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Tom Dean




You know, I usually don't ski in the Northeast... the mountains are SO tiny. I don't have much time for skiing lately, in between making partner on Wall Street and constantly jetting off to Milan to be with my supermodel girlfriend. Shed? Is it in the Italian Alps? I love the Ital... y'know, I was in the Ski Patrol in Gdansk... AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!! Just for variety... run a DIFFERENT ad once in a while! Jeez!!!

(Yes, I know seemingly every show these days also runs the same ads over and over again. The ad industry must be a damn nightmare lately.)

This is gonna be such a negative article. I'm sorry. I just feel so blah lately. I have an objective record of how much I'm enjoying the programming, which is how many shows I save on tape vs. how many I immediately tape over. I've been taping over every show, one after the other, for WEEKS now... I think the last one I saved was the last RAW that Kane was on. I dunno whether it has anything to do with Kane at all -- I suspect it does, as Kane was being counted on as a top guy, and was developing an interesting character -- but for whatever reason, it's really been a much duller show since he went out. I haven't even considered saving any of the shows since Backlash, and I don't think I've saved a Smackdown since the split.

It's just... ennui. I see stuff, and I don't care. Maybe the powers that be are overestimating the audience's smarkiness. Maybe they just figure "Well, they all know what a heel turn is. They all know the feuds are just excuses for PPV matches. All we need to do is make it clear to them where we're going. Storyline explanations are gratuituous." Or, maybe they just don't understand how random this stuff comes off as. Whatever the reason is... it's not fun like this. I don't care about being surprised. What I want is to feel like the things I'm seeing are happening because I am watching people and those people are experiencing feelings. I don't want to sit there thinking "well, I guess they needed to turn him heel because X, Y, and Z". If I have to do that, that means something is missing from what I'm being presented, in my humble opinion. I hate the Random Tag Team Generator and the Random Feud Generator. They seem to be running the damn store these days.

Easier said than done, obviously. They TRIED to explain the Big Show turn, but I don't like that shit either... "I'm dissatisfied with my position on the card" explanations come off as too behind-the-scenesy to me. The Flair turn is even worse. Okay, fine, he drafted the nWo because they were working together. But why the hell did he buy into the WWF in the first place (it was WWF at the time, leave me alone)? Am I to understand that BOTH owners of the company have wanted, for months, to destroy it? Does that really make sense? How is the company even still there then? Why was Vince begging the board not to make Flair the CEO if they both want the company destroyed? Will anyone, anywhere, buy a pay-per-view because it has Flair & Big Show vs. Austin? Wasn't Flair supposed to stop wrestling? Can Austin seem any more uninspired by the product than he does? Can Lawler? Does there have to be commentary during every moment of the show? If someone is walking somewhere or doing something mysterious, does it really add anything to have the announcer say "where are they going???" or "what are they doing???" in a panicky voice? Do they not realize that there is NO WRESTLING SHOW ON AGAINST THEM ANYMORE, and thus there is no longer a need for the Cute Little Make Sure You Stay Tuned You Don't Wanna Miss The Big Surprise Game? And, for the same reason, that there is no longer a need for recapping things that happened three minutes earlier?

Okay, I'll try to calm down, but I'm not making any guarantees.

Worst points of the last two shows: Faarooq & Mark Henry BOTH getting distracted by D'Von's dumb new gimmick, and Hogan on the bike. Best points: Trish vs. Jazz (before the run-ins), and D-LO! As a face! Versus Regal! For the European damn Championship! WOOHOO!!!!

WWE has managed to get themselves into a situation where they MUST get the belt off Hogan, which I guess means giving it to Undertaker under the circumstances. But it's not like that exactly changes everything. Really, what they need to do is take a damn chance, and they have been refusing to do that for so long, it almost seems mythical that it could ever happen. I can't believe they couldn't find anything better for Lesnar to do than squash Stasiak again. You were doing it exactly right! Now have him beat some decent people! Keep it going! But you CAN'T, when the hierarchy is ridiculously rigid. You can bring in new people to be on the top of the hierarchy... you can do it forever and spend ninety billion dollars. It doesn't make any difference when the problem is the hierarchy itself.

WWE... finally had to say it. Some lawyer screwed up pretty goddamn HUGE, I must say. Actually agreed to cede the rights to the WWF name outside of North America to the panda people? Didn't anticipate that they might one day be able to expand to overseas markets? Didn't anticipate future forms of media where this inability to use the same name in more than three countries might be significant? As a result, one of the entertainment world's best-known brand names, painstakingly built for decades, has to be changed overnight? Sorry, Mr. Dumbass, Esq.... you are GOONNEE... FIRRRRRRRRRRRED. In a just world, anyway.

Goldberg was released from his AOL/Time Warner contract. It's hard to dispute two reasons why he probably ends up in WWE: 1. The product is doing badly, and lately, that has meant "bring in a new expensive big name." 2. Vince doesn't like competition, and Goldberg is the type of guy around whom you could build a viable rival promotion.

I always felt that Flair and Goldberg were the two essential pieces to make the WCW merger work, for the simple reason that they were the only two guys that WWF loyalists gave a crap about (it was WWF at the time, leave me alone.) That's ancient history, and at this point, I guess Goldie's role would be quite different. What exactly it WOULD be is a little unclear. The first instinct is to say that he basically replaces Rock as the #1 face on Smackdown. But if he's face and Austin's face, then you (probably) can't do what is the true money match, Goldberg-Austin. Unfortunately, it's hard to see either one of them turning heel. Well, they'll probably sign Goldie first to keep him away from competitors, and figure out what to do with him later. I don't like him, but I don't hate him either, and they pretty much gotta bring him in, so, fine.

Tough Enough was boring this week. Does Big annoy you? He annoys me. He just comes off far more aware than anyone else that this is all being taped for a television show, with his dramatic pronouncements and oh-so-wacky-yet-supposedly-spontaneous bets. I dunno. Anyway, not much happened.

Gene Simmons -- yes, the guy from KISS -- says on his web page that he's partnering with GLOW/WOW guy David McLane. What he needs McLane for, I have no idea... the WOW name is worth nothing (if not less!), and the evidence that McLane has learned anything from the failures of four promotions is sketchy at best. Maybe we can get one PPV out of it, anyway... that'd be cool. Hey, WWE, sign Riot and push her to the moon... then I won't care if nothing else on the show makes sense :-)

Tom Dean
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