer). Of course, I could be "hip" and use the phrase "old school," but in wrestling that conjurs up images of either the Undertaker or Steve Corino. But that's not "old school enough for me."

I want really old, like ESPN Classic old. And what's more traditional than the 2/3 falls match? In ye olden day, that's how championships were decided. And it was only for people that really could wrestle, since it usually meant a 20-30 minute match. And that's what I like and prefer, even if there's no chance of seeing it on Monday night anytime soon.

BUT you (and I) can see it on Tuesday nights. And that's the other cool dynamic of the name. Most Lucha matches are 2/3 falls. And again, if you read my stuff here before, you know I prefer Lucha to either American or Japanese wrestling these days.

There you go. And now, let's go back to the future with my first OO column in many, many years.

Imagine you had just emerged from a coma. Or you were in the Biosphere (is that thing even still around). Or had been in a foreign country that didn't get television.

Last night, you decided to watch RAW for the first time in three years. What did you see? Vince McMahon antagonizing Steve Austin. The Undertaker terrorizing Jim Ross. The Rock versus Chris Jericho. Bra and Panties matches. Bathroom humor. You first thought is "Gee, I haven't been gone that long, have I? (Of course, your second thought is "Was that Ric Flair?")

Sure, wrestling recycles storylines all the times. It was just a few weeks ago that they tried to redo Austin vs. McMahon with Kurt Angle in the Austin role. And since that didn't work, they're going to really do it all again, with all the original players.

You can catch lightning in a bottle, but you can't usually do it twice. Even if you weren't a big fan of WWF Attitude the first time around, you could at least, on some level, get the Devil his due for energizing the company and capturing loads of casual viewers.

Now, it's just recycling. Been there, done that. Putting Trish Stratus and Stacy Kiebler in lingerie is all well and good, but it's not titillating anymore. In fact, it's kind of boring, especially when you find just as scantily-clad women on any number of cable channels at the same time. Hell, it seems really tame coming a week or so after the Victoria Secret special on ABC (talk about your Sweeps Month stunts).

Of course, there's one new element thrown into the mix, and not even a stale and talentless writer (and/or McMahon sire) could have already devalued their most valuable new asset yet. Or could they?

As much as I'd love to see Ric Flair on my TV for about =BD of RAW (aka Vince McMahon's screen time), even he would get overexposed and become relegated to ordinary status with too much face time. Please don't have him do the generic "commissioner" spots backstage, making like miserable for the sundry heels milling about in their dressing room. But, if given the choice, I'll take that over having someone pee on the Nature Boy's leg. (Isn't that a Jim Croce lyric?)

The scary thing of all is that things might get worse before they get better. It's only a few more weeks until Kevin Nash's AOL contract runs out. If Austin vs. McMahon is stale, the return of Nash and Hall (be they Diesel & Ramon or the N.W.O.) will feel like a month-old French baguette. And if that happens, put me into hibernation with Yogi and Boo Boo. Maybe be some new angles by then. More likely, we'll be seeing the triumphant return of the Nation of Domination and the Body Donnas.

Mark Coale
Dr. Alquimia Magazine

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